Dan Roselli, co-founder of Packard Place, was elected the new chair of the board of Charlotte Works at its April meeting. News @ The Works caught up with him recently to talk history (his and a famous figure from whom he draws inspiration), vision and twins.
News @ The Works (N@TW): What’s your title and workplace?
Dan Roselli (DR): Co-founder of Packard Place.
N@TW: Tell us about Packard Place: what is it and what does it do?
DR: Packard Place is Charlotte’s uptown entrepreneurship center. We provide a wide range of services to help entrepreneurial companies succeed, from the starting point through rapid growth. Specifically, that means we provide educational seminars, mentoring, co-sharing space; and we house five different business accelerator programs.
N@TW: How long have you served on Charlotte Works’ board?
DR: Two years.
N@TW: How did you get involved on the board?
DR: I was appointed by then-Mayor Foxx.
N@TW: When you were asked to serve, what interested you about our organization?
DR: I think it fits in the mission of what we’re doing at Packard Place, which is creating opportunities in economic growth through the creation of jobs. I also thought there was a role for entrepreneurship in the long-term economic recovery.
N@TW: What’s been your favorite/most exciting issue you’ve worked on in your tenure as a board member?
DR: The youth employment initiative [Youth Business Connector], because we’re really teaching the next generation not just how to get jobs, but how to create jobs.
N@TW: What excited you about the opportunity to serve as chair? Why did you take on this role with Charlotte Works?
DR: I look for leadership roles where there’s an opportunity to have a true impact and where not just anyone can serve and the outcome would be the same.
N@TW: What’s your “platform,” the most important thing you want to accomplish as chair?
DR: As we come out of the economic recovery, that we continue to align what we do from a needs-based approach for businesses. The needs now are different from three years ago in the middle of the crisis. Now, we need to look at what are business needs five years out, 10 years out, and aggressively align our training with those.
N@TW: What’s your vision for Charlotte Works for the next few years?
DR: We’re going through a strategic planning process, so from the board perspective, it will come from that. As an individual, I want to see us be a national model for how workforce boards can collaborate with business and be a significant force in economic development for the region.
N@TW: What’s the one most important thing you wish people knew about Charlotte Works?
DR: The role that Charlotte Works has in recruiting companies here based on the job-skills training that we do. One of the main things companies look at when they relocate, consider relocating or expanding is ‘What’s the available workforce to me?’ Charlotte Works is one of the primary organizations that make sure we come out on top vis a vis other communities.
N@TW: What do you think are the trends – local or national – that will most affect workforce development in the next few years? How can Charlotte Works respond?
DR: My favorite business quote ever came from a scientist, Charles Darwin: “Species that survive are not necessarily stronger or faster, but most responsive to change.” When you look to the future, no one can predict the changing technology, whether it’s wearable tech or flying cars, and no one can predict the changing economy. The workforce boards that will be the most successful will be the workforce boards that are the most nimble and responsive to the changing environment.
N@TW: What’s one thing that would surprise people to know about you?
DR: That I have two sets of twins. But anyone who knows Sara [Garces, Roselli’s wife] and I, their comment is, ‘Well, that just makes sense.’