Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan called together a new task force to advise him on legislation and policies that would help grow technology companies in Georgia. Bob Andres / bandres@ajc.com

New panel to advise Lt. Gov. Duncan on growing tech in Georgia

Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan wants to build on Georgia’s success in growing high-technology businesses and bring more jobs to the state.

Duncan appointed a panel that includes retired U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, former Georgia Tech president G.P. “Bud” Peterson and 10 others to advise him on developing policy or legislation that could accelerate the growth.

Georgia Tech has been a major driver of tech-business development in Georgia. Companies moving to Georgia — mostly to Atlanta — often cite the research and deep pool of talent the university provides.

Many Tech students also have started their own companies, such as FireHUD, a recent startup that creates personal devices that protects firefighters by monitoring and reporting their physical condition in real time. It has received funding from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Air Force.

The Georgia Innovates Task Force will hold a first meeting this month.

“I want Georgia to be a national leader in technology research, development and implementation and allow for growth and evolution across all parts of Georgia,” Duncan said in a press release. Atlanta has become a center for tech companies that facilitate financial payment.

The task Force will look for ways to encourage public innovation, education and training, entrepreneurship and start-ups and rural initiatives.

Other members of the task force include: Raphael Bostick, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta; Paul Bowers, president of Georgia Power; Lori Durden, president of Ogeechee Technical College which is building a robotics training lab; Lynn Murphey, program director for the Knight Foundation; Shan Cooper, the executive director of the Atlanta Committee for Progress; Martin Flanagan, the president of Invesco; Paul Judge, co-founder and executive chairman of Pindrop and co-founder and partner of TechSquare Labs; Barbara Rivera Holmes, president of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce; Jeb Stewart, CEO of Xana Management; and Debra Lam, managing director of Smart Cities & Inclusive Innovation at Georgia Tech.

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