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The University of Oklahoma: Executive Director, OKBioStart


Oklahoma City, OK

The Executive Director will lead the strategy, implementation, and day-to-day operations for the Program. The Executive Director reports to Tom Wavering. OKBioStart consists of four primary efforts: Programs will bring together key ecosystem partners across academia, investors, corporate, government, and entrepreneurial support organizations to provide a comprehensive suite of programs to combat economic disruption and inequity. The suite of programs accelerate innovation, commercialize research, and grow new biotech startups in Central Oklahoma in a repeatable, scalable manner.

  • Engage and build a diverse, equitable, and inclusive Community. The Community will connect academic researchers, local biotech and healthcare workforce, and would-be entrepreneurs from the ecosystem through outreach, events, and conferences such as the Oklahoma Women Impacting STEM and Entrepreneurship conference.
  • Create and implement the Concept Program. For compelling startup concepts that emerge from the Community, the Concept Program will evaluate market size, industry interest, regulatory outlook, intellectual property position, technical risks, fundability, and path forward. Concept Program participants will receive focused entrepreneurial training leveraging OU’s top ranked business programs and startup expertise across the entire ecosystem.
  • Create and implement the Launch Program. Launch is a tailored program for successful Concept teams and is designed to drive them toward the key milestones to secure investment. Launch implements the strategies from Concept to provide translational research grants to mature the technology; mentors and legal support to build the teams and start growing the business; guidance and support to secure funding through SBIR/STTR grants and investors; and connection to physical infrastructure for business activities.
  • Continually measure performance and publish. OKBioStart will leverage a team from OU’s Entrepreneurship program to collect data, analyze across different contexts, and publish. These findings will provide key insights to the project team, EDA, and the broader community.

The Executive Director works in a fast-paced and unstructured environment that interfaces with research, technology and business worlds. The Executive Director must demonstrate a significant leadership role in this position by the development, promotion and execution of a complex interdisciplinary program and coordination of a large team and broad collaborations. This is a senior level position that provides the opportunity to leverage new and existing relationships, evaluate new technologies and assess new business opportunities while developing relationships with ecosystem partners, outside investors, and industry to sustain the program’s funding.

Program Management

  • Supervise the OKBioStart team and daily activities in Oklahoma City.
  • Lead implementation and execution of Community, Launch, and Concept programs.
  • Act as a primary connection for key resources and critical partners across Oklahoma’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
  • Build awareness and foster collaborations among key stakeholders including University of Oklahoma, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Oklahoma State University, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, Oklahoma City Innovation District, and many others.
  • Initiate and sustain the importance of the program across universities to ensure the appropriate visibility and sustainability among the administration, faculty, and local economic development resources.
  • Promote appropriate projects to the angel and venture capital community with the goal of providing follow-up financing and commercialization.


  • Prepare regular progress reports, presentations to the EDA as well as the Advisory Board and other reporting requirements as needed.
  • Write and edit communication material such as annual reports and status updates. The purpose of this “internal” communication is to inform sponsors, partners, and external advisory board members of progress.
  • Prepare materials for presentation at meetings of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, other partners, external advisory board, and other venues.

Public Event Presences & Speaking

  • Represent OKBioStart at local, national, and international Biotech events and conferences.
  • Speaking engagements when requested.
  • Business and Funding coach for area start-up companies and angel investors.
  • Design and plan training seminars for university, industry, and community partners to educate them on commercialization of biotechnology.
  • Collaborate with staff from university, industry, community, and government partners to plan and implement events to help increase awareness of the program and its benefit to Central Oklahoma to further build support for the program.

Fiscal Control

  • Manage all financial aspects of the program in partnership with the I-Hub Executive Director.
  • Work with subcontractors and partners to manage their budgets.
  • Educate program participants about reporting requirements and answer questions related to awards and allowable costs.
  • Prepare financial reports and projections as needed.
  • Purchase goods and services for program operations.
  • Review, monitor, and authorize expenditures per established criteria.


  • Master’s degree in a life science or related field and 10 years’ experience required.
  • D. in a scientific or engineering field related to biotechnology AND 10 years of experience in executive leadership roles working with startup companies, universities, entrepreneurial ecosystem partners preferred.
  • Business or Legal degrees/job related experience preferred.

Salary/Other Information

  • Salary: $130,000-$150,000, based on experience.
  • Work Environment: On Site
  • Visa Sponsorship: Not available

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