The Georgia Centers of Innovation comprise six key industries in the state – Aerospace, Agribusiness, Energy Technology, IT, Logistics and Manufacturing. This post is the second of a monthly series showcasing the director for each Center and the role they play in expanding business in Georgia.
Glen Whitley has been the director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for IT since 2012. With a background in engineering and a passion for technology, he is a go-to leader and connector for Georgia’s IT industry.
How long have you been with the Centers of Innovation?
I’ve been director of the Center of Innovation for IT for about 3 years.
What drew you to this role?
I’m an engineer by training and have always worked in and around technology companies. I used to be a project manager with the Department’s Global Commerce team and then saw an opportunity in this position where I can help technology companies in a different way.
What do you do for IT and life science companies in the state?
We are connectors. We try to help companies that are commercializing products make those connections—research help, partnerships, collaborations; anything they need to help grow their business in Georgia. I try to pick out sectors where I see growth opportunities and make sure we can help those companies grow so that Georgia stays at the forefront in those industry sectors.
What are the top sectors?
The highest areas of growth are cyber security, healthcare IT and mobility. I recently participated in a cyber mission to Israel that has generated several potential leads. On August 20th, some mission participants from Georgia hosted the Cybersecurity Forum with Israel and the American South to bring further collaboration and dialogue on the issue.
Georgia is also the capital of healthcare IT with over $4 billion in revenue. In November, we will host the 6th annual Health IT Leadership Summit showcasing Georgia’s global leaders. And in October, the Metro Atlanta Chamber will host Mobility Live.
What is the best part about what you do?
I get to see and talk to a lot of smart people. Entrepreneurs are amazing and so driven, and it’s incredibly uplifting to see that and get a feel for the depth of research and technology going on in Georgia.
What do you do in your spare time?
I have an 11-year-old and I spend a lot of time chasing him around. I help coach his baseball team, and I love it. It’s fantastic seeing young people playing sports and being active.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received is to just be honest with other people—to help people the way you want to be helped. It makes business relationships and personal relationships better.
What are you currently watching on Netflix?
I’m not a huge TV person other than sports, but I do have to say that I am very intrigued by all the reality shows about living in Alaska. It’s fascinating to see these people living off house boats on a frozen lake.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
If I wasn’t here, I’d probably be doing marketing of some type for another organization. I’ve worked for the British Consulate in the past, so I’d likely be in a role similar to this working for an international technology-based company.
What do you hope Georgia’s IT industry looks like 5 years from now and how will your Center will be a part of it?
Georgia’s IT industry is strong, and I hope to see us continue to grow. We’ve consistently ranked 10th to 14th in the U.S. for IT, and I’d love to see us climb those rankings and become more of a top state. The Center of Innovation will continue to be a force in helping Georgia companies grow in order to attract new business, both domestically and from around the world.
For more information on the Center of Innovation for IT and how Glen can help your business, click here.