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CAN OHIO START ITS ENGINES?
Thank you, Dick Pogue, for your thoughtful introduction, and thank you, also, for all, that you do for Northeast Ohio. We are fortunate to have your leadership.
And thank you ladies and gentlemen for your thoughtful invitation, which speaks so clearly to the new spirit of regional cooperation in Northeast Ohio; and I am pleased that you have offered me a forum at this, the "citadel of free speech."
Before I begin my formal remarks, let me take a few moments to share a couple of pieces of information, be cause yesterday was a good-news day.
First, many of you may have seen the newspaper coverage of a new discovery announcing a self-healing polymer -- a material that is capable of repairing itself, and that will become relevant later in my discussion.
Second, some of us were in Washington yesterday at The National Press Club, where The University of Akron received news of its largest-ever grant -- a $13.7 million award -- from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for a landmark and pioneering study to be conducted in con junction with D.A.R.E. America. It is a drug and alcohol abuse prevention program that will reach more than 50,000 students and in so doing, continues The University of Akron's commitment to transformational leadership for the communities that it services. We are proud of that association and pleased to be joining the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in such a landmark study.
That we live in interesting times is the understatement of our modern age.
"Seismic rumbles of change," to use Chuck Vest's phrase, are transforming our traditional paradigms of business, education, and government.
Cataclysmic and increasingly more frequent forces throw us into peaks and valleys and sudden twists and turns, as if on a roller coaster, sometimes only to end up where we started.
Indeed, that is just how it has been for me in coming back to Ohio, because 20 years ago I was advising the then Governor of Georgia, Joe Frank Harris, to emulate Ohio, which had just then started its Edison Programs. And now, I find myself telling Ohio Governor Bob Taft to emulate Georgia!
That is how much more Georgia has done than Ohio in the ensuing 20 years ... and so much so that Georgia, which was hardly known for much more than cotton, peanuts and peaches, last year was first in high tech job creation and fifth in venture capital investment.
We do live in interesting times, yet the prospect of change always seems to raise a sense of excitement and, simultaneously, a sense of risk.
For some, risk becomes anxiety. And quite often, particularly in academic and political circles, anxiety leads to "analysis paralysis."
But remember that risk and anxiety are two quite different conditions.
A simple story will illustrate the point:
The Surgeon General tells us that cigarettes kill more than 150 thousand Americans each year, and automobiles on our highways kill more than 50 thousand people per year. But, nobody seems to be afraid of cigarettes or automobiles.
However, according to the Deputy Director of the National Institutes of Health, everyone is afraid of sharks.
The Navy says that there are about 50 shark attacks worldwide each year.
The National Bureau of Health Statistics does not even keep a record of shark attacks because there are so few. (They know how many people are killed by bee stings, but not shark bites.)
The best guess is that sharks kill two or three people each year in the United States.
But, the fact is that if you went to a crowded beach and shouted "shark," everyone would race out of the water, jump into a car, light up a cigarette, and drive home!
That's the difference between anxiety …