The Corridor Conversation: Aaron Pitts
JobsOhio is a private non-profit corporation designed to drive job creation and new capital investment in Ohio through business attraction, retention and expansion efforts. Aaron Pitts has served as its senior managing director for healthcare since 2013, allowing him to leverage his knowledge of the global healthcare and bioscience industry to drive sector growth in Ohio. Aaron is passionate about Ohio’s healthcare industry and the incredible advancements happening in the state that are improving the quality and longevity of people around the world.
Before joining JobsOhio, Aaron was a senior vice president of strategy and management at Cardinal Health for 12 years and a management consultant. He received his master’s degree from the University of Minnesota and bachelor’s degree in business administration from The Ohio State University.
Outside of JobsOhio, Aaron enjoys spending time with his wife, visiting their adult children, traveling, practicing yoga and weightlifting.
1. What innovation trends do you see being significant in next five years?
The availability to collect, analyze, and share vast amounts of data will continue to create novel products and services, and new applications to existing products across facets of life. The application areas for innovations are endless—they will bring advancements to human health and wellbeing, connectivity to isolated places of the world, and new understanding to issues not currently understood. Of course, innovations will also come with challenges—privacy, rights, security, and shared prosperity. So, we’re feeling our way as a society on how to enjoy the benefits of this information age, while protecting ourselves at the same time.
2. Where do innovations happen or originate in the economy?
Innovations are distributed in nature—they aren’t ‘owned’ by any one “place”. Innovations happen everywhere and can be driven by individuals, start-ups, corporations, governments, academic centers or at the collision of all of these inputs. These are global trends—increasingly, populations are migrating to cities, the nature of work is service-oriented versus manufacturing, and information- and research-based work are yielding valuable opportunities for people. So, while ideas can originate in any setting, we see powerful innovations emerging where anchor institutions and corporations cluster and collaborate with start-ups, scale-ups and accelerators. This is true in Ohio, and specifically in Cincinnati where these global dynamics merge at the Uptown Innovation Corridor.
3. What do you view as the major strengths of the Uptown Innovation Corridor?
The Corridor is literally at the nexus of a great university, a top global children’s hospital and research foundation, corporate leaders, and in the heart of a great midwestern city with a storied history itself. Employers looking for new or expanded operations, and young, educated people both see the same conditions-- vibrant, safe, amenity-rich places that are fun to both work and live in. In this sense, Cincinnati competes with other cities—for talent, and for employer relationships. What Cincinnati has done to organize around the Corridor, and collaborate with local government, has set the region up to maximize the opportunity.
4. What is the one thing you want people to know about the role of JobsOhio in our innovation economy?
In partnership with state government, our regional and local economic development partners, our ‘job 1’ is to compete for, and secure company commitments of jobs and capital. Doing this over time can add to the vitality of the Cincinnati region. Specifically geared toward capturing a greater share of growth, we are focused on improving Ohio’s competitiveness around innovations. We’re doing this by developing programming and making investments geared toward winning corporate R&D centers, revitalizing cities to improve our ‘quality of place’, and partnering to ensure we have the STEM and tech talent to propel all of our industries forward.
5. How is JobsOhio engaged in the Uptown Innovation Corridor, Cincinnati’s Innovation District?
Thus far, JobsOhio has played a limited role in the Corridor. This said, we’ve looked at what others have done across the country and couldn’t be more excited to be a partner with the Corridor and promote its unique assets to companies that want access to top talent and a community built around collaboration. Together, we believe we can accelerate the build out of infrastructure and space, co-recruit with the Uptown Innovation Corridor institutions, and elevate the marketing of the district so the outside world knows what we have to offer. The environment that the Corridor is creating couldn’t be more exciting – and important – to the continued long-term prosperity of the region.