Collaborate to establish the region as a global leader in sustainable, environmental technology innovation, with an initial emphasis on water.
To identify, test,develop and commercialize innovative technologies to solve environmental challenges and spur sustainable economic development and job creation, by:
- Attracting the best and brightest scientists and entrepreneurs;
- Promoting economic development through the creation and attraction of jobs and investment;
- Becoming the world’s source for practical and affordable solutions and sustainable practices.
The History of Confluence…
Regional technology innovation clusters are geographic concentrations of interconnected firms – businesses, suppliers, and service providers – and supporting institutions – local government, business chambers, universities, investors, and others – that work together in an organized manner to promote economic growth and technological innovation. On January 18, 2011, EPA Administrator, Lisa P. Jackson, and SBA Administrator, Karen Mills, met at EPA’s research facility in Cincinnati to announce the launch of Confluence (the Water Technology Innovation Cluster) of Dayton/Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky/Southeast Indiana .
Over 160 leaders from the region, including the newly formed Confluence Board of Directors, were on hand for this announcement. For more information, click here. For the press release and the video of the announcement, click here.
The idea to form a technology innovation cluster in this region stems from an EPA and SBA initiative that recognizes the importance of harnessing regional expertise – public utilities, research partners, and innovative business – to encourage economic development as well as environmental and human health protection. This idea was embraced by the region, which saw an opportunity to build and maintain a vibrant, technology-driven economy that influences positive change in the way we protect human health and the environment.
In early 2010, EPA Cincinnati staff were charged with catalyzing the development of a public-private partnership focused on environmental technology innovation and commercialization. This charge follows the priorities of the EPA Administrator and the Agency’s Chief Financial Officer to support regional economic development efforts. EPA Cincinnati was selected for this initiative because of its rich research and development infrastructure to anchor the effort technically. SBA partnered with EPA to provide federal backing and help ensure success for these efforts.
After receiving this charge, EPA Cincinnati staff quickly initiated a number of studies and organized a number of briefings with leaders from the region. The purpose of the studies and briefings was to investigate the potential for forming a technology innovation cluster in the greater Cincinnati area focused on water. The response EPA received during the briefings was overwhelmingly positive and the region quickly formed a steering committee to spearhead the effort. This committee drafted an initial vision and mission for the cluster and developed agendas for two stakeholder meetings, which EPA hosted at its facility on October 20, 2010 and January 12, 2011. Approximately 60 stakeholders from regional universities, large corporations, emerging companies, Federal government, state government, local government, and economic development agencies attended each of these meetings. Initial and final results from market analysis and patent mapping exercises were presented. See 2010 U.S. Drinking Water Innovation Vendor Outlook – Report on the companies and market trends shaping innovation the U.S. drinking water sector and Mapping Report on Proposed Water Cluster in Cincinnati Region
During these meetings Stakeholders concluded that: (1) the region possesses unique strengths in the area of water technology; and (2) innovative water technologies appear to be a viable area for technology-based economic development given the current global water market. Based on this assessment and the overwhelming interest in supporting this endeavor, they also agreed to proceed with the development of Confluence based on the Draft Framework and Operating Structure for the WTIC developed by the steering committee between October and January meetings. Finally they determined that the steering committee would serve as the basis for the initial Confluence Board of Directors, effective immediately.
Below is a timeline of events:
April 15, 2010 – EPA Cincinnati Charged with Catalyzing the Development of a Public-private Partnership Focused on Environmental Technology Innovation and Commercialization
May, 2010 to present – Regional leaders briefings
October 20, 2010 – Stakeholder Meeting, Establishing a Regional Technology Innovation Cluster
January 12, 2011 – Stakeholder Meeting, Establishing a Water Technology Innovation Cluster
January 18, 2011 – Joint EPA and SBA Administrator Announcement of Confluence Startup
Current Confluence Work Groups
A number of Work Groups seek to collaboratively advance the Vision and Mission of Confluence:
1. Three-State Protocol and Test Bed Development
Work Group Chair: Alan Vicory, Principal, Stantec
The Protocol and Test Bed Development Work Group is establishing Confluence as a facilitating partner with organizations across the three-state Cluster Region to develop an agreed-upon protocol for the test and approval of water devices. In addition, the Work Group is identifying and cataloging water test-beds and systems for use by companies needing “real world” test conditions for water devices.
