ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship welcomes Hong to the Startup Factory program, part of the Center’s program offerings and services which support Iowa’s entrepreneurs.

Peter Hong has been named director of the ISU Startup Factory program.

AMES, Iowa (Jan. 20, 2021) – The Iowa State University Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship today announced Peter Hong has been named as director of the ISU Startup Factory program, effective Feb. 1. The Pappajohn Center selected Hong after a regional search. He succeeds Bill Adamowski, the Startup Factory’s inaugural president who resigned his post in February, and Kris Johansen, who assumed the role as interim director until a permanent hire was made.

The Startup Factory operates as part of the ISU Pappajohn Center within the university’s Economic Development and Industry Relations (EDIR) organization, under Iowa State’s Office of the President.

“We are so fortunate to have someone of Peter’s caliber lead the Startup Factory program,” said Interim Vice President for EDIR David Spalding. “Peter’s years of experience and skills as a business leader and mentor, Iowa economic policy influencer, and federal SBIR program consultant will help us to further develop, expand and strengthen our venture creation initiatives and partnerships. We look forward to Peter’s new vision and direction for the Startup Factory program and the invaluable support and guidance he will provide for the innovators and entrepreneurs we serve.”

“This is an exciting time for us,” said ISU Pappajohn Center Director Judi Eyles. “Peter’s extensive involvement with small and medium-sized businesses uniquely position him to make immediate contributions to our programming efforts. He has an outstanding ability to identify business startup potential and to help take those concepts to revenue. We are very pleased to welcome him on board.”

As director, Hong will lead Startup Factory operations and facilitate other ISU-based venture programming initiatives to help identify startup venture opportunities, deliver programming and further enhance Iowa State’s connections within Iowa’s innovation ecosystem.

Hong will work closely with ISU’s internal and external stakeholders, such as the Pappajohn Center and the Small Business Development Center, to provide guidance to Iowa entrepreneurs, recruit program participants and grow the Startup Factory Mentor Network.

Additionally, in collaboration with BioConnect Iowa, Hong will manage the development of and run the new Iowa Go-To-Market (G2M) Accelerator. G2M is part of a $1.29M program funded by the US Economic Development Administration as part of a Build-To-Scale grant to BioConnect Iowa in partnership with ISU Startup Factory and VentureNet Iowa. Set to launch in early 2021, G2M will offer structured support and advanced training for companies developing technology-driven innovative products and services.

“I feel so fortunate to be part of the robust innovation ecosystem that ISU has built in support of Iowa’s technology-driven startup companies,” Hong said. “The Startup Factory, ISU I-Corps and the new Iowa G2M Accelerator provide entrepreneurs access to some of the best programming, resources and business support services available in the state. I can’t wait to get started — to take my experience, connect that to the firm foundation that has been built here, and work to add value in order to take the Startup Factory to the next level.”

Hong has more than 35 years of experience in technical and business management in the private and public sectors. Most recently, he served as COO and CTO for New Tech Ceramics, Inc. and as a principal advisor for Larta Inc., roles he’s held concurrently since 2009, in addition to being self-employed as a business development consultant and CEO coach, since 2008. He was formerly a founding senior partner of Executive Management Resource Group, LLC.

Hong has affiliations and experience in many capacities with municipal and state government entities, including appointments serving as industry chair and council member for the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Council; and, as a board member and industry representative for the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s (IEDA’s) Technology and Commercialization Committee (TCC), the Iowa Innovation Council and BioConnect Iowa. He served as mayor for the City of Laurens, Iowa from 2000-2008, chair of the board of the Pocahontas County Board of Public and Environmental Health from 1994-2006,  and as an industry group council chair for Ergonomics Council of Material Handling Institute of America from 1992-2004.

Hong earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois, and is a licensed professional engineer in the State of Illinois.



About ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship
The ISU John Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship, part of the Ivy College of Business and the Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations, offers numerous programs and services that broadly reach and connect students, community entrepreneurs, business professionals, and alumni. The Center has two primary objectives: 1) to create a culture that encourages entrepreneurship and innovation, 2) to provide the tools necessary for building and improving Iowa’s businesses. Outreach efforts are designed to help individuals recognize opportunities, gain skills and experiences to take advantage of opportunities, and connect with the right resources and support to launch a successful business. For more information, visit

About ISU Startup Factory
The Iowa State University (ISU) Startup Factory is a 52-week intensive program administered by the ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs in the Startup Factory receive formal training, resources, and access to a network of business mentors, advisors, counselors, and investors in two 26-week blocks: the first a formal curriculum centered on business validation, and the second, customized to their individual business needs. For more information on the ISU Startup Factory program, visit

About Economic Development and Industry Relations
The Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations (EDIR) at Iowa State University assists external stakeholders, both individuals and companies, in accessing Iowa State’s unique capabilities and services. EDIR is a single point of contact to streamline the process of making connections between industry and the university. For more information, visit

Judi Eyles, ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship, 515-296-6754,
Julie Lelonek, ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship, 515-294-1562,
ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship1805 Collaboration Pl, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50010