CURF is excited to announce the appointment of our newest board chairman, Dennis Kekas! With a BSEE is from Clemson with graduate studies at Syracuse, NC State, and UCLA, Dennis holds 8 Patents with various awards for inventions, technical achievements, and management excellence. Dennis is currently a Senior R&D Advisor to NC State’s Vice Chancellor of Research and Dean of Engineering.
Earlier in his long career, as an IBM Division Director of Product Development, he led the R&D and installation of the first NYSE floor trading system as well as disruptive products in point-of-sale, optical scanning, keyboards, and networking systems with major P&L responsibilities. He also served in the US Army and NY Army National Guard.
Then, from 2008- 2021, as Associate Vice Chancellor, he directed NC State’s Partnership Office that recruited major resident partners to Centennial Campus like NSA’s Lab for Analytical Science & Eastman Chemical’s Innovation Center. In 2014 he was the Launch Director of DOE’s “Power America” National Manufacturing Innovation Institute focused on advanced power electronics and in 2017 worked with the City of Raleigh to establish the annual Smart Connected Cities event. Later, in 2018, he helped establish the IBM Quantum Computing Innovation Center at NC State and serves on its Executive Committee.
As past president of the Clemson Alumni Association, he received Clemson’s Distinguished Service Award in 1999 and the Association of University Research Parks Leadership Award in 2016. In 2019, he received North Carolina’s Order of the Long Leaf Pine from Governor Cooper and currently serves on MCNC’s board that operates the North Carolina Research Education Network.
Dennis co-founded ImagineOptix Inc., in 2004, to commercialize NC State optical technologies that was acquired by a Fortune 100 company in 2021. Most recently, 2023, he was appointed Chair of the Clemson University Research Foundation.
Welcome, Dennis! We are looking forward to the next two years.