• Associate Vice President for Corporate Engagement, Rutgers Corporate Engagement Center

    New Brunswick
    New Jersey
  • Overview

    The Rutgers University Office of Research and Economic Development (ORED) and the Rutgers University Foundation (RUF) seek an entrepreneurial, collaboration-focused, and strategically minded professional to serve as the first Associate Vice President for Corporate Engagement (herein AVP) and inaugural leader for the new Corporate Engagement Center (herein CEC), the focal point for all corporate relations activity at and on behalf of the University. Based on benchmarking with the leading University- based corporate engagement divisions around the country, RUF and ORED have merged corporate philanthropic support and corporate research sponsorship and investment into one consistent connection point for current and future University corporate partners. With a view towards efficiency, corporate partner- centric service, and simplicity for internal University researchers and academic leaders, the AVP will be positioned for success as the Foundation and University embark upon a $2 billion comprehensive campaign in the near future.


    The AVP will report jointly to the Vice President for Innovation and Research Commercialization at ORED and the Vice President for Development at RUF while overseeing a staff of six professional engagement officers and support staff, with a view to growing the team as needed in coming years. Physically located with the ORED team, the AVP will develop a strategic plan that delivers on targets merged from both ORED’s deliverables and RUF’s overall fundraising targets. The AVP is expected to be heavily collaborative, working alongside researchers, corporate partners, fundraisers, and alumni relations professionals in order to leverage Rutgers’ unique location in the Northeast region, a corridor rich with corporate headquarters and major operating divisions.


    The ideal candidate will have in-depth experience in corporate engagement, particularly in a higher education setting. S/he will have a track record of building corporate partnerships, be it from the higher education side or the corporate side, and can provide evidence of thinking creatively and translating complex materials to diverse audiences. The AVP should have experience in the majority of the following areas: sponsored research, technology transfer, continuing/executive education, economic development, and strategic philanthropy. S/he will have management experience, preferably of a team of fundraising and/or business development professionals who succeed with strong leadership, clear objectives, and aspirational targets. The ideal candidate will have also managed up to multiple leaders and stakeholders, with a keen ability and desire to find common ground across deliverables and timelines. A Bachelor’s degree is required with at least eight years of relevant corporate relations experience; an advanced degree in the form of an MBA or hard sciences is a plus. S/he will have a track record of successfully completed six- and seven-figure corporate gifts and/or other revenue-producing partnerships. Travel is expected.






    Created in 1973, the Rutgers University Foundation advances Rutgers’ pursuit of excellence in education, research, and public service. The Foundation provides the bridge between donors and the universities, schools, programs, faculty, and students that make up the University. The Foundation helps to match caring people with satisfying and meaningful opportunities to make gifts that have an impact on Rutgers. Founded in 1766, Rutgers is the eighth oldest institution of higher education in the nation. Today, Rutgers–New Brunswick is a member of the Association of American Universities, is New Jersey’s premier public research institution and flagship state university. More than 100 majors offer students vast opportunities. On July 1, 2014, Rutgers University joined The Big Ten Conference of world-class universities whose member institutions share a common mission of research, graduate, professional, and undergraduate teaching, and public service. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization with the sole mission of supporting Rutgers University. The organization includes the areas of Alumni Relations, Development and related Communications. Led by Foundation President Nevin E. Kessler and his senior cabinet—the Executive Leadership Group (ELG)—the Foundation successfully completed a $1 billion campaign in 2014 and is preparing for another multi-billion dollar campaign in the near future.


    More information on the Foundation can be found at support.rutgers.edu

    Rutgers Locations




    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state of New Jersey’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Established in 1766 and having recently celebrated a milestone 250th anniversary, Rutgers is the eighth oldest higher education institution in the United States. More than 67,000 students and 22,000 faculty and staff learn, work, and serve the public at Rutgers locations across New Jersey and around the world. This AVP will be based at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, but will be engaged across the entire University.




