Public Papers

Remarks at a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement Signing Ceremony in Oak Ridge, Tennessee


Thank you for that welcome. Well, thank you so much. What a beautiful day in Tennessee. Thank you all. Let me just first start off by recognizing two who have been introduced, two members of my Cabinet, both should be familiar to you all. First, the Secretary of Energy, Jim Watkins, who's doing an outstanding job not just in the field of energy but in education and so many other things, standing here next to me. And I heard that nice reception for the hometown kid -- [laughter] -- but we refer to him as the Secretary of Education, the distinguished former Governor Lamar Alexander. And you talk about a man who's doing a great job for his country.

I know that this is the district of a very distinguished Congresswoman, Marilyn Lloyd, who couldn't be with us. But I want to re-present three with whom I work very closely in the Congress, Congressmen Jimmy Quillen and Don Sundquist and Jimmy Duncan, who are also right down here on the end. And my thanks to Al Trivelpiece, the Director of Oak Ridge, and to Joe Coors, who's been introduced, of Coors structural ceramics. He just handed me a ceramic putter. [Laughter] And he said if this fails, and it will, I'll use it as a hammer. [Laughter] You know what that's all about.

But this agreement today is one that I hope to see repeated across the Nation. This agreement, that I'm going to witness, combines in one place the resources of Government with the energy and inventiveness of private enterprise. And you're pointing our country toward the next American century.

In the old era, now ending, many of America's best scientists were engaged in winning the cold war. Well, the new era will free up those priceless talents to concentrate on the technologies of tomorrow, improving productivity and guaranteeing our long-term prosperity. We will transform the arsenal of democracy into the engine of economic growth. It's going to take the right kind of investments, the kind we've been making for 3 years. And our future economic competitiveness demands that we invest in an area in which we've always led the world, and I'm talking about something you all know a lot about, research and development.

Our challenge now is to put more of these incredible technologies to work for the America of this decade and beyond. We've been busy sweeping away the obstacles that inhibit the transfer of technology from the Government over to the private enterprise sector. Two years ago, I signed a bill that allows private industry to take advantage of Government research. And there are 675 public-private agreements that are active today, 675.

And today, we witness another one. Coors Ceramics Company and the Oak Ridge National Lab are going to attack one of the obstacles to wider use of durable, efficient, and lightweight ceramic parts: machining ceramics without destroying their desirable qualities. Oak Ridge's high temperature materials lab, a world-class advanced materials testing facility, will be working with American industry to take the world lead in making precision ceramic parts. Ceramic parts will be vital to the longer lasting and more efficient engines of the future. And we're in a race with other nations for this multibillion dollar market, and we will get there first with the best products, thanks to the hard work of people right here, the imagination of these scientists.

And let me make this clear to the rest of the country, something that you all know: Getting there first, in this regard, means jobs, American jobs. Now, Coors moved here 2 years ago precisely to take advantage of the expertise and high-tech facilities here at Oak Ridge. And that means 85 new jobs here because of this partnership. And this is just one of the 25 cooperative agreements at this lab alone.

One of the reasons I'm here is to help get the message out. Our national technology initiative, which Admiral Watkins is spearheading and helping us spearhead, is bringing Government officials together with private businesses to let them know what Government can offer in technology. We must move these developments out of the laboratory and into the marketplace and create more American jobs. And that's what this is about.

I'm very, very pleased to be here with you all today. So without further ado, I'll be pleased to witness the signing of the agreement. I believe that's going to take place. Here it is. Thank you all very much.

Note: The President spoke at 10:52 a.m. at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Alvin Trivelpiece, Director of the Laboratory, and Joe Coors, Jr., president and chairman of Coors Ceramics Co., signed the agreement.