Interim executive director named for business incubator center

 Mike Salvador


IgniteHQ and University develop stronger ties to help area entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses

KENNESAW, Ga. (Jun 27, 2016)Michael Salvador, director of executive education programs for the Michael J. Coles College of Business, has been named the interim executive director of IgniteHQ, a business incubator, accelerator and education partnership between Kennesaw State University and the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, effective immediately. Salvador will hold dual appointments until a permanent executive director is named.

Salvador, who joined Kennesaw State in 2005, replaces Nancy Whatley who led IgniteHQ since it launched in March 2015. Whatley has joined TRC Staffing Services as the national vice president of franchise operations.

“Nancy has done a wonderful job during this startup phase of Ignite HQ; we appreciate her leadership and wish her much success,” Kennesaw State Interim President Houston Davis said. “Through Mike’s appointment, we will develop stronger ties between IgniteHQ and the Coles College of Business, particularly the College’s Entrepreneurship Center, as we continue to build a premier innovation center that will serve as an economic engine for our region and the state of Georgia.”

A partnership between Kennesaw State and the Cobb Chamber of Commerce and supported by Cobb County, IgniteHQ is an outgrowth of the Chamber’s Competitive EDGE program. It supports Georgia’s entrepreneur community by identifying, developing, and providing the resources startups and new and early-stage businesses need to grow and succeed. It also provides entrepreneurs space to conduct their business, access to unique programming, mentoring and advisory services and collaboration opportunities.

According to Davis, IgniteHQ is in line with a strategic imperative the Board of Regents has for all University System of Georgia institutions, focusing on economic development and world-class research. In addition to the Coles College, the University’s Division of Economic Development and Community Engagement also will play an integral role and will serve as a gateway for bringing together IgniteHQ and the University’s resources with Georgia’s entrepreneur community.

Earlier this month, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia on behalf of Kennesaw State approved the lease of a warehouse facility in downtown Marietta, which will serve as the headquarters for IgniteHQ.


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit