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Salquists Name Innovation Lab in Gallagher Hall
A Launch Pad to Hatch New Ideas

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by Tim Akin

Recognizing the power and promise of entrepreneurship and the importance of bridging science and business, Roger and Claudia Salquist have pledged a major gift to name one of the most exciting spaces planned for Gallagher Hall—an egg-shaped Innovation Lab designed specifically for “hatching” new ideas.

Located on the third floor, the lab will offer a dedicated conference place for collaborations between Graduate School of Management faculty and students, campus researchers, Center for Entrepreneurship visitors, and members of the business community who have partnerships and alliances with the School.

Reflecting the School’s innovative culture and entrepreneurial spirit, the lab will be equipped with the latest technological upgrades, movable furnishings and walls of custom white boards to foster collaboration and communication for vetting ideas.

The Salquists will donate $100,000 to name and cover construction costs of the Innovation Lab as well as provide support to the Center for Entrepreneurship. They also have plans for significant additional support to the center in the future.

“By outfitting our Innovation Lab and providing funding to the Center for Entrepreneurship, the Salquist’s gift goes a long way to support what we’re doing,” said Associate Professor Andrew Hargadon, founder and faculty director of the center. “The lab represents the center’s work: a space where business and science, academia and industry, students and mentors, connect around a common innovation process.” 

Long time residents of Davis, the Salquists said their first major gift to the university recognizes the work Dean Nicole Woolsey Biggart has done to bring the School to the next level, including construction of the new building and launching the Center for Entrepreneurship with Hargadon at the helm.

“Clearly the future economic prosperity of the country depends on a whole new generation of entrepreneurs,” Roger Salquist said. “Success for entrepreneurship really depends on marrying good science and good management. Bringing scientists and business people together is key.

I’m particularly excited about the work Andy Hargadon has done in getting the Center for Entrepreneurship programs running.”

Recently retired, Salquist forged a distinguished and diverse management career. He spent six years as a nuclear engineer aboard Navy submarines, earned an MBA at Stanford and then became chief financial officer of Zoecon, a Bay Area biotech firm. After a stint at a Davis solar-energy company, Salquist joined another young Davis start-up, Calgene, in 1984. He ran Calgene as chairman and CEO until it was bought by Monsanto in 1996, overseeing the development of the Flavr Savr tomato, the first genetically engineered food.

Named one of Forbes magazine’s Biotechnology All-Stars in 1999, Salquist also served as chairman of the California Industrial Biotechnology Association and was founding chairman of the Biotechnology Industry Association’s Food and Agriculture Division. In 1997 he co-founded and was managing director of Bay City Capital, a San Francisco-based merchant bank that secured funding for more than 30 life sciences companies.

Salquist has been involved with UC Davis for many years and has been a friend of the GSM since its early days. He was one of the original members of then-Dean Robert Smiley’s Dean’s Advisory Council and the keynote commencement speaker in 1990. He later served as chair of UC Davis CONNECT, following in the footsteps of his long-time friend, Charlie Soderquist, to help entrepreneurs link with university resources and to spin out start-ups.

The Center for Entrepreneurship has taken a lead role as the springboard since then, offering academies and business development programs to test the commercial potential of new technologies.

Salquist, who serves on the center’s advisory board, would like to see more resources dedicated to move campus research off the lab bench and into the market, especially in the green and clean tech sectors. “Throw some gasoline on the fire,” Salquist said. “They’ve got a small fire going but Andy Hargadon needs support to help him build the center.”

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