The City of Davis and techDAVIS have launched a unique public-private partnership to enhance connections between the city and the technology industry. The City and techDAVIS will equally share funding of a new municipal Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) position. The CIO will report directly to the City Manager and is tasked with working on technology-based economic development throughout the community, branding, advocacy, and partnership enhancement with the business, research, academic, and capital sectors.
City Manager Steve Pinkerton stated “Adding a CIO to city staff will provide the crucial link between the City and prospective businesses looking to move to Davis, and will help develop Davis as the innovation hub for the region”.
The CIO will be responsible for creating the culture, climate, and environment that is needed for innovation, while removing barriers, both real and perceived, that hinder business growth. In addition, the CIO will provide economic development advocacy; be responsive to the needs of new and existing technology companies and University spin-outs; and operate effectively in the current “innovation economy” developing a positive business climate supporting local business interests and growth of innovation/technology companies with an objective of creating high skilled, high wage jobs, increased private sector investment, new revenue generation and establishing Davis as a regional leader in technology innovation. In addition, this position will be a key resource in developing a customer service-driven, economic development-focused mindset across all City departments.
Rob White was appointed to fill the new position by the City Manager, and now becomes the Sacramento Region’s first municipal Chief Innovation Officer. White is currently the CEO of the i-GATE Innovation Hub Initiative and the Director of Economic Development for the City of Livermore. The i-GATE iHub is a consortium of nine cities (including Davis), Lawrence Livermore National Lab, Sandia National Labs, UC Davis, other academic and research
institutions, and the technology business sectors. White was named a White House Champion of Change for Local Innovation in September 2012 and was recognized by the Alliance for Innovation with the Thomas H. Muehlenbeck Award for Excellence in Local Government in April 2012. White will begin work March 25th, and will maintain his strong ties to i-GATE in his new role as Davis CIO.
Mayor Joe Krovoza stated “With more than 50 technology-based businesses, an emerging entrepreneurial sector, and an unparalleled research university in agriculture, energy and medical technologies, Davis will now aggressively extend its national example of a vital, knowledge-based economy. I am excited to welcome Rob to Davis”.
David Morris, Interim Managing Director of techDAVIS, stated “We are very excited to enter into this important public-private partnership with the City of Davis. As Davis strives to expand its technology sector, the newly created CIO position will significantly enhance the City’s economic development capabilities. More importantly, we believe that Rob White will be a game changer throughout the region, catalyzing new synergies between the private sector, the University, and the City to accelerate the emergence of a significant innovation economy anchored by UC Davis.”
“I am ecstatic to be joining the City of Davis at this crucial juncture in creating an innovation ecosystem, and look forward to supporting the many local and regional partners while bringing a strong focus on technology-driven economic development in Davis,” stated White. “Utilizing my strong ties to the San Francisco East Bay and the federal research labs, I am hopeful that the partnership between the City and techDAVIS will result in an opportunity to accelerate research, entrepreneurial activity, and growth in technology businesses across Davis”.
techDAVIS is a 501(c)(3) business association comprised of current and former senior technology executives with close ties to UC Davis and/or the Davis community, as well as ex officio members from the government, academic, and business services sectors. The association’s goal is to help grow the innovation economy in Davis and the surrounding region.