Sunday, August 1, 2004

Look Who's Talking: Rich Kiley

Technically in charge

Rich Kiley, interim head of CincyTech USA, plans to return to his retirement and his 11 Cavalier King Charles spaniels.
The Enquirer / MEGGAN BOOKER
Rich Kiley reluctantly took this job, and he's not going to keep it. The former Procter & Gamble Co. executive was named interim head of CincyTech USA, which aims to elevate the region's high-tech sector, when Johnathan Holifield resigned in May. Before retiring from P&G in 2002, Kiley headed the company's venture capital fund. By the end of September, Kiley, 58, goes back into retirement at his Hyde Park home, dabbling in high tech, and helping to raise 11 Cavalier King Charles spaniels.

Assess Cincinnati's progress in building its high-tech sector.

I think we've done an excellent job at moving things forward, and we're in a different place today than we were three years ago. We've got the state involved in the Third Frontier program and played a role in formulating that program. Groups like The Circuit have done a great job at entrepreneurial training. Queen City Angels and C-CAP are recognized in the state as one of the best angel capital networks. I think on a broad front, a lot has been done. University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children's research budgets have increased significantly. ... The question is, is Cincinnati seen as a major high-tech hub growth hub in the United States today? I think the answer continues to be no.

What are the next big things the region needs to accomplish?

We need to work together to get a consistent message out across the country about the good progress that's been made in Cincinnati. There needs to be a consistent marketing message and communication that things are dramatically different here than they have been in years past, and that this region is highly competitive as a place to grow high-tech companies.

How do you attract new high-tech companies to move here?

One (motivation) might be to be close to basic research going on in their area of research. That's why leveraging UC and Children's are very important. Another might be to be close to major customers. We're fortunate to have major Fortune 500 companies like Procter & Gamble and GE and Toyota, which are major customers of technology companies.

Does Cincinnati have the right kind of work force for this industry?

We're somewhat better than the U.S. average; we're not quite in the same league as a place like Boston, where they have a higher percentage of Ph.D. graduates.

John Byczkowski

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