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Egils Milbergs
Seattle, Washington DC
CEO Accelerating Innovation and Co-founder PureBlue
Interests: competitiveness, innovation ecosystems, water technology, strategic planning, technology commercialization, public-private partnerships, policy-making and leadership
Recent Activity
Google for Entrepreneurs partners with ten tech hubs around North America to help local startup communities thrive. The tech hubs are located in Minneapolis, Chicago, Waterloo, Nashville, Durham, Denver, Detroit, Montreal, San Francisco, Austin, and Mexico City. These partners are technology leaders in their community and a natural home for Google communities like Google Developer Groups and Google Business Groups. Tech hubs provide a venue for developers and the wider tech community to engage directly with companies and training partners like Google. They host a range of events, workshops, and provide coworking space for entrepreneurs. Google for Entrepreneurs enables tech hubs by providing them with technical content, business tools, and infrastructure upgrades so that they can support increasing demand from developers and startups. This year, ten selected startups from each of these spaces will have the opportunity to pitch their companies to an audience of Silicon Valley investors as part of our Demo Day. The North America Tech Hub Network is: American Underground: Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina The Capital Factory: Austin, Texas The Entrepreneur Center: Nashville, Tennessee COCO: Minneapolis, Minnesota Communitech: Waterloo, Ontario Galvanize: Denver, Colorado & San Francisco, California Grand Circus: Detroit, Michigan Notman House: Montreal, Quebec 1871: Chicago, Illinois Centraal: Mexico City, Mexico TechSquare Labs: Atlanta, Georgia Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2017 at Accelerating Innovation
READ FULL REPORT The U.S. Council on Competitiveness' latest sector study, co-led by A.O. Smith Corporation and Marquette University, reveals challenges faced by water users in the manufacturing sector, where nearly half of industry water consumption is attributed. Leverage: Water and Manufacturing found that to meet increasing water demand, innovation in infrastructure, technology, investment and talent are needed to overcome challenges resulting from urbanization and population growth. The Council, through its Energy and Manufacturing Competitiveness Partnership (EMCP), partnered with Marquette and A. O. Smith to hold the initial sector study dialogue on water & manufacturing on February 16, 2016 at Marquette. The dialogue gathered over 50 national leaders and water experts from all sectors of the economy to discuss the important issues around water and manufacturing. Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2017 at Accelerating Innovation
YOUR ARE INVITED to a special networking and dinner program at the Rainier Club in Seattle on the looming global water crisis. We may be able to survive without oil, but not without water. Water is an essential ingredient for life on this planet—yet in places it is too abundant or too scarce. More than a billion individuals—one in seven people on the planet—lack access to safe drinking water and risk life-threatening illnesses. Water resources in Washington state are impacted by climate change, drought, diminished salmon runs, flooding, stormwater runoff and lead contamination. The opportunity to innovate to meet these challenges is here. Cities like Milwaukee have made clean water technologies a centerpiece of their global marketing, entrepreneurship and job creation strategies. Come hear from key business, government and non-profit leaders as they discuss strategies for Washington state unleashing innovation and moving towards a future of CLEAN, SUSTAINABLE AND SAFE WATER. Speakers and panelists include: Ray Hoffman, Director of Seattle Public Utilities Rob Duff, Senior Policy Advisor to Governor Inslee on natural resource and environmental issues Ryan Vogel, Executive Director of Pure Blue Clean Water Innovation Initiative and founder of Pure Blue Tech, Inc. Egils Milbergs, CEO of the Center for Accelerating Innovation, Pure Blue Water Alliance Chair and former Executive Director of the Washington Economic Development Commission, will be moderator of the event. To request a reservation for this event, please contact the Rainier Club in Seattle: Reservations Services directly at 206.296.6870 or Cost of event is $47 including a two course dinner with wine service. Rainier Club Address: 820 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104 Website Directions Phone: (206) 296-6848 Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2016 at Accelerating Innovation
We may be able to survive without oil, but not without water. That's why climate change, drought, salmon runs, flooding, stormwater and lead contamination are in the news and have become such hot button issues. No matter how you look at it, something must be done. Come hear from key business, government and non-profit leaders as they discuss strategies for unleashing innovation and moving towards a future of CLEAN, SUSTAINABLE AND SAFE WATER. Speakers and panelists include: Ray Hoffman, Director of Seattle Public Utilities Rob Duff, Senior Policy Advisor to Governor Inslee on natural resource and environmental issues Ryan Vogel, Executive Director of Pure Blue Clean Water Innovation Initiative and founder of Pure Blue Tech, Inc. Egils Milbergs, CEO of the Center for Accelerating Innovation and former Executive Director of the Washington Economic Development Commission, will be moderator of the event. To request a reservation for this event, please contact the Rainier Club in Seattle: Reservations Services directly at 206.296.6870. Cost of event is $47 including a two course dinner with wine service. Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2016 at Accelerating Innovation
