Software development CEO tapped for national council | UToledo News

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Software development CEO tapped for national council

Brian Balasia, co-founder and CEO of Digerati, is one of 27 individuals selected to serve on the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

The council will operate as an independent entity within the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which is housed in the U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration.

Lawrence J. Burns, UT vice president for external affairs, left, talked with Brian Balasia, co-founder and CEO of Digerati, last week during a break at the uHeart Digital Media Conference.

Lawrence J. Burns, UT vice president for external affairs, left, talked with Brian Balasia, co-founder and CEO of Digerati, last week during a break at the uHeart Digital Media Conference on the University’s Health Science Campus.

Council members will advise the Secretary of Commerce on issues related to accelerating innovation, expanding entrepreneurship, and developing a globally competitive work force.

The leader of the Detroit-based software development and process improvement firm was on campus last week for the uHeart Digital Media Conference.

“I am honored to be selected to serve on the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship,” Balasia said. “I look forward to using my experiences gained from Digerati and contributing to policies that help foster a broadly accessible, national entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

“Thanks to Brian and Digerati, thousands of college students in Ohio and Michigan are able to land internships and gain marketable skills while still taking classes,” Lawrence J. Burns, UT vice president for external affairs, said. “In 2013, UT launched Intern in Ohio, and the free web-based program continues to connect students and employers through an online matching system. It’s a win-win situation for the students and the businesses.

“Brian is a valuable partner with UT and exemplifies the type of outreach we are making in External Affairs to develop new and innovative relationships that result in dynamic projects for our students and faculty,” Burns added.

The council’s appointees consist of business leaders, investors, academics and other influencers of the innovation economy; members include former AOL CEO Steve Case and Clemson University President James Clements.

“Through our ‘Open for Business Agenda,’ the Commerce Department has prioritized supporting entrepreneurs and helping foster innovation, which are key drivers of America’s global competitiveness,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. “The new council members are a diverse and dynamic group of successful entrepreneurs, innovators and investors, as well as leaders from nonprofit organizations and academia.

“I appreciate their willingness to serve our nation on these important issues, and I look forward to working with the council to advance innovation and cultivate a skilled work force for today’s 21st century jobs.”

The council’s overarching focus is recommending transformational policies to the secretary that will help U.S. communities, businesses and the work force become more globally competitive. Members, who will serve two-year terms, were chosen based on their abilities to carry out the objectives of the council. All of the appointees have demonstrated expertise and experience in the areas of innovation, entrepreneurship and work force skills.

Under Balasia’s leadership, Digerati has created a number of nationally recognized software solutions including InsYght and Classroom to Career.

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