FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(September 17, 2019), Chicago, IL – Current Innovation, NFP announced that Alaina Harkness has been named Executive Director of the Chicago-based water technology innovation nonprofit.
Harkness, an economic development and strategy expert with a track record of starting and scaling collaborative organizations, is a lifelong resident of the Chicago region and proven civic leader. She succeeds founding Executive Director, Steve Frenkel, who established the organization as a leading platform for addressing persistent water challenges through collaboration and innovative solutions.
Board Chair, Steve Kloos said, “Current’s board and stakeholders are thrilled that Alaina will lead the organization’s next wave of growth and results. She’s a builder with a knack for brokering partnerships with the private, public and civic sectors to tackle tough problems, like what we have in water, and we are eager to work with her to expand Current’s portfolio and network.”
Harkness’s hiring comes at a time of great need and opportunity for the water sector. Water challenges are increasing and growing more acute, including stormwater management, equitable availability, and growing threats from contaminants, such as microplastics, pharmaceuticals and lead. Yet, there are more building blocks to drive innovation and generate solutions than ever before: new research partnerships, converging breakthrough technologies, societal drive for change and market-making investors.
“I am so honored to have this opportunity to step into leadership at Current. Water issues are complex, vital, and demand creativity and collaboration. I'm excited to work with Current’s diverse network of water sector innovators to find new ways to leverage and protect our region’s rich and globally significant water assets.”
Harkness joins Current from the Chicago-based economic development firm, RW Ventures, where she also served as interim Chief Operating Officer for the New Growth Innovation Network, a national network of inclusive growth practitioners she helped launch and lead. She is a nonresident fellow of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow (2014), and a graduate of the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy and Center for Latin American Studies.
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