Jan Youtie Retires from Tech After 30 Years of Service

Family brought Jan Youtie to Georgia Tech. Her husband had a long history with the Institute, and she had always been impressed by his friends from Tech. She was also no stranger to Georgia universities, having received a bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. in political science from Emory University and worked at Kennesaw State University as the assistant director of the A.L. Burruss Institute of Public Service and Research.

In January 1992, Youtie began her own Georgia Tech journey as a senior research associate with the Economic Development Institute, now the Enterprise Innovation Institute, or EI2. She joined forces with the School of Public Policy (SPP) in 1998 as an adjunct associate professor.

In her time at Georgie Tech, Youtie has made notable contributions to economic development in Georgia and internationally, as well helping mentor more than 100 School of Public Policy students.

Jan Youtie.

“Jan is a very thoughtful and kind person who always wants the best for our team. She has a quiet demeanor with a deep wealth of knowledge and common sense that is a rare find these days,” said Lynne Henkiel, director of EI2’s Economic Development Lab.

Now, after 30 years of service to Georgia Tech, Youtie has retired.

Most recently, she served as director of policy research services and principal research associate in the Economic Development Lab. She also directed the Technology Policy and Assessment Center in the School of Public Policy (SPP), as well as SPP’s and EI2’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (STIP) co-lab. To round it all off, she retained another position in SPP as an adjunct research scientist.

Youtie’s research focused on technology-based economic development, advanced manufacturing, emerging technology assessment, bibliometric and patent analysis with peers in China, and innovation and knowledge measurement and evaluation. She is the author of more than 100 peer-reviewed articles, 20 book chapters, and two books.

“Georgia Tech is losing a very valuable asset in its portfolio of economic development focused on public policy. She will be sorely missed,” Henkiel added.

Far-Reaching Development Work

Youtie has teamed up with colleagues across the Institute to participate in research projects that reach across the state and country and even internationally.

Among other things, Youtie has worked alongside Philip Shapira, professor in the School of Public Policy, on the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership

(GaMEP), funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the state of Georgia. The program, a unit of EI2, works to increase U.S. manufacturing productivity, efficiency, and technological performance, as well as reduce costs.

“Jan Youtie has made a lasting contribution to the Georgia manufacturing community and the state as a whole via her 25-plus years of effort in developing, managing, conducting, and analyzing the Georgia Manufacturing Survey (GMS) every two to three years,” said GaMEP Director Tim Israel. “The results of this survey have helped influence manufacturing policy and programs in our state and guided our companies’ growth and prosperity. I have greatly enjoyed working with her on the GMS for many of these years and will miss her dedication and intellect.”

Shapira and Youtie also teamed up to help create the Mid-sized Cities Technology Development Initiative, which led to the establishment of the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Centers of Innovation. Now, the Center works with businesses across the state to help them grow.

“In every project, I have been amazed by how Jan always manages to deliver research outputs that are creative, influential, robust, and on time!” Philip Shapira said. “That the Georgia Tech School of Public Policy and the Enterprise Innovation Institute are now widely recognized as thought leaders and analytical powerhouses in innovation policy and technology-based economic development is in no small part due to Jan’s extensive and groundbreaking contributions over many years.”

David Bridges, EI2 vice president, echoed those sentiments, highlighting how her work was foundational to projects overseas.

“Jan has worked extensively in Europe, Asia, and Latin America over her career,” Bridges said, “She and Juan Rogers in the School of Public Policy wrote and spoke extensively on the importance of technology extension in Latin America. That research led to projects in Chile and the large effort in Colombia.”

Bridges added that Youtie’s work also included developing foresight research on the future of innovations for the Army and pioneering societal and ethical impact analysis for a National Science Foundation grant Georgia Tech received in 2015 connected to nanotechnology infrastructure.

Preparing Students to Tackle Problems Head-on

As STIP director, one of Youtie’s areas of focus was to engage the next generation of public policy researchers. She led the STIP Georgia Innovation Internship program for University System of Georgia graduate students from its inception in 2015 through 2020, when the pandemic hit. In all, 50 students interested in coupling science and innovation to economic development and public policy went through the program.