    The history, the birthplace, the center, the insight, the diversity, the vigor, the heart. Rutgers University–New Brunswick took root 250 years ago. New Brunswick is the state’s most comprehensive intellectual resource— the flagship university of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, as designated by the Association of American Universities. Rutgers–New Brunswick is the region’s most high-profile public research institution and a leading national research center with a global impact. Spanning New Brunswick, Piscataway, and adjacent towns in central New Jersey, Rutgers University–New Brunswick sits at the center of America’s northeast corridor, which runs from Boston to Washington, D.C. Only an hour’s train ride to New York City and Philadelphia, New Brunswick and its adjacent towns offer living options for any and all tastes: urban, suburban, rural, and the beach.


    Learn more at rutgers.edu




    With research a fundamental part of the university’s mission, the Office of Research and Economic Development (ORED) aims to further the reach of Rutgers research and its impact on communities. Led by Christopher J. Molloy, Ph.D., senior vice president for research and economic development, the office provides a pipeline of services across Rutgers to drive and support faculty research and strategically leads the university’s economic development activities.


    Rutgers’ cutting-edge research, sponsored by federal and state agencies, and increasingly by corporations and foundations, contributes to the medical, environmental, social, and cultural well-being of the state. By transforming Rutgers research into products, services, and partnerships, we help New Jersey’s economy grow. ORED provides broad oversight to the following functional units: Innovation and Research Commercialization, Corporate Engagement, Corporate Contracts, Research Services, Comparative Medicine Resources, Translational Sciences, Economic Development, Advanced Research Computing, Research Finance and Administration, Research and Sponsored Programs, Grant and Contract Accounting, and Research Regulatory Affairs.



    Corporate Centers



    In November 2016, Chris Needles rejoined the Rutgers Foundation after serving for 17 years at the University of Florida (UF), where in his final position he served as the Senior Assistant Vice President for Development. Prior to Florida, Chris served Rutgers University for 15 years in varying capacities, first in athletics and then in corporate and foundation relations.

    Chris made an indelible impact on UF’s success in his 17 years, a tenure that encompassed three different campaigns. He rebuilt Corporate and Foundation Relations into a high-functioning team and more recently executed a decentralization plan that resulted in the hiring of talented new CFR staff embedded in five major academic units. In 2013, Chris assumed additional responsibility for regional development, international advancement, and supervision of six unit development teams–College of the Arts, Florida Museum of Natural History, Harn Museum of Art, UF Performing Arts, UF Libraries, and the Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience–positioning each unit for success in UF’s current $3 billion Go Greater campaign. Among his signature fundraising achievements are securing the seven-figure endowment gifts that created the UF Water Institute and the Frank Karel Chair in Public Interest Communications.


    In 2017, following industry best practices, Chris engineered a reorganization of Rutgers’ Corporate and Foundation Relations office into two separate and distinct entities. He recruited new leadership to bolster the university’s Foundation Relations efforts and worked closely with ORED leaders to facilitate the creation of the new CEC.


    Chris holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the University of Notre Dame, a Master’s Degree in Sports Management from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and an MBA in Organizational Management from Rutgers University.


    David Kimball, PhD, is currently Vice President of Innovation and Research Commercialization at Rutgers University, in the Office of Research and Economic Development. He also heads the Rutgers Translational Sciences group and is a Research Professor in the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy.


    David obtained his PhD in Organic Chemistry/Chemical Biology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and spent the first 19 years of his career at Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute, leading drug discovery and development efforts in cardiovascular medicine and oncology. In 2001, he moved to Lexicon Pharmaceuticals in Princeton, NJ as Vice President of Chemistry and directed discovery and development chemistry efforts for Lexicon’s entire small molecule clinical pipeline. David also served as Senior Vice President of Nonclinical Research at Pharmacopeia, Inc. and Chief Scientific Officer of Hydra Biosciences in Cambridge, MA. He has played a leading role in the discovery and development of a dozen clinical compounds.


    David joined Rutgers University in 2011 and was involved in the merger of Rutgers with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. After the merger, he took on responsibility for staffing and reorganizing the technology commercialization and outreach functions across the newly expanded university.




