Lynne Henkiel, director of the Economic Development Lab in Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, has retired after 22 years of service.
“Lynne has been an integral part of why the Enterprise Innovation Institute has been so successful our economic development mission,” said David Bridges, vice president of the Enterprise Innovation Institute. “She has been an invaluable resource, friend, and mentor across our organization and a vital conduit in the application of research and education from Georgia Tech into our economic development programming and activities.”
As Georgia Tech’s globally recognized economic development arm, the Enterprise Innovation Institute is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive university-based program of tech startup entrepreneurship, ecosystem building and development, business services and consulting, international outreach, and student-focused engagement opportunities.
“Her commitment to serving Georgia, her tireless pursuit in bringing resources to our state and leveraging opportunities for greater economic impact embodies what we strive to do every day,” Bridges said. “She will be greatly missed, but she helped us build EI2 into what it is today and positioned us to expand our mission and scope in Georgia and beyond.”
Under her leadership, the Economic Development Lab in 2022 worked in all 159 of Georgia’s counties and one country overseas, helped its clients secure more than $134 million in capital investments, created or saved 65 jobs, and train 1,002 economic development professionals in continuing education certifications.
“It has been a wonderful privilege to have served the state of Georgia and to help fulfill Georgia Tech’s promise of progress and service,” Henkiel said. “Being part of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, collaborating with my colleagues to create new opportunities to maximize potential in communities and organizations across the state and the world has been an honor.”
With Henkiel’s retirement, which took effect February 1, the Economic Development Lab, which assists governments, communities, foundations, and entrepreneurs, is being apportioned into two separate groups.
The Center for Economic Development Research (CEDR), which provides economic and fiscal impact and labor market analyses, strategic planning, and professional development, will now operate as a separate program. Alfie Meek, Ph.D., will continue to serve as its director. CEDR staff will continue to operate the Economic Development Research Program (EDRP) which offers affordable economic development and policy research to communities.
To address expanding demand from international organizations, governments, companies, and universities, as well as Georgia’s economic business environment the Enterprise Innovation Institute is creating a new program group — EI2 Global.
That program will be led by Juli Golemi. It will include Innovation Ecosystems, which helps launch, operate, and sustain success entrepreneurship and innovation programs; the EDA University Center, which supports strategic building of innovation clusters and regional economic ecosystems across the southeastern U.S.; and Soft Landings, which helps foreign companies evaluate and assess their pathways into the U.S. market.
Prior to leading the Economic Development Lab, Henkiel was director of Innovation Ecosystems. She also was the primary awardee for the EDA University Center grant to Georgia Tech for the last two award periods. She also received the EDA Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) I6 award in 2014 among other funding grants focused on developing healthy entrepreneurial ecosystems.
During her tenure at Georgia Tech, she developed incubation health and community innovation assessment tools, and she was the driving force in the development of the Soft Landings program.
Henkiel’s career at Georgia Tech started with a focus on commercializing innovations from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, the Stennis Space Center, and Marshall Space Flight Center.
In that role she worked with startup companies that licensed NASA technology, collaborated with entrepreneurs to help them overcome their early-stage pitfalls, and developed educational programming to bolster their success. In addition, she managed the dual-use industry partnerships for the Marshall Space Flight Center, which involved working with large and startup businesses.
Henkiel’s reach at Georgia Tech went beyond the Enterprise Innovation Institute as she created the U.S. Expansion Practicum course at Tech’s Scheller College of Business. That program partnered MBA students with successful business owners — Georgia Tech alumni among them — focused on U.S. business expansion.
A globally recognized ecosystem building expert, Henkiel has been called on to make presentations and write articles for groups and publications here in the United States and around the world.
Most recently, she led the Innovation and Technology Commercialization Professional course in China and Tunisia and efforts to expand the course for Spanish, French, and Arabic-speaking countries.
She is an active member of the Technology Association of Georgia’s International Society Board, and a board member of the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA).
Henkiel earned her master’s degree in the Management of Technology from the University of Miami, and had an extensive career in finance with IBM prior to joining Georgia Tech.