401 Tech Bridge Announces Leadership Appointments and Interstate/International Program Partnerships

Dec 12, 2023 | News

401 Tech Bridge Announces Leadership Appointments and Interstate/International Program Initiatives

Strategic Moves Are Designed to Fuel Innovation and Technology Commercialization Activities in Rhode Island and Beyond

401 Tech Bridge, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing innovation and facilitating the commercialization of groundbreaking technologies, has announced two significant leadership appointments and two new program partnerships. The moves support the 401 Tech Bridge mission of fostering innovation, collaboration, and commercialization.

Erik Brine is the new 401 Tech Bridge Center Director, while Linda Larsen has been promoted to Operations Manager.

In addition, 401 Tech Bridge announced a regional partnership focused on ocean technologies or “blue” economy and an international partnership related to defense.

“The wealth of experience and proven track records that Erik Brine and Linda Larsen boast brings greater depth to the 401 Tech Bridge leadership team,” said Christian Cowan, who previously held the position of 401 Tech Bridge Director before assuming responsibilities as Executive Director of its parent organization.

“Erik and Linda are terrific collaborators,” continued Cowan. “I’m confident their unique skills and passion for building programming and partnerships will further solidify the 401 Tech Bridge position as a catalyst for positive change in the blue tech landscape.”

Appointments to Position 401 Tech Bridge As Key Resource to Innovators, Technology Ecosystem

Erik Brine moves from 401 Tech Bridge Board Member to Center Director. Most recently, Brine was Director of the University of Rhode Island’s Defense Sector R&D Initiatives and Operations.  Brine is a results-driven leader with twenty years of military operational leadership, policy development, process improvement, federal budget oversight, project management, and foreign affairs analysis. His diverse background in national security is uniquely combined with a technical education and success creating partnerships between academia, industry and the government.

After leaving active U.S. Air Force duty in 2009, he served in a variety of reserve roles, including in the Pentagon, State Department, U.S. Senate, and the White House Office of Management and Budget. He is currently a Colonel in the Air Force Reserve.

He currently serves as a Councilman in Jamestown, RI and is Co-Founder of Operation Encore, a nonprofit that provides professional opportunities to military members and veterans with musical talent. Brine received his Bachelor of Art in Physics from Boston University and Masters degrees from Georgetown University, the Air Force Institute of Technology and the Naval War College in Newport.

“I am excited to take on this challenge at a critical time for 401 Tech Bridge and Rhode Island as we seek to invest in our role as ecosystem connector and collaborator, catalyzing technology commercialization,” said Brine. “Simultaneously, I’m looking forward to leveraging my experience in both foreign relations and innovation as we will continue to expand our programs around the region and around the world in Australia, Canada and the UK.”

Linda Larsen has been appointed as the organization’s Operations Manager. Larsen previously served as 401 Tech Bridge Partnerships Manager. Her success in this critical role laid a foundation for her new responsibilities overseeing Center operations, expanding the support offered to innovators and entrepreneurs, and enhancing the Center’s program offerings.

Larsen came to 401 Tech Bridge after serving as the Director of Education and Outreach for SENEDIA (the National Alliance for Tech, Talent and Innovation). She was appointed the Chair of the Rhode Island Career and Technical Education Board of Trustees by former Governor Gina Raimondo and has taken a hands-on role nurturing future innovators as a judge for the FIRST Robotics competitions.

Larsen received her Bachelor of Science from Rhode Island College and earned a BS in Business Administration from Northeastern University.

“I am honored to take on the role of Operations Manager at 401 Tech Bridge. Having been deeply involved in advancing our mission as Partnerships Manager, I am eager to leverage my experience and passion to oversee the operations of the center and contribute to the growth of our program offerings,” said Larsen. “I look forward to working closely with the talented team and contributing to the ongoing success of our mission to drive positive change in the blue tech landscape.”

Regional and International Initiatives Bring New Resources, Connections to Innovators

In addition to its strengthened leadership structure, 401 Tech Bridge said it is working several strategic program partnerships that align with its mission to “connect, create, and commercialize.”

Most prominent of these is the Ocean Tech Hub of Southeastern New England initiative, for which 401 Tech Bridge is a consortium leader. This regional initiative will empower innovators by providing them with the resources, networks, and expertise needed to transform their ideas into market-ready solutions. Ocean Tech Hub was awarded a strategy grant from the US Economic Development Administration in October of 2023.

“Through the Ocean Tech Hub consortium, 401 Tech Bridge will continue to be a leader in Rhode Island’s Blue Economy ecosystem,” said Brine.  We will leverage our expanding physical presence in Middletown and Providence to provide capacity and capability to our government, industry, and academic partners locally.

Brine said that a second initiative, RISE-UP has led to deepened relationships and collaborations with partners across the country in Alaska and Hawaii. Like the Ocean Tech Hub effort, RISE-UP is an interstate collaboration, focused on entrepreneurship and innovation around dual-use blue economy technology.

Finally, Brine reported that 401 Tech Bridge will continue to grow its programmatic support of all pillars of the AUKUS partnership, a trilateral security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Efforts will continue to include economic development, workforce development and research and technology collaboration with universities and businesses in all three countries.

Brine said that the AUKUS program is “not only incredibly important to our shared international security, but it – along with Tech Hubs – offers incredible opportunities for the Rhode Island economy.”

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