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Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The Florida Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Melbourne, Florida. The university has 5 academic divisions, focusing mainly on engineering, science and mathematics. Over the past year Florida Tech has begun to focus on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, bringing in faculty with an I&E background, as well as starting up a student business incubator last year. Currently the student business incubator has 12 student start-ups and is still growing. Currently most of the innovation and entrepreneurship work is being done in the college of business, but Florida Tech is working on involving the engineering school and get more engineering students and faculty involved.

Florida Tech also has dedicated educational programs at graduate and undergraduate levels for Innovation and Entreprenuership. More information abou those programs can be found here

Faculty Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Florida Institutew of Technology has multiple faculty members across many disciplines who have a history of actively practicing and encouraging Innocation and Entreprenuership.

Dr. Beshoy Morkos

Beshoy Morkos is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the Florida Institute of Technology where he directs the STRIDE Lab (SysTems Research on Intelligent Design and Engineering). His engineering design research focuses on developing computational representation and reasoning support for managing complex system design. The goal of Dr. Morkos’ research is to fundamentally reframe our understanding and utilization of system representations and computational reasoning capabilities to support the development of system models which help engineers and project planners intelligently make informed decisions at earlier stages of engineering design. On the engineering education front, Dr. Morkos’ research explores means to integrate innovation and entrepreneurship in engineering education through entrepreneurially-minded learning, improve persistence in engineering, address challenges in senior design education, and promote engineering education in international teams and settings. Dr. Morkos’ research is currently supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN), and NASA JPL.


Dr. Morkos received his Ph.D. from Clemson University in the Clemson Engineering Design and Applications Research (CEDAR) lab under Dr. Joshua Summers. In 2014, he was awarded the ASME CIE Dissertation of the year award for his doctoral research. He graduated with his B.S. and M.S in Mechanical Engineering in 2006 and 2008 from Clemson University and has worked on multiple sponsored projects funded by partners such as NASA, Michelin, and BMW. His past work experience include working at the BMW Information Technology Research Center (ITRC) as a Research Associate and Robert Bosch Corporation as a Manufacturing Engineer. Dr. Morkos was a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Engineering & Science Education at Clemson University performing NSF funded research on engineering student motivation and its effects on persistence and the use of advanced technology in engineering classroom environments. Dr. Morkos’ research thrust include: design automation, design representations, computational reasoning, systems modeling, engineering education, design education, collaborative design, and data/knowledge management.

Dr. Chiradeep Sen

Dr. Sen is an Assistant Professor of Design at Florida Institute of Technology. He teaches a series of courses in the area of design and manufacturing, including courses in advanced design theory and methods, design for manufacturing, creativity and innovation, artificial intelligence in engineering, and computer-aided design automation. His current research explores the mental models and cognitive processes of innovative design and creativity. Dr. Sen received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Design from Clemson University’s CEDAR Lab, and his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Jadavpur University in India. He received the 2011 ASME Best Dissertation Award for his doctoral dissertation on the formal representation and reasoning on mechanical functions, a mental model used in innovative design for modeling complex systems in the absence of the knowledge about their components and structure. Dr. Sen has a total of 14 years of experience in new product development in a variety of industries around the globe, including six years as a consultant, where he helped companies develop computer-supported processes for their innovative and routine designs. The companies and business verticals he served range from consumer product design and manufacturing, tools and dies, large industrial energy equipment, automotive, and medical equipment. At Florida Tech, Dr. Sen directs the Research in Information Science for Engineering (RiSE) research group.

Dr. Scott Benjamin

Dr. Scott Benjamin is a successful entrepreneur turned academic whose passions include helping students create and launch business ventures. He received his undergraduate degree in entrepreneurship and real estate from the University of Miami and his masters of business administration from the University of Maryland. After 20 years of business ventures including real estate development & investment, continuing medical education, hospital supplies and restaurants, he earned his doctorate degree in Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management from the University of Maryland.

In addition to currently serving as a principle for Signature Properties, he is actively involved the development of several companies providing a range of products including software, consulting services and apparel development. As time allows, Dr. Benjamin consults for several companies on strategic management issues, business plan review and negotiation training.

In August 2012, Dr. Benjamin came to Florida Tech as the Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Development. His first initiative was to launch the Incubation Station at Florida Tech. This innovative center provides physical space, resources, capital and mentoring services to student entrepreneurs seeking to launch a new venture. At the center, students learn to not only conduct the research necessary to develop the business plan but actually engage in the step of generating revenue for their businesses.

In his spare time, he coaches youth soccer, and plays anything that involves a ball or a puck.

Dr. Carlos Otero

Carlos E. Otero, Ph.D, is Associate Professor of Computer Engineering at Florida Institute of Technology.  He has been a tenure-track faculty in the College of Engineering at University of South Florida, Tampa, and the University of Virginia, Wise. Prior to that, he worked for 11 years in private industry as a computer software engineer for military computer systems, including satellite communications, command and control, wireless security, and unmanned aerial vehicle systems. His research interests are in computer systems engineering, with particular emphasis on the design, performance evaluation, and optimization of systems and processes across a variety of domain areas (including wireless, intelligence, and big data systems).  Dr. Otero is a senior member of the IEEE.


