Entrepreneurship, startups and technology transfer efforts at regional universities just may be getting a boost from a familiar face who is returning to the Triangle. 

W. Mark Crowell, a veteran executive who led technology transfer efforts at UNC-CH, NCSU and Duke, will be back in the area soon.

Crowell is stepping down as executive director of the innovation program at the University of Virginia and plans to become a consultant based in Chapel Hill. Crowell announced his decision to leave U. Va. Innovation on Friday.

“I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished at U.Va. Innovation over the last four years,” Crowell said in an interview with the university’s news service. “The opportunity to help transform and elevate the innovation enterprise at U.Va. has been an awesome and rewarding challenge. The stage is set for new goals and grander heights in the coming years for U.Va. Innovation, and it feels like the right time to move on to my next opportunity.”

While at Virginia since 2010, Crowell has spearheaded tech transfer and funding efforts for startups. His efforts have made him a leading figure in national efforts and led to his selection for a significant honor in 2013. 

Crowell, who also is associate vice president of research at Virginia in Charlottesville, plans to focus on consulting, writing and speaking. 

“Our very own Mark Crowell will be stepping down as Executive Director of @UVAInnovation May 16. Thank you for your service and leadership!,” U. Va. Innovation tweeted on Friday.

In 2013, Crowell received the Bayh-Dole Award from the Association of University Technology Managers for lifetime achievements. He also has been acknowledged by the Obama Administration as a leader in patent reform. 

Crowell served as associate vice chancellor for economic development at UNC-Chapel Hill for more than eight years. He worked briefly at Scripps Research Institute in 2009 before moving on to Virgina. He worked at N.S. State from 1992-2000 where he was actively involved in the building of NCSU’s Centennial Campus and at Duke from 1987-1992.

According to his biography published at Virginia, Crowell helped launch more than 135 startups while at Triangle universities.

 He also was involved with the N.C. Biotechnology Center, the Council for Entrepreneurial Development and the Research Triangle Regional Partnership. 

Crowell is a UNC-CH graduate.

“Mark’s professional networks and expertise with international innovation strategies have helped make him an excellent representative for the university as we have broadened the faculty’s research presence around the world,” a UNC-CH executive said when Crowell left that school for the Scripps post.