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Talking with Travis McCready, the first executive director of the Kendall Square Association

Posted by Scott Kirsner  October 14, 2010 07:05 AM

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travism.jpgCaught up earlier this week with Travis McCready, who started his job recently as the first executive director at the Kendall Square Association. His earlier stops include Harvard University, the Boston Foundation, and a stint as chief operating officer of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority.

Tim Rowe, the president of the Kendall Square Association (and CEO of the Cambridge Innovation Center) told me last week that McCready's job description would be broader than simply organizing an annual picnic for all of the businesses in the neighborhood.

McCready says, "The way I like to describe it to people is that Kendall Square is unique among all the other squares in Boston and Cambridge. It is the densest square mile of innovation on the planet. So what we're focused on is, how do we protect and promote that? How do we capitalize on it, to continue to generate the kind of commercial interest in the area from blue chip companies like Google and Amgen and Novartis." (I'd always thought Novartis was only in Central Square, at the old NECCO building... but they have lab space in Kendall, too, and a corporate venture capital office there.)

It sounds like the Kendall Square Association will become more aggressive in courting big companies that are considering a location in the greater Boston area. "If a company is looking to move here, or to set up a presence here if they're based in the Netherlands, say, the association wants to be part of that. We'll make the case for global business development," he says.

"The association is really looking to broaden its mandate, beyond just being about potholes or listing the restaurants in the area," McCready says.

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Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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