EI2 Global hosts Argentinian startups on business development tour

Alberto Ponce, who manages EI2 Global’s Soft Landing program, explains how it helps foreign companies exploring U.S. expansion navigate that complex market. (PHOTO: Péralte C. Paul)

EI2 Global,  the international outreach economic development program at Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, recently hosted a delegation of startup founders and investors from Argentina who were in Atlanta on a three-day fact finding mission about the region’s startup ecosystem.

The delegation, led by Argentina’s Atlanta-based Consul General Alana Patricia Lomonaco Busto, wanted to learn about the business opportunities in the region. Attendees also wanted to see how Enterprise Innovation Institute programs such as EI2 Global’s Soft Landing program helps foreign companies determine if entering the U.S. market makes sense and how to do so to strategically to maximize success, said Albert Ponce, who manages the Soft Landing initiative.

The visitors also toured the Enterprise Innovation Institute’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) to learn how the incubator helps startups scale and connect with investors, customers, and talent.

Robert Daniel, ATDC FinTech catalyst, explains how the incubator supports Georgia’s startup ecosystem. (PHOTO: Péralte C. Paul)

While in Atlanta, the delegates will also meet with officials from the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the Technology Association of Georgia, and Atlanta City Hall.

The visit to Georgia Tech is one of several from Argentina in the last few years, as well as from other parts of Latin America, Europe, and Africa.

They are part of EI2 Global’s longstanding mission of serving as the nexus for helping businesses and economic development organizations around the world foster their own  innovation-focused, economic development ecosystems.

Partnership for Inclusive Innovation director speaks at Congressional AI-Transportation roundtable

Debra Lam, (front row on the right, second from right) addresses the full U.S. House Committee Bipartisan Roundtable on AI in Infrastructure and Transportation. (PHOTO: Robert Knotts)

The Partnership for Inclusive Innovation (Partnership), a program of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, focuses its work on improving access and opportunities for all Georgians. Its goal since its founding in 2020 is to drive innovation and create opportunities for all to thrive together as part of the innovation ecosystem., regardless of geographic, racial, gender and socio-economic status.

The U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure held a roundtable on artificial intelligence (AI) in infrastructure and transportation on April 16, 2024 where Partnership Executive Director Debra Lam was invited to speak and share how the organization is leveraging AI as a tool to bring innovative solutions in the transit space.

Lam also sat down with U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, the committee’s ranking member, for Q&A session on how AI can help drive innovation in transportation forward.


Below are Lam’s prepared remarks for the hearing:

Good morning, Chairman Graves, Ranking Member Larsen and distinguished members of the House Transportation Committee. It’s an honor to be here today to discuss the transformative potential of AI in Transportation.

My name is Debra Lam and I lead the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation based out of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Our mission is to catalyze and invest in innovative solutions that drive shared economic prosperity through public-private collaborations. Since 2020, the Partnership’s work has deployed millions in financial and social capital and catalyzed hundreds of projects with local governments, corporates, universities, startups, and nonprofits. The projects have created new businesses, increased jobs, and deployed hundreds of technologies and innovations.

In the realm of AI and transportation, we are guided by three core principles:

  • Community-centered problem solving: We believe in starting with the challenges faced by communities themselves, who best understand their needs. However, complex issues like transportation and infrastructure require a collective approach. This is why we form robust public-private partnerships, combining the expertise of multidisciplinary research teams to find the most effective tech-based solutions tailored to community goals. Whether it is AI or other future, unknown technology, it should be seen as one of many tools that is centered on solving community problems.
  • Innovation for all: We stand by the idea that every community, regardless of its size or location, can be a hub of innovation. Our objective is to democratize access to technology and foster an understanding of innovations like AI. This empowers communities to not just utilize technology but to refine and advance it.
  • A holistic view of transportation: Transportation is the lifeline connecting housing and employment. We are dedicated to ensuring that accessible and affordable transportation, especially with the integration of AI and other advanced technologies, is not a hurdle but a support system for securing employment and accessing homes.

Now, let me illustrate how these principles come alive in one of our projects:

Through a U.S. Dept. of Transportation SMART grant, the Chatham Area Transit Authority, with Georgia Tech researchers, is improving transit services in historically underserved neighborhoods. Piloting an On-Demand Multi-model Transit System (ODMTS) powered by AI, riders, including paratransit riders can use a mobile application to summon prompt and efficient transit service.

The AI-driven algorithm behind the service not only learns and evolves from increased usage but also guides the existing, professional drivers along the safest and most expedient routes. The project utilizes union operators and trains early career professionals as operators and maintenance personnel from the local colleges. Additionally, we are improving algorithms to optimize electric vehicle charging to increase operational efficiency and energy conservation.

This project stands as a testament to our approach, showcasing AI as a powerful ally in elevating and integrating transportation services to meet the needs of all communities.

I look forward to delving into these topics with you today.

Thank you for your attention and for supporting this vital work.

Georgia Tech’s Top-ranked Basic Economic Development Course Explores Placemaking

The Georgia Institute of Technology is hosting its 57th annual Basic Economic Development Course (BEDC), an immersive in-person event that explores the multifaceted theme of placemaking, Aug. 26 – 29, 2024, at the Georgia Tech Global Learning Center.

BEDC is presented by Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute in conjunction with the International Economic Development Council (course completion can be applied toward certification) and the Georgia Economic Developers Association.

The Enterprise Innovation Institute is the longest running, most diverse university-based development organization in the U.S. Through the application of Georgia Tech’s world-class research in science, technology, and innovation, it helps companies, entrepreneurs, economic developers, and communities hone their competitive edge.

Since its founding in the 1880s, Georgia Tech has been committed to promoting economic development in the state of Georgia, and BEDC — which was the nation’s first course of its kind when it debuted in 1967 — continues that longstanding tradition.

Led by the Enterprise Innovation Institute’s Center for Economic Development Research, and under the guidance of a collaborative team of economists, city planners, and economic development practitioners, BEDC attendees spend four days participating in interactive workshops, networking with industry professionals, and listening to guest speakers whose expertise spans a range of disciplines.

The course delves into different strategies for fostering local economic development, from crafting effective incentives and creating quality communities to promoting economic recovery and resilience — not to mention navigating all the opportunities and challenges that arise in the process.

In short, there’s a lot more to economic development than simply providing jobs.

“Today’s society is more mobile than ever,” said Alan Durham, a program manager and BEDC course director with the Enterprise Innovation Institute’s Center for Economic Development Research.

“Because an increasing number of number of workers are no longer tied to a centralized office location, they are embracing the opportunity to move to farther-flung areas. As a result, quality of life is becoming essential for attracting talent and retaining existing companies. This course trains influential local leaders who can assist their communities in doing exactly that.”

BEDC welcomes enrollees of all experience levels. Whether they are new to economic development or looking expand their existing knowledge base, participants can expect to complete the course armed with an amplified understanding of essential principles — and the skills to put them into practice.

What: Basic Economic Development Course (BEDC)
August 26 – 29, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. EDT
Global Learning Center, 84 Fifth Street N.W., Atlanta, GA 30308
Presented by: The Georgia Institute of Technology in conjunction with the International Economic Development Council and the Georgia Economic Developers Association
Program director: Alan Durham, 404.660.0241,
For more information, contact: Krystle Richardson, 404.894.7174,

Partnership for Inclusive Innovation Smart Cities Projects Receive International Recognitions

Warner Robins, Woodstock, and Columbus, Georgia, recognized with smart community awards

Within hours in early March, projects from three Georgia communities that are part of the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation’s (Partnership) Community Research Grant program were honored with international smart cities awards.

Winners of the Intelligent Community Forum’s Smart21 Community Awards at the 2024 Taipei Smart City Summit and Expo

Warner Robins’ Citizen Safety Digital Twin for Community Resilience and Woodstock’s Smart Master Plan and Smart Corridor Study were recognized at the 2024 Taipei Smart City Summit and Expo with the Intelligent Community Forum’s Smart21 Community Award.

At the same time, Columbus was named a Smart 20 award winner by Smart Cities Connect for the Digital Twin River Safety Project. That award will be presented in May.

“These accolades are a testament to the Partnership’s pivotal role in developing, nurturing, steering, and funding these projects from conception to triumphant completion,” said Debra Lam, the Partnership’s director.

The Warner Robins project to develop and test a Citizen Safety Digital Twin for Community Resilience integrated a dynamic license plate reader solution with police department investigation practices to help lower crime rates in the community. Working with researchers from Georgia Tech and Middle Georgia State University, the Warner Robins Police Department used historical crime data to determine the optimal location and direction to place license plate reader cameras. During the six-month pilot phase of the project, the data helped recover 27 stolen vehicles and solve three major crimes — a shooting and two homicides.

“It’s one of the best investments I think we can make as a city because it brings the peace of mind of safe streets, safe communities, safe shopping experience. The fact that we have our flock cameras in different areas in our city with the smart technology to expand the footprint of our police department helps us solve crime and also helps deter crime, which is even more beneficial.” Warner Robins Mayor LaRhonda Patrick said.

The Woodstock project dates back to 2020, when the city worked with the Partnership on a master plan and smart corridor study to help alleviate the traffic and lack of parking in the city, following a doubling of the population since 2010.

In that first part of the project, the city collected data from GridSmart installations, which document minute-by-minute traffic and turning movements. In the second phase, interns from the Partnership examined the data to find ways to integrate it with previously collected traffic volume flows to show historical patterns. The goal is to determine the best way to amalgamate the data for use in making smart decisions about new transportation projects.

“Woodstock is honored to be among this diverse list of communities, and we are proud to represent the state of Georgia with fellow honoree Warner Robins,” said Mayor Michael Caldwell. “The city of Woodstock is committed to improving its citizens’ quality of life through smart technology programs. From transportation systems to innovative infrastructure technology, the city has been boldly pursuing the initiatives of its Smart Master Plan since 2020.”

The Columbus project’s goal is to make the world’s longest manmade urban whitewater course safer for swimmers and boaters. Scheduled and unscheduled dam releases have caused flooding, limited time for evacuations, and drownings. A digital twin created for the river allowed Georgia Tech and Columbus State University researchers to collaborate and develop technology that can predict changing water levels, detect humans in the water, and alert authorities.

“I think to win the award is awesome, but the impetus was to promote river safety and provide real-time SMART solutions that save lives,” said Dr. James Forrest Toelle, information technology director for Columbus consolidated government, and the project manager for the digital twin project. “None of it would have been possible without the tremendous partnership with Georgia Tech, the Partnership, and our local fire department.”

“It was an incredibly valuable opportunity for us to develop public safety Digital Twins together with collaborators in Columbus and Warner Robins,” said John Taylor, Frederick Law Olmsted Professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, “and it is particularly rewarding to see the research being implemented to help save lives and reduce crimes in real communities. These smart community awards are important recognition of the forward thinking vision and dedication to public safety of these communities.”

These three international wins follow the selection of Valdosta as a finalist in the 2021 World Smart Cities Awards in the Mobility Category for its Traffic Monitoring and Communication System to Improved Safety, Connectivity, and Efficiency project that has reduced the time it takes for first responders to travel the city.

“These projects exemplify the transformative power of technology and community engagement in creating safer, more enjoyable, and more resilient communities,” Lam said. “This remarkable success rate is a clear indicator of our role in nurturing a vibrant ecosystem for innovations—placing Georgia firmly on the map for smart cities.”

EI2’s Chasten McCrary Awarded Bergmark Family Study Abroad Scholarship for Scheller Project in Czechia

Chasten McCrary (Photo: Chris Ruggiero)

Chasten McCrary, a strategy consultant with the Enterprise Innovation Institute‘s chief of staff, was awarded the Bergmark Family Study Abroad Scholarship from Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business.

McCrary, a second-year Evening MBA student, was selected to partake in Scheller’s International Practicum Course. This Spring semester, she serves as a student consultant for an internationally-based company alongside her classmates.

As part of this opportunity, she is spending her spring break in Czechia (formerly the Czech Republic) to collaborate with ALBAform, a woman-owned manufacturing company in the automotive industry.

McCrary said she was excited to blend her hands-on work experience with educational enrichment during this adventure.

“I really enjoyed serving as a consultant on the team for ALBAform,” McCrary said. “I’m looking forward to delivering our final recommendations and I’m so grateful for this opportunity.”

From left, John Parkerson, international business attorney; Scheller MBA students, Brooke E. Leeder, Chasten McCrary, Stephen Coterillo; Monika Vintrlikova, ALBAform senior executive and Honorary Consul Czechia, and Jan Vintrlik, ALBAform’s chief operating officer.

Founded in 1992, ALBAform is a second-generation, family-owned business with more than three decades of international experience in metal fabrication and engineering services with operations in. Czechia, Mexico, and in Flowery Branch, Georgia. Its clients include BMW, Ford Motor Co., and Volvo.

The company is a client of the Enterprise Innovation Institute’s Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which assisted ALBAform in leadership and business strategy consulting, and workforce development.

The Bergmark Family Study Abroad Scholarship is named for Dick Bergmark (IM ‘75, Hon. PhD ’22), one of  the Scheller College of Business’ main philanthropists, and immediate past chair of the school’s advisory board.

Enterprise 6 Internship Program Applications Open for Summer 2024

Are you a student currently enrolled in the University System of Georgia (USG) who’s excited
to take on new challenges in technology, business development, or ecosystem building?

Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute is now accepting applications for its competitive 2024 Enterprise 6 (E6) Summer Internship Program, which offers paid opportunities to collaborate on dynamic projects in furtherance of an economic development mission.

The longest running and most diverse university-based economic development organization in the United States, the Enterprise Innovation Institute launched its founding program more than 60 years ago. Since then, the organization has expanded to serve innovative enterprises of all sizes, from pre-company teams and startups to long-running businesses, as well as communities seeking to revitalize their local economies.

Though the Enterprise 6 Internship Program, USG undergraduate and graduate students across a range of disciplines discover how the skills they’ve been cultivating in classrooms and labs can play a role in economic development. The program is made possible via funding from the Georgia Tech Office of the Executive Vice President for Research.

Two georgia tech Enterprise 6 alums
Enterprise 6 alums from the 2023 class (from left) Olajide Olugbade and Hanyu Lu. (PHOTOS: Péralte Paul)

Although the internship doesn’t accrue academic credit, students receive $25 an hour for a 20-hour work week. Each intern is mentored by an Enterprise Innovation Institute research faculty member, and bi-weekly remote meetings offer the chance to share observations about their experience.

“The Enterprise Innovation Institute engages in meaningful work to expand economic opportunity for all, and the E6 program provides students the opportunity to work on real-world challenges supporting the equitable development and deployment of talent and innovation both locally and globally,” said David Bridges, the Enterprise Innovation Institute’s vice president.

“In some cases, E6 interns are so inspired by this experience that they that change the trajectory of their ambitions.”

Take, for example, Eve Pike, who at the time of her 2021 internship was a student at Georgia Tech’s Sam Nunn School of International Affairs. Working with Enterprise 6 gave her a new set of reference points, and Pike realized she wanted to pursue a career in tech — and possibly even expand into marketing or economics. “It broadened my horizon,” she said.

Hanyu Lu found that her experience as an Enterprise 6 intern in 2023 “significantly enhanced my skills in analysis and development.” After E6, Lu, who is working towards a master’s degree in computational science and engineering at Georgia Tech, went on to complete an internship at Heartland Forward, in Bentonville, Arkansas, where she continued to strengthen the abilities she honed as an E6 intern.

