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Alabama Innovation Commission announces partnership with Stanford’s Hoover Institution

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Members of the Alabama Innovation Commission Advisory Council are, clockwise from top left, Chris Moody, Jared Weinstein, Zeke Smith, Greg Canfield, Bill Smith and Condoleezza Rice. (contributed)
By Alabama Newscenter Staff

The Alabama Innovation Commission on Wednesday announced a partnership with one of the nation’s leading think tanks – the Hoover Institution at Stanford University – to promote innovation and economic growth in Alabama.

“The Hoover Institution is proud to partner with the Alabama Innovation Commission to help develop strategies that will create more economic opportunities for the state,” said Hoover Institution Director Condoleezza Rice, an Alabama native, former U.S. secretary of state and Alabama Innovation Commission Advisory Council member. “Through this partnership, we will be able to bring our research and expertise to identify strategies that maximize the state’s strengths and assets.”

The Innovation Commission’s collaboration with the Silicon Valley-based Hoover Institution will address the starting, recruitment and retention of companies and jobs, the development of innovation hubs and the commercialization of startups. Within these focus areas, they will identify ways to improve education and skills-based learning and leverage the state’s successes in a way that creates prosperity for all Alabamians.

“I am confident that the work that the Alabama Innovation Commission and the Hoover Institution will produce through this partnership will have a profound impact on the future economic trajectory of our state,” said Bill Poole, chairman of the Alabama Innovation Commission and an Alabama state representative. “Starting with the leadership of Governor Kay Ivey and the commission’s efforts, we must all work together on initiatives like this to create smart solutions that will continue to make Alabama an attractive state for business investment and job creation.

“Further, it is essential to our economic future that our students and citizens have career pathways right here in Alabama to the jobs of the future. In my opinion the work of this commission, in collaboration with the Hoover Institution, presents an important and critical opportunity to enhance our state’s competitive position in terms of these economic sectors,” Poole said.

The commission, made up of leaders in the public and private sectors, and the Hoover Institution will use world-class intellectual resources to recommend practical and timely approaches to enhance economic growth in Alabama.

“The continued momentum resulting from the Hoover Institution partnership is a prime example of the creative ideas and initiatives already generated by the commission,” said Greg Reed, vice chairman of the Alabama Innovation Commission and an Alabama state senator. “While Alabama has a strong foundation of existing industries, innovation extends to all sectors of the economy where Alabama has traditionally been a leader, including advanced manufacturing. These intentional collaboration efforts will further elevate our state as a driving force of innovation.”

The Hoover Institution’s fellows, staff and experts will serve as a resource in helping develop policy recommendations by sharing insights on specific economic topics and policies related to the commission’s goals.

“This partnership with the Hoover Institution will help accelerate our state’s focus on entrepreneurship and innovation,” said Zeke Smith, Alabama Power executive vice president of External Affairs and president of the Alabama Innovation Commission Advisory Council. “Developing strategic partnerships and leveraging outside investments has proven to be a successful approach in building a policy portfolio and determining best practices. We look forward to working with the Hoover Institution to identify ways we can foster growth and strengthen our state.”

Founded in 1919, the Hoover Institution, within Stanford University, is a public policy research center promoting the principles of individual, economic and political freedom. The Hoover Institution seeks to improve the human condition by advancing ideas that promote economic opportunity and prosperity, while securing and safeguarding peace for America and all humankind.

Ivey established the Alabama Innovation Commission in July. The 15-member commission is Alabama’s first statewide commission focused on entrepreneurship, technology and innovation.