By McKenzi Roe
A founding member of MSU Business Connect, Brice Nelson works every day to encourage and develop productive relationships between MSU and the private sector.
In his role, Nelson serves as MSU’s front door for corporations, directing businesses to the right MSU resources by providing effective communications and planning support.
“My primary role is to help companies navigate MSU so they can find the expertise they’re looking for. More recently, I have focused on a more direct approach by identifying areas where MSU has particularly strong research and reaching out to companies active in those areas,” Nelson said.
In the 10 years that Nelson has been with the MSU Innovation Center, he has helped create collaborations with nearly every industry sector. Currently, a majority of his work focuses on the Internet of Things (IoT) and Mobility through the utilization of the MSU campus as a living lab to enable projects focused on user experience and adoption of new policies and technology.
“To someone who may be unfamiliar with this area of work, I’d say my role is a collaboration consultant,” Nelson said. “Every company has challenges or technical needs that they don’t have time to fully address, and given our breadth and depth of expertise, it makes a lot of sense for them to work with MSU and leverage our abilities.”
In a fast-paced, ever-changing and dynamic role like Nelson’s, the global pandemic assuredly brought its challenges.
“I miss daily interactions with teammates and the face-to-face meetings with corporate partners. Every meeting is now structured and calendared, so there’s this lack of impromptu meetings with everyone,” Nelson said. “I also miss just going out on our wonderful campus and rolling on an electric scooter.”
As we enter into a new year, there’s a sense of hope for continued growth and improvement.
“For the future of the Innovation Center, growth is found in keeping our customers happy. Even with the slowdowns due to COVID, our total research funding has grown every year that I have been here, and I would like to maintain or accelerate growth,” Nelson explained. “I work with a great team that can help a company navigate the process from initial conversations, through project selection, contract negotiations to account setup. This sort of structure is unique at universities and allows us to quickly transition from transactional collaboration to holistic relationships with many great companies.”
As for his own professional goals into the new year, Nelson said, “My goal for 2021 is to expand our corporate collaborations, particularly around smart technology in the areas of health, cities, homes and mobility.”