Leadership

David Bridges

Vice President, Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI²)

David Bridges is the Vice President of the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) at the Georgia Institute of Technology. EI2 is the largest, oldest, and most successful economic development organization at any university in the country. It is home to more than a dozen economic development programs which (1) build and scale startups, (2) grow existing small and medium-sized enterprises, including manufacturing firms, and (3) energize ecosystem builders (communities, governments, universities, and non-profits). These programs serve the State of Georgia, with programmatic reach across the Southeast region, the United States, and five continents around the world.

Prior to his appointment as vice president, Bridges was director of the Economic Development Lab (EDL) within EI2. EDL works with communities in Georgia on projects such as workforce development, fiscal and economic impact analyses, strategic planning, and downtown redevelopment. This lab also works globally and has conducted innovation policy research and implemented innovation ecosystem building projects in 23 countries around the world.

Since joining the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1994, Bridges has worked in various practice areas serving manufacturing firms, national labs, international governments, and innovation ecosystems. He has been a Principal or Co-Principal Investigator on over $20 million in grants and has authored, co-authored, or significantly contributed to over $40 million in winning proposals. Bridges has won over 100 proposals from U.S. federal agencies, plus universities, governments, and non-profits from around the world. He is a Principal Research Faculty member and a frequent lecturer and keynote speaker in China, South Africa, and across Latin America on nascent, innovation ecosystem building.

Prior to joining EI², he was a general management consultant and a brand manager at three consumer package goods companies. Bridges has a Bachelor of Business Administration from Emory University and a Master of Science in Marketing from Georgia State University.

John Avery

Director, ATDC

John is a serial entrepreneur who was part of four startups. A tech startup veteran with broad experience in data and wireless voice technologies, John was co-founder and chief technology officer of Convergence Corp., a maker of software that connects wireless devices to the Internet. Amazon acquired the company in 1999. Following that acquisition, he joined Amazon as engineering manager.

In 2001, John became an early employee of Mobliss, a mobile applications and messaging solutions company in the entertainment space. He later became the company’s chief technology officer. Japan’s Index Corp., a developer of mobile phone content and information and other media services such as video on demand, acquired Mobliss.

He holds six patents and owns Onboard Now, a developer of software for embedded devices such as smart phones, Web-enabled cameras, and industrial controls.

Most recently, he was engineering group manager of Panasonic Automotive Systems’ Panasonic Innovation Center at the Georgia Tech campus. At Panasonic, John oversaw the innovation center’s development projects in next-generation automotive systems including, infotainment, bio-sensing, machine vision, deep learning, and heads-up displays.

He is a Georgia Tech graduate with a bachelor’s degree in engineering.

Donna Ennis

Director, Community Engagement and Programs

Donna M. Ennis, C.P.F provides leadership across all EI2 units to develop collaborative funding opportunities and provide support and services to ensure the integration of inclusion into programs and operations. She co-leads the Georgia Artificial Intelligence Manufacturing Technology Corridor (Georgia AIM) project funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration. Georgia AIM leverages a statewide network of partners for the equitable development and deployment of talent and innovation in AI for all manufacturing sectors.   

As the operator representative and former project director for the Georgia Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center and the SE MBDA Business Growth Hub, Ennis provides strategic direction and operational oversight for these groups and business assistance to Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs). Under Ennis’ leadership, MBDA programs have helped companies generate over $6.4 billion in contracts, financing, and sales and creating or retaining more than 7,000 jobs.   

Known for her thought leadership and passion for advocating for and developing MBEs and small businesses, Ennis has been at the forefront of helping MBEs learn and understand the role that technology plays in scaling businesses. She established the NEXTTECH initiative for MBEs to bring technology solutions to federal agencies and corporations, launched the Specialty Trades Aiming at the Right Targets (START) to Build program for construction companies, and started the national MBE Manufacturers Summit in 2016, the only Summit of its kind in the U.S. to focus on bringing opportunities and education to MBE manufacturers. Ennis has mentored hundreds of business owners and frequently presents on minority business issues, business challenges, and entrepreneurial ecosystems. 

