WSU’s Ennovar Institute solidifies new leadership team

Wichita State University’s Ennovar Institute is reorganizing its leadership team. Ryan Uptmor, formerly program director for Ennovar, has been promoted to executive director. Uptmor replaces Tonya Witherspoon, who has taken a position with Ennovar partner SNT Media.

Witherspoon will continue working for Ennovar on a part-time basis as a strategy consultant.

“We’re constantly changing and evolving to keep up with industry technology demands, and this is an opportunity for our team to continue to excel,” said Uptmor. “The Ennovar team consists of some of the most talented individuals in their respective fields. I’m excited about our future and our drive to continue to grow the established and emerging labs within our institute.”

Uptmor’s experience includes leadership roles at Airbus and Cessna Aircraft Co., including managing a worldwide team of 200 and a $30 million annual budget. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at Oklahoma State University and an MBA at Wichita State.

Ennovar has also hired Kenton Hansen as software development lab director. Hansen is a founding member of the Labor Party, a co-working space for start-ups, designers, developers and writers. He is involved in StartUp Wichita and co-founded two start-ups: Books & Whatnot and Go!Banana. He has previously worked for BalancedComp and Apples & Arrows. Hansen will train and mentor Ennovar’s student software developers and help develop and run an all-ages coding academy.

Hansen will join the Ennovar leadership team that also includes Yolonda Adams, operations and finance director; Matt Forney; technology and research director; and Alan Snyder, technical marketing director. The team has more than 100 years of combined experience in education, technology, engineering, program management, finance and marketing for companies such as Koch Industries, NetApp, Airbus and Cessna.

The Ennovar Institute was established in spring 2015 and has rapidly grown to employ eight full-time staff and about 50 students working on technology industry contracts. One of Ennovar’s goals is to provide applied learning opportunities for students in the areas of networking technology, computer science, business and marketing.

“Ennovar’s constant evolution is an indicator that the institute is moving at the speed of our industry partners,” said John Tomblin, WSU vice president for research and technology transfer. “I am confident that the team will continue to exceed expectations and drive the expansion of the tech industry in Wichita.”

SNT Media is one of the Ennovar Institute’s primary partners, and the two organizations will continue to work together. SNT established an office in the High Tech Technologies building in downtown Wichita last January and already employs a full-time staff of 65. SNT is a web-based technology company partnering with more than 500 media properties in the United States to bring fresh, unique digital content using its proprietary technology platform that allows users to directly interact with financial news, executives, brands, companies and 300 million investors worldwide.

Additional organizations working with Ennovar include NetApp, Dell, Atomic Enterprises, and other leading technology partners.

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