Fred H. Walti, II, CEO, LACI, United States Vice President Joe Biden, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
VP, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and LACI CEO Fred Walti Take Part in Cleantech Roundtable
On Monday November 16, Vice President of the United States Joe Biden visited the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) to take part in a roundtable discussion with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, LACI CEO Fred Walti and a panel of investors and entrepreneurs to discuss jobs and clean technology.
Panelists included LADWP General Manager Marcie Edwards, Deputy Mayor of Economic Development Kelli Bernard, LACI Board Members Jim McDermott, Richard Morganstern and David Nahai, TCW Managing Director Tom Soto, as well as several entrepreneurs from LACI’s portfolio of companies, who got the Vice President’s ear for a few minutes while getting to share with him their innovative technologies.
Biden’s visit gave Mayor Garcetti and LACI’s Fred Walti a chance to show off the newly opened La Kretz Innovation Campus, a facility built and owned by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and now LACI’s home in the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles. Garcetti’s opening remarks highlighted the features of the new facility and the impact La Kretz will have on the economy and the cleantech landscape in Los Angeles.
“LACI recognizes that while we face global challenges, what we need are local solutions. Solutions like this… in every city,” said Mayor Garcetti in his opening remarks. “It offers our entrepreneurs, our future workers, our students, our innovators, our darers and our doers 60,000 square feet of space that is theirs to explore the possibilities of what tomorrow may look like.”
“This is where the magic happens…invention, innovation, incubation,” said LACI’s 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 LADWP, 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.”
Vice President Biden praised the efforts of the Mayor, LACI, and the entrepreneurs sitting 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.”
Participating LACI portfolio companies included LACI CIO Ian Gardner from CAGIX, Ka Suen of Chai Energy, Arcady Sosinov of FreeWire Technologies, Chris Blevins of Pick My Solar, Lauren Gropper of Repurpose Compostables and John Walsh of Vena Water.
Biden went on to stress building unity and consensus in pursuing an innovation economy and moving our nation forward, telling the entrepreneurs, “You represent the future.”