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The port’s IT3 Innovation Center is gaining a great deal of steam. Interest in IT3 programs to enhance knowledge and skills in robotics, automation and other new or emerging technologies is high; corporations, K-12 schools and higher education systems in Clark County are embracing the proposed offerings. Funding, too, has been forthcoming, with grants and equipment committed to assist in getting phase 1 of the project off the ground. To meet business and community demand for IT3, the port has recently added two industry experts to its staff.

Mohammed Maraee’s position is Director
of Corporate Relations. His IT3 role is to
create partnerships with companies involved
in automation and robotics. He’ll work to establish
a supercluster of innovation that serves as a
technology hub and pipeline between businesses,
the regional workforce, and K-12 systems.

“Our aim is to create a technically savvy population in the Pacific Northwest,” Maraee said. “We will be building workforce capacity and sustainability for area businesses, and offering a tangible employment outcome for area students.”

Maraee is a business professor who was involved in the initial development of the Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center in Scappoose. He was later hired by Everett Community College to run the State of Washington’s Center of Excellence for Semiconductors & Electronic Manufacturing. Maraee is on the final leg of completing a PhD in Business Administration.

David Peterson was named IT3 Programs
Director. He’ll manage training, research, and
automation innovation programs. In this role
Peterson will provide industry and community
members knowledge and skills surrounding new
technologies, and foster interest in new career
Peterson will install and integrate equipment to
allow IT3 staff and businesses to work together,
collecting relevant data to make informed decisions.
“One of my jobs is to show people how modern technology works in ways that really mean something to them, leading to greater efficiencies and cost savings,” Peterson said.

“Technology should be shown as more than just magic that requires special skills to understand.” Peterson likens his IT3 teaching role as that of a translator. “As educators, we’re not inventing new technologies, we’re helping people understand how to make the technology work.”

Peterson was previously an Associate Professor in Electronics, Robotics and Automation at Centralia College. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and certificates in Mechatronics and Nanotechnology from WSU Vancouver.

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