While the President addresses the Nation this evening, there will be several guests joining the First Lady in the Capitol gallery. These Americans exemplify what the United States needs to emphasize as we continue to create jobs of the future and ensure our competitiveness in the 21st century economy.
Startup companies and small businesses create the majority of new jobs in America, and the President wants to underscore the important role entrepreneurs and small business owners play in growing the Nation’s economy. In advance of the President’s speech, OSTP would like to highlight three of the First Lady’s guests tonight:
- David Catalano is the co-founder and President of Modea, a digital advertising agency located in Blacksburg, VA. Catalano and his co-founder, Aaron Herrington, started Modea in 2006 and are both alumni of Virginia Tech, also located in Blacksburg. Since its founding, Modea has grown 75-100 percent each year, bringing in $10 million in annual revenue. Modea has hired more than 80 creative professionals from across the country who now call Blacksburg home, and the company continues to recruit and hire new employees. A true entrepreneur at heart, Catalano also co-founded a product marketing agency during his senior year at Virginia Tech.. Located in Southwest Virginia, Blacksburg embodies the spirit of a thriving university town in the heart of rural VA. In that respect, Catalano and Modea are key examples of the importance of deploying high-speed broadband to all parts of the country. Thanks to a robust broadband network, Modea has been able to grow into a globally competitive digital ad agency and to attract world-class talent to rural Virginia.
- Dr. Albert Green is CEO of Kent Displays, a rapidly expanding small business in Kent, Ohio. Kent Displays is a world leader in research and development (R&D) and manufacturing of No Power LCD Technology. Since Dr. Green took the reins of Kent Displays in 2007, he has guided the company’s transition from a focus on R&D to a focus on product development and manufacturing. Dr. Green and Kent Displays epitomize the importance of continued investment in R&D, which has resulted in a 100% increase in revenue and employment over the past few years.
- Steve Case, current Chairman and CEO of Revolution LLC and co-founder of AOL, also joins the First Lady in the box tonight. As the President has repeatedly said, it is imperative that the private sector continue to join with us in an “all-hands on deck” approach to ensuring that America retains its leadership in the 21st century economy. In this spirit, Mr. Case, one of America’s most accomplished entrepreneurs and philanthropists, is the Chairman of the Startup America Partnership, an independent private-sector coalition developed in response to the President’s call to action. Today the Partnership is delivering strategic and substantive resources to help entrepreneurs start and scale companies across the United States.
The White House Small Business Agenda highlights many of the efforts this Administration has taken or will take to help accomplish the goals these entrepreneurs represent, including the Startup America initiative, investments to improve broadband access, and many others. Please join us in recognizing the remarkable small business owners and entrepreneurs being represented at tonight’s speech as the President outlines his plan to put Americans back to work.
Rick Siger is Chief of Staff at OSTP