Arizona State University and Tec de Monterrey, one of Mexico's top engineering schools, signed a memorandum of understanding to form a private company that will develop and market educational tools for businesses.
It’s another step in forging an ongoing relationship between the two schools, ASU President Michael Crow said.
Crow and other ASU leaders met with Tec de Monterrey officials, including board chairman Lorenzo Zambrano, this week in Tempe to develop shared research programs and curriculums and explore other possibilities for collaboration.
Zambrano, CEO and chairman of CEMEX, one of the world’s largest cement companies, said the goal is to erase borders — at least academically — and strengthen the region. “We have to think in global terms and use each other’s strengths,” Zambrano said.
“Universities can be the catalyst for a geographic area to compete better in a global environment.”
Crow said most of the initiatives discussed this week are still in the early planning stages. The new company, especially, is just at the starting point, he said.
Peter Slate, CEO of Arizona Technology Enterprises, an independent company created a year ago by the ASU Foundation to take technology developed by university researchers off campus and into corporations, said the ASU-Tec de Monterrey company doesn’t even have a name yet.
And Slate doesn’t know whether it will be incorporated in Mexico or Arizona. But he hopes to have those details ironed out and a pilot product ready to market within six months, he said.
Organizers have already identified an industry — construction — in which both schools have a lot of expertise, he said. Slate envisions the first product as some sort of an educational or training program to help business executives gain a fast grasp of the industry, possibly via a video or computer software. A chief financial officer or board director jumping from a top spot in a consumer products company to lead a construction company, for example, might use such a product, Slate said.
Products would be developed in Spanish and English, he said, and any profit from the new company would go back to the universities for funding research.
“It’s an exciting opportunity, and just an example of other things to come,” Slate said.
“There is just so much content on both sides of the border.”