Ennis received her Master of Public Administration from Georgia State University and a B.S. in communications from Boston University. She received the 2022 Georgia Tech Diversity Champion Faculty Award and the 2022 Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President’s Partnership in the Promise Awards. She is the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2021 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Outstanding Voice awardee and one of Georgia Tech’s 2021 Faces of Inclusive Excellence. Ennis is also a graduate of the Leading Women@Tech program and has been named a tenured Atlanta’s Top 100 Black Women of Influence by the Atlanta Business League. Ennis is on the Board of Directors of the Healthcare Supplier Diversity Alliance (HSDA) and the Atlanta Business League, and the Board of Advisors of Enhanced Capital.  

Juli Golemi

Director, Enterprise Innovation Institute Global

Juli is the Director of Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) Global. Her background includes twenty years of experience in the field of economic development in the private sector and higher education with expertise in turning complex data into information that leads to strategic decisions and the realization of aggressive goals.

During her tenure at EI2 Global (formerly Innovations Ecosystems), Juli has led programs that provide support to communities and other universities with their innovation-led economic development initiatives focusing primarily on the assessment of communities’ innovation ecosystem and entrepreneurship programming needs.  These initiatives foster collaborations among informal ecosystem players to drive strategic planning, startup ecosystem formation, and business expansion.  She also led the Georgia Tech’s Soft Landings Program, an intensive program that helps international companies to quickly and efficiently assess multiple key factors that will assist them in deciding to expand their operations in the U.S.

Juli has been serving as the Co-Director of the EDA University Center and led the application for the current 5-year award.  This program is specifically designed to marshal the resources located within colleges and universities to support regional economic development strategies in regions of chronic and acute economic distress.

Prior to joining EI², Juli was the Director and Economist of the Economic Strategy Center, an economic development research and analysis firm where she managed a variety of projects including economic and fiscal analysis, benchmarking analysis, and program performance evaluations.

Juli earned her master’s degree in economics from Middle Tennessee State University and her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Tirana. She also completed studies at Vanderbilt University. She is currently serving on Georgia Tech’s Faculty Executive Board and is serving a second term on the Board of Directors of the University Economic Development Association (UEDA).

Tim Israel

Director, Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP)

Israel leads EI²’s largest and longest running program, the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) and is responsible for the manufacturing resources and regional staff located across Georgia.

Previously, he had been GaMEP’s associate director and group manager of process improvement.

The GaMEP works with manufacturers across the state to offer innovation- and solutions-based approaches via consulting, couching, and education.

A member organization of the National MEP network and supported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the GaMEP’s main goal is to help manufacturers increase top line growth and reduce bottom costs.

Israel, a 30-year veteran at Georgia Tech, began his career as a project engineer in Tech’s Gainesville Regional Office. He also served as a project manager in Georgia Tech’s Georgia Productivity and Quality Center (GPQC) and the Center for International Standards and Quality (CISQ).

An expert in lean manufacturing, quality management systems, and supplier development, Israel earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial engineering from Georgia Tech.

Johanna Kaiser

Georgia Advanced Technology Ventures (GATV)

Johanna Kaiser has more than 13 years of leadership experience in real estate management, entrepreneurship/start-up support, and program management. She has served in a number of roles within the Enterprise Innovation Institute, Georgia Tech’s primary service and outreach organization. With a master’s degree in business administration from Georgia Tech, Johanna primarily supports GATV’s efforts in technology commercialization, incubator services, and real estate development.

Debra Lam

Founding Director, Partnership for Inclusive Innovation

Debra Lam is the Founding Director of the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation, a statewide public-private partnership committed to investing in innovative pilot projects. She also continues to lead smart communities and urban innovation work at Georgia Tech. She founded the Georgia Smart Community Challenge, the first statewide effort in the nation that empowers communities of all sizes to become smarter. Prior to this, she served as Pittsburgh’s inaugural Chief of Innovation & Performance where she oversaw all technology, sustainability, performance, and innovation functions of city government. She crafted the city’s first strategic plan for innovation, the Inclusive Innovation Roadmap. Prior to that, she was a management consultant at a global engineering and design firm, Arup. She has recieved various awards, including being named one of the top 100 most influential people in digital government by Apolitcal. She has worked and lived in the United Kingdom, China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. She is a graduate of Georgetown University and University of California, Berkeley, and serves on the boards of the MetroLab Network and Neighborhood Nexus.