For another member of the 2023 cohort, Olajide Olugbade, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in science and technology policy at Georgia Tech, the Enterprise 6 internship was instrumental in securing his current position as a graduate research assistant. “The knowledge I gained, the skills I demonstrated, and the relationship I built while conducting research for the EI2 Global team all contributed to being the candidate of choice,” he said.

The benefits of the Enterprise 6 program flow in both directions; not only do the interns gain valuable skills from their experiences, they also contribute in a very tangible way to the Enterprise Innovation Institute’s mission.

“E6 students bring fresh and unique perspectives to our work,” said Bridges. “These perspectives allow our programs to deliver leading-edge capacity-building support to people, companies, and communities in Georgia and beyond.”

Enterprise 6 internships run from May 13 to August 9. Seven internships are available, and interested students may apply to a maximum of two.

See the project outlines from the application link.

  • EARN: $25 per hour (up to 20 hours per week).
  • OPPORTUNITY TO: Serve enterprises and communities of all sizes.
  • REQUIREMENTS: Must thrive on challenging projects in technology, business development, or ecosystem building.
  • ELIGIBILITY: Open to all University System of Georgia students.
  • WHEN: May 13, 2024 to August 9, 2024.
  • LOCATION: Hybrid (work remotely and in Technology Square, Atlanta).
  • DEADLINE: Résumés due March 22, 2024.
  • APPLY:
  • QUESTIONS?… E-mail:

Enterprise 6 Internship Project Listing Summer 2024

Center for Economic Development Research (CEDR)
Scope of position: This intern is responsible for assisting the economists at the Center for Economic Development Research (CEDR) with gathering and analyzing data related to various community-level contract research projects.
What you’ll do: Typical projects include labor force analysis, economic and/or fiscal impact analysis, and building custom models for community research. You might also find yourself analyzing demographics, working with and manipulating spreadsheet data, creating data visualization, and collecting data from online resources.
The ideal candidate: Due to the specialized nature of this work, only economics majors will be considered.
More at:


EI2 Global
Scope of position: As an intern with the EI2 Global team, you’ll perform various research and analysis tasks under the direction of a project manager.
What you’ll do: Main focuses include collecting data from internal and external sources, analyzing qualitative and quantitative data, and summarizing the findings in draft reports.
The ideal candidate: You’ll excel in this position if you’re comfortable analyzing data and communicating its narrative will. The position is open to all majors, but because of the societal impact and global nature of EI2 Global’s work, students with an interest in the following fields may benefit most from the experience: international affairs, global development, public policy, city and regional planning, economics, business, innovation, entrepreneurship, and sustainability.
More at:


Scope of position: This internship opportunity offers students a comprehensive understanding of the financial business processes within a dynamic university department. The EI2 finance team manages processes that range from procurement and sponsored administration to accounts payable and accounts receivable.
What you’ll do: You’ll help with process documentation and mapping across various sectors within finance. Possible tasks may include researching Georgia Tech processes; process mapping and documentation; and developing flowcharts, job aids, and/or tools.
The ideal candidate: This position is open to all majors, but students who have an interest in the following fields may benefit the most from the experience: business and finance.
More at:


Georgia Artificial Intelligence in Manufacturing (Georgia AIM)
Scope of position: Georgia Artificial Intelligence in Manufacturing (Georgia AIM) is an $82 million program that brings together more than 100 coalition partners to facilitate the equitable development and deployment of innovation and talent for AI in manufacturing. Seventeen separate projects and subprojects deliver workforce development, AI innovations, and technical assistance to manufacturers and communities.
What you’ll do: You’ll assist in developing the written roadmap that serves as a model for launching and operating projects at EI2. This entails working directly with the Georgia AIM team to continue implementing a robust system that monitors the program and its deliverables, while also tracking the projects’ progress and metrics.
The ideal candidate: Because Georgia AIM reaches all types of communities throughout the state, community engagement is key to its overall success, and it helps if an applicant finds that element of the work energizing. This position is open to all majors, but due to the societal impact of the team’s work, students with an interest in the following fields may benefit the most from the experience: economic development, public policy, city and regional planning, business, innovation, entrepreneurship, sustainability, workforce development, and system development/integration.
More at:


Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) – Cybersecurity
Scope of position: The Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership’s (GaMEP) technology team seeks a student to support a variety of high-value projects focused on Georgia’s manufacturing needs for Industry 4.0, supply chain, and cybersecurity.
What you’ll do: This intern will support GaMEP project managers in field research and data analytics for technology transfer and adoption in areas including sensors, edge computing, digital factory, cybersecurity, supply chain, and advanced manufacturing. This dynamic position offers the chance to observe and assist project work in real time through a technology ecosystem, and it culminates in client engagement opportunities.
The ideal candidate: The position is open to all majors, but because of the manufacturing and supply chain focus of the work, students with an interest in the following fields may benefit the most from the experience: supply chain/logistics, industrial and systems engineering, materials science and engineering, and business and operations management.
More at:


Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) – Arts Innovation
Scope of position: The Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) at Georgia Tech is looking for a student interested in helping develop a new suite of offerings to grow and develop arts organizations in Georgia.
What you’ll do: Intern duties may include researching available existing data on the arts and creative industries in Georgia; completing additional research and customer discovery activities to help develop services and training based on industry needs; helping customize existing training materials for a new audience; developing a survey (or other feedback mechanism) to collect metrics and evaluate the effectiveness of new programming; and assisting with content creation, networking or training events, and other marketing/communications activities.
The ideal candidate: A student with experience or interest in arts management or business will thrive in this internship. The position is open to all majors, but students with an interest in the following fields may benefit the most from the experience: business, communications, city and regional planning, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
More at:


Safety, Health, Environmental Services (SHES)
Scope of position: Safety, Health, Environmental Services (SHES) is looking for a student to assist with improving the search engine optimization for our consultation reports in Dropbox so consultants can easily access reports that emphasize specific topics.
What you’ll do: The above project involves devising an implementation plan in Dropbox, instructing consultants on the process of adding tags to reports for improved search capability, and going through old reports to tag them for relevant topics.
The ideal candidate: The position is open to all majors, but due to the nature of work, students with an interest in the following fields may benefit most from the experience: occupational safety and health, public policy, city and regional planning, business, innovation, environmental science, manufacturing, and building construction.
More at:

Partnership For Inclusive Innovation Welcomes Incoming Workforce Fellows

Event at Atlanta BeltLine Inc. celebrates outgoing cohort of Fellows and welcomes new class

The offices of the Atlanta BeltLine, itself a model of innovation, was the perfect spot to celebrate the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation’s (Partnership) PIN Fellowship, with an opening ceremony event that kicked off the Fellowship’s second year in operation, recognized the work of the outgoing class, and welcomed the next cohort into the program.

Event participants at the Atlanta BeltLine Inc.

Kara Lively, director of economic development for Atlanta BeltLine Inc., welcomed people to the offices and the event and discussed why she views the PIN Fellowship program as important to the BeltLine.

“A big part of why we’re a part of this initiative is our last pillar is innovation, specifically around smart cities and digital equity,” Lively said. “We want to be a testing ground for innovation in our city and a place where we can help grow the next generation of our workforce.”

“We define inclusive innovation as increasing access and opportunities for everyone to innovate,” Debra Lam, the Partnership’s executive director, said. “That innovation is not just an end state, but a real way to make the change that we want to see in terms of improving the human condition.”

The PIN Fellowship program supports that mission by working to identify and empower the next generation of innovative leaders in Georgia and the Southeast. The Fellowship places early career professionals into two public-private sector, six-month rotations that support corporate/startup and public/nonprofit projects in the same industry (AI manufacturing, IT/cybersecurity, cleantech, and supply chain). The projects are dedicated to advancing innovation and technology, while furthering economic opportunity for the Fellows themselves.

