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Pleasanton robotics company asks McNerney for federal funding

Adept Technology says $10-million investment will yield 100 jobs in Pleasanton

Robotics engineering company Adept Technology Inc. played host to Congressman Jerry McNerney this week in the hopes that he will help the firm obtain federal stimulus funds for research and development.

Adept managers, who recently moved their headquarters operations from Livermore to Inglewood Drive in Pleasanton, took McNerney, who was home for district week along with the rest of Congress, on a tour showing him the many machines they develop and the array of tasks they perform. These range from packaging chocolates to performing medical procedures to installing solar panels.

The Silicon Valley startup posted sales of $50 million last year, according to CEO John Dulchinos, but global competition in their field has led to an unfair advantage. The economic downtown has also affected business, and sales are likely to be lower this year, he said.

Dulchinos said the federal government needs to help companies such as Adept become competitive against companies in Eastern Europe, such as Germany, which have a stronghold on robotics technology. Competition lies in the outsourcing of low-cost labor and foreign countries whose governments subsidize their operations.

Incentives are needed for U.S. manufacturers to invest and produce domestically and federal funding would go toward the research and development of technology that would further automate solar technology, Dulchinos said.

This could reduce the cost to produce solar panels for capturing solar energy, as well as safety technology, which would give the U.S. a leg up on competitors, he added.

Adept has 135 employees on its payroll, but Dulchinos said he estimates that $10 million in investment from the government could bring roughly 100 more jobs to the Pleasanton area and generate $10 million to $15 million per year in revenue.

"Robotics is on the cusp of something big, like PCs were in the 1970s," Dulchinos said, referencing comments he said Microsoft founder Bill Gates has made.

"I think the Silicon Valley is going to be recreated into a clean technology region," he added. "Europe's got a head start, but I think there's opportunity. We're still in the infancy of it."

Though Europe and Japan have excelled in the techology, Dulchinos said American robotics companies can leap-frog them to develop technology that would make machines safer, which is one flaw of employing machines versus humans. But the benefits of machines far outweigh using manual labor, such as ensuring a safe food supply, protecting workers from hazards, lowering the cost of alternative energy and creating high-paying skilled jobs, Dulchinos said.

McNerney, who has a background in wind engineering and renewable energy, said he understands Adept's plight and said he would work with the the company on applying for funding under President Barack Obama's $787-billion stimulus package.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of Hacienda Gardens
on Apr 9, 2009 at 1:25 pm

awesome!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ray
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 9, 2009 at 4:51 pm

Fightin' Irish McNerney, keep up the good work!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Swami Srinivasan
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Apr 9, 2009 at 5:51 pm

Adept is a very capable company.

I was in a startup in Princeton, NJ that was looking into extremely fine placement of lasers for telecom applications as a way of getting a competitive edge, and Adept was the only company with the ability to meet our specifications. Our engineering team was very positive about Adepts' capability and the quality of the interaction. Unfortunately the last bust in 2001 prevented us from being able to purchase one of their systems.

I wouldn't want my taxpayer money to be wasted on support for the sake of support but this is the kind of company that we should back with government funding now that a general allocation has been made. They are right about the prospect of robotics being on the cusp, it has been maturing for a while.

Will be hard to go after the Japanese on safety (its wired into their culture), but Adept's emphasis on safety can put them ahead of the Germans while having the werewithal to excel on performance.

Good luck to McNerney and Adept!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by *
a resident of Castlewood
on Apr 10, 2009 at 6:51 am

My sincere best wishes to Adept. I am a strong proponent of innovative companies.

I am hesitant however that they are seeking federal assistance as this may come with substantial strings attached. Do they want the fed so intimately involved in their business? Get that slimy McNerney's and Obama's away from the private sector's operations.

However, if they indeed want to request federal assistance, the I'd recommend that Adept declare the following to increase their chances of receiving McNerney's help. I am sure he would like them even more if Adept were to ...

1. Declare that their organization is against increased spending in our national defense
2. In favor of a much higher level of taxation
3. Against free speech in America
4. Against pro-life
5. In favor of amnesty to all illegals
6. In favor of the thug tactics of ACORN to rig all future elections going forward
7. In favor of nationalized health system whereby the federal government will ration health care services to all and will determine life-or-death decisions
8. Against free market capitalism that has made this country great and against the "individual" in general.
9. In favor of changing the US from having one culture of "American" to mulitple cultures with multiple sets of laws (e.g. Sharia Law for Muslims)

The above are just a few recommendations if Adept wants to increase their chances of receiving assistance from socialists McNerney, Pelosi and ultimately Obama, etc.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Question
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2009 at 11:50 am

To *

What rock did you crawl from under? Get with the program!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by *
a resident of Castlewood
on Apr 10, 2009 at 6:33 pm

On the contrary, Question, if you don't realize that those items I mentioned are near and dear to McNerney's, Pelosi's, Obama's, etc. heart (assuming democrats have one...which is a stretch now that I think of it).

Democrats are cruel, against the 'individual' , place very very tall barriers to prevent entrepreneurs from succeeding, and should the entrepreneurs somehow prevail ... the dems declare them 'evil capitalists' and demand more and more of their hard earned profits in the name of taxes.

Remember McNerney believes taxes should be up to 90% of one's income. You heard me...NINE ZERO! ADEPT EXECUTIVES...ARE YOU LISTENING?



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