One of NBIA’s longest-standing members, Mike LeHere, has retired after 29 years of managing the Akron Global Business Accelerator in Akron, Ohio. LeHere started with the city of Akron in May 1983, when he established the predecessor of the Accelerator, the Akron Industrial Incubator. The incubator and LeHere have been NBIA members since the association’s inception. LeHere will be honored with a retirement party at the Akron Global Business Accelerator Thursday, Jan. 3.
In 1986, the Accelerator became one of the first four Edison Technology Incubators in the state of Ohio. NBIA presented the program with the Incubator Innovation Award in 2008 for creating the Global Technology Commercialization Initiative to support new domestic start-ups and to attract foreign firms involved in advanced materials, advanced energy, biomedicine, information technology, and instrumentation/controls/electronics.
Under LeHere’s leadership, the Accelerator has grown to house 50 technology companies that generated $46 million in revenues, attracted over $35 million in outside investment and created 140 new jobs last year.
In a press release announcing LeHere’s retirement, Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic says, “Mike has always been passionate about the Akron Global Accelerator and the tenants he has attracted. He has also assembled a top-notch team that assists the start-up and early stage companies. Mike is a true professional, and we will miss his everyday presence.”
Taking over responsibilities as CEO of the Accelerator will be Anthony Margida, who has more than 28 years of experience in developing and commercializing new technologies, along with creating and facilitating the implementation of new companies. He has been director of entrepreneurial services for the Akron Global Business Accelerator and associated roles since 2007.
In a farewell to NBIA, LeHere says, “I want to thank you [Tracy Kitts] and all the staff at NBIA for your support over the years. I would like to express a special appreciation for Dinah [Adkins] and her efforts to build the strongest incubation support organization anywhere in the world. My 29 years have been a great journey, and I would never trade those years for anything else. I have been blessed to be surrounded by professionals who have helped build one of the great Incubators in the U.S. I consider the efforts of NBIA as being critical in helping Akron become everything it could as an Accelerator.”
“NBIA and its members have been enriched by Mike LeHere’s dedication to the incubation industry,” says NBIA Acting CEO Tracy Kitts. “He has been a speaker at numerous NBIA conferences, a resource for NBIA publications and a true model of industry best practices for nearly three decades. We at NBIA applaud his outstanding career and his efforts to give back to the industry.”Feel free to congratulate Mike and comment on his influence on the industry on NBIA’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/National-Business-Incubation-Association/101344409922908
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