Monday, May 31, 2010

Seminar to the Departmento di Informatica L'Aquila

The title of my presentation was "Department of InformaticsUniversita degli Studia dell’Aquila -The Role of University in Technology Commercialization and Business Development &Role of LSU in Disaster Recovery" I met with Claudio Arbib and Paola Inveradi at the department and discussed the presentation and the issues facing both L'Aquila and Louisiana caused by the disasters of earthquake and hurricanes and oil spills. We discussed the differences in funding for university research in the two countries. We have many commonalities as well as many differences. We discussed university research funding and the technology commercialization process. I gave a presentation on the LSU process for tech commercialization and the services of the LBTC and the LSU South Research Park. Incubation is new to this area as they have none in L'Aquila and only three in the entire region of Abruzzo and none are affiliated with universities. My presentation covered LSU / LBTC's role in the commercialization of technology and the incubator and research park clients involved in information sciences. I also gave a detailed report on the role LSU and the LBTC played in the Katrina recovery and in the oil spill disaster. It appears that the university has not played a major role in the earthquake recovery for a number of reasons. After my presentation, I met with several faculty members that had questions on how to pursue technology commercialization and how the university can be better involved in the recovery. It is very difficult, with many university faculty losing their homes and living quite a distance away from L'Aquila, as far as Rome and Pescara. Also, it appears that Italian industries do not fund research projects to the level that LSU is able to get private and public funding for projects and research. We had several one on one discussions with faculty and there is great interest in developing a long term relationship with LSU for disaster management, disaster recovery, business incubation, soft landings for technology spinoffs and other aspects of mutual interest. Tomorrow, I am going to tour the Gran Sasso Laboratories with Professor Piero Tagnolatti. The rest of the week is filled with seminars with the departments of science.

May 31 Presentation to the Department of Information Sciences Faculty and Students

Today's presentationDepartment of InformaticsUniversita degli Studia dell’AquilaThe Role of University in Technology Commercialization and Business Development &Role of LSU in Disaster Recovery

Friday, May 28, 2010

Weekend trip to Florence

What perfect timing, the Florence Gelato Festival was held this weekend and I collected a lot of ideas for Corrado DiMartino of Baton Rouge's Latte e Meile Gelateria.

With the weekend off, I traveled to Florence by almost every possible mode of transportation. Car from Bank of Italy meeting to L'Aquila bus station, bus to Rome, subway to Rome Train Station, train to Florence and cab to hotel in Florence. This is not a trip for the weak of heart. Florence is beautiful and full of life, I imagine the way L'Aquila was before the quake. By comparing a vibrant Italian town to the current situation in L'Aquila, it is easy to see the affects of the earthquake. The earthquake took the heart out of L'Aquila and took away its historic center city with all the quaint streets, shops, churches, hotels and restaurants and the hub of the Universita degli Studi dell'Aquila. I have been told that the students would gather in the square and it was a social, business, academic and residential hub for the city. Today it is barricaded and guarded by the military and fire department and during the day, construction crews are busy working to return it to its life. Now Pictures of Florence:

More Earthquake Damage Pictures from L'Aquila

The earthquake in April of 2009 hit the historic area badly but also hit other parts of the town and the region. One cannot drive through town without seeing some reminders and damaged buildings from the quake. Notice the car crushed as the entire first floor of an apartment complex fell down on the garage below. Also, many buildings are structurally damaged and must be taken down as well as many are unsafe for future occupancy. Not as many as Katrina but bad.

More Earthquake Damage Pictures from L'Aquila

The earthquake in April of 2009 hit the historic area badly but also hit other parts of the town and the region. One cannot drive through town without seeing some reminders and damaged buildings from the quake.

Guardia Di Finanza Pirtures

These are pictues from the tour of the Guardia Di Finanza hosted by Ten. Col. Carretta for me and the faculty of L'Aquila. The Guardia hosted the G8 summit attended by President Obama and was the recovery hub during and after the earthquake. It is an educational institution that trains the Guardia under the guidance of the Minister of Finance and they have a multitude of missions.

