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Mason Welcomes New AVP for Innovation and Economic Development: Paula Sorrell

Meet Paula Sorrell, Associate Vice President, Innovation and Economic Development, George Mason University

Paula Sorrell was hired in May 2020 as the Associate Vice President of Innovation & Economic Development at George Mason University.  She oversees the Office of Technology Transfer, the Virginia Small Business Development Center state headquarters, the Procurement Technical Assistance Center, three Mason Enterprise Center business incubators, the maker spaces, and entrepreneurial programming at Mason.  Paula Sorrell’s strategic goals start with the buildup of internal operations to catch up with the rapid increase in research that Mason has experienced, while building collaborations to help fill gaps in tech start-up growth support.

She joined after a position as Director of the Economic Growth Institute at the University of Michigan and taught at the U of M College of Engineering’s Center for Entrepreneurship. She was also the principal investigator for research in economic development best practices.

Paula served as Vice President of Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Venture Capital for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, overseeing $1B under management and $110 Million in new investments to build Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem during the great recession recovery.  New investments included support of 18 technology business incubators, lab-to-market university programs, first customer programs, and mentorship programs.  She has held senior management roles at seven early stage technology companies, holding the chief marketing position responsible for developing go-to-market strategy.  All start-ups resulted in successful sale of the company, or are still a going concern.  She serves on the boards of the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Institute, the Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority, the Institute for Biohealth Innovation Advisory Council, and the City of Fairfax EDA.

Education: BS/BA and MBA from Central Michigan University.