Karl R. LaPan, President & CEO, NIIC
|Date Joining NIIC:|
October 16, 2000
Franklin Pierce University (B.S.)
55-Acre Campus adjacent to Purdue University Fort Wayne and Ivy Tech North Community College
|NIIC Annual Revenue:|
Indiana’s 5th Certified Tech Park
Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Customer Experience, Leadership, Strategic Planning, Business Growth
Karl R. LaPan is the first President & CEO of the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center. He has served in this capacity since the formation of the organization October 16, 2000.
Karl received his undergraduate degree in 1986 from Franklin Pierce College in Rindge, New Hampshire, where he was graduated with a B.S. degree in Business Management with High Honors, Summa Cum Laude. He was also Class Salutatorian. Upon completing his academic degree, he joined General Electric Company, and in 1988, graduated from its prestigious Financial Management Program. Subsequently, in 1993, Karl received his M.S. degree in Human Resources Development from The American University in Washington, D.C. and is a member of the Pi Alpha Alpha Honorary Society. Karl graduated from the Mahler Program for Executives in December 1998.
Why do you enjoy working at The NIIC?
I enjoy my job because of the endless variety of things to do. All of our companies are different–which is the nature of innovation–with unique sets of entrepreneurial challenges and opportunities. For someone like me who loves entrepreneurship and believes in its benefits, helping them find new and creative ways to succeed is a very enjoyable way to spend my time. Simply put, I have never had two days that have ever been the same!
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
My spare time is often spent with my family. Golf and tennis with my sons, family vacations in the surf and sun, visiting new places, sampling other cultures. Those are all my ideas of a good time. I’ve also made a lot of new friends in other non-profits and enjoy serving on other boards of directors. And, of course, my research and training travels on behalf of the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA) is enormously satisfying.
What do you like to do in the community?
Everything! I’m constantly amazed at how our city has grown and all of it located less than 20 minutes from my home. We have some significant community assets, too. I love the quality of the Embassy performances, and Science Central reminds me of my internal curious kid. With opportunities like these for our kids to be exposed to, the wonders of nature, science and technology, it’s no wonder we have such a talented pool of aspiring, young entrepreneurs. Kids today are starting their own businesses while they’re still in school! How great is that?
Karl Lapan: 2018 Report to the Allen County Commissioners
Karl Lapan: Great Lakes International Innovation Summit Presentation, September 25, 2017:
Karl Lapan: Update to the Allen County, Indiana Commissioners, July 28, 2017:
Indiana Chamber Connect and Collaborate, June 22, 2017:
Student Entrepreneurship: Creating a Pipeline of Future Entrepreneurs, March 28, 2017
Critical Success Factors in Building a Best-in-Class Rural Entrepreneurship Ecosystem, March 8, 2017
Access to Small Business Capital, January 13, 2017
Learn more about The NIIC’s strategic vision, including our core focus, prioritized goals, partnerships and initiatives, and much more.
Books I'm Reading:
Disrupt by Luke Williams
In a business world of nonstop change, there's only one way to win the game: Transform it entirely. This requires a revolution in thinking--a steady stream of disruptive strategies and unexpected solutions. In Disrupt, Luke Williams shows exactly how to generate those strategies and deliver those solutions.Purchase on Amazon Smile
Career Magic by Lee Cockerell
When Lee Cockerell says "If I can do it, so can you," he truly means it. No matter where you are along your career path, you have an opportunity to climb the ladder of success by paying attention, asking questions and having a passion for your chosen career.Purchase on Amazon Smile
Grit by Angela Duckworth
In this instant New York Times bestseller, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed—be it parents, students, educators, athletes, or business people—that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.”Purchase on Amazon Smile
Built for Growth by Dr. John Danner
Built for Growth decodes the interplay between builder personality and new business success. Using a patented analytic methodology, authors Chris Kuenne and John Danner discovered four distinct types of highly successful entrepreneurial personalities―the Driver, the Explorer, the Crusader, and the Captain. Each is motivated, makes decisions, manages, and leads their businesses differently.Purchase on Amazon Smile
The 4 Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney
The 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) is a simple, repeatable, and proven formula for executing on your most important strategic priorities in the midst of the whirlwind. By following the 4 Disciplines—Focusing on the Wildly Important; Acting on Lead Measures; Keeping a Compelling Scoreboard; Creating a Cadence of Accountability—leaders can produce breakthrough results, even when executing the strategy requires a significant change in behavior from their teams.Purchase on Amazon Smile
KonMari Method: A New Year’s Resolution
Photo credit: Darwin Vegher, Unsplash Have you been following Netflix’s latest hit, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo? Kondo’s method of organizing is known as the KonMari method. It consists of gathering together all of one’s belongings, one category at a time, and then keeping only those things that “spark joy.” While many people have been […]Read More
Creativity starts here
Creativity is not something exclusive to artists types. Business builders across any discipline can benefit from harnessing the power of creativity. After all, without creativity and commercialization of good ideas, most companies would not grow or be relevant. One of the things I learned, earlier this year, at the Disney Customer Experience Summit is, “creative processes must not […]Read More
A call to action on rural entrepreneurship
This is not a myth. This is a call to action. Only 1 in 10 new businesses will likely start in a rural community. While not lacking in entrepreneurial energy or potential, rural start-ups are lacking in proportion to their more urban counterparts. To foster business builders in less populated areas, rural communities need targeted […]More
Don’t fear automation: 3 ways business builders can embrace it
In 2017, I gave a talk on the power of technology to dislocate 80 million jobs from workplace automation and how pharmacists could be displaced by vending machines and how self-driving vehicles could transform transportation, distribution and logistics. I ended my talk with three core engagement principles – committing to long-term creative destruction strategies, leveraging culture building […]Read More
Authenticity sells: How to craft an intentional customer experience
There is a reason the average net promoter score in the United States is 10. High quality, world-class customer experiences are an exception, not the rule. So, what makes for remarkable customer experiences? An emotional connection and interactions to/with the brand; Something memorable, “sticky”, different, or a wow (unexpected); and An underlying feeling of acknowledged value […]Read More
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