University of Pittsburgh
October 18, 2013

University of Pittsburgh Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence Founder and Executive Director Ann Dugan to Step Down

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—Ann Dugan, who founded the nationally renowned Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence (IEE) at the University of Pittsburgh in 1993, has announced her intent to step down in the first quarter of 2014 from her positions as executive director of the Institute and assistant dean in Pitt’s Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business. 

The Institute reflects Dugan’s conviction that a viable, growing regional economy requires an approach to economic development that reaches beyond Fortune 500 companies and focuses on the need to nurture entrepreneurs from start-ups through successful transition to the next generation of leaders and owners. Time has proven that businesses connected to the region via the host of programs and activities that the Institute provides are much less likely to leave the region as well as experience higher levels of growth and profitability than those not engaged. 

Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg noted that Dugan built the Institute from one small business program in the Katz School into a broad, multi-program institute with an impressive depth of expertise, teaching, research, outreach, and network of contacts. 

“The Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence reflects both Ann Dugan’s own entrepreneurial spirit and her commitment to regional economic growth. The vast array of resources that she assembled has nurtured Western Pennsylvania entrepreneurs from biomedical researchers to farmers so they might better survive, thrive, and create new industries, jobs, and wealth,” said Chancellor Nordenberg. 

Over the past 20 years, the Institute has assisted in the start up of 800 new businesses, attracted $300 million in client funding from a myriad of resources, and developed and delivered more than 1,400 management educational programs attended by more than 40,000 regional business owners and entrepreneurs.  

Dugan is particularly proud that she was able to attract annual funding for Institute operations from committed foundations, sponsors, donors, and others from throughout the region. Starting with a budget of less than $300,000, she has raised more than $22 million in economic development monies used to do the work of the Institute during her 20 years as its leader. This required a broad network and proven results as viewed by other providers of professional services, elected officials, foundations, and successful entrepreneurs who became Institute donors via their support for the Institute’s work with new and growing companies. 

Ann Dugan is a sought-after leader in community and economic development activities. She believed that for the Institute to be successful, she had to help guide other nonprofit and community organizations with their impact on the business community. Most recently, this has included working with Innovation Works, the Redevelopment Authority of Washington County, Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board (TRWIB), Pittsburgh Gateways, VisitPittsburgh, Team Pennsylvania Foundation, Pittsburgh Opera, Aviation Council of Pennsylvania, and the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority of the City of Pittsburgh.

Her efforts have been recognized over the years with numerous awards and honors. In 2009, she received a regional Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the creative and unique approach she took in developing the Institute within a large research university—an approach that she led through uncharted waters. The award enabled Dugan to take her message to the national level and work with universities and other institutions across the country to help them develop their initiatives and connect within the regions in which they are located. 

Through her years working with business leaders on their succession planning, Dugan has learned that timing is the key to success and that a time will become evident to pass the baton to the next generation of leaders. That time for the Institute is now. With the Institute recognized nationally as a renowned brand built on years of performance, possessing strong resources and partners and a dynamic management team in place, Dugan has decided that her time to step down is now. 

Future plans are not in place as Dugan is focusing on the complex work ahead of finding and training the best successor possible, but she states that whatever her next chapter brings, it will involve her passion for community and economic development and entrepreneurship. 

A search committee is being formed to identify a qualified successor dedicated to continuing the work of the Institute within the University of Pittsburgh for another generation.