The Department of Economic, Housing and Community Development announced today that Lars Hasselblad Torres has been hired as Director of the Agency’s Office of the Creative Economy (OCE).
The OCE was created in 2011 by the Vermont Legislature in recognition of the growing role of the creative sector in Vermont’s economy. The office works with independent creatives, businesses and other partners to identify specific needs and prioritize initiatives for economic growth in areas of film, new media, marketing, graphic design, advertising, software and game development.
“Lars brings focus, energy and innovation and we are pleased he has agreed to be part of our team,” Commissioner Noelle MacKay said. “His relentless appetite for – and insight into – creativity and innovation will be an asset to all involved in the creative economy in Vermont.”
Torres has 15 years of experience across multiple disciplines including the arts, public policy, education and community development. Most recently, he opened Local 64, a co-working space and creativity incubator that serves as a shared work environment for independent creatives in Montpelier.
“I’m very excited to bring my experience to the work initiated at the department to expand and advance Vermont’s creative economy,” Torres said. “We’re at a time of incredible opportunity as a state; it is my expectation that the OCE will help to articulate and solidify the possibilities, develop strategies to leverage the opportunities – and ultimately help Vermont’s independent creatives and businesses thrive. I’d like to see the OCE emerge as a platform for momentum and synergy across the state. It’s an honor to be asked to join the team here.”
Torres also worked as the Innovation Prize Advisor to the Office of Science and Technology at United States Agency for International Development (USAID). From 2008 to 2011, he worked at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) leading the development of the MIT Global Challenge, an innovation competition that engages alumni, students, and community organizations in tackling barriers to well-being in communities world-wide. From 2002 to 2007, he served as founding researcher of the Democracy Lab for Innovation and Research, the in-house public policy and technology research unit for AmericaSpeaks, a national non-profit that works to engage citizens in governance.
ABOUT: The Department of Economic, Housing and Community Development (DEHCD) works to grow Vermont’s economy, help businesses create jobs, and support vibrant and resilient communities. DEHCD provides training, technical and financial assistance designed to enhance local community and economic development programs and practices. Visit: accd.vermont.gov/strong_communities.
The Office of Creative Economy provides support to remove barriers to economic growth, fosters networking opportunities and provides guidance on funding and permitting for creative enterprises in Vermont. Learn more at: accd.vermont.gov/business/innovation/creative_economy.