The idea, Frank Otto said, was to get "everyone" together.
In this case, "everyone" meant the scientists at Stony Brook University and top executives of Long Island technology and defense companies. The plan was to throw them all together for a day and see what would come out, the hope being that the businesses would find some interest in the technologies the scientists were offering and that, ultimately, commercial products would be manufactured here.
Otto, president of both the Morrelly Center and the Long Island Forum for Technology, freely acknowledged such gatherings have been held on the Island before, many times before, albeit never one organized by LIFT.
Nonetheless, Otto said, he had a pretty good feeling something good would come out of this one. Why? Because this time the focus was strictly on homeland security technologies, while gatherings in the past were more general in nature.
"There's been a lot of pressure" from state and federal officials who want to see results from research dollars they have spent on Long Island, Otto said. "We've got the researchers talking to the companies and saying to them, 'This is what we've got,' " Otto said.
One scientist who attracted much attention at the gathering was James Hayward, chairman and chief executive of Stony Brook-based Applied DNA Sciences. The company's technology may eventually replace those ubiquitous bar codes on retail packages. Simply, it extracts DNA from plants, mixes it up into unique genetic codes and imprints it on product labels, packaging, and even on the product itself. Hayward claims this method is much harder to decode than bar codes.
Hayward told the gathering the technology has already been used in Europe and parts of the United States. He said in an interview he came to the homeland center to see if any Long Island semiconductor companies would be interested in using the technology on chips.
George Papadopoulos, a senior manager at Ronkonkoma-based ATK Missile Products, said he had come hoping to learn of some technology still in academia that could prove useful to ATK.
"It's all about understanding what they're doing," Papadopoulos said of the scientists.
Otto plans to persevere. There will be another gathering soon focused on composite technologies, and then another after that on new railroad equipment.
"Let's see if something really clicks," Otto said.