Tim Connelly, who this week took the helm as the new executive director of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, spoke to reporters Wednesday about
Tim Connelly, who this week took the helm as the new executive director of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, spoke to reporters Wednesday about his vision for the agency. (Colin Young — State House News Service)

BOSTON — The state agency that oversees the incubation and growth of the Massachusetts innovation economy — including electronic health initiatives, efforts to connect rural towns to broadband internet and fostering emerging industries — is under new leadership as of this week.

Timothy Connelly, most recently a partner at Brown Brothers Harriman, began as executive director of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative this week, the agency announced Wednesday.

At Brown Brothers Harriman, where he worked for 30 years before retiring at the end of 2014, Connelly was the "partner in charge of innovation" and worked at "a technology firm housed within a bank," he said.

"The headline, I don't think, is that I'm a banking executive," Connelly said Wednesday morning. "I think the headline is that I'm a business executive that has either developed or employed technology to a sense that has meaningful impact."

Connelly currently sits on the technology advisory board of BDO Consulting and on the board of directors for the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. He holds degrees from Williams College and Northeastern University, and is a chartered financial analyst.

"Tim Connelly possesses deep experience as a manager of complex organizations, and as a leader in private sector technology adoption," Gov. Charlie Baker said in a statement.


The collaborative is known in law as the Massachusetts Technology Park Corporation, and it oversees the Massachusetts Broadband Institute, electronic health initiatives and the John Adams Innovation Institute, according to the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.

"Tim's leadership will ensure that we continue to deliver on these critical initiatives," Baker said in the statement.

The collaborative is also in charge of administering the capital and contracts in a public-private partnership endorsed by the Department of Defense to establish the headquarters of an advanced fabrics institute in Cambridge, according to the executive office.

"Mass. Tech Collaborative, think of it as the conductor of the orchestra. And I think with Tim's leadership he's going to look at all of the instruments that are in the orchestra and figure out how we take it to the next level," Robert Johnson, the president of Becker College and a member of the collaborative's executive committee, said.

Connelly said he would take Johnson's analogy a step further and added that "it's not just the Boston Symphony Orchestra, but it's also Tanglewood and other areas" of the state that he will work to bring jobs to.

"There's a lot of things really great in the city of Boston, and we want to nurture those and make sure our strengths remain a strength," he said. "But we really want to nurture some of the other areas of the state where it's not as easy — from a workforce point of view or a capital point of view or a technology point of view — to compete at a level playing field."

Part of leveling that playing field is making sure that entrepreneurs, municipalities and businesses know what the Mass. Tech Collaborative (MTC) is doing and how they can better connect with the agency, Connelly said.

"We need entrepreneurs to come to us, we need communities to come to us and work with us on the broadband initiative for instance, we need college students to understand that there are intern programs and mentor programs out there. I think maybe in the past MTC has been an agency that's done a lot of good work behind the scenes," Connelly said. He added, "My own personal belief is that more visible, vibrant Mass. Tech Collaborative is good for everyone and it helps out mandate."