As I struggle to get going on this Friday before the long weekend, I am thinking about of all things, the future of Grand Rapids business. It is a well oiled topic as this community thrives on its business acument, and when the going is down, the region is down even more. When things go brightly, then the residents seem to feel that a little more than most. This is certainly applicable to every other economic region, but it holds uniquely true for this area because of the inherent knowledge of the community. There is not a major professional sport on this side of the state, and this is a family town (less so than before, but still predominantly a place to raise kids), so the topics of conversation may tend toward theater or music, but still when business is discussed, generally most people are on the same page, and can express a point of view that is understood by a group of people. Let's take the most clear example of this - - which is SCS. Only in the past six months has anyone wanted to talk about the plight of this business, mainly due to its stature in the community and its importance both symbolically and literally. Not to mention the trickle down impact its business has. The resulting pain of letting go of thousands of employees is still being absorbed in to the area, though for certain some have left for other opportunities. What GRR residents talk about is the negative impact that this has had on the area business climate, not inspecting what the Finance Committee has to say about the competitiveness of the firm now. What the residents fail to recognize is that it has made for a stronger, more "stable" company, and this will be felt for years to come. This will make for a stronger and more stable economic region and will build back a Chamber of Commerce that is desparate for some direction. What is becoming clearer by the year is that the move toward biomedical sciences will be a major determinant of the region's vitality, and the partnership between VAI and SCS will be a model for how this can impact the overall competitiveness of the GRR business community. With time, both organizations will develop an expertise that will be useful to spread beyond the area's borders and take their message nationally. This is the type of collaboration that needs to be the model for how the business community sustains itself through joint projects, that lead to alliances. GRR has a long history of reinventing while maintaining some base of continuity. This is the time for the biosciences community to take the leadership in building the new while working with the manufacturing base to generate a continuous base of innovation.