Mayor Lovely Warren has announced Neal Martin will be the city’s first-ever director of the new Office of Innovation and Strategic Initiatives, a city press release stated.
According to officials, Martin was previously an entrepreneur and data scientist from Washington, D.C.
Warren said he will lead the city’s five-member innovation team, or “i-team,” and be responsible for carrying out the office’s mission of researching and developing solutions surrounding issues related to poverty and the economy in Rochester.
“After looking at dozens of candidates, we’re convinced that Neal Martin is the best person for this job,” Mayor Warren stated. “Our new team, funded by a generous grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies, will take fresh, 21st-Century approaches to the age-old problems that plague our city. Neal will bring both an analytical and practical approach to examining these most pressing issues, and serve as a strong leader for our city as we strive to bring more jobs, create safer, more vibrant neighborhoods, and improve access to education for all of our residents.”
Rochester’s innovation office has been funded with a three-year, $1.95 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies. The city had been one of 12 selected in December 2014 as part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Innovation Teams Program.
Grant funds allow mayors to hire and fund “i-teams” for up to three years, and, according to the city, the team will function as an in-house innovation consultant.
Previously, Martin had co-founded a banking and mobile technology start-up called DigiGroup LLC in 2013, and also worked at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in support of the U.S. Navy, as well as at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in support of a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty.
Officials said he holds a bachelor’s degree in Physics from Carnegie Mellon University, and a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Pittsburgh.
Martin will assume the new role on March 30.
Visit www.cityofrochester.gov/innovation, for additional information regarding the office.