LIVERMORE -- Livermore's economic development director Rob White is leaving later this month to take a similar job in Davis, city officials announced Thursday.

White has been with Livermore since 2008, and is noted for cofounding the Innovation for Green Advanced Transportation Excellence program -- an initiative of more than 50 businesses, cities, academic and research institutions, and the Livermore and Sandia National Laboratories -- and spearheading successful efforts to bring the Amgen Tour of California cycling race to Livermore for three consecutive years.

"I've been extremely blessed to have had great leadership -- the mayor, City Council and the city manager -- they've allowed me to create one of the more unique and important initiatives for Livermore," White said. "My hallmark moment is being able to say the relationship between the labs and Livermore has never been stronger or more important."

White will become chief innovation officer for the city of Davis starting March 25, where he will be working with development agencies, the high-tech industry, and UC Davis to deliver more efficient city services and create jobs. White said being able to work in a similar capacity while also moving closer to his home in Sacramento was the "tipping point" for the decision. His last day in Livermore is March 22.


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White formed i-GATE along with Bruce Balfour of Sandia/California National Laboratories in 2009 and served as its interim CEO. For his work with the program, he was named a White House Champion of Change for Local Innovation in 2012. In White's stead, i-GATE has tapped Thomas Spirgi, a former chief of staff at Solyndra, as its next CEO. White said Spirgi would lead i-GATE into sustainability.

"He doesn't need to work, so he's doing this solely out of the drive to do something great," White said. "In this case, we really needed an organizational expert, an industry guy, to move it to the next level.

In a news release, Livermore Mayor John Marchand commended White for advancing economic development in the city through building public-private partnerships.

"Rob has been nationally recognized for his leadership in i-GATE and in the creation of the Tri-Valley's innovation environments," Marchand said. "I am grateful for the work that he has done promoting Livermore's economic development and fostering our relationships with our national labs."

Contact Jeremy Thomas at 925-847-2184. Follow him at Twitter.com/jet_bang.