EPIIC shares update on year’s optimistic endeavors

Leaders of the El Pomar Institute for Innovation and Commercialization at UCCS gave an annual report to the community Tuesday at Penrose House, presenting examples of the organization’s successes.

UCCS Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak moderated the event, as the EPIIC chairmen delivered progress reports to a crowd of business and community leaders.

“This is truly a testament to the strength of EPIIC and how it is relevant to the Colorado Springs community and the Pikes Peak region,” said El Pomar Foundation trustee and CU Regent Kyle Hybl during an opening statement.

Engineering and Innovation chairman Michael Larson announced the licensure of “laser tissue fusion technology” that he developed at UCCS and its possible implications for economic and scientific development in the region.

“This is a tangible way that we can think about moving the development on campus into the community, and I do have some investors in this new enterprise,” Larson said, adding that such investors are all from out of state and “they’ll be bringing real money to Colorado Springs to support the development here.”

This new technology could eliminate the need for stitches and decrease both the risks and pain involved in nasal surgical procedures such as rhinoplasty and sinus operations. He also spoke with excitement about the university’s Mind Studios, a program he directs in which students work with community partners to establish ventures, develop concepts and design prototypes of medical and scientific products.

“Right now we have about 20 projects going on — some of those with physicians at Memorial Hospital,” said Larson. “We also have a number of patent attorneys who do pro bono work with us for some of our clients on things like pet products to toys and games.”

Terrance Boult, EPIIC head of Innovation and Security, discussed the need for external partnerships and developing programs that will benefit UCCS students’ finances and futures.

“Even though everyone in our town might think UCCS is great, we now have to start going for that national reputation,” Boult said. “We also have to get our students out there …”

Boult, working to create more work scholarship opportunities for Bachelor of Innovation students, exemplified that program’s success by mentioning students who have completed internships and received job offers from companies such as VMware, PayPal and Siemens Healthcare.

Tom Duening, chairman of Business and Entrepreneurship, said his realm had “a good year,” adding, “but any time you have a good year it’s because you’ve found some tremendous people to work with.”

He praised community support of firms such as Challenger Homes, Sparks Willson Borges Brandt & Johnson, and La Plata Development Group endorsing business plan competitions in which students participate. Duening also expressed his eagerness to work with Shawna Rogers, the Center for Entrepreneurship director, to develop a Center for Professional Executive Development.

“I think we’re at a point at UCCS where we can say, ‘This is working and we need to take it to the next level,’” Shockley-Zalabak said. “I’ve never been so excited. I love what we’re trying to achieve and I think we’ve got the right people in place with the El Pomar chairs to make it happen.”