March 6, 2018

Purdue Profiles: Greg Deason

Greg Deason Greg Deason, senior vice president of the Purdue Research Foundation and director of innovation and entrepreneurship. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons) Download image

Greg Deason, senior vice president of the Purdue Research Foundation and director of innovation and entrepreneurship at the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, has spent more than 20 years helping to drive innovation at Purdue.

He graduated from Purdue in 1986 with a degree in agricultural economics and started working here in 1995. He was named a distinguished graduate of the Purdue College of Agriculture in 2010. Now, his three sons are carrying on the tradition of being a Boilermaker.

What do you do as the senior vice president of the Purdue Research Foundation and director of innovation and entrepreneurship at the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship?

My role is to ensure Purdue has a world-class entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem that supports Purdue ideas having impact. We’ve created a logo that depicts “idea to impact” to serve as a constant reminder that our highest calling is to see Purdue advance the best ideas in the minds of faculty, students, staff and alumni in order to impact the lives of Hoosiers and all of society. We’ve positioned our key assets in Discovery Park where we combine the convergent research excellence at Discovery Park with programs and resources that include the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, the Purdue Foundry and Purdue Ventures. 

When combined, these groups are providing a robust set of resources to help an inventor or entrepreneur find help in taking their idea to impact. These groups join forces every day with the Office of Technology Commercialization in order to ensure we protect the great ideas and then license them into startup companies that are working with our team and can ultimately grow in the Purdue Research Park or state. We invest most of our efforts ensuring we build robust social networks, competition opportunities, ideation and market validation and ultimately funding and team formation opportunities. We consider a number of areas within Purdue to be “partners” in these efforts and the Krannert School of Management has provided outstanding support to our efforts.

What led you to this line of work?

From my banking and agricultural economics background, I have always been interested in success factors for businesses.  With that foundation, it became extremely interesting to apply my knowledge and interest to high-tech startups affiliated with Purdue. I was already a proud Boilermaker and it became a passion to see how we could leverage the talent, research capacity and intellectual property to do good here in our community and beyond.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

It starts with people and I am surrounded by a world-class team. Throughout my time here, I’ve sought out those that knew a lot more than I did on certain subjects and convinced them to apply that knowledge here. That same world-class team believes so firmly in seeing ideas have impact here at Purdue that they bring incredible passion.

Beyond the team, imagine that you really do not know what great idea may be presented each and every day: Is it a cure for cancer? A way to ensure fresh water or ample food? A constant and sustainable energy source? We have such great talent at Purdue and their ideas are fantastic. So, when an inventor or entrepreneur says “I have a great idea and need help,” we stand ready to begin an incredible journey with them that we hope lasts indefinitely.

Why do you feel that this role is important to the University?

If you look at the mural in Stewart Center, you’ll see Abraham Lincoln signing the Morrill Act that created land-grant universities. Purdue at its inception took seriously our covenant to advance ideas that would help improve the lives and livelihoods of Hoosiers. This role is helping to ensure that we continue to take Purdue ideas to impact.  

Writer: Megan Huckaby, 765-496-1325,

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