The city had been one of fourteen selected in 2014 to receive a three-year, $1.35 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies in order to establish the office.
“We are pleased to fill out the innovation office team with these exceptionally talented and qualified candidates,” Mayor Miner stated. “Each brings a unique breadth of experience, which will help them research and implement solutions to our greatest challenges. This group will first focus on our aging urban infrastructure, but will be a new force for creativity, and innovation within city government across a variety of areas that are important to the citizens of our community.”
Miner announced earlier this year Andrew Maxwell would serve as director of policy and innovation for her administration, and lead the new office.
Additional staff members in the office will be as follows:
- Adria Finch has joined the office as project manager. She’d previously worked as an economic development specialist for the Downtown Committee of Syracuse. In addition, she had been the former director of the New York State Urban Council, and served on the staff of the Olympic Regional Development Authority in Lake Placid. Finch is a graduate of Ithaca College, and holds a Masters in Biomechanics from East Carolina University, as well as an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
- Sam Edelstein will be the Analytics Coordinator for the office. Previously, he worked in Syracuse University’s Office of Alumni Engagement. Edelstein has also worked in the tourism industry, in Washington, D.C., and taught English in Songtan, South Korea. He has BA degree in policy and economics from Syracuse University, and is currently pursuing his masters in Information Management from the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University.
- Addison Spears will be the office’s program coordinator. Spears previsously worked as a senior marketing associate for Tully Rinckey PLLC, where he handled their social media, and digital marketing portfolio. He also served in a similar position with Melton Truck Lines in Tulsa, Okla. Addison holds a BA, and MBA, from Oral Roberts University, in Oklahoma.
- In addition, Jonnell Robinson will serve as a university fellow in the office. Robinson will serve as a consultant in the role, providing research and mapping expertise. She currently serves as an assistant professor, and director of the Syracuse Community Geography Program, at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Robinson holds a PhD in geography, and an MPH in maternal and child health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as a BA in International Studies, and Political Science, from Niagara University.
Officials said the Bloomberg grant will allow the city to hire and fund its i-team for up to three years, and the team will function as in-house innovation consultants, moving from one mayoral priority to the next, helping agency leaders and staff go through a data-oriented process to “assess problems, generate responsive new interventions, develop partnerships, and deliver measurable results.”