December 09, 2014

Manchin Welcomes I-79 Corridor Businesses To Washington at 7th Annual WV Identification Intelligence Seminar And Expo

Senator Manchin delivers remarks at the seventh West Virginia Identification Intelligence Seminar and EXPO VII

Expo provides opportunities for WV businesses from I-79 Corridor to network with executives in the identity management sector and representatives from federal agencies, including DHS, DOJ, NIST, NSF, DoD, DIA and the FBI

Washington, D.C. – Today, as Honorary Chair of the Discover the Real West Virginia Foundation, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) welcomed West Virginia businesses from the I-79 Corridor to the seventh annual Identification Intelligence Seminar and Expo in Washington, D.C. The annual identification intelligence industry event provided opportunities for executives in cyber security, forensics, biometrics and big data to explore business partnerships, research synergies and investment opportunities in West Virginia.

The Expo was hosted by Discover the Real West Virginia Foundation, West Virginia Development Office, I-79 Development Council, Identification Intelligence Ridge, along with significant supporting roles from both Marshall University and West Virginia University. The event was sponsored by CrossResolve, Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing, Marshall University and West Virginia University.

West Virginia companies that participated in the exhibition included: Azimuth, Allegheny Science & Technology, CrossResolve, Ideal Innovations, Lakota Software Solutions, Parabon, Tygart Technology, as well as Marshall University and West Virginia University’s research institutions. 

Please read Senator Manchin’s remarks as prepared for delivery below:

Thank you all for being here this evening to learn more about the technologies and capabilities West Virginia businesses and schools can offer to federal agencies that operate in the intelligence sector. 

As honorary Chairman of the Discover the Real West Virginia Foundation, I am proud to welcome our business executives from the I-79 Corridor, leaders from Marshall University and West Virginia University, representatives from the Italian, German, French, British and Taiwanese Embassies, as well as the government officials who are interested in investing and doing business with West Virginia businesses.  

First and foremost, I would like to recognize Discover the Real West Virginia Foundation, the West Virginia Development Office, the I-79 Development Council, Identification Intelligence Ridge, along with Marshall University and West Virginia University — Thank you for your collective efforts to making this networking event possible year after year.

In addition, I would like to acknowledge this year’s Expo sponsors: CrossResolve, the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing, Marshall University and West Virginia University. Without your support, this event would not be what it is today.

I would also like to thank my dear friend Senator Rockefeller, who launched Discover the Real West Virginia more than 20 years ago. Although he is unable to attend tonight’s Expo, it is because of his commitment to this organization that so many critical business opportunities and jobs have come to West Virginia. 

Investments from Japanese companies alone total more than $2 billion and the number of jobs created from our relationship has increased to more than 15,000 direct and indirect jobs. And these numbers only represent one successful partnership. 

So I truly look forward to continuing the great work Senator Rockefeller started more than two decades ago. 

Because of West Virginia’s abundance of natural resources, fiscally-responsible policies, advanced technology, and a well-trained, dedicated workforce, the Mountain State remains one of the most competitive, business-friendly states in the country.

And because of the 25 year development of West Virginia’s biometrics and intelligence sectors, we can now boast that we have such a robust identity management industry, particularly along the I-79 Corridor.

Thanks to years of strategic investments and synergizing industry, research, education and government, the North-Central region is home to state-of-the-art infrastructure, advanced telecommunications facilities, high-tech cyber security support, innovative forensics laboratories, and extensive databases.

Due in large part to companies’ sharing of ideas, resources, data and intelligence, there are already several federal agencies that have physical locations along the I-79 Corridor, and take advantage of the technology hub’s next generation of identification intelligence. 

For instance, the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services Division works closely with companies in the region. Their Assistant Director, Steve Morris, who is here with us today, compares the region to Silicon Valley’s boom in the ‘70s and ‘80s. 

To quote Steve, he touted: “Twenty years from now, if not sooner, when people think of biometrics and identity management, they're going to see this I-79 Corridor as the birthplace of all that.”

And this industry’s growth is far from waning. With the FBI’s Next Generation Information System fully operational, along with the multitude of existing collaborative efforts, the identity management market will continue to expand and develop, leading to innovative technologies, start-up businesses, and an influx of good-paying jobs.

This is a great opportunity for federal agencies to invest in our businesses, which will continue to provide innovative tools and methods to advance identity intelligence.

With West Virginia’s minimal 2-3 percent turnover rate among the region’s 2,500 employees, compared to the 25 percent turnover rate in Washington, D.C., this simply adds to the multitude of reasons why federal intel departments should regionalize operations to North-Central West Virginia.

And not only does the I-79 Corridor support a collaborative platform for identity management, biometrics, forensics, cyber security and big data organizations, but West Virginia’s high-tech nucleus continuously teams up with our local universities. 

The collaboration ultimately gives our students direct access to these technology systems and prepares them for successful, high-paying careers in the industry. 

It also advances research opportunities and enhances state and national intelligence capabilities.  

For example, WVU was the first institution in the United States to offer an undergraduate degree in biometrics and founded the Center for Identification Technology Research (CITeR)) to advance the training and use of identification capabilities. 

Since the new FBI Biometrics Technology Center is located just miles away from WVU, those students will gain the knowledge and experience necessary to help jumpstart the center’s facial recognition and palm print identification programs. 

Similarly, Marshall University was the first institution to partner with a state crime laboratory. Marshall’s Forensic Science Center works closely with the West Virginia State Police to help develop and maintain a DNA database system. 

The bottom line is that leveraging public-private partnerships like these will drive innovation, expand business development, and boost economic prosperity across West Virginia and this country. 

So tonight, I would like to thank you all once again for gathering together and exploring joint ventures and collaborate efforts. Your efforts will undoubtedly diversify our state and our nation’s economic landscape.

I look forward to learning more about the potential partnerships and business prospects that come out of tonight’s expo and seminar. 

I have no doubt that your efforts will not only protect our national security interests and enhance identity management, but will also help build the brightest futures possible for those working across the Mountain State, inside our nation’s capital, and around the country.