New hires will lead North Florida Innovation Labs, Domi Station incubators

Innovation Park.

Two Tallahassee incubators — one being a startup launchpad and the other a game changer for research-based patents — has three new hires. 

After less than a year on the job, Bill Lickson is leaving his post as Domi Station’s executive director to head North Florida Innovation Labs inside Innovation Park. His last day at Domi will be April 16, although he’ll stay tethered as a board member. 

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“While we will miss Bill in his role as executive director at Domi Station, we are excited for him and the opportunity to launch North Florida Innovation Labs and its technology-based programs for entrepreneurs at Innovation Park,” said Yuh-Mei Hutt, chairwoman of Domi’s Board of Directors, in a statement. “The new facility will clearly have huge economic impacts for our region.”

Bill Lickson, executive director of North Florida Innovation Labs.

Lickson, a serial entrepreneur, was previously the COO at both CampaignTester and VersusMedia, head of the Zimmerman Agency’s digital strategies and president of Strategic Media Arts for more than a decade.

The incoming $17-million North Florida Innovation Labs is a facility unique to the region, although its been on the business community’s wish list for years. 

Researchers and businesses, especially startups, have stressed the need for a wet lab, which allows for experiments using liquids like chemicals and drugs.

It’s been a critical piece missing in Tallahassee’s economic tool kit since several businesses bypassed the capital city to operate in competing Florida markets, including Gainesville and the Space Coast. 

North Florida Innovation Labs will include both wet and dry labs and fabrications spaces to help Tallahassee and the surrounding areas unlock patents and intellectual properties created at local universities, even by local high schoolers with innovative ideas.

“We have not had that in our area yet, and it will clearly be an economic driver for many years to come,” Lickson said.

Economic impact at Domi Station

At Domi Station, Robert Blacklidge will be the new executive director.

Laura Powers, an entrepreneur and alumni of Florida State University’s Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship, will be the associate director at Domi Station. They take the helm on April 19. 

Robert Blacklidge, new executive director of Domi Station.

“I am humbled to take on this new role, and it has been an honor to serve as part of the Domi Station team,” said Blacklidge, who’s been Domi’s director of entrepreneurship, in a statement. 

He said Domi’s mission is to empower a diverse group of entrepreneurs.

Laura Powers, new associate director at Domi Station.

To date, more than 180 startups and 220 entrepreneurs have worked with Domi Station since its 2014 launch — representing $18.3 million dollars in investment. The incubator has an economic impact of $109.5 million tied to more than 940 jobs and $39.4 million dollars in wages.

Domi Station, Lickson added, will continue to be the hub for Tallahassee’s ecosystem as it supports a diverse crop of entrepreneurs in a range of industries. He hopes to tap into that startup pool as Innovation Labs launches. 

“With mutually beneficial collaboration, one plus one can be greater than two,” Lickson said. “In my new role … we want to collaborate with as many partners as possible so that we have a big pipeline when the facility opens in 2023.”

Contact TaMaryn Waters at tlwaters@tallahassee.com or follow @TaMarynWaters on Twitter. 

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