Cortex, T-REX & GeoFutures to Collaborate on National Geospatial Speaker Series


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Launch of “GeoInnovation National Speaker Series” to shine a monthly spotlight on St. Louis’ rapidly emerging geospatial sector

ST. LOUIS – Cortex and T-REX announced today that they are partnering with GeoFutures to launch a national speaker series focused on geospatial innovation and to shine a monthly spotlight on St. Louis’ fast-growing geospatial ecosystem. 

The three organizations will coordinate on the new “GeoInnovation National Speaker Series,” which will launch virtually February 3 and feature as its first speaker Chris Tucker, Chairman of the American Geographical Society and author of “A Planet of 3 Billion.” Future speakers will include VADM Robert Sharp, Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), Dr. Stacey Dixon, NGA Deputy Director, and Tony Frazier, Senior Vice President of Maxar.  

Cortex, a 200-acre innovation hub that is home to over 400 tech and science companies, partners with academic, civic, and entrepreneurial partners to form an innovation community focused on inclusive growth in St. Louis. Cortex brings together the research talent of founding anchor institutions – Washington University in St. Louis, Saint Louis University, University of Missouri – St. Louis, BJC Healthcare and the Missouri Botanical Gardens – with the talent and spirit of the entrepreneurial ecosystem and the resources and investment of corporate partners. Recognized as a global best practice in 2020, Cortex provides a deep pool of programs designed to support and connect emerging technology companies and attract established technology firms to St. Louis. Cortex is home to a significant number of companies that develop and use geospatial technology including Booz Allen Hamilton, Microsoft and the new Global Center for Cybersecurity @ Cortex. 

Said Sam Fiorello, Cortex President and CEO: “This new collaboration between Cortex and T-REX represents two organizations with unique strengths partnering to advance the mission of growing the geospatial sector in St. Louis. Cortex will continue focusing on geospatial as a strategic priority. We look forward to an expanded partnership with T-REX and the regional geospatial community.” 

T-REX, a non-profit innovation and entrepreneur development center located in Downtown St. Louis, has developed a strong geospatial focus over the last several years, designing and building a multi-million dollar Geospatial Innovation Center and partnering with NGA to develop Moonshot Labs, the Agency’s new technology lab focused on innovation that will also advance efforts between NGA, industry and academia in the region and nationally. T-REX is also home to multiple geospatial startups, geospatial university efforts, and hosts industry partners, including Leidos’ Innovation Lab, Esri, Planet Federal, Reinventing Geospatial, OmniFederal and GeodataIT. 

“T-REX’s new Geospatial Innovation Center, as well as St. Louis’s long geospatial history with the NGA, excellent universities and other talent development initiatives such as LaunchCode, along with funding organizations such as Cultivation Capital, Capital Innovators and Arch Grants, have established the perfect context for St. Louis to be the international hub for geospatial technology innovation. The exponential growth we have experienced at T-REX within this sector, and the opportunities presented by expanding regional partnerships in these efforts, including with our friends at Cortex, are proof of that,” said T-REX President Dr. Patricia Hagen. 

“This national speaker series will demonstrate to the country and the world our thought leadership on geospatial issues and will draw additional attention to geospatial development taking place in St. Louis,” said Mark Tatgenhorst, T-REX’s Geospatial Program Director.

GeoFutures, an initiative of the recently formed regional economic development organization Greater St. Louis, Inc., was launched in October 2019 to bolster the St. Louis region’s rapidly growing geospatial sector and develop a strategic plan for the future. The effort was guided by an advisory committee that features a broad and diverse group of nearly 30 leaders from the region’s public, business, civic, and academic sectors. 

“T-REX and Cortex are two of the main centers of innovation for our geospatial sector, and this effort sends a strong signal to the rest of the country and the world about how serious we are about establishing St. Louis as the global center of geospatial excellence,” said Andrew Dearing, Project Lead for the GeoFutures Initiative. “This type of collaboration is exactly what we are working to build and fits perfectly with the GeoFutures Strategic Roadmap and the GeoFutures Initiative’s larger goals.”

The announcement of the new national speaker series continues the momentum of St. Louis’ geospatial ecosystem:

  • In October, NGA announced Moonshot Labs, a new geospatial technology lab to open at T-REX that will advance efforts between NGA, industry, and academia in the region. 
  • In November, NGA and the Missouri Technology Corporation announced a $4 million geospatial accelerator program, which is targeting a launch for its initial cohort in the first part of 2021.
  • Last month, Greater St. Louis, Inc. released its draft STL 2030 Jobs Plan, which identifies geospatial technology as one of three next generation sectors that could dramatically shape the St. Louis metropolitan region’s economy.

To register for the first speaker event featuring Dr. Chris Tucker of the American Geographical Society, go to:

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