by Ruben Aronin, Deputy Director, California Business Alliance for a Clean Economy
November 20, 2015
Vice President Joe Biden recently celebrated Alliance member, LA Cleantech Incubator (LACI), and the opening of its new LaKretz Innovation Campus by participating in a panel of investors and entrepreneurs to discuss jobs and clean technology. California is leading the way in creating business and economic opportunities from our robust and growing clean energy economy.
Biden praised the efforts of Mayor Eric Garcetti, LACI, and entrepreneurs at the roundtable. “This incubator brings together innovative minds with the courage to take a chance on a new idea…you have a mayor with a vision…a sense of optimism,” said Biden. There’s power in an incubator… using science and technology to take an idea from paper to product to the marketplace.”
I had the chance to visit the La Kretz Innovation Campus while it was still under construction this summer. The impressive facility features offices, conference rooms, a wet lab, a prototype manufacturing workshop, and classrooms in a fully renovated 60,000 square foot building – plus a new Arts District Park and surface parking with a photovoltaic solar canopy.
“This is where the magic happens…invention, innovation, incubation,” said LACI’s CEO Fred Walti. “This (La Kretz) is a unique place to build a company…a cleantech entrepreneur can take an idea, do research, go down the hall and prototype, then go across the hall to the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, and test and get an idea certified…then get a chance to get the idea to marketplace. There’s no other place like this… this is the model for the future.”
Featured panelists in the vice presidential forum included several entrepreneurs from LACI’s portfolio of companies such as Alliance member Pick My Solar, which recently won Techweek LA’s Launch Competition. Other high-level participants included LADWP General Manager Marcie Edwards, Deputy Mayor of Economic Development Kelli Bernard, LACI Board Members Jim McDermott, Richard Morganstern and David Nahai, and TCW Managing Director Tom Soto.
Vice President Biden told Pick My Solar co-founder Chris Blevins that he was looking forward to his help finding the best deal for installing solar on his house and Blevins replied that he’d like to do that for the White House, too.
The Vice President’s visit illustrates that LACI and its members are engaged in entrepreneurial leadership worthy of national recognition. Biden closed his comments by telling the assembled entrepreneurs, “You represent the future.”
That future is bright, and powered by a clean energy economy.