Dr. Abram Walton

Dr. Abram Walton is an Associate Professor of Technology Management and Innovation at Florida Tech. He received his Ph.D. and M.S. in Technology and Innovation Management from Purdue University. Before his academic life, he was a Fire Fighter and EMT, and he later held leadership positions as a Manager of Wal-Mart Stores. He is a co-founder of the International Journal of Innovation Science, an academic journal cited by most major indexing organizations and available at thousands of libraries throughout the world. Dr. Walton has authored numerous publications, conference proceedings, and his textbooks on Leadership and Management have sold over 15,000 copies. Dr. Walton serves on the Executive Committee for the Board of Directors for the International Association of Innovation Professionals. He is the Director of the Center for Lifecycle and Innovation Management at Florida Tech, as well as for the Center for Ethics and Leadership, and was instrumental in launching the new B.S. and M.S. in Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

In addition to his academic pursuits, he is the Principal of a boutique technology commercialization consulting firm, serves as a Senior Consultant of Systems Engineering to the COO of a DOD firm specializing in counter-IED technologies, and enjoys dabbling in real estate investments. He has recently been a Fellow for the National Intellectual Property and Knowledge Management Task force and serves as a consultant for an Intellectual Property and Patent Management Organization (PMO). He frequently consults on a variety of topics, including leadership, lean process improvement, six sigma, innovation strategies, technology commercialization, product lifecycle management, and new product development. He has successfully helped launch several new technology ventures and works with companies on early-stage technology commercialization efforts, new product development, and leadership development.

As an Associate Professor of Technology and Innovation at the Florida Institute of Technology, his research efforts focus on impacting technology-sensitive industries by creating sustainable, lean business models through the deployment of innovative continuous improvement methodologies. He takes a unique systems-thinking approach to innovation and technology, lean, healthcare, and product lifecycle management, which has cultivated multi-disciplinary collaborations, generating research and scholarship on innovative organizational strategies and best practices for engineering and innovation initiatives.

Program Chair of M.S. in Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Director of Center for Lifecycle and Innovation Management

Director of Center for Ethics and Leadership

University Technology Transfer Function

Florida Tech's University Technology Transfer Function (http://www.fit.edu/research/committees/ipc/) is handled under the umbrella of the office of Research. The current value of Research Sponsored Projects is over $94 million. The number of Florida Tech faculty who serve as principal investigators has also doubled in the last three years to 90—four of which have received prestigious NSF Career Awards. University faculty expended $16.5 million to buy equipment, support students, pay salaries and to cover general expenses. In addition to over a dozen research centers, five new interdisciplinary research institutes were initiated that are the focal point for Florida Tech undergraduate and graduate research. These new research university institutes include: Human Centered Design Institute, Institute for Energy Systems, Institute for Marine Research, Institute for Materials Science & Nanotechnology and Institute for Research on Global Climate Change.

University-Industry Collaboration

Florida Tech has a lot of collaboration with Harris Corporation (http://harris.com) The main collaboration between Harris and the University is the Harris Institute for Assured Information(http://harris-institute.fit.edu/) The Harris Institute for Assured Information is an interdisciplinary center that focuses on high-risk disruptive work aimed at helping us trust the information that we so often rely on. Founded in 2009 by a grant from Harris Corporation, the Harris Institute brings together computer science, psychology, business and biology to carry out cutting-edge research in computer security. Our goal is lofty: to change the way we think about the information that flows around us, and to help drive a fundamental shift in how we protect it.

Regional and Local Economic Development Efforts

Currently Florida Tech is working on forming more regional and local economic development efforts, but the main one currently in place is (http://weventure.fit.edu). The vision of weVenture at Florida Institute of Technology is to help women and men become entrepreneurial leaders and thinkers and to successfully achieve economic independence through entrepreneurship. weVenture at Florida Institute of Technology is a community organization that provides business coaching, mentoring, training programs and seminars, and networking opportunities to assist startup and second stage entrepreneurs in Brevard, St. Lucie and Indian River Counties with starting, growing and sustaining their businesses.

Landscape Canvas

Related Links

Florida Institute of Technology

Florida Institute of Technology Student Priorities

Fall 2015 Leadership Circle

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Chris_Woodle

Spring 2016 Leadership Circle

Briana Cantos

Thomas Haynie

Alexander Rumsey

Nicole Telega

Quintcey_Parrish

Spring 2017 Leadership Cirlce

Malia Ashmead

Lara Eremita

Marifer Sagastume

2017 UIF PItch: Panthers for Progress Youtube Link:

Https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8oDeSZFn2Y&feature=youtu.be