CIT Should Have Looked Outward

The Center for Innovative Technology's choice for a new president may be qualified, but when it comes to information technology, the Tidewater is a backwater

obert Templin's appointment as president of Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology sends the message that Virginia retains its preference for a flawed economic development strategy and unhealthy parochialism.

Being awash in technology has little correlation to keeping the economy afloat, but Virginia nonetheless chartered the CIT as a tech broker for its educational institutions. The center's early failures can be laid at the door of this strategy, in which limited returns are inherent.

Unfortunately, a succession of governors and their boards have failed to require the CIT to measure its mission -- much less its impact -- in jobs and corporation formation. And the CIT remains under the purview of the department of education rather than of economic development, adrift in form and in function from authentic market forces and its highest potential use.

Templin has good credentials in local infrastructure initiatives such as education and training, and formation of an embryonic technology business council. But in an era when information technology business is the great river of change, the Tidewater is a backwater.

We challenge Templin to overcome these structural and visionary obstacles to a more ambitious goal of making the CIT an institution of national stature, worthy of its budget as well as its name.

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