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PIVOT Center welcomes new Executive Director of Technology Commercialization

The University of Utah PIVOT Center welcomes Bruce Hunter as its new Executive Director of Technology Commercialization. Hunter enters the role with an impressive background in entrepreneurship, academics and technology transfer. He possesses the skills and experience to assist the university and its faculty on the path to innovation and commercialization.

“I’ve always loved Utah,” he said. “The University of Utah is leading the way when it comes to how you think about managing innovation and technology. I think Utah is the best in the country at doing that.”

Hunter is a three-time graduate of the University of Iowa, having earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism, an MBA and a law degree at the university. In Iowa, Hunter also jumped into the entrepreneurial world by starting and running a computer imaging company at the university’s incubator in its research park for 10 years before selling it and launching a business lifestyle magazine in Denver.

“From having started a company from nothing, building it to 100 employees, raising millions of dollars and then exiting the company, I think a lot of people think about the startup and business skills, but to me the most important skills are leadership skills and learning under pressure to build trust,” he said.

Hunter eventually made his way back to the realm of academics as a journalism adjunct professor and later a business professor at Lone Star College in Texas. When his wife was recruited to work at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, Hunter said he had no intention of working there or being involved in tech transfer at all, but because of his wife’s position, they spent time with Rensselaer’s president, and eventually he realized the president was sneaking in interview questions during their dinners and other get-togethers before she offered him the job of running the tech transfer office.

“And things just kind of took off from there,” Hunter said. He spent four years at Rensselaer before being recruited by the University of California Office of the President where he stayed for 18 months as the executive director of innovation transfer and entrepreneurship.

Hunter’s top three priorities as he enters this new role are to build trust, understand people’s goals and how to achieve them, and then listen to learn how PIVOT can evolve.

“A lot universities are trying to do what the U has already done and lay the foundation to have many on ramps to the highway of innovation,” Hunter said. With that strong foundation in place at PIVOT, he said he hopes to help PIVOT and the U continue leading the country as a top research university. “There’s always room for incremental improvement from a strategic and operational perspective, and I see opportunities to improve and elevate PIVOT to the next level in both of those areas.”

In addition to his new role at PIVOT, Hunter — a sports enthusiast, avid traveler and former speed skater – is thrilled to live in Utah. “Salt Lake City is growing and it’s evolving in so many ways. It’s exciting to see and it’s just breathtakingly beautiful.”

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