April 28, 2005 in Business

NIOSH turns safety ideas into products

Compiled from staff reports The Spokesman-Review
 

Good ideas being developed by an agency tracking workplace safety could be converted into commercial products in Spokane through an agreement announced Wednesday by the Spokane Intercollegiate Research and Technology Institute.

The agreement allows SIRTI, a state agency, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to find safety processes or technology that can be turned into marketable products.

NIOSH is the federal agency that focuses on preventing work-related illnesses and injuries. It is a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The agreement marks the first formal process by which SIRTI can help commercialize technology hatched inside a federal agency. Started 10 years ago, SIRTI’s mission is to accelerate the growth of technology companies in the Inland Northwest.

A press release said that the agreement reflects a priority at NIOSH – which has a Spokane office – to accelerate the licensing of discoveries made in its labs.

The agreement offers SIRTI exclusive licensing of certain technology from NIOSH “if the organization deems SIRTI the best route to fulfill the commercial potential of the technology,” according to the press release.

Kim Zentz, the interim executive director of SIRTI, said it’s taken two years for the agencies to work out details of the agreement.

Upgrades to take MovieBeam off the air

The Walt Disney Co. announced Wednesday it’s shutting down its three-city MovieBeam service while it performs “temporary” upgrades.

Launched in 2003 in Spokane, Salt Lake City and Jacksonville, Fla., the service provides subscribers a steady diet of recent feature films.

The shutdown takes place this week.

Company spokeswoman Michelle Bergman said the shutdown was necessary to upgrade systems as the company seeks potential partners to explore MovieBeam’s “next phase.”

She said it’s uncertain how long the temporary disruption will last. Disney has never said how many MovieBeam customers it has.

Customers will be allowed to turn in their set-top boxes if they choose to terminate their service, a Disney spokesman said.

McCaslin accepts post with contractor group

Former Spokane County Commissioner Kate McCaslin has taken the interim president’s job at the Associated Builders and Contactors Inc. office in Spokane.

McCaslin held the same job between 1982 and 1990. She served as county commissioner from 1996 through the end of 2004.

She said it’s unclear how long she’ll remain in the interim job.


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