Brad D. Smith Business Incubator welcomes new leadership

The Marshall University Brad D. Smith Business Incubator has named Tricia Ball as the new leader of the entrepreneurship facility, located in downtown Huntington.

Ball takes over as the interim associate director of the incubator and will still work in her position as the associate director of the Marshall University Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation, known as the iCenter. Housed in the Lewis College of Business and Brad D. Smith Schools of Business, the iCenter’s goal is to help Marshall University students start their own businesses and to provide entrepreneurship and corporate innovation education across the university.

The Brad D. Smith Business Incubator works closely with the Brad D. Smith Schools of Business, the iCenter, and the Robert C. Byrd Institute. Ball says the move to work with the incubator further strengthens the relationship between the incