Gainesville native Ashley Bell has been named the White House’s policy adviser on entrepreneurship and innovation.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to join the talented team at the White House Office of American Innovation,” said Bell in a prepared statement.
He added: “I look forward to working with stakeholders across the country to promote President Trump’s commitment to supporting entrepreneurs and diversity.”
According to the White House, Bell “will work each day to grow small businesses throughout America's forgotten communities. Human capital is the most important American capital and we must cultivate the next generation of entrepreneurs today to be more competitive in tomorrow’s economy.”
The Office of American Innovation, led by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was created in March 2017. It makes recommendations to the president “on policies and plans that improve government operations and services, improve the quality of life for Americans now and in the future, and spur job creation.” according to the White House.
“These recommendations will be developed in collaboration with career staff along with private sector and other external thought leaders.”
Ja’Ron Smith, the office’s deputy director, said in a statement that Bell’s “previous experience proves that he will be an asset to our team to advocate for and advance President Trump’s pro-jobs, pro-growth economic agenda.”
Bell will remain regional director for the Small Business Administration in the Southeast, a post he has held since February 2018. He heads up SBA operations in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
A lawyer and former member of the Hall County Board of Commissioners, Bell has held several positions in the Trump administration, including associate director of the Peace Corps.
“I’ve been commuting from Gainesville to D.C. since August of ’16, so I’ve been home every weekend and trying to balance going back and forth with my family — my wife and kids have been in Gainesville since the election,” Bell said in a February 2018 interview.