Event Summary: Governor Terry McAuliffe Visits the TandemNSI Community
As part of the Governor’s declaration of October being “Techtober” highlighting the importance of technology entrepreneurship to the Commonwealth, Governor Terry McAuliffe and Secretary of Technology, Karen Jackson, made a special visit to TandemNSI at the Artisphere on Friday October 10th. The Governor met with a selected group of TandemNSI community members to see how our community is growing and to better understand the opportunities that exist when entrepreneurs work to solve national security problems. Governor McAuliffe, Secretary Karen Jackson and Commerce Secretary Maurice Jones all understand the need to retool the Virginia economy to address federal budget cuts and sequestration. As a businessman, the Governor knows the issues small businesses and start ups face.
Leaders on both sides of the aisle understand the value of connecting Federal national security R&D and program managers with Virginia entrepenuers, as evidenced by Finance Secretary Ric Brown and former Commerce Secretary Jim Cheng support for TandemNSI.
The event had two parts. The first was a “showcase” where TandemNSI member companies demonstrated their technologies to the Governor. These seven companies were emblematic of the range of companies in our community and included: Brandon Borko of Sentien Robotics, Kathleen Griggs of Databuoy, Hugh Brooks of AXON Ghost Sentinel, Carlos Aguayo Gonzalez of PFP Cybersecurity, Chad Vanderslice of GXM Consulting, Chris Greamo of Invincea, and Adrian Porter of Eucleo.
After becoming acquainted with the TandemNSI community members during the technology showcase, the Governor and Secretary of Technology Jackson joined Jonathan Aberman for a round table discussion designed to provide further insight into the community and, more broadly, the technology entrepreneurs of Northern Virginia. Our community members were vocal and relaxed. Some wonderful interchanges occurred and the Governor and Secretary Jackson were very engaged. Our members asked the Governor to focus on these things:
- Can the State develop mechanisms to be a “beta customer” for our start-ups?
- Is there sufficient focus in the Commonwealth on start-ups?
- How is the State preparing our children with the skills needed to get jobs and be productive in this “new paradigm” economy?
- There is a lot of ecosystem-building activity happening in VA (especially in NOVA with TandemNSI’s efforts) and the State could help highlight these efforts.
- Taking the lead in promoting access to affordable broadband (a nationwide problem) could/should be an industrial advantage for the Commonwealth, and for promoting the technology ecosystem
- Virginia’s universities should be more focused on getting technology out the door to entrepreneurs, even if it is not a money making activity for the universities.
- An organization like TandemNSI should expand its focus to Silicon Valley in order to help bridge the two markets.
- A “reverse pitch” event, where TandemNSI companies get to pitch their products to the Commonwealth was enthusiastically recommended.
Governor McAuliffe and Secretary Jackson was very enthusiastic about several of these ideas and pledged to consider these in his future planning. We will cover progress against these ideas in future posts! Share your ideas for Governor McAuliffe in the blog comment section below!
Check out the upcoming TandemNSI events you will want to consider attending!