Zach Miles departing for OSU

Sep. 25, 2020


After serving nearly seven years as UNLV’s Associate Vice President for Economic Development, Zach Miles is taking his skills and expertise to Oklahoma State University in an expanded role. 

He begins his new position Sept. 30. 

While at UNLV, Zach managed the assessment, protection, and commercialization of intellectual property owned or controlled by UNLV. He also assisted start-up companies in building a strong business foundation and seeking capital. Zach also was executive director of the UNLV Research Foundation and a member of the President’s Cabinet.  

“What an honor it has been to be part of such an amazing team of professionals,” Miles said. “I have always been so very humbled by the hard work and dedication of so many people at this university. I’ll be monitoring the future success at UNLV and am proud to have been part of its progress and history.”  

One of Zach’s signature initiatives at UNLV is Black Fire Innovation, which is located at the UNLV Harry Reid Research &Technology Park. Launched in April, the initiative is a living lab and business incubator designed to spark strategic industry partnerships, advance research, and elevate student learning and entrepreneurship. Black Fire Innovation has attracted corporate sponsors and collaborations with Caesars Entertainment, Panasonic, LG, Intel, Adobe, Nutanix, Boyd Gaming, Activate, UMG Gaming, and Salesforce.  

In collaboration with the President’s Office, Zach also established and managed “RebelForge” – a program that advances student commercialization efforts and helps future entrepreneurs and innovators cultivate the resources, knowledge, and skills needed to develop a successful startup.  

Zack also worked closely with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and he oversaw the Nevada Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at UNLV. During his tenure, capital acquired through the SBDC increased from $1.6 million to nearly $56 million, creating nearly 2,500 new jobs. Commercial sponsored research at UNLV grew from zero to more than $14 million, and royalty revenue increased dramatically.  

Through the efforts of his office, Las Vegas will host the 21st Annual U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Small Business Programs Conference next spring. The conference helps small businesses learn more about the $1.1 billion in annual federal funding available to form academic partnerships and build new businesses. This is the first time the conference will be held in Las Vegas.  

“Zach has built the foundation and infrastructure for long-term success within the Office of Economic Development,” said Chris Heavey, UNLV interim executive vice president and provost. “He’s provided a footprint for the future and has been excellent at establishing relationships through the state in both the private industry and public sector.” 

Bo Bernhard, professor and executive director of UNLV’s International Gaming Institute, has been named the interim AVP for Economic Development, effective Oct. 1.