As a testament to its team’s commitment to preserving cofounder Pava LaPere’s legacy while building upon their past successes, EcoMap Technologies is forging ahead with the launch of its AI chatbot, EcoBot, and an updated version of the EcoMap software.
In addition to these strides, the company’s board has also appointed its long-standing COO, Sherrod Davis, as its CEO.
“I think the reality is that Pava laid a phenomenal foundation for this team, for this company,” Davis told Technical.ly. “And so really, my focus is on ensuring that we turn her vision into a reality. And that at [its] base means powering ecosystems all around the world.”
Davis, a native of Northeast Baltimore, steps into the leadership role following the untimely loss of his cofounder and CEO, LaPere. In a tribute to her shared during her vigil on Sept. 27, he remarked on her uncanny ability to see things that no one else could, including his own potential.
“For the last three years, as EcoMap’s COO, I have worked hand-in-glove with Pava in a professional partnership and a trusted friendship, allowing us to operate efficiently and effectively together as a team,” Davis said in a written statement about his appointment this week. “… While there is no replacing a leader like Pava, I am committed and feel exceptionally well prepared to lead EcoMap into the future and to build the breakout company we both envisioned.”
EcoMap experienced a two-week work hiatus following LaPere’s passing, during which it garnered support from various organizations. Notable contributors included Johns Hopkins University, which provided mental health resources; the Upsurge Baltimore team; Conscious Venture Partners; Fearless; and individuals within the Baltimore tech ecosystem, all of which were acknowledged by Davis during his conversation with Technical.ly.
Davis expressed his confidence that LaPere would have acknowledged his capability to assume the role of CEO.
“I think she would tell me, ‘Sherrod, you’re ready.’ I think she would say, ‘and frankly, I’m not giving you a choice. So, step up,’” he said. “We’ve worked in lockstep together for three years and we had such a really strong partnership, one [in which] the executive responsibilities were shared, and shared in somewhat of a unique way relative to, I think, the traditional sort of CEO-COO model, where I did a lot of the investor relations and fundraising and sales and, really, she led product and engineering.”
Thanks to those strong foundations, his current work is akin to “picking up where we left off and continuing that momentum,” Davis added: “I think that she would encourage me to finish what we both started.”
What’s next for EcoMap?
During his time as COO, Davis secured funding, enabling advancements in EcoMap’s technology, and expanded the team with talent from cities across the US. Davis elaborated on EcoMap’s plan for its 30-person staff, company wellbeing and its EcoBot Custom Chatbot.
“We’re taking a holistic view at the entire team,” he said. “You know, Pava is obviously irreplaceable. And so we’re having a lot of conversations throughout the organization, about how we can add resources to the team where it makes sense to ensure that we’re well equipped to actualize the vision that we set out.”
The company, despite facing unimaginable adversity, has displayed remarkable resilience and determination as a team. Product initiatives such as its Custom Ecosystem Chatbot are underway with the launch of a new chatbot, called Eva, for Amplify Louisville.
“We think it’s going to be pretty cutting edge for ecosystem builders to have to be able to offer 24/7 access to their stakeholders with information that is specific for their ecosystem and the folks within their ecosystem that they are supporting,” Davis said. “So we’re really excited about that.”
Davis’ career and dedication to the tech community are underscored by his cofounding of Baltimore Tracks, a coalition of tech companies in Baltimore. He is also actively involved in community initiatives and serves on boards such as Code In The Schools, commitments which he plans to continue is his role as EcoMap’s CEO.
“I think it’s really important for us to kind of live our values,” he said — values he shared with his beloved cofounder and friend in building equitable and accessible entrepreneurial ecosystems.
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