Obama and the “Sputnik” moment

Even though President Obama began his speech in Manitowoc, Wisconsin today joking about the Chicago Bears loss to the Green Bay Packers leading up to the Super Bowl, he was very serious about talking about how much segments of our economy need a reinvention, a theme of last night’s State of the Union address.

Manitowoc is famous for being where a big piece of the Sputnik crashed in 1962. The Sputnik of course, famously launched the Space Race and all the innovation that came with it. President Obama was at specifically at a clean energy plant, Orion Energy Systems, speaking about how much the country needs to get behind entrepeneurs like its founder, Neal Verfuerth:

“America needs to get behind entrepreneurs like Neal. We need to get behind clean energy companies like Orion. We need to get behind innovation,” Obama said. (If you want to read the whole thing, here’s a transcript of his prepared speech from the White House.)

This, he says, is our new Sputnik moment. If you’ve got a company doing innovative manufacturing, let us know – drop us a line at ChangingGears@umich.edu.

And if you missed the speech last night, here you go. I’ve set it start right where he talks about Sputnik:

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