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Bryan Davis

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Furman cited for excellence by global organization see more

    Furman University’s Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship has been named an Outstanding Emerging Entrepreneurship Center by the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers, a group of more than 250 universities.

    Other recipients of the 2020 award were Boston University, Eastern Washington University and Smith College. The centers, which had to have been nominated for the award within five years of launching, were judged on early success, engagement with stakeholders on and off campus, an established management team, novel or unique approaches and clearly established goals and objectives. Winners in recent years include Dartmouth College, Brown University, Vanderbilt University, Virginia Tech and Babson College.

    “This recognition is a testament to Furman’s commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship and the unparalleled support by the campus community, alumni, parents, community members, administration and Board of Trustees,” said Anthony Herrera, executive director of Furman Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “In just two short years, we have built a globally recognized institute and paved a way for Furman to lead nationally among liberal arts and sciences universities in the space of innovation and entrepreneurship.”

    According to Herrera, three strengths set Furman apart from other universities. 

    “Our engaged faculty and students from across disciplines; strong ties with the community, including city and state government organizations as well as local venture capital groups; and a core group of alumni and parents who provide financial support, make the effort self-sustaining,” he noted.

    “This award signals that a liberal arts and sciences education can be a catalyst for innovation, that students who come to Furman can have a profoundly impactful experience as innovators and entrepreneurs regardless of their choice of major,” said Furman President Elizabeth Davis. “We are grateful that the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers recognized Furman’s role in creating an ecosystem of entrepreneurship for our students, faculty and the community.”

    “The heart of innovation and entrepreneurship is creativity, in identifying opportunities and solving problems,” said Kem Wilson III ’98, a Furman trustee and alumnus, principal of Kemmons Wilson Companies and supporter of Furman Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “The entrepreneurial experience Furman students can experience will benefit them regardless of their career path.” Wilson’s grandfather founded Holiday Inn. The company that bears his name now manages a diverse portfolio of companies spanning a myriad of industries, from hospitality to green technology to consumer brands.

    Furman Innovation and Entrepreneurship sprang from The Furman Advantage and its focus on self-discovery, engaging the community and experiential education. It launched in August 2018 with Herrera’s hiring and has become “a perfect vehicle to encourage cross-disciplinary thinking and provide students, faculty and community members a place to participate in engaged learning experiences,” Herrera said.

    Early successes include:

    • pitch competition that attracted more than 80 student competitors and culminated in the most-attended pitch competition in South Carolina’s history; 530 people attending the final round between six students, where $30,000 in startup grants were awarded.
    • The Summer Business & Innovation virtual boot camp that has attracted 42 students from 10 universities across the Southeast. Following the boot camp, the City of Greenville funded 10 student internships with local startup ventures.
    • A virtual academy for high school students that led 62 teens from 11 states and 11 countries through a capstone project to pitch a venture in innovation and entrepreneurship, sustainability or community health.
    • The “Class E Podcast,” produced in partnership with the Furman Department of Communication Studies, which presents biweekly talks and interviews with entrepreneurs, innovators and disruptors from the Furman network. Fourteen episodes have drawn more than 1,000 listeners.
    • Leading in Times of Crisis,” a series of six virtual workshops for corporate, entrepreneurial and nonprofit leaders that attracted more than 1,000 registrants.
    • Collaborations, partnerships and ongoing relationships with organizations, including the City of Greenville, SCBIO, Upstate SC Alliance, Greenville Area Development Corporation,  Build Carolina, Village Launch, NEXT, 6AM and VentureSouth.

    In addition to continuing and expanding its programs, Furman Innovation and Entrepreneurship has extensive plans to become more engaged and integrated with Greenville, the Upstate and South Carolina. Herrera expects to make several announcements over the coming months about partnerships with corporate and community stakeholders.

    For information about Furman Innovation and Entrepreneurship, or to contribute financially, contact Anthony Herrera at anthony.herrera@furman.edu.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    SCBIO has named its 2018 Board of Directors and Board Chair see more

    SCBIO has announced its 2018 Board of Directors and Executive Committee following formal confirmation at the life science organization’s December 2017 meeting in Columbia.  Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation CEO Lou Kennedy will serve as SCBIO’s 2018 Board Chair.

