The first-floor atrium of the Cortex 1 building served as the backdrop to honor the vision, commitment, and leadership of four St. Louisans whose efforts in the early years of Cortex helped establish the organization on a successful trajectory.
Mr. Hank Webber, Executive Vice Chancellor for Administration, Washington University & Chairman of the Cortex Board, and Dr. Fred Pestello, President, Saint Louis University & Vice Chairman of the Cortex Board officiated the ceremony.
Present to offer congratulatory remarks were The Honorable, Lyda Krewson, Mayor of the City of Saint Louis who said: “Thank you, Alderman Roddy, Marcia Mellitz, Lewis Levey and John Dubinsky for being community builders… St. Louis is a much better place, and has a much brighter future because of your efforts.”
Dr. Mark S. Wrighton, Chancellor, Washington University spoke about the commitment from day one by Washington University and congratulated the honorees for their visionary leadership.
Mr. Dennis Lower, President & CEO, Cortex Innovation Community welcomed everyone to the luncheon, at which attendees celebrated the Cortex’ 15th anniversary. He noted that “In just a few short years, Cortex has become a nationally and internationally recognized urban innovation district. This would not have been possible without the hard work of those we are honoring today.”
The four civic leaders were honored with Cortex Beacon Awards. Alderman Joe Roddy was the recipient of the “City of St. Louis Leadership Beacon Award” for his strong advocacy and tireless commitment in sponsoring the many ordinances required to execute the Cortex master plan. For decades he helped shape a public/private partnership that brought essential government tools to bear on an ambitious dream, side by side with private sector resources.
Marcia Mellitz was the recipient of the “Startup Innovation Beacon Award” for her visionary leadership in establishing the Center for Emerging Technologies, the first State of Missouri Innovation Center in the mid-1990s. It was the spin-out of a startup tenant, Stereotaxis, that launched Cortex and the construction of the Cortex 1 building.
Lewis Levey was honored with the “Cornerstone Building Beacon Award” for bringing his real estate and construction experience to the challenge of physically implementing the Cortex vision. When built and opened in 2006, the Cortex 1 building was a sentinel on Forest Park Avenue portending that St. Louis was entering the global innovation economy.
John Dubinsky received the “Leadership and Governance Beacon Award” for being the general who marshaled the troops and secured the commitments to field a long-term, sustained effort to commercialize the academic research of its founding partners. He served as Cortex Chairman of the Board from 2002 until 2016, putting together a coalition of organizations and individuals to compete at the highest level with other national and international innovation districts.