Five for Friday – Renee Shelton

Renee Shelton is a Commercialization Specialist at The Center for Innovation and her duties include: managing an $5M Economic Development Administration University Center grant focused on UAS and autonomous systems sector, supporting regional commercialization of autonomous systems innovations and start-ups, encouraging business expansion opportunities in North Dakota, assisting with training and learning opportunities to develop a highly skilled regional workforce, and creating awareness of CFI and the value it provides the entrepreneurial ecosystem and prospective clients. Renee’s background consists of marketing and general business management. Renee was asked to answer five questions about her and her time at CFI:

What are some highlights of your position at CFI? What is your favorite thing about your job?

“The highlight of my position here at the Center is meeting new start-ups from all over the world and helping to educate them on our UAS and autonomous systems ND ecosystem, as well as assisting with connecting them to our collaborative partners – I connect the dots for them! As a coach here at the Center I love collaborating with my clients whether they are a start-up or working on new innovative ideas; I help them navigate the commercialization journey and assist with entering the marketplace.”

What value does the Center for Innovation provide to the UND campus, Grand Forks community, and the state of North Dakota?

“The Center for Innovation is a large support system and collaborative economic developer partner to UND, the community at large, and the state of North Dakota. The collective experience and expertise of the Center can support and assist students, faculty and entrepreneurs realize many of their innovative ideas and business aspirations.”

What expertise/experiences do you bring to your CFI clients?

“I bring over 25 years of small business and corporate experience to the Center for Innovation. I have been recognized for creating and delivering innovative business solutions, breakthrough marketing and sales strategies, and implementing change management strategies and tactics to increase customer and market share. I am the President of the AUVSI Great Plains Chapter where I work hard to bring innovative ideas to the organization and its members. I am a strong champion of collaboration in the community as a business practice to create success.  I consider myself forward thinking, one with strong problem-solving skills, an entrepreneurial spirit, smart business acumen, and a huge proponent of embracing the customer experience.”

When you are not working at CFI, what can others find you doing?

“I love walking my dog Charleston on the Greenway! During the two seasons of North Dakota, you can find me planting an herb garden, or decorating a holiday pot outside my apartment building. You will usually always see me at the downtown market in the summer.”

Where is your go-to Grand Forks spot?

“I love to catch-up and visit with family and friends and you can often find me doing just that at Sky’s, Harry’s Steakhouse, and The Toasted Frog.”