The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Pamplin College of Business will begin operations this summer, with the appointment of two experienced professionals in business development and technology partnerships.

Linda Oldham, former executive director of Georgia Tech’s Denning Technology and Management Program, will be the center’s executive director. She will start work on Aug. 1.

Derick Maggard, currently executive director of the Roanoke - Blacksburg Technology Council, will be the center’s director. He will start work on July 17.

The center will support entrepreneurship and innovation programs across the university that educate traditional students, corporate innovators, and others involved in entrepreneurial ventures through courses, experiential learning, and mentoring relationships.

Center participants will gain experience developing business plans and launching new ventures based on innovative technologies. They will also benefit from networking with the large number of Virginia Tech alumni who are successful entrepreneurs.

The center will also serve as a resource within the business community and foster joint research projects with faculty members related to entrepreneurship, technology commercialization, and new venture formation and growth.

The center, which was established in December 2013, will help guide such programs as the college’s Entrepreneurship — New Venture Growth minor and the university’s Innovate entrepreneurship living-learning community, both of which were also launched last year.

Innovation through entrepreneurship is one of three academic themes in Pamplin’s strategic plan (the other two are business intelligence and analytics, and international business).

“We have made a great deal of progress in this thematic area in a short while,” said Pamplin dean Robert Sumichrast, “and our progress is about to accelerate, with the hiring of two highly qualified people to lead our center.”

Oldham has extensive experience building relationships with high profile corporations. In her recent position at Georgia Tech, she helped develop a corporate advisory board while providing leadership for the business school’s undergraduate curricular activities and outreach related to the Denning Program.

She led the Denning Program for seven years, building a nationally prominent initiative that bridged the business and engineering colleges and that received more than $15 million in funding.

Oldham earned a Ph.D. in continuing education and human resource development from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she was director of corporate and foundation relations at the engineering college before joining Georgia Tech.

At Pamplin, she will develop a plan to promote the center and raise its visibility in Blacksburg and the Washington, D.C., area.

Maggard, who joined the Roanoke - Blacksburg Technology Council in May 2012, has substantially increased the council’s membership and funding. He has worked with leaders of member organizations and startups to promote innovation, entrepreneurship, and sustained growth for the region’s technology-based businesses.

Maggard has worked in business development, operations, marketing, and public relations. He founded several businesses that he nurtured to success. He later joined a startup, where he created and managed technology partnerships with NBA, NFL, and other professional sports leagues as well as NCAA sports franchises.

Maggard, who earned a master’s degree in management systems engineering from Virginia Tech, has been involved with the Innovate community since its beginnings, including teaching one of its courses. In his new role, he will continue to be active in the entrepreneurial and technology communities at Virginia Tech and in the region.



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