The partnership team behind the Clean Water Innovation Initiative (CWII) unveiled their commitment to build an entrepreneurial infrastructure and national virtual network to help the nation address water issues during the White House Water Summit held in Washington DC. The Clean Water Innovation Initiative, along with its 17 founding business, government, non-profit, and research partners, is launching an EPA Water Innovation Cluster to serve the Puget Sound region in Washington. The Cluster will include three major components: (1) a physical technology-development accelerator; (2) an early (seed) stage grant/loan/equity fund to finance entrepreneurial start-ups; and (3) a national virtual network of water-industry incubators and clusters. Ryan Vogel, executive director of CWII announced that the Initiative will, over the next three years, work with its 30 vertically and horizontally integrated water-industry partners to support 10 companies through the accelerator and provide $2 million in seed funding. Egils Milbergs, CEO of the Center for Accelerating Innovation and Partnership Director for the CWII was invited by White House organizers to represent the CWII at the Water Summit. The Summit speakers and panelists focused on raising awareness of water issues and potential solutions in the United States, and to catalyze ideas and actions to help build a sustainable and secure water future through innovative science and technology. The administration announced initiatives aimed at encouraging more investments in water infrastructure, improving water data and boosting technologies that can help ensure availability and quality of regional water supply. Check out the Water Summit fact sheet, as well as the document detailing the more than 150 announcements made in support of the event. Here is the video footage of the entire plenary. Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2016 at Accelerating Innovation
On February 24 diverse leaders from Puget Sound cities and towns are convening to map the strategic role of urban green infrastructure and the region's clean water future. Summit goals: 1) Understand the full breadth of current Green Infrastructure work and organizational strengths across .edu, .org, .com, and .gov sectors. 2) Identify gaps and catalyze strategic partnerships to: Grow a powerful Green Infrastructure coalition and clean water constituency for Puget Sound; Inspire innovative and intersectional green solutions to stormwater pollution; Envision long-term funding approaches that are on par with the scale of the challenge. Egils Milbergs, CEO of the Center for Accelerating Innovation is giving the Luncheon keynote address: What is Innovation? What Drives Innovation? Links to the Summit agenda and speaker bios: Puget Sound Green Infrastructure Summit Agenda Puget Sound Green Infrastructure Summit Biographies LOCATION Wed, Feb 24 at 9am - 5:30pm Magnuson Park 7400 Sand Point Way N E Seattle, WA Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2016 at Accelerating Innovation
The Puget Sound Region is home to a dynamic innovation ecosystem that has spawned globally competitive industry clusters in fields as diverse as aerospace (Boeing), e-commerce (Amazon), software (Microsoft), retail (Costco) and coffee (Starbucks). The Clean Water Innovation Initiative along with its 17 founding business, government, non-profit, and research partners is launching a unique public private strategy to jump start the Puget Sound region as a dynamic industry cluster for water innovation. The initiative will take on some of the world's toughest water challenges, such as desalinization, stormwater runoff, aging water distribution systems, energy efficiency, drought management, etc. The initiative will support entrepreneurial project teams to reduce the technical and commercial risk for clean water innovation, accelerate the time to market and conserve resources required to develop and commercialize solutions. Three interrelated components are involved with the initiative: 1. Water Nexus: A physical proof of concept center and technology development accelerator providing entrepreneurs the infrastructure and resources to design, prototype, test clean water products, processes and services. 2. Water Alliance: A virtual cloud based network of water industry incubators and clusters across the US connecting the Puget Sound to the needs of end-users, research assets, intellectual property, best practices, complimentary technologies and beta sites for evaluating first generation prototypes and solutions. 3. Water Innovation Fund: An early (seed) stage grant/loan/equity fund to finance entrepreneurial start-ups through the critical "valley of death" between concept, workable prototype, commercial pilot, and first sales. Stay tuned for more details about the Innovation Alliance and the Clean Water Innovation Initiative. Contact: Egils Milbergs at Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2016 at Accelerating Innovation
