Irvine, Calif., July 15, 2014 — The University of California, Irvine today named Richard Sudek, a respected scholar and higher-education leader who began his career as a technology entrepreneur, as executive director of its Institute for Innovation. Sudek will join the university Sept. 1 and report to Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor Howard Gillman.
“After a thorough nationwide search, we found the ideal candidate within our alumni ranks,” said Gillman. “He’s an outstanding and passionate leader who has devoted his career to empowering entrepreneurs. He’s dedicated to serving not only our university community but our broader region, and in so doing he’ll ensure that UCI remains a central catalyst for innovation and economic development in Orange County. We’re fortunate to welcome Richard back to our campus as the institute’s founding executive director.”
Launched in February, UCI’s Institute for Innovation is designed to accelerate the transfer of technology and other groundbreaking discoveries to the marketplace. The campuswide center integrates research and academic disciplines, while coordinating successful school-based entrepreneurial programs,to create real-world applications that spur business breakthroughs, enhance economic activity and introduce life-enhancing discoveries to society. It is the single point of contact for corporate partners and business executives – whether they’re interested in research opportunities, working with UCI’s spin-off companies, licensing of technologies or other innovation-related interactions – and provides concierge-level services for faculty and students.
The center received initial funding through a $5 million endowment from the Beall Family Foundation. Its formation was lauded by the regional business elite, including the founders and chief executives of Orange County’s most valuable companies. Donald R. Beall, chairman emeritus and retired chairman/CEO of Rockwell, noted that accelerating the transfer of technology is critical to helping the country remain competitive in a global marketplace. He added that “UCI has been a driving force in uncovering breakthroughs that have a real-world impact, and the Beall family is pleased to help the university take its leadership to the next level through the creation of this institute.”
Sudek has hands-on experience in industry and academia. Universities and businesses throughout the world have benefited from his expertise in entrepreneurial finance, strategy and leadership, as well as angel investing, executive coaching and business partnerships. He has taught at INSEAD in France, the Rotterdam School of Management in the Netherlands, and the Peter F. Drucker & Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University. He also has served on advisory committees for Microsoft, IBM, Novell and Cisco.
He is currently director of the Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship & Business Ethics at Chapman University. Sudek revitalized the center in 2011 and developed it into a nationally recognized organization supported by an advisory board of renowned business leaders and entrepreneurs. He initiated the center’s Entrepreneurs in Residence program, created the $300,000 California Dreamin’ Business Plan Competition with more than 35 top universities, and forged strategic partnerships with influential community groups. He began his academic career in 2007 as an assistant professor of entrepreneurship at Chapman University’s George L. Argyros School of Business & Economics.
Sudek has remained an enthusiastic mentor, coach and participant in the entrepreneurial community while pursuing his academic career. He is an active angel investor for more than 20 startup companies and has screened more than 1,000 startups as a member of the board of governors for Tech Coast Angels, the largest angel investment organization in the country. He also served on the board of directors for the Angel Capital Association, a national trade group.
“I’m inspired by UCI’s ongoing commitment to translating the extraordinary talents of its faculty and students in ways that ensure a vibrant ecosystem of innovation in Orange County and beyond,” said Sudek.“We plan to build unique partnerships between the university and entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders that will create a nationally recognized innovation community. It’s a privilege to be able to help one of America’s great research universities establish exciting new connections and transform discoveries into activities that improve the quality of life in our region and around the world.”
Hal Stern, dean of UCI’s Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences, led the selection committee that recruited Sudek. “Richard shares our vision of a seamless transfer of technology to our community,” he said. “He understands both the theoretical and practical aspects of innovation. With his energy and knowledge, UCI’s reputation as a world-class institution and a catalyst for economic growth in Southern California takes a giant leap forward.”
Sudek received a bachelor’s degree in information and computer sciences from UCI. He founded Nadek Computer Systems, serving as its president for 17 years. He sold the company to Science Applications International Corp., where he was a vice president before pursuing his academic career. Sudek earned a Ph.D. in management and master’s degrees in business administration and organizational behavior at Claremont Graduate University.
About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is ranked first among U.S. universities under 50 years old by the London-based Times Higher Education and is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Currently under the leadership of interim Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 28,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. Located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities, it’s Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $4.3 billion annually to the local economy.
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