The Challenge


How might we foster partnerships among business, universities and governments to spark innovation and entrepreneurship?

Atlanta has all the makings for a successful world class innovation hub, right here in our own backyard. Opportunity lives here. Yet in addition to these achievements, we also face challenges that can best be solved by partnerships between government, companies and universities.  But forging these partnerships presents its own challenges. Silos in authority, ownership, resources, and even competitive advantages create barriers to partnership and innovation. Instead of sharing ideas that can lead to breakthrough solutions, we often hoard them. Imagine the impact of business, government and universities communicating, innovating, and collaborating  seamlessly. Picture our collective success when we begin to collaborate with common goals, sharing more information and resources.

Read the full challenge summary  |  Join the conversation  |  Submit your ideas

The People

Meet the people who are helping make the (co)lab LABS a reality. They represent the outstanding leaders, brilliant creators, and powerful storytellers in the Atlanta region, and we’re so excited to see all that they can accomplish when working in tandem.


Lab Leader

Katie Kirkpatrick

Leadership Atlanta ’12, Senior Vice President, Business Higher Education, Metro Atlanta Chamber

Katie Kirkpatrick is the senior vice president of Business Higher Education (BHE) for the Metro Atlanta Chamber.  BHE is MAC’s newest initiative, launched January 2013, facilitating connections between business and universities to ignite job creation and innovation. Katie joined MAC in 2007 as vice president of Environmental Affairs for MAC, overseeing the Chamber’s work on sustainability, including water, air, energy and quality growth issues.  She has served in various key roles shaping environmental policy and overseeing water related issues. She was the management lead for Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue’s 2009 Water Contingency Task Force and in 2011 lead the Sustainable Economic Growth Initiative.



Lab Chair

Daniel Gordon

LEAD ’09, President, Soleria Development Group

Daniel Gordon is the President and Managing Member of Soleria Development Group, which is based in Atlanta, GA. Soleria provides strategy consulting and M&A advisory services to clients across the country. Prior to Soleria, Mr. Gordon was both Director of Business Development for AMB Group – the management and support services arm for Arthur M. Blank’s diverse businesses – and Co-Founder and Vice President of the Atlanta Falcons Physical Therapy Centers. Mr. Gordon joined AMB Group in 2007 and transitioned to a consultant role in 2013 to pursue his goal of leading a best-in-class advisory firm.

Creative Team

Porter Novelli

Jana Thomas, Senior Vice President
Kristy Grulikowski, Vice President
Amber Wilburn, Creative Designer
Mark Avera, Senior Account Executive
Matt Cone, Strategic Audience Services

We motivate people to change deeply ingrained behaviors rooted in cultural and social norms. Our results are greater than influencing people. We make them believe.