Visit with the Bank of Italy on May 27

Professors Margherita Mori and Lelio Lepadre set up a meeting for me with the Bank of Italy and Dr. Giovanni Alfieri, Direttore della Filiale di L'Aquila and Dr. Alessandro Tosoni and several other officers of the Bank. The Bank of Italy is comparable to the Federal Reserve Bank in the United States. The Bank of Italy is housed in Rome but has offices in each region, including the L'Aquila office for the Abruzzo Region. They conduct economic research and perform structural economic analysis, economic outlook and policy, issue financial statistics and preform regulatory functions. They issue annual and quarterly reports on the Italian and World economy. They work closely with several of the University of L'Aquila faculty and researchers. I was asked to give a presentation on the LBTC and LSU's role in economic development and business disaster recovery. The Bank of Italia worked very hard to reestablish their presence in the L'Aquila historic area and to reopen their bank in the historic area as soon as possible. Their bank is located on the main square that was severely damaged by the earthquake. From their board room we were able to see work being done in the square and the church next door. They feel that is it vital to L'Aquila's recovery to have the historic area rebuilt as soon as feasible. They have played a major role in this redevelopment strategy and even provide housing for employees and earthquake victims to speed up the rebuilding process. I spoke on the programs enacted to get the small businesses back into business after Katrina and the current work of the LBTC on disaster preparedness and the oil spill disaster. They were interested in the funding and programs such as loans and grants given to Louisiana businesses to reopen after the disasters as well as the role of LSU in the recovery process. We had coffee in the coffee bar across the street prior to the meeting to support one of the historic and first businesses to open after the quake. After our meeting and presentations, we went to lunch at an excellent restaurant called the Casele Signorini Ristorante Hotel in L'Aquila where we continued our discussions on the comparisons of the business recovery programs for the New Orleans area after Hurricane Katrina, Lake Charles after Rita and Ike, Baton Rouge after Gustav and now the Louisiana coast after the oil spill of the British Petroleum explosion.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Local Development Issues - Baton Rouge and L'Aquila

Today I was asked to make a presentation to a class in International Economics by Professor Lelio Iapadre. The seminar was attended by several professors, business leaders and students in International Economics, both graduate and undergraduate. I was able to meet Dr. Alessandro Tosoni, Analyst with the Banca D'Italia, at the seminar and will be visiting the leadership in the Banca D'Italia tomorrow for a meeting and lunch. I gave an overview of the Baton Rouge and Louisiana economy and the role of Louisiana State University in the economic development of the state and local community. I touched on the disasters, hurricanes and oil spill, and gave a detailed presentation on the Louisiana Business & Technology Center, the LSU South Research Park and other programs of the LBTC and LSU in disaster recovery. They were very interested in the university's role in both business incubation and economic development. The majority of incubators in Italy are not affiliated with universities and act very independent of academic institutions. A presentation followed mine, by the economic development officer from the Abruzzo Region who described three incubators operating in Abruzzo, 1. Mosciano, 2. Sulmona, 3. Avezzano but none in L'Aquila. The students asked if there was thoughts of opening one in L'Aquila, but the response was negative. It does appear that the university is very interested in establishing a "virtual incubator" in L'Aquila to stimulate entrepreneurship and to foster growth in the university spinoff companies. The addition of the 1,000,000 euro venture fund certainly will help develop the virtual incubator. I will be meeting with the administration over the next three weeks to provide information on how this can be done.

