winter 2012| issue 3

Ted Doan Award for Outstanding Leadership in Entrepreneurship: Tom Kinnear, Ross School of Business

At Celebrate Invention 2011, the Ted Doan Award for Outstanding Leadership in Entrepreneurship and Innovation was awarded to U-M Ross School of Business Professor Tom Kinnear, who is also the Executive Director of the Zell-Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. The award originated in 2005 when U-M President Mary Sue Coleman honored Ted Doan for his contributions to innovation and entrepreneurship in Michigan. Herbert D. (Ted) Doan was president of Dow Chemical from 1971 to 1983, a company founded by his grandfather Herbert Dow in 1892. Ted was fondly known as the godfather of Michigan venture capital, founding Doan Associates in 1973 and assisting many of the venture firms in Michigan today. It was the enormity of his contributions that led to the creation of the Ted Doan award, which Mary Sue Coleman announced at that event.

This award, by design, is only awarded when a unique individual is identified with the traits and contributions worthy of an award named after Ted Doan. In fact, this is only the 2nd time the award has been awarded since its inception in 2005. According to U-M Tech Transfer Executive Director Ken Nisbet, Kinnear embodies the spirit and magnitude of an award named after Ted Doan. “This award,” says Nisbet, “is one of the highest awards that can be awarded within our entrepreneurial community. Tom Kinnear meets the high standards of this award, as he has personally assisted in the launch of dozens of high-tech companies. In addition, as Executive Director of the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies within U-M’s Ross School of Business, he’s trained hundreds of young entrepreneurs, encouraging them to dream, create and contribute to great companies.”

The award was presented by local entrepreneur Jeff Williams, a former student of Kinnear’s, who has led a series of successful companies in Ann Arbor, including HandyLab, Accuri Cytometers and Genomic Solutions. Williams credited Kinnear, though his mentoring and consulting, with enabling his personal success.

Coleman, who could not be present for the award presentation to Kinnear, asked that a letter be read at the event. In it, she praised Kinnear for his, "energy, vision and passion for new ideas and inventions," and credited him with having "enhanced the quality of life of the entire state of Michigan."

Read highlights on Celebrate Invention 2011.