Lynne Henkiel has been named interim director of the Economic Development Lab in Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute effective immediately.
She succeeds David Bridges who, in November 2021, was named vice president of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, Georgia Tech’s economic development arm.
The Economic Development Lab – through three focus areas — assists governments, communities, foundations, entrepreneurs, and small businesses in fostering value creation by applying innovative ideas, technology, and policy to economic growth-focused initiatives. The Economic Development Lab has had projects in all of Georgia’s 159 counties and in 24 international districts and territories. In 2021, its projects resulted in $11.3 million in investments to its clients and 174 jobs being saved and created.
Prior to becoming Economic Development Lab director, Henkiel led one of its focus areas, Innovation Ecosystems. That group works with communities, economic development organizations, and universities in assessing and planning local and regional ecosystems.
“Lynne is the ideal person to run the Economic Development Lab given her background and expertise,” Bridges said. “She has been an integral component in creating and implementing our innovative ecosystems development through the application of research and education.”
Henkiel, who has been with Georgia Tech for more than 20 years, is the primary awardee for the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Agency’s (EDA) University Center award 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. In addition, she is the developer for the incubation health assessments tool, community innovation assessment tool, and instrumental in developing the Georgia Tech Soft Landings program for international companies looking to expand into the U.S. market.
Her 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.
As part of her responsibilities in working with startup companies that licensed NASA technology, she collaborated with entrepreneurs to help them overcome many of the early pitfalls of they were likely to face, as well as develop educational programming to aid in their successes. She also managed the dual-use industry partnerships for the Marshall Space Flight Center, which involved working with large and startup businesses.
Henkiel also created the U.S. Expansion Practicum course at Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business, which partners MBA students with successful business owners — including Georgia Tech alumni — focused on U.S. business expansion. She has written several articles and is a sought-after ecosystem building expert who has delivered many presentations across the United States and internationally.
She leads the Innovation and Technology Commercialization Professional course in China and is evaluating strategies to expand the course to include Spanish, French, and Arabic-speaking countries.
Henkiel is an active member of the Technology Association of Georgia’s International Society Board, a board member of the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA), a member of the State Science & Technology Institute (SSTI) and a subject advisor to the New Space effort for the government of Chile.
Henkiel holds a 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.