The Apex Center for Entrepreneurs in the Pamplin College of Business is expanding its team with the appointment of two management faculty members to lead its teaching and research programs.  

Assistant professor Rick Hunt has been appointed research director; assistant professor David Townsend, academic director.

“David and Rick have been instrumental in building our entrepreneurial ecosystem and academic reputation at Virginia Tech,” said Derick Maggard, the center's executive director.

“Moving forward, we are seeking to create world-class research and teaching programs to train both student entrepreneurs and a new generation of entrepreneurship faculty. David and Rick will play a central role in leading these efforts,” Maggard said.

They would help develop a teaching and research focus on strategic entrepreneurship that would contribute to Virginia Tech’s rise as a leading institution for entrepreneurship and innovation expertise.

“Rick and David are internationally recognized for their cutting-edge research in strategic management, entrepreneurship, and innovation,” said Devi Gnyawali, head of the Department of Management.

Hunt's research interests are at the intersection of strategy, entrepreneurship, and innovation, including new sector formation, market entry, and early-stage operational behavior.

Townsend's research focuses on capital acquisition processes, including crowd funding, angel investments, and venture capital.

"Their research has been published in premier journals," Gnyawali said. "They have taught courses at undergraduate and graduate levels, have supervised Ph.D. students, and have an exciting research agenda.”

Rick Hunt
Rick Hunt says it is his goal to "generate research that is provocative and useful to both scholars and practitioners."

Hunt’s and Townsend’s new roles at the Apex Center also reflect its goal to grow rapidly over the next three years to serve more students and achieve a national ranking.

Administratively housed in Pamplin, which provides funding and faculty support, the center offers programs and resources that are open to all students on campus. Its programs enroll students from each of the seven colleges.

In 2016-17, the center served more than 900 Virginia Tech students through entrepreneurship courses and experiential-learning programs and had a hand in launching more than 80 student-led ventures.

The center “enables Virginia Tech students to put their passion, purpose, and ideas into action," said Maggard.