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Duke Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Names Executive Director

November 22, 2005

The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University announced that Jon Fjeld, adjunct professor of management, has been named executive director of its recently unveiled Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Fjeld most recently served as vice president of engineering at Align Technology, one of Silicon Valley’s fastest growing companies in the past 5 years. At Align, Fjeld directed the development of the technology platform for the world’s first mass customization manufacturing operation. Prior to Align, Fjeld was CEO of two RTP based technology ventures: Raindrop Geomagic and NetEdge Systems (sold to Larscom, Inc. in 1997). Fjeld has also held a number of executive positions at IBM, and began his career as an assistant professor in the department of philosophy at Duke University. Fjeld holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Toronto and an MBA from Duke University.

As executive director, Fjeld will team with Wesley Cohen, the Frederick C. Joerg Professor of Business Administration and faculty director of the center, to lead Fuqua’s initiative to build one of the world’s premier programs in entrepreneurship and innovation.

“This is a significant opportunity for Fuqua and for Duke”, said Douglas T. Breeden, dean of the Fuqua School of Business. “For Jon and Wes to lead this effort will mean an unprecedented integration of practical experience and academic research in the field of entrepreneurship that will allow us to strengthen our educational program and distinguish this from other entrepreneurship centers.”

Fuqua created the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation to advance scholarship and provide a comprehensive framework for entrepreneurial education. The Center will also expand and support the existing MBA Program for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Fuqua School and support Duke University’s related efforts to spawn new ventures and transfer technology to the commercial sector.

“The opportunity now exists to integrate academic research and practical application of entrepreneurial principles,” said Fjeld.  He adds that Duke’s location, near the Research Triangle Park, provides a strong advantage for the center to align with progressive, local companies. “We plan to reach out to the business community to help further our educational and research methods.”

With a number of courses on entrepreneurship already being taught by Fuqua faculty conducting research in the field, Fjeld emphasizes that many of the center’s initial efforts will take place within the university. “By making Duke and Fuqua visible as a worldwide resource for entrepreneurship and innovation, we hope to meet the strong student and faculty demand for coursework in this area.”

The center will take an interdisciplinary approach by collaborating with Duke’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization (CERC) and with other schools within Duke, including the Pratt School of Engineering, the Duke Medical School and the Duke Law School,” said Breeden. “We expect the center to place Fuqua among a very small handful of business schools known for research excellence and research-based education in entrepreneurship and innovation.”