The program started in 2023, with two cohorts of Fellows working for companies and organizations including Cox Enterprises, the Atlanta BeltLine Inc., Georgia Tech, Park Pride, Freudenberg NOK, Microsoft, Fulton County government, and others.

The PIN Fellowship opening ceremony provided an opportunity for the first Fellows, who graduated from the program in 2023, to share their experiences and give advice to incoming Fellows.

“I would say the best thing about the PIN Fellowship was that we were able to get so many different experiences within a one-year period,” Sruthi Kumar, a Fellowship alum, said. Kumar worked at Cox Enterprises and Georgia Tech.

Following her Fellowship, Cox hired Kumar as part of its LEAD program, a rotational, leadership development program that introduces young professionals to different departments within the company. It’s a position she says she would not have gotten without the PIN Fellowship.

“The PIN fellows that we’ve had [at Cox], have really supported our fundamental programs on recycling and reducing our carbon footprint,” said Clarence Jackson, senior director of sustainable supply chain and business operations at Cox. “We’ve worked hard to get them involved and to support our programs directly.”

Noah McQueen, another Fellowship alum, worked last year at Microsoft and at the Atlanta BeltLine. “The most beneficial thing I believe about the PIN Fellowship is we got a chance to grow and explore and develop as young leaders in a professional space,” McQueen said. “I love the diversity of the public and private experience. You get the full scope of all the things that you can do in your career and the possible avenues you can take.”

Isaac Harper, a member of the incoming Fellowship cohort, will work with Cox Enterprises and the Georgia Water Coalition on a project near Augusta, Georgia.

“I wanted to be part of the PIN Fellowship for the learning opportunities that it provides,” Harper said. “I think coming here as an immigrant from New Zealand, as someone who’s already graduated, I missed a lot of that pipeline that somebody local would have access to. Trying to build a network over here is a goal. And I think PIN is going to help me with that.”

The incoming cohort has three Fellows who will be working with the following employers:

    • James Gathings Jr. – Atlanta BeltLine and Honeywell
    • Isaac Harper – Cox Enterprises and Georgia Water Coalition
    • Israel Todd – Park Pride and Cox Enterprises

Learn more about the Fellowship and the workforce development pillar at


Georgia AIM co-director speaks at White House event

WASHINGTON — Georgia Artificial Intelligence in Manufacturing (Georgia AIM) co-director Donna Ennis spoke at a White House event on Wednesday, Feb. 14, announcing new equity plans unveiled by federal agencies.

Georgia Artificial Intelligence in Manufacturing Co-Director Donna Ennis.

Georgia AIM, part of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, works to drive AI adoption to lead the next revolution in U.S. manufacturing across all sectors, geographies, communities, and across underrepresented constituencies.

In addition to Ennis, Aaron Stebner, an associate professor in Georgia Tech’s George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, serves as Georgia AIM co-director and lead at the Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute‘s Advanced Manufacturing Pilot Facility.

Georgia AIM’s mission is to serve all Georgians, including rural residents, women, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), those living with disabilities, and veterans. Historically, these groups have been underrepresented in manufacturing.

The White House selected Georgia AIM among the many Build Back Better-funded projects to highlight the importance of community-based work in achieving equity. Below are Ennis’ prepared remarks for the event. With Ennis was Don Graves, deputy secretary of commerce, and former Columbia, South Carolina Mayor Stephen K. Benjamin, a senior advisor to President Joe Biden.

From left: Former Columbia, South Carolina Mayor Stephen K. Benjamin, a senior advisor to President Joe Biden; Deputy U.S. Commerce Secretary Don Graves, and Donna Ennis.

Thank you, Secretary Raimondo and Mr. Benjamin, for this opportunity to discuss how critical the Build Back Better funding has been to our efforts in Georgia in promoting equity.

