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Staff Profiles


Julie Messing, Executive Director, Entrepreneur Initiatives

Julie Messing is the Executive Director for Entrepreneurship Initiatives at Kent State University. She developed and led the implementation of the entrepreneurship program. The program consists of two minors, a major, a living-learning community, speakers’ series, Entrepreneurship Extravaganza and an entrepreneurial lab. She works closely with the business community to bring opportunities to the classroom as well as support entrepreneurial development in Northeast Ohio. She is the recipient of the Paul L Pfeiffer Creative Teaching Award and the Non-Tenure Track Teaching Award. Both awards recognize faculty for excellence in teaching. She has taught entrepreneurship courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Ms. Messing is President of her own consulting organization, Transitions Advisory Group, Inc. and active with the Junior League, serves as a Trustee for The Akron Area YMCA, The Toni Turchi Foundation and is a founding director and Previous President of The Entrepreneurship Education Consortium (EEC). She is also a member of the United States Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) where she presented as a finalist for the Innovative Pedagogy Award in 2009 and the winner in 2010. She is also co-author of “Constructing an Innovation Model of Entrepreneurship Education Through Regional Collaboration”, published in Journal of Entrepreneurship Education, Spring 2009.


Kate Harmon, Associate Director

As BLP Associate Director, Kate is responsible for the daily operations of the office including serving as the primary Venture Advisor. She has accomplished some pretty cool things in her career. And failed miserably at some other stuff. If you are particularly nosey, you can check out her LinkedIn bio.


Zach Mikrut, Senior Marketing Manager

Zach is responsible for awareness of LaunchPad across Kent State’s campus network. He handles the development and execution of Blackstone LaunchPad events including workshops, luncheons, meet-ups, and webinars. Zach also manages the social media at LaunchPad and will occasionally post a cool Vine video. Zach is a graduate of Kent State’s Managerial Marketing and Entrepreneurship programs. He has professional experience in sales, marketing and consulting small businesses.