Staff Member of Georgia Tech's ATDC to Lead Columbus Technology Center

The selection of Blair Carnahan, formerly a business strategist with Synovus, was announced at a July 18 press conference in Columbus.

Carnahan is an employee of the ATDC, one of the nation's oldest and most successful incubators for technology companies. As a member of ATDC's staff, he will make the resources of the nationally-recognized incubator available to help Columbus-area entrepreneurs launch and build successful technology companies.

"By leveraging the 'tried-and-true' methods of one of the nation's leading high-tech incubators - the ATDC - our chances of success have been greatly enhanced," Carnahan said. "Through the center, Columbus area start-ups will have access to the ATDC's practical business advice, credibility in the financing community and connections to the people and resources young companies need to be successful."

The Columbus initiative grew out of a partnership between the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism (GDITT); the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce; Columbus State University and Georgia Tech's ATDC. It is part of the state's "Greater Georgia" initiative aimed at developing innovation centers in mid-sized cities where potential has been identified for technology development.

"Columbus already has a strong base of banking, investment, transaction processing and insurance companies that with the Army's presence, provides a foundation for the growth of technology-based companies," said Jeff Strane, director of GDITT's Office of Science & Technology. "This initiative will help develop a new part of the community's economic engine based on smaller, entrepreneurial companies."

The Columbus incubator program is the second for the Greater Georgia initiative. The first helped create a program in Savannah, also managed by ATDC. Launched a year ago, the Savannah initiative already has an innovative electronics company whose product has attracted news coverage in The New York Times.

Carnahan's initial responsibilities will be to oversee completion of the Columbus Regional Technology Center's building, which is scheduled to begin construction on the campus of Columbus State University by August 1. He will also develop a marketing plan, establish a technology association, organize an advisory board, and work with ATDC's Atlanta-based staff of "venture catalysts" on prospective companies.