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WSU Tri-Cities and PNNL form new institute

TRI-CITIES — Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the Washington State University College of Business and Economics and Washington State University Tri-Cities have announced the formation of the Institute for Technology Entrepreneurship.

Focusing on the exploration and development of technology-based business opportunities in the mid-Columbia region, the institute will be headquartered on WSU’s Richland campus and is the most recent example of cooperative projects between WSU and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The 57,000-square-foot Bioproducts, Science and Engineering Laboratory facility, another WSU Tri-Cities/PNNL cooperative project, is nearing design completion this summer.

“The idea behind the ITE is to provide research and educational support for both entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial organizations,” said Michael Schwenk, PNNL’s director of intellectual asset management. “It will also help students while enhancing the economic development of the region in a post-Hanford environment.”

The institute could have up to 40 WSU graduate students working on internships every year in the Tri-Cities and at other Washington locations.

“The internship component of our master’s in business administration program is a requirement, and the ITE provides a perfect way for students from the Pullman campus to get that hands-on experience,” said Richard Reed, who holds the James Huber Chair in Entrepreneurial Studies at WSU.

“Our region has a wealth of educational resources, including the presence of Battelle, and its management of the lab, and WSU’s campus in the Tri-Cities,” said WSU Tri-Cities Chancellor Larry James. “One goal of the institute is to establish an endowed professorship in our College of Business and Economics here that will be an important first for the campus and the region.”

Each of the supporting entities is providing start-up funds for the institute, including $20,000 from WSU Tri-Cities, $10,000 from the College of Business and Economics and $20,000 from Battelle, which operates Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy. It is anticipated that, with additional supporting partnerships, the ITE will be self-sustaining within a year.

Richland’s Joe Montgomery has been hired as the ITE’s first director. He can be reached at (509) 372-7238.

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