The digital yard foundation team
The Digital Yard Foundation is a group of committed professionals of Jamaican decent from across industries that have the same vision to develop a national competence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) that increases the innovation and competitiveness of Jamaica and its citizens. We will increase our innovation and competitiveness by deploying creative STEM programs that engage and excite youth. We believe these programs will have direct impact on Jamaica’s STEM competence and will ultimately help Jamaica to achieve developed nation status as recognized by the United Nations by the year 2030.
Erica Simmons chairs the Digital Yard Foundation team. Erica’s vision for STEM enabled Jamaica was first envisioned in 2008 while working for Siemens AG’s industrial software business unit. After seeing how technology had been adopted and deployed in countries like China and India, she had a vision to bring this same advanced technology to Jamaica to help create an execution platform for reaching developed nation status. A proud Manchesterian, Erica has worked tirelessly since 2008, to deliver over $14.1 Billion dollars (JA) in software grants for CAD/CAM/CAE and collaboration technologies to the University of Technology and Northern Caribbean University engineering schools. These schools have agreed to participate in the Digital Yard Foundation’s programs to enable STEM innovation hubs linked to these universities. In her spare time, Erica enjoys spending time with her husband and 2 young children. She is also obsessed with cartography and on her travels has to stop in old bookstores to scout new maps to procure.
Eldon Lewis is an effective, articulate leader with more than 5 years of experience in not-for-profit management (social service and higher education settings). Eldon has a track record of success in development and advancement roles in this sector and has been instrumental in raising over 1.5 million in grant funds for worthy causes. In addition, has collaborated with a team to design effective programming for at-risk youth in urban communities. He understands the critical role that technology can play in the development of students and the positive impact it can have in building communities. He serves as the Digital Yard Foundation's Director of Development and Corporate Relations.
Howard is the Technical Director for the Digital Yard Foundation. He is responsible for working collaboratively with our partners to develop and deploy the technical programs associated with the initiative including workshops, science day exhibitions and robotics competitions. Howard has worked in the Information Technology industry for the past twenty years, specializing in the areas of relational database and Enterprise Resource Planning systems. He is passionate about talking to students excited about science and technology and the multitude of career opportunities that it provides in today’s world economy. Howard is currently based in Orlando, FL where he resides with his wife and daughter. His personal interests include working on DIY robotics projects and digital photography.
Yanique Taylor is the Digital Yard Foundations Director of Operations based in Kingston. Ms. Taylor’s professional career spans non-profits, higher education, public education and philanthropy where she has been at the forefront of program/project management related to education programs serving youth between the ages of 16 and 21 years old through the development of multiple cross-agency partnerships. These programs ranged in focus from providing out-of-school opportunities for students as it related to utilizing media to advocating for educational rights, to providing in-school services to ensure adequate career and college readiness through an alternative education setting. Yanique also holds both Bachelors and Masters degrees from Rutgers University.