Water Innovation Strategy Announced by Administration The Obama Administration has announced a new public-private water innovation strategy. This strategy includes a two-part approach led by Federal agencies to address the impacts of climate change on the use and supply of our nation's water resources and calls on private sector and other stakeholder groups to help significantly scale up research and investment in water efficiency solutions. The Administration's new water innovation strategy calls for: Boosting water sustainability and long-term water security by increasing use of water-efficient and -reuse technologies. The implicit goal is to reduce water usage by 33 percent and reduce nation's total CO2 emissions by about 1.5 percent annually. Promoting and investing in breakthrough research and development (R&D) that will reduce the price, energy costs, and emissions requirements of new water supply technology to achieve "pipe parity" in the next decade. The technical targets include reducing the cost by four times, reducing electricity usage by three times, and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by two times. To kick-start this strategy and set up the United States as a leader on the path towards greater water efficiency and improved water technologies the Administration announced the following: Released a new report that lays out the water innovation strategy in greater detail and proposes strategies for addressing this challenge in the decades ahead. Hosted a Roundtable on Water Innovation today to engage with industry and public leaders to start building broader consensus on a path forward.. Called for commitments from private sector and stakeholder groups to advance innovation and technology for potential solutions to water issues so that sufficient water is available when and where we need it. On March 22, 2016, the United Nation's World Water Day, the Administration will bring representatives from Federal, State, regional, local, and tribal governments together with private sector and other stakeholder groups to the White House to discuss ways in which the public-private water innovation strategy is making progress. For more information HERE. Launching a new Center for Natural Resources Investment at the Department of the Interior, which will promote increased private investment in water infrastructure and facilitate locally-led water exchange agreements in the western United States. Announced a new funding opportunity for over $20 million in water and energy efficiency grants through the WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grant Program at the Department of the Interior. Launched an interactive website tool at the Department of the Interior to shed light on the ongoing drought in the Colorado River basin. Announced that the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Reclamation is accepting applications for research, laboratory studies, and pilot projects that target increasing the usable supply of water in the United States. More detail on the overall strategy and set of initiatives: link HERE. Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2015 at Accelerating Innovation
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today $420,000 in Virginia Community Business Launch (CBL) grants for the towns of Pulaski, Vinton, Marion and Strasburg, as well as the cities of Lynchburg, Petersburg and Martinsville. CBL is designed to assist communities in taking a systems approach to defining and pursuing an asset-based small business development strategy. Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “Through the Community Business Launch program, we are helping our communities develop a healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem where community-based businesses will continue to grow and thrive. In order to grow, diversify and build a new Virginia economy, we must focus on small business development in communities across the Commonwealth.” The CBL program starts with a community’s unique vision for its future and then uses a local business competition to find and foster the entrepreneurs that connect with that vision. CBL provides the tools to effectively prepare multiple entrepreneurs to operate successful businesses in a downtown or neighborhood commercial district and allow them to compete for funding to launch their new endeavor. - See more at: Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2015 at Accelerating Innovation
The Innovation Voucher program lets businesses unlock R&D capacity in Rhode Island. Rhode Island enterprises with fewer than 500 employees can receive grants of up to $50,000 to fund R&D assistance from a Rhode Island university, research center or medical center. Download the application to apply now. The initial application deadline is January 5, 2016. The Commerce Corporation will begin reviewing and advancing applications upon receipt. Applications submitted after January 5, 2016 may not be reviewed until the Commerce Corporation has completed its consideration of the applications submitted by that deadline. Contact For more information, please contact Rachel Myroniuk, Innovation Program, Coordinator, at the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation. References Innovation Vouchers Regulations Innovation Initiative Act, R.I.G.L. § 42-64.28 Summary Card Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2015 at Accelerating Innovation
The OECD has published a revised version of its Innovation Strategy – The Innovation Imperative: Contributing to Productivity, Growth and Well-Being. The report calls on governments to stop policies that unduly favor incumbents, given that young firms are crucial in driving innovation, job creation and growth. With the digital economy and the sharing economy changing the business landscape by allowing new ideas and business models to emerge, it is more urgent than ever to give young firms the means to experiment with new technologies and organizational models. The report also calls on policy makers to think long-term, to provide more grants and fewer tax incentives, and to learn from experience through greater monitoring and evaluation. Four key areas of policy are discussed: Skilled workforce that can generate new ideas and technologies, implement them and bring them to the market. Sound business envronoment that encourages investment in technology and in knowledge-based capital that enables innovative firms to experiment with new ideas, technologies and business models. Strong and efficient system for knowledge creation and diffusion that invests in the systematic pursuit of fundamental knowledge and that diffuses knowledge throughout society. Specific innovation policies to tackle a range of barriers to innovation and entrepreneurial activity. Continue reading
Posted Oct 18, 2015 at Accelerating Innovation
Announcing my new challenge to reboot the Center for Accelerating Innovation as full time president and CEO. The focus is on powering the nation's future competitiveness and innovation ecosystems. Check out our plans, projects and services at . For now, please use the coordinates below to stay in touch. Egils Milbergs Center for Accelerating Innovation O: 206.790.7435 M: 202-256-5506 Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2015 at Accelerating Innovation
Converge@Seattle Pacific Northwest Innovation Summit 2014 was a new kind of conference experience. And the event turned out to be fantastic, inspiring and compelling. We witnessed incredibly powerful lightning talks, and a thunderstorm of conversations and commitments. The organizers of the Summit were inspired by the level of professionalism, heart and mind that was shared. ""Loved the discussions!" "This was so inspiring!" "The format was terrific." "Just the environment was conducive to creativity." "I could have listened to today's speakers for hours!" "The panelists were great." Converge Innovation Summit was a second iteration and combination of the Pacific Innovation Summit 2012 and Women in Innovation Summit 2012 – now in partnership with The Pacific Northwest Economic Region, PNWER. This partnership gave a wonderful reach to people who probably would not have met and come together otherwise. We loved creating this new "convergence zone", and were so delighted it was kicked off to a great start with Jacob Zimmerman & His Pals. We will continue to explore all the impactful presentations and bring those to you in forms of blogs, postings and video. None of the magic of the day would not have been possible without the commitment of our extraordinary sponsors: Alaska Airlines, Washington Business Alliance, DeshLaw, Renton Technical College, dbCreative Services Group, Rainmakers TV, Automobili Lamborghini – and the organizing producers: Women in Innovation, Center for Accelerating Innovation, Cisco Systems and Jim Kastama & Associates. And the very delighted winner of the Alaska Airline's first class tickets was Sean O'Leary, President and Managing Director of Arctic Wolf Company, marketer of wild Alaskan salmon. We wish him happy travels! We had terrific help throughout the day from many, many people like our photographer Tina Marable, SaraJoy Pond of who stepped in to manage the PowerPoint slides, and the graphic facilitator Lori Rock of BigIdeaZoo. Marilyn Schoeman provided us with "Greenlight" tips for the best brainstorming outcomes. We are also grateful to designer and branding expert Margaret Spencer who designed our logo and helped us throughout the day in many different ways. Many organizations lent their help to spread the word to their members: Center for Advanced Manufacturing CAMPS, West Sound Technology Association WSTA, Washington Technology Industry Association WTIA, WBBA, WSU, UW and BizEnrich. We encourage you to stay in touch with us, continue the conversation by sharing your stories: What was your favorite part of the day? What most inspired you? What are you going to do? How are you keeping the momentum going? You can share your stories, pictures and videos from the day on Facebook and Twitter. With gratitude, Egils Milbergs, Kristiina Hiukka, Sharon Wong and Jim Kastama Converge@Seattle Co-Leaders and Producers Continue reading
Posted Nov 24, 2014 at Accelerating Innovation
You are invited! Converge@Seattle 2014 wants to have your voice, perspective, and participation to define what's next for the Pacific Northwest Innovation Ecosystem. The 2014 Pacific Northwest Innovation Summit is convening November 20 at the Hyatt at Olive 8 in Seattle. The agenda is organized under four major themes to address some big questions: Register NOW Digital Economy: How do we thrive in an increasingly connected world? Manufacturing Renaissance: What role will humans play in the next generation of manufacturing? Higher Education: What must higher education do to adapt to tomorrow's realities? Women in Innovation: How are women changing the innovation paradigm? It will be a day of thought provoking ideas, debate and interactive activities. Expert speakers will stimulate discussion. Small group conversations will unlock insights and high impact strategies for expanding the opportunities, prosperity and sustainability of the Pacific Northwest. You will be part of unique group joined together for larger purposes and becoming skilled at acting strategically across regional boundaries. Plenty of time is set aside to problem-solve. The summit is being held in conjunction with the PNWER 2014 Economic Leadership Forum with public officials, business executives, scholars, educators, economists, and entrepreneurs from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, British Columbia, Yukon, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Northwest Territories. Our major sponsors include Alaska Airlines, Washington Business Alliance and Lamborghini (- when you come, you might even get a close up of their latest carbon fiber invention). A limited number of seats available at the Hyatt Olive 8. So please, check out it out, fit the day into your schedule and do not delay – register now! We look forward to the conversation with you. LEARN MORE Register Here Continue reading
