Andria McClellan Hosts Virtual Roundtable Event to Discuss Innovation and Technology in Virginia
McClellan was joined by Secretary Karen Jackson, Dave Leichtman and AK Schultz
NORFOLK, VA – Monday afternoon, Andria McClellan, a member of the Norfolk City Council and candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, joined Secretary Karen Jackson, former Virginia Secretary of Technology; Dave Leichtman, Virginia DNC Representative and former Vice-Chair for Technology for the Democratic Party of Virginia; and AK Schultz, CEO of SVT Robotics in a round table discussion on Facebook live.
The group discussed the role of technology in building a stronger Commonwealth throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, as well as strengthening Virginia’s “innovation ecosystem” and building a more prosperous future across the Commonwealth. Throughout the discussion, Councilwoman McClellan highlighted the importance of using technology to improve government services, connectivity and efficiency for families and businesses throughout the Commonwealth.
“Technology can improve the lives of citizens and businesses, and there’s so much more we can do to improve our use of technology in state government and create a stronger ecosystem of innovation here in Virginia,” Andria McClellan, Candidate for Lieutenant Governor. “It’s also crucial that we target resources into underserved communities to ensure equity in access to not only high-speed internet, but also good technology jobs and education.”
Secretary Karen Jackson spoke about her experience as the Secretary of Technology and the ways we can ensure we are not only pushing Virginia to become a leader for innovation, but that this prosperity is spread from the mountains to the coast.
“Companies are finding it harder and harder to get talent, but they aren’t looking in other parts of the state, even though their workers are now working remotely,” said Karen Jackson, former Virginia Secretary of Technology. “We’ve got to do a better job of getting rural remote workers engaged with some of these job opportunities and making sure that that crosswalk happens.”
Dave Leicthman talked about the importance of teaching technology and innovation in our public schools and the ways the private sector can help provide that skill set.
“We need to incentivize tech employees to take time off to go teach in underserved and rural communities,”said Dave Leichtman, Virginia DNC Representative and Defending Democracy Director at Microsoft. Working with our tech companies like this in Virginia will be key to ensuring we have real world expertise in our schools.”
AK Schultz CEO of SVT Robotics talked about the ways 757 Accelerate helped him build his robotics business through access to capital, connections, and customers. He also discussed the important role robotics will play in the future.
“I like to think back to Henry Ford and the first assembly line. That efficiency gain in building an assembly line wasn’t there to reduce jobs, rather it was actually there to make the process more efficient and make the cars more affordable,” said AK Schultz, CEO of SVT Robotics. “He was really the first roboticist, and he was really responsible for creating millions of jobs and jobs that created this extension of the middle class that was unprecedented. We are poised to see another revolution like that, and I think it’s gonna do amazing things for our country.”
The full video round table can be found HERE.