July 28, 2010 19:10 ET

CONNECT Board Promotes Camille Sobrian to President; Approves Series of Strategic Initiatives

The CONNECT Board of Directors Announces the Promotion of Camille Sobrian to President, and Approves New Strategic Initiatives to Influence Federal Innovation Policy and to Attract Early Stage Investment Capital for San Diego Innovation Start Ups

SAN DIEGO, CA--(Marketwire - July 28, 2010) -  CONNECT, San Diego's internationally recognized non-profit technology and life sciences business accelerator, announced today that its Board of Directors has approved both the promotion of Camille Sobrian to President and a new series of strategic initiatives which will stimulate San Diego's innovation economy.

Sobrian has been CONNECT's COO since January 2007 and is responsible for running the organization's 26 programs and 360 events each year. She reports to Duane Roth, CONNECT CEO, who will continue to lead CONNECT's economic development initiatives, as well as federal policy and advocacy in Washington, D.C.

"The challenges to our innovation economy are significant," said Roth. "We're continuing to build the CONNECT leadership team and program infrastructure that will ensure that our region's researchers and early and growth stage companies have the resources to thrive. Camille has done a remarkable job of building and growing the CONNECT core programs for mentoring innovation in our region. She deserves the recognition for her contributions to the innovation economy." 

Roth will be responsible for implementing CONNECT's new strategic initiatives, which include:

  • Opening the CONNECT Innovation Institute, which will provide recommendations to policymakers on the expansion of the innovation economy. The Institute will be headed by Peter Cowhey, UC San Diego Dean of International Relations and Pacific Studies. Cowhey has just returned to San Diego from a 12-month assignment as the Senior Counselor to Ambassador Kirk in the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) under President Barack Obama.

  • Connecting local innovation start ups with the San Francisco Bay Area, the largest source of Venture Capital in the United States, as well as a campaign to make the case for investment in San Diego venture capital firms to Limited Partners (pension funds, etc.) and corporate venture capital firms.

  • Launching a short terms jobs initiative to increase the awareness of employment opportunities for scientists and engineers in the San Diego region. CONNECT will also launch a longer term initiative that includes the formation of the Entrepreneurs for Young Innovators Program, where exciting new innovations are presented to middle and high school students to encourage them to pursue science classes and careers. This program is funded by Biogen Idec.

  • Continuing the development of CONNECT's newly opened Washington, D.C. office, where Policy Director Tim Tardibono is coordinating advocacy efforts on behalf of the San Diego innovation economy. CONNECT will add a new series of small business briefings for elected officials and their staff on Capitol Hill, called Innovation 101. Bill Walton, Executive Chairman of San Diego Sport Innovators, will headline the first of the new series on September 14.

CONNECT is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating and sustaining the growth of innovative technology and life science businesses in San Diego. Since 1985, CONNECT has assisted in the formation and development of over 2,000 companies and is widely regarded as the world's most successful regional program linking inventors and entrepreneurs with the resources they need for success. CONNECT focuses on research institution support, business creation and development, entrepreneurial learning, access to capital, public policy advocacy, awards, recognition and networking. More than 40 countries and regions have adopted the CONNECT model, including New York City, the U.K., Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Australia and India.