STAR Campus Star of Delaware State Chamber Networking event

I’m not quite sure where to start.

I guess at the beginning is good. I had never been to the Chrysler Assembly Plant and MOPAR factory in Newark, Delaware before it closed, so I really have no point of reference.

But, that won’t stop me.

Business leaders gather at State chamber networking event at the University of Delaware STAR Campus .
Business leaders gather at State chamber networking event at the University of Delaware STAR Campus .

I pulled into the parking lot at about 7:15 a.m. Thursday, February 19, 2015 of the new Health Sciences Complex on the University of Delaware’s Science Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus at 540 S. College Ave., as the cold wind whipped and blistered across the faces of people bundled up on their way to the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce February Networking event.

I stopped, snapped a picture of the groovy sign in front of the building, and rehearsed my elevator speech on my way in.

I had an agenda – I always do and it is thinly veiled – to drive down the unemployment rate of returning veterans.

I’m not quite sure what I was expecting, but what I got – wasn’t it.

The main hallway. Left side clinics. Right side labs
The main hallway. Left side clinics. Right side labs

When you first enter, the hallway seems to go on forever in a gleaming white that seems to speak of efficiency and purpose.

I took another picture.

Movers and shakers from business large, small, and otherwise assembled in the large open-aired atrium, which apparently doubles as a presentation space and congregation area; the floor and walls gleamed as the sun poured in through the story-high windows.

I moved from group-to-group.

“Good morning,” I said. “I am from the Delaware Workforce Investment Board. Did you know returning veterans afford employers a superb labor pool?”

Many employers said they hadn’t really separately considered veterans, but now that I mentioned it, an applicant pool with tested soft skills, an understanding of the value of work, and a commitment to organizational goals seemed to make perfect sense.

I pocketed business cards and moved on to the next group – free blueberry muffin in hand, by the way.

I snapped some more photos using my spiffy Samsung Galaxy 4.

At about 8 a.m. or so Chamber Senior Vice President, Membership Chuck James introduced staff from STAR Campus and they gave a briefing complete with power point slides. Two fun facts popped out:

  1. The Health Sciences Complex already had commitments for 100 percent occupancy before it was open for business.
  2. The building is 100 percent Delaware made – except for the floor (there were no Delaware firms that did that kind of tiling).

After the presentation we got to see the real star of the day – the building itself.

I snapped photos like crazy.

Building coordinator, Debbie Martini, led the group I was in – there were two tour groups of about 20 people.

To give a complete account of the tour would take too much space, so I’ll just hit some highlights.

I was struck by how bright the building was. The main spacious corridor leads to research and medical areas. Natural and fluorescent light swirled through the hallway giving it a welcoming ambiance.

The Treadmill lab with recessed treadmill.
The Treadmill lab with recessed treadmill.

The left side of the building houses two medical facilities ready for public use – A Managed Healthcare Center and a Physical Therapy Clinic – both of which had clients when I walked through.

The right side of the hallway is lined with large windows; making it easy to see all the hi-tech gizmos that scientists, grad students, and PhD candidates use.

One room – The Bader Treadmill Lab — was especially fascinating and seemed to symbolize the totality of the modern building.

Inserted into the floor of is a treadmill. Ms. Martini said it was sunken to mitigate the vibrations of passing trains.

Pretty cool by itself, but there is more.

The treadmill is surrounded by Infrared cameras that shoot pictures allowing scientist and biomechanics folks to measure people on the treadmill with incredible accuracy.

Dodge Durango Hood signed by Chrysler Employees to commemorate 9-11 attacks.
Dodge Durango Hood signed by Chrysler Employees to commemorate 9-11 attacks.

On each side of the corridor are homages to area’s legacy as a Chrysler Manufacturing facility.

One side of the corridor has a two Dodge Durango hoods signed by Chryslers workers in a show of support for the victims of the terrorist attacks of 9-11.

The other side are original murals from the 1940’s when the plant moved from making WWII tanks to cars.

There is so much more to see that only a personal visit can do it justice The Health Sciences Complex encourages people to visit.

Mural on Wall from Chrysler
Mural on Wall from Chrysler

To find out more click on http://www.udel.edu/chs/ and snoop around.

I almost forgot – pass the word hiring vets makes perfect sense!!

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STAR Campus Star of Delaware State Chamber Networking event

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