Erie Innovation District announces collaboration with Dell, opens downtown headquarters

In less than a month on the job, Erie Innovation District President and CEO Karl Sanchack is moving quickly toward the district’s goal of establishing Erie as a hub for innovation in the fields of data science, safety and cybersecurity.

Erie, PA, Nov. 03, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Erie Innovation District, LLC, (ErieID), took a major step toward developing and attracting new businesses to downtown Erie with today’s announcement that it is collaborating with Dell, one of the largest technology companies in the world.

In a companion announcement, the ErieID revealed its initial downtown Erie headquarters in a shared space with the Erie Insurance Innovation Center at 717 State St.

It also announced the addition of Cleveland-based national technology company MCPc as an ErieID partner, as well as funding support from Ben Franklin Technology Partners for eligible early-stage tech startups.

All four announcements were made on Friday, Nov. 3, at the new headquarters by ErieID President and CEO Karl Sanchack. ErieID founding partners, including lead partner Mercyhurst University, Erie Insurance, McManis & Monsalve Associates, UPMC and Velocity Network Inc. (VNET), were in attendance, as was the director of global alliances for Dell EMC, Douglas Lieberman, and Centennial Scholar Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institution, the authority on innovation districts. 

“When you talk about a multinational technology company like Dell EMC, which literally is a household name, investing resources in Erie, you put yourself in the position of attracting even more businesses to our city,” said Mercyhurst University President Michael Victor. “This is exactly what the ErieID founders had hoped Karl would be able to do for Erie, and this is just the beginning.”

In less than a month on the job, Sanchack is moving quickly toward the ErieID’s goal of establishing Erie as a hub for innovation in the fields of data science, safety and cybersecurity.

Having a bricks-and-mortar presence in downtown Erie is a critical step.

It’s also a welcome one, said Erie Insurance President and CEO Tim NeCastro. “The commitment to innovation is an important building block in creating and sustaining a vibrant community,” said NeCasto, who is chair of the Erie Downtown Development Corporation (EDDC). “It says we’re ready for the future.”

Meanwhile, from his temporary office at Mercyhurst University, Sanchack facilitated a Memorandum of Understanding with the ErieID, Dell EMC, VNET and Mercyhurst.

Under the terms of the MOU, Dell EMC, which provides infrastructure for organizations to satisfy their digital needs, will lead the technical development of a service that provides a suite of innovation and business management tools for ErieID participating companies, entrepreneurs and startups. Dell EMC will work collaboratively with VNET on the project.

This “Innovation as a Service” concept, as Sanchack is calling it, will enable new and existing companies to have immediate access to a digital environment that includes hardware procurement, IT support, data protection and a variety of other high-speed connectivity and cybersecurity capabilities. 

“Cities like Erie,” he said, “need to innovate to be successful, need to find the road ahead. It’s more than just being a nice thing to do. When you’ve reached that point of community readiness that I think Erie has, people are more willing to embrace change. I consider myself very lucky to be part of that.”

In another development, MCPc, a national technology company based in Cleveland with offices in Erie, is also on board as a partner, explained Mercyhurst Provost and ErieID Chair David Dausey. MCPc is investing $1 million in Mercyhurst’s Ridge College of Intelligence Studies and Applied Sciences by building a cybersecurity lab for academic programming as well as a Network Operations Center (NOC) on the Erie campus. Within the NOC, the company will train and pay Mercyhurst students at industry rates to work with real MCPc clients. The intention is to grow that operation, housed at Hammermill Library, and scale it as part of the innovation district.

 “MCPc already has sales offices in Erie and this is the opportunity for it to grow its operations here and bring more jobs to our region,” Dausey said.

 New and existing businesses with a minimum viable product can apply for accelerator support from the ErieID, while entrepreneurs can seek incubator support. Applications for both can be accessed at beginning in January 2018.

 For more information, contact Sanchack at




A photo accompanying this announcement is available at


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