David Tarver has been named senior counselor to the provost for innovation and entrepreneurship at Wayne State University.
In his role, Tarver will provide guidance and overall strategic direction to the university in areas of innovation and entrepreneurship, provide administration to the Wayne State University Hub — a campuswide initiative designed to foster an ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship — and augment existing efforts in the various schools and colleges, student groups and other activities around the university and to ensure that Wayne State has access to best-in-class innovation and entrepreneurship opportunities. This is a new position at WSU and is responsible to the Office of the Provost and the Office of Economic Development.
“As a seasoned entrepreneur, an educator and an advocate for bringing entrepreneurship to underserved communities, David brings the perfect blend of experiences to this new role,” said Wayne State Provost Keith Whitfield. “We look forward to working closely with David to deepen entrepreneurial education and opportunities at Michigan’s only urban research university.”
Tarver is a technology business executive with success in corporate research and development, technology business startup, and social entrepreneurship. He began his professional career as a member of the technical staff and group supervisor at the legendary AT&T Bell Laboratories. In 1983, Tarver launched Telecom Analysis Systems Inc., a high-tech telecommunications instrumentation business. He sold that company 12 years later for $30 million and then, working as group president for the buyer, built a telecommunications business with a market value in excess of $2 billion.
Tarver left the corporate sector in 1999 with a passion for community service. In 2001, he founded the Red Bank Education and Development Initiative, a community-based nonprofit that catalyzed dramatic improvements in academic performance and opportunities for children in Red Bank, New Jersey. Tarver holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan. He has served as a lecturer in the University of Michigan College of Engineering’s Center for Entrepreneurship since 2012. He is the author of Proving Ground: A Memoir, which details his entrepreneurial journey from childhood dream to international success.
Tarver began his new position on July 17.
Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering nearly 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to more than 27,000 students.