Dr. Thomas M. Martin, previously the Senior Fellow for Research and Economic Policy at the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE), has joined Eastern Kentucky University as Executive Director for its Center for Economic Development, Entrepreneurship and Technology (CEDET).
Martin, a two-time EKU graduate, joined the CPE in 2011 as Senior Associate for Academic Affairs. He served as Senior Policy Adviser for Research and Economic Engagement from 2012 to 2014, when he was named Senior Fellow. He also has experience in store management and taught political science at EKU for three years.
“Dr. Martin brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the EKU team,” said David McFaddin, Executive Director of the Office of Engagement and Regional Stewardship at Eastern. “We view his appointment as a sign of our commitment to being the leading institution of higher education in our region. The need for new ideas and creative solutions to complex problems in our region led us to look for a leader with a passion for innovation and a dedication to exceptional service. We are very fortunate that we were able to find someone of Tom’s caliber to fulfill this role. I am confident that Tom will play a key role in creating, implementing and leading positive change for EKU, our region and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”
Martin, a Danville resident, is a member of the Kentucky Statewide EPSCoR Committee and Kentucky Campus Compact, and serves on the Board of Advisors for At the Gap Solutions and as President of the EKU International Alumni Association. He earned a bachelor’s degree in organizational communication from Eastern in 1993 and a master’s of business administration degree in 2001, and later added a doctoral degree in political science from the University of Kentucky.
He said his work with the CPE“has provided valuable professional experience and networks in the area of innovation and entrepreneurship, giving me a perspective that would be valuable for students and faculty across the University. Working with leaders in higher education from across the country, the common theme is that entrepreneurship and economic development are not simply about building a better lemonade stand. Although the profit motive is certainly a component, entrepreneurship is an intellectual invitation to solve the world’s biggest social problems, some of which former University of Kentucky president Lee Todd coined ‘the Kentucky uglies’ – diabetes, obesity, smoking, infant mortality, etc. – and that can drive and improve our region’s economy.
“What’s exciting,” Martin continued, “is that none of us know for sure what the ‘next big thing’ will be in our communities, or the local and global economy. For example, the United States gets more than half of its economic growth from industries that barely existed a decade ago, while Apple Inc. gets over 70 percent of its revenues from products that didn’t exist in 2005. So, it is my view that innovation and entrepreneurship, in all its forms, ignites passion in students, the faculty respond to it, and it engages and excites alumni, while we try to figure that next big thing. And in these days of declining state support, alumni support centers like these because they embrace many principles that made them successful. The Center will focus on blooming where we are planted, working across Kentucky, determined to make a global impact.”
CEDET, with offices located in EKU’s Center for Business and Technology, provides a variety of services to communities, entrepreneurs, businesses, industries, institutions, government and University faculty and staff, all designed to accelerate innovation and economic development. For more information, visit cedet.eku.edu.
Martin said that the Center’s work “will continue to build on the town/gown relationships that President (Michael) Benson has successfully cultivated since he arrived on campus.”