BTV Ignite

Organizing and Accelerating the Energy of Burlington's Technology Ecosystem

BTV Ignite 2.0 Announced September 22, 2015

BTV Ignite Next Steps Announced 9-22-15


September 22, 2015

Contact:                 Michael Schirling 802.316.0478

BTV Ignite Takes Next Steps to Spur Economic Development
Board of Directors Created; Michael Schirling Appointed Executive Director;

2015 BTV Ignite Event Scheduled – October 29th at Noon – City Hall

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger and other Burlington institutional leaders today announced a series of steps to strengthen the two-year-old BTV Ignite initiative, which is dedicated to aligning Burlington’s powerful gigabit infrastructure as a tool, test bed, and accelerator for economic, educational, and community benefit. These next steps include:

  • Formation of a new 501(c)(3) and board of directors for BTV Ignite, with two years of funding committed by Burlington organizations;
  • The board’s selection and hire of Michael Schirling as BTV Ignite Executive Director; and
  • The announcement of the first BTV Ignite Conference, to take place in October 2015.

“When we announced BTV Ignite two years ago, we had interest and involvement from just about every sector of the Burlington community in this tech initiative to support entrepreneurial spirit and facilitate economic growth,” said Mayor Weinberger. “Today’s announcement gives us the structure and leadership to advance this important effort.”

Board of Directors and Funding
The new BTV Ignite board of directors hold positions in various community organizations and institutions, each of which has agreed to fund the BTV Ignite initiative for the next two years at a level of $25,000 per year. Those organizations and BTV Ignite directors are:

  • Beth Anderson, Chief Innovation Officer, City of Burlington
  • Stephen Barraclough, Interim General Manager, Burlington Telecom
  • Dan Harvey, Director of Operations, Office of the UVM Vice President for Research, University of Vermont
  • Neale Lunderville, General Manager, Burlington Electric Department
  • Charles Miceli, Vice President, Network Chief Supply Chain Officer, University of Vermont Health Network
  • Yaw Obeng, Superintendent of Schools, Burlington School Department
  • Peter Owens, Community & Economic Development Office Director, City of Burlington
  • Jonathan Rajewski, Associate Professor, Division of Information Technology & Sciences, Champlain College
  • Lea Ann Smith, STEM Academy Leader, Essex High School
  • Tom Torti, President, Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce

Executive Director
Today, BTV Ignite’s newly-created board of directors announced next steps in the process to create a local high-tech ecosystem and tech-economy, leveraging next-generation bandwidth and applications and building Burlington’s tech talent for the continued advancement of community, educational, and economic goals. The board has announced that following a search, Michael Schirling, Burlington’s recently retired Police Chief, has been appointed as BTV Ignite’s first Executive Director. A new, independent 501(c)(3) has been created for the BTV Ignite organization.

“I am excited to work from the solid foundation established by U.S. Ignite, and the BTV Ignite Advisory Board and working groups. With the support of the core funders and Board of Directors, and in partnership with so many who are working to make Burlington’s tech future vibrant, we will work to write new chapters for education, economy and our community using technology as the instrument.”

2015 BTV Ignite Conference
Additionally, leaders from Burlington anchor institutions, City government, and employers will meet with US Ignite’s Executive Director, Bill Wallace, and leaders of City-wide tech initiatives from Kansas City and Chattanooga in Burlington on October 29, 2015 to learn from their experiences and shape Burlington’s priorities moving forward.

This engagement will be followed by a public meeting during which Wallace will discuss the mission and purpose of US Ignite and will explain why US Ignite sees Burlington’s membership as a good partnership. Representatives from Chattanooga and Kansas City, two cities that have fiber optic networks similar to Burlington, will discuss how they have organized within their communities to take advantage of their fiber optic infrastructures. This conversation will inform the public about what is currently occurring in Burlington and what other communities with similar networks have done.

Today’s announcements come on the heels of news last week that Burlington would benefit from a US Ignite National Science Foundation (NSF) grant as one of 15 cities in the US to receive a “quicker, smarter Internet” as a result of the City’s fiber optic infrastructure. Each of the US Ignite communities benefiting from the NSF grant will receive access to an ultra-fast network with computing and storage capabilities that will support highly interactive and visually immersive experiences not possible on today’s commercial Internet. This is the beginning of an effort to create a critical mass of interconnected smart gigabit cities nationwide, with next generation Internet capabilities and sustainable technology ecosystems.

BTV Ignite is the Burlington, VT arm of the US Ignite initiative. Originally announced in October 2013 and now taking the next steps to become a more impactful organization, BTV Ignite’s mission is to facilitate collaborative efforts between public, private, educational, non-profit, and entrepreneurial partners to grow and attract tech-centric talent, leveraging Burlington’s City-wide gigabit Internet infrastructure and 21st century application development to create the conditions for sustainable tech-centric economic growth. BTV Ignite is dedicated to aligning Burlington’s powerful gigabit infrastructure as a tool, test bed, and accelerator for economic, educational, and community benefit. As Mayor Weinberger has previously described, BTV Ignite will operate in several areas including, but not limited to:

  • Enhancing the existing technology infrastructure in the community;
  • Developing “Gig Initiatives” to provide gigabit connectivity to Burlington students and community facilities;
  • Supporting a calendar of local events focused on energizing and supporting the tech community;
  • Encouraging the creation of and supporting existing spaces that generate innovation and collaboration, such as makers/co-working and research and development spaces within the City;
  • Developing talent through training, education, and mentoring; and
  • Assisting in efforts to recruit new business, new tech workers, and attracting tech startups and entrepreneurs.

US Ignite is a non-profit organization, launched in 2012 with inspiration from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, both of which see it as a 21st century competitive necessity for the United States to take advantage of next-generation technologies. It operates today within the NSF with a staff team supported by corporate, foundation, and community partners. US Ignite’s mission is to foster the creation of 60 next-generation Internet applications – from a network of 200 communities, like Burlington – that will provide transformative public benefit in six sectors of the economy:  healthcare, education, public safety, energy, transportation, and advanced manufacturing.

To participate in BTV Ignite discussions or initiatives, please contact Michael Schirling at

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Copyright BTV Ignite - 2016.