Detroit — Ned Staebler, Wayne State University’s vice president for economic development, has been appointed as president and CEO of TechTown Detroit.
The Detroit business accelerator and incubator was founded in partnership with the university in 2000. Staebler will continue in his current role at Wayne State while starting his new job at TechTown on March 9.
The TechTown board of directors approved Staebler’s appointment Monday.
“Ned has worked closely with TechTown for years and has a clear understanding of the unique role it has in the revitalization of Detroit,” Chris Rizik, chair of the TechTown Executive Committee, said in a statement. “He is really the ideal person to lead TechTown going forward, and I’m looking forward to working with him in his new role.”
Staebler succeeds outgoing president and CEO Leslie Smith, who is moving on to head up the new Entrepreneurship-Powered Innovation Center in Memphis, Tennessee. It’s a public-private partnership with a goal of creating 500 new companies and 1,000 new entrepreneurs by 2025.
TechTown has been a driving force for economic revitalization in Detroit in the wake of the recession and the bankruptcy. Between 2007 and 2014, the organization served 1,026 companies, which raised more than $107 million in startup funds. These same companies contributed 1,190 jobs to the local economy.
Before joining Wayne State in 2011, Staebler served as the vice president for capital access and business acceleration at the Michigan Economic Development Corp. There, he oversaw a $2 billion, 10-year initiative to transform the state economy.
Staebler is a Harvard University graduate and received his master’s degree in economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He grew up in Detroit and lives in Ann Arbor, where he is vice chair of the Local Development Finance Authority. He serves on numerous boards including Midtown Detroit Inc., NextEnergy, MichBio and the Detroit Historical Society.
“My expanded role provides an opportunity to more closely align the innovation efforts of Wayne State University and TechTown,” Staebler said in a statement. “In addition to the university’s existing entrepreneurship programs, we will soon be launching the Anderson Engineering Ventures Institute in our College of Engineering.
“This is the perfect time to build on the already close relationship between the university and the city’s business innovation hub.”