10 Jun Illinois drops the ball on localizing modern lithium-ion technology
CHICAGO – With President Barack Obama talking about recovery and creating jobs from building next-generation cars, why is Illinois like the Chicago Cubs when it comes to winning big time? The Illinois all-star politicians have dropped the ball.
With the dire need to create real jobs in a depressed economy, those in charge seem to have let a home run go to another state again. With lithium-ion technology being the linchpin for next-generation cars, you would think something being developed at Argonne National Laboratory would be commercialized right here in its backyard of Illinois.
Talking about backyards, Argonne could have gotten it commercialized right in the DuPage National Technology Park. What a great marriage of R&D capability, manufacturing and distribution that could have been built right here.
That’s the whole concept of an intelligent business campus. That is what the DuPage National Technology Park is all about. It was built as a platform for rapid commercialization of a technology that drives from research and development to prototyping and manufacturing to distribution all at one location. This could have been all done locally, folks.
Instead, a world-class facility will be built in Elyria, Ohio by BASF that will create the largest plant in North America for producing cathode material. How many thousands of jobs will be created there along with all the secondary jobs created by having the plant there?
That’s a grand slam for Ohio. Those are real jobs – and not retail jobs – that so many in economic development here like to point to as a “great win” for the city and the state. Is retail a great win for job creation? That’s barely a walk. It’s less than that. It’s like being hit by a pitch. The ball is coming and you just lucked out to “get on base” because of a bad pitch.
Don’t Blame Bartman
This is from a more winning team that saw the potential for their state.
“With this new license and proposed production plant, BASF will invest substantial financial resources in Ohio to bring good-paying, clean-energy jobs to our state,” said U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton (D-OH).
“This is one example of how we will make Ohio the Silicon Valley of clean-energy manufacturing,” said U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). “Lithium-ion batteries will be used in electric cars, which represent the future of the auto industry. This will help bring new economic activity and a cleaner future to our state.”
How come our senators, representatives or governor are not being quoted? Who let someone else catch the ball? Who lost the “World Series of Creating New Jobs”? Who didn’t even make the playoffs?
Wait Until Next Year
How many times have you heard that?
No one can wait until next year when it comes to getting a job to make payments on their houses, cars and the tuition bills for their kids let alone property and income taxes. Perhaps we should just invest in wind turbines since there is much more hot air and rhetoric in this state than there are real leaders who go after the difficult catches in order to win the game for their constituents.
But wait! This lithium-ion battery technology deal was no difficult catch. This was a pop fly in the backyard infield that several “good” leaders should have caught. Did any of the all-star players even see the ball coming? Did any even know a game was being played?
Perhaps it’s time to make some changes and bring in someone else from the bench. Then again, why not get rid of the whole team? Here are comments from an unemployed executive in the skybox:
What the (sic) is Illinois doing? Springfield must be so caught up in its internal strife that no one is watching out for the state’s future. They need to get their heads focusing on expanding the tax [base] by leveraging the intellectual strengths already in state.
As for a tax hike, you have got to be kidding. Increase the tax base first. Show us you can win a game.
Any sandlot player could have caught this lithium-ion technology deal. Where were all the Illinois all-star players at both the state and local levels? I’m talking about Democrats and Republicans. In the meantime, cut cut cut – especially everyone’s all-star pay.
Carlinism: Wait until next year doesn’t cut it in economic development. This is especially true when several different layers of state and local economic development commissions and politicians have dropped the ball.
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James Carlini is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University, and is president of Carlini & Associates. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 773-370-1888. Check out his blog at carliniscomments.com.
This article previously appeared in MidwestBusiness.com, and was reprinted with its permission.
The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC.