On March 11, Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the launch of the area’s first Technology and Innovation Hub, along with the appointment of two new technology officials. A partnership between D.C. and Howard University will direct university resources toward the support of local, middle- to late-stage technology and innovation startups.
“Today, we are taking a major step towards building an ecosystem that will make D.C. a world-wide hub for technology and innovation,” Bowser said. “This plan will bolster efforts to support our growing technology and innovation sectors by addressing the needs of startups and entrepreneurs in the District. I look forward to working with Howard University to foster more innovation, inclusion and equity throughout the community.”
The university will offer up to 10,000 square feet of office space on its Northwest D.C. campus. University officials lauded the district for its support of innovation and technology.
Bowser also named the appointment of two new officials: Tony Saudek as chief performance officer and director of CapStat, the municipality’s cross-agency accountability initiative; and Tegene Baharu as chief technology officer for all of D.C.
Baharu has a background in private-sector network engineering, and takes his new position after joining the Office of the Chief Technology Office (OTOC) in 2003 as senior network engineer. Baharu was responsible for overseeing infrastructure and security operations, including leading DC-Net, and governing telecommunications.
Saudek joined D.C. in 2008 as a strategic development and evaluation officer for the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, and most recently served as special assistant to the undersecretary of veterans benefits at the Department of Veterans Affairs, where he led a “transformation toward data-driven management,” according to the district.
Further demonstrating a commitment to technology, the mayor also announced the Connect.DC Digital Inclusion Initiative, launched through a partnership with Code for Progress, which will provide mentorship and training for young students seeking education in human-centered design.