The programs and activities of the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise are made possible through the support and leadership of its dedicated professionals. Our leaders publish in top academic journals, patent their discoveries and launch spinoff companies. Our management team provides the highest quality research and delivers the real-world knowledge to put ideas into practice.
Judith Cone, Interim Director, also serves as Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Cone has served as Vice President of Emerging Strategies and Entrepreneurship at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. During her tenure, Cone led many of Kauffman's signature education and entrepreneurship initiatives. As Global Ambassador for the Kauffman Foundation, Cone worked with leaders around the world to help build economies through entrepreneurship. Cone also co-founded and led two management consulting firms serving Fortune 500 clients. Her first career was as a learning disabilities teacher working with disadvantaged children in a low-income area, where she experienced first-hand the pervasive and devastating effects of poverty on children and families.
Mary Napier, Ph.D., Executive Director, manages Institute operations, working with Interim Director Judith Cone to implement the strategic plan and vision. She also leads efforts to identify and secure sources of funding for entrepreneurial ventures. Her 14 years of industrial research experience, including working with entrepreneurial technology undertakings, will be brought to bear in developing the Concierge Service for Entrepreneurs, the Institute's initiative for helping innovators get companies launched, financed, and running. Napier is an award-winning chemist who previously managed the operations of the DeSimone Research Group. She is the recipient of the 2012 Knox Massey Distinguished Service Award.
Jason Doherty, Ph.D., Director of the Concierge Service for Entrepreneurs, oversees the Concierge Service for Entrepreneurs business development program at the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise. In this role, he works closely with university researchers to provide assistance in evaluating the commercial potential of high-impact technologies and guidance on new venture creation. Jason has over a decade of life sciences research experience in academic and federal labs and nearly five years of experience in technology commercialization and entrepreneurship. As a business incubation professional, Jason has provided technical assistance to over 100 researchers and entrepreneurs and a variety of support services for over 50 early-stage ventures. Jason received his Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Pathology from UNC-Chapel Hill and a BS in Biological Sciences from North Carolina State University.
Noel Greis, Ph.D., is an expert in global logistics and supply chain management and has won numerous awards for her research on logistics, global operations strategy, technology management, and technology commercialization. Her recent work targets logistics and sourcing in emerging markets around the world, including offshoring and outsourcing issues. Greis currently is partnering with Tsinghua University in Beijing to address issues of U.S.-China trade and is co-director of the UNC-Tsinghua Center for Logistics and Economic Development.
Jim Johnson, Ph.D., Director of Education, Aging, and Economic Development Initiatives is a demographer known for linking population trends to the economy. He examines the growing inequality in American society, particularly as it affects disadvantaged youth; entrepreneurial approaches to poverty alleviation, job creation, and community development; interethnic minority conflict in advanced industrial societies; and business demography and workforce diversity issues. When Frank Kenan tasked him to find role models for kids in Durham "other than basketball players and drug dealers," he founded the Global Scholars Academy. His most recent efforts include launching SAFE, a program to prevent falls by the elderly in North Carolina, with the added benefit of job creation and economic return on investment. He's the William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at Kenan-Flagler Business School.
Brent Lane, Economic Strategist, strives to make communities economically competitive and prosperous through strategic decisions and investments. He brings three decades of experience—in state and regional government and the nonprofit sector—to his work on the Eastern North Carolina Economic Development initiative. Lane has created innovative enterprises ranging from the first technology incubator in Research Triangle Park to the largest community development venture capital fund in the U.S. He currently serves on the N.C. Department of Revenue Oversight Committee.
Mark Little, Ph.D., is Interim Executive Director of the Kenan Institute and Director of the North Carolina Strategic Economic Growth Initiative. In these roles, he manages institute operations, supports high-growth entrepreneurs, helps communities grow and retain business, facilitates strategic regional economic development, and researches solutions to pressing energy, environment, and climate related problems. Little brings to this position a broad, international background in environmental and earth science, policy analysis, and renewable energy development. Immediately prior to joining the institute, he served as a AAAS Congressional Science Fellow to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Cynthia (Cindy) Reifsnider, is Director of Research Services and Knowledge Management at the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise and leads the Patent Landscaping and Market Evaluation program. She has more than 15 years' experience working with entrepreneurs, including 7 years at the Kenan Institute, 5 years at Hewlett-Packard, and 2 years at Virginia Tech (working with Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology). She has broad subject matter expertise across business and sciences. She is knowledgeable in multiple types of information research and analysis, including patents, scientific/technical literature, business and markets. She holds a Master of Science in Information Science and a BS in Meteorology.
Deborah Stroman, Ph.D., is Director of Sport Entrepreneurship and Community Engagement. In this role, she "creates and connects sport business people and ventures." Working closely with UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA students and high-performing undergraduate students, she directs a Basketball Analytics Summit, researches the social and economic impact of sport in the state of North Carolina, teaches sport business curriculum, and promotes numerous on campus and Research Triangle Park collaborative opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and professionals working in the sport industry. With over three decades of business, entrepreneurship, and athletic industry experience, she provides a unique perspective and innovative strategies. Stroman is the 2013 UNC General Alumni McClinton Faculty/Staff Award winner. Visit us on the web at www.kisport.unc.edu.
Nick Didow, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Marketing at the Kenan-Flagler Business School, focusing most of his work on the philosophy of science in marketing and methods of research inquiry. The Kenan Institute will utilize his expertise in marketing strategy, particularly sports marketing, as it applies to our work with entrepreneurs. He has been a consultant to large corporations, and has a long record of public service including three terms on the Chapel-Hill Carrboro City School's board of education and an instrumental role in founding the Chapel Hill Downtown Economic Development Association.
Maryann P. Feldman, Ph.D., is the Heninger Distinguished Professor in the Department of Public Policy. Her work spans a broad area of entrepreneurship research, with particular interests in the areas of innovation, the commercialization of academic research and the factors that promote technological change and economic growth. Her academic research in the commercialization of university research is helping to inform the Kenan Institute's entrepreneurially related programs. Her work also has had significant policy impact—she has testified before the United States Congress on issues related to innovation and entrepreneurship and consulted with local governments and entrepreneurial organizations on strategy. She is the 2013 recipient of the Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research.
Paul N. Friga, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the Kenan-Flagler Business School where he is leading the Kenan Institute's strategic planning laboratory. He teaches courses in management consulting and strategy and has presented at numerous conferences throughout the world. His current research focuses on experiential learning methodologies, team problem solving, and measuring knowledge transfer. Friga has consulted for Fortune 100, mid-size and entrepreneurial companies, universities and not-for-profit organizations.
Zishan Haroon, M.D., is the Associate Director of the Carolina Institute for Nanomedicine, which works to enhance scientific knowledge as well as to transition research discoveries into clinical trials. He set up the North Carolina Center for BioMedical and Innovation Translation (now Carolina KickStart), provided leadership in licensing opportunities for UNC, and led efforts for establishment of the Carolina Institute for NanoMedicine. He is doing outreach for the Kenan Institute by assisting other departments and units to understand how to become more entrepreneurial. Previously he headed up corporate and business development for Synergenics, a consortium of independent biotech companies. Haroon has been a leading consultant in matters relating to science, business development, sales and marketing.
Ted Zoller, Ph.D., is a practicing entrepreneur and an experienced educator who was instrumental in the founding of our Concierge Service for Entrepreneurs. He also directs the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Kenan-Flagler Business School, where he developed Launching the Venture, a series of courses that helps people turn ideas into new ventures. Most recently he was instrumental in the opening of LAUNCH Chapel Hill, a laboratory and co-working space for entrepreneurs. He also advises entrepreneurial firms and founders worldwide on growth and financing strategies. Zoller is a Senior Fellow of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.