The 31-acre redevelopment project in downtown Fort Wayne has named its first full-time hire. Electric Works, the proposed mixed-use innovation district at the former GE campus, has selected Crystal Vann Wallstrom as managing director of innovation.

She most recently served as director of the Center for Creative Collaboration at Indiana Tech, which last month announced it would be the first tenant at Electric Works. Vann Wallstrom is also a former executive board member of nonprofit Start Fort Wayne.

Electric Works says she will lead the campus' dedicated innovation and entrepreneurship space, which it calls a centerpiece of the project. The development team says Vann Wallstrom will develop an overall strategy for the space and work to create state, regional and national partnerships to help drive economic growth.

"This is an important role for the Electric Works project, and Crystal is the right person to fill it," said Josh Parker of the Electric Works development team. "She is an invaluable asset to the existing innovation and entrepreneurial community in Fort Wayne. Crystal has repeatedly shown that she is a champion of collaboration and dedicated to the growth of northeast Indiana. Her unique combination of expertise, experience, and enthusiasm is essential and spot-on for leading this initiative."

Vann Wallstrom says the vision for Electric Works is to have innovation and entrepreneurship "permeate everything here," and serve as an economic driver.

"To do that, the space and the culture that is created needs to be aligned with the strengths and needs of our region," said Vann Wallstrom. "We want it to attract new talent, inspire and develop existing talent, and create innovations and new businesses that drive our economy forward. That is what I will be working toward."

The $213 million first phase of the Electric Works project is expected to begin this year. Last month, developers received state and local funding assistance for the project.