The University Record, January 15, 2001

Nisbet to head tech transfer efforts

By Bernie DeGroat
News and Information Services

Kenneth J. Nisbet has been appointed director of technology transfer, effective Jan. 15.

Nisbet will assume leadership of the Technology Management Office (TMO), as well as share oversight of the satellite technology transfer programs at the Medical School and the College of Engineering. He previously served as the TMO’s director of new business development.

As the new head of the TMO, Nisbet will oversee the commercialization of University-developed intellectual property through the licensing of technologies to the private and public sectors and through the facilitation of start-up companies based on U-M technology.

“We are very pleased to have Ken assume this important role and to benefit from his expertise and the excellent relationships he has established within the University and in the wider business community,” says Fawwaz T. Ulaby, vice president for research. “Our selection advisory committee was delighted to find that we had the best technology transfer talent to lead Michigan in our own back yard. We anticipate a smooth transition and continued advancements in U-M’s commercialization efforts.”

Gary Was, a member of the selection advisory committee and associate dean for research in the College of Engineering, looks forward to working with Nisbet to strengthen the engineering technology transfer program.

“Ken presents a dynamic and energetic vision for technology transfer at Michigan,” Was says.

Nisbet succeeds Marvin G. Parnes, associate vice president of research and executive director of research administration, who served as the interim director for the past three years.

During that time, the University established new technology transfer programs in the College of Engineering and the Medical School, expanded efforts to create new business start-ups and forged stronger relationships with the entrepreneurial and venture capital communities.

Technology transfer will report to Ulaby through Parnes, who will continue to play an active role in guiding institutional technology transfer policy and strategy, as well as external relations related to research commercialization.

Parnes, who has juggled several roles during the past three years, says he is ready to pass on the technology transfer mantle.

“It has been very gratifying to see technology transfer thrive at U-M,” he says. “Everyone, from President Bollinger and the executive officers to our dedicated licensing and business development staff, has contributed to recent improvements. Ken has been an important element in our success and will lead us forward with great energy and skill.”

Nisbet, who joined the U-M in 1996 and has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and an M.B.A. from the University, has 25 years of experience in organizational leadership, product marketing, business planning and financial management in technology-driven markets.