Newly-installed U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, after visiting with several local executives and entrepreneurs, said Atlanta had a “vibrant ecosystem” with a “great sense of optimism.”
Pritzer was in Atlanta as part of her first 100-day nationwide listening tour to engage with business, academic and thought leaders to hear concerns and ideas on how the public and private sectors can work together to strengthen the economy.
While in Atlanta, Pritzker had dinner Thursday night with Mayor Kasim Reed, where they discussed business opportunities in the city as well as plans to build a new stadium for the Atanta Falcons.
On Friday morning, Pritzker had a roundtable meeting with executives and entrepreneurs at Invest Atlanta, where they discussed businesses from urban agriculture to entrepreneurship.
Then Pritzker went to the Global Center for Medical Innovation near the Georgia Tech campus to witness the research, development and business application of about 15 to 20 start-up companies in a venture that has received both state and federal support.
During the tour, she met with a company that is developing a new bone-like material that can replace bone grafting for people who have had serious injuries.
Pritzker, whose husband is an ophthalmologist, also saw a new technology being developed by Digital Vision System that would replace the traditional eye exam. Patients will look into a series of lenses, allowing a digital machine to determine the best course of treatment. Clinical trials on that new eye exam technology should begin in the fall.
“We have supported the creation of the facility here — entrepreneurs taking ideas from concept to market,” Pritzker said. “You don’t do that by yourself.”
Later Friday, Pritzker was also going to visit UPS headquarters to meet with another group of executives. And she also was planning to spend time with Commerce Department employees based in Atlanta.
Encouraging new technology and start-up companies is a major economic development goal in Atlanta, and several organizations have applied to the U.S. Department of Commerce to establish a regional patent office in the city.
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