13th Annual Symposium
Save-the-date: June 12-14, 2024 | College Park, MD


Keynote Speakers

Our 2024 keynote speakers include:

Eric Smith headshot

Eric Smith

Eric leads government investments in innovation and technology economies through the Economic Development Administration (EDA)’s Tech Hubs program, which aims to strengthen our economic and national security by enabling the industries of the future to start, grow, and remain in the U.S.

Eric was in-house counsel in fintech before joining government at the Patent and Trademark Office, focusing on wireless technologies. Earlier at EDA, he helped start its first innovation-centric program and improved EDA’s digital infrastructure. At NASA, Eric led digital services as chief customer officer for SBIR/STTR, building software to manage $200+ million in annual small business R&D.

Eric was (mostly) raised and educated in Indiana, is a member of the New York bar, and has lived and worked in Washington, D.C., for more than a decade. He holds a J.D. from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law and a B.S. in computer science and mathematics from the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

Julie Wagner headshot

Julie Wagner

Julie Wagner is president and founder of The Global Institute on Innovation Districts (GIID), a global-reach not-for-profit organization. The mission of GIID is to accelerate the growth and evolution of innovation districts worldwide. She leads a multidisciplinary team that undertakes novel empirical research across dozens of districts worldwide to elevate their distinction from other economic models. Julie has shaped and led a global network of nearly 50 districts across five continents and 16 countries.

Julie is a prolific researcher and writer. Her most notable research includes “The Rise of Innovation Districts: A New Geography of Innovation in America” and “The Evolution of Innovation Districts: The New Geography of Global Innovation.” Her most recent paper was released in late 2023, titled “Why Governance Matters”; it boldly proclaims that the long-term success or failure of innovation districts hinges on their ability to organize.

A trained city planner from MIT, Julie was a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution for nearly 15 years. She served as a deputy planning director for Washington, D.C., where she managed the development of plans to aid that city undergoing significant economic and social transformation.