Technology First had an opportunity to sit down, virtually of course, with Vincent Lewis, President of The Hub Powered by PNC, which is an exciting new joint venture here in Dayton. Given the April theme is building an innovation culture within our companies or individual teams, we thought getting a better understanding of this new organization’s mission and leader would be interesting to our 175 member companies.
With over 95,000 square feet of unique space, The Hub sits in the heart of downtown Dayton and is breathing new life into the city as well as a historic landmark building that was built in 1906 and previously called Dayton Arcade. If you have not seen it yet, there is a great YouTube video called “The Dayton Arcade: Waking the Giant” we would personally recommend watching to get a little better understanding of the space The Hub and its development partners are helping to reclaim.
The joint venture itself, which is between The Entrepreneurs Center and The University of Dayton, is designed to help drive forward new venture creation and social innovation and will also serve as the centralized location for the region’s entrepreneurs and innovators. An important part of that venture will be the team of organizations behind it which includes not only the University of Dayton, but the L. William Crotty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership program, which will be housed at The Hub, The Greater West Dayton Incubator, numerous Dayton-based startups, and the Entrepreneur Center. This team and the venture are designed to build out a critical and needed focal point of the activity that physically and programmatically will merge two of the region’s primary entrepreneur-oriented organizations. This space will allow the free flow of ideas and help facilitate what they call “serendipitous collisions” among innovative thinkers while offering practical, flexible, and cost-effective space solutions for entrepreneurs.
At the heart of this effort are Vincent Lewis and a strong team of individuals who will be focused on driving both a cultural as well as a business impact. The Cultural Impact is focused on partnering with the City of Dayton to ensure the resources, talent, and capital available within The Hub can also positively impact the broader Dayton community. The Greater West Dayton Incubator is a good example of one of the partners tasked to ensure pathways are opened to the opportunities in our startup ecosystem for minority and women entrepreneurs in underserved areas.
No less important will be the business impact The Hub has been tasked to accelerate. Primarily this impact will be focused on the opportunities for innovators and entrepreneurs to launch their ideas, grow their businesses, and drive prosperity within the startup ecosystem. The Entrepreneur Center itself has served as a tremendous advocate and supporter of entrepreneurs in the Miami Valley for years including small businesses, high-tech, and research commercialization-focused startups. Specifically, one of the Entrepreneur Center’s tasks will be continuing to provide support through its mentorship, funding, and marketing programs at The Hub.
Based on Dayton’s heritage of innovation, strong work ethic, and existing business community, it presents a real possibility to create hundreds of new jobs and ripple across all segments of the business community.
For more information about ways to engage with The Hub Powered by PNC Bank, visit https://www.thehubdayton.com.
In our time with Vincent, we had the opportunity to get to know him and asked him to share some personal things about himself and at the end of the conversation ways the Technology First Membership could collaborate with his team.
What needs do you believe the Hub addresses in the region?
The Hub meets many needs, but simply it will serve as a “Melting Pot” of opportunity and hands-on activities for a wide segment of our city, from the students and business owners who will occupy the 95,000 square feet of space to the citizens and investors looking for creative inventors, business owners, and other resources in our region. This is also a great resource to give students the opportunity to remain in the region after graduation.
What’s a lesson you can share that's shaped your work?
Humility and learning you do not have all the answers and are not required to have all the answers to be successful were important lessons.
What’s a trend in technology or innovation that you think maybe doesn’t get enough attention?
I believe innovation is an overused word and there is not a straight line between technology and innovation. The Arcade serves as a great example of that. The origin story of the Arcade involves food wagons needing to get out of the rain so they started pulling into the building to better sell their products. It took many years and pivots to come to the current innovation and believe real innovation can take time.
Do you have a personal favorite place in the region you like to visit?
With a smile, “The Arcade”. Vincent has always enjoyed the 360 miles of regional bike trails in the Dayton region and two of his favorite locations are Charleston Falls in Tipp City and Sugarcreek Metropark south of Bellbrook.
Anything in closing you like to share with the Technology First Membership and overall technology community?
I believe the Technology Community is an important piece of critical infrastructure to any region and it’s extremely important that we continue to grow it here in Dayton. Having technology-focused companies such as DataYard support our launch is only one example of how we can continue to collaborate.
A Western Kentucky graduate, Vincent went on to get his Master’s degree at Antioch University. After graduation, he went on to become the CEO of Hyde Park Electronics, a family-owned business at the time that would go on to become the #1 provider in the world (in front of companies such as Siemens) as a high-tech provider of ultra-sonic sensors technology. Over his 11 year career, he would lead the company on to eventually be sold to Schneider Electric. He would continue until leaving the company in 2007. He then went on to own Logos@Work, with his wife for fourteen years, where he continues as chairman today. Finally, in 2014 he followed his love of teaching to his current role at The University of Dayton.