Accolades for June 4, 2012
June 4th, 2012 - Filed under: Accolades
UA Names New Director of Effort to Bring Campus Discoveries to Market Place
The University of Alabama named Dr. Richard P. Swatloski director of its Office for Technology Transfer.
The appointment of Swatloski, who has worked in OTT since its establishment as a full-time office in 2006, became effective June 1, said Dr. Joe Benson, vice president for research at UA.
“Tech Transfer has become an increasingly important aspect of what it means to be a University of Alabama researcher and innovator,” said Benson. “Rick brings both scientific expertise and an entrepreneurial spirit to this position, and I look forward to seeing him and our campus innovators move forward these efforts in ways most beneficial to the public we serve.”
Swatloski, who holds bachelor’s and doctorate degrees in chemistry from UA, served as a licensing associate in the Office for Technology Transfer from 2006 to September 2011, when he was named interim director following the death of former director Dr. Bill Gathings. Prior to joining the Capstone’s Office for Technology Transfer, or OTT, Swatloski served as a staff scientist in UA’s Center for Green Manufacturing.
OTT works with innovators to assist in bringing technologies created at the University to the commercial market place for public benefit. By helping UA inventors with things like navigating the patent process, finding funding or licensing technology to off-campus entities, the Office for Technology Transfer strives to speed the time frame from discovery to public benefit, Swatloski said.
Between fiscal years 2007 and 2011, 189 invention disclosures were submitted to the Office for Technology Transfer, resulting in the issuance of 68 patents, including 13 in the U.S., and UA has 13 active licensing agreements with external entities, according to OTT statistics.
The Office for Technology Transfer collaborates with UA’s Innovation and Mentoring of Entrepreneur Center, known as AIME, in efforts to assist start-up companies incubating within AIME, with an eventual goal of becoming a self-supporting, job-creating companies in the area.
In its short history, the Office for Technology Transfer’s achievements include forming partnerships, based on UA discoveries, with the chemical giant BASF and with QRxPharma, a clinical stage specialty pharmaceutical company; helping, along with AIME, UA start-up companies to successfully compete for funding in Alabama Launchpad, a statewide business plan competition; and the licensing of FreezePruf, an anti-freeze for plants that improves their cold tolerance. The spray-on formula, co-developed by a UA researcher, sold more than 10,000 units last year.
PSA Recognizes Outstanding Professionals
The Professional Staff Assembly honored two UA employees at the recent PSA meeting. Dr. Judy Bonner, UA interim president, presented awards to Wayne Rau and Dr. Karen Gardiner.
As media services coordinator for the Sanford Media Resource and Design Center in Gorgas Library, Rau was nominated by his supervisor, Lindley Shedd. In the nomination letter Shedd praised Rau for his teaching approach and interaction with students, his willingness to carry a heavy workload and take on extra duties while making the work flow smoothly and efficiently.
“One of the strongest recommendations I can make concerning Wayne is simply that I do not have to worry about my unit if I am out and Wayne is present. The dedication he shows to his job and desire to assist the students of this university directs his decisions and makes him a true asset to this unit and the University Libraries,” Shedd wrote.
Gardiner is director of the first-year writing program in the department of English, and was nominated by department chair Dr. Catherine Davies, who cited her skill, initiative, creativity and devotion to student success.
Crimson Spirit Awards Presented
Three UA employees have been awarded the Rickey Yanaura Crimson Spirit Award in recognition of the dedication, cooperative spirit and talent they bring to the University.
Daniel Sieber, assistant director of University Printing, was nominated by co-worker Willie Townsend, who described Sieber as leading by example and always having an encouraging word. Townsend noted Sieber’s willingness to stay beyond business hours to make sure jobs were completed by deadline.
Joel Mask, associate director in the Office of Student Media, also praised Sieber’s helpfulness to students. “He is a patient and understanding man when it comes to explaining the ins and outs of the printing world. Daniel’s attitude and work ethic is the perfect example for all UA employees to mirror.”
Daniel Wood, advancement services programmer, was nominated by Dr. Pam Parker, former vice president for advancement. Parker noted that she had known and worked with the late Rickey Yanaura, and found in Wood’s helpful and generous character a reflection of Yanaura’s own spirit.
She also praised Wood’s efforts in helping people after the April 27, 2011 tornado. “He spent his own time, his own money and his own equipment to help clear debris and rescue individuals, always with a smile on his face. Daniel exemplifies the Crimson Spirit Rickey demonstrated each and every day we had the opportunity to work with him.”
Seth Miesse, technology support specialist in the Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration, was nominated by Dr. Subha Chakraborti, professor in the department of information systems, statistics and management science. He noted Miesse’s dedication to teamwork and cheerful attitude as he quickly and efficiently dealt with issues and problems related to computers both in classrooms and in C&BA offices. He praised the C&BA staff member for volunteering to go beyond what was required, and calmly handling issues from viruses to crashes so that work could continue smoothly and efficiently. “Seth has been and continues to be a life saver,” Chakraborti wrote.
Also praising Miesse was Dr. Junsoo Lee, associate professor of economics. “His work has been simply excellent. He is skillful, knowledgeable, hard-working, punctual, sincere and efficient in his work,” Lee wrote, adding, “He loves to go beyond the expectations of his position.”
The Rickey Yanaura Crimson Spirit Award, renamed in 2007 in honor of Rickey Yanaura, known as “the university photographer” for 25 years, recognizes employees who by actions, words and deeds, make The University of Alabama an exceptional place to work and learn. Nominees for this award define “Crimson Spirit” by their very presence.
Dr. Joy Burnham, associate professor and program coordinator in counselor education, was selected for a Fulbright Specialist grant in Education at Shenyang Normal University in China.
Heather Elliott, associate professor of law, published “Standing Lessons: What We Can Learn When Conservative Plaintiffs Lose Under Article III Standing Doctrine,” 87 Indiana Law Journal 551-598 (2012).
Dr. Brian Fisher, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, is one of 30 researchers selected nationwide to receive a competitive grant from Oak Ridge Associated Universities through the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards program. Fisher was awarded the grant for the 2012-2013 academic year for his study of the spray properties of diesel-surrogate fuels.
Dr. Julie Griffith Kees, assistant law librarian, received a certificate of proficiency in the specialized area of librarianship from the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia.
Dr. Avani Shah, assistant professor of social work, is one of eight geriatric social work professionals nationally to be named a 2012 Hartford Faculty Scholar by the Gerontological Society of America. The Faculty Scholars Program aims to improve the lives of older adults by increasing the number of adequately trained geriatric social workers.
Dr. Heather Taylor, College of Community Health Sciences, received the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award, presented by the School of Medicine to a student and faculty member who best demonstrate the Gold Foundation’s ideals of outstanding compassion in the delivery of care, respect for patients, their families, and healthcare colleagues, as well as demonstrated clinical excellence.
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