Dennis Roedemeier to oversee Innovation Center

Wednesday, August 6, 2003

Dennis Roedemeier, director of business development for the state of Missouri, was named chief executive officer of a new Southeast Missouri University Research Foundation and executive director of the new Southeast Missouri State University Innovation Center.

The board of regents voted to hire him in closed meeting late last week and announced the decision Tuesday.

Roedemeier, who started working this week, will work with the Missouri Department of Economic Development, his former employer, to attract and retain businesses in Southeast Missouri. An Innovation Center campus to be established on the university farm north of Cape Girardeau would be constructed in conjunction with an Interstate 55 exit, school officials have said. That construction is slated for 2006.

The center will include incubator space and services for start-up companies.

Southeast president Kenneth W. Dobbins said that, as the leader of Southeast's initiative, Roedemeier will work with state and local agencies to improve the area's economic health.

"The Interstate 55 corridor from St. Louis to Cape Girardeau to the Missouri University Delta Center at Portageville to the Arkansas line has great potential for developing businesses related to the life sciences," Dobbins said.

Plant life science, which would be an Innovation Center focus, is research on improving agriculture and using plants to better human health and nutrition.

In the next month, Southeast plans to submit a proposal to the Missouri Technology Corporation to receive an official designation as the site of the state's fifth innovation center. There currently are four established innovation centers in Missouri, all associated with state universities in St. Louis, Kansas City, Rolla and Columbia.

Roedemeier, who is earning $125,000 annually in his position at Southeast, will oversee the design and construction of a new incubator facility and develop policies for and manage the facility.

He was director of business development for the state for the past six years. In that capacity, he participated in efforts to develop Missouri's life sciences and managed Missouri's foreign offices in Japan, Korea, Mexico, London, Germany and Ghana, West Africa. His division was instrumental in the creation of the first technology business plan for the state of Missouri in 1999, which led to the governor's development of the Missouri Technology Corporation and the Research Alliance of Missouri.

Roedemeier will cooperate with both agencies in running the Innovation Center.

Over the years, he has operated incubators, an innovation center, a center for advanced technology and research parks. He previously served as executive director of the Missouri Enterprise Business Assistance Center and was president of the Cuba, Mo., Industrial Authority.

Southeast's Innovation Center will be housed temporarily in Robert A. Dempster Hall until its new offices are ready to be occupied on the former First Baptist Church property.

Dennis Roedemeier's wife is Kim, and together they have six children and have lived in Cuba, Missouri, for the previous 23 years.

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