Gard "hits ground running" as IU Engagement executive director
David Gard began his new role Dec. 1 as executive director in Indiana University's Office of Engagement. Gard assumed the position after more than two years as a deputy director with the Indiana Economic Development Corp.
As executive director, Gard will work with IU Vice President for Engagement Bill Stephan to further the economic development and employment goals of the university, with special focus on the health and life sciences sector. Priorities will include moving innovation from the laboratory to the marketplace, constructing new alliances between business, industry, academia and government and identifying and developing new ventures with external research companies.
Gard has been deputy director of both IEDC's Small Business and Entrepreneurship and its 21st Century Research and Technology Fund (21 Fund) divisions, which placed him in a unique position to monitor the health of new life science business efforts around the state.
The 21 Fund over the past two years distributed more than $42 million in venture capital to companies and, in the most recent round of awards, Gard said, nearly half of the distributions went to life science companies.
"By virtue of his work at the Indiana Economic Development Corp., David will hit the ground running in support of our engagement efforts throughout Indiana," said Stephan, who has responsibility for the university's economic development programs and initiatives. "David brings a unique blend of private and public sector experiences that will greatly enhance our efforts as we work with a broad range of stakeholders within the university and our broader network of statewide partners."
Gard's charge at IU will be to promote and support new business ventures, manage the transfer of IU-generated technology advances into market opportunities and develop partnerships across regional and international markets.
"It's about leveraging our research-based assets," he said. "One of the things that will include is the Indiana Innovation Alliance."
That alliance, spearheaded by IU and Purdue University, is designed to encourage partnerships between bioscience and life sciences experts in industry, academia and government. The universities are seeking a total of $35 million over each of the next three years from the Indiana General Assembly to fund those bioscience initiatives.
"His banking and finance background will be particularly valuable, as will his experiences as deputy director of the state's 21st Century Research and Technology Fund," Stephan said.
Gard is a former Fifth Third Bank trust officer and Duke Energy venture development manager and business performance consultant. He earned a B.S. from IU's Kelley School of Business and then began his career as a U.S. Navy Supply Corps officer during Operation Desert Storm. In 1997, he received an M.B.A. from the Kelley School of Business.
Gard fills a position vacant since August when then-executive director Tony Armstrong was tapped as president and chief executive officer of the Indiana University Research & Technology Corp.
"It's an exciting time at Indiana University, and I look forward to working with Bill Stephan and Tony Armstrong to advance President McRobbie's vision for the university and the important role it can play to benefit the state's economy," Gard said. "This opportunity is ideally aligned with my interests and background in the areas of economic development, technology commercialization and new business incubation and continues and builds upon my work with the state."