BOISE — Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter announced on Tuesday that Dr. David Hill, the former deputy director of the Idaho National Laboratory, will serve as the new chairman of the Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission Council.  

     The current IGEM chairman, Doug Sayer, will remain a member of the council. He is the chief executive officer of Premier Technology in Blackfoot.

     "I am thrilled to have someone of Dr. Hill’s caliber and expertise at the helm of IGEM, a program that has the potential for creating significant economic and employment opportunities for our state in the future," Otter said in a news release.  "I’d also like to express great appreciation to Doug Sayer, who provided valuable leadership and guidance during the first year of this new initiative."

    As the INL’s Deputy Director Emeritus, Hill was responsible for the science and technology strategy and managed nearly $1 billion in research and development programs pertaining to nuclear energy, national and homeland security and clean energy, as well as the site’s technology transfer mission.

     An internationally acknowledged expert on nuclear reactor and fuel cycle issues, Hill has extensive experience in the area of international nuclear cooperation, working with the countries of Western Europe, the former Soviet Union and Southeast Asia. 

    Hill is also a member of the Idaho State Board of Education’s Higher Education Research Council and EPSCoR committees and serves on the Board of Directors of the Center for Advanced Energy Studies. He has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, a doctorate in mathematical physics from Imperial College, London University, and a master of business administration from the University of Chicago.

    One of the primary responsibilities of the IGEM council is to develop and manage a statewide strategic plan to foster innovation, according to a news release. 

    The Council also oversees the IGEM Grant Fund, which includes $950,000 appropriated by the Idaho Legislature for grants. IGEM grant funds leverage private industry guidance and the talent and expertise of Idaho’s research universities to commercialize innovative and viable technologies that will strengthen Idaho’s economy, create more job opportunities in our communities and meet the Governor’s Project 60 goals. 

     The next IGEM Council meeting is scheduled for Sept. 9. The location and time have not yet been set. However, the meeting is open to the public, and there will be an opportunity for public comment.