UMass Dartmouth appoints director of Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

DARTMOUTH – A former technology company CEO has been appointed as director of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship in Fall River.

Phil Adams had been named interim director last July and will now become director of the center and assistant vice chancellor for innovation, entrepreneurship and corporate engagement, UMass Dartmouth announced Friday.

UMass said Adams is expected to expand the university’s involvement in the corporate community and to position the school as a catalyst for a “blue-economy corridor” focused on the maritime industry from Rhode Island to Cape Cod.

“As a Tier 1 national research university, UMass Dartmouth is leading efforts to catalyze a blue-economy corridor that leverages the area’s coastal location and strengthens the entire regional economy,” UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Robert Johnson said in a news release. “Phil’s experience in private-sector entrepreneurship uniquely qualifies him to connect entrepreneurs and innovators to unleash job-creating activity at the university and across the region.”

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Adams replaced former CIE Director Toby Stapleton, who had held the role since 2015 and became dean of graduate studies and continuing education at Salve Regina University.

Adams was CEO of the Worcester, Mass.-based World Energy Solutions from 2011 to 2015, president from 2006 to 2010, as well as chief operating officer from 2001 to 2005.

UMass said that under his leadership World Energy Solutions grew from $250,000 in annual revenue to $40 million and from seven employees to 130 employees.

“There is tremendous forward momentum at UMass Dartmouth and across the region, and I am excited to help accelerate that momentum,” Adams said in a statement. “UMass Dartmouth and the CIE have a critical role to play in supporting entrepreneurs and the business sector, and I am especially excited about working with UMass Dartmouth’s students and faculty to drive the regional economy forward.”

Located in Fall River, the 60,000-square-foot CIE is home to numerous startup companies – many of which are involved in the local maritime industry – as well as UMass Dartmouth laboratories, prototyping facilities and conference rooms.

The CIE is also home to Celldex Therapeutics, one of the region’s top life science companies, according to UMass.

Among the university’s top priorities for the CIE will be connecting entrepreneurs within the center and throughout the region with UMass Dartmouth students and faculty, the university said.

The CIE will also serve as a portal for businesses seeking engagement with the university, working closely with the university research enterprise, colleges and the SouthCoast Development Partnership, UMass said.

William Hamilton is PBN staff writer and special projects editor. You can follow him on Twitter @waham or email him at