Bob Stolle, a former top state commerce official and member of a prominent Virginia political family, has been named the new president and CEO of the Center for Innovative Technology.
Stolle, who previously has served as senior vice president of policy and regional initiatives at CIT, will succeed Ed Albrigo, who has led the state-supported technological research initiative for five years and will help the leadership transition through mid-October.
“There is no better choice for the new CIT president,” Albrigo said in a letter last week to members of Virginia’s burgeoning high-tech innovation community.
Stolle served as secretary of commerce and trade under Gov. George Allen and worked on technology issues with five other governors. He is part of a prominent political family that includes state Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, R-Henrico; Virginia Beach Sheriff (and former senator) Ken Stolle; and former Del. Chris Stolle, R-Virginia Beach.
The appointment, made by the CIT board of directors on Sept. 10, comes as the center is taking on a new mission as part of the Virginia Innovative Partnership Authority. The General Assembly created the authority earlier this year to consolidate state investments in higher education research, support for new technology companies and entrepreneurial development.
“Virginia’s entrepreneurship community has grown tremendously during Ed Albrigo’s tenure at CIT, and we are grateful for his dedicated services to our commonwealth,” Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement about the leadership transition. “I am pleased to welcome Bob Stolle to lead the agency and its efforts to advance our innovation economy.”
CIT was created more than 35 years ago under then-Gov. Chuck Robb. Long anchored in Northern Virginia at an iconic building along the Dulles Access Road on the Fairfax-Loudoun county line, the center opened an office in downtown Richmond last year and plans to move its headquarters there as part of the plan for the new authority.
The center invests state money to support commercialization of new research, provide financing for startup technology companies and boost business opportunities in underserved communities. It has programs to expand broadband telecommunications in rural areas and support research in unmanned systems, cybersecurity and smart cities technology.
The new authority will combine CIT with the Virginia Research Investment Committee, created in 2016 with state money to invest in higher education research with strong potential to boost the state’s economy.
The new authority also will oversee the work of five current state-financed initiatives in specific technologies, including the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing in Prince George County and the fledgling Commonwealth Cyber Initiative, which is based in Northern Virginia but connected to four higher education research nodes across the state.