Ross DeVol is President and CEO, Heartland Forward. Heartland Forward’s goal is to promote regional innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems that foster job creation, wage gains and economic growth for the American Heartland. Heartland Forward pursues its mission through independent, data-driven research, action-oriented convenings, such as the Heartland Summit, and impactful policy recommendations. Heartland Forward works with universities, colleges, the business community, private equity, public policy leaders and philanthropy to analyze resources supporting the startup community and identify workforce and talent gaps. DeVol is former chief research officer for the Milken Institute where he spent nearly 20 years, an economic think tank headquartered in California. He oversaw research on international, national and comparative regional growth performance; access to capital and its role in economic growth and job creation; and health-related topics. He has been ranked among the “Superstars of Think Tank Scholars” by International Economy magazine.