UConn Names First VP for Economic Development

Mary Holz-Clause, center, is introduced as the vice president for economic development during the Board of Trustees meeting.

Mary Holz-Clause, center, is introduced as the vice president for economic development during the Board of Trustees meeting. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Mary Holz-Clause has been named the University of Connecticut’s first Vice President for Economic Development. Prior to her appointment at UConn, she served as associate vice president for extension and outreach at Iowa State University. Holz-Clause will begin at UConn on Dec. 2, and will play a pivotal role in coordinating and managing two of UConn’s most important economic development initiatives: BioScience Connecticut and the new Tech Park to be located in Storrs.

At Iowa State, Holz-Clause co-managed a staff of 700 Extension faculty and staff and a budget of more than $95 million. She was responsible for outreach and engagement activities on the local, state, national, and international levels to advance economic development opportunities with key partners of ISU. She provided cross-disciplinary academic outreach in economic development, engaged in external fundraising, and assisted firms in business development and technology transfer. Her work has included research surrounding the introduction of new technologies for corporations, including large corporations as well as small start-up entrepreneurs.

President Susan Herbst, left, and Mary Holz-Clause, vice president for economic development.

President Susan Herbst, left, and Mary Holz-Clause, vice president for economic development. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

UConn President Susan Herbst said Holz-Clause rose to the top of the list among a field of excellent finalists:

“Dr. Holz-Clause is an outstanding leader who will enable UConn to help Governor Malloy and our legislature accelerate the economic recovery of Connecticut,” said Herbst. “She will focus on creating research and technology jobs that will generate revenue and help keep Connecticut’s young people here to build the future. Gov. Malloy has asked that UConn pursue all means necessary to create jobs and boost this economy; Dr. Holz-Clause has the expertise, enthusiasm, and creativity to do just that, on behalf of this state.”

Mary Holz-Clause, left, vice president for economic development, speaks with Steven Reviczky, state commissioner of agriculture.

Mary Holz-Clause, left, vice president for economic development, speaks with Steven Reviczky, state commissioner of agriculture. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

“UConn is the place to be,” said Holz-Clause. “The leadership at the University and in the state are committed to economic development. Working in partnership with faculty, staff, private industry, and state government, we will lead innovation and job creation in Connecticut. We expect to create a culture of successes that can fuel an economic renaissance across the state. I see great opportunity here and am thrilled to take responsibility as a co-leader in this vision.”

Holz-Clause has been in the field of economic development for more than three decades, including on the international level: In 2007, she started a Global Extension program which currently works with the Extension services in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and has established economic development programs in Nigeria and Uganda. She has also worked with universities and organizations in India, China, Turkey, and Russia.

She founded a nationwide virtual center, which serves agricultural entrepreneurs across the United States. The Agricultural Resource Marketing Center, which Holz-Clause established in 2001, averages more than 720,000 clients yearly. She also founded the Value Added Agriculture Program, which provides assistance to entrepreneurs and businesses, and she has conducted more than 200 marketing, feasibility, and business studies for clients around the world.

Mary Holz-Clause, left, vice president for economic development, speaks with Suman Singha, senior vice provost and vice president for research. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Mary Holz-Clause, left, vice president for economic development, speaks with Suman Singha, senior vice provost and vice president for research. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Prior to her employment at Iowa State, Holz-Clause was assistant director for research for the Iowa Department of Economic Development. While in that position, she worked with businesses and firms throughout the country and helped start the Iowa High Technology Council.

She has been very successful at securing external grants and contracts, and has served as the Principal Investigator (PI) or co-PI for more than $30 million in projects with partners including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of Commerce, NASA, and private philanthropists.

At UConn, the new vice president for economic development will be responsible for organizing, leading and expanding the University’s significant and fast-growing economic development efforts and will:

  • Develop and implement long-range plans, near-term operating practices, and public policy initiatives to further entrepreneurship, industry collaboration, technology commercialization, and technology-based economic development at the University;
  • Identify specific gaps in University programs based on industry demands, and work with deans and administrators to develop, fund, and implement initiatives in response to demand, including programs that build research expertise in areas of keen interest to industry;
  • Convene a standing campus-wide committee (Storrs and the UConn Health Center) responsible for identifying and addressing policy and programmatic issues impacting economic development; provide leadership to build strategic alliances with industry and state agencies targeted to facilities, research, workforce development, and service programs responsive to the economic development needs of the state;
  • Promote and coordinate the University’s role as a resource for economic development, leading community engagement, communications, and marketing activities that demonstrate the University’s economic development contributions and attract industry collaboration and funding.

The position will also be responsible for the University’s communication and collaboration with the governor’s economic development leadership team and key public officials engaged in economic issues; and provide programmatic leadership and direction for the University of Connecticut Technology Park and Bioscience Connecticut initiatives.

Holz-Clause holds a degree in agricultural business, a master’s in public administration, and a Ph.D. in agriculture education, all from Iowa State University.

Her salary at UConn will be $230,000. She and her husband Reg have three daughters.