Fizie Haleem recently retired as the Technology Transfer and Government Contracting Coordinator for the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development in (now called Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation) Maryland. Montgomery County has one of the highest concentrations of federal labs in a single jurisdiction. The county is home to 18 federal agencies or installations. Since 2008, the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development has engaged with these laboratories collectively through the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer’s (FLC) Mid-Atlantic Region (FLC-MAR), one of six regions that compose the FLC.
Thanks to Ms. Haleem’s leadership, the 2012 FLC Annual Report to the President and Congress mentioned Montgomery County as a model of how economic development organizations can form synergistic relationships with federal entities. Ms. Haleem created and nurtured these relationships on a number of fronts. She launched the Technology Transfer Speaker Series, enabling federal labs and universities to speak about their capabilities, features and possible collaboration opportunities at incubators or other county venues. The result of this monthly forum has been a direct connection of more than 300 entrepreneurs to federal labs and universities.
Ms. Haleem was instrumental in creating Montgomery County’s Gateway for Innovation: Federal and Academic Technology Transfer and Commercialization. The Gateway features an interactive portal that provides an innovative pathway to tech transfer services and resources available in the county. It also provides brochures and related tech transfer materials from the county’s 18 federal labs.
Notable among Ms. Haleem’s major contributions was working with the FLC-MAR Regional Coordinator to leverage its annual meeting and Montgomery County’s I2C Conference. The FLC-MAR annual meeting runs 1 1/2 days, with the last half day being an industry day. On the industry half-day, the FLC invites companies to sit on a panel to discuss improving partnering with federal labs. The one-day I2C Conference has three panels on innovation, commercialization and financing that showcase its successful technology-based businesses and the efforts of the federal labs. In 2015, the annual FLC-MAR meeting and I2C Conference were combined. Because of this leadership, the quality of the FLC-MAR industry day was greatly improved by a large attendance (about twofold), more prominent speakers, and stronger community support (the Montgomery County Executive hosted the FLC-MAR awards ceremony).