Newark's Transformation into a Smart City
Steve Adubato goes One-on-One with Aisha Glover, President and CEO of the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation, from the Amazon Alexa VOICE Summit at NJIT, to discuss the impact of the VOICE Summit on Newark and how Newark is embracing becoming a Smart City.
"Aisha Glover, President and CEO of Newark Community Economic Development Corporation. Aisha, let me ask you, this Voice Summit means what to the city? It means a lot to the city. It's putting us on the map in a different way. It's really exciting. You can feel the energy to have this many people descending upon the city. We were shooting for 1,500, we're now at 2,400. What? So, yes. Now we're at a moment of, "Oh my goodness, how do we make sure...?" Was this the place to be? This was the place to be. Because? This was the only place to be, NJIT just really playing a lead role in educating the next generation around all things tech and STEM related. And then they also built this brand new, gorgeous facility, a Wellness and Events Center. But this is the exact type of event that they had in mind when we were... when they were building it, so besides being in a great institution, just being in a city like Newark, with the tech infrastructure, with the vibe, everything. It's the perfect storm, really. We'll do the vibe in a second, go back. You said something before that... the tech infrastructure? Yes. We've talked to Doctor Joel bloom, President here at NJIT, about that. From your perspective, what is the tech infrastructure and why is it even relevant to a discussion of economic development? For sure. I usually joke and say that, "We're built for this." We have the... the backbone, the fact that Broadridge moved from Jersey City, Broadridge is the country's... Yeah. ...largest fintech firm, move from Jersey City to Newark just because of the data and tech infrastructure, where every nanosecond makes a huge difference for business and for their bottom line. Our internet speeds are unmatched across the country. And so leveraging that, tapping into that, to think about how we attract corporations, attract events like this, and really make sure that we're kind of at the epicenter. Attract media? For sure. For sure. Is it largely a marketing and branding effort? It is, especially for a city like Newark that hasn't always had the best reputation, right? People don't always think about tech, they don't always think about innovation, they don't... They don't know a thing, sometimes. They think about other things. Those who don't know. Right, exactly. Those who don't know. So events like this... Those who think they're funny? Right. Sorry, I won't bore you. ...give us the opportunity to help rebrand the city and make sure people are clear on everything we have to offer. You know, we're doing this... we're doing these interviews..."