Posted Oct 10, 2014 at Accelerating Innovation
The water field is experiencing unprecedented change and unpredictability. Learn what's next in clean water innovation, regulations, resource recovery and economic development in the face of drinking water emergencies, climate change, extreme weather, stormwater events and natural disasters. The Washington Business Alliance cordially invites you to a special half-day program at 7:30 am – 12:15 pm, Wednesday, October 15 as part of the Wellspring 2014 Conference in Tacoma, Washington. Join the discussion with industry experts on whether regulations are driving or hindering clean water innovation. Find out about a unique strategy that applies lean design principles to stormwater management, permitting and regulations. Discussants include: Moderator: Jeff Lape, Deputy Director, EPA Office of Science and Technology Sanjay Kapoor, Principal, s2 Sustainability Robert Adair, President, Convergent Water Technologies Kristen Sawin, VP Gov't Relations, EH&S, Weyerhaeuser The creation of a national network of water innovation clusters will be the topic of a second panel. Cluster leaders from Washington, Ohio, Massachusetts, Oregon and Arizona will give insider perspectives on how water collaboration models can drive regional economic growth, exports and job creation. Discussants include: Sally Gutierrez, Chief of EPA's Environmental Innovation Technology Cluster Development Glenn Schrader, Southwest Water Technology Cluster, University of Arizona David Kenney, CEO, Oregon BEST Michael Murphy, New England Water Innovation Network, Massachusetts Clean Energy Center Joel Baker, Urban Clean Water IPZ, Center for Urban Waters, University of Washington Egils Milbergs, Chief Innovator, WaBA, Center for Accelerating Innovation DETAILS 7:30 am – 12:15 pm Wednesday, October 15 Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center 1500 Broadway Tacoma, WA 98402 To register and receive special rate follow these steps: Go to register site Enter promo code: WABA Click yellow "apply" button Exclusive registration fee will be $65.00 You may be interested to attend the entire two day conference October 14 and 15. Visit Wellspring2014 for more information, agenda, speakers and registration. Thank you, David Giuliani, Board Chair Washington Business Alliance Egils Milbergs Chief Innovator Washington Business Alliance Register » Follow on Twitter | Friend on Facebook | Forward to Friend Copyright © 2014 Washington Business Alliance, All rights reserved. Our mailing address is: Washington Business Alliance 2401 Elliott Ave. Suite 375 Seattle, WA 98121 Add us to your address book Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2014 at Accelerating Innovation
You are invited to join with fellow business, research, education and government leaders in learning about where Washington stands in the National Innovation System. Dr. Rob Atkinson, author of Innovation Economics and president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation will give his analysis on what it will take for Washington to succeed. He will provide an update on his New Economy Index Report for 2014 and dissect where Washington stands in the 50 state race for innovation excellence. We hope you can attend. Register now at link below: Connecting Washington State to the National Innovation System Thursday, September 25, 2014 7:30 AM – 9:30 AM Breakfast will be served! World Trade Center Seattle 2200 Alaskan Way, 4th Floor Seattle, WA 98121 The event will also include remarks and reactions from:: Congressman Derek Kilmer – key member of US House Committee on Science, Space & Technology – update on the Federal congressional scene. David Giuliani – update on the Washington Business Alliance and PLAN Washington Egils Milbergs – former Executive Director of Washington Economic Development Commission – panel moderator Anson Fatland, Associate Vice President for Economic Development, Washington State University Randy Gardiner, CEO and President, RedDOT Fred Holt, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Center for Commercialization, University of Washington Jim Kastama, former chair, WA Senate Committee for Economic Development, Trade and Innovation Margaret McCormick, CEO and Director, Matrix Genetics Hope you can make it. It will be full of insights and a great networking opportunity, Continue reading
Posted Sep 22, 2014 at Accelerating Innovation
