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Faculty CEOs


Dave Barbe Dr. David Barbe
Executive Director
University of Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (MTECH)
College Park, MD

Tom Parks Dr. Thomas Parks
Professor Department of Neurology and Anatomy
University of Utah School of Medicine
Salt Lake City, UT

Recorded 2-24-05, 70 minutes

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University faculty, as innovators, create intellectual property, and many create new enterprises that bring them into contact with private investors. Universities employ faculty as researchers, educators and developers of intellectual property, not entrepreneurs. When faculty become part of an enterprise, their role changes and they need special skill sets to help make the enterprise a success. Can a faculty member become a great CEO? Can faculty lead in the boardroom and well as in the laboratory? Today’s guests share their experience on how some university faculty successfully make the transition.


1: Introductions

   a: Dr. David Barbe

   b: Dr. Thomas Parks

2: Role of universities in technology commercialization

3: Increasing importance of the university in economic development

4: Mixing education and building enterprises

5: University tech transfer offices and importance of intellectual property

6: Faculty as entrepreneurs

7: 3-legged stool - Relationships between faculty, universities, and the private VC market

   a: MTECH as intermediary

8: The transition from faculty to founder

9: Benchmarks for success

   a: "Companies come and go but universities are forever; don't overestimate the chances of success in a start-up business"

   b: "Positive lab results generally lead to success in academia, but are not sufficient to guarantee a company's success"

   c: "Horses who begin to lose races get put out to breed in academia, but go to the glue factory in start-ups"

   d: "No matter how the company fares, a scientist joining a startup can take away a valuable business education if he's allowed out of the lab once in awhile"

   e: "VCs are in the returns business, not the investment business"

10: Final words of advice

11: Closing - The year ahead

Capital Formation Institute, Inc.
a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization
Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach
University at Buffalo, 1576 Sweet Home Rd., Amherst, NY 14228

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