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Mayor names Tom Loveland Google Czar

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake kicked Baltimore's push to win the Google Fiber competition up a notch last week, enlisting the support of top business and technology leaders and organizations. Heading the team is Tom Loveland, president of local tech company Mind Over Machines and the newly annointed Google Czar.

Loveland will work with Joseph Weaver, president Global Design Interactive,  and Scott Plank, vice president Under Armour in conjunction with Baltimore Fiber, a grassroots effort launched several weeks ago in response to the announcement about Google Fiber for Communities, an initiative that asks American cities and municipalities to compete for up to a billion dollars in fiber optic network infrastructure delivering speeds nearly 100 times faster than most internet connections.

Google, Inc. is asking local governments and communities to express interest and provide information by completing a "request for information" or RFI by March 26.

With Baltimore's rich history of technological innovation, "there is no doubt in my mind that Baltimore is the best and most appropriate City in America to invest in new blazing fast internet infrastructure," Mayor Rawlings-Blake said. "Baltimore is a 'City of First's' and we should be Google's first choice," Rawlings-Blake says.

The Mayor also pegged Greater Baltimore Committee and the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore to assist the already burgeoning grassroots campaign to lure Google to Baltimore by recruiting additional support from larger corporations and institutions. Mayor Rawlings-Blake announced an agreement with Under Armour to supply in-house marketing capabilities to assist the effort.

"Baltimore's business community will enthusiastically engage to take full advantage of this opportunity to achieve a quantum leap in technology resources and enhanced speed capabilities," says Donald C. Fry, President and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee. "This project fits Baltimore's business legacy of technology advancements and transformational innovations."

"Greater Baltimore has emerged as the nation's "knowledge center"... from the best hospital and researchers in the world to the nation's leaders in defense intelligence and communications. This framework provides an opportunity to enhance our connectivity within the region, as well as connecting the rest of the world to our community," says J. Thomas Sadowski, President & CEO, Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore:

Loveland in his role as a volunteer "Google Czar" will be charged with working with the Mayor's Office of Economic Development and Neighborhoods to complete and submit the RFI by the due date.

"Baltimore is a tinderbox of innovation. Google Fiber is the spark, a game-changer that could turn Baltimore into a global innovation leader," Mr. Loveland said. "Mayor Rawlings-Blake understands that and I'm honored to serve the City."

According to Loveland, Baltimore is an ideal city for the Google project. "We are fortunate to have a multitude of unique, world-class resources that we all know and cherish. We are fortunate [to have a] growing population of entrepreneurs and creative's who want to make a difference in our community. We are fortunate that our region has the largest population of technology professionals in the country."

"Mix these together unique world-class resources, entrepreneurs, and technologists and you see that Baltimore is a tinderbox of innovation just waiting for a spark. Google Fiber is that spark. Google Fiber can turn Baltimore into a global innovation leader," he continues.

Whether Baltimore is successful or not in its bid to win the Google Fiber competition, both Loveland and David Troy, who has helped spearhead the grassroots effort among businesses and communities, say the city will have won. Both men expect the consortium of business and community leaders to tackle future projects.

"This is just the beginning," says Troy.

Mayor Rawlings-Blake also released a new YouTube video that will be posted on the Bmore Fiber website.

Source: Tom Loveland, Mind Over Machines; David Troy, Baltimore Fiber
Writer: Walaika Haskins
Google logo by Senait Weaver

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