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New Name. Same Mission.
 
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November 6, 1995

Dear Colleague,

Almost a year has gone by since we launched the idea for what was then The Northern Virginia Project. Since June, we have made substantial progress in our efforts to create a coalition that will establish our region as a world center for innovation and the beneficiary of vibrant commercial and social entrepreneurship.

Today, we have a strong base of founding partners, a non-profit corporation in place, and a Board of Directors and Officers comprised of regional leaders. Most importantly, we moved from our formative stage into implementation, engagement, and results for our region and its citizens.

Our New Name...

Thanks to a collaborative effort involving more than 75 educational, business, and community leaders (and scores more from outside the region), we have a new name – one that better reflects both our region and the potential we have for leadership:

The Potomac KnowledgeWay Project

Potomac - reflects our geographical location, encompassing Northern Virginia, Suburban Maryland, Howard County, Maryland, and the District of Columbia

Knowledge - highlights our key strengths in the use of technology and the creation of information products

Way - illustrates our vibrant flow of innovation, entrepreneurship, and activity

An Unstoppable Revolution with New Risks and New Opportunities ...

More than ever, we are in the midst of a revolution that is reshaping our lives, our work force, our schools, and our society. The force that is causing such profound change is the Knowledge Revolution, and it carries with it dramatic implications for individuals, institutions, and businesses alike.

Our region faces difficult challenges that may severely impact our economic future. Loss of federal jobs. Downsizing and consolidation in banking, financial services, and real estate. Deregulation of the telecommunications industry. More threatening are innovations that create "fringe cities" further from our core economies, bolster telecommuting projects, and expose us to competition from around the country and the world.

In the new age, our ability to obtain and use knowledge to reinvent ourselves, our jobs, and our community will directly and substantially affect our future. A new interactive communications medium is rocking the world, carrying information farther and faster than ever before. As a result, every facet of our daily lives will change - and we must change, too.

There can be but one response to these challenges - we must take immediate and assertive steps to ensure a region vibrant with innovation and economic opportunity, one in which our entrepreneurial environment and quality of life allows us to prosper in the face of radical change.

One Step Away...

The Potomac KnowledgeWay region is one step away from success in the high-stakes race for global leadership in the Knowledge Revolution.

The goal of The Potomac KnowledgeWay Project is to help the region take that important step into the future. As such, our mission remains the same as it was since our inception:

The Potomac KnowledgeWay Project is dedicated to understanding and communicating the potential rewards and risks of the Knowledge Revolution, inspiring our community to seize its economic, educational, and social opportunities, and making the region a global model of collaborative achievement.

The Project is about assisting every business, institution, and individual understand and manage the changes being wrought by the Knowledge Revolution. Four programs currently underway will help the region and its citizens prosper in the new economy:

  • The Information Entrepreneurship program will assist both entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial activity to create and commercialize information products.

  • The Regional Networking Program will facilitate communications, interaction, and teaming within the region, anchored by The Potomac KnowledgeWay Crossroads, the Project’s World Wide Web site on the Internet.

  • The Community Awareness and Education program will introduce the possibilities of the new interactive communications medium to the broadest possible community.

  • The Regional Collaboration program will help existing industry and social sectors understand and apply the new technology to reinventing their organizations, forming new and exciting partnerships, and stimulating regional change.
Strong Base of Support...

Today, we are proud to report that the Project has met its initial seed funding goal and is ready to begin securing multi-year operational funding. By the end of October, the Project had raised over $500,000 from more than 50 sponsors. Led by a generous challenge grant of $150,000 from Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology, these sponsors have made it possible for the Project to advance to the next level. We recognize their contributions in the accompanying list.

Thanks to these sponsors - and to the many people who have so generously contributed their time and talents - The Potomac KnowledgeWay Project is now off the ground. We have significant momentum to carry us forward and a solid base of support for our initiatives. But much work remains to be done. That’s where you come in.

A Challenge for All...

It is imperative that you become engaged in the Knowledge Revolution by taking steps to orient yourself to change and by "getting connected." Direct participation is the only way to truly comprehend the benefit and impact of this phenomenon. More importantly, you must become a voice that encourages our communities, businesses, and institutions to accept the challenges of the revolution, become more competitive, and ensure a higher quality of life for our families. Nonparticipation in this revolution is not an option.

We cannot allow a sense of complacency, fostered by our current success, to obscure the serious risks that this revolution imposes on our region, businesses, institutions, and people. Do not assume that these risks are far into the future, for we are already witnessing dramatic change at a phenomenal rate.

More than anything else, The Potomac KnowledgeWay Project is about facing this change. And we need to bring the considerable resources of our region together to focus on moving forward and enabling us to learn, adapt, and succeed in the new age. We look forward to working with you, and we’ll be sure to keep you informed of our progress and the many successes that are defining our region - the Potomac KnowledgeWay.

Sincerely,


Mario M. Morino
Chairman

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