David T. Witzel, BS, MPP, is an entrepreneur and organizational strategist. He is a Fellow with The EdgeLab, an ecosystem design firm based in San Francisco, California, and Chief of Conspiration for the Green Innovators in Business Network, an organization he helped create to foster sustainable business change-makers.
He cofounded Forum One Communications Corporation, a web development firm based in Alexandria, Virginia, where he worked for 13 years. From 2009 to 2012, he was Director of the Innovation Exchange for the Environmental Defense Fund, where he explored new ways to engage businesses in environmental sustainability, working with organizations like InnoCentive, GE, and Ashoka.
Witzel has degrees in sociology from Texas A&M University and in public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Most of his 30-year professional career has been at the intersection of computer technology, public policy, and organizational change. He learned to program using punch-cards and was a member of the Championship Texas A&M punch-card-stacking team in 1982.
In his first professional position, with the Texas State Data Center, he was responsible for processing data from the 1980 Census using IBM mainframes to read magnetic tape reels. He had a 300 baud acoustic-coupler modem at his house to support dial-up connections. He worked for start-up computer companies in New Jersey and Massachusetts on a variety of mini-computers in UNIX environments.
While in the Peace Corps in Botswana in 1987, he wrote and installed the first PC-based database to track teacher placements in the Ministry of Education. Later, while working for the Harvard Institute for International Development in Jakarta, Indonesia, he led installation of one of the first local area networks in the Ministry of Finance. He was a member of CompuServe and Gopher-user to get access to the newly public Internet and in 1993 implemented FidoNet in Jakarta to connect to store-and-forward e-mail.