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Rutgers University Foundation Director of Corporate Engagement, Rutgers University Corporate Engagement Center in New Brunswick, New Jersey

The Rutgers Corporate Engagement Center (CEC) seeks an entrepreneurial, collaboration-focused, and strategically minded professional to serve as its next Director of Corporate Engagement. The CEC is the focal point for all corporate relations activity at and on behalf of the University with responsibilities of providing corporate partner-centric service, brokering collaborative industry agreements, and gathering information about industry activity on campus. The Director of Corporate Engagement will provide service and leadership to the Rutgers University community at large and act as a strategic partner in developing, managing, and sustaining the university’s relationship with key external corporate partners. The Director will be joining Rutgers at a time of great enthusiasm for a future multi-billion-dollar campaign, new Foundation facilities and office space, as well as an environment that encourages creativity, cutting-edge technology and out-of-the-box ways to work efficiently and intelligently.

Reporting to the Associate Vice President of Corporate Engagement, the Director of Corporate Engagement serves as a member of a team of seasoned professionals charged with leading the Rutgers University’s Corporate Engagement program. With strong leadership buy-in, the role will collaborate across the university and join a team focused on comprehensive corporate partnership including but not limited to philanthropy, student engagement, sponsorship, licensing and grants. In this university-wide role, the Director works with university leadership and faculty with a significant emphasis on promoting university areas of excellence and cross-disciplinary initiatives to the 20-30 high capacity corporations in their portfolio.

Corporate Engagement Center

The newly created Corporate Engagement Center (CEC) is a joint venture between the Rutgers Foundation and the university’s Office of Research and Economic Development (ORED) – an alliance that will result in a more robust commitment to build strategic, comprehensive partnerships with major corporations. The CEC works current and prospective corporate partners – as well as internal units across all of Rutgers – to promote opportunities in multiple areas, including sponsored research, technology commercialization, talent recruitment, executive education and training, and strategic philanthropy. Under the leadership of Sacha Patera, Ph.D., Rutgers embarks on this new endeavor with great momentum. In the four years since the integration of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, corporate research support has increased, on average, greater than 25% each year. Technology licensing revenues in FY2017 reached a record $29.4 million, while corporate philanthropic investments in Rutgers exceeded $40 million for the first time ever last year.

Rutgers University Foundation

Created in 1973, the Rutgers University Foundation advances Rutgers’ pursuit of excellence in education, research, and public service. The Foundation provides the bridge between donors and the universities, schools, programs, faculty, and students that make up the University. The Foundation helps to match caring people with satisfying and meaningful opportunities to make gifts that have an impact on Rutgers. Founded in 1766, Rutgers is the eighth oldest institution of higher education in the nation. Today, Rutgers-New Brunswick is a member of the Association of American Universities, is New Jersey’s premier public research institution and flagship state university. More than 100 majors offer students vast opportunities. On July 1, 2014, Rutgers University joined The Big Ten Conference of world-class universities whose member institutions share a common mission of research, graduate, professional and undergraduate teaching and public service. The Foundation is a 501© (3) tax-exempt organization with the sole mission of supporting Rutgers University. The organization includes the areas of Alumni Relations, Development and related Communications. Led by Foundation President Nevin E. Kessler and his senior cabinet – the Executive Leadership Group (ELG) – the Foundation successfully completed a $1 billion campaign in 2014 and is preparing for another multi-billion-dollar campaign in the near future.

More info on the Foundation can be found on: www.support.rutgers.edu

Office of Research and Economic Development

With research a fundamental part of the university’s mission, the Office of Research and Economic Development (ORED) aims to further the reach of Rutgers research and its impact on communities. Led by David Kimball, Ph.D., Interim Senior Vice President for Research and Economic Development, the office provides a pipeline of services across Rutgers to drive and support faculty research and strategically leads the university’s economic development activities.

Rutgers’ cutting-edge research, sponsored by federal and state agencies, and increasingly by corporations and foundations, contributes to the medical, environmental, social, and cultural well-being of the state. By transforming Rutgers research into products, services, and partnerships, we help New Jersey’s economy grow. ORED provides broad oversight to the following functional units: Innovation and Research Commercialization, Corporate Engagement, Corporate Contracts, Research Services, Comparative Medicine Resources, Translational Sciences, Economic Development, Advanced Research Computing, Research Finance and Administration, Research and Sponsored Programs, Grant and Contract Accounting, and Research Regulatory Affairs.

