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US Commerce Secretary tours ASU Skysong

(Bob McClay/KTAR Photo)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Arizona State University's Skysong Innovation Center got a visitor from Washington on Wednesday.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker toured the center to see how entrepreneurial opportunities are being developed there.

She was impressed with what she saw and said that Skysong was more than just a building.

"This is a whole process and support system to bring innovators, businesses, the university and the local community college system (together)," Pritzker said. "That's something that I want to say that I really want to see them continue to expand."

She also noted that Skysong is involved in projects as far away as Malaysia.

"Skysong is extraordinary in the sense of not only the breadth of its activity, (but) the amount of support of ASU, the incredible engagement of the local business community and also its incredible ability to work overseas," she said.

Pritzker's visit comes one week after President Barack Obama announced $600 million in competitive grants to spur creation of training and apprenticeship programs.

"Eighty-seven percent of people who go through an apprenticeship program get good jobs," said Pritzker.

She said that more apprenticeship programs are needed.

About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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