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Heather Hage Named New President and CEO of the Griffiss Institute

Hage tapped to drive the Griffiss Institute in its next phase of growth, leading the Innovare Advancement Center, connecting global technology leaders and non-traditional partners to tackle complex Air Force technology challenges

Heather Hage, Griffiss Institute President and CEOROME, NY — After a national search, the Griffiss Institute is proud to announce it has selected Ms. Heather Hage, Esq. as its President and CEO, to lead the ever-growing organization into the future. Hage will expand the technical and economic impact of the Griffiss Institute and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Information Directorate, and the surrounding region, in the advancement of ongoing research, technical innovation, and entrepreneurial ventures locally, nationally, and globally.

Hage brings 17 years of experience in technology commercialization, entrepreneurship and nonprofit management from SUNY Research Foundation, where she most recently served as Vice President of Industry and External Affairs. In this role, Hage was devoted to accelerating R&D and technology commercialization for the largest comprehensive system of public higher education in the United States and was responsible for the divisions of innovation and partnerships, technology transfer, external relations, communications, economic development, affiliated corporations, strategic planning, and new ventures. Hage succeeds William Wolf, the organization’s first-ever President and CEO, who announced his retirement earlier in 2020.

Hage is a graduate of Hamilton College, and received her Juris Doctor from Albany Law School of Union University. She is an active investor, has served on various nonprofit boards, is an adjunct faculty member for the Innovation Intensive programs at SUNY Polytechnic Institute and Albany Law School, and was the recipient of SUNY Research Foundation’s 2015 Woman of Excellence award, which recognizes outstanding service, exemplary support of women in leadership, and a distinguished career.

“Ms. Hage brings extensive expertise in innovation and entrepreneurship as drivers of economic growth and domestic competitiveness to lead the Griffiss Institute forward,” said Patricia Baskinger, Griffiss Institute Board Chair. “As the Griffiss Institute and Innovare Advancement Center undertake new opportunities in artificial intelligence/machine learning, cybersecurity, and quantum computing, it is imperative that the new President and CEO be equipped to leverage these initiatives to expand the high-tech ecosystem of the region. Ms. Hage is a natural fit for the position because of her proven leadership ability through her tenure in the SUNY system, and strong roots in our region.”

The Griffiss Institute, in partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory, Oneida County, and the State of New York, has recently developed and built the new $14M Innovare Advancement Center. Innovare Advancement Center is co-located with the Griffiss UAS Test Site and Skydome, one of only seven FAA designated test sites for unmanned aircraft systems. With the ecosystem in the Griffiss Business and Technology Park rapidly expanding, Hage will be charged with driving strategic planning and broadening domestic and international partnerships with industry and academia. These efforts will align to fulfill the Innovare Advancement Center mission to build a magnetic ecosystem in which the world’s leading scientific and entrepreneurial talent tackle the country’s greatest challenges to national security and economic competitiveness.

“It is a privilege and honor to assume the role of President and CEO of the Griffiss Institute, and I am thrilled to be back home in the Mohawk Valley at such an exciting time for our region,” said Heather Hage. “My core focus will be to support the AFRL Information Directorate and its partners to grow Innovare Advancement Center into a globally recognized hub for talent and technology development. I am grateful and excited to work with such a dedicated cadre of professionals and enthusiastic community stakeholders to leverage and build upon our strengths - attracting new partners, building new companies, and elevating our international profile.”

Innovare Advancement Center is an open innovation campus designed to attract domestic and international researchers to conduct unclassified research. AFRL has made a multi-year commitment of nearly $100M to support the Griffiss Institute and Innovare Advancement Center mission. Innovare Advancement Center will converge diverse capabilities in strategic priority areas of quantum information science, neuromorphic computing, nanoelectronics, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence/machine learning.

“I have worked very hard to secure tens of millions of dollars to supercharge Rome Lab’s cutting-edge quantum computing work. Some of those dollars helped launch the Innovare Advancement Center, Rome Lab’s ‘open innovation campus’ facility, and Heather Hage is the perfect choice to lead this critical initiative. Its location next door to Rome Lab will spur AFRL, academia and industry to come together for game changing research and development in quantum computing,” said U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer.

