A leading advocate for the region’s tech community announced this week a promotion from within as the KC Tech Council transitions to new leadership after longtime CEO Ryan Weber left the organization this spring.
Newly-announced chief operating officer Erin Christensen, who has served as the tech council’s program manager since October 2020 and leads its Apprenti KC tech apprenticeship program, will succeed Kara Lowe as she steps into the role of CEO vacated by Weber.
Weber led the council since its founding in 2012.
Lowe became CEO May 27 with Christensen’s new position official June 1.
“This opportunity will allow me to drive broader solutions for our tech industry and member companies, and I’m eager to get started,” said Christensen.
Christensen led the implementation and accelerated growth of Apprenti KC, focused on creating pathways to tech careers for skilled individuals regardless of prior technology experience. Since its launch by the council in January 2021, Apprenti KC has grown quickly, according to a press release. Six area companies have already begun to adopt the program, and five others are in the contract review process.
“The past several years of my career have underscored just how essential workforce development is for tech companies,” said Christensen. “Therefore, I’m glad to remain involved with the oversight of Apprenti as well as other workforce initiatives we are excited to roll out over the coming months.”
Click here to learn more about the KC Tech Council and its programming.
Before joining the KC Tech Council, Christensen spent five years at the Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri Kansas City, developing a corporate outreach program for the Bloch Career Center.
Under Christensen’s leadership, the KC Tech Council was able to secure a $550,000 grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce, according to the organization. The four-year grant is dedicated toward funding technical instruction, program implementation and operational support for the Apprenti KC program across the state of Kansas.
“I can think of no one more prepared to hit the ground running in this critical role,” said Lowe. “Erin has demonstrated in less than two years how essential she is to this organization, and I’m so honored to have her alongside as we build the future of Kansas City’s tech industry.”
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.