State economic development directors bring varied backgrounds to role

The 20 new governors elected last November are filling out their appointments, and SSTI’s analysis of those named as state economic development directors reveals an array of backgrounds leading into their new roles. New Republican governors have shown a greater propensity to choose a leader with an industry background, while new Democratic governors have been more likely to appoint  directors with economic development experience. From a former U.S.

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Ivy Estabrooke has been named the executive director for the Utah Science and Technology Research initiative. She replaces former Executive Director Ted McAleer, who stepped down in January.

Catherine Lang, Nebraska’s director of Economic Development and Commissioner of Labor, has resigned to pursue a job in the private sector.

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Maria Contreras-Sweet has been confirmed as the administrator of the Small Business Administration.

Larry Ferguson has been chosen as the vice chancellor for economic development and workforce solutions at Kentucky Community College and Technical System.

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RoseAnn Rosenthal, president and CEO of Ben Franklin Technology Partnership of Southeastern Pennsylvania, was presented with the Iris Newman Award from the Alliance of Women Entrepreneurs.

Rob Wiltbank recently became the CEO of Galois. Prior to Galois, Wiltbank was a professor at Willamette University's Atkinson Graduate School of Management.

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Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin announced that Jonna Kirschner, executive director of the Oklahoma Commerce Department, will serve on a transition team to establish a new workers’ compensation system. Vaughn Clark , the Commerce Department’s director of community development, was named as interim executive director.

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Yuka Nagashima, executive director of the High Technology Development Corp. and center director for the Innovate Hawaii program, has resigned from both posts and will leave the state agency in August. Nagashima will be leaving for Denmark to support her husband's research career. Len Higashi, current senior economic development manager, was selected to become the acting executive director.

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Sean Greene has joined the Case Foundation as entrepreneur in residence. Greene most recently served as associate administrator for Investment and special advisor for Innovation at the U.S. Small Business Administration.

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Bill Kirkland will head the new Office of Economic Engagement that will begin operations July 1 at the University of South Carolina. The new entity will facilitate business development statewide, and work through USC&'s seven regional campuses.

John Carey, a former state representative, was appointed by Gov. John Kasich as the chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents.

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Rebecca Blank, the acting U.S. secretary of Commerce, is expected to be the next chancellor of the University of Wisconsin at Madison. The Board of Regents is scheduled to vote on the recommendation April 5.

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President Obama nominated Ernest Moniz as the next secretary of Energy, Gina McCarthy as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and Sylvia Mathews Burwell as director of the Office of Management and Budget. The nominations require confirmation by the Senate.

Draper Triangle Ventures is opening a Columbus, OH, office. Will Indest, formerly of TechColumbus, has been named managing director.


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