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Bob Gemmell, Executive Director of the TI:GER Program
Bob Gemmell, Executive Director of the TI:GER Program

Robert Gemmell Named Executive Director of the TI:GER Program

Robert Gemmell, BSEE 1979, MSEE 1980, returns to Georgia Tech as the new executive director of the Technological Innovation: Generating Economic Results (TI:GER) program.

Gemmell is a successful entrepreneur and innovator with more than 30 years of experience in the technology industry as a chip design engineer, senior executive, tech transfer consultant, serial entrepreneur, and angel investor. He most recently worked as chairman and CEO of the Atlanta-based wireless technology firm Cirronet, Inc., until the company’s successful acquisition in 2006, and continued to manage the business as division president and executive director until October 2010. Gemmell served as director of Georgia State University’s Russell Center for Entrepreneurship from 2011-2014 and was a visiting assistant professor at Wake Forest University teaching strategy, organizational behavior, and entrepreneurship from 2014-2016.   

Gemmell earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Georgia Tech and an MBA at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. He received his Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management in 2012 to pursue a “second career” in academia. Gemmell was inducted into the Georgia Tech Academy of Distinguished Engineering Alumni in 2003 for his contributions to digital communications technology.  

“It is a pleasure to welcome Bob back to Georgia Tech and Scheller College,” said Maryam Alavi, dean of the Scheller College of Business. “His knowledge and experience as an entrepreneur, educator, and researcher will help prepare our students for the challenges of commercializing new technologies and delivering innovative products to the marketplace.”

TI:GER, founded in 2002, is an interdisciplinary program that teams Scheller College MBA students and Emory University law students who focus on the commercialization of a science, engineering, or computing Ph.D. student’s research. Housed at Scheller College, TI:GER teaches students about the hurdles of taking a product to market. By working together in the classroom and research lab, students learn how to advance early-stage research into real business opportunities and comprehend the economic, regulatory, and legal mechanisms affecting the venture-creation process.

“As a proud alumnus of Georgia Tech, I am delighted to have the opportunity to return to the institute that has had such a positive impact on my life and career,” said Gemmell. “The TI:GER program is a unique and world renowned program and I am looking forward to working with the TI:GER team and faculty to continue growing the program’s scope, effectiveness, and reputation.”

Gemmell said his first involvement with TI:GER began over 14 years ago as a volunteer mentor to several teams in the program.

“I have always viewed TI:GER as the premiere academic program of its kind so I am particularly honored to have the opportunity to lead such a remarkable endeavor into the future,” he said.

“Georgia Tech prepared me for an exciting and fulfilling career as an entrepreneur and senior executive,” Gemmell continued. “When I consider the many blessings in my life, I am amazed at how many wonderful things trace back, in some way, to my relationship with Georgia Tech. I appreciate the chance to now give back to the school and to positively influence the lives of our students.”

Marie Thursby, founding director of the TI:GER program and Hal and John Smith Chair in Entrepreneurship, has served as the executive director of TI:GER for 14 years. She will be retiring in September 2016. Thursby plans to stay involved as a member of the TI:GER advisory board.

“I am delighted that Bob is taking the helm of the TI:GER program,” said Thursby. “He brings superb expertise from his background in entrepreneurship, education, and engineering, positioning him to speak across the many constituencies and issues critical for commercializing new inventions. The TI:GER program has indeed lucked out in its new leadership.”

Margi Berbari, director of TI:GER, is also retiring this summer, but plans to assist the program on a part-time basis throughout the 2016-2017 academic year.

TI:GER students engage with assigned business and legal mentors as well as startup companies associated with ATDC, Georgia's business incubator located on campus in Tech Square. The program has received funding from a variety of sources including a National Science Foundation IGERT grant, the Alan and Mildred Peterson Foundation, the Hal and John Smith Chair in Entrepreneurship, among others.

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