Former Con-Ed executive Louis Buck directing entrepreneurship center

Louis E. Buck Jr., a former chief financial officer for the competitive businesses of Consolidated Edison in New York, joined WCU earlier this academic year as the Wesley R. Elingburg Distinguished Professor in Business Innovation.

Louis E. Buck Jr.

Louis E. Buck Jr.

In addition to teaching in the College of Business, Buck (pictured) directs WCU’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which focuses on issues of innovation, new venture creation and growth, commercialization and technology transfer.

Louis E. Buck Jr.He brings to the job more than 25 years of leadership experience in corporate finance, accounting and strategic planning. Former vice president of the N.C. Electric Membership Corporation, he has taught at the University of Texas, University of Dallas and Texas A&M University, and is a retired U.S. Navy captain.

Much of Buck’s work focuses on helping stem the tide of jobs lost when large manufacturing companies relocate overseas. The Small Business Administration reports that small businesses are responsible for between 60 and 80 percent of all new jobs created during the past decade – a percentage Buck says is even higher in WNC.

“Entrepreneurs in new and existing businesses have the nimbleness to respond very rapidly to emerging markets and changes in existing market conditions, which is why they are so critical to continued economic growth in this region,” he said. “The entrepreneurship program provides creative individuals who have good ideas for a new business or innovative products with the skills to have a far better probability of success.”

Buck is the first to hold a distinguished professorship made possible by gifts to Western from retired Greensboro businessman Wesley R. Elingburg, combined with matching funds through a program initiated by the General Assembly to encourage private support of public institutions of higher education.