Michele O’Connor Assumes Helm of INNOVA Commercialization, An Initiative of The High Technology Foundation
Longtime West Virginia entrepreneur assistance veteran Michele O’Connor assumed the role of Director of INNOVA Commercialization on August 1st, continuing her and the organization’s mission of supporting and commercializing new ventures in the Mountain State and beyond.
O’Connor worked as an Investment Manager/Senior Investment Manager with the WV Jobs Investment Trust from 2011-2023 and in a variety of commercial banking positions prior to that. She has served on the TechConnect West Virginia Board of Directors for more than a decade and has led the organization as Chairwoman.
“I’m thrilled to work with the High Technology Foundation and partners like TechConnect to build upon the great work that INNOVA Commercialization accomplished under former director Guy Peduto,” said O’Connor. “There has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur in West Virginia. I look forward to working with them, and our state’s innovation ecosystem, to commercialize their concepts while also helping our state thrive economically.”
The INNOVA Commercialization Group (INNOVA), an initiative of the High Technology Foundation in Fairmont, is a business support services and seed and early-stage investment capital program dedicated to creating successful entrepreneurs and new ventures. INNOVA specializes in bringing vital knowledge and resources to seed and early-stage companies in support of product commercialization efforts. Among other partnership initiatives, INNOVA works with TechConnect on the FAST Program, an initiative supporting businesses applying for SBIR/STTR grants.
One area O’Connor intends to focus on is the commercialization of data derived from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Environmental Security Computing Center (ESCC) at the I-79 Technology Park. With more than a petabyte of weather data being generated by the ESCC each day, the opportunity for developing businesses utilizing this information is unlimited.
The ESCC data, when analyzed, showcases weather trends that can be modeled to develop predictive forecasts. This information can be used in the development of products or services for the benefit of businesses and the public. INNOVA is working with faculty and students from WVU to model the data and spur innovation.