Home improvement whiz Bob Vila, known for his appearances on the PBS show “This Old House,” has joined Zillow as a contributor to the Seattle company’s online real estate blog. Vila plans to share home improvement tips with Zillow’s growing audience of users, which now stands at more than 30 million per month. Vila actually should be well prepared for the job since he has a degree in journalism from the University of Florida.
SURF Incubator, a new Seattle-based startup incubator, has named Brandy Davis to the position of director of resident support. Her mission: to keep the “space awesome and residents happy.” Davis recently relocated to Seattle from Dallas where she was the founder of the software company 2GO Software. More on SURF from our tour earlier this year.
Blink Interactive, a Seattle company that specializes in usability research and design, has named Lisa Spencer and Jupiter Barton as new experience design directors. “We spent a great deal of time looking for the right people to join our team. Both Jupiter and Lisa bring a strong history of UX experience combined with client consulting skills. They are going to be huge contributors to Blink” said co-founder Karen Clark Cole. The company’s clients have included Adobe, Apple, Blue Nile, ThePlatform, Isilon and the City of Seattle. It now employs 38 people.
AOL has named interim CTO Curtis Brown — the former CTO of Kaplan Test Prep — to the full time role.
Former General Motors Vice Chair Bob Lutz, the straight-talking Detroit auto executive, has joined the board of Seattle startup Energ2. Lutz has spent more than five decades in the auto industry working for Chrysler, Ford and BMW. At GM, where he worked until 2010, he helped introduce The Volt. Energ2, a Unviersity of Washington spin out, is developing new battery technologies for use in automobiles.
“I’m a big believer in EnerG2 because I’m a big believer in the future of vehicle drive train electrification,” said Lutz. “Right now, energy storage technologies have limitations for the automotive industry, but breakthroughs in materials innovation and manufacturing at EnerG2 will help accelerate performance and lower cost.” Energ2 is backed by OVP, Firelake Capital and others.