the activation council

The Activation Council, as an anchor for the knowledge-based innovation and entrepreneurial community, provides the leadership and vision for the Richmond regional innovation ecosystem with a willingness to invent, take and manage risks, and share credit for success.

  • Forum for collaboration and coordinated innovation activities amongst stakeholders in the region.
  • Set goals and metrics for innovation for the Region and monitoring progress toward goals.
  • Identify gaps in the innovation ecosystem and lead efforts to identify sources to fill gaps in the region.
  • Identify gaps in capital requirements and leading effort to provide the financial means to sustain a successful innovation ecosystem.
  • Craft message for marketing organizations at the local, regional, and statewide level of innovation excellence to help in the recruitment, retention, and expansion.


  • Carrie Roth, President & CEO, Activation Capital

  • Michael Rao, Ph.D., Chair - President, VCU

  • Jen Finn, Vice Chair, COO, Small Business Banking, Capital One

  • The Hon. Brian Ball, Secretary of Commerce & Trade, Commonwealth of Virginia

  • The Hon. Levar Stoney, Mayor, City of Richmond

  • Bryan Bostic, Managing Director, Spanish Moss Holdings LLC & Board Member, Startup Virginia

  • Joe Casey, Ph.D., Chesterfield County Administrator

  • Elizabeth Creamer, Vice President of Workforce Development & Credential Attainment, Community College Workforce Alliance

  • Robby Demeria, Executive Director, RVATech

  • Rob Driver, Ph.D., Director of Innovation, Altria Client Services

  • Cecil "Rhu" Harris, Hanover County Administrator

  • Frank Macrina, Ph.D., Vice President of Research and Innovation, VCU

  • Paul Nolde, Director, NRV & President, Venture Forum RVA

  • Todd Nuckols, Co-Founder, Lighthouse Labs

  • Kim Sheeler, President/CEO, ChamberRVA

  • Lisa Sims, Executive Director, Venture Richmond

  • Joe Tannery, DRIC Board Member & Energy Technology Advisor, Dominion Energy

  • John Vithoulkas, Henrico County Manager

  • Garret Westlake, Ph.D., Executive Director, VCU DaVinci Center