    The newly appointed AVP for Corporate Engagement will join a vibrant university with a robust and fast- growing research base that has fueled positive momentum in Rutgers’ key corporate partnerships:

    • In the four years since the integration of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, corporate research support has risen, on average, greater than 25% each year.
    • Technology licensing revenues in FY2017 reached a record $29.4 million.
    • Corporate philanthropic investments in Rutgers exceeded $40 million for the first time ever last year.
    • Continuing and executive education programs at Rutgers generate millions more annually from the business community.

    Rutgers has formed a close relationship with New Jersey’s pharmaceutical industry, with 14 of the world’s 20 largest companies in this space having a significant presence in the state. Rutgers enjoys a particularly unique and special partnership with its New Brunswick neighbor, Johnson & Johnson, whose world headquarters sits adjacent to Rutgers’ historic Old Queens campus.


    Overall, nearly 20 percent of all Fortune 500 corporate headquarters lie within 100 miles of the flagship Rutgers-New Brunswick campus, presenting numerous opportunities to form new partnerships.


    Rutgers actively encourages participation in CASE, NACRO, UIDP, AUTM, LES and the Big Ten CFR Group, building a vibrant network of colleagues across the country.




    • Work directly and in collaboration with the Vice President for Development and the Vice President for Innovation and Research Commercialization to envision, build, and sustain a best-in-class Corporate Engagement Center – exemplified by expanding the depth and breadth of existing corporate partnerships, securing new alliances, and growing as rapidly as possible each of the various revenue streams Rutgers receives each year from the business community. Leveraging Rutgers’ unique geographical proximity to a number of the nation’s leading corporations, the AVP and his/her team will take a systematic approach to identifying and developing holistic strategies for the top 100+ corporations that have the greatest potential for developing broad, comprehensive partnerships. S/he will set a tone as leader and will be expected to both maintain a personal prospect portfolio and annual performance goals while working closely with the direct reports to this position to develop their respective portfolios and goals.
    • Collaborate effectively with deans, directors, key faculty, and University senior administrators across all disciplines and campuses, with particular focus on those units that interface closely with the corporate sector. Execute campus visits for corporate representatives that showcase cutting-edge academic and research programs, world-class faculty, and talented students. Translating priority academic and research initiatives into inspiring presentations that produce both philanthropic and non-philanthropic revenue is essential.
    • Serve as the University’s primary liaison and central point of contact with regional and national corporations with multiple interests at Rutgers; lead the cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship processes, involving key faculty, deans, University and Rutgers University Foundation senior administrators and staff, as needed.
    • Must maintain a current working knowledge and understanding of industry news and trends and be able to adjust priorities and approach accordingly. The individual represents the Corporate Engagement Center, and at times the Rutgers University Foundation and Rutgers University, at professional forums.


    The AVP can be expected to have the following personal characteristics and professional qualifications:

    • Bachelor’s degree plus at least eight years of relevant corporate engagement experience in a higher education setting, preferably at a Carnegie Research 1 university; MBA or other appropriate advanced degree strongly preferred; experience in a corporate setting a plus
    • Demonstrated success in building comprehensive corporate partnerships across multiple units and disciplines. Strong familiarity with NACRO model of holistic corporate engagement and a desire to implement NACRO-driven best practices. Highly qualified c andidates w ill h ave i n-depth e xperience i n f acilitating m ulti-faceted a lliances including (but not limited to) sponsored research, technology transfer, continuing/executive education, student recruitment, economic development, and strategic philanthropy. Must have demonstrated ability to work equally effectively and collegially with internal constituents (faculty and staff, deans, senior University administration) as well as corporate executives and their designees at all levels of a particular company.
    • Demonstrated ability to provide leadership and strategic direction; ability to motivate, guide, support, and manage multiple priorities and build a positive, collaborative environment. An understanding of and appreciation for higher education and a commitment to the values and role of a public research university; ability to translate and create interest in University programs, research, and priorities to external constituencies
    • Demonstrated ability to achieve goals with a strong work ethic and superior written and oral communications skills.

    AVP Corporate Engagement Position Description


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