Guardia di Finanza - L'Aquila May 26, 2010

Today, Professor Mori set up a tour and meeting at the Guardia di Finanza, Comando Scuola Ispettori e Sovrintendenti. We were hosted by Ten. Col. Paolo Carretta, Capo Uffcio Addestramento e Studi. We were given a presentation and shown videos on the role of the Guardia di Finanza in the days of the earthquake on April 6, 2009. The Guardia is a department of the Italian Minister of Finance and serves multiple roles including military and police. They have a large training facility in L'Aquila and it served as a command post, rescue center, staging center, emergency housing center, hospital and more during the aftermath of the earthquake. It reminded me much of the LSU South Research Park which was the staging area for all of the emergency responders going into New Orleans during the aftermath of Katrina. The original Scuola for the Guardia was established in 1896. The work done by the Guardia immediately after the earthquake was heroic. They went in to rescue the injured, recover the dead, secure the area to prevent further injury or loss of life and provide any needed services to begin the recovery process. Their officers are present today when touring the devastated areas of the historic city. Another highlight of the tour was to see the work done by the partnership between the Guardia and the Vigili del Fucco (Fire Department). The video showed both groups going into the damaged churches and museums and saving priceless works of art, church artifacts and even the Tomb of Pope Celestine V. The churches were secured, valuable works taken to safety and then repairs were able to begin. During the tour of the Guardia di Finanza, we were shown the rooms where the G 8 summit was held in the months after the quake and the residence set up for President Obama. The Guardia was able to respond to the requests to host the G 8 in L'Aquila to bring attention to the disaster. They responded by providing logistics and security for the event that got international attention and even prompted President Obama to support the trip for the L'Aquila faculty to visit the USA, including Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. I will post pictures of the facility during a future blog.

sites in Rome prior to meeting with Fulbright and INEA

INEA Board Room in Rome May 24

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

26 May 2010

s Today's schedule calls for two presentations set up by the Department of Economics at L'Aquila and Professor Margherita Mori. First I will be part of a program on Business Incubators with Professor Lelio Iapadre, Associate Professor in International Economics entitled "Local Development Issues - Baton Rouge and L'Aquila. The purpose is detailing how the LBTC works and how the university and LBTC plays a major role in disaster business recovery. A presentation will also be made by economic developers from the Abruzzo Region on Italian business incubators although their is currently none in L'Aquila and most Italian incubators are not University affiliated. This afternoon, I will be meeting with the Guardia di Finanza, a policia arm of the Italian Ministry of Finance. I will get a tour and give a brief presentation on the LBTC and our success stories.

Fulbright and INEA Meetings in Rome

On May 24, I had a meeting in Rome with Professors Anna Tozzi, Margherita Mori from L'Aquila and Maria Grazia Quieti, PhD and executive director of the Fulbright US - Italy Fulbright Commission and Sandro Zinani, Educational Advisor. We had an excellent meeting and they explained the mission and goals of the Fulbright US -Italy Commission and the desire to support the efforts of LSU and Universita L'Aquila in developing a lasting relationship that could result in both faculty and student exchanges as well as joint research and study projects. I indicated to Dr. Grazia Quieti that we are already discussing these items and that Professor Mori and I are discussing the publishing of case studies the show the lessons learned in handling both disasters, the hurricanes and the earthquake. We concluded the meeting with a video interview that can be posted on the Fulbright website and I have been asked to write an article for their newsletter. The website is We left from the Fulbright office to go to the offices of the National Institute of Agriculture Economy (INEA) which is a research arm of the Italian Ministry of Agriculture. The INEA had a number of staff members present for my presentation and they were very interested in the LSU/ LBTC's mobile classroom or incubator on wheels and our rural entrpreneurship program. It appears that much of Italy is rural and this ministry is looking for effective ways to assist rural farmers in developing value added products and stimulating the economy in these rural areas. They also showed great interest in the economic impact of the LBTC and the food incubator program which was developed after Katrina in Norco Louisiana. Martina Bolli, one of the INEA researchers, requested materials that I will be sending her on several aspects of my presentation. We concluded the presentation with a brief Q&A then we departed for L'Aquila.

