Friday, April 5, 2013

Moki Systems and USTAR newspaper article

May 20th, 2011 By: brian

Four Southern Utah entrepreneurs detailed their technology-related
products Tuesday in St. George after receiving grants from a
state-funded economic development organization.
The Utah Science Technology and Research initiative, or USTAR,
coordinated the luncheon in an effort to highlight recent recipients of
its technology commercialization grants to local legislators and other
members of the community at The Village Bank’s downtown location, said
Jill Elliss, the Southern Utah technology outreach director for USTAR.
USTAR’s technology outreach program was designed to foster growth among
companies by offering guidance and support through locations at Dixie
State College and Southern Utah University in addition to other centers
throughout the state.
“Our ultimate goal is to help new high-tech companies and bring new
products to the market that translate to new high-paying jobs,” said
Michael O’Malley, communications director for USTAR.
Bret Berger, the owner of Moki Systems, a St. George-based software
development company, said his technology business received nearly
$40,000 from a USTAR grant last year. He said the grant helped the
company develop a prototype for its online agricultural water system
monitoring technology. He said the funds also allowed Moki Systems to
hire two Dixie State students who assisted the company in developing its
While the additional funding is helpful, Berger said the guidance and
connections offered by USTAR have proven equally valuable.
“They have kind of provided a spark that pushed us along,” he said,
adding that USTAR connected the company with students at Dixie State.
Berger said he hopes to see Moki Systems provide new jobs for members of
the community as the company develops its new product.
Prior to Tuesday’s presentations, DSC President Stephen Nadauld said
USTAR offers valuable work experience to students while assisting local
entrepreneurs and companies.
“We have a huge role to play in community economic development,” he said
of the college.
Jamie Lords, president of SmackDab Technologies, a company developing a
laser-based layout system designed for use within the construction
sector, said his company also relies upon USTAR and local college students.
SmackDab received about $30,000 from a USTAR grant in March, he said,
providing funds for the company to develop its prototype and pay
students for their work on the project.
“It brought us to life,” he said of the grant following his presentation
Tuesday, adding that the company likely avoided selling a potion of its
ownership by acquiring the additional funding.
Kolob resident Doug Catton said he also benefitted from USTAR’s
technology grant program by receiving about $30,000 to improve his
prototype for a unique walker designed to offer additional layers of
protection for elderly consumers.
Catton said his walker includes a lever that lowers a seat behind the
user, eliminating the need for a person to turn around before sitting on
the device.
With assistance from engineering students at Southern Utah University,
Catton said he hopes his product is market-ready within 12 to 18 months.
Matthew Excell, the chief technology officer of TrueScale Technologies
in St. George, presented his company’s online media storage product
during the luncheon.
He said TrueScale’s technology would allow users to rapidly upload music
and video files to an online storage system and access the files through
their computers, televisions and smartphones.
“We expect it to be hopefully widely available in the fourth quarter,”
he said of the product.
Approximately 90 percent of USTAR’s grant program was funded by federal
stimulus dollars, O’Malley said. With no stimulus dollars remaining for
future grants, he said the program is “on hold” and is not likely to
resume unless USTAR obtains another source of funding.
“We are looking at other options on how to fund it,” he said.
Article originally published by The Spectrum.

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