More info on the Office of Research and Economic Development can be found on: https://ored.rutgers.edu/

Sacha Patera, Associate Vice President of Corporate Engagement at Rutgers Corporate Engagement Center

In November 2018, Sacha Patera joined Rutgers after having severed in corporate engagement roles at Dartmouth College and Northwestern University. At Northwestern her two-decade-long career spanned research, graduate education administration, research development and corporate engagement, where among other things she helped establish the central corporate engagement office as a comprehensive relationship one-stop shop and secured $3M/year. Her corporate relations experience has spanned many disciplines including in schools of engineering, medicine and law. At both Northwestern and Dartmouth, her comprehensive approach led to the expansion of faculty research funding portfolios and the establishment of new industry relationships with regional and multi-national corporations resulting in sponsored research and philanthropic support.

Sacha has been an active member of NACRO and UIDP, serving in board and president roles at NACRO (2011-15). She is the co-author of the highly quoted 2011 NACRO Benchmarking Committee white paper, “Essential Elements of a Successful Twenty-First Century University Corporate Relations Program.” During her co-presidency, Sacha led the NACRO from an all-volunteer to a professionally managed organization that doubled its membership.

Sacha is fluent in three languages and conversant in another three. In 1989, Sacha was part of a startup that sent protein crystallization experiments onto the Soviet Space Station MIR. She is passionate about societal diversity and the professional development of scientists. Sacha holds a BS in Biochemistry from McGill University, a PhD in Chemistry from Brandeis University and a business executive education certification for scientists from the Northwestern University.

Chris Needles, Vice President for Development - Principal Gifts, Foundation Relations, Corporate Engagement, Gift Planning and Athletic Fundraising at Rutgers University Foundation

In November 2016, Chris Needles rejoined the Rutgers Foundation after serving for 17 years at the University of Florida (UF), where in his final position he served as the Senior Assistant Vice President for Development. Prior to Florida, Chris served Rutgers University for 15 years in varying capacities, first in athletics and then in corporate and foundation relations.

Chris made an indelible impact on UF’s success in his 17 years, a tenure that encompassed three different campaigns. He rebuilt Corporate and Foundation Relations into a high-functioning team and more recently executed a decentralization plan that resulted in the hiring of talented new CFR staff embedded in five major academic units. In 2013, Chris assumed additional responsibility for regional development, international advancement, and supervision of six unit development teams–College of the Arts, Florida Museum of Natural History, Harn Museum of Art, UF Performing Arts, UF Libraries, and the Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience–positioning each unit for success in UF’s current $3 billion Go Greater campaign. Among his signature fundraising achievements are securing the seven-figure endowment gifts that created the UF Water Institute and the Frank Karel Chair in Public Interest Communications.

In 2017, following industry best practices, Chris engineered a reorganization of Rutgers’ Corporate and Foundation Relations office into two separate and distinct entities. He recruited new leadership to bolster the university’s Foundation Relations efforts and worked closely with ORED leaders to facilitate the creation of the new CEC.

Chris holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the University of Notre Dame, a Master’s Degree in Sports Management from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and an MBA in Organizational Management from Rutgers University.

David Kimball, Interim Senior Vice President of Research and Economic Development & Vice President of Innovation and Research Commercialization at Rutgers University

David Kimball, Ph.D., assumed his expanded role as the university's interim Senior Vice President for Research and Economic Development in July 2018. His responsibilities include oversight and strategic planning for the university’s more than $700 million in annual research expenditures and management of the many institutional offices and resources that support Rutgers’ research and economic development activities.

Kimball joined the Office of Research and Economic Development in 2011 and has successfully led its translational science and research commercialization efforts. He reorganized and rebuilt the technology transfer capabilities of Rutgers post-merger with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, established a software and copyright licensing group, and built key relationships with external sources leading to the successful funding of Rutgers startups.

Under his leadership as Vice President of Innovation and Research Commercialization, the office achieved record revenues and launched the TechAdvance® gap funding program, which has awarded $1.45 million to 22 Rutgers researchers to help advance their early stage technologies toward commercialization. He continues to advance efforts to standardize and optimize intellectual property, marketing and licensing processes.

Kimball also built the Rutgers University Biomedical Research Innovation Cores (RUBRIC) group, which bridges the gap between basic and interdisciplinary preclinical research for Rutgers faculty, and is a Research Professor in the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy.

