Curtis Merriweather Jr. was at the bank when his phone
buzzed with an email that he’d been nominated to attend a White House summit on
minority government-contract opportunities.
“I read the letter and said, ‘Is this a joke?’” said
Merriweather, a Case Western Reserve University student in the Doctor of
Management (DM) program at the Weatherhead School of Management. “Read it
again, saw the name, saw the letterhead, called my wife and said, ‘I don’t know
if I’m being pranked.’”
A week later, an electronic letter arrived from President Donald Trump, inviting him for a White House celebration of black entrepreneurship during Black History Month immediately following the Feb. 27 summit.
“I still don’t know how I got nominated,” said Merriweather, whose Charleston, South Carolina, defense-contracting firm specializes in artificial intelligence, cyber and information technology, intelligence operations and language operations. “But I believe the DM program has uniquely prepared me to have a fruitful discussion regarding both entrepreneurship and innovation with senior executive federal leaders.”
Merriweather, who started the doctorate program in August,
has done work for various federal “civilian” agencies, the Department of
Defense and the intelligence community. He gladly accepted the White House
Attendees will meet with high-ranking federal agency
representatives to discuss the expansion of contracting opportunities for
minority-owned businesses and the creation of more mentorship programs for
minority entrepreneurs to collaborate with the private sector.
“When they talk about entrepreneurship problems, the same
code words come up—access to capital, comprehensive education, finding the
right advisors and mentors and social capital —these top four or five tenets
that seem to ring through no matter what kind of minority business expansion
you’re talking about,” said Merriweather, who is originally from Augusta,
Georgia. “But from a government-contracting standpoint, there are bigger
challenges I’ve had personal experience with.”
focusing on improving health-care delivery. Health information
technology (IT) systems and electronic health records (EHR) were originally
touted to improve care quality, empower patients and save money. More than
95% of eligible and critical-access hospitals have adopted such certified
health IT systems. But research indicates that these systems are actually
increasing costs and increasing medical errors—the third-leading cause of death
in the United States.
As the first part of his study, Merriweather will interview
employees in large and small hospitals nationally to better understand what professionals
are experiencing in implementing IT health solutions.
“The research question Curtis is addressing,” said Kalle Lyytinen, the Iris S. Wolstein Professor of Management Design, chair and professor of design and innovation, and faculty director of the DM program, “seeks to determine how alternative sociotechnical solutions influence overall patient delivery outcomes and, more specifically, how different sociotechnical solutions impact misdiagnosis and related medical errors and consequent patient-delivery outcomes.”