When Jim Harbaugh left the NFL coaching ranks last month to become the coach at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, it reminded me of an encounter with a young Chinese lady I met a couple of years ago. (I know, my mind is like a pebble skipping across the water and never knows where or what it’s going to land on. But here’s how that connection was made.)
Pam and I were in New York at the time visiting some friends when I was introduced to a young lady from Beijing. As we did the 20 questions routine she informed me that she was in the U.S. recruiting college students to come to China post-graduation to work on developing China’s battery technology. She had just spent the previous week in Ann Arbor. When I asked “Why Ann Arbor?” she noted that the University of Michigan was very active in battery technology development because of its applicability to the auto industry. She said that while China possessed the natural resources to produce the batteries, it needed engineering expertise to help fully develop it. Hence, she was visiting various U.S. colleges to try and recruit folks. (Testimony to this, here is a 2010 article I found from the university (click here.)
As the young lady told me all this, I acted impressed, but in my Ridge-boy mind I was secretly thinking “Now, this ain’t right. Here she is in our country recruiting our guys to go over there and help them develop a technology that they will eventually sell back to us?!” I know all that earth-is-flat stuff, but shouldn’t we be the ones trying to develop this technology here and on our own siné Chinese? According to this video, maybe there is hope.