The Northeast Indiana Innovation Center has announced President and Chief Executive Officer Karl LaPan is leaving to accept a position leading innovation and incubation at the University of Florida. The NIIC named LaPan as its first president and CEO in 2000.
Prior to joining the NIIC, LaPan served as the president and CEO of NBS Imaging Systems Inc., a biometrics identification company in Fort Wayne.
“For the past twenty-one years, it has been an honor and privilege to serve our entrepreneurial community and to work with the professional team at the NIIC to build a more inclusive and entrepreneurial community in Northeast Indiana,” LaPan said. “I am so grateful to the NIIC Board for trusting the development of the NIIC to me. I appreciate the entrepreneurs, donors, and stakeholders who believed in and engaged with us over the years. Growing the hometown team, delivering higher quality, higher-paying jobs, and advancing and advocating for entrepreneurs, innovators, and inclusive business builders have been important strategic initiatives I have been committed to and been passionate about for the past several decades.”
The UF Innovate | Incubation Services team works to support startups and growth companies. LaPan’s role includes overseeing the administration and operations of two facilities, the UF Innovate | Sid Martin Biotech and the UF Innovate| Hub, as well as serving the university’s commercialization interests with Progress Park and the Gainesville Innovation District.
Larry Rowland, NIIC Board Chair, stated, “We have been fortunate to have Karl lead and position the NIIC as an award-winning, best-in-class resource center for entrepreneurs and innovators. His ability to execute our strategic plan has resulted in global recognition and awards, significant economic impact in our community and state, and the advancement of many important inclusive prosperity initiatives to deliver services to underrepresented segments of our community. We greatly appreciate how he has championed and supported the development of a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem in Northeast Indiana. He is a strong advocate and has raised the awareness and significance of entrepreneurship globally.”
The NIIC says Rowland will appoint a Presidential Search Committee, led by NIIC Vice Chair Ron Elsenbaumer, chancellor, Purdue Fort Wayne. The search committee will make recommendations to the NIIC executive committee and the entire board on a replacement.