PLAN Washington was launched by the Washington Business Alliance at a sold out event at K&L Gates in Seattle. PLAN Washington is an initiative of the statewide and non-partisan Washington Business Alliance co-founded by Sonicare toothbrush entrepreneur David Giuliani with retired Starbucks President Howard Behar. It reflects over two years of engagement with diverse business, government, and community stakeholders, and research into best practices by issue committees. The plan focuses on six key topic areas: economic development, education, environment, governance, health, and transportation. To download the entire PLAN go to: Egils Milbergs, founder of the Center for Accelerating Innovation and Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Alliance commented: "PLAN Washington is a significant step forward in defining the role of business in shaping the future of Washington state. Businesses have relevant knowledge, performance systems and financial resources that can be applied in building consensus and strategic direction for economic prosperity, job creation and quality of life. We cannot rely solely on the political process and government to shape that consensus. The key to success is collaboration and optimizing the role of each stakeholder to focus on what each does best." Link to Puget Sound Business Journal article: Continue reading
Posted Mar 1, 2014 at Accelerating Innovation
The Washington Business Alliance is pleased to invite you to the launch of PLANWashington-- a new non-partisan initiative by the business community focused on making Washington a top 5 state in shared economic prosperity and quality of life. The event will be held at K&L Gates in Seattle starting at 5 PM, Thursday, February 27 and conclude by 7:30 pm. The address for K&L Gates is 925 4th Ave. Suite 2900, Seattle, WA. At this meeting you will hear about the origins of this initiative and receive the first version of PLANWashington presenting a goal-based framework for enhancing our lives in six key domains: economic development, education, environment, governance, health and transportation. You will value meeting a community of business leaders working toward an inclusive and sustainable economic future for our state. Seating is limited so reserve your place right away on the website: Egils Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2014 at Accelerating Innovation
It was a long and arduous legislative session in Washington state (167 days) but finally House and Senate legislators and the Governor came to an agreement on the operating budget for the next 2013-15 biennium. It is with great regret that funding for the Washington Economic Development Commission (WEDC) is eliminated. Furthermore, the STARS and Entrepreneurs in Residence program which the commission shepherded with outstanding results is also eliminated. The WEDC will no longer have an independent full time staff. The strategy, oversight and performance evaluation functions of the WEDC will be absorbed by the Department of Commerce. Modest transition funding of $75K is provided for convening a working group of former commissioners and Associate Development Organizations (ADOs) to address specified tasks. The WEDC leadership worked hard at making the case that a non-partisan, public-private forum with an impartial view was worthy of continued state support. We emphasized the value of the private sector working jointly with the state's leading policymakers in shaping a long-term and cohesive economic growth strategy, establishing benchmarks for performance accountability and ensuring rigorous data standards for evaluating economic development programs, taxes and regulations. Many legislators appreciated the merits of an independent entity championing these values and goals—but in the end other priorities prevailed in budget deliberations. It has been an honor to work with a fantastic group of commissioners in building a forward-looking strategy, organizing numerous innovation conferences and events, preparing research reports, managing policy development and engaging hundreds of business, education, and civic leaders in our priority-setting process. We covered every latitude and longitude of this wonderful state. Collectively we designed a potent policy framework for talent development, innovation and entrepreneurship, infrastructure, regulatory efficiency and international business. I am confident many elements of this policy framework will endure and help guide policymakers in the future. We played a central role in designating 15 Innovation Partnership Zones across Washington State. The IPZ program garnered recognition as a best practice by the National Governors Association and in a national competition won a first place Innovation Award from the Council of State Governments. This bottom-up and essentially no-cost initiative has leveraged millions of federal, state and private sector resources for their unique innovation focused strategies. Through our Entrepreneurs-in-Residence program dozens of new start-up companies were launched commercializing the intellectual capital of the University of Washington and Washington State University. The STARs program guided by the Innovation Advisory Committee provided the critical seed funding for recruiting world class entrepreneurial researchers and enabled the establishment of two outstanding research commercialization centers: Bio- products, Sciences and Engineering Laboratoryand the Energy Systems Innovation Center. It was an impressive team effort facilitated greatly by the stewardship of Roger Woodworth (chair), Bruce Kendall (former chair) and Steve VanAusdle (vice-chair). I also salute my superb and productive staff—especially the amazing operational skills of Noreen Hoban who has been with me since the beginning and Spencer Cohen who set the bar for high quality analysis and rigorous standards for evaluation. As the next steps are undertaken for the state's economic development, we should refresh our pledge to make Washington the leading birthplace of innovation and world changing ideas, business models, products and services. An enduring public-private commitment to action will be essential for this vision to be realized. It has been a great honor and privilege to be of service to Washington State. Warmest regards, Egils Milbergs Executive Director Washington Economic Development Commission Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2013 at Accelerating Innovation
