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Lewis Sheats is the 2015 Dr. John S. Risley Entrepreneur of the Year

Lewis Sheats, senior lecturer in the North Carolina University State Poole College of Management and director of the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic, has been named the  Dr. John S. Risley Entrepreneur of the Year for 2015.

The recognition was announced during the NC State Office of Technology Transfer's 26th Celebration of Innovation and Entrepreneurship held November 11, at which campus achievements in technology transfer and innovation were recognized.

“The Think and Do mentality at NC State fosters an entrepreneurial mindset and creates an environment of support and opportunity for our students," Sheats said in a subsequent email interview. "The NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic has provided a vehicle to engage students in experiential learning and embeds them in the larger entrepreneurial ecosystem. This in turn provides them an avenue to identify and execute their own new ventures. I am extremely proud of being a small part of the environment that has been developed to promote the success of our students,” Sheats said.

Since the E-Clinic opened in January 2015, students serving as clinicians have worked more than 2400 hours on projects with 92-plus companies, and have completed 59 projects. They are currently working on 42 more projects and have 14 others on a wait list. Read more about the E-Clinic in this NC State News story.

"Lewis brings an enormous amount of experience to his leadership role in our Entrepreneurship Clinic," said Ira Weiss, Poole College Dean and Stephen P. Zelnak Jr. Dean's Chair, following the announcement. "He takes that experience and translates it into ways in which he can educate future leaders in entrepreneurship. The success of the E-Clinic and our entrepreneurship program in many ways rests on the shoulders of Lewis, and he has proven that he delivers."

About the recognition

Each year OTT presents two awards during the celebration – the Innovator of the Year and the Dr. John S. Risley Entrepreneur of the Year – to a faculty, staff, or student inventor or entrepreneur that has demonstrated excellence in innovation or entrepreneurship. Receiving the Innovators of the Year award this year were Dr. Sylvia Blankenship, associate dean for administration in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Dr. Todd Klaenhammer, William Neal Reynolds professor, Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences.

More that 100 NC State faculty and staff joined Chancellor Randy Woodson at The Point for the celebration. Among those attending were Ira Weiss, dean and Stephen P. Zelnak Chair at the Poole College of Management, and Bradley Kirman, head of the Department of Management, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, where Sheats is on the faculty. 

About Lewis Sheats

Sheats has an extensive background in new venture planning, concept consulting, logistics, opportunity identification and analysis, manufacturing organization, marketing, and strategic planning. He is a serial entrepreneur focused on opportunity identification, execution, and education.

He has leveraged his experience to develop and lead an undergraduate entrepreneurship curriculum in the Poole College of Management based on experiential learning and individual student development. Sheats also is the driving force and visionary behind the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic located at HQ Raleigh.

Launched in January of 2015, the E-Clinic enables NC State students to connect with startup companies to build the next generation of businesses in Raleigh. E-Clinic students have logged over 2,400 hours of work and have completed valuable projects for over 60 local growth-oriented entrepreneurial ventures.

Sheats is an award-winning educator who was recently inducted into the international honor society, Beta Gamma Sigma. He received his bacherlor's degree in finance from the NC State Poole College of Management and an M.B.A. from the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business at Campbell University. 

Also recognized were two Innovators of the Year: Dr. Sylvia Blankenship, associate dean for administration, NC State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Dr. Todd Klaenhammer, William Neal Reynolds Professor, Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences.