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New Leadership: Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship
August 16, 2018
It gives me great pleasure to introduce to you the new leadership team for the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship. As you may know, Professor Bill Wooldridge retired this year after serving the Center for three years as Managing Director, and Birton Cowden left UMass to take a tenure-track position at Kennesaw State University. I am grateful to Bill and Birton for their work to establish and grow the Center since its founding in 2014. In running this start-up Center, they were impressive entrepreneurs in their own right!
Over the past year we have been working to transition the Center and establish “Berthiaume 2.0,” and we now have a fantastic new team in place to move the Center forward and lead it into the new academic year.
Gregory S. Thomas will be joining Berthiaume as its new Executive Director. A native of Springfield, Massachusetts, Gregory is a proven leader in corporate America; a consultant to non-profit organizations; a prolific volunteer and servant leader; an accomplished fundraiser; and an alumnus of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Class of 1991. After graduating from UMass Amherst, he earned an MBA in finance and operations management at Clark Atlanta University. For the past twenty years, Gregory has held various senior global manufacturing, finance and control roles with Corning Incorporated. During the last five years at Corning, he was a strategist in the Emerging Innovation Group focused on bringing new products, processes, and businesses to market. Gregory was responsible for ensuring that researchers and product line managers had solid manufacturing and business processes in place for long-term profitability and viability. Prior to his career at Corning, Gregory held operations and finance-related roles with Coca-Cola in Atlanta, Georgia, and Union Pacific Railroad in Omaha, Nebraska. Gregory has been consistently active on campus since graduating from UMass Amherst in the early 90’s - most recently in leadership roles with the UMass Amherst Alumni Association and the UMass Amherst Foundation Boards; as an industry sponsor for a UMass Amherst iCorp team (Fog Kicker); and in the creation of the Corning/UMass Amherst mentoring partnership for CNS Ph.D. students.
In his new role as Executive Director, Gregory will have overall responsibility for the Berthiaume Center, and will work with external constituents on campus and in the region/state to develop and execute value-adding partnerships in service of the Center’s mission.
In this work, Gregory will be joined by Stephen Brand, who will serve as the Center’s new Associate Director. In this role, Stephen will oversee the Center’s co-curricular programming, including the Innovation Challenge, summer accelerator, and incubator. Stephen comes to us well-prepared for this “student-facing” role, having taught entrepreneurship and working with student entrepreneurs at Babson College, Case Western Reserve University, Olin College of Engineering and others. At Babson, he was also the co-director of their Summer Venture Program and worked with emerging entrepreneurs in Kuwait, entrepreneurship faculty in Egypt, and developed a Design Thinking course for a new university in Saudi Arabia. He has worked in the corporate, start up, and non-profit sectors designing and launching new ventures, including being the opening President of the National Inventors Hall of Fame. His clients have included: Ford Motor Company, US Olympic Committee, WGBH, and the Jim Henson Company. He joins us after his most recent role as Executive Director of Global Learning and Development at Bay Path University, where he led curriculum and faculty as they launched a corporate learning division. His research has focused on understanding the development of the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs and inventors and can be seen in his recent TEDX talk, the Innovators Journey. Stephen has a BA from The Ohio State University, a master’s in Interactive Technology in Education from Harvard University and a Doctorate of Management degree from Case Western Reserve University.
Gregory and Stephen will join Carly Forcade, Operations and Student Engagement Specialist, Amy LeClair, Office Manager, and Molly O’Mara, Communications, Events, and Constituent Relations Coordinator, all of whom have joined the Center over the past year. Bruce Skaggs, Management Dept. Chair, serves the Center as its Academic Coordinator, ensuring alignment of curricular offerings in entrepreneurship across the School and Center.