    Ms. Kennedy joined Nephron Pharmaceuticals in 2001, and assumed the position of President and CEO in 2007. She has held a variety of marketing and operational roles during her career and has helped Nephron Pharmaceuticals grow by 300% and increased shipped product to one billion doses each of the last seven years.  Nephron recently built a state of the art manufacturing facility in West Columbia, South Carolina and, with her husband Bill, helped establish the Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center in conjunction with the USC School of Pharmacy.

    Joining Ms. Kennedy as officers on the SCBIO Executive Committee will be Craig Walker, CEO of VidiStar LLC as Vice Chair; Michael Rusnak, Executive Director of the Medical University of South Carolina Research Foundation as Treasurer; and Kathryn Cole Becker, Principal of Translational Science Solutions as Secretary.  Additional members of the Executive Committee are Jeff Stover, Special Counsel with Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, PA as Legal Officer; Stephanie Yarbrough, Partner with Womble Bond Dickinson, LLP as Annual Conference Officer; Bryan Davis, Operations Manager with Greenville Health System’s Office of Innovations as Healthcare/Innovation Officer; and Sam Konduros, President and CEO of SCBIO.  Immediate Past Chair, Erin Ford, who now serves as the organization’s inaugural Vice President, was honored for her extraordinary board service during the December Board meeting.

    Also elected to the 22-member Board of Directors for SCBIO are Darralyn Alexander, President of Reimbursement Strategies LLC; Mandy Brawley, Deputy Director of the South Carolina Department of Commerce; Jerry Chang, Vice President of Business Development for BioD; Matthew Couvillion, Attorney with the Wyche Law Form; J.J. Darby, State Government Affairs Leader for Johnson & Johnson Services; Tressa Gardner, Associate Vice president of the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology at Florence-Darlington Technical College; and Mike Graney, Vice President  for Global Business Development of the Charleston Regional Development Alliance.

    Completing the 2018 Board of Directors for SCBIO are Chad Hardaway, Associate Director of the Office of Economic Engagement at the University of South Carolina; Willard Harms, VP of Medical Affairs for Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina; Dr. Martine LaBerge, Chair of Clemson University’s Department of Bioengineering; Marc Metcalf, Business Recruitment Officer of the Upstate SC Alliance; Kathy Phlegar, President of Phlegar & Associates; Christine Dixon Thiesing, Director of Academic Programs for the South Carolina Research Authority; and Courtney Warren, Life Sciences Practice Chair for Marsh & McLennan Agency.

    SCBIO President and CEO Konduros praised the Board and Executive Committee noting, “With the important work we are undertaking to actively advance life sciences R&D, biotech, med-tech, and digital health industries in South Carolina, we require strong, expert leadership from all across the state, fully integrating the business, education and economic development sectors. I am confident that these diverse leaders who reside in communities ranging from Murrells Inlet to Florence in addition to Greenville, Columbia, and Charleston, will effectively champion our vision of building the business of life sciences in South Carolina in 2018 and for years to come.”

    SCBIO is South Carolina’s investor-driven public/private economic development organization exclusively focused on building, advancing, and growing the life sciences industry in the state.  The industry already has an $11.4 billion annual economic impact in the Palmetto State, with more than 400 firms directly involved and 15,000 professionals employed in the research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, medical device, industrial, environmental and agricultural biotech and products.  The state-wide nonprofit has offices in Greenville, Columbia, and Charleston, and represents companies in the advanced medicines, medical devices, equipment, diagnostics, IT, and healthcare outcome industries.

    The Board of Directors is the policy- and strategy-making body of the organization, and meets regularly to receive updates on SCBIO business and objectives, as well as domestic and global initiatives. The Executive Committee serves roles specific to SCBIO operations, focus areas and strategies.

    SCBIO is the official state affiliate of BIO -- the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology organizations.  SCBIO members include academic institutions, biotech companies, med-tech companies, entrepreneurial organizations, service providers, thought leaders, economic development organizations and related groups whose members are leading the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotech and med-tech products that will make a difference across the Palmetto State, and around the world.