A Constant Change
By Jerzy Orkiszewski, President of US-Polish Trade Council
When I first arrived in the Bay Area in the eighties, most of my friends worked for semiconductor manufacturers now long since gone. The Bay Area Polish community seemed small then. The majority of “Polish” companies in existence were family businesses focused on manufacturing metal parts. Seeing friends still living in Poland meant, nearly always, a trip to the “old country”. The business of collecting and sending care packages to Poland was thriving.
Then the change came. Semiconductor companies started fading away to make room for the new; networks and the Internet. Many technical conferences started to welcome guests from Poland. All of a sudden, we could show visitors from Poland the beauty of the Bay Area. Our universities and industry started to host visitors from both government and academic settings. Poles started invading the Bay Area. As the Valley reinvented itself with booming biotech and later social networking, change came again. It was no longer surprising to meet Stanford students or postdocs from Poland, or get to know a startup founded by driven entrepreneurs who come from Poland to participate in this unique, magical, and innovative microcosm known as the Silicon Valley.
The US-Polish Trade Council (USPTC), founded thirteen years ago, has always been on the forefront of these changes. With the goal of invigorating change in the scientific, corporate, and government relations between Poland and the Silicon Valley, we have been building the proverbial bridges with hard work from both angles of the globe. In Poland, we relentlessly teach policymakers, scientists, and entrepreneurs about the interplay of all the forces enabling the Valley to be the undisputed leader in innovation. In the US we are, with equal passion, convincing venture capitalists and industry leaders of the incredible value Poles bring to the table.
Through programs initiated, organized, and run by USPTC, we have made hundreds of friends. Many graduates of these programs return to the Bay Area frequently. We enjoy seeing them in Poland at their universities and institutions. We hear about the impact that the California experience has made in their professional lives. We believe we have made a change; a real, tangible, and honest difference.
This month we inaugurate our new web site. For USPTC it is yet another step forward. This is not the first, and definitely not the last, that we as an organization are evolving with the Silicon Valley and its relationship with Poland.
We would be honored if you would treat our new website as the go-to place for information about innovation in Poland, the Silicon Valley, California and beyond.
Mr. Jerzy Orkiszewski was born and raised in Poland which he left just before defense of his Ph.D. thesis at the Warsaw Technical University. He holds an M.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering from the Warsaw Technical University, Department of Fine Mechanics (currently Department of Mechatronics) and École Nationale Supérieure de l’Electronique et de ses Application in Cergy, France. Since 1989 he resides in California with his wife, a practicing medical doctor from Warsaw, and their daughter who after completing her medical education in Poznan, Poland, practices medicine in the USA. In Silicon Valley he has been working for variety of product development biomedical device companies: Cutera, Inc., Ellex Medical, Lumenis, Inc. and Medical Group of Coherent, Inc., where he has been providing the technology and business leadership serving in various engineering, management and executive positions. Jerzy used to be on Polish national modern pentathlon team and plays classical guitar. He is also a pilot with commercial and instrument ratings. Jerzy is a contributing editor of “Przeglad Lotniczy – Aviation Review” aviation magazine in Poland. He provides to USPTC a strong link to the US biomedical technology sector.