After 25 years working with biologists who study interactions between humans and wildlife, John Eisemann knows something about getting wild and creative about tech transfer—a description that also applies to other federal laboratories. In seven years of service to the Federal Laboratory Consortium, Eisemann has been a voice for those labs and the regional innovation ecosystems they support.
Since 2013, Eisemann has managed the Technology Transfer Program for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC) in Fort Collins, Colorado—a small federal laboratory that has achieved tech transfer success through industry and inter-government partnerships. With a staff of only 30 research scientists, NWRC, the research arm of the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Wildlife Services, received seven FLC National and Regional awards between 2006 and 2019.
NWRC is part of the FLC’s Mid-Continent region. Many of Eisemann’s efforts as an FLC volunteer have involved this region, starting in 2016 when he served as a reviewer on the region’s awards nomination review committee. He was the region’s Deputy Regional Coordinator from 2017 to 2018, Acting Regional Coordinator from 2018 to 2019, and Regional Coordinator from 2019 to 2021.
An important function of the FLC regions is to provide opportunities for labs to establish regional connections with companies, universities, and state and local governments—connections that are especially important for smaller labs. Eisemann has worked to promote inclusivity for all labs at regional events.
He helped to facilitate a transition from regional events that were smaller-scale versions of the FLC National Meeting to the current Industry and Tech Events that are focused on a specific tech sector and have a greater emphasis on networking and public-private collaborations. This involved chairing a Regional Review Committee to evaluate the utility of the regional approach to delivering FLC content and services.
As the FLC Awards program has also evolved, Eisemann has worked with members of the Awards Subcommittee and representatives from other FLC regions to conceptualize a “Best in Region” concept to preserve regional recognition for federal tech transfer successes despite the National and Regional submission and judging processes being consolidated into one system.
After being elected FLC Vice Chair in 2021, Eisemann’s role expanded to encompass more national issues, but technology transfer at small labs and inclusivity remained key areas of interest for him. His Executive Board contributions have included helping to create an FLC Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity Policy and developing a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) focused on developing metrics to evaluate FLC community participation in volunteer activities and participation in FLC events, with an eye on increasing participation by labs currently underrepresented in FLC program offerings and trainings.
Eisemann’s achievements at the national level also have included representing the FLC and Wildlife Services on a USDA Innovation Science Strategy Initiative and on a White House Lab to Market strategy team focused on technology transfer tools and services.
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