Program links businesses, experts

Jason Martin, left, Melanie Martin, Nicole Waguespack, their father Ted Martin, and Chad Martin are seen in 2009 with several of the floating islands developed by Martin Ecosystems. The company tapped the Access LSU program for expertise and LSU AgCenter research facilities to test its water-cleansing properties. (TRAVIS SPRADLING/The Advocate)

The clumps of plant life floating in manure ponds at the LSU AgCenter’s Southeast Research Station are part of a project to identify technology for water treatment.

But the “floating islands,” as they are known, are not the work of LSU. They were developed by Martin Ecosystems, formerly Floating Island Environmental Solutions, a wetlands restoration firm in Baton Rouge.

About three years ago the company was developing its water-cleansing technology and needed a proper testing and research facility. So officials at Martin Ecosystems contacted the Louisiana Business and Technology Center on LSU’s South Campus for direction regarding what department in LSU’s vast network of research divisions might be the right fit.

“After an hour of phone calls we were able to get them to the people they needed and set up the tests,” said Charles D’Agostino, executive director of the Louisiana Business and Technology Center.

Those calls were part of a complementary business service known as Access LSU, offered by the LBTC. The program is intended to link a particular business need with expertise or facilities at LSU.