In May 2014, Julie Lenzer Kirk was appointed by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker to lead the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE), an office within the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). In her capacity as Director of the OIE, she is charged with driving programs and policies that support innovative economic development such as innovation-based entrepreneurship and regional innovation clusters. Her passion is infusing innovation and entrepreneurial mindset coupled with action into individuals, communities, and regions to act as a catalyst for economic growth.
Prior to her appointment, Julie was the Executive Director of the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship (MCE) which is an initiative of the Howard County Economic Development Authority. She is also the co-founder and former CEO of the Path Forward Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a nonprofit that helps women expand economic opportunity by starting and building growth-oriented businesses.
An award winning serial entrepreneur, Ms. Kirk founded her first company, Applied Creative Technologies, Inc. (ACT), in 1995 as an IT solutions firm focusing on manufacturing operations and inventory control. With Fortune 500 clients, she grew the company to multi-millions in revenues, winning several national awards for workplace excellence. Through her 10-year leadership, ACT developed and commercialized ACTrax , a leading-edge production and warehouse management system, for which she negotiated the sale in 2005.
Ms. Kirk was recognized as a 2015 Federal Innovator by Bisnow, 2014 Influential Marylander, 2013 Trailblazer in Technology, and as AT&T’s Innovator of the Year in 2011. She received designation as winner of SmartCEO’s BRAVA awards in 2014, the Athena Award in 2004, and was named to Maryland’s Top 100 Women 2005, 2008 and 2014 at which time she joined the Circle Of Excellence for sustained service to the community.