Edward Wright, a corporate executive with more than 30 years in leadership roles involving multinational experience in the medical device industry, is the new director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Western Carolina University’s College of Business.
Wright is the inventor or co-inventor on five U.S. patents for medical devices and has developed and launched over a dozen new products into global distribution. He led due diligence teams in three corporate acquisitions and served as president or general manager subsequent to the acquisition.
Wright joined the WCU faculty five years ago as an associate professor of global management and strategy and has collaborated with colleagues within the College of Business and across campus on 11 peer-reviewed publications. He also has led 93 student consulting projects with local businesses.
“We are delighted to have Dr. Ed Wright in a leadership role with the center,” said Darrell F. Parker, dean of the College of Business. “Ed has demonstrated a natural gift in engagement with people throughout the university and the region.”
The Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is designed to serve as a catalyst for the creation of successful entrepreneurial ventures. The center provides educational support for aspiring and current entrepreneurs, and fosters cross-campus and inter-institutional collaboration on the inclusion of entrepreneurship theory and practice for all disciplines. In addition, faculty and staff of the center provide expertise to organizations that support economic development, including the Small Business and Technology Development Center, with which it shares offices.
Wright holds a doctorate in management from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio; a master’s degree in business administration from Wake Forest University; and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At WCU, he teaches business strategy to undergraduate students and leadership and ethics in the MBA program at Cherokee and Biltmore Park.
Ken Flynt, associate dean of the College of Business, said Wright already is moving the center forward.
“His presence already is being felt by a number of organizations with which he has begun to collaborate in the region, and I have no doubt that he will increase the visibility and impact of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation,” said Flynt.
The center engages students in WCU’s business and entrepreneurship programs. The WCU’s master’s degree program in entrepreneurship has been recognized among the nation’s highest-ranked entrepreneurship programs by the U.S. Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship and by Fortune Small Business magazine.
Working with the center enables WCU undergraduate and graduate students in distance and residential programs to participate in practical, hands-on educational and service-learning activities facilitated by a faculty of experienced entrepreneurs. The activities are designed to help students master the skills necessary to think creatively, successfully launch their own businesses, or work with an employer in launching and growing an entrepreneurial venture.