For the past few years, Youtie served as one of the instructors for the School of Public Policy’s Policy Task Force program. In the two-class series, public policy seniors spend a year working with local clients to help solve their policy problems.

Youtie sees the program as yet another way to provide Georgia Tech students with a chance to see the practical applications of the skills they’ve learned in the classroom.

“The Policy Task Force mastery model lets students understand the importance of reworking deliverables so that the outcomes meet and, in most cases, exceed client expectations,” she said.

Youtie helped mentor this year’s task force students as they tackled issues ranging from clean energy to the racial wealth gap and economic development.

“Jan has become a great friend through our collaboration on task force, where she brought invaluable insight into practical, client-centered work that she deployed to guide the students learning how to marshal their analytical skills in service of solving client problems and producing professional-quality results,” said Professor Diana Hicks, the other task force instructor.

Youtie has assisted and guided over 100 students in the School of Public Policy, including 46 research assistants.

“Jan Youtie has made an indelible impression upon the SPP community,” said Cassidy Sugimoto, Tom and Marie Patton School Chair. “We are grateful for the many hours she spent teaching our capstone undergraduate course and mentoring graduate students in research projects. Jan brought an incredible expertise and generosity to the School — simply put, she is irreplaceable and will be greatly missed.”

Having spent a career at the intersection of the humanities and development, Youtie hopes that Georgia Tech students — particularly those in the liberal arts — aren’t afraid to put their skills to good use.

“Have confidence that what you have learned can help solve real-world problems,” she said.

STIP Selects Students for 2019 Georgia Innovative Economic Development Internship Program

The 2019 Class of Georgia Innovative Economic Development Internship Program students. From left: Karl Grindal, Ebney Ayaj Rana, STIP Program Director Jan Youtie, and Daniel Schiff. (Photos: Péralte C. Paul)

The Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (STIP) program at Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute has selected the three students who are the 2019 Georgia Innovative Economic Development interns.

 

The 10-week, paid internship — open to any graduate student attending a University System of Georgia school — gives interns the opportunity to develop and pursue deep research in an economic development-related project.

 

At the end of the internship period, the interns, who will each receive a $6,000 stipend, will be able to present their findings to economic development and innovation groups.

 

“We have three excellent interns who went through a rigorous selection process and vetting from three statewide economic developers who are experts in their fields and are highly respected in Georgia’s economic development community,” said Jan Youtie, STIP program director. “All three are working on topics that are important to Georgia’s economic development future. I think what we will get out these internship research efforts will be seminal for the future of Georgia and we will look back in 5 or 10 years and say we learned a lot from these projects that helped the state go forward.”

 

The 2019 Georgia Innovative Economic Development Interns are:

 

KARL GRINDAL: rising 4th year Ph.D., Georgia Tech’s School of Public Policy

  • Research Topic: Analyzing breach notification reports that companies fill out when they need to notify the public that customer data has been accessed or hacked by connecting those reports to corporate and industry level data to help answer questions about which types of companies are being targeted and in which states over time.
  • Reason: “The goal of collecting this data is to help with risk assessment. I was inspired to look at this data because it relates directly to how intellectual property is being stolen or how customer data is being lost. That affects trust in Georgia companies, so by being able to measure the effects of hacking both here in the state of Georgia and around the country on corporations, and ultimately, customers, we can hopefully reduce that exposure and help build trust and protect American innovations.”

 

DANIEL SCHIFF: rising 3rd year Ph.D., Georgia Tech’s School of Public Policy

  • Research Topic: Looking at artificial intelligence (AI) policy strategies and AI ethics codes/guidelines coming from corporations, governments, and other organizations.
  • Reason: “I want to see what the challenges are we face in Georgia and possible solutions to them. AI has become an important emergent technology in the last five years and that’s spurred a lot of interest in innovation as well as the social, legal, political, and ethical implications. People are starting to worry about and think about how we are to approach these new technologies moving forward.”

