Jerry Engel will step down as executive director of the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation and take on the role of faculty co-director in July.
Engel helped found the Lester Center in 1991 and has served as executive director since then, building it into a globally recognized and vibrant hub of entrepreneurial activity on campus.
Engel will shift from his day-to-day management of the center to focus on strategic cross-campus collaborations, including entrepreneurship initiatives developed with the College of Letters and Sciences and the departments of law, information, journalism, and engineering. He will continue to teach and focus on further developing the Haas School's top-ranked entrepreneurship curriculum. He will chair the professional entrepreneurship faculty and strengthen its teaching program.
Engel will also chair the New Venture Creation and Venture Capital Program, including a new initiative called Launchpad. Launchpad offers incoming Haas students a structured approach to venture creation from idea to initiation.
Engel has helped many dozens of budding Haas entrepreneurs launch successful businesses. He has brought the venture capital community’s support and collaboration to campus, created many career opportunities for his students, and trained faculty how to teach entrepreneurship — here at Haas and at universities around the world.
The Haas School will start a search for a new executive director. In the interim, Dave Charron, the Lester Center’s associate director, will serve as the acting executive director.
"The Lester Center is a major asset to our school and a prominent differentiator," says Dean Rich Lyons. "I thank Jerry for building Haas’ lively entrepreneurial community. Jerry and I will continue to work together to ensure that our Lester Center and entrepreneurship program continue to thrive."