LAFAYETTE — Securing funding for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and local small businesses is at the top of Kam Ng’s to-do list, the new chief executive officer of the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise Center said Monday.
“I know how to generate successful proposals,” said Ng, who retired as the Office of Naval Research’s deputy research director after managing $900 million in science and technology research programs and engaging young people in careers related to his field.
Ng spoke during and after a news conference Monday about the LITE Center, which houses 3-D immersive visualization technology and supercomputing capabilities. He said the center is not a research center, but its technology and staff provide a powerful partnership for the community.
In the next few months, Ng said he will focus on outreach to the oil and gas, health care and information technology sectors. Future areas of focus will be on cyber security, managing “big data” or large and complex data sets and helping foster STEM programs, Ng said.
Ng replaces Robert Twilley, interim CEO for LITE who for the past 18 months oversaw the center’s operations while vice president of research at the ULL. Twilley will leave the university next month to assume duties as the director of the Louisiana Sea Grant program at LSU.
The LITE center, which opened in 2006, has had two previous leaders, Carolina Cruz-Neira, who served as its first director and chief research scientist, and Henry Florsheim, its first CEO, who resigned in 2010 to take an out-of-state job.
Ng’s experience in the public and private sectors is matched by “stellar” executive leadership training from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government’s senior executive fellow program and the Federal Executive Institute, Twilley said at Monday’s news conference. The researcher also holds an MBA from Marymount University.
Ng received his doctorate in mechanical engineering and applied mechanics from the University of Rhode Island and has a master’s degree in international commerce and policy from George Mason University.
Twilley said NG also holds six patents and will be an asset to ULL’s Office of Innovation Management.
Ng also led the Navy’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics program efforts and said he will continue that outreach in Lafayette. He said he will soon meet with Lafayette Parish school district leadership to define the center’s potential role in STEM programming.
The Lafayette Parish School Board expanded STEM options at its David Thibodaux Career and Technical High School and renamed the school to reflect that emphasis.
The district has other schools focused on health sciences, information and technology, engineering and environmental sciences.
Ng said he was attracted to the job because of the existing technological infrastructure in Lafayette, such as the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative that links state research institutions and the city’s own fiber optic network. “I see the future of this town,” he said.