MU is taking a step to further establish its global connections by opening the first U.S. environmental and energy technology — ENTECH — office in Beijing on March 13.
With a $287,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Market Development Cooperator Program, ENTECH aims to present U.S. industrial environmental technologies to Chinese decision-makers in an academic setting.
“The University of Missouri and ENTECH are ... creating a space where Missouri businesses can network with Chinese decision-makers by expanding who Missouri companies know in China,” said U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof, R-Mo.
“With this grant, ENTECH will be providing expertise to Chinese government officials and to Chinese educational institutions and some of the non-governmental organizations,” he said.
Thomas Clevenger, director of the Missouri Water Resources Research Center and a professor in MU’s civil and environmental engineering department, said that the idea for ENTECH came up during an environmental trade mission trip to China.
“Many Chinese officers are reluctant to make purchases of the advanced U.S. environmental technologies because of their unfamiliarity with them,” Clevenger said. “In talking to the Department of Commerce people in China, we figured that there is a need for an environmental technology office over there that would represent all the U.S. environmental industries.”
The grant will establish a two-year program to provide educational resources and training seminars for Chinese engineering professionals and to hold workshops that feature U.S. environmental technology companies.
“The major problem now is to get the word out to the companies that are available and to the Chinese key decision-makers,” Clevenger said. “We are brand new, but we are there. We are available and beginning to provide them with the information they need.”
ENTECH has received positive responses from students and companies excited about the program’s prospects.
Jeremy Cates, an MU junior majoring in engineering, said that foreseeing China’s potential to expand with something like ENTECH would be a good opportunity to work in China.
Charles Tharp, president of Environmental Dynamics, agreed that ENTECH will be a good forum for Missouri businesses in China.
“We are looking forward to having the ENTECH program’s backing as the technology for information transfer that allows us to demonstrate or to show the value of our services and our products,” he said.