As Associate Vice President of Innovation and Economic Development and Co-Director of UM Ventures, Julie Lenzer is charged with fostering and deploying innovation to drive greater economic and social impact from the University. To accomplish this, she promotes and facilitates a culture of innovation and collaboration, working to connect and promote innovation assets across the university and with the external ecosystem including expanding industry partnerships and supporting the Greater College Park Initiative and Discovery District. She is also charged with maximizing synergies between UMD and the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB).
Prior to joining the University, Julie was appointed to lead the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) within the U.S. Department of Commerce. In her capacity as Director of the OIE, she drove programs and policies that support innovative economic development such as innovation-based entrepreneurship and regional innovation clusters, deploying $40M in grants across the U.S. over her 2 ½ year tenure. As a Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Commerce, she was also tapped to represent the U.S. as the innovation lead at the G20 in China.
Prior to her political appointment, Julie was the Executive Director of the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship (MCE), an initiative of the Howard County Economic Development Authority focused on igniting the entrepreneurial culture and bringing together the entrepreneurial ecosystem across the state. During her tenure, the MCE quadrupled its client base and saw the creation of new programs such as 3D Maryland, a leadership initiative connecting resources in additive manufacturing; the Conscious Venture Lab, an accelerator focused on Conscious Capitalism; and a technology transfer accelerator in partnership with Johns Hopkins Advanced Physics Lab and other leading research institutions. Ms. Lenzer was also the co-chair of Startup Maryland as well as co-founder and former CEO of the Path Forward Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a nonprofit that helped women expand economic opportunity by starting and building growth-oriented businesses using technology transfer.
An award winning serial entrepreneur, Julie founded her first company, Applied Creative Technologies, Inc. (ACT), in 1995 as an IT solutions firm focusing on manufacturing operations and inventory control. With Fortune 500 clients, she grew the company to multi-millions in revenues, winning several national awards for workplace excellence. Through her 10-year leadership, ACT developed and commercialized ACTrax , a leading-edge production and warehouse management system, for which she negotiated the sale in 2005.
A sought-after speaker on topics such as leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurship, Julie has delivered keynotes and workshops across 4 continents. She has been quoted as an expert in media brands such as Entrepreneur, Inc, Fast Company and Forbes as well as the NY Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, The Guardian and the Boston Globe.
Julie was recognized as a 2014 Influential Marylander, 2013 Trailblazer in Technology, and as AT&T’s Innovator of the Year in 2011. She received designation for Excellence in Leadership in 2017 by Prince George’s County, a SmartCEO’s BRAVA award winner in 2014, and was the 2004 Athena winner. She was also named to Maryland’s Top 100 Women 2005, 2008 and 2014 at which time she joined the Circle of Excellence for sustained service to the community.
Jonathan Ortmans is founder and president of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), an organization that provides a platform of programs and initiatives to help new firms start and scale within one global entrepreneurial ecosystem. GEN is headquartered in Washington, DC, but operates in 170 countries where it works to foster healthier local ecosystems to help entrepreneurs unleash their ideas and turn them into promising new ventures—creating jobs, unearthing innovations for society and strengthening economic stability around the world.
Ortmans launched GEN’s cornerstone initiative, Global Entrepreneurship Week, in 2008 with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Each November since then, millions of people are welcomed into the entrepreneurial culture through thousands of local GEW activities and competitions. Through building GEW, he assembled a broad multi-disciplinary coalition that is the backbone of GEN operations, including entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers, researchers and affiliated support organizations.
Ortmans also chairs the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) that gathers well over 5,000 leaders each April from the entrepreneurial ecosystems GEN serves to collaborate on effective approaches to advancing entrepreneurial growth. After launching it in 2009 at the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, he has now chaired the GEC in Dubai, Shanghai, Liverpool, Rio de Janeiro, Moscow, Milan, Medellin and Johannesburg. The GEC will celebrate its 10th year in April 2018 in Istanbul.
As an economist, Ortmans worked on Capitol Hill and served as CEO of a health care and trade policy think tank. His entrepreneurship experience includes two successful startups.
He has served as a longtime advisor to the Kauffman Foundation and currently serves on the Board of the Center for American Entrepreneurship in Washington, DC. Outside the United States, beyond chairing the Boards of dozens of GEN affiliates, he serves on the Board of Directors of the Center for Entrepreneurship in Moscow.
Ortmans speaks and writes about high-growth entrepreneurship regularly and has emerged as a global strategist for healthier ecosystems for entrepreneurs around the world.