Pekny selected as interim director designate for Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship

June 3, 2013  

Joseph Pekny

Joseph Pekny 
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University chemical engineering professor Joseph Pekny has been appointed interim director designate of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, working with current director Richard Cosier until he returns to the Krannert School of Management full time in August, where their collaborations will continue.

Pekny, who has held several leadership roles in Discovery Park since the interdisciplinary research complex was launched a decade ago, will work alongside Cosier this summer in managing the Burton D. Morgan Center's entrepreneurship activities across campus.

Richard Cosier

Richard Cosier 
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Pekny's appointment is effective immediately, and he will become the center's full-time interim director on Aug. 13. A search for a permanent director will be launched this fall.

"Joe Pekny is not only a world-class educator, but also a world-class entrepreneur. His involvement in the Burton D. Morgan Center in collaboration with Rick Cosier will increase the entrepreneurial spirit and activities in this important center," said Dan Hasler, president and chief entrepreneurial officer at the Purdue Research Foundation.

"The work of Rick and Joe, along with all our other programs to foster and implement entrepreneurship, will make the center a place where those who embrace innovation can come together and do more than innovate - they will change lives through the commercialization of innovative ideas. The center will be Purdue's epicenter for entrepreneurial training and startup support."

Pekny, who joined Purdue's faculty in 1990, will serve as interim director designate until Aug. 13. He is founder of Advanced Process Combinatorics Inc., a Purdue Research Park-based company that was spun off from his research in 1994.

In addition, he served as director of the e-Enterprise Center from 2001-09, was a founding director of Discovery Park, and was instrumental in the launch of the Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering in Discovery Park. He also was interim head of School of Industrial Engineering from 2008-10.

"Joe Pekny wears many hats at Purdue. He is often described by colleagues as enthusiastic, positive and inclusive," said Alan Rebar, executive director of Discovery Park. "In his 23 years at Purdue, he has shown through his work exactly what Purdue is all about."

Pekny received the highest honor given to Purdue faculty members when then-President Martin C. Jischke presented him with the One Brick Higher Award in 2007 for his work in entrepreneurship and academic endeavors.

"Entrepreneurship happens every day on campus through our innovative faculty and staff and our best and brightest students," Pekny said. "By building on the momentum we have sparked through Discovery Park, the Burton D. Morgan Center and our incredible discipline strengths, we are building on Purdue's legacy of success in creating impact and value for society.

"We aim to advance an ecosystem that supports this creative culture across Purdue to the benefit of Indiana and beyond."

Although Cosier, the Avrum and Joyce Gray Director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship and Purdue's Leeds Professor of Management, will return to Krannert this fall, he will remain involved in campus entrepreneurship activities.

"Rick's continued role in teaching entrepreneurship in the Krannert School of Management is an important cornerstone in our overall innovation and commercialization goals," Hasler said.

Cosier also will join professionals from the Office of Technology Commercialization in the Purdue Research Foundation to teach Krannert's Student Managed Venture Fund course, which provides students with the opportunity to perform due diligence on real Purdue-related startups for possible funding up to $150,000 for companies they create.

"Joe is a great choice to lead the entrepreneurship endeavors at the Burton D. Morgan Center and will do a fine job," Cosier said.  "I look forward to working with him."

Cosier served as Krannert dean from 1999-2010 before being named the Avrum and Joyce Gray Director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship in March 2010. He also was founding director of the Burton D. Morgan Center when it was launched in 2004.

About the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship

The Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, through its sponsored initiatives and partnerships - including the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Technology Realization Program, Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy and business plan competitions - aims to stimulate entrepreneurship at Purdue and serves as a state, regional and national resource.

Opened in 2004, the 31,000-square-foot, two-story Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship was the first building completed in Discovery Park, the university's $750 million interdisciplinary research complex for large-scale projects. The center is housed in a $7 million facility funded through The Burton D. Morgan Foundation, which was established by the late Burton D. Morgan, a 1938 Purdue graduate in mechanical engineering who started 50 businesses. 

Writers: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133,

Cynthia Sequin, 765-588-3340, 

Sources: Alan Rebar, 765-496-6625,

Dan Hasler,

Joseph Pekny, 765-494-7901,

Richard Cosier, 765-494-4366, 

Related Website: 
School of Chemical Engineering 

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