Karl LaPan, the long-time leader of the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center, has accepted a job with the University of Florida.
LaPan became the first president and CEO of the innovation center in October 2000. He is credited with helping the innovation center - designed to mold and mentor entrepreneurs - expand substantially in the past two decades.
"We have been fortunate to have Karl lead and position the NIIC as an award-winning, best-in-class resource center for entrepreneurs and innovators," Larry Rowland, board chairman for the innovation center, said in a statement Friday.
LaPan's ability to execute the center's strategic plan "resulted in global recognition and awards, significant economic impact in our community and state, and the advancement of many important inclusive prosperity initiatives to deliver services to underrepresented segments of our community," Rowland said. "We greatly appreciate how he has championed and supported the development of a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem in Northeast Indiana. He is a strong advocate and has raised the awareness and significance of entrepreneurship globally."
At the University of Florida, LaPan will become director of UF Innovate | Incubation Services. That team, according to a news release, finds ways to incorporate the university's research and technology commercialization know-how with programming and various opportunities to help startups and growth companies.