Jennifer Sanders has been named the first executive director of the Dallas Innovation Alliance, the organization leading the Smart Cities effort in Dallas.
Sanders, a co-founder of Dallas Innovation Alliance, already has begun her duties at the public-private partnership dedicated to the design and execution of a Smart Cities strategy for Dallas.
“I think there’s so many opportunities for what it can do for the city,” Sanders told me about the Smart Cities initiative. Dallas Innovation Alliance is piloting the strategy in the West End neighborhood of downtown Dallas.
“I think there’s so many opportunities for what it can do for the city.” – Jennifer Sanders
“There is a tremendous energy and momentum surrounding DIA’s work from our partners, community organizations and citizens,” Sanders said. “I look forward to harnessing this enthusiasm and working with our partners to build out our projects in the West End and across the city.”
Dallas Innovation Alliance co-founder and Chairman Trey Bowles said that Sanders was the natural fit for the executive director’s position. She brings 12 years of expertise across a broad range of industries, including energy, technology, economic development, nonprofit and finance.
“When you look at the leadership of women in innovation, she’s a great example for us,” Bowles told me. “It’s exciting to see women in leadership for innovation roles.”
DALLAS INNOVATION ALLIANCE TESTS IN WEST END
He said that Sanders will continue to pull together the public-private partnerships and work toward implementation of the pilot project in the West End by developing the study on infrastructure, mobility and connected living that will be turned over to the city of Dallas so that it can be launched in other areas.
“Our job is to showcase what they can expect from these different projects,” Bowles said. “The West End is great place to start because it is microcosm of the rest of the city.”
The White House announced the Smart Cities Initiative in September 2015 with an investment of more than $160 million in research and leverage technology collaborators aimed at helping cities tackle important challenges.
“The West End is great place to start because it is microcosm of the rest of the city.” _ Trey Bowles
Dallas was chosen as one of 25 cities participating in the initiative.
Both Sanders and Bowles said the effort on the Smart Cities Initiative is progressing faster than anticipated.
“I’ve been amazed at the progress that we’ve made to this point,” Bowles said. Dallas’ efforts are progressing more quickly than any other city he’s seen, Bowles said.
Sanders and Bowles lauded the involvement of more than 20 companies, universities, and nonprofits in the local initiative.
Sanders said the fact that she already was working on the initiative makes her full-time transition a smooth one that will only help hasten the group’s efforts.
Among the partners and charter members of the Dallas Innovation Alliance are Mayor Mike Rawlings, AECOM, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), IBM (NYSE: IBM), Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), Dallas Regional Chamber and Dallas Area Rapid Transit.
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