College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

David Sly to lead Engineering Entrepreneurship Initiative


David Sly, has been named the inaugural director of entrepreneurship in the Iowa State University College of Engineering. In this role, he will lead the newly established Engineering Entrepreneurship Initiative.

“EEI is about teaching and coaching students to work with customers and leverage new technology to engineer value-oriented marketable solutions,” Sly said. “Students can use this mindset and skillset to successfully launch innovative new products for their employers, or their own companies, as I did when I was their age.”

The Engineering Entrepreneurship Initiative is part of a broader university mission to place more emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation. This initiative supports a vibrant culture and curriculum that empowers students to develop an entrepreneurial mindset to become innovators, leaders and difference-makers in their communities – and empowers them to turn their ideas into new businesses or startups and help existing companies innovate and grow.

Sly, who has served in the industrial and manufacturing systems engineering department at Iowa State since 2002, brings decades of entrepreneurial and business experience to this position. As a licensed Professional Engineer, he holds a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in industrial engineering as well as an MBA with a finance and marketing emphasis, all from Iowa State University. As a new graduate student in 1987, Sly established Cimtechnologies Corporation, a manufacturing software firm, as the first student company in Iowa State’s Research Park which had just been launched on campus.

Throughout his career, Sly has developed strong partnerships with companies in Iowa and surrounding states. He works with companies to sponsor student projects, which gives the students real world engineering experience while also benefiting the company. Sly said one major goal he hopes to reinforce in this new capacity is that entrepreneurs and industry can work to innovate together.