Legislative Briefing, August 2016


Charlotte 49ers helmet in front of the Capitol

UNC Charlotte professor presents on Capitol Hill 

Gloria Elliott is professor and associate chair for research in mechanical engineering and engineering science. She’s also director of Charlotte Banks, a grassroots effort to coordinate organ banking, the storage of donor organs used in transplants. The demand for organ transplants in the United States is estimated to outweigh supply by five to one. A large part of the problem is the lack of long- and short-term storage for donor organs.  

Elliott’s efforts have brought together UNC Charlotte colleagues from the Lee College of Engineering, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, the College of Health and Human Services and the Belk College of Business, along with organizations throughout North Carolina, to develop solutions to organ preservation and storage and to decrease the time patients spend on transplant lists.

Elliott and colleagues from the Organ Preservation Alliance (OPA) visited Washington, D.C., to educate lawmakers about organ banking. Elliott met with Angela Wiles in Sen. Richard Burr's office and Matt Flynn in Sen. Thom Tillis' office to discuss possible federal investments. The OPA met with Preston Bell in U.S. Congressman Richard Hudson’s (’96) office. Bell will visit campus later this month for a faculty briefing.

“I am incredibly excited to see advanced innovative research on organ preservation at my alma mater. I look forward to seeing what Dr. Elliott and her team discover in their work to improve the lives of those in need of livers, hearts, kidneys, lungs and other vital organs,” said Hudson.

Dr. Elliot with an aide from Sen. Burr’s office Dr. Elliot and an aide from Sen. Tillis’ office

(Pictured above, left to right: Dr. Elliott with an aide from Sen. Burr’s office; Dr. Elliott and an aide from Sen. Tillis’ office)

North Carolina supports creation of manufacturing innovation institute

Under the leadership of Professor John Ziegert, the Lee College of Engineering is forming IMPACT: Institute for Machining Productivity and Advanced Control Technology. A regional and national manufacturing innovation hub, IMPACT’s formation is in direct response to a federal funding opportunity from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

If IMPACT is selected and established by NIST, North Carolina plans to provide a minimum of $10 million in cost-share funding in the form of state appropriations across the next five years, subject to funding availability.

“I am very happy to see that North Carolina is taking the lead in forming this institute and several North Carolina companies are part of the proposal team,” said Gov. Pat McCrory. “I truly believe this initiative will generate jobs and economic growth in North Carolina and other areas in the country.”

Councilman James Mitchell tours UNC Charlotte and meets entrepreneurs

As chair of the Charlotte City Council’s Economic Development and Global Competitiveness Committee, Councilman James Mitchell understands how a vibrant research university is critical to increasing job creation for the region. Mitchell recently visited UNC Charlotte to learn more about the University’s role in economic development and entrepreneurship. 

Mitchell met with Vice Chancellor of Research and Economic Development Bob Wilhelm, President of Ventureprise Paul Wetenhall and Special Assistant to the Chancellor Betty Doster. Following a campus tour, Mitchell met with entrepreneurs who have space in UNC Charlotte’s PORTAL.

Mitchell met with Venturprise clients Ryan Kennedy (’04), founder of Atom Power, and Andre’ Walters, founder of Yuno.co, to hear about their products and early successes and their ideas on how to grow the entrepreneurial community in Charlotte.

Councilman Mitchell with Ryan Kennedy (’14) Councilman Mitchell with Andre’ Walters

(Pictured above, left to right: Councilman Mitchell with Ryan Kennedy ('04); Councilman Mitchell with Andre' Walters)