Dr Luis Proenza To Receive H Peter Burg Regional Vision Award

Dr. Luis Proenza to Receive H. Peter Burg Regional Vision Award

Team Northeast Ohio Team NEO will honor Dr. Luis Proenza, President of The University of Akron (UA), with the H. Peter Burg Regional Vision Award at the Team NEO Economic Development Plus Awards to be held July 9, 2014 at the InterContinental Hotel and Conference Center. The H. Peter Burg Award is Team NEO’s highest honor, commemorating the late chairman and CEO of FirstEnergy Corporation, a regional leader and the founding chairman of Team NEO.

“Luis Proenza exemplifies the legacy of Pete Burg,” said Thomas Waltermire, CEO of Team NEO. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to recognize Luis for his leadership in making the University of Akron a powerhouse for regional economic development.”

Dr. Proenza became UA’s 15th president in 1999, and will have served more than 15 years in this role when he completes his presidency on June 30, 2014. During that time he led the university through a $650 million capital construction campaign – the New Landscape for Learning Initiative – that transformed UA from a downtown commuter college to a major metropolitan university. 

One of Dr. Proenza’s many regional economic development initiatives includes his work with Dr. Roy Church, President of Lorain County Community College, to build the Innovation Alliance. Their organizations, along with Stark State College, came together to lower the costs of higher education while offering new academic programs in high-demand fields. This partnership is setting the bar for collaborative success in higher education, and increased the number of degreed workers who can fill open jobs in the region as well as increasing the earning potential of these workers.   . 

Another significant contribution to regional economic development that flourished under Dr. Proenza is the University of Akron Research Foundation (UARF), which provides intellectual property, commercialization and enterprise creation support to Ohio entrepreneurs, innovators and business owners. During Dr. Proenza’s tenure, the UARF helped launch more than 50 start-up companies.

He has been involved in national science and technology policy matters since the 1970s and has been recognized for his expertise through appointments and service to prominent organizations.

In 2001, President George W. Bush named Dr. Proenza to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, the nation’s highest-level policy-advisory group for science and technology. In 2004, the Secretary of Energy appointed him chairman of the Science and Mathematics Education Task Force and, later, to the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board.

He now serves on the executive committee for the Council on Competitiveness and its Manufacturing Competitiveness Steering Committee, and its Regional Leadership Institute Steering Committee, which he chairs. Recently, Dr. Proenza was appointed to the Council of the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable of the National Academies and to the Technology Innovation Program Advisory Board for the National Institute of Standards and Technology. He also is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a board member of the States Science and Technology Institute.

Past recipients of the H. Peter Burg Regional Vision Award include:  2005 – Robert Briggs; 2006 – Jim Griffith; 2007 – Les Vinney; 2008 – Richard Pogue; 2009 – Congressman Ralph Regula, 2010 – Dr. Roy Church, 2011 – Senator George V. Voinovich, 2012 – Dr. Jeanette Grasselli Brown and Dr. Glenn R. Brown and 2013 – William Christopher.

In addition to honoring Dr. Proenza at the Economic Development Plus Awards on July 9, Team NEO also will present awards in ten categories for economic development efforts that have helped create jobs, attract and retain companies, and encourage global investment in Northeast Ohio in 2013.

  • Plus Awards
  • Burg Award