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Press Release

Contact: Robert Hill, University of Pittsburgh
412-624-8891
Kyle Fisher Morabito, Carnegie Mellon
412-268-1608

For immediate release:
January 17, 2002

Carnegie Mellon, University of Pittsburgh Join in Regional Economic Development Project

Donald F. Smith Jr. Appointed to Coordinate Universities' Efforts

Governor Schweiker Calls Smith "Vital Partner" in State's Technology Agenda

PITTSBURGH—The Mellon Pitt Carnegie Corporation (MPC), a joint venture of the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, has appointed Donald F. Smith Jr. to the newly created position of vice president of economic development.

"I congratulate Chancellor Nordenberg and President Cohon on this unprecedented collaboration," says Pennsylvania Governor Mark Schweiker. "The dynamic partnership between these two outstanding Pennsylvania institutions has been at the heart of the success of our Digital Greenhouse initiative and the promise of the Life Sciences Greenhouse. By working even more closely together, the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University will help ensure that the future is invented right here in Pennsylvania. I am also extremely gratified that this effort will be headed by Don Smith, who has been a vital partner in shaping the most aggressive state technology agenda in the nation."

In this new position, Smith will coordinate economic development activities between the two universities, leveraging their international strengths in engineering and the sciences, including medicine and other health sciences. Smith also will serve as university director of economic development for both schools. Among Smith's responsibilities will be:

• Supporting technology commercialization and entrepreneurial activity, acting as liaison for the universities' technology transfer, corporate relations, and sponsored research departments;
• Identifying, cataloging, and coordinating economic development resources and initiatives across the universities;
• Collaborating with regional economic development organizations and initiatives; and
• Supporting and developing strategic initiatives like the Pittsburgh Digital Greenhouse and the Life Sciences Greenhouse.

"It is unusual, and perhaps unique, for two world-class universities to collaborate through a shared economic development position like Don's," says Carnegie Mellon University President Jared L. Cohon. "The University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon are committed to leveraging our complementary strengths in life sciences and information technology in order to position our region as a national research and corporate center in these growing fields."

"We are enthusiastic about this initiative that brings Pitt and Carnegie Mellon closer as partners in economic development," says Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. "Our excitement is directly related to our strong commitment to Western Pennsylvania and to our shared belief that by working more closely, the universities can have an even more dramatic impact on the economic health of our home region. Our enthusiasm also is the product of the deep respect we have for Don, as he is uniquely positioned-because of his experience, commitment, and character-to effectively lead it."

"This is a very exciting opportunity, since no one else in economic development in America will be able to draw upon the breadth and depth of academic resources that are represented by these two world-class universities," says Smith. "I am looking forward to applying my education and experience to help Mark and Jerry implement their visions of an even greater role for the universities in the region's economy."

Smith played a significant role in many of the region's major economic development initiatives as one of the principal architects of the Pittsburgh Digital Greenhouse-which is devoted to developing the "system-on-a-chip" design industry in southwestern Pennsylvania-and the Life Sciences Greenhouse, a companion effort focused on the biotechnology industry. Smith served as interim president of the Digital Greenhouse until Dennis Yablonsky assumed the presidency. Currently the secretary/treasurer of the Life Sciences Greenhouse, Smith will serve as liaison to both Greenhouses and will develop future "greenhouse"-type initiatives for the region.

Smith also served on the committee that redesigned the Ben Franklin Partnership of Western Pennsylvania into Innovation Works, and he is vice chairman of the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County.

Smith began his career in economic development as an intern with the Scranton Plan, the industrial development arm of the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce. After earning the Bachelors of Arts degree in economics-with honors-from Harvard University, Smith became a strategic projects coordinator at the Pennsylvania Department of Commerce and was the lead analyst for the state's economic development strategy, Investing in Pennsylvania's Future. In 1988, Smith enrolled in the doctoral program of Carnegie Mellon's Heinz School, where he researched the relationship between venture capital and technological innovation and detailed patterns of Japanese direct investment in the United States.

After earning his Ph.D. degree in public policy from Carnegie Mellon in 1994, Smith accepted a position with RAND's Critical Technology Institute in Washington D.C., where he was a technology policy analyst specializing in the financing of new technologies and the development of regional technology clusters. In 1995, Smith returned to Carnegie Mellon to direct the Center for Economic Development and teach economic development.

Smith is active in a number of community activities, including service on the board of The Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County, Junior Achievement, the Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project (PUMP), and the Economics Club of Pittsburgh.

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