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September 28, 2016

New leadership at Mass. technology and innovation agency

The state agency that oversees electronic health initiatives, efforts to connect rural towns to broadband internet and fostering emerging industries has a new leader as of this week.

Timothy Connelly, most recently a partner at Brown Brothers Harriman, began as executive director of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative this week.

At Brown Brothers Harriman, where he worked for 30 years before retiring at the end of 2014, Connelly was the "partner in charge of innovation" and worked at "a technology firm housed within a bank," he said.

"The headline, I don't think, is that I'm a banking executive," Connelly said Wednesday morning. "I think the headline is that I'm a business executive that has either developed or employed technology to a sense that has meaningful impact."

Connelly currently sits on the technology advisory board of BDO Consulting and on the board of directors for the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. He holds degrees from Williams College and Northeastern University, and is a chartered financial analyst.

The collaborative is known in law as the Massachusetts Technology Park Corporation, and it oversees the Massachusetts Broadband Institute, electronic health initiatives and the John Adams Innovation Institute, according to the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.

The collaborative is also in charge of administering the capital and contracts in a public-private partnership endorsed by the Department of Defense to establish the headquarters of an advanced fabrics institute in Cambridge, according to the executive office.

"Mass. Tech Collaborative, think of it as the conductor of the orchestra. And I think with Tim's leadership he's going to look at all of the instruments that are in the orchestra and figure out how we take it to the next level," Robert Johnson, the president of Becker College and a member of the collaborative's executive committee, said.

Connelly said he would take Johnson's analogy a step further and added that "it's not just the Boston Symphony Orchestra, but it's also Tanglewood and other areas" of the state.

"There's a lot of things really great in the city of Boston, and we want to nurture those and make sure our strengths remain a strength," he said. "But we really want to nurture some of the other areas of the state where it's not as easy -- from a workforce point of view or a capital point of view or a technology point of view -- to compete at a level playing field."

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