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New Govs Bring Key S&T Personnel Shifts

January 10, 2003

Several of the key economic development and science & technology positions have been filled by some of the nation's 24 new governors. Many of these individuals will be involved in setting the state's tech-based economic development agenda and determining budget cuts, reorganization plans or program eliminations to handle the money squeeze. In addition, a few other lead S&T agencies have announced top-level changes.


Chris Cummiskey has been named director of the Government Information Technology Agency by Governor Janet Napolitano. Cummiskey served in the state senate since 1994 before running unsuccessfully for secretary of state last fall.


Gov.-elect Sonny Perdue has named Annie Hunt Burriss as his policy and legislative advisor. Burriss is the vice chancellor for economic development for the University System of Georgia and a past president of the Georgia Economic Developers Association.


Nola Miyasaki, executive director of the High Technology Development Corporation, announced her resignation in December. She will become the executive director of the Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship within the Syracuse University School of Management.

Governor Linda Lingle has named Ted Liu, an international investment banker, to head the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.


In December, Governor Tom Vilsack appointed Michael Blouin to the position of director for the Iowa Department of Economic Development. Blouin had been the executive director of the Greater Des Moines Partnership for the past three years.


Michael Ryan returns to the Maine Science & Technology Foundation to serve as president and CEO. Ryan previously served from 1999 to May 2002 as vice president of policy for the Foundation.


Gov.-elect Mitt Romney has nominated Douglas Foy to serve as Chief of Commonwealth Development. Foy has been the president of the Conservation Law Foundation, a New England environmental advocacy organization, for the past 25 years.


According to several Michigan news sources, Governor Jennifer Granholm has nominated three-term Lansing Mayor and former state representative David Hollister to be her point person on economic development policy. Hollister will serve as director for a new Department of Labor and Economic Growth, which is being formed by the merger of the Consumer and Industry Services and Career Development departments. It is reported the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and Michigan Broadband Development Authority will work closely with the new department, but will remain a quasi-public agency. A new economic advisory council – comprised of Hollister, representatives of the business community and the state's environmental and transportation department directors – will be created for MEDC.

New Mexico

Governor Bill Richardson has appointed Randy Burge as the director of the science & technology division of New Mexico Economic Development Department (EDD). Burge was a founding president of the New Mexico Information Technology and Software Association. Peter Mitchel, formerly head of the economic development division of the department, is EDD's new director for the space division.


Marty Brantley will be the new director of the Economic & Community Development Department. Brantley was a past president of a Portland TV station.

Rhode Island

Gov.-elect Don Carcieri has named Michael McMahon to serve as executive director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation. A former New York venture capitalist, McMahon's responsibilities will also include overseeing the Rhode Island Economic Policy Council, Samuel Slater Technology Fund, and the Quonset-Davisville Management Corp.

South Carolina

Robert Faith, a real estate executive from Charleston, was picked by Gov.-elect Mark Sanford to serve as Secretary for the South Carolina Department of Commerce.


Gov.-elect Phil Bredesen has appointed Matt Kisber to serve as commissioner of the State Department of Economic and Community Development.


On Wednesday, Governor Jim Doyle announced the appointment of Cory L. Nettles as the new Secretary of the Department of Commerce. Perhaps the nation's youngest economic development director at 32, Nettles was an attorney specializing in product liability and commercial litigation with a Milwaukee law firm.