GMU establishes President’s Innovation Advisory Council
Focused on tech talent pipeline in NoVa
George Mason University President Gregory Washington on Monday announced he has formed an advisory roundtable of nearly 30 regional business executives and community leaders to focus on the university’s innovation initiative.
The President’s Innovation Advisory Council will focus on issues such as GMU’s efforts to increase the pipeline of tech workers. George Mason’s innovation initiative includes $235 million in General Assembly funding to produce approximately 30% of the 25,000 undergraduate and graduate majors as part of the state’s Tech Talent Investment Program.
“These council members have been carefully selected for their knowledge and expertise, and also because they represent industries and organizations that are critical to the ecosystem we want to build,” Washington said in a statement. “We are bringing together community leaders that have a stake and an interest in helping us create an inclusive innovation economy.”
Former Virginia Secretary of Technology Aneesh Chopra, who served as the U.S. government’s first chief technology officer under the Obama administration, will chair the council. He is president of Arlington-based CareJourney, an open data membership service that offers a rating system for physicians, health care networks and medical facilities.
“We have a once-in-a generation opportunity to build an economy for our region that works better for everyone, anchored on technology, data and innovation,” Chopra said in a statement. “I’m eager to collaborate with regional stakeholders to build on George Mason’s impressive foundation to spark new products and companies that will employ more of our talented workforce.”
Oher advisory board members include:
- Mahfuz Ahmed – CEO and chairman, Digital Intelligence Systems LLC (DISYS)
- Anne Altman – co-founder, Everyone Matters Inc.
- Sanam Boroumand – CEO, Main Digital
- AC Chakrabarti – CEO, ByteMethod
- Mike Corkery – president and CEO, Deltek
- Francisco Durán – superintendent, Arlington Public Schools
- Deepak Hathiramani – founding partner and executive chairman, SteeleHarbour Capital Partners
- Victor Hoskins – president and CEO, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority
- Ahmad Ishaq – founder and CEO, U.Group and managing director, Spectre Holdings
- Nina Janopaul – president and CEO, Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing
- Kurt John – chief cybersecurity officer, Siemens USA
- Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia
- Riz Khaliq – CEO, Assima
- Paul Leslie – executive chairman, Dovel Technologies
- John Loveland – global head of cyber security strategy and marketing, Verizon
- John Maxwell – commissioner, Virginia Department of Veterans Services
- Dolly Oberoi – co-founder and CEO, C2 Technologies Inc.
- Jay O’Brien – executive vice president and chief banking officer, Sandy Spring Bank
- Jon Peterson – CEO, Peterson Cos.
- Kurt Scherer – managing partner, C5 Capital
- Sumeet Shrivastava, president and CEO, Array Information Technology
- Julius D. “JD” Spain Sr. – president, Arlington Branch NAACP
- Telly Tucker – director, Arlington Economic Development
- Vijay Venkateswaran — founder and CEO, Viventum Inc.
- David Wiley – president, Widelity
- Christina Winn – executive director, Prince William County Department of Economic Development
- John Wood – CEO and chairman of the board, Telos Corp.
Last year, GMU began seeking companies to build its proposed $250 million Institute for Digital InnovAtion (IDIA), set to open in September 2025 on its Arlington campus, part of its innovation initiative.
Mason sought partners to build approximately 360,000 square feet of building space adjacent to its current campus in the Virginia Square neighborhood in Arlington. Mason announced in November 2018 the expansion of its Arlington campus as part of the state’s tech-talent pipeline initiative to grow computing programs and increase the number of graduates with skills being sought by Amazon.com Inc. and other tech employers in the state.
The IDIA campus will include labs, coworking and public programming spaces, ground-floor retail, a parking garage and a public plaza. When the university released the RFP in February, it was anticipated that 38,000 square feet would be needed for classrooms, 71,500 square feet for labs, 62,500 square feet for offices, 15,000 square feet for retail and 146,000 square feet for parking.
Mason’s Arlington campus is expected to occupy more than 1.2 million square feet about 3.5 miles northwest from the site of Amazon’s $2.5 billion HQ2 East Coast headquarters, which is currently under development in Arlington’s National Landing area.
“This distinguished leadership council, along with the Arlington innovation initiative, will help ensure that the region continues to attract, educate and shape the brightest minds in our industry and continue our rise as one of the hottest technology and entrepreneur ecosystems in the country,” Shrivastava said in a statement.