Julie Lenzer

Chief Innovation Officer
University of Maryland
College Park, MD

As Chief Innovation Officer and Director, UM Ventures - College Park, Julie Lenzer is charged with fostering and deploying innovation to drive greater economic and social impact from the University. To accomplish this, she promotes and facilitates a culture of innovation and collaboration, working to connect and promote innovation assets across the university and with the external ecosystem including expanding industry partnerships and supporting the Greater College Park Initiative and Discovery District. She is also charged with maximizing synergies between UMD and the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB). She currently oversees the Office of Technology Commercialization, the Maryland Small Business Development Center (SBDC), the Maryland International Incubator (MI2), TechPort (a UAS incubator in Southern Maryland), the Mixed/Augmented/Virtual Reality Innovation Center (MAVRIC), as well as university engagement with the Discovery District (UMD’s research park).

She was appointed by the governor of Maryland in 2016 to the Maryland Economic Development Commission, where she advises the Maryland Secretary of Commerce on economic development policies and programs. In 2017, she joined the national board of the Center for American Entrepreneurship, which recommends policies that support entrepreneurship at the federal, state, and local levels. She is also active on the board of the Girls Scouts of Central Maryland, specifically supporting their first-ever capital campaign and leading the development of the business plan for their “camp of the future.”

Prior to joining the University, Julie was appointed to lead the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) within the U.S. Department of Commerce. In her capacity as Director of the OIE, she drove programs and policies that support innovative economic development such as innovation-based entrepreneurship and regional innovation clusters, deploying $40M in grants across the U.S. over her 2 ½ year tenure. As a Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Commerce, she was also tapped to represent the U.S. as the innovation lead at the G20 in China and facilitate a session on ecosystem building at the World Economic Forum in Tianjin, China.

Prior to her political appointment, Julie was the Executive Director of the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship (MCE), an initiative of the Howard County Economic Development Authority focused on igniting the entrepreneurial culture and bringing together the entrepreneurial ecosystem across the state. During her tenure, the MCE quadrupled its client base and saw the creation of new programs such as 3D Maryland, a leadership initiative connecting resources in additive manufacturing; the Conscious Venture Lab, an accelerator focused on Conscious Capitalism; and a technology transfer accelerator in partnership with Johns Hopkins Advanced Physics Lab and other leading research institutions. Ms. Lenzer was also the co-chair of Startup Maryland as well as co-founder and former CEO of the Path Forward Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a nonprofit that helped women expand economic opportunity by starting and building growth-oriented businesses using technology transfer.

An award winning serial entrepreneur, Julie founded her first company, Applied Creative Technologies, Inc. (ACT), in 1995 as an IT solutions firm focusing on manufacturing operations and inventory control. With Fortune 500 clients, she grew the company to multi-millions in revenues, winning several national awards for workplace excellence. Through her 10-year leadership, ACT developed and commercialized ACTrax, a leading-edge production and warehouse management system, for which she negotiated the sale in 2005. A sought-after keynote speaker on topics such as leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurship, Julie has delivered keynotes and workshops across 4 continents. Her op-ed, “Everyone can have a trophy, or how to make the most of NOT getting Amazon HQ2” was recently published in the USA Today and previously, had been quoted as an expert in media brands such as Entrepreneur, Inc, Fast Company and Forbes as well as the NY Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, The Guardian and the Boston Globe.

Julie was recognized as a 2014 Influential Marylander, 2013 Trailblazer in Technology, and as AT&T's Innovator of the Year in 2011. She received designation for Excellence in Leadership in 2017 by Prince George’s County, a SmartCEO's BRAVA award winner in 2014, and was the 2004 Athena winner. She was also named to Maryland's Top 100 Women 2005, 2008 and 2014 at which time she joined the Circle of Excellence for sustained service to the community.