Roger E. Mason

Director of Finance and Budgets

Roger E. Mason serves as Director of Finance and Budgets for Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2).  In this role he supports all financial activities for EI2. Roger has more than 20 years of university and leadership experience in finance, state funded programs, and sponsored awards.  He received his Bachelor’s degree in finance from Kennesaw State University.

Janice Maxwell

Director of Strategic Initiatives and Chief of Staff, Enterprise Innovation Institute

Janice Maxwell is the director of strategic initiatives and chief of staff at the Enterprise Innovation Institute. In this role, she works on process improvement as the Enterprise Innovation Institute continues to grow and manages a set of strategic projects, including the organization’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and employee well-being.

Before joining the Enterprise Innovation Institute, Janice worked as director of IT operations and head of the office of the chief innovation officer at Georgia State University, where she managed the budget, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and provided strategic oversight of approximately 100 projects per year.

Janice served on the executive committee and as head of governance for Georgia Equality, whose mission is to advance fairness, safety, and opportunity for LGBTQ communities. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from American Intercontinental University and a master’s from Keller Graduate School of Management of DeVry University. She is a certified Scrum Master, a project management designation, from the Scrum Alliance.

Alfie Meek, Ph.D

Director, Center for Economic Development Research

Alfie is the Director of the Center for Economic Development Research at the Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI²). He has more than 25 years of experience in economic/fiscal impact analysis and community-based research.  Over the years Dr. Meek has served the State of Georgia in various roles including the technical advisory committee for the Georgia Rural Development Council and the Rural Research Consortium.  Most recently, Dr. Meek served as a member of Governor Kemp’s Coronavirus Task Force Economic Impact Committee.

Before joining EI², Alfie served for nine years as the Chief Economist and Director of Economic Development for the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners.  In that role, he was integral in the development and implementation of Partnership Gwinnett, a community-wide strategic plan that was named the best multi-year economic development program for large communities by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) in 2010.  Before his time in Gwinnett County, he spent three years as the Director of Applied Research at The University of Georgia’s Business Outreach Services and Small Business Development Center and served for five years on the faculty at the Georgia Institute of Technology as an economist and project director for the Center for Economic Development Services.  Preceding his tenure at Georgia Tech, Alfie was the Research Economist for SunTrust Banks, Inc.

Current areas of special focus include economic/fiscal impact analysis, forecasting and modeling, tax policy analysis, and target industry analysis.  In addition to his research, Dr. Meek speaks widely on topics relating to economic impact and economic development.  Dr. Meek is on the board of the Georgia Academy of Economic Development and has spoken to more than to 4,300 elected officials and local leaders from each of the 159 counties in Georgia on the importance of fiscal impact analysis in their economic development efforts.

Dr. Meek has also written for economic development-related publications, as well as other periodicals.  His research on the size and economic impact of the sports industry in the United States was published in Sports Marketing Quarterly.  This research has been written about and cited in numerous publications – USA Today, Georgia Trend, Financial Times London, Fortune Magazine, and Investor’s Business Daily among others.

Alfie is an active member of the Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA); the National Association for Business Economics (NABE); and is past president of the Atlanta Economics Club.  He holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from The University of Georgia; a Master of Science in Business Economics from Georgia State University; and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Gregory T. Owen

Director of Human Resources

Gregory T. Owen serves as human resources director of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute. He has also served as adjunct faculty for Georgia Tech teaching GT1000 for multiple semesters. He also holds an additional USG adjunct faculty appointment and teaches social science courses in the College of Liberal Arts at Georgia Gwinnett College.

He completed his graduate studies at Georgia State University with a Ph.D. in Higher Education Policy and a Master’s of Science in Educational Psychology. He has more than 20 years’ experience working in higher education and in the field of human resources. His research interests include policy and organizational development, performance management, human resources process improvement, and qualitative research design.

Péralte C. Paul

Director of Communications, Enterprise Innovation Institute

Paul has been with the Georgia Institute of Technology since 2014. He has more than 20 years media and communications experience as a reporter and writer for various news outlets — including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Florida Times-Union, and The Jersey Journal — and as an editor in online news media at Aol. He has covered a number of different business-related topics, including Banking, Economic Development, Georgia Agriculture/Agribusiness, and Law. He also has a public relations background having worked for a boutique, New York-based public relations agency where he worked on a number of business-to-business and business-to-consumer accounts. Paul is a graduate of Rutgers University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in English, with a concentration in journalism.