May 25, 2010 Presentations in L'Aquila

I returned from Rome and my meetings with the Fulbright - USA Italy office and a presentation to the INEA. Today in L'Aquila, it was sunny and warm. I gave a morning presentation to the Faculty of the College of Economics hosted by Professor Fabrizio Politi and Professor Margherita Mori. I met with the faculty of the college and their dean to discuss the role of the LSU in disaster recovery and things that the University and college in L'Aquila could be doing to foster economic development and disaster recovery. I discussed the key roles of the LBTC in fostering entrepreneurship and serving as the universities interface with business and economic development professionals. I also gave testimony on how the LBTC was called into action, immediately after Katrina by the Louisiana Department of Economic Development to set up business disaster recovery centers and that we are doing similar programs for both the series of hurricanes that hit Louisiana as well as the current oil spill. I gave examples of projects and activities including the recent connection of LSU Researcher, Dr. Ralph Portier with the incubator graduate company, Floating Island Environmental Solutions in developing a potential solution for absorbing oil as it approaches the coast of Louisiana. In the afternoon, I spoke to a number of faculty members from the College of Economics as well as about 25 PhD students in the college. Many were in Law and others were in finance and economics. My presentation was titled, "Redevelopment After a Natural Disaster - the University's Role." The program title was "Istituzioni, Mercato, Garanzie e Tutela dell'Individuo." The students were very interested in the legal issues arising from the BP explosion and some of the insurance issues following the hurricanes in Louisiana. The concern in L'Aquila was that it is being rebuilt without a plan and that the central historic district, which was the focal point for the community is still far from being repaired. I told them that the process takes time as we learned in the years following Katrina in New Orleans. My presentation focused on what the students could be doing to assist in the redevelopment process and how LSU was very actively involved in the recovery. I also urged the students to investigate the Fulbright Program for opportunities to study abroad and possibly come to Louisiana as part of a plan to establish an agreement between LSU and L'Aquila. The students were interested in hearing about LSU's success in assisting students get internships during the summers and during some semesters. This is rarely done in L'Aquila. They were interested in how we trained MBA graduate students to work through the incubator to assist businesses in developing business and marketing plans and developing financial models to fund their company. They also had interest in the LBTC Student Incubator and it appears that they are just getting into entrepreneurship.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

In Rome for INEA

I am in Rome as tomorrow I will be speaking at the National Institute of Agriculture Economics at 2:30 pm during their national conference and seminar. The INEA is a public research organization of the Ministry of Agriculture Policy of the Italian Government. The INEA carries out economic studies, surveys, analysis & forecasts, agro-industrial, forestry and fisheries and is moving into Rural Economic Development and Water Resources. They are interested in the LBTC / LSU mobile classroom and incubator on wheels and its role in rural economic development and business disaster counseling. I will be having lunch prior to the presentation with representatives from the US State Department's Fulbright office and several faculty members from Universita L'Aquila. The mobile classroom has received internationa attention as it is posted on the INEA's web site.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Fulbright Program

I am here in L'Aquila as a Fulbright Specialists working with the Universita degli Studi dell'Aqula after a visit to Baton Rouge by members of the faculty of L'Aquila. The State Department Fulbright Program is very important to international relations of the USA. The program's program states, "Linking minds across cultures" as its guidelines. Senator J. William Fulbright conceived the program and it was signed by President Harry Truman in 1946. I am here as a result of this binational program between Italy and the USA. The program promotes cultural and educational exchanges between the two countries and provides opportunities for faculty and student exchanges between the two countries. I have enjoyed my first two weeks in L'Aquila and have made very close friends and met collegues from different disciplines and different cultures of which I have learned to respect.

