OGDEN, Utah – Curt Roberts, a vice president for Nike and an alumnus of Weber State University, has been selected to serve as vice provost for Innovation & Economic Development at the university. In this role he will direct a new technology innovation center on campus that will support the Utah Science, Technology and Research (USTAR) economic development initiative.
"I'm very excited to be joining Weber State and the USTAR team to help develop new business opportunities in the region," Roberts said. "The potential for the university and business communities to come together to bring the best ideas to life in real businesses and create new jobs in the region is truly significant. I'm also very excited to be coming back home to Utah."
Roberts has been a vice president at Nike since 1999. In 2004, he was named vice president and general manager of Vision, Timing and Techlab at Nike, one of the company's two stand-alone profit centers. Prior to that, Roberts spent five years as Nike's vice president for Global Strategic Planning. In both roles he was involved in marketing the Nike brand and in new business development, which included new products, partnerships and markets. From 1993-1999, Roberts worked for PeaceHealth, starting as COO and rising to CEO of the regional health delivery system based in Eugene, Ore. Roberts has served as a member of WSU's National Advisory Council since 2000.
Roberts graduated from Weber State with a bachelor's degree in economics in 1986. He went on to earn an MBA from Harvard in 1988.
"Curt combines unquestioned business acumen and know-how with strong ties to Weber State and this region," said WSU President Ann Millner. "His experience and knowledge will provide outstanding leadership for the northern Utah center as it works to strengthen existing businesses and help establish new enterprises."
The new center, one of five planned throughout the state as part of USTAR's Technology Outreach Program, will bring together local businesses and industry, government agencies and area educational institutions with the goal of sparking new business development, enhancing the climate for innovation, and stimulating the creation of more jobs. WSU's Innovation Center will have a physical presence in both Weber and Davis counties and will also serve entrepreneurs and businesses in Box Elder and Morgan counties.
"One of Curt's first responsibilities will be to meet with the important aerospace, defense, medical equipment and recreational equipment companies in northern Utah," said Provost Michael Vaughan. "In addition, Curt will focus upon the special importance of Hill Air Force Base to the Utah economy."
"I am extremely pleased to be able to attract someone with Curt Robert's talents back to Utah to join us on the USTAR program team," said Ted McAleer, Executive Director of the USTAR Governing Authority. "The Technology Outreach Program is a critical component of the USTAR legislation. Curt will play a key role in helping us shape the program and achieve our return on investment objectives."
Vaughan said, "We have already scheduled a couple of late December meetings with Curt to establish plans for the innovation center. The center should be up and running by March 1."
An annual budget of $4 million will support five USTAR Technology Innovation Centers across the state. In addition to the northern Utah center at WSU, others are planned for Salt Lake City, Uintah Basin, Utah County and the Cedar City/St. George region.
USTAR is an innovative, far-reaching effort to bolster Utah's economy with high-paying jobs. Utah already excels in research and development, bringing in more than $400 million each year in research grants. USTAR is intended to accelerate this research and development funding so that new products and services can be licensed and commercialized sooner. Conservative projections developed by the Bureau of Economic and Business Research suggest that over 30 years, this investment will create 123,400 new jobs in Utah and generate $5 billion in new tax revenues for the state.
The USTAR initiative is being sponsored by the Utah Information Technology Association, Utah Life Science Association, Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corporation of Utah.
For more information on USTAR, visit ustaredi.org.
Visit weber.edu/wsutoday for more news about Weber State University.
Curt Roberts, vice provost for Innovation & Economic Development
Ann Millner, president
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Ted McAleer, Executive Director, USTAR Governing Authority
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