Baker named interim executive director of Auburn University’s Government and Economic Development Institute

Published: August 05, 2019
Updated: August 07, 2019
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LaKami Baker has been named interim executive director of Auburn University’s Government and Economic Development Institute, or GEDI, in the Division of University Outreach. Her appointment was effective Aug. 1.

“Dr. Baker brings both outreach and corporate management experience to GEDI as well as a passion to assist communities across Alabama,” said Royrickers Cook, vice president for University Outreach. “GEDI is a premier resource for the state’s economic and community development; Dr. Baker’s base of experience will be an asset to the Institute in fulfilling this mission.”

Baker is an associate professor of management and is managing director of the Lowder Center for Family Business and Entrepreneurship in the Harbert College of Business. She received her Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering degree from Prairie View A&M University in 1991 and a Master of Science in technology commercialization from the University of Texas at Austin in 1999. She completed her doctorate from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2007. Prior to her academic career, Baker worked at 3M Corporation.

In addition to her corporate and teaching experience, Baker serves as a business expert on an Auburn PAIR grant awarded $1.275 million to develop and commercialize biomedical implants and rehabilitative orthotics using additive manufacturing. She is also a co-principal investigator with GEDI on a $590,000 U.S. Department of Commerce grant to develop an EDA University Center at Auburn focused on advancing regional commercialization efforts, entrepreneurship, innovation, business expansion and developing a high-skilled regional workforce in Alabama.

“I am excited for the opportunity to serve as the interim executive director of GEDI,” noted Baker. “I’m looking forward to working with our civic and elected officials across the state to help expand Auburn’s efforts to drive and support policy, economic development and entrepreneurship growth initiatives that increase economic prosperity and improve quality of life for the state of Alabama and its communities.”

Baker succeeds Joe Sumners, GEDI executive director emeritus, who recently retired after a distinguished 25-year career at Auburn.

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn's commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact. Auburn's mission to educate, discover and collaborate drives its expanding impact on the world.