Entrepreneurial Spirit Earns Liska Outstanding Professional Award

When Kevin Liska tells entrepreneurs how to get started in business, he's speaking from experience. The 1987 MBA Tennessee Tech University alumnus took the tenets of entrepreneurialism to heart, building Tennessee Tech's BusinessMedia Center and Tennessee Tech Virtual Incubator program from scratch.

For his successes as BusinessMedia Center Director, Liska recently was honored as the 2001 winner of Tennessee Tech's Outstanding Professional Award.

"Since he wrote the first grant to obtain the initial funding for the BusinessMedia Center, Kevin has developed his own unique technology skills, mastering the cutting-edge technology used in both programs," said Virginia Moore, interim dean of the College of Business Administration, where the two centers are housed.

The BusinessMedia Center, launched as a partnership between TVA and the university in 1995, is a "one-stop shop" for area businesses seeking training and advice on the latest computer technology. In its six years, hundreds of clients have learned everything from creating custom sales presentations to using multimedia tools for employee training. In recent years, the center has also focused on various tourism-related projects, developing virtual tours on CD-ROM.

In 1998, Liska opened the university's Virtual Incubator, an entrepreneurial support program that offers training, technical support and shared equipment to regional small businesses. A national demonstration pilot program, the Virtual Incubator helps clients get their companies on-line. Completely self-supporting, the Virtual Incubator has brought in $642,881 -- all of which has gone toward enhancing our technological infrastructure.

"Kevin has strong ties to the university," said Donald Weinrauch, TTU professor of marketing. "He is always looking for new approaches and solutions for serving the university and our many external stakeholders."

Those new products include several firsts for Tennessee Tech: a supplemental version of the 2000 President's Report, a virtual tour of campus for prospective students and numerous promotions of the university's Centers of Excellence.

Liska joined the Tennessee Tech faculty in 1989 as an adjunct instructor and served as instructor of marketing from 1990 to 1994 before establishing the BusinessMedia Center and Virtual Incubator. In 1992 and 1993, he became the only non-tenured member of the Business Adminstration faculty to win the Curtis Kinslow Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Outstanding Faculty Award for Excellence in Overall Performance.

Established in 1993, the Outstanding Professional awards program was created to recognize outstanding professional staff, accompanying existing awards programs for faculty and clerical and support staff.