2. Water Policy & Water Event Work Group
Work Group Co-Chairs: MaryLynn Lodor, Environmental Programs Manager, Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSDGC)
Jim Marten, Vice President, Crown Solutions Company, LLC
The Water Policy & Water Event Work Group is establishing Confluence as the primary driver and convener of a Water Policy Forum to a) identify critical scientific, regulatory and technology issues within the water industry; b) facilitate dialog with the US EPA or other regulatory agencies associated with those issues, and c) report key knowledge back to the water community. In addition, the Work Group will develop a premier series of water-related educational programming, including technology workshops, industry or technology seminars, and water conferences to further the mission of Confluence
3. Confluence Business Advisory Council
Business Advisory Council Chair: Scott Koorndyk, Vice President, Technology Commercialization, Dayton Development Coalition
The Confluence Business Advisory Council works to create critical linkages between the water technology “producers” – entrepreneurs, inventors and small businesses, and the water technology “consumers” – large water technology companies, utilities, and users. The Business Advisory Council assesses and validates technologies developed as a result of Confluence collaborations, and reduces obstacles to the commercialization of those technologies.
4. Confluence Partnerships Work Group
Work Group Co-Chairs: Bill Scheyer, President, Vision 2015
Denyse Ferguson, Vice President, Economic Development, Cincinnati USA Regional Partnership
The Confluence Partnerships Work Group identifies prospective partner organizations and nurtures collaborative relationships with them. The Work Group is the point of contact for establishing those relationships across the global water industry, and ensures that a relationship with Confluence is mutually beneficial.
5. Communications & Marketing Work Group
Work Group Chair: Melinda Kruyer, Principal, Kruyer & Associates.
The Communications & Marketing Work Group creates awareness of Confluence on a Regional, National and Global basis. The Work Group is responsible for the development of all Confluence branding, marketing materials, website design and maintenance, and media relations initiatives.
Confluence Board Members
The Confluence is a concentration of interconnected organizations that work together to promote economic growth and technological innovation. To harness the wealth of water technology innovation found in Southern Ohio and Northern Kentucky, our leadership comes from organizations across our geographic Region.
Executive Director, Melinda Kruyer
What is a Cluster?
Cluster development (or cluster initiative or Economic Clustering) is the economic development of business clusters. The cluster concept has rapidly attracted attention from governments, consultants, and academics since it was first proposed in 1990 by Michael Porter. Many governments and industry organizations across the globe have turned to this concept in recent years as a means to stimulate urban and regional economic growth. As a result, a large number of cluster initiative organizations were started during the 1990s, and the trend continues. The first comprehensive study of cluster initiatives around the world was reported in the “Cluster Initiative Greenbook” published by Örjan Sölvell, Christian Ketels and Göran Lindqvist, with a foreword by Michael Porter. The report was presented at the annual meeting of The Competitiveness Institute, TCI, in Gothenburg in 2003. A follow up study in 2005 covered more than 1400 cluster initiative organizations across the globe.
While the purpose of cluster initiative organizations is to promote economic development within the cluster by improving the competitiveness of one or several specific business sectors, it is important to differentiate these public-private organizations from policy-making organizations at different levels, e.g., national government units such as the UK Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and supranational bodies such as the OECD and the European Commission and from industry associations comprising firms within one business sector, e.g., biotech, steel.
More specifically, cluster initiatives are organizations or projects that are organized as collaborations between a diverse number of public and private sector actors, such as firms, government agencies, and academic institutions. Whereas lobbying policymakers may be one of the cluster initiative’s activities, cluster initiatives generally are involved in a broad range of activities, e.g. supply-chain development, market intelligence, incubator services, attraction of foreign direct investment, management training, joint R&D projects, marketing of the region, and setting technical standards.