Ashley Washburn, May 19, 2023
Engel named NIC’s interim executive director
Kate Engel has been named interim executive director of the Nebraska Innovation Campus Development Corporation, the 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation owned by the University of Nebraska Board of Regents.
Engel joined the NICDC team in 2011 to assist with establishing operations and marketing for the public/private research campus before its 2012 groundbreaking. Most recently, Engel was director of strategic partnerships and communications. In that role, she assisted the past executive director with recruitment and retention, additional marketing and public relations efforts, space buildouts, workforce development, and resources and programs for NIC’s 65 private- and public-sector partners.
“Our university is fortunate to have Kate taking on this important leadership role during this time of transition for Innovation Campus,” said Bob Wilhelm, vice chancellor for research and economic development. “She has been instrumental to NIC’s success from the beginning and is well-respected in the community for her ability to build relationships between the university and NIC’s current and prospective partners. I appreciate her ability to identify the resources that faculty innovators, startups and groups need to succeed, ultimately leading to increased economic development opportunities for Nebraska.”
Engel’s interim appointment is effective May 1, 2023, through Oct. 31, 2024, or until a permanent hire is made. Founding Executive Director Dan Duncan retired in March 2023.
The campus recently celebrated its 10th year. Over the past decade, it has expanded to 570,000 square feet of constructed space, which includes include Nebraska Innovation Studio, The Mill Coffee & Bistro, The Scarlet Hotel, office space, wet/dry laboratories, pilot plants and Greenhouse Innovation Center. It also is home to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Department of Food Science and Technology.
As interim executive director, Engel’s primary responsibility is to supervise NICDC staff, direct business operations and work to attract NIC tenants. She will lead infrastructure planning and development, client services, and marketing and public relations, as well as manage relationships with commercial developers and other entities that may build or operate facilities at NIC. At full build-out, the campus is expected to occupy 2.2 million square feet.
Engel holds a bachelor’s in fine arts from Nebraska Wesleyan University, a Master of Arts in management from Doane University, a Master of Science in leadership from UNL and a graduate certificate in public relations and social media from UNL’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications.