William Generett, Jr., vice president for community engagement, has been appointed by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf to the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority’s (BFTDA) board. He will fill a vacancy on the 21-member board recently left by Carnegie Mellon University President Dr. Farnam Jahanian.
The BFTDA, one of the largest state technology development programs in the United States, was established to promote an entrepreneurial business environment, advance technology innovation and create a technology-ready workforce. Its mission is to encourage and coordinate programs and investments, which advance the competitiveness of Pennsylvania companies and universities in the global economy.
“The Pittsburgh region has been able to successfully transform and grow its economy in ways that very few regions throughout the U.S. have been able to do,” Generett said. “I am honored to work with the BFTDA board as it continues to grow that impact.”
The BFTDA board is considered the state’s leading source for technology strategy and funding that lead to proven prosperity, jobs and economic development. The board’s membership is comprised of Pennsylvania leaders including elected officials as well as thought leaders in higher education, finance, technology and nonprofit economic development organizations.
At Duquesne, Generett provides leadership in support of the University’s mission of service and commitment to Pittsburgh, Western Pennsylvania and the region. He facilitates and develops relationships with community organizations, local governments, and civic organizations on behalf of the University. Generett also oversees the University’s government affairs function.
Previously, Generett served as president and chief executive officer of Urban Innovation21 and the Hill House Economic Development Corporation, and supported BFTDA and its efforts through the Keystone Innovation Zone program. Prior to that, he worked as an entrepreneur, corporate executive and attorney. In 2014, Generett was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to serve as a member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.