UA Center for Innovation
Emerging Leaders Council
Eric Smith brings almost a decade of technology commercialization experience and a passion for entrepreneurship to his executive director’s role at the University of Arizona Center for Innovation. Smith came from his job as commercialization network manager for Tech Launch Arizona, the UArizona’s office responsible for moving university research and technological innovation into the marketplace.
While at TLA, he managed a consultant network of domain experts and business leaders who advise on the commercial relevance of innovations as they are prepared for the market. He also managed TLA’s National Science Foundation Innovation-Corps site grant program, which teaches inventing teams how and when to create a startup. Smith is himself a successful entrepreneur after he started, developed and sold his first company and then embarked on a career in various technology startups. Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and an MBA from UArizona.
“We have experienced our fair share of problems since the pandemic began,” Smith said. “Through it all, we have found ways to pivot our lives, businesses and social interactions, and some of the solutions we have created can exist in a post-COVID world. My goal is to take some of the efficiencies we discovered as a society over the past year and find ways to best implement them when it is safe for us to come together again.”