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The secretary's visit at Bentley follows visits to Microsoft, where he kicked off his innovation tour by meeting with Steve Ballmer, and to Cisco Systems. "Bentley Systems is no stranger to what drives our country's growth and what drives our prosperity, and that is innovation," said Secretary Gutierrez in his opening remarks.
Commenting on the Future City Competition after the presentation by the team from Our Lady Help of Christians School, located in Abington, Pa., the secretary said that he was "blown away" by the success of this middle school program. "A workforce filled with students like this," he said, "will guarantee that we remain the most competitive and the greatest economy in the world."
Mr. Bentley noted that in the business of infrastructure, clearly software innovation helps engineering enterprises win, while a supply chain of innovation helps the economy win. "Everyday we witness a powerful supply chain of innovation," said Mr. Bentley, "with each innovation cascading to another, and each innovation making projects and organizations stronger and more competitive in the global economy."
As an example, Mr. Bentley talked about Bentley's building information modeling (BIM) innovations that, as Engineering News-Record recently reported, helped General Motors complete a V6 engine plant ahead of schedule. As Mr. Bentley explained, "It's interesting that innovation started in the form of BIM. When it flowed to GHAFARI, the lead architectural/engineering firm, it became parallel engineering. When it flowed to construction, it became lean construction. And for GM, it became production delivery five weeks ahead of schedule."
However, Mr. Bentley emphasized that the ultimate source of the supply chain of innovation is "human potential - our children, the engineers of the future." And today, America has a critical shortage of engineers at entry levels.
This shortage, said Mr. Bentley, is one of the reasons why Bentley sponsors and is actively engaged in the Future City Competition. The program encourages young students to choose courses that lead to engineering careers. Middle school students compete in class teams, which include a volunteer mentor engineer, to design a city of the future.
"As an American, a father, and a business leader," said Mr. Bentley, "I'd like to see the Future City program involve not merely 1,000 middle schools, but ten times that many. Our country has 16,000 middle schools. President Bush's American Competitiveness Initiative can help serve as the springboard for this future."
Leading up to his discussion of the president's initiative, Secretary Gutierrez said, "Bentley Systems is a great example of American success in the global economy. We need to create an environment in which other Bentley Systems can flourish. We'd like to see our country have a lot of Bentley Systems."
The secretary said the American Competitiveness Initiative calls for improving math and science skills in America's schools, tripling the number of workers getting job training, attracting and retaining the world's best and brightest through immigration reform, doubling federal R&D funding, and making the private sector R&D tax credit permanent. Also attending and providing remarks were U.S. Senator Rick Santorum and U.S. Congressman Jim Gerlach.
To read Mr. Bentley's complete remarks, view photos and a video of Secretary Gutierrez's comments, and watch the Future City team's "Decodelphia" presentation, visit www.bentley.com/socvisit.