Prior to joining Rutgers, Kimball spent the first 19 years of his career at Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute, leading drug discovery and development efforts in cardiovascular medicine and oncology. In 2001, he moved to Lexicon Pharmaceuticals in Princeton, NJ as Vice President of Chemistry and directed discovery and development chemistry efforts for Lexicon’s entire small molecule clinical pipeline. Kimball also served as Senior Vice President of Nonclinical Research at Pharmacopeia, Inc., and Chief Scientific Officer of Hydra Biosciences, in Cambridge, MA. He has played a leading role in the discovery and development of a dozen clinical compounds.

Kimball earned his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry/Chemical Biology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

By The Numbers

The Director for Corporate Engagement will join a vibrant university with a robust and fast- growing research base that has fueled positive momentum in Rutgers’ key corporate partnerships:

  • In the four years since the integration of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, corporate research support has risen, on average, greater than 25% each year.

  • Technology licensing revenues in FY2017 reached a record $29.4 million.

  • Corporate philanthropic investments in Rutgers exceeded $40 million for the first time ever last year.

  • Continuing and executive education programs at Rutgers generate millions more annually from the business community.

Rutgers has formed a close relationship with New Jersey’s pharmaceutical industry, with 14 of the world’s 20 largest companies in this space having a significant presence in the state. Rutgers enjoys a particularly unique and special partnership with its New Brunswick neighbor, Johnson & Johnson, whose world headquarters sits adjacent to Rutgers’ historic Old Queens campus.

Overall, nearly 20 percent of all Fortune 500 corporate headquarters lie within 100 miles of the flagship Rutgers-New Brunswick campus, presenting numerous opportunities to form new partnerships.

Rutgers actively encourages participation in CASE, NACRO, UIDP, AUTM, LES and the Big Ten CFR Group, building a vibrant network of colleagues across the country.


Specific Responsibilities and Duties:

  • Serve as a central point of contact with regional and national corporations with multiple interests at Rutgers; lead the cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship processes, involving key faculty, deans, University and Rutgers University Foundation senior administrators and staff, as needed; bring industry visibility to Rutgers subject-matter and program expertise by developing and moving partnerships with companies that bring resources towards research, training and technology commercialization into Rutgers University;

  • Manage a portfolio of company relationships and academic departments, faculty and programs; develop subject matter facility with assigned portfolio; move portfolio relationships along the relationship continuum, expanding relationships into multi-touchpoint and comprehensive engagements; structure partnerships with industry that align with university, faculty and industry needs through collaborative partnerships with University academic units and Rutgers Foundation colleagues;

  • Keep abreast of the complex and dynamic external environment as part of building fundraising strategies and advising university leadership and faculty and proactively work to build consensus on solicitation strategies including driving decision-making, navigating complex organizational systems in order to produce positive outcomes; manage existing and identify new corporate prospects, particularly those that reflect the changing landscape of philanthropy;

  • Maintain a current working knowledge and understanding of industry news and trends and be able to adjust priorities and approach accordingly. The individual represents the Corporate Engagement Center, and at times the Rutgers University Foundation and Rutgers University, at professional forums;

  • Develop briefings, talking points and white papers for external audiences and translate (in verbal and written terms) complex and technical concepts into laymen’s terms;

  • Other duties as assigned.

Qualities of the Ideal Candidate

The Director can be expected to have the following personal characteristics and professional qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree plus at least five years of relevant partnership alliance management or corporate engagement experience in a higher education setting, preferably at a Carnegie Research 1 university; Master’s Degree or PhD in a science or engineering field, MBA or other appropriate advanced degree strongly preferred; experience collaborating with faculty on technical research development; experience in a corporate setting a plus.

  • Demonstrated ability to provide leadership and strategic direction; ability to motivate, guide, support, and manage multiple priorities and build a positive, collaborative environment. An understanding of and appreciation for higher education and a commitment to the values and role of a public research university; ability to translate and create interest in University programs, research, and priorities to external constituencies;

  • Ability to work collaboratively with multiple University departments, schools, colleges and their faculty, deans and development staff. Ability to understand and translate (in verbal and written terms) technology, technical projects, and health-related research for potential funders. Demonstrate scientific and technical curiosity and sophistication that enables facile communication across disciplines. Indications of having a growth mindset and self-driven internal motivation. Evidence of achieving goals and a strong work ethic and superior written and oral communications skills.