University of Michigan

University at Albany



Research Team

David Lewis

David LewisDavid Lewis, Ph.D., is assistant professor of geography & planning at the University at Albany, SUNY, and affiliated faculty with the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy and the Lewis Mumford Center. He has extensive experience in regional economic development planning and implementation. An asset-based, community-driven participatory process has been at the center of his research, service and teaching in this area.

Most recently, Lewis has completed an economic impact assessment on the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, through the collaboration of a regional partnership of more than 30 organizations that participated in the training of corridor residents to collect visitor survey data. One of the most important goals of the project was to increase the community’s capacities to plan in the future by training residents and providing appropriate tools for communities to use. Another example of building the capacity of local communities is the Web-based GIS application developed to help communities conduct corridor management plans for proposed scenic byways (www.buildingyourscenicbyway.org).

Lewis’ research has often been the basis innovative public policies at the local, state and national levels. In particular, he has helped inform local policy discussions in Bridgeton, N.J. and state-level technology incubation policy in New Jersey. In March 2010, Lewis testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Small Business Committee and advised the Japanese Ministry of Trade, Economics and Industry in 2003.

Elsie Harper-Anderson

Elsie Harper-Anderson, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her research focuses on understanding how macroeconomic change impacts labor markets and entrepreneurship. She also researches the connection between workforce development and economic development in urban areas.

Harper-Anderson has served on the faculty at the University of Michigan, the University of California, Berkeley and American University. She also served as a visiting scholar at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and was appointed as the inaugural Ariel Investments Visiting Research Fellow at the Chicago Urban League in 2008.

She is also founder and CEO of Regional Economic Policy Research LLC., a research and consulting firm. Her research has been published in book chapters, policy reports and major scholarly journals. Prior to joining academia, Harper-Anderson worked as a social scientist at Social Policy Research Associated in California. She also has significant experience implementing and evaluating federal, state and local economic development, workforce and housing programs for agencies, including the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Economic Development Administration and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Lawrence A. Molnar

Lawrence A. Molnar is the director of the EDA University Center for Economic Diversification at the University of Michigan; associate director of the Institute for Research on Labor, Employment and the Economy; president of the Educational Association of University Centers; and president of the Michigan Business Incubator Association. His B.A. program in journalism and M.A. program in telecommunication/management are from Michigan State University, College of Communication Arts and Sciences, and his post-M.A. graduate program (ABD) was in the University of Michigan, School of Information.

During his 25 years at the University of Michigan, Molnar has been involved in research and projects in the academic and private sector related to economic development, business incubation, technology transfer and information science. He is the principal investigator for the EDA-funded Community Economic Adjustment Program, working with communities in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota where there are major manufacturing plant closures.

Molnar’s interests include intelligent information systems, the diffusion of innovation, economic development and advanced telecommunication technology. He is principal investigator for the EDA-funded Incubating Success, a research study of the U.S. business incubation industry that is correlates incubator best practices with the success of client companies after they leave the incubator. Molnar has published and presented research studies and papers on a range of economic development and information technology issues, including the state of the business incubator industry in Michigan and in the United States.

Dinah Adkins

Dinah Adkins was chief executive of the National Business Incubation Association from November 1988 until August 2009, where she oversaw all activities of the 1,900-plus member organization of incubator managers and developers. Prior to assuming leadership of NBIA, Adkins was on the founding staff of the Ohio University Innovation Center. She managed the incubator from January 1986 until July 1989. Adkins also worked in journalism, public relations and events management. She holds bachelor's and master's degrees in English from Ohio University.

An invited speaker on topics related to business incubation at conferences throughout the world, Adkins is a member of the American Society of Association Executives. From 2005 until June 2007, she served as a member of the governing Board of Directors of the Qatar Foundation Science & Technology Park, at the invitation of Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al Missned. Adkins was previously a member of the advisory boards of the Panasonic Incubator of Cupertino, Calif.; the Nidus Center for Scientific Enterprise, a life science incubator created by Monsanto Corp. and Washington University of St. Louis; and the National Center for Entrepreneurship in Rural America

She is the author and coauthor of numerous publications, including many journal and association articles. Among her titles are A Brief History of Business Incubation in the United States; Incubating in Rural Areas: Challenges and Keys to Success; Incubating Technology Businesses: A National Benchmarking Study; and Best Practices in Action.

Tracy Kitts

Tracy Kitts has been vice president and COO of the National Business Incubation Association since August 2003, where he oversees the internal operations and finances. NBIA currently has members from 66 nations, making it the most international business incubation association. NBIA has developed a comprehensive array of member services including publications, training, research, consulting and information clearinghouse activities, and it has significantly expanded its prestige in the United States and abroad.

Kitts is a trained meeting facilitator and has been invited to speak and moderate discussions on topics related to business incubation and entrepreneur support at numerous events and conferences. He has also contributed work to various studies of the incubation industry and assessments of business incubation best practices.

Kitts joined NBIA as director of Web services in May 2000. In this position, he developed a Web site with over 10,000 pages of information on business incubation. Kitts is expert in multiple programing languages, database design and has extensive experience building Web sites and developing Web-based applications. 

Before joining the NBIA staff, Kitts was associate director of the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks, an economic development organization working to revitalize rural economies in Appalachia. He also has worked in information technology, accounting and real estate management. He is a graduate of Ohio University.

Linda Knopp

Linda Knopp is director of policy analysis & research at the National Business Incubation Association. A member of the NBIA staff since 2001, she has extensive experience analyzing data and reporting on trends in business incubation, entrepreneurship and economic development. In her current capacity, Knopp provides research, editorial, governmental relations and public relations counsel to the association.

She is the author of NBIA’s 2009 Incubation Industry Compensation Survey, 2005 Compensation Survey of Incubation Executives and 2006 State of the Business Incubation Industry, as well as the upcoming revision of NBIA’s periodic State of the Industry report. She also served as editor of the NBIA Review for several years and contributed to several other NBIA publications, including Best Practices in Action: Guidelines for Implementing First-Class Business Incubation Programs; A Comprehensive Guide to Business Incubation; and Developing a Business Incubation Program.

Prior to joining NBIA, Knopp worked as a freelance writer and editor who specialized in business management, economic and workforce development, energy/environmental consulting, utilities, healthcare and education. She previously served as a research analyst and project coordinator at the American Council on Education in Washington, D.C. She studied journalism/public relations at the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism at Marshall University and public policy studies at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University.