David Allen is a man who gets things done. From his early research that set the basis for the development of the industry to the planning of the conference program in its first years and the relocation of NBIA to Ohio, he has always been able to make things happen.
"David’s a strategic thinker and a deal maker," says Mark Weinberg. "He helped from day one to shape a vision for the Association." When NBIA was struggling in its early days, it was Allen who suggested the move to Ohio. He played a key role in the transition and even used his own personal post-office box as the legal address of the Association for a short time. In 1989 he attracted the NBIA conference to Pittsburgh and was largely responsible for raising the necessary funds to hold it. Healthy proceeds from this conference helped stabilize the organization’s finances.
Perhaps more people in the industry know David from his published word. He has written about the industry more often than anybody else. The earliest of his nearly 20 publications, most of which were supported by the Pennsylvania Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce, gave credibility to the industry and helped others understand its growth. His titles include Home Grown Entrepreneurship: Pennsylvania’s Small Business Incubators, Small Business Incubators and Enterprise Development and The Business Incubator Industry in 1987.
Several of his works served as standard references in the industry for many years, and all command respect for the quality of his research and obvious honesty. Allen helped to define the nature of incubators and the motivation of incubators and their supporters. Additionally, no one before Allen had ever taken such an in-depth look at the way business assistance services — the heart of incubation — were organized and delivered.
From 1985 to 1990 Allen was a member of the NBIA organizing committee and served on the NBIA Board of Directors in the positions of secretary, vice chairman and interim chairman. Besides working with conferences, Allen put his self-assured, "mince no words" assertiveness to the cause of incubation, helping to attract several key individuals to the board. Shortly after retiring from the board he left his faculty position at Pennsylvania State University and became Assistant Vice President of Economic and Technology Development at Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, and director of the Innovation Center, a campus-based incubator. He continued to be an active supporter of NBIA and served as a liaison between the organization and the university.
Allen was a key player in the development of the Science and Technology Campus, a research park at Ohio State University (OSU). As OSU's director of technology licensing, he worked closely with the Business Technology Center, a technology incubator on the OSU campus (now part of TechColumbus). He currently is assistant vice president for technology transfer in the University of Colorado system.
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