John McElligott is founder and Chief Executive Officer of York Exponential, a Pennsylvania based collaborative robotics and artificial intelligence company.
Originally from Springfield, Massachusetts, he grew up in a missionary family that traveled throughout Europe. As a young adult, John returned to the United States and joined the U.S. Marine Corps, serving as a combat engineer during 9/11. He was honorably discharged with the rank of Sergeant.
John’s primary passion has been focused on the rise and rejuvenation of third tier cities. A sought-after thought leader on exponential technology, robotics, artificial intelligence, economic development, and responsible disruption, John has been selected to be a keynote speaker for the White House, federal agencies, the National Governors Association, and multiple business and community organizations globally.
He views the struggles that York, Pennsylvania and other third tier cities across the heartland experience as a reflection of what the country as a whole is facing. John has a deep passion for ensuring everyone has access to innovation and technology, and possesses the skills needed for the jobs of the future. By addressing these problems on a small scale, John feels confident that we can make positive, lasting changes in many of these communities. He believes technology should benefit the lives of all of our citizens – regardless of race, education or socio-economic status – and is the cornerstone of a sound economic development model.
John also serves as President of The Fortress Initiative, a non-profit organization focused on promoting education and awareness to rural and third tier cities in regard to the 4th Industrial Revolution. He is also the founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Fortress Academy, Central Pennsylvania’s first and only coding licensed boot camp and accelerated education school focused on developing the first generation of robot mechanics.
John remains active in his community as a volunteer for Junior Achievement’s Entrepreneurship program, board member of York Country Day’s Technology transition team, member of the Pennsylvania STEM advisory committee, as well as serving on the board of directors for Crispus Attucks Charter School.