West Lafayette, IN
As a land-grant institution, Purdue
University has always had an outreach
focus. Gregory Deason’s work fits right
into that historical mission.
Deason repositioned Purdue Research
Park in West Lafayette from a basic real
estate venture to a vibrant high-tech hub
that incubates and supports firms in the
life sciences, homeland security,
engineering, advanced manufacturing, and
information technology. It is Indiana’s first
and largest certified technology park, with
more than 100 tech-related companies
sharing common ground.
He also led the development of research
parks in Merrillville (2004), New Albany
(2009), and Indianapolis (2009).
His recruiting efforts capitalize on Purdue’s
deepest core competencies. Although the
West Lafayette park dates to 1961, Deason
was also able to take advantage of a critical
development in the mid-1990s—a new
emphasis on creating and growing
companies from start-up mode. He
developed a program called Purdue
Research Park Portals, which provides
daily counsel to early-stage companies on
crucial topics from writing a business plan
to protecting intellectual property.
The parks’ impact is substantial both in
terms of new jobs and capital investment.
He says: “At the core, we’re trying to create
new kinds of jobs that are highly skilled
and pay well; that will continue to diversify
Indiana’s economy; and that address new
and innovative products, services, and
ways of doing business.”
New companies will help Indiana retain its
brightest individuals, he adds. He believes
that, through research parks, universities
can have tremendous human impact by
developing solutions to societal challenges
in energy, medicine, and the environment.
As president of the 374-member
Association of University Research Parks,
he has represented Purdue and the entire
industry in discussions of best practices
around the world.
Deason grew up in rural Clinton County.
He is a composer, singer, and guitarist, and
is active in his church’s music programs and
in a band called Mustard Seeds. He also
enjoys time with his family, especially
watching the older two of his three sons
play varsity football.
“Purdue, as a whole, laid a great foundation, but in
agricultural economics a number of my classes guided me
to think critically. Then I was encouraged within the
department to work hard on my communication skills to
add a layer to what I could do. Faculty helped me
hone my leadership and management skills.”