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Wichita State networking research center has a new director

Friday, April 11, 2014 | Share

Wichita State University’s recent focus on innovation and technology has prompted officials to redefine the scope of the university’s networking research efforts.

Ken Russell
Ken Russell

Ken Russell, director of intellectual capital and organization strategist for Cisco Systems, has been hired to lead the effort.

Russell will begin at WSU in late May as executive director of a new networking, data storage and software center. He will be tasked with transforming WSU’s current Advanced Networking Research Institute into a new center focused on becoming a hub to link various network, data storage and software companies and their products.

The Advanced Networking Research Institute has existed in some form since 1994. The lab has worked with a long list of organizations including Cisco Systems, NetApp, Palo Alto Networks, Cessna, Spirit AeroSystems and the FAA. It was formerly directed by Ravi Pendse, who accepted a position at Brown University last summer.

Russell will be tasked with forming relationships with various network solutions companies, something he is familiar with from his work at Cisco. As organization strategist for he is currently responsible for building, maturing and strengthening executive relationships with customers and business partners.

He’s also familiar with building a research center from the ground up. From 2006-2009 he served as chief information officer for the David H. Murdock Research Institute, where he drove the development and implementation of a $1 billion “green-field” life sciences research institute.

An inspired vision

Russell also currently works in the Research Triangle Park located in North Carolina between Duke University in Durham, North Carolina State University in Raleigh, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a center that has inspired much of WSU President John Bardo’s vision for the university’s new Innovation Campus. Russell will report to John Tomblin, vice president for research and technology transfer at WSU.

“Dr. Pendse was a visionary person who helped WSU create the Advanced Networking Research Institute and pushed us to work outside of the aerospace industry that we were used to,” said John Tomblin, vice president for research and technology transfer. “He started a new chapter in our book, and when he left WSU, we immediately starting looking for someone to write the next chapter. When we found Dr. Russell, we realized he could not only write the next chapter, but begin a whole new volume. He brings with him the ability to form partnerships among companies in the information technology industry and a wealth of creative ideas for the innovation campus that will enable future job growth.”

Russell has a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in education and organizational leadership. Russell currently lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife and their two children, Christian and Alison. He serves on the Board of Advisors for the College of Computing & Informatics at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and the Board of Advisors for the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.

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Created on Friday, April 11, 2014; Last modified on Friday, April 11, 2014