Mr. Holifield is the architect of Inclusive Competitiveness – policies, strategies, practices and metrics to improve the performance of underrepresented Americans within the Innovation Economy, including regional innovation ecosystems, industry clusters, emerging technology sectors and other areas critical to economic competitiveness.
Mr. Holifield is Vice President of Inclusive Competitiveness at NorTech, the regional innovation-based economic development organization serving the Cleveland Ohio region. He is also co-founder of ScaleUp Partners LLC, a nationally networked and locally focused company in the business of advancing Inclusive Competitiveness throughout the U.S.
Mr. Holifield’s leadership has been featured at SXSWEdu and in notable publications, including BusinessWeek, Forbes, Black Enterprise, Bloomberg, Washington Post Innovations, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Thompson Reuters Venture Capital Journal.
An economic development leader, Mr. Holifield’s interdisciplinary experience includes collaboratively securing more than $40 million of grant funding, cash investments, and in-kind operations support; creating Ohio’s first information and design technology-focused high schools; forming a $40 million venture capital fund of funds, enabling a $250 million regional network of early-stage risk capital; conducting the nation’s first assessment of minority performance and competitiveness in regional innovation clusters; and designing community benefits and economic inclusion strategies for large-scale development projects valued at nearly $1.5 billion. Additionally, he catalyzed the Ohio Board of Regents to create the Subcommittee on Inclusive Competitiveness to activate the University System of Ohio to improve the performance of underrepresented Ohioans and co-authored the successful $5 million appropriation to create Ohio STEM education, commercialization and entrepreneurship programs for high school students.
He is founding executive director of CincyTech USA – Cincinnati’s Voice of Technology and Innovation, was CEO of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy and Cleveland Urban League and was a member of the Cincinnati Bengals of the NFL. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from West Virginia University, where he was elected football team captain, a master’s degree in Educational Foundations and law degree from University of Cincinnati, and is a graduate of The University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute.