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.
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., Director, Digital Enterprise and Innovation, 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 NCGrowth. 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.