May 21 -Conferenza Stampa

  • Today, I participated in an agreement between Universita degli Studi dell'Aquila and a venture capital group for a program entitled 10 - six power, or 1 million euro to develope a venture fund for the technologies developed at the university. Participating were Ferdinando di Orio, Rector, Roberto Marotta Presidente della Fondazione Carispaq, Paola Inverardi ( Science Faculty), Maria Dominca Di Benedetto (Director of DEWS), Ruggero Frezza (Presidente M31), Marco Agostini (Vice President Vertis SGR), Alberto Vincentelli of Cal Berkley and myself. The announcement was to formalize the establishment of the venture capital fund for L'Aquila companies. I will be working with faculty and administrators to develop a mechanism to encourage entrepreneurship and technology commercialization of university technologies. We had a very stimulating meeting and press conference and a working lunch following the meetings. I met a long lost relative, Marco Agostini from Naples who has a venture fund called Vertis. He is very interested in what we are doing in Louisiana and I will send him information on our Research Park and incubators including Louisiana Fund 1.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

History on L'Aquila

L'Aquila, which means The EAGLE, is the capital of Abruzzo and in 2009 had 73,150 residents, but has a daily population of over 100,000. It is surrounded by the Apennine Mountains with the Gran Sasso d'Italia to the north east. The city was was united by Conrad IV in 1254 by partnering with the 99 castles, some of which are still standing and worth a visit. One Castle that I visited, the Spanish Fortress was built in 1534 and was converted into a museum and center for the arts in the historic center of town. It was severly damaged by the 2009 quake and is blocked off to visitors, but I did get to walk around the exterior.

Other points of interest, all of which were severly damaged by the earthquake include the St Mary Collemaggio church built in 1287 by Pope Celestine V and the Church of St Berardino built in 1454. It was damaged in the earthquake of 1461 and is the site of St. Berardino's body.

Visit to Seismic Lab of College of Engineering L'Aquila

I visited their lab and toured some projects on earthquake resistent constructions systems and materials. Attached are several photos as well as one of the Seismic Dog, which was adopted by the lab after the earthquake.

May 20 Meeting with the Department of Electrical Engineering at L'Aquila

Today I met with Maria Domenica Di Benedetto and Piero Tognolatti as well as addtional faculty and researchers at Universita L'Aquila. They have a very good department with 19 full professors, 21 associate and 13 assistant professors. Their research budget is approximately 1 million Euro annually. They have been agressive in developing spin off companies and I was able to see demonstrations by two. Maria Di Benedetto gave a presentation on the center of excellence termed DEWS - Design of Embedded Controllers, Wireless Interconnects and Systems on Chips. They are very interested in developing industrial partnerships, which has not been easy in the past. They were very interested in the LSU strategic partnerships and intern programs for placing students with industries. L'Aquila does not have a very strong industrial base and this makes the process difficult. They have a Spin Off Company called West Aquila which has integrated systems technology for the automotive and air traffic control industries. They want information on The Clemson University BMW Research Park operated by my colleague in AURP, Bob Geolos and information on the LSU Ag Center Smart Home. I will send this to them. They have identified several centers of Innovation that are being discussed including the Automotive, Energy, Agriculture and Design where they feel that they have the expertise to participate. They would like to discuss a joint agreement with LSU in Computing Sciences and Engineering to futher their programs in Air Traffic Control Management Systems, Automotive electronics and tracking systems and wireless sensor networks. they have also developed a biometric card reader that could be useful to LBTC graduate business - Time Solutions LLC. Piero conclude with comments and asked if we could meet next week to discuss a strategy to assist them in getting more industrial partnerships.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May 18 meeting with Seismic Engineering Researchers at University