The Georgia Artificial Intelligence in Manufacturing project (or Georgia AIM) is dedicated to fostering the equitable development and deployment of innovation and talent in AI for manufacturing. Through new innovative approach to funding, that is a coalition model, EDA has provided a pathway for us to develop a network of over 40 partners across the state, including educational institutions, community organizations, and local agencies, to establish an ecosystem unlike any other focused on workforce development, technology innovation, and resilience in manufacturing.

Georgia AIM’s projects are strategically different in communities across Georgia, because they are tailored to those communities’ specific needs. From boosting robotics competitions in K-12 education to enhancing hurricane resilience and aiding local manufacturers, our grassroots approach ensures meaningful outcomes.  This has all been enabled through the Build Back Better funding.

Our customized approach means these innovations can significantly impact lives in Georgia’s rural areas, as well as in communities that are historically underrepresented in manufacturing—in particular, women, people of color, veterans, and members of the workforce without a college degree.

For example, just a few weeks ago, we welcomed our first 18 graduates of a Georgia AIM-sponsored AI robotics training program at the Georgia Veterans Education Career Transition Resource Center. Graduates transition to jobs with Robins Air Force Base, internships with Georgia Tech’s Advanced Manufacturing Pilot Facility, or private industry around the state.

And because of this funding, mobile labs developed by the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship, University of Georgia, and HBCU Fort Valley State University will extend our reach to rural communities and communities of color, introducing them to smart technologies. These labs are equipped with examples of virtual reality, sensors, robotics, and 3-D printing, with instructors and custom curricula to introduce residents to these new technologies.

Among manufacturers, Georgia AIM has reached nearly 150 small and medium manufacturers including, rural, women-, veteran- and minority-owned companies to help them understand smart technologies.

Funding for Georgia AIM is allowing Georgia Tech’s Advanced Manufacturing Pilot Facility to nearly double its footprint and incorporate a new suite of smart tools and demonstration projects. Already, this facility has partnered with dozens of manufacturers, offering internships and apprenticeships, and guidance to manufacturers of all sizes. In the past year alone, more than 140 companies have learned about AI integration through tours of the facility.

While I could go on and on about how the Build Back Better funding is helping Georgia, I want to emphasize that Georgia AIM’s focus is strategic. We are building a foundation for an innovation economy in a part of the country that historically has not experienced this level of investment from the Federal government. Because of this investment, our AI-based solutions for manufacturers and STEM education efforts are customized for communities, creating a framework that can be replicated across the country. But underlying all of this is equity. We are building an ecosystem that uses AI to solve problems and create innovations for all communities—and, over time, create a template that can then be used to lift up communities across the country. Please visit for more details about our project.

Watch the full event.

David Bridges Selected for Prestigious Fulbright Specialist Roster

Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) Vice President David Bridges has been named to the U.S. Department of State’s Fulbright Specialist Roster for a tenure of three years.

EI2 VP David Bridges (Photo: Peralte Paul)

The Specialist program is part of the larger Fulbright exchange offerings that include Fulbright Scholars and is housed in the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and World Learning. The program pairs U.S. academics and professionals with institutions abroad to share expertise, strengthen relations, hone skills, gain international experience, and learn about other cultures.

Bridges, who as EI2 vice president, runs the nation’s largest university-based economic development organization, becomes the 10th Georgia Tech staff member to earn that distinction. He is the second Georgia Tech researcher connected to EI2 to be named a Fulbright Specialist.

Since joining Georgia Tech 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 $32 million in grants and has authored, co-authored, or significantly contributed to more than $142 million in winning proposals. Bridges has won more than 100 proposals from U.S. federal agencies, plus universities, governments, and nonprofits 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.

“I’m excited to share the ecosystem building model we have developed at EI2 to help foster innovation around the world,” Bridges said. “It’s an opportunity to demonstrate the power of collaboration to fuel the economy and help improve the lives of people across the globe.”

As a Specialist, Bridges is eligible to be matched with projects at host institutions in more than 150 participating countries. During his tenure on the roster, he will pursue projects in Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe, areas where he has previously done work in support of entrepreneurship and ecosystem building.