SUMmIT10 to inform students, entrepreneurs on impact of health care reform

Courtesy Photo

Courtesy Photo

Julie VerHage

The West Michigan Science and Technology Initiative has helped inventors and entrepreneurs in Grand Rapids for almost seven-years. On Wednesday, WMSTI will host SUMmIT10, an event that focused on health care reform and its impact on innovation and entrepreneurship in the area of drugs, diagnostics and devices.

The half-day event will be held in Loosemore Auditorium at Grand Valley State University’s Pew Campus. Speakers include Roger Newton, James Herrman, Kevin McCurren, Justin Adams, and Kathrin Kudner. The keynote speaker, Roger Newton, was a co-developer of Lipitor and is well known in life sciences throughout the state.

Bonnie Dawdy, the operations manager for WMSTI who also played an integral role in the start up of the Johnson Center for Philanthropy, encourages those with a strong interest in the fields of the life sciences and technology to attend SUMmIT10.

“A graduate student attending this event that is looking to go into the arena of drugs, diagnostics and devices, would walk away with a knowledge base of what health reform issues would come into play as they are developing their own ideas, concepts or businesses for the future,” she said.

Rich Cook, who oversees the WMSTI’s Venture, said the event has been held once before, last fall.

“There were over 100 people in attendance and it covered market trends happening in drugs, diagnostics and devices,” Cook said. “The event structure was the same.”

WMSTI works closely with Grand Valley State University’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

“We coach entrepreneurs, some of them GVSU students,” Cook added.

The initiative works to provide these individuals with the tools and support needed to convert their ideas into commercialized products. It has become the top regional resource for high-growth, high-technology entrepreneurs seeking leadership and guidance as they expand new business products and concepts and work to launch their ideas in the market. Cook noted that they also run the business incubator at the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences.

“Employment by those companies is 36 people, with nearly half of them being GVSU students, interns, or graduates,” Cook said.

To learn more about SUMmIT10 or the West Michigan Science and Technology Initiative, visit

The cost to register for SUMmIT10 is $35 and includes parking, a continental breakfast and luncheon. Online registration is available at

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