WCU institute announces industry fellows program

Western Carolina University’s Institute for the Economy and the Future has named a trio of senior executives from the industrial sector to serve as the institute’s first industry fellows. They are:

– Jan Chervenak, chief scientist at Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), a leading systems, business solutions and technical services company.

– Bob Dunn, a business intelligence expert and computer graphics pioneer who is president of Enterprise Solutions International, a company focusing on corporate and business development for early-stage technology companies.

– Albert Jacobson, who has held corporate management and executive positions at IBM over the last 30 years and who currently directs cross-company offshore software development team operations for Lenovo (formerly IBM’s PC business).

“We launched the industry fellows program as a way to recognize top-level executives who take the time and energy to give back and share with our students, faculty and community,” said Paul Evans, executive director of the IEF. “These talented executives, who have made their mark in industry, are now giving their services pro bono for the growth of the region and our university.”

The program is designed to provide an opportunity for senior executives to share their expertise, leadership styles and management techniques and to help grow businesses in Western North Carolina, Evans said. Students, faculty and entrepreneurs can gain insight from industry fellows, he said, by learning about their experiences in a number of areas, including real-world challenges faced by leaders of complex, changing businesses; negotiation of career paths; perspectives on the accelerating complexities in high-tech industries; and abilities needed to adapt to transforming industry business models and global demands.

Western Chancellor John W. Bardo said the industry fellows also will play a role in the development of public-private partnerships as part of the university’s Millennial Initiative, an ambitious and comprehensive regional economic development strategy that will enable the university to partner with business, industry and government.

“The industry fellows program not only helps us forge necessary industry bonds for economic growth, but ultimately it will help our students connect the theories they learn in the classroom to practical experiences in the world of work. This becomes especially valuable when they intern and co-op with our industry partners,” Bardo said.

“Good business relationships can also be leveraged to provide an effective interchange between faculty and industry that can spur innovation and applied research,” he said. “We’re excited as we engage other senior industry executives as industry fellows in the future, and these charter enlistees are setting a very high bar for the program.”

For more information about the IEF, visit the Web site at http://ief.wcu.edu (link no longer active).