Shavers Frames Tech Strategy

Shavers Frames Tech Strategy

Cheryl Shavers

By John Makulowich

The sleepy federal agency known as the Technology Administration is about to be abruptly shaken if Cheryl Shavers is confirmed as undersecretary for technology for the Commerce Department. TA covers three agencies within the Commerce Department: the Office of Technology Policy, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Technical Information Service.

The plain-speaking scientist and executive, whose background includes stints at Motorola, Hewlett-Packard and most recently, Intel, told a packed audience July 22 at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Md., that she has a three-pronged strategy to enhance the profile of NIST and the Technology Administration.

First, she will stress e-commerce with NIST and TA leaders and highlight their initiatives. She will also seek to make the Washington office of TA work more closely and efficiently with NIST, which sits on a 578-acre campus about 25 miles away. Finally, she intends to champion the concept of extended enterprises and reach out to a range of different communities, such as venture capitalists and academia.

There are "cultural differences between the university environment and private corporations," notably the speed of innovation, she said. "The academic community needs to see the flow of technology more in pace with private industry. Good technology is not enough," she said. "We need good products as well."

President Clinton nominated Shavers for the undersecretary post Jan. 15. The acting undersecretary for technology is Gary Bachula.

Shavers, who holds a Ph.D. in solid state chemistry from Arizona State University, comes from Santa Clara, Calif., the heart of Silicon Valley. She currently is a senior manager in the Microprocessor Products Sector in the Corporate Business Development Division at Intel Corp. Shavers has over 20 years of experience in the technology industry, having held both engineering and managerial positions.

The undersecretary for technology serves as the principal adviser to the commerce secretary and as the department's spokesperson for science and technology matters.

If confirmed, Shavers will be responsible for developing and promoting federal technology programs to increase U.S. commercial and industrial innovation, productivity and growth and to improve the competitiveness of U.S. firms in the global economy.

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