You are here
Four Questions With Jonathan Owens
January 25, 2023
Jonathan Owens is the Pratt School of Engineering’s Director of Business Development and Industry Partnerships in the school’s Office of Development, Alumni Affairs & Corporate Relations. In this new role, Jonathan focuses on expanding Duke Engineering’s authentic and beneficial relationships with industry, government and foundations
What did you do before you came to Pratt?
I am a mechanical engineer. After graduating from the University of Alabama, I worked for ExxonMobil executing large capital projects. The job took me to other countries, including more than four years in Nigeria.
Later, I earned my MBA from UNC-Chapel Hill and then joined the LORD Corporation, where I was primarily focused on technology transfer, new product introduction and strategic partnerships. In my last role with LORD, I was global operations growth and innovation director for a business unit focused on electrical vehicle applications, supporting over $200 million in capital projects across six plants in four countries.
When I joined Duke in summer 2022, I learned more about Pratt’s long and productive engagement with the LORD Corporation supporting engineering research and education, which culminated in the historic $261 million LORD distribution to Duke in 2019.
What’s the vision for your role?
There are many remarkable things about the Pratt School of Engineering's culture. Dean Jerry Lynch and Director of Development Jim Ruth have tasked me with developing and growing the part that deals with industry engagement.
Our vision is that regular, deep and meaningful industry engagement in what we do regarding research, education and service becomes a way of life at Duke Engineering.
How would that benefit Duke Engineering?
To be an organization that is relevant, to provide the best engineering education to our students, to guide our research where it could be most impactful and to provide a way for our discoveries to reach people where those innovations can be put to use, we need engagement with external partners. These relationships also provide another avenue for resources that can come in to support our efforts.
When these engagements are systemic and effective, a virtuous cycle can develop that is mutually beneficial and aligns with our shared goal of engineering a better world.
What are you working on?
I’m leading broad discussions about ways in which Duke Engineering could create networks of partners. We’re aiming for a program that is clear, structured and easy to engage with. Discussions are continuing. Stay tuned for more details later this year.