Friday, August 13, 2021

Dave Ernst is the new executive director of strategic partnerships at the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business, where he will connect businesses and other organizations to resources in the college to help them grow.

“Iowa has a tremendous brand across the state and the region I want to be part of an institution that builds so much trust and helps to create the future with our unique talents,” says Ernst, who earned his MBA from Tippie in 1997 and his BS in engineering from Iowa in 1986.

The Office of Strategic Partnerships will serve as a convenient front door for businesses and organizations that want to utilize the college’s resources to create new growth and expansion opportunities for themselves. The office will develop relationships with all aspects of the business community in Iowa and other states, including corporations, nonprofits, and community associations. It will draw together the college’s resources to deepen and broaden connections with these organizations, helping the college gain greater visibility while providing partners with solutions to their challenges.

Ernst has held a number of business development positions with several education-related companies. He was most recently senior vice president of state services and business development for Cognia, a Georgia-based developer of assessment tests.

He also worked in numerous capacities for Pearson in Iowa City, including regional vice president and vice president/director of the company’s research and innovation network, and at Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids.

As executive director of strategic partnerships, Ernst says building corporate partnerships will expand research collaborations, executive education, and experiential learning and placement opportunities for faculty and students. Strong engagement with faculty and students will help organizations solve business problems and expose them to a high-quality workforce. If done well, he says positive strategic partnerships could also lead to increased corporate-generated philanthropic support for the college’s mission.

This new initiative will pull together existing pockets of engagement across the college.

  • The Tippie Analytics Cooperative is the industry-facing arm for all things analytics. They build partnerships throughout the region that result in hands-on projects for its students and data-based business decisions for its clients.
  • The Marketing Institute partners with outside business clients on marketing challenges.
  • The Tippie Leadership Collaborative is a resource hub for companies and nonprofits looking for management expertise through expert speakers, custom executive education, and research partnerships.
  • The John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center is a significant boost to economic development within the region with its focus on small businesses and startups.

A native of Rockford, Ill., Ernst and his wife live in Cedar Rapids.