Washington, DC, March 19, 2013 – The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program announced today that Santa Barbara City College (CA) and Walla Walla Community College (WA) are co-winners of the 2013 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. The two winners, along with the two finalists-with-distinction, were selected from the nation's more than 1,000 public community colleges. Santa Barbara City College and Walla Walla Community College will each receive a $400,000 prize to support their programs, while finalists-with-distinction, Kingsborough Community College – CUNY (Brooklyn, NY) and Lake Area Technical Institute (Watertown, SD), will each receive $100,000. As the nation's signature recognition of high achievement and performance in America's community colleges, the Prize recognizes institutions for outstanding achievement in four areas: student learning outcomes, degree completion, labor market success in securing good jobs after college, and facilitating minority and low-income student success. The Washington Economic Development Commission joined in the congratulations for this prestigious award. Steve van Ausdle, president of Walla Walla Community College, serves as the commission's vice-chair. Dr. Jill Biden, Second Lady of the United States, joined John Engler, president of Business Roundtable and former Governor of Michigan, Richard Riley, former US Secretary of Education and South Carolina Governor, and Rich Karlgaard, publisher of Forbes magazine, at the Newseum in Washington, DC in celebrating the program and the hard work of the applicants. The winners were selected by a Prize Jury of 12 prominent leaders in education, business, civil rights, and public service. "Santa Barbara City College and Walla Walla Community College offer outstanding models for achieving exceptional levels of student success at a time when our nation needs community colleges to do even more than they have in the past. The Prize co-winners are especially strong in two key areas every community college aims to achieve: preparing students for jobs and to transfer to four-year colleges," said Josh Wyner, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute's College Excellence Program. "At Santa Barbara City College, faculty and staff are providing students just what they need to transfer and complete a four-year degree – a rigorous classroom education surrounded by first-rate supports from remedial math to college level writing. Walla Walla Community College's visionary leaders stay on top of local economic job trends and job growth, and the entire college provides the kind of excellent training that students need to access well-paying jobs and that employers know will ensure future investments in the regional economy will pay off." Nearly half of America's college students attend community college, with more than seven million students – youth and adult learners – enrolled across America, working toward degrees and certificates. LINK:[tt_news]=331&tx_ttnews[backPid]=2771&cHash=9c35b27af57270df4685b800627b14d8 Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2013 at Accelerating Innovation
Washington State can accelerate job growth and become the leading innovation hotspot of the world. So concludes the Washington Economic Development Commission's final report, Driving Washington's Prosperity -- A Strategy for Job Creation and Competitiveness. In accepting the commission's report, Governor Inslee observed: "This is a new era for economic development, an era where embracing innovation, inclusiveness and accountability brings out the best in us." He added, "I appreciate the Commission's efforts to set this foundation for our state's future economic opportunity, jobs and quality of life." In short, the plan offers a roadmap for the state to differentiate itself, attract new investment and help grow family wage jobs. According to Commission chairman Roger Woodworth, "Growth is stronger when resources are leveraged for impact and aligned with a cohesive policy framework. A focus on fundamentals, coupled with leadership and a long view, will yield a more resilient economy for our state," he said. Among the Commission's findings, the state's substantial economic development efforts have tended to be short-term, narrowly focused, and rarely coordinated across agencies. Commission Executive Director, Egils Milbergs observed that, "Rigorous evaluation of economic development programs is infrequent, limiting the evidence policy makers and taxpayers need to judge performance. We can and must do better if we're to unleash creativity, accelerate job growth, and secure our technological leadership over foreign competitors." The Commission's report advances a strategy to overcome this fragmented approach to economic development, identifying five key drivers for ensuring job creation and competitiveness: Make talent a top priority Invest in entrepreneurship Connect through reliable infrastructure Regulate in the smartest ways Expand international business The report includes an analysis of the State's competitive strengths (such as in research and development, patent