New Florida Engineering Experiment Station (FLEX) Director

Dear Chairs,

The Florida Engineering Experiment Station (FLEX) and the Engineering Innovation Institute (EII), both led by Erik Sander since their inception, have been successfully adding significant value to our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and external partners since 2010.

FLEX has grown and managed the Innovation Station extension network in Sarasota and Okaloosa Counties and created pathways to Florida high-tech industry, such as in the Space Coast. It has led the engineering distance education (EDGE) program to become top 10 among publics, launched a Professional Development Short Course program, and built K-12 partnership programs focused on increasing the diversity of the HWCOE student population while attracting more K-12 students into engineering disciplines. It has fostered invaluable economic development collaborations to support HWCOE’s mission across the State of Florida.

The Engineering Innovation Institute has grown the engineering innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity curriculum and experiential program enrollment by 22% annually. It currently serves 1,000 HWCOE undergraduate, graduate and working professional students each year. EII serves faculty through linking industry to faculty for research expertise. It provides proposal support, student hiring, internships, faculty innovator and entrepreneur support, and technology commercialization support. HWCOE faculty produce and commercialize intellectual property at three times the national average per research dollar.

To best drive continued growth and impact in both programs, the leadership responsibilities of FLEX and EII are being separated. Erik has chosen to dedicate his efforts on continuing to grow the Engineering Innovation Institute, and the College recently completed a search for a new FLEX Director. We’re very pleased to announce that Dr. Kim Jacobs, who has served as the FLEX Engineering Extension and Outreach Director since 2018, will transition to lead FLEX effective July 1.

Previously, Kim served as the Director of Corporate Relations for the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering where she focused specifically on advancing corporate philanthropy to the College. Prior to working at the University of Florida, she worked in development-related roles at Pennsylvania State University, Florida State University and St. Peter’s College. Kim is a member of the Network of Academic Corporate Relations Officers (NACRO) and recently completed her term as co-president of the organization. She holds a bachelor of science in Biochemistry from Albright College, a master’s degree in College Student Personnel Administration from Western Illinois University, and an MBA and Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Florida State University.

Please join me in welcoming Kim to her new position.

Best regards,

Cammy R. Abernathy
Dean, Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering
William H. Wadsworth Director, Engineering Leadership Institute
Professor of Materials Science and Engineering
300 Weil Hall
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL
Tel: 352 392 6000