Rebecca A. Fannin, Silicon Heartland: Transforming the Midwest from Rust Belt to Tech Belt


Recorded May 3, 2023

In this essential look at the regrowth of the American Midwest, tech journalist Rebecca A. Fannin chronicles her return to America’s heartland, revealing the dramatic entrepreneurial comeback that is transforming the Rust Belt into the Tech Belt.

Biography: Rebecca A. Fannin is a CNBC contributor, an author of four books, and an entrepreneur who grew up in the Ohio town of Lancaster.

After graduating from Ohio University and working at Dayton’s morning newspaper, she left the Appalachian foothills for new horizons in New York City, Silicon Valley, and Asia.

Her latest book, Silicon Heartland, explores the 21st century transformation of the Rust Belt into a Tech Belt. A heartlander herself, she brings readers on an investigative tour of this comeback, putting hard miles on her Honda Element as she visits change-makers who are building the latest version of the American Dream.

Her earlier research and writing led to three books that were published in multiple languages: Tech Titans of China (Hachette’s Nicholas Brealey, 2019), Startup Asia (Wiley 2011) and Silicon Dragon (McGraw-Hill 2008). She also wrote the Asian chapter for innovation in Emerging Markets (Palgrave Macmillan 2016).

Additionally, she has written for Forbes and Harvard Business Review, among others, and contributed to several thought leadership reports.

Inspired by the entrepreneurs she has met and interviewed in the U.S. and internationally, Rebecca became a media entrepreneur herself. In 2010, she formed media and events platform Silicon Dragon Ventures,

Represented by Leading Authorities, Rebecca has spoken at major business, tech, and policy forums. She’s been regularly quoted in leading media outlets and provided expert testimony about China’s Internet to a U.S. Congressional committee.

Rebecca resides in New York City, San Francisco and Florida. She also logs major miles in her grassroots search to uncover the next, new thing.

Florida Voices is generously supported by the Fred J. Brotherton Endowment for Literature, established at The Four Arts by the Fred J. Brotherton Charitable Foundation. Fred Brotherton, who died in 2003, was for many years a Benefactor of The Four Arts and a strong supporter of its programs. Florida Voices, featuring the state that was Mr. Brotherton’s winter home, serves as a continuing memorial to this much-respected member of The Four Arts.