FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Carolyn Kirk to Lead Massachusetts Technology Collaborative
BOSTON – February 6, 2019 – Today, the Executive Committee of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative voted Carolyn Kirk as the agency’s new executive director, effective February 11, 2019. Kirk is currently the Deputy Secretary for Housing and Economic Development, a position she has held since her appointment by Governor Baker in January 2015. She has also been serving as the MassTech Interim Executive Director since June 2018.
The MassTech Executive Committee noted Kirk’s extensive executive background in both the private and public sectors, where she has experience as a problem solver on complex organizational challenges and, in recent years, managed issues critical to Massachusetts’ Innovation Economy, including the expansion of ‘Last Mile’ broadband in unserved parts of Western and Central Massachusetts, the rollout of innovative tech projects in coastal economies, and the focus on key sectors such as cybersecurity.
“Carolyn Kirk has made meaningful contributions to the Commonwealth in both the public and private sectors and I am pleased she has been named as MassTech’s next executive director,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Carolyn’s leadership on broadband access, cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing have made a lasting impact on the Commonwealth. I am grateful to Carolyn for her work with our Administration over the last four years, and look forward to our continued partnership as she leads MassTech to foster continued growth and innovation across Massachusetts.”
Prior to joining the Baker-Polito Administration, Kirk was a four-term elected Mayor of Gloucester, Massachusetts. Before entering public life, Kirk had an extensive business career centered on Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technologies and solutions, working at companies like IBM and Fleet Financial, as well as starting and managing her own CRM consultancy.
“Carolyn is well-suited for this role, as she brings a collaborative approach that engages stakeholders and experts together to better our communities and the Commonwealth as a whole,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “As my vice chair on the Seaport Economic Council, Carolyn worked to address infrastructure and environmental challenges for Massachusetts’ coastal communities and worked with MassTech to identify innovative technology projects to bolster the state’s Blue Economy. We are grateful for her service to the administration and look forward to working with her as the executive director of MassTech.”
Working closely with leaders at the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, the Massachusetts Broadband Institute at MassTech (MBI), and the MBI Board, Kirk has helped advance the Last Mile program to close connectivity gaps in communities that lacked broadband. Since 2016, the
Commonwealth has awarded nearly $32 million to deliver broadband to 42 unserved and underserved municipalities, including $20.2 million in grants to support 20-plus municipally-owned fiber networks and $11.2 million to support public/private projects.
In spring 2018, MassTech’s Board of Directors formally opened the search for a new Executive Director, kicking off a public process to identify candidates that exemplified three key qualities: an ‘innovation partner’ that could be a resource to the tech and R&D sectors, an inspiring leader to MassTech staff, and a strong manager of the agency’s programs. In June 2018, the agency launched the search through a formal posting of the position, which was promoted extensively. After a months-long process, the Executive Committee determined Kirk was the best candidate.
“The search committee looked at a diverse pool of candidates and, ultimately, we found Carolyn best exemplified the type of leader MassTech needs to help strengthen and grow our innovation economy,” said Mike Kennealy, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development and chair of the MassTech Board. “Having worked directly with Carolyn for years, it’s clear to me – and to the Executive Committee – that she can help small tech businesses, research institutions, and communities harness innovation and grow jobs for the long-term. With her experience as a state official, mayor, and business executive, Carolyn will bring a mix of strategic vision and tactical know-how to this new role.”
Kirk will transition her responsibilities at the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development to the incoming Deputy Secretary for Housing and Economic Development, who will be announced at a later date.
“Carolyn brings an excellent background to the Executive Director role built around her experience in the public sector, where she dealt with issues of growth and change, the realities of budgets, negotiations, and collaborations across multiple constituencies,” stated Pamela D.A. Reeve, a member of the Executive Committee of the MassTech Board of Directors, chair of the MassTech Board’s Personnel and Governance Committee, and chair of The Commonwealth Institute. “Through the search process and after reviewing numerous candidates, it became clear that she was the best executive to lead MassTech going forward. She brings strong vision, leadership, and a steady hand, core qualities that she has demonstrated in her career and which will serve her well in this position.”
“I’m excited to take the reins at MassTech and continue driving forward investments and projects that stir innovation, grow jobs, and bring more towns into the 21st Century when it comes to technology infrastructure,” said Kirk. “Whether it’s a company looking to move here from out of state, or a homegrown tech startup that’s looking to expand, we need to ensure that they have access to a well-trained workforce, collaborative research institutions outfitted with the best tools, and high-speed internet connections that will allow them to reach customers around the world. MassTech’s investments are helping the Commonwealth address those issues and I’m excited to continue these efforts in my new role.”
The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative is an innovative public agency working to enhance economic growth, accelerate technology use and adoption, and harness the value of research by engaging in meaningful collaborations across academia, industry, and government. From improving our health care systems and expanding high-speed internet across the state to fostering emerging industry clusters, MassTech is driving innovation and supporting a vibrant economy across the Commonwealth. Visit masstech.org to learn more.