Today I met with the Faculty and Researchers of the Universita Facolta di Ingegneria (Engineering) from the Seismic Engineering department. They are playing a major role in the analysis of the damage and precribing methods for repair and for new construction. They are charged with:
1. Developing rules for redevelopment
2. Evaluating the levels of damage
3. Estimating the costs of repair.
4. Developing safety procedures for repair and restoration.
5. Studying the mechanical properties of materials.
6. Developing procedures for repair and new construction.
7. Developing seismic standards for future development.
They received donations from the Rotary club to evaluate the damage to the university and the historic buildings and to assist in the restoration of the regional hospital (which is about 80% operating). They are awaiting funding from the government to look at new earthquake construction standards and techniques. They were involved in the construction of new housing units since the earthquake that have floating pier / columns that will float and move during a quake so as not to crumble the building. They were very interested in discussing the construction recovery projects post Katrina and Gustav. We discussed the timing of the process and the need to take the proper steps in the beginning to insure that the new buildings can survive future disasters. They have developed a priority list of how to get the community back into action which was similar to our experiences in New Orleans where we worked on repairing the housing and commerce so as to give the people returning to the area a place to live and work. They, as we were, are frustrated with the speed of recovery. I toured their labs to see the work they are doing on testing materials and analyzing materials from damaged buildings and for future construction.

more pictures of damage to L'Aquila from April 2009 Earthquake

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

more pictures

May 18, 2010 Presentation to the Sala Convegni di Confindustria L'Aquila

I attended the meeting of the Information Computer Technology Association of L'Aquila and the Abruzzo Region of Italy. This was a group of small and large IT companies operating in the region. They called a regional meeting to discuss a strategy to establish an "Innovation Cluster" for ICT companies and to get government and university involvement. I was introduced by the Chairman, Giorgio De Marzi, President of TechnoLabs, a midsized innovative software / hardware company that spun out of Siemens. The topic for my presentation was "Successful Enterprise - University Cooporation Examples in the USA. I started the presentation with an overview of the LSU Research Park and the LBTC. I then told of successful collaborations between the university and industry and discussed the focused technologies targeted for the LSU South Research Park. We discussed success stories of companies such as Mezzo, St. James Technologies, Floating Island Environmental, HydroFlame, and Smith Research. They had many questions on how the partnerships worked and how the university has worked with businesses on IP and sharing of ideas. We discussed the advantages for the university and businesses to collaborate and how students, faculty and businesses all profit from the collaboration as well as how it drives the economy of the area. They had many questions about the recovery after Katrina and other hurricanes and I sensed the frustration on the precieved lack of speed in the recovery from the earthquake. I met with a number of engineering students after the presentation to discuss their questions on career options and their role in recovery. Dean Pier Ugo Foscolo and Lelio Iapadre, professor of Internation Economics attended for the Universita L'Aquila.

Pictures from L'Aquila

On May 18, I toured the historic central city of L'Aquila to view damage. It is sad to see the damage and destruction to such historic buildings and the shift of the commerce from the historic area to the outlying parts of the town. The town has lost its heart.

Monday, May 17, 2010

This week I am working with Dean Pier Ugo Foscolo from the College of Engineering Universita L'Aquila. As posted earlier, today was spent with engineering students, both graduate and undergraduate. Tomorrow, I am presenting to an industry group that is very interested in forging a close relationship with the university and to develop partnerships that can enhance the recovery. The students lives have been disrupted with many having to relocate to villages all around L'Aquila due to the lack of available housing. This was experienced in the Katrina recovery in New Orleans. The university has been scattered, the students scattered and the faculty scattered leading to a very difficult work and study environment. The students asked many questions on how UNO, Tulane, SUNO, Xavier and Loyola survived the disaster. I told them how students were dispersed to universities throughout the USA and that it was a difficulty and lenghty recovery. They were interested in hearing how LSU took in the entire dental school and relocated them to LSU South, our research park, until their facilites could be rebuilt in New Orleans. Dean Foscolo and other faculty members are living in Rome now and have to commute two hours each way daily. It is not uncommon for students to have to come in on bus daily from the surrounding villages.

