Matt Watson is Senior Vice President of Empire State Development and Executive Director of ESD’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (ESD/NYSTAR). His twenty-year career includes senior and executive roles in the public and private sectors, and he has extensive experience in organizational management, program development, policy, and advocacy. At ESD, he has managed over $73 million in federal funds over the past 12 years, and currently manages over $41 million in annual state funding under NYSTAR’s program portfolio, which covers over 70 innovation ecosystem assets including Centers of Advanced Technology, Centers of Excellence, Innovation Hot Spots, Certified Incubators, Manufacturing Extension Partnership centers, and other programs. He has led the development of new programs and services focused on technology development and commercialization and attracted significant federal funding to support New York State’s innovation-led growth. Previous positions include a management role with a leading global strategic communications firm, Fleishman-Hillard, where he advised corporate clients. His civic, public and volunteer service activities include current board positions with NY CREATES, the Advanced Energy Center at Stony Brook University, and the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute. He also serves as a youth soccer coach as well as a member of the Vestry and Sunday School teacher at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Albany. Matt holds a B.A. in Economics from the State University of New York at Albany.