Ernest Andrade is the visionary, founder and director of the Charleston Digital Corridor and City of Charleston's Office of Business Development. Launched in 2001, the Digital Corridor serves as the catalyst for Charleston’s growing knowledge economy.expanded bio
Ernest Andrade is the visionary, founder and Director of the Charleston Digital Corridor and City of Charleston's Office of Business Development. Launched in 2001, the Digital Corridor serves as the catalyst for Charleston’s growing knowledge economy.
Over the past twenty years, Ernest has successfully served the City of Charleston in several capacities including Annexation Coordinator, where he single handedly grew City from 38 to over 100 square miles, increased the tax base by over $2.5 billion and added 17,000 residents.
Ernest then directed the Office of Industrial Development and Annexation, which executed a strategic plan to recruit competitive economic development projects such as the Family Circle Cup, SunCom (t-mobile) Blackbaud Software and NanoScreen.
Under his leadership, the Charleston Digital Corridor has grown from 18 companies to over 100 companies today while being recognized as a model for high-wage, knowledge based economic development.
Ernest Andrade was born and raised in Kuwait and lived in India prior to migrating to the United States in 1981. He became a naturalized citizen in 1996. Mr. Andrade has a BS in Business Administration from the College of Charleston and a Master of Public Administration.
Ernest Andrade is also the principal of Andrade Economics, a business and economic development consulting firm focused on the elements of high wage job creation including business incubation, talent development and capital formation.
Carolyn Finch is the Program Manager for the Charleston Digital Corridor at the Charleston Business Development office. Carolyn assists the Executive Director with the development and execution of the strategic plan. She manages the daily operation of the Flagships, Charleston’s premier co-working facilities; assists Charleston’s business community as needed; and provides logistical and strategic support for Business Development and Digital Corridor initiatives.expanded bio
Prior to joining the Charleston Digital Corridor, Carolyn was the Practice Manager for FirstPoint IP, an intellectual property and business development boutique in Charleston, where she helped grow the practice from founding. Her past experience includes apprenticeships in large law practice and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, as well as membership development for Sports Club/LA in New York City.
Carolyn received her JD from the University of New Hampshire School of Law in 2011 as a Daniel Webster Scholar Honors recipient. She is a 2006 graduate of the University of California Los Angeles with dual degrees in History and Communications Studies. As an undergraduate, Carolyn was a member of the UCLA track and cross-country programs. Carolyn is admitted to the Massachusetts and New Hampshire bar.
Kristen Blackmon serves as the Project Coordinator for the Digital Corridor where she assists the Executive Director and organizes member events including the iFive:K, Corridor BASH and other networking opportunities. Kristen also manages social media for the Digital Corridor and assists with the daily operation of the Flagship facilities.expanded bio
Kristen is a Charleston native and prior to joining the Digital Corridor, she served as the Executive Assistant at The Art Institute of Charleston where she facilitated the start up and growth of the college through senior level support, operations management and event planning. Her other past experience includes administrative and legal roles in the real estate industry.