Silicon Valley Veteran To Lead Ann Arbor SPARK

3/29/11Follow @xconomy

Ann Arbor is getting a fresh infusion of Silicon Valley.

Ann Arbor SPARK, one of four business accelerators in Southeast Michigan, said Tuesday that it named Paul Krutko president and CEO.

Krutko, previously the chief development officer for San Jose, CA., will replace Mike Finney, who’s now CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

Krutko brings an impressive resume. A graduate of the University of Cincinnati, he led economic development efforts in Cleveland, OH, and Jacksonville, FL, before moving to San Jose, the heart of Silicon Valley.

“Paul has impressive experience in economic development…and a driving passion for innovation economies,” Ann Arbor SPARK chair Dr. Stephen Forrest, also vice president of research at the University of Michigan, said in a statement. “His experience will ensure that SPARK fulfills its promise for building the region’s economy and its national presence.”

What’s interesting about Krutko’s time in San Jose are his efforts to integrate arts and culture with economic development programs. Tech entrepreneurs in Ann Arbor say creating a vibrant social scene is just as crucial to building an innovation ecosystem as is venture capital and technology.

Krutko also authored San Jose’s Green Vision, a plan to promote economic growth by meeting specific goals for environmental sustainability. In 2009, the International Economic Development Council in Washington, DC, named Krutko a Fellow Member, “for achieving unusual stature in the field of economic development and closely related disciplines.”

“Over the last nine years, I’ve worked in the heart of Silicon Valley, one of the most innovative places in the world,” Krutko said in a statement. “The opportunity to come back home to the Midwest and join an organization that’s becoming known across the country for its work in changing Southeast Michigan’s economic destiny, is exciting.”

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