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December 2, 2005View for printing

Is the next R.E. Olds living among us?

The Industrial Revolution is over.

The Oldsmobile, its inventor and the century they helped shape are dead.

If mid-Michigan is to have a 21st-century economic revival, it will need 21st-century inventor-entrepreneurs. Translation: a new-generation of industry captains versed in the stuff of computer-tech, nano-bots and microbial chemistry. Advertisement

R.E. Olds' century created blue-collar and white-collar jobs. This century is predicted to bring gold-collar jobs, positions that are high-paying but that demand a higher level of education.

"The frontiers are a lot wider," said Rawle Hollingsworth, whose company AFID Therapeutics, south of the MSU campus, is engineering chemical compounds as seed money for a pharmaceutical industry Hollingsworth hopes to launch here.

He's talking about an industry where even rank-and-file workers are versed in subjects such as computer programming, biology, chemistry and calculus - an economy that doesn't just rely on technology but that creates, engineers and invents it.

General Motors Corp. is again cutting jobs. Up to 1,600 are at risk locally, and experts predict the auto industry will continue to wane. Fortunately, Michigan State University is a major employer with growth potential.

Inventors in queue

MSU already is inspiring the creation of a high-tech industry that is providing Greater Lansing with dozens of modern inventor-entrepreneurs.

By Christine Rook Lansing State Journal

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