Governor Glenn Youngkin Appoints New Board Members to the Virginia Biotechnology Research Partnership Authority (dba Activation Capital)


Two New Appointees Bring Public Policy, International Development, Real Estate, and Investment Expertise to Bolster Authority’s Next Phase of Growth

RICHMOND, Va., April 19, 2023 – Activation Capital, an innovation ecosystem development organization, today announced Governor Glenn Youngkin’s appointment of John Gerber and the Honorable Jennifer DJ Nordquist to the board of the Virginia Biotechnology Research Partnership Authority (dba Activation Capital). As a political subdivision of the Commonwealth, the Authority Board manages the assets of Activation Capital and collaborates with its leadership to grow the regional innovation economy. The new appointments will help accelerate the organization’s strategies to strengthen the innovation ecosystem, grow the number of tech ventures scaling in the region, and pursue an expansion of the 30-year-old Bio+Tech Park in downtown Richmond, Virginia.

“Activation Capital is proud to be a key player helping to drive transformational innovation and revitalization in the Central Virginia region. We have ambitious plans for continuing to help grow our regional economy – from supporting the development of a regional pharmaceutical cluster and innovation space-making to helping grow regional entrepreneurship and an environment for STEM talent development and recruitment,” said Chandra Briggman, President and CEO of Activation Capital. “I am honored to have the addition of world-class leaders John Gerber and DJ Nordquist to our board to help continue to guide our strategy to transform the region’s economy around innovations in life sciences, manufacturing, tech, and logistics.”

DJ Nordquist will bring decades of experience in public policy, international development, and macroeconomic policy to the Authority board, including expertise in her current role as executive vice president of the Economic Innovation Group – a bipartisan organization forging a more dynamic, entrepreneurial, and innovative U.S. economy. “I am delighted to join the Virginia Biotechnology Research Partnership Authority board to further advance its impactful work building a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Nordquist. “I look forward to supporting Activation Capital’s work building a competitive and broad-based regional economy where targeted policies, best-practice entrepreneurial support, and tech skill-building will help foster transformation in our state.”

Nordquist is also a Fellow at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia and a Senior Adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. She is an independent director for Sunlight Financial and serves on the advisory board of ClearPath. She is the former Executive Director representing the United States on the Board of Directors at the World Bank and served as Chief of staff for the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Nordquist is a graduate of Stanford University and earned a master’s degree from Northwestern.

Joining Nordquist on the Virginia Biotechnology Research Partnership Authority board, John Gerber will bring a 32-year track record in real estate development and investment where in his current role he has overseen capital investments totaling $1.8 billion – representing more than 30 transactions and more than 160 commercial, residential, and mixed‐use properties. “I look forward to serving on the Virginia Biotechnology Research Partnership Authority board at this critical time in the organization’s journey as it expands its real estate activities and at this inflection point in the growth in the City of Richmond and the Central Virginia region. The organization is poised to become a transformational leader strengthening the region’s innovation infrastructure, and I am committed to supporting these important efforts,” said Gerber.

Gerber is CEO of Four Points / West Group and W-G Capital – investment companies focused on real estate in major cities across the U.S., and a managing partner of Four Points / West Group Development and Quantum Capital, where he leads the investment capital group, real estate special project activities, and venture capital investments. He graduated from Princeton University with a master’s degree from Harvard University.

“John Gerber and DJ Nordquist will be tremendous assets to the authority board. Each brings a wealth of expertise to help advance our strategic priorities,” said authority board chair, and VCU and VCU Health President Michael Rao, Ph.D. “We also thank Bob Mooney and Vida Williams for their dedicated and active service to the board and wish them well in the future.” Briggman added, “Bob Mooney and Vida Williams were exceptional contributors as board members. Their tireless efforts and expertise played a significant role in writing the next chapter for Activation Capital. We are grateful for their service on Activation Capital’s board supporting regional growth.”

Additional appointments will be made to the Authority board in the coming year as Activation Capitals continues its governance redesign to align with its strategic direction.

The appointment of new board members for Activation Capital coincides with rapid growth for the innovation ecosystem development organization. In recent months, Activation Capital announced that it had received $15M in funding from the Commonwealth of Virginia to accelerate the development of Central Virginia’s life sciences sector as well as a series of signature initiatives – including a recent award of $1.5M in the federal Omnibus budget to support life sciences commercialization and business formation, $52.9M in funding to scale up an Advanced Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and R&D cluster through the Build Back Better Regional Challenge, and a $450K GO Virginia Region 4 grant to design a regional entrepreneurship strategy.

About Activation Capital

Activation Capital is a leading innovation ecosystem development organization providing social, knowledge, and financial capital to clusters, entrepreneur support organizations, and entrepreneurs – accelerating their progress through development and maturation. Activation Capital, an independent authority of the Commonwealth of Virginia, is on a mission to grow life sciences and other advanced technology innovation by promoting scientific research, commercialization, and ecosystem development that attracts and creates 21st-century jobs and companies. It operates the 34-acre Virginia Bio+Tech Park – the hub of life science and technology innovations in Central Virginia, oversees the Cluster Accelerator for Advanced Pharmaceutical R&D and Manufacturing, and supports the development and expansion of the region’s start-up ecosystem. For more information, visit



Recent Posts
Follow Us