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CivStart Announces Three New Board Members

CivStart is thrilled to welcome three new members to its Board of Directors. Dr. Peter Pirnejad, Niles Friedman, and Joel Carnes. All three have extensive experience across the local government innovation sector, clear alignment with CivStart’s mission and vision, and join with a commitment to bringing fresh and exciting ideas to CivStart’s strategic vision.



Dr. Peter Pirnejad serves as the City/District Manager for the City of Foster City in the Bay Area of California. He is an award-winning local government expert who has hands-on innovation, technology, and community development experience. With over 20 years of local government experience in public administration, Dr. Pirnejad had previously served as the Assistant City Manager for the City of Napa and as the Development Services Director for the City of Palo Alto. Prior to assuming his role as the City/District Manager for the City of Foster City in January 2021, Dr. Pirnejad led Oracle’s Global Public Sector Industry Strategy focused on State and Local Government as the Senior Director.


Dr. Pirnejad has been involved in CivStart’s development for several years, serving as an advisor and mentor for our startups, providing valuable insight into our work with local government leaders, and more. We welcome his direct and current experience in city government to our board, his expertise in innovation processes, and his understanding of the interactions between the private and public sectors in local government.



Niles Friedman specializes in the creation and growth of businesses, divisions, and core functions within organizations. He’s built an adaptable approach to strategically collaborate across sectors, industries, and geographies through his work with c-suite executives, startup founders, public-sector administrators, boards, and nonprofit leaders. He has 10+ years of public sector digital innovation experience across the U.S. federal government, State of California, Los Angeles County, numerous cities, and international health ministries.

He was a Strategic Advisor with the Los Angeles County CEO’s Office, where he supported the launch of their first Analytics Center of Excellence, in addition to collaborating on a challenge-based procurement for homelessness, technology strategic planning, and department-driven innovation. He also worked with the California Health and Human Services Agency to establish their first Office of Innovation focused on improving the delivery of services through human-centered design approaches, digital services, and insights from data and analytics. He is a Founding Executive Advisor with Star Insights, a strategic advisory firm that works with social impact organizations to advise government agencies, foundations, and nonprofits in being able to operationalize their missions.

Niles has been a part of CivStart's advisor/mentor network since nearly the beginning and was a key member of our Task Force on inclusive govtech which means he is familiar with our organization, its mission, and goals, and has volunteered many hours in support of our organization. CivStart is excited to have Niles bring additional value in this more strategic innovation role. We are excited to have him assist with strategic partnership and government relations as well as augment our fundraising efforts.



Joel Carnes is an internationally recognized leader in purpose-driven innovation — working to develop technologies and systems that level-up our individual and combined capabilities to build a more equitable, sustainable, and vibrant world.


Joel just concluded a three-year term as President and CEO of Alliance for Innovation, a social impact organization dedicated to building thriving communities by transforming local government strategy, operations, culture, and ecosystems in hundreds of leading-edge cities across North America.


His career includes executive leadership positions with SecondMuse, XPRIZE Foundation, The Walt Disney Company, and Activision. Joel is a thought leader in plural-sector innovation — bringing collaborators from local government, the private sector, the social sector, and academia together to solve common problems, going far beyond what any single entity could accomplish on its own.


CivStart welcomes Joel’s experience with accelerators as well as his leadership in advancing CivStart’s mission of fostering local government innovation. The board is eager to leverage Joel’s ability and expertise in growing companies, knowledge of the govtech and local government innovation space, and important fundraising and strategic support.



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