ISU Startup Factory to be included in ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship program offerings

AMES, Iowa (Aug 5, 2020) – Interim Vice President for Economic Development and Industry Relations David Spalding announced Kris Johansen has officially resigned from her six-year post as manager, industry engagement in the Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations (EDIR) and four-year post as Iowa State University Startup Factory COO effective August 17.

Johansen will join the National Institute of Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Education (NIAMRRE) in the new position as director of external relations. Iowa State is the host institution for NIAMRRE, a national institute aimed at combating the global threat of Antimicrobial Resistance across humans, animals, and the environment.

Johansen earned her bachelor’s degree in microbiology and master’s degree in immunobiology at Iowa State, and completed her Ph.D. in microbiology at the University of Missouri.

Johansen joined EDIR in August 2014, and in that time has helped to raise the university’s economic engagement profile and develop the curriculum and formal program structure for the ISU Startup Factory program which rolled out June 2016. Johansen has served as Startup Factory COO since the program’s launch. In February this year, Spalding appointed her as interim director, a position she has held since the departure of Startup Factory President Bill Adamowski earlier that month.

“Kris played an integral role in providing formal training, refining the class structure, and securing funding for the extremely successful Startup Factory program which has just welcomed its ninth cohort,” Spalding said. “In just four years, the program has provided training and support to more than 120 startups and companies have attracted nearly $33 million in external funding. It’s with Kris’ support we were able to build this program to the outstanding level it is today.”

Johansen has also served on the campus Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Site leadership team since the program’s 2017 launch. I-Corps is a joint collaboration between EDIR and the Office of the Vice President for Research.

A search for Johansen’s replacement will begin next month.

In the interim period, Spalding said the work of the Startup Factory will proceed without interruption. “Kris will continue to conduct weekly sessions during this transitionary period, until a suitable replacement can be found,” he said. 

ISU Startup Factory to join ISU Pappajohn Center programming

With the announcement of Johansen’s resignation, Spalding also said the Startup Factory program will undergo a new reporting structure.

“We will be transitioning the Startup Factory program to report to the ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship under the leadership of Director Judi Eyles,” Spalding said. “The Pappajohn Center has a long history serving as a bridge among the university’s entrepreneurship courses, experiential learning opportunities, and venture creation resources. Adding the Startup Factory as part of the Center’s programming compliments and strengthens the comprehensive list of innovative programs and services the Center offers that broadly reach and connect students, community entrepreneurs, business professionals, and alumni.”

Spalding said Eyles will be engaged in all aspects of the Startup Factory. “Judi is passionate about embedding innovation and entrepreneurship into Iowa State’s culture. She takes great pride in serving Iowa’s entrepreneurs and I know will do a wonderful job building upon the momentum this important program has gained since its start four years ago.”


About the Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations

The Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations (EDIR) at Iowa State University assists external stakeholders, both individuals and companies, in accessing Iowa State’s unique capabilities and services. EDIR is a single point of contact to streamline the process of making connections between industry and the university. For more information, visit


About ISU Startup Factory
The Iowa State University (ISU) Startup Factory is a 52-week intensive program housed at the ISU Research Park (ISURP). Entrepreneurs in the Startup Factory receive formal training, resources, and access to a network of business mentors, advisors, counselors, and investors in two 26-week blocks: the first a formal curriculum centered on business validation, and the second, customized to their individual business needs. For more information on the ISU Startup Factory program, visit


About the ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship
The Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship works campus-wide to create a culture that encourages entrepreneurship and innovation, offers a wide array of experiential and competitive learning opportunities for entrepreneurs, and provides the tools and resources necessary to build and improve Iowa businesses. For more information, visit


Julie Lelonek, Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations Communications, 515-294-1562,

Iowa State University


Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations
1805 Collaboration Place
Ames, IA  50010