University of Denver Chancellor Rebecca Chopp today announced that DU alumnus and local entrepreneur Erik Mitisek (BS ’99) will return to the University as executive director of the new Project X-ITE, effective April 1. Project X-ITE, which launched in late 2015, serves as an interdisciplinary hub for projects at the intersection of innovation, technology and entrepreneurship. It is overseen by the deans of the Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science, the Daniels College of Business and the Sturm College of Law.
Mitisek brings more than 15 years of experience building Colorado companies in the online software, luxury, consumer mobile and online real estate industries. He comes to the University from his latest role as CEO of the Colorado Technology Association. Mitisek will continue as chief innovation officer for the state of Colorado, a position to which he was appointed by Gov. John Hickenlooper in February 2016.
Read a University of Denver Magazine interview with Mitisek and his Denver Startup Week cofounder and fellow alumnus, Ben Deda.
As executive director of Project X-ITE, Mitisek will connect creative thinkers and doers in industry and government to DU faculty and students. He will help create partnerships that forge new opportunities for the DU community across disciplines to connect to one another and to the broader innovation economy. The Project X-ITE initiative looks to position DU as a global leader in innovation and entrepreneurship-related higher education and to increase DU’s profile as Denver’s platform for innovation and entrepreneurship topics globally.
Chancellor Chopp said that Mitisek — who also is co-chair of Startup Colorado and organizing chair and co-founder of the annual Denver Startup Week — brings the wealth of knowledge needed to successfully position the University in the innovation, technology and entrepreneurial marketplace, a key goal of the University’s new strategic plan, DU IMPACT 2025.
“Erik is highly respected in the Colorado startup scene,” Chopp said. “His entrepreneurial drive is exactly what the University needs to become a player in the innovation and technology growth driving Denver’s economy.”
Added JB Holston, dean of the Ritchie School of Computer Science and Engineering, “DU is excited to welcome Erik back to the University. X-ITE is a vital creative initiative that positions DU as a global leader at the intersection of higher education and the new economy, and Erik is the perfect leader for the effort.”
Mitisek said he looks forward to returning to his alma mater and helping to put Project X-ITE on the map as an interdisciplinary hub where innovation, entrepreneurship and technology intersect.
“DU is at another inflection point in its history, with Chancellor Chopp and the leadership team she is creating,” said Mitisek, who was in the first class of DU’s Pioneer Leadership Program. “It is a special time to be on campus, a special time to be working with a world-class team, and a time for DU to own a domain in which it has a rich history — entrepreneurship and innovation.
“I have deep conviction that my entrepreneurial experience at DU elevated my career,” Mitisek added. “I want to help formalize that experience, so all students have the opportunity to experience the passion and purpose inherent in entrepreneurship and innovation that the future demands.”