Innovation District gets Dell deal

Joseph McCarthy, Contributing writer

It is no secret that Erie is one of the “rust belt” cities. All over, one can find abandoned mills and factories. Even the GE Transportation locomotive factory that’s been here for more than 100 years could be shutting its doors.

But the Erie Innovation District, made up of entrepreneurs, is trying to turn that around. By attracting tech companies and cybersecurity companies to Erie, the district aims to turn the city into a technology hub.

Mercyhurst and some companies such as Erie Insurance and Velocity Network have been major partners in the deal with Dell and the Erie Innovation District.

Partners signed a memorandum of understanding with Dell EMC, in which Dell will provide tools for the district. Dell will provide hardware, IT support, data protection and high-speed internet and help with cybersecurity.

The Erie Innovation District is opening a new headquarters at 717 State St., which it will share with the Erie Insurance Innovation Center.

“The Erie Innovation District will offer students opportunities to engage with corporate partners engaged in innovation and business development in the area of cyber,” David Dausey, provost and executive vice president.

Dausey said this will also benefit the students.

“There will be a number of ways that students will be able to engage with the ErieID. First, the ErieID will engage with our students in class projects. These projects will be arranged by the ErieID leadership and will be set up with individual faculty and individual courses,” said Dausey. “Second, students will be able to assist with the implementation of the ErieID through internships, externships and jobs. For example, MCPc is a Cleveland-based technology company that will be hiring more than a dozen Mercyhurst students to work in their Security Operations Center (SOC) and Network Operations Center (NOC) as part of their collaboration for the ErieID.”

Karl Sanchack, the CEO of ErieID, believes the Innovation District is vital to the city.

“As a vital member of the city, the Erie Innovation District intends to create and shape new opportunities building on university strengths, as well as our technology collaborations. Specifically, we are helping the city in which we live and work find new and creative ways to thrive,” said Sanchack. “Our innovative environment offers the potential for a truly unique experience for accelerating startups and entrepreneurs to the market. We are also creating an environment that may one day be ripe with internships and job opportunities for our students and graduates.”