Todd Watkins is Arthur F. Searing Professor of Economics and serves as Executive Director of the Martindale Center for the Study of Private Enterprise at Lehigh University since July 1, 2015. Author of more than 75 related publications, his research and teaching focus on the intersection of innovation, entrepreneurship, public policy, and economic development. He has published in the journal Science, and well as Research Policy, Issues in Science and Technology, Technology Review, Small Business Economics, Industrial Relations and other journals and books.
Author of a forthcoming book on the international microfinance industry and inclusive financial services for the poor (World Scientific/Imperial College Press), Watkins is also co-editor of the book Moving Beyond Storytelling: Emerging Research in Microfinance. He directs Lehigh’s Microfinance Program, and was a founding member of the advisory Faculty Council for ACCION International’s Center for Financial Inclusion, which seeks to promote innovation and growth of commercial microfinance worldwide. He serves as a Board Member and past President of the Rising Tide Community Loan Fund, which targets the business development credit needs of low-to-moderate income communities regionally.
Winner of multiple teaching awards and over $15 million in external research, contract, and training grant funding, Watkins has led Lehigh’s efforts in developing entrepreneurship curricula and a support infrastructure for student technology startups. He was founding Executive Director of Lehigh's Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Innovation and co-founded Lehigh’s national-award-winning Integrated Product Development Program. The undergraduate entrepreneurship program is now regularly ranked among the nation’s top 20 by Princeton Review and Entrepreneurship Magazine, and was ranked #12 by Bloomberg BusinessWeek. He’s served as principal advisor for dozens of entrepreneurial startup companies and international development-oriented social entrepreneurial organizations started by students. He’s been a consultant to the U.S. Department of Commerce's NIST Advanced Technology Program, the U.S. Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, and a member of The National Academies’ Committee on Innovation Models for Aerospace Technologies, to advise NASA on improving their innovation processes.
Prior to his graduate studies, he worked in Optical Design and Optical Manufacturing Engineering for Eastman Kodak. Watkins earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Optics from the University of Rochester and his PhD and Master in Public Policy from Harvard University.