Malandro named Innovation Institute director

By Dale Shoemaker / Assistant News Editor

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Provost Patricia Beeson has appointed Marc Malandro to lead Pitt’s Innovation Institute as its founding director.

Malandro, formerly the interim director, was named to the position this week after a year-long search. The search, Malandro said, included a University search committee and an outside professional search firm, though he couldn’t give more specific details because he was a candidate. 

Mark Redfern, vice provost for research, chaired the search committee, but could not be reached for comment at the time of publication. 

Pitt’s Innovation Institute formed in 2014 as a collaboration between the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence, Office of Technology Management and Office of Enterprise Development. Malandro was also the first interim director.

Although his duties in his newly official role won’t change much, he said the transition has been “like changing the wheels on a moving car.”

Malandro said he plans to continue the Blast Furnace program, which acts as an “accelerator and incubator” for students who want to start businesses. 

Also underway, Malandro said, is the Randall Family Big Idea competition. The competition awards cash prizes — this year totaling $100,000 — to student entrepreneurs who want to market their ideas. 

With this and other projects, Malandro said his goal for the Institute is to strive toward the vision Chancellor Patrick Gallagher has for Pitt: to educate students. 

“That’s in our wheelhouse,” he said. 

Moving forward, Malandro said he wants to work with more companies in the region and continue to educate students.

When the Innovation Institute started, it was a “blank slate,” he said. “Now, we’re building on top of that.”

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