NC State's Office of Partnerships & Economic Development
Building industry, corporate and governmental partnerships to stimulate growth, advance multidisciplinary research and foster real-world innovation.

Partnerships & Economic Development Team

  • Dennis Kekas
    Dennis Kekas
    Dennis Kekas Associate Vice Chancellor
    Associate Vice Chancellor

    Dennis serves as the Associate Vice Chancellor, where he oversees the Centennial Campus Partnership, Industry Alliances and Economic Development offices as part of NC State's ongoing research partnering activities with industry and government. He also has a dual appointment with the College of Engineering, where he oversees all activities of the Institute for Next Generation IT Systems (ITng). Dennis is a graduate of Clemson University and a former IBM executive with extensive product development experience in networking, point-of-sale, and financial transaction systems. Little known fact - he holds eight worldwide patents.

  • Lauren Bridges
    Lauren Bridges
    Lauren Bridges Events and Outreach, Centennial Campus
    Events and Outreach, Centennial Campus

    Lauren leads all events and outreach for Centennial Campus. Her duties include planning and implementing Centennial Campus events, community relations, and managing day-to-day relationships with the Centennial Campus partners. She holds her bachelor’s degree from NC State. Little known fact - she plays in a competitive kickball league in her spare time.

  • Leah Burton
    Leah Burton
    Leah Burton Director, Centennial Campus Partnerships and Industry Alliances
    Director, Centennial Campus Partnerships and Industry Alliances

    Leah leads the campus-wide strategy for corporate and government interactions with NC State. This includes management of Industry Alliances and the University’s award-winning Centennial Campus. She works to expand corporate and government partnerships with NC State’s faculty and students. Leah holds her bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado. Little known fact - she was Drum Major of Colorado’s largest marching band and had the honor of marching in the Parade of Roses and the Orange Bowl Parade.

  • Keisha J. Demps
    Keisha J. Demps
    Keisha J. Demps Partnership Developer, Centennial Campus
    Partnership Developer, Centennial Campus

    Keisha is part of the partnership team with a focus on the Business Incubator. Her duties include developing and managing outreach, and engagement of current and prospective businesses while fostering opportunities for collaboration with faculty. Keisha obtained her bachelors degree from the University of Arizona. Little known fact - she spent two years as a professional athlete and trained as an alternate for the 2000 Olympics.

  • Amy Lubas
    Amy Lubas
    Amy Lubas Director, Strategic Projects
    Director, Strategic Projects

    Amy has been at NC State since 2000 and is now responsible for coordinating and managing large- and small-scale strategic projects for the Office of Partnerships and Economic Development. She also builds relationships across university departments, units and colleges to move strategic projects forward, and she works collaboratively with outside organizations - including other universities and industry and government leaders - to identify areas for collaboration and partnership. Amy holds her bachelor’s degree from NC State and her MBA from the University of Alabama. Little known fact - as a college freshman, she went a year without a TV.

  • Alva McLeod
    Alva McLeod
    Alva McLeod Executive Assistant
    Executive Assistant

    Alva manages all of the business affairs of the Centennial Campus Partnership Office, including vendor payments, budget oversight, and asset allocation. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Little known fact - is a music lover and can play the piano by ear.

  • Gene Pinder
    Gene Pinder
    Gene Pinder Director of Marketing and Communications
    Director of Marketing and Communications

    Gene leads all marketing, branding, and strategic communications. His duties include website development and design, social and new media, media relations, publications, photography, CRM, video production, writing and advertising. Gene holds his master’s degree from Northwestern University and bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas. Little known fact - he has witnessed two Space Shuttle launches from the VIP viewing stands.

  • Tom White
    Tom White
    Tom White Director, Economic Development Partnership
    Director, Economic Development Partnership

    Tom serves as a liaison/intermediary to local, regional and state economic developers and workforce development practitioners to connect NC State faculty, staff and students with new and expanding industry. His duties include implementing the Industry Clusters strategy statewide, chairing the UNC-General Administration Economic Transformation Council, and coordinating both corporate recruitment and retention/expansion activities with several governmental agencies. Tom holds his bachelor’s degree from Duke University and his master’s degree in public affairs from NC State. Little known fact - he has completed 25 consecutive Marine Corps Marathons (1990-2014).