Kara Swisher, the doyenne of technology, recently interviewed entrepreneurs in Indiana about what makes the Midwest so special (brainpower), why the rest of the country should pay attention (special knowledge of certain industries needed to solve some of the biggest problems of our time), and what Midwesterners can do better to grow prosperous economies (position for innovation).
Waymaker has been hard at work expanding and tweaking services to meet your new, post-COVID-19 realities. As leaders in government, industry, and higher education shift their attention from long-range planning to immediate survival, we have been busy gathering expertise and resources to support you during the transition.
We are most proud to welcome three new members to our consulting team.
Phil Hockberger, Ph.D., joins us to offer leadership and expertise in higher education, research infrastructure, and innovation district planning and development. Phil is an experienced scientist, teacher, speaker, and administrator and has held numerous leadership roles at Northwestern University.
Phil brings empathy and recognized leadership to the myriad training, research, and business issues academic leaders face in today’s post-COVID world. He was recently appointed to Mayor Lightfoot’s Healthcare and Life Sciences Working Group charged with contributing to the 10-year economic development plan for the City of Chicago and recently founded the Chicago Biomedical Innovation Alliance to foster communication and coordination among stakeholders interested in building innovation districts in Chicago.
Dennis Lower also comes with an illustrious career as he transitions out of his role as CEO of Cortex Innovation Community. For 25 years, Dennis has been involved in developing urban innovation districts that position regions to be competitive in the global technology economy. His areas of expertise include mixed-use master planning, real estate structuring and development, incubator/accelerator planning, co-working and shared office space planning, public/private partnerships, public incentives, equity and inclusion, and district sustainability planning.
Dennis has received a number of local, state, and global awards and was recently named as a steering committee member of the Global Institute on Innovation Districts headquartered in Basil, Switzerland.
Dougan Sherwood joins us as an expert in innovation district planning and development, site selection, and entrepreneurial ecosystems. Dougan spent more than 10 years as a member of the senior leadership team at Cambridge Innovation Center, where he oversaw CIC’s expansion in St. Louis, Miami, and Rotterdam. Dougan also led the team responsible for the launch of sites in Philadelphia and Providence. Dougan has deep experience forging partnerships with state legislators, mayors, chancellors, entrepreneurs, corporate heads, and chambers of commerce leadership, among others, and brings critical expertise in the buildout of entrepreneurial ecosystems.
For example, corporate leaders are telling us they’re canceling real estate hunts for large downtown properties (in recognized tech hubs) and expect that a minimum of 30% of their workforce will be working from home. Office expansions are already moving away from a prime, single-headquarters building to smaller offices across the country. In short, companies are realizing that talent can work from anywhere.
Six of the top ten markets with the highest concentrations of software developers (with wages roughly 20% less than Silicon Valley) are in cities you wouldn’t normally think of. We’re looking at you, Kansas City, Detroit, Columbus, Minneapolis, Charlotte, and Salt Lake City. We’ve known for some time that Rise of the Rest is for real but it does seem here lately, that our time is truly on the horizon.