UNIVERSITY PARK, Pennsylvania – During the fall 2021 semester, three appointments are identified in the Pennsylvania Office of Entrepreneurship and Marketing, expanding expertise within the university’s innovation ecosystem. Lee Erickson has been appointed Assistant Director, responsible for Economic Development and Student Programs, effective December 1st; Ryan Mandel has been appointed Director of the New Manufacturing Center at the Penn State Innovation Hub, effective September 1st; and Ashley Palmer as Director of Marketing and Communications as of November 8.
“With these appointments, the Office of Entrepreneurship and Marketing will continue to provide expert support and amplify the growing success of our innovative entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Laura Weiss, Senior Vice President of Research at Penn State. These three individuals have contributed significantly to building, maintaining and improving our processes and systems. It gives me great pleasure to welcome them to their new positions.”
Previously, Ericsson served as the Jack White Family Director of the PNC Bank-backed Happy Valley LaunchBox, one of 21 LaunchBoxes and innovation hubs incorporated into Commonwealth communities across the state, providing a wide range of free resources needed by entrepreneurs and innovators. As Director of Happy Valley LaunchBox since 2016, Erickson has played a key role in building the innovation space and network from the ground up.
In her new role as Associate Director of Economic Development and Student Programs, Ericsson will have a central coordinating role for the LaunchBox & Innovation Hub network. You will be responsible for developing new strategies and programs that increase the economic impact of the statewide Innovation Hubs network in Invent Penn State, as well as increase opportunities for Penn State students to build entrepreneurial skills and mindsets, and engage in new entrepreneurial opportunities.
said James Delater, associate vice president for research and director of the Office of Entrepreneurship and Marketing. “She will undoubtedly make a huge impact on the statewide startup community in this new role.”
Prior to her work in Pennsylvania, Erickson co-founded several companies, including Erickson Barnett, a full-service marketing agency specializing in B2B technology marketing, and Erickson & Associates, an independent consulting firm that developed computer-based help and online help systems for businesses. the big one. I also worked as an instructional designer at GE Information Service.
Ericsson received her MA in Educational Communication and Technology from New York University and her Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State School of Information Science and Technology.
The Erickson team will also include Annie Hughes, Director of Harrisburg LaunchBox and Director of Communications at Ben Franklin Technology Partners in Central & Northern PA. Hughes will serve in a new role as statewide coordinator for the LaunchBox Network and Innovation Hub.
“Annie’s industry experience, as well as her expertise in product innovation, branding, and leadership training will be invaluable in helping us identify and build new programs and services that increase the impact of the statewide innovation network,” Ericsson commented.
In his new role, Mandel will be responsible for managing and providing full oversight of the prototyping and product development laboratories, including administrative, operational, financial and programmatic needs. He will also be responsible for developing and overseeing programs that meet the needs of the entrepreneurship ecosystem in partnership with Happy Valley LaunchBox.
The all-new manufacturing space, located on the first and mezzanine floors of the new Penn State Innovation Hub on South Burrowes Street, covers approximately 8,000 square feet and allows users to design, prototype and test potential solutions for their startups. The facilities give users access to a wide range of materials and production methodologies, including carpentry, metalworking, digital manufacturing, and additive manufacturing.
“Ryan brings a wealth of knowledge in design, product development, sculpting, digital fabrication, and prototyping for the new facility,” Delattre said. “This multi-faceted skill set will be very useful as it engages multidisciplinary teams to develop new research products, components and tools.”
Mandel came to Pennsylvania from Indiana University Bloomington, where he worked as director of fabrication laboratories in the College of Art, Architecture and Design. Prior to managing Fabrication Laboratories, Mandel worked as an Assistant Professor of Sculpture at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Boise State University. He received his BA in Painting from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design and his MA in Sculpture from Indiana University Bloomington.
Ballmer has been appointed to her new position after serving as interim director of marketing and communications since June 2021, and prior to that she was director of marketing and communications for more than two years. Palmer started with Penn State in 2016 as Marketing Director at Penn State Outreach.
As director, Palmer will continue to oversee and manage the strategic direction of Invent Penn State and direct the marketing strategy for 21 programs, offices, and events within the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research in collaboration with leadership and directors.
Prior to joining Penn State, Palmer worked as community marketing director for OrderUp and as sales director for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. She holds a BA in Public Relations from Pennsylvania State.
“Having worked in start-ups, large corporations and higher education, Ashley has a combination of technical skills and market insights that make her a very effective communicator and manager,” Delattre said. “Penn State has made tremendous progress in economic development and entrepreneurship under Dr. Barron’s leadership, and Ashley is ideally suited to amplify these successes.”
About the Entrepreneurship and Marketing Office
A strategic unit of the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research, the Office of Entrepreneurship and Marketing leads Penn State’s entrepreneurship and economic development programs, including management of the university’s startup portfolio, development of Happy Valley LaunchBox programs supported by PNC Bank and the LaunchBox & Innovation Hub network, and management of the Invent Penn Initiative State and storytelling about entrepreneurship and innovation.