Week with the College of Engineering at L'Aquila

This week I am working with Dean Pier Ugo Foscolo from the College of Engineering Universita L'Aquila. As posted earlier, today was spent with engineering students, both graduate and undergraduate. Tomorrow, I am presenting to an industry group that is very interested in forging a close relationship with the university and to develop partnerships that can enhance the recovery. The students lives have been disrupted with many having to relocate to villages all around L'Aquila due to the lack of available housing. This was experienced in the Katrina recovery in New Orleans. The university has been scattered, the students scattered and the faculty scattered leading to a very difficult work and study environment. The students asked many questions on how UNO, Tulane, SUNO, Xavier and Loyola survived the disaster. I told them how students were dispersed to universities throughout the USA and that it was a difficulty and lenghty recovery. They were interested in hearing how LSU took in the entire dental school and relocated them to LSU South, our research park, until their facilites could be rebuilt in New Orleans. Dean Foscolo and other faculty members are living in Rome now and have to commute two hours each way daily. It is not uncommon for students to have to come in on bus daily from the surrounding villages.

Meeting with Engineering Faculty and students on Youth entrepreneurship May 17

May 17 in l'Aquila at University Engineering School. The Engineering campus was severly damaged by the earthquake and the entire school was relocated to a business / industrial center where they have approximately 6,000 engineering students. I spoke to the classes on "Youth Entrepreneurship" under the direction of Dean Pier Ugo Foscolo. He set up a presentation for me to the graduate students and some interested undergraduate students that were interested in entrepreneurship. I spoke to the group and explained the process in the USA for encouraging entrepreneurship and in particular student entrepreneurship. I discussed the LBTC's Student Incubator and the current programs at the LBTC. I showed a powerpoint presentation that gave the physical layout and the services offered for our student incubator funded by the Capital One Bank - William Montan Charitable Trust and the LBIA / Louisiana Economic Development grant. They expressed strong interest in having the Universita L'Aquila establish a student incubator in the proposed virtual incubator that we are discussing with L'Aquila officials. Tomorrow I meet with business and industrial leaders as well as Engineering faculty to discuss cooperation between university and business leaders to build strong partnerships.

Sulmona Presentation to Universita L'Aquila Students and Sulmona officials May 14

I departed L'Aquila by Train in route to Sulmona to visit the students and faculty as well as town leaders at the Universita branch in Sulmona. I gave a presentation on "Lessons Learned in Disaster Recovery from Hurricanes that hit Louisiana." Since Hurricane Katrina got worldwide attention, the students and faculty were very interested in the comparison of the hurricanes and the L'Aquila earthquake and the business disaster recovery process of each. The student questions showed a desire to speed of the recovery process and get back to "normal." I told them that disasters of that magnitude don't allow quick solutions. Government and private resources are stretched and the process is extremely time consuming and proper planning is required to insure that the recovery focuses on long-term solutions and not "quick fixes." Professor Margherita Mori of the Department of Economics led the class and was able to offer excellent insight to the issues that we discussed. The faculty was very eager to offer suggestions and programs to help in the recovery. I then departed to Rome and had the opportunity to speak with the Fulbright office in Rome.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Reception in Rome

Today, Sunday, May 16 I will be attending a reception at the home of Professor Margherita Mori, one of the professors that visited the LBTC in October. She is an Economic Professor at Universita L'Aquila and Assistant Dean. She has invited several faculty from the university that live in Rome. Many of the faculty and students had to relocate to Rome after the earthquake because their homes and apartments were damaged and not much temporary housing is available in L'Aquila. Before coming to Rome, I addressed the faculty and students of the University in Sulmona, a town about 60 km away from L'Aquila. The campus is a former Italian Military Police Headquarters and prior convent. It was a beautiful building. I addressed the students and faculty on a presentation called, "Lessons learned in business disaster recovery post Katrina." The students were asking questions about the speed of recovery. Rebuilding an large part of the city is a slow and difficult process. I spoke with Maria Grazia Quieti, Executive Director of Commissione per gli Scambi Culturali fra I'talia e gli Stati Uniti - the US Italy Fulbright Commission and she and I will meet for lunch in Rome prior to my presentation to the INEA on May 24.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

These are pictures of the central city of L'Aquila which was severaly damaged and one year after is in major construction to save historic buildings including the university complex. the university has been relocated to many different buildings because of the sever damage to the university buildings.