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Merrick School of Business Hosts Innovative Thinkers (and Doers!) This Fall

Speaker Series Features PBS CEO Paula Kerger, Project Management Solutions CEO Kent Crawford, Idea Factory Author Jon Gertner for Three Evenings of Insights

August 9, 2012
Contact: University Relations
Phone: 410.837.5739

PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger, B.S. '79, and The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation author Jon Gertner will appear at the University of Baltimore on separate occasions this fall as guests of the 2012-13 Merrick School of Business Speaker Series. Each of the speakers will focus on topics within their areas of expertise, delivering powerful messages about the role of the individual in the new economy and how people can bring innovation to the fore in all kinds of businesses, large and small.

On Thursday, Sept. 13, Paula Kerger will discuss the nuances of nonprofit organizations creating profitable social enterprises to perpetuate a nonprofit's mission. Her talk will focus on "Managing Nonprofits in the New Economy."

Kerger joined PBS as its sixth president and chief executive in 2006. Since her arrival, she has made particularly strong commitments to the arts, news and public affairs, high-quality content for education, diversity, and the use of new technology to bring public media into the lives of all Americans. PBS is the nation's largest non-commercial media organization with more than 350 member stations throughout the country.

Location and other event details for Kerger's talk will be announced shortly.

On Wednesday, Oct. 10, Jon Gertner will share with the Speaker Series audience the story of Bell Labs, highlighting its unparalleled role as an incubator of innovation and birthplace of the century's most influential technologies.

Bell Laboratories, the most innovative and productive institution of the 20th century, thrived from the 1920s to the 1980s. Long before America's brightest scientific minds began migrating west to Silicon Valley, they flocked to this sylvan campus in the New Jersey suburbs built and funded by AT&T. At its peak, Bell Labs employed nearly 15,000, 1,200 of whom had doctoral degrees. Thirteen would go on to win a Nobel Prize. The firm was a citadel of science and scholarship as well as a hotbed of creative thinking. It was, in effect, a factory of ideas whose workings have remained largely hidden until now.

In his book The Idea Factory, Gertner explores the forces that set off this explosion of creativity. Bell Labs combined the best aspects of the academic and corporate worlds, hiring the brightest and usually the youngest minds, creating a culture and even an architecture that forced employees in different fields to work together, in virtually complete intellectual freedom, with little pressure to create moneymaking innovations.

Gertner has been a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine since 2004, where he writes about business, technology, and society. He has also served as a senior editor for Money and The American Lawyer.

Ticket information and additional details about the Gertner event are forthcoming.

Learn more about the Speaker Series.

The University of Baltimore is a member of the University System of Maryland and comprises the School of Law, the Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Public Affairs and the Merrick School of Business.