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Technology Commercialization Office Seeks New Director

April 19, 2011 – The Technology Venture Development office at the University of Utah (the U) is searching for a new director of its Technology Commercialization Office (TCO) after Brian Cummings announced recently he will become the new vice president for commercialization at Ohio State University (OSU.) He starts the new job June 1.

As Cummings transitions to OSU, the University of Utah will be screening applicants to replace him in this important university position. A national search is already underway, and numerous qualified candidates have already surfaced. No selection deadline has been set, but a replacement could be hired as soon as this summer. In the meantime, the U will be selecting an interim director of TCO.

“We expect to have some very highly qualified candidates for this position,” Jack Brittain, vice president for technology venture development, said. “The University of Utah has become widely recognized as a hotbed for innovative research and startup activity, and talented people will naturally gravitate here. We expect many more great things in the months and years ahead.”

Cummings first joined the U in 2005 and has played an important role in the university’s rise to become the No. 1 institution in the nation for starting companies based on university research. The U ranked higher than schools like MIT, Johns Hopkins and Columbia to earn the honor from the Association of University Technology Managers.

“We are sorry to see Brian leave. He has been a great asset to the University of Utah as we have grown out commercialization efforts exponentially in recent years,” said Brittain, who coordinates all commercialization activity on campus. “However, we are also looking forward to finding a replacement for Brian and entering the next phase in our effort to put our inventions to use and create jobs for the state.”

The U ramped up its commercialization efforts in 2005, when President Michael K. Young created the Technology Venture Development Office and installed Brittain as its first vice president. Brittain hired Cummings at the same time, and under their leadership, the U has spawned more than 100 startup companies. That’s significantly more than the university has created in any other point in its history.

TCO manages all of the U’s intellectual property, negotiates technology licenses and provides a variety of programs to support researchers on campus who want to commercialize their inventions. “The faculty and staff at the U have an entrepreneurial spirit that is unmatched throughout the country,” Cummings said. “I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work here and have no doubt, under Jack Brittain’s leadership, the U will remain a leader in commercialization.”

Cummings will now be the vice president of commercialization at OSU, which has been trying to accelerate its commercialization efforts, and recruiting Cummings is part of that effort. “We are truly fortunate to have attracted Brian Cummings to Ohio State,” OSU President Gordon Gee said. OSU has an annual research budget of about $800 million, while the U’s budget is about $400 million.

Learn more about Technology Venture Development at