Tech + Creative

Etsy CEO and HUGE President join DUMBO Improvement Board

At last night’s annual meeting of the DUMBO Improvement District, Board President Tom Montvel-Cohen and Executive Director Alexandria Sica welcomed Chad Dickerson, CEO of Etsy (55 Washington St.) and Shirley Au, President of HUGE (45 Main St.) to its Board of Directors. The addition of these two digital start-ups marks the first time the growing tech and digital sector will be represented on the Board and reinforces the importance of this sector to the vitality of Brooklyn’s hottest waterfront community.  HUGE, a digital creative agency, was founded in DUMBO in 1999 and has grown from a company of 6 to more than 300 employees at the DUMBO office (400 total worldwide). Etsy, an online marketplace for hand-made and vintage goods, moved to DUMBO from Downtown Brooklyn in 2009 and has grown rapidly with more than 175 DUMBO employees.

“As leaders at Etsy and HUGE, Chad Dickerson and Shirley Au represent two of DUMBO’s fastest growing start-ups. As individuals, they are each innovators in the world of digital. Chad’s Silicon Valley experience is going to help us keep growing our own digital district. Shirley brings a unique perspective – having been with HUGE as it grew from a handful of employees to an international force and as DUMBO itself grew up around her. We plan to take full advantage of this expertise as the DUMBO Improvement District works to build and support this exciting sector,” said Sica.

The DUMBO Improvement District Board of Directors also honored NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert Steel at the annual meeting. Earlier this month, the Speaker called for a “Tech Triangle” between DUMBO, the Navy Yard and Downtown Brooklyn, making DUMBO a centerpiece of her jobs strategy in a speech to ABNY. Deputy Mayor Steel oversees the City’s Economic Development Corporation, which is helping to launch a new digital media incubator later this fall at 20 Jay Street.

Board President Tom Montvel-Cohen stated that a major focus for 2012 will be to find ways for DUMBO’s digital companies to expand and for the “Tech Triangle” to become a reality.

“Policy-makers and innovators are all taking note of DUMBO as a model environment for digital companies,” said Sica. “We are thrilled that the Speaker and the Administration are making digital a priority and look forward to continuing our work with them to help grow and support our businesses, through real estate planning and other tools.”

About the new directors

  • Shirley Au is president of HUGE, a digital agency that helps some of the world’s largest companies build digitally driven businesses. In her role, Shirley oversees HUGE’s global business operations and organizational growth. Prior to joining HUGE, Shirley held marketing positions at AOL and New Line Cinema. Au is also actively involved with the New York Citizens Budget Commission and serves on the leadership council for City Harvest. She graduated with a degree in Business Administration from Fordham University.
  • Chad Dickerson is the CEO of Etsy. Chad was CTO at Etsy from September 2008 until July 2011. Before joining Etsy in fall 2008 (one year prior to the Etsy offices moved to DUMBO in 2009), Chad led the Brickhouse and Advanced Products teams at Yahoo!. Prior to this role, Chad was senior director of the Yahoo! Developer Network and launched the Hack Day program globally at Yahoo! Chad came to Yahoo! from InfoWorld Media Group (IDG) where he served as CTO for nearly five years. Prior to InfoWorld, Dickerson served as CTO of Salon.com and in various engineering positions at CNN, CNN/Sports Illustrated, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The (Raleigh, NC) News & Observer. Dickerson holds a BA in English literature from Duke University.