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New Director Named for Chaifetz Center for Entrepreneurship

by Maggie Rotermund on 11/01/2021
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Lewis Sheats is joining Saint Louis University’s Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business as the new director of the Chaifetz Center for Entrepreneurship. His appointment – which follows a national search – is effective Monday, Nov. 1, 2021.

Sheats is the assistant vice provost for entrepreneurship at North Carolina State University and executive director of the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic. The Clinic exposes students to experiential learning, embeds them in businesses and provides resources to help launch student-led initiatives.

Lewis Sheats

Lewis Sheats. SLU photo by Christopher Polley.

He said SLU’s mission and the entrepreneurial eco-system at the University and in the St. Louis region attracted him to the position.

“My goal is to make SLU the No. 1 entrepreneurship program in the country and I think we have all the pieces in place to do that.”

Founded in 1987, the Center for Entrepreneurship within the Chaifetz School of Business helps entrepreneurs combine their passion with business skills to produce high-performing organizations. 

“We are looking forward to the opportunities Lewis’s innovative approach to experiential learning will bring our students,” said Barnali Gupta, Ph.D., Edward Jones Dean of the Chaifetz School of Business. “And we are excited for the impact his ability to develop strategic partnerships with alumni and the community will have on the growing entrepreneurship ecosystem in our region.”

Sheats comes to SLU with strong background in the business world. He founded Interstate Logistics, Inc. in 1996; served as vice president of QAS, Inc, from 2003-08 and was a founding member of Securus, Inc. in 2008. He is currently a part-time chief strategy officer for Malartu, Inc.

Sheats describes himself as an accidental academic. After getting his first company off the ground, Sheats said he wanted to take a year off from the day-to-day operations. He was invited to co-teach a course with a former professor of his. He ended up falling in love with teaching. 

He joined NC State to teach potential business owners while continuing to build businesses of his own. 

“I enjoy working with the students and helping the next generation of entrepreneurs,” he said.

While at NC State he implemented the launch of the first off-campus entrepreneurship teaching and research center. He also developed and led the Andrews Launch Accelerator for the University.

Sheats said he prefers creating an experiential learning environment for students to get a real feel for the world they are about to enter.

“Not everyone is going to create their own business and those that do might not do it right away,” he said. “I want our graduates to go out into the world and have the foundation to hit the ground running wherever they start their careers.”

Sheats said he is eager to get started at SLU.

“This is the right time and SLU is the right place for me,” Sheats said. “I’m excited to work with the students and the faculty.”

Sheats received his MBA in business administration from Campbell University.

Founded in 1910, the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business at Saint Louis University has shaped the future of industry for more than a century. As one of the oldest business schools west of the Mississippi, the Chaifetz School has built a reputation as a leader in business education with eight undergraduate and graduate programs nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report.