production, technology jobs growth, venture capital investment, manufacturing and exports) and weaknesses (such as in the rate of jobs recovery particularly in rural regions, in-state production of scientists and engineers, workforce skills, household income, investment in transportation infrastructure and foreign direct investment). The Commission prepares the legislatively authorized report every other year. This year's plan is the result of multi-stakeholder dialogue among leaders in business, education, labor, economic development, and government. More than 650 stakeholders participated at 15 regional strategy forums. Below are links to the strategy report and the series of evaluation reports to inform the plan and economic development mission of the State. Driving Washington's Prosperity: A Strategy for Job Creation and Competitiveness Economic Development Programs and Investments: Review of Evaluation Practices in Washington State Vital Signs for Economic Development Innovation Sources, Practices, and Economic Development Programs Serving the Needs of Businesses: A Survey of Businesses and Recommendations The Washington Economic Development Commission (WEDC) is an independent, non‐partisan commission established to assist the governor and legislature by providing leadership, direction, and guidance on a long‐term and systematic approach to economic development that will result in enduring global competitiveness, prosperity and economic opportunity for all the state's citizens. For more information on the state's economic development strategy, policy reports, meeting schedules and status of recommendations visit Washington Economic Development Commission at Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2013 at Accelerating Innovation
Governor Jay Inslee has put forward a bold plan for revitalizing the Washington economy and creating jobs. The key principles of the plan are strongly aligned with the economic development strategy developed by the Washington Economic Development Commission. Governor Inslee said that innovation, human intellectual capital and better alignment with the industries of the future are the foundations for his five focus areas: 1) education; 2) business climate and workforce; 3) aerospace; 4) clean energy, climate action and water; and 5) health care. Representatives Jeff Morris (chair) and Norma Smith (ranking member) of the House Technology and Economic Development Committee and ex-officio members of the Economic Development Commission participated in today's roll-out press conference. Governor Inslee "Washington Jobs" Press Conference "We applaud the commitment Governor Inslee gives to innovation, STEM education, efficient regulations, freight mobility, start-up businesses, energy efficiency and alternatives, and investing in a workforce better matched to the demands of our increasingly knowledge intense industries," stated Egils Milbergs, executive director of the independent 24-member Commission. "These are significant proposals for guiding policy and budget priorities to give rise to more jobs and our future competitive advantages." The Commission's long term economic development strategy is aimed at "making Washington state the most attractive, fertile and creative investment climate for innovation in the world." The Commission also invests in bio-fuels, energy efficiency, energy storage and smart grid research teams at the University of Washington and Washington State University through the STARs program. The WEDC sets designation criteria and performance metrics for a network of regionally led Innovation Partnership Zones targeted to strengthen the innovation capacity of industry clusters. Read more about the Washington Economic Development Commission at, Washington State STARS program at and the Innovation Partnership Program at Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2013 at Accelerating Innovation
We must do better…. Washington state is among the most innovative regions in the world, home to forward-thinking firms and a magnet for creative talent. However, the overall pace of job recovery from the great recession is tepid and unemployment levels remain unacceptably high. Innovative and lean approaches which align programs and services with stakeholder needs are required. The starting point is to adopt and sustain a clear, cohesive, and proactive strategy. The Washington Economic Development Commission has approved a final draft report—Driving Washington's Prosperity: Strategy for Job Creation and Competitiveness-- which includes recommendations for growing jobs by boosting the state's competitiveness. It is the product of an in-depth collaboration among leaders in business, education, labor, regional economic development, and government. Over 650 stakeholders provided input at 15 regional strategy forums. The Commission identified five key economic drivers for ensuring job creation and competitiveness. They are: Make talent a top priority Invest in entrepreneurship Connect through reliable infrastructure Regulate in the smartest ways Expand international business For each driver, the report presents a roadmap of policy priorities. The recommendations are not all dependent on new funding; more important is to align current resources in ways that are directly responsive to sector and regional needs. In short, the alignment must drive private-sector job creation, lean and efficient regulations, and expanded trade. If we do this we will do better. LINK to website and report: Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2013 at Accelerating Innovation