The Kent Innovation Center on the Research Park campus of Iowa State University (ISU) in Ames, Iowa has officially opened. “This new Innovation Center will grow and strengthen our relationship with Iowa State University as we apply cutting edge research to our focus in agriculture, food, feed, and biosciences for people, pets, and livestock,” said Gage Kent, CEO and Chairman of Kent Corporation.With the opening of the Kent Innovation Center, we are expanding our partnership with ISU. In September 2017, we made an $8 million commitment to the new Grain Science and Feed Mill facility. We believe the opportunities for graduating outstanding talent from these programs along with the opportunity for professional development of existing Kent employees and other Ag businesses will strengthen and enhance the future for the entire agriculture industry.
Kent Corporation employs a strong internship program and will now be able to expand these opportunities for ISU students by offering a multi-semester internship program throughout the calendar year for most majors at ISU. In addition, by joining the Research Park, we will be able to develop new and exciting efforts on innovation and collaboration with more than 90 Iowa companies of all sizes including emerging start-up businesses. Kent Corporation formed the Enterprise Innovation group in 2017 with a focus on identifying long term growth areas. The new Innovation Center in Ames is part of the outreach program to collaborate with universities, research teams, and thought leaders throughout the world.
Jeff Underwood, Vice President, Enterprise Innovation, will manage the new Kent Innovation Center in addition to remaining an active member of the Innovation Team. Underwood has a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from ISU and has been an active alumnus for many years. He is also a member of the Cultivation Corridor AgriTech Accelerator Board, Advisor to the ISU Startup Factory and member of the Ames Chamber of Commerce. Jeff and his family have relocated to Ames, Iowa.