July 16, 2024
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CLU snags head of UCSB’s startup contest


Mike Panesis, a key player in entrepreneurship circles who heads the biggest collegiate business-pitch contest in the region, is leaving UC Santa Barbara for a post at California Lutheran University.

CLU School of Management Dean Gerhard Apfelthaler announced June 16 that Panesis will join the School of Management faculty on Aug. 1, with an office located at the university’s new Westlake Village campus and co-working space. The Westlake Village facility is a big step forward for CLU, which is trying to expand entrepreneurship training across a number of disciplines.

Panesis has been the entrepreneurial programs manager for UCSB’s Technology Management Program since 2011. He has expanded the annual New Venture Competition into a major on-campus event and spearheaded broader entrepreneurial outreach at the campus near Isla Vista.

A Camarillo resident, Panesis also serves as chairman of the board of governors for Tech Coast Angels, one of the largest accredited angel investor groups in the country, and heads its Central Coast chapter. He has an MBA in marketing from Rutgers University.

He’s held positions in management or consulting for a number of organizations including Camarillo-based Semtech Corp., DealerTrack, Deloitte & Touche and AT&T. He also is on the steering committee for the Ventura County Greek Festival.

This is the second high-profile departure from UCSB to CLU in five years. In 2009, Bill Watkins, former head of the UCSB Economic Forecast project, moved to the Thousand Oaks university, where he and a small team created a graduate program in economics as well as CLU’s Center for Economic Research & Forecasting.