 

EBNEY AYAJ RANA: rising 2nd year master’s, Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies

  • Research Topic: How high-tech entrepreneurship among immigrants is growing in the state of Georgia compared with the United States overall, and how fiscal policies and economic development incentives can be mobilized even more for the betterment and fostering of immigrant-owned enterprises in the state of Georgia.
  • Reason: “The immigrant-owned, high-tech entrepreneurial enterprises are increasingly growing in other states and they’re outperforming the native born-owned enterprises and industries. So maybe if provided with appropriate economic development policies and with incentives, maybe we can help foster the growth of immigrant-owned, high-tech enterprises in the state of Georgia.”

Applications now open for the 2019 Georgia Innovative Economic Development Internship Program

Graduate students have opportunity to further research in 10-week, paid summer internship at Georgia Tech.

 

Are you a graduate student attending a University System of Georgia school and interested in pursuing your own research opportunity that links science, technology, and innovation to economic development?

 

Supraja Sudharsan, a 2018 Georgia Innovative Economic Development Intern, is a doctoral candidate studying comparative urban governance in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs.

Supraja Sudharsan, a 2018 Georgia Innovative Economic Development Intern, is a doctoral candidate studying comparative urban governance in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs.

The Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (STIP) program at Georgia Tech is now accepting applications for the 2019 Georgia Innovative Economic Development Internship Program. (For details and requirements, apply here: stip.gatech.edu/apply/).

 

The highly competitive, 10-week, paid internship is designed to allow graduate students to further develop and pursue research in an innovative economic development project. At the end of the internship period, interns, who will receive a $6,000 stipend, will have an opportunity to present their project findings to economic development and innovation groups.

 

Applications will be accepted through Feb. 28, 2019 and the internship is open to any graduate student who has completed the first year of a two-year master’s program or enrolled in a doctoral program at a public university in the University System of Georgia.

 

Those accepted into the program will be notified by the end of March 2019.

 

STIP is a globally recognized program that conducts research-based policy analyses and reports of innovation policy, science, and technology for organizations and governments domestically and internationally.

 

“Students can delve deeply into their research and apply that analysis and study to real-world challenges,” said Jan Youtie, STIP program director.

 

“This is an excellent opportunity for enterprising students who want to explore how their own ideas can have an impact on any number of subject areas ranging from strategic or emerging technologies and economic modeling, to research commercialization and sustainability.”

 

Mirit Friedman is pursuing her master’s degree in city and regional planning at Georgia Tech’s School of City & Regional Planning.

Mirit Friedman, a 2018 Georgia Innovative Economic Development Intern, is pursuing a master’s degree in city and regional planning at Georgia Tech’s School of City & Regional Planning.

Former interns, such as Mirit Friedman, a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in city and regional planning at Georgia Tech’s School of City & Regional Planning, say the experience is a rewarding one.

 

Her research explored ways in which the Atlanta Community Food Bank could activate its vast partnership network in new ways to better support its clients’ economic mobility.

 

“I was able to explore my research interests under the guidance of economic development experts and restricting the research to the summer period forced me to focus on an initial research question I could test and explore in the short period,” Friedman said, adding the program’s pace and structure was invaluable.

 

“We had to develop our research substantially each week and being held to that pace of research development helped prepare me for the demanding deadlines the workforce expects,” she said. “Additionally, having my research be pushed in directions I hadn’t anticipated required me to respond to and explore new ideas that ultimately helped me hone in on a more explicit research topic.”

 

Supraja Sudharsan, a doctoral candidate studying comparative urban governance in Tech’s Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, echoed Friedman’s sentiments.

 

“I evaluated the smart city projects that have been piloted, underway or completed in three cities in Atlanta, Austin, and Pittsburgh,” she said. “By comparatively studying their plans, initiatives, associated partnerships, and the organizational process involved in their development and implementation, the study served to look beyond the hype of smart cities to understand how cities develop and implement smart city projects.

 

“The program provided exposure to organizational processes within city government organizations and the challenge of effecting change, which is an area of interest in my doctoral research.”

 

About the Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy program

The Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy program at Georgia Tech is an internationallyrecognized offering of the Georgia Institute of Technology that offers in-depth and critical research-based analyses of innovation policy, science, and technology to organizations and governments around the world. It is part of the Economic Development Lab at the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), Tech’s economic development arm. Along with EI2, it is supported by the Georgia Tech School of Public Policy. Visit stip.gatech.edu to learn more.