“It is awesome that Ms. Heather Hage was selected as the new President and CEO of the Griffiss Institute! With Heather’s experience, and technical business development skills, I have full confidence that she will smash the metrics for our three strategic goals of the Innovare Advancement Center and make it one of the best new starts to hit the Mohawk Valley in quite some time. Hats off to the Griffiss Institute Board of Directors for running a nationwide search and selecting Heather from amongst several very qualified candidates,” said Col. Timothy Lawrence, Director of the Information Directorate and Commander, Detachment 4, Air Force Research Laboratory.

“Oneida County and our entire region are rapidly emerging as a growing hub for semiconductors, cybersecurity, quantum computing and unmanned systems,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. “I'm confident that Ms. Hage has the experience and the entrepreneurial mindset necessary to partner with the AFRL, leveraging our investment in Innovare and Skydome, to bring more jobs, research and investment to our county.”

“The CNY Defense Alliance has worked with the AFRL Information Directorate, Oneida County, and community partners from Innovare’s beginning, taking the open innovation center vision to reality,” said CNY Defense Alliance Executive Director, Mary C. Chruscicki. “We look forward to working with Ms. Hage to help foster the evolution of Innovare, an international science and technology ecosystem where researchers from government, industry, and academia from around the world can collaborate on new algorithms and tools.”

“On behalf of SUNY Polytechnic Institute, I am proud to congratulate Heather on her new leadership role at the Griffiss Institute,” said Dr. Tod A. Laursen, Acting President of SUNY Polytechnic Institute. “Heather has an outstanding track record of commitment to higher education and research, especially at SUNY Poly, and we eagerly anticipate working with the Griffiss Institute, AFRL Information Directorate, and its industrial partners to develop innovative research opportunities. Her passion to inspire the next generation of scientists will foster an invaluable partnership with SUNY Poly and other academic institutions to develop a robust talent pipeline for students to succeed in critical areas of 21st century technology research, development, and commercialization.”

“There are few individuals that I have encountered who are more passionate about the potential of New York’s capacity for innovation,” said SUNY Research Foundation President Jeff M. Cheek. “As a leader at the RF and within the greater SUNY research community, Heather has devoted her expertise to seize opportunities and establish fruitful partnerships to enable SUNY to contribute towards addressing our most significant challenges. Heather is the right person to lead the Griffiss Institute into its next phase of collaborative programs with SUNY, AFRL, and other partners. We share her excitement and look forward to working with her, and the Griffiss Institute, in the future.”

“The Griffiss Institute has enjoyed a decades long relationship with the Air Force Research Laboratory, facilitating partnerships in technology transfer, STEM, internships and IDEA NY. Choosing Heather Hage as the next President will further the GI mission to assist Rome Lab in its new venture, Innovare Advancement Center, located at the Griffiss Business and Technology Park,” said Rome Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo. “Heather brings a wealth of experience after years of developing relationships in STEM-related industries at SUNY Research Foundation, and her knowledge of bringing patented technologies to the commercial workspace will position the GI to strengthen the Mohawk Valley’s growth of a new generation of entrepreneurs.”

“The Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate is a major part of the region’s growing innovation economy,” said Steven J. DiMeo, Mohawk Valley EDGE, President. “The continued development of the Innovare Advancement Center is a critical part of the partnership between Griffiss Institute and AFRL that will help attract research and economic development opportunities that will continue the region’s economic transformation. Ms. Hage’s experience at SUNY Research Foundation provides a unique opportunity to develop strategic academic-industry partnerships with AFRL in areas of quantum and neuromorphic computing, nanoelectronics, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and machine learning at the Innovare Advancement Center. These technology areas are key underpinnings for AFRL’s growing technology portfolio and provide a sound foundation for building the region’s high technology economy.”

(Photo courtesy of Mary Khoury Photography)

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