The center has a transdisciplinary focus and seeks to advance the university’s strategy by fostering cross-campus applied learning and embedding innovative thinking more deeply in the university culture. The center is built on the belief that students from the arts and sciences, engineering, nursing, business, informatics, and law can all learn from one another how to become more well-rounded innovative and creative thinkers. The center fosters opportunities for this transdisciplinary applied learning to occur.
At The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship we design our programs to ignite passion for an entrepreneurial mindset, fuel desires by providing students with the resources and education to make their dreams a reality, and fan the spirit and culture of innovation and entrepreneurship across campus and the region.
Dr. Schneider served as the CEO of Rem Brands, Inc., a technology incubator of high performance patented chemistries and proprietary formulas before joining NKU as the CIE Director. Spanning a 30-year career, he brings a wide variety of business experience to the CIE, from launching startups as an entrepreneur to guiding established public and private companies as the president/CEO. He has extensive experience negotiating and executing contracts in multinational environments including North America, Asia and Europe. Dr. Schneider is also the inventor on 29 granted patents as well as several pending patents and has leveraged this technical expertise to help other entrepreneurs pursuing intellectual-based businesses in the region.
Zac Strobl is the Interim Co-Director for the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Zac has been working with startups and small businesses since the age of 19. Zac’s experience includes working as a business consultant with the Small Business Development Center at NKU, as well as a startup medical supply company in Chicago where he worked his way up to the management team, has ran his family business, and is the co-founder of The INKUBATOR. Zac is an NKU alumnus with a BS in Entrepreneurship and Marketing.
Jeff Varrone is the Interim Co-Director for the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and serves as a faculty member in Entrepreneurship. He also works with students on various events and academic programs to prepare them for business opportunities and to help create awareness of entrepreneurship across campus and in the community. He joined the Entrepreneurship Program while completing his Master’s Degree with a focus on Entrepreneurship at NKU.
Originally from Saint Louis, Missouri, Jeff graduated from Northern Kentucky University with a Bachelor of Science in Geography and a Minor in Entrepreneurship. While attending college, he successfully started and managed an entrepreneurial business venture for three years.
Jeff is also a faculty-in-residence at Callahan Hall (a residential building on NKU’s campus). He is proud to have won several awards, including the NKU Indelible Spirit Award, the NKU Outstanding Coach/Advisor of the Year, the Outstanding Part-Time Geography Faculty Member Award, and the IdeaStateU Business Plan Competition Faculty Advisor Award.