President, Discovery District (Research Park)

The University of South Dakota (USD) seeks an experienced and accomplished leader to serve as the next president of the Discovery District (Research Park).

Founded in 1862 on the banks of the Missouri River in Vermillion, South Dakota, USD is the state’s flagship institution and its designated liberal arts university. The university plays a critical role as an economic driver and generates $786 million in annual economic impact to the state. USD is home to the state’s only medical and law schools as well as the state’s first and longest-standing College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment exceeding 10,000 students and employing more than 400 faculty members, USD has produced the state’s leaders, thinkers, politicians, judges, medical professionals and entrepreneurs for more than 150 years.

The USD Discovery District, a corporate and academic research park under development in Sioux Falls, is advancing its mission to foster innovation-focused economic development. The Discovery District, located adjacent to the USD Community College for Sioux Falls, provides access to research facilities and infrastructure for research business development and fosters collaboration for the commercialization of new technologies. its goal is to strengthen the region’s capacity to support, grow and attract innovation-based businesses resulting in new jobs, increased regional wealth and enhanced tax revenues.

The president will be asked to address the following critical leadership issues: increase Discovery District's presence among the private sector and investors; support the USD’s workforce and innovation initiatives; promote collaboration and engagement between partners and stakeholders; and develop a sustainable management infrastructure for the Discovery District.

In order to achieve this ambitious set of agenda items, USD seeks a visionary leader with impressive experience to lead its innovation and economic development activities into the future. This person will have a collaborative and relationship-based leadership style as well as experience bringing people together to solve challenges and empower others. The president will have unparalleled leadership and management skills as well as exceptional emotional intelligence.

It is required that the president have a minimum of ten years of related experience. Candidates with experience in technology development, technology transfer, commercialization, entrepreneurship and/or small business/economic development will be strongly advantaged in the process. A Bachelor's Degree in a related discipline (in Business Administration, Sciences, Engineering or Public Administration) from an accredited institution is required. A Master’s Degree and/or Ph.D. is preferred. For more information, please visit

Inquiries, nominations and applications are invited. For fullest consideration, applicant materials should be received by October 21, 2019. Candidates should provide a Curriculum Vitae, a letter of application that addresses the responsibilities and requirements described in this document and the names and contact information for five references. Candidate confidentiality will be respected and references will not be contacted without prior knowledge and approval of candidates. Inquiries and application materials should be sent via email to the search consultants Zachary A. Smith, Ph.D., Robert W. Luke and Lisa Meyer at

The University of South Dakota shall offer equal opportunities in employment and for access to and participation in educational extension and other institutional services to all persons qualified by academic preparation, experience, and ability for the various levels of employment or academic program or other institutional service, without discrimination based on sex, race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, gender, gender identification, transgender, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, genetic information or veteran status or on any other status that may become protected under law against discrimination. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Human Resources, Office of Equal Opportunity,

Contact Information

University of South Dakota

Zachary A. Smith, Ph.D., Robert W. Luke

and Lisa Meyer


Please use contact email

Background Information



  • College/University
  • President, CEO, Executive Director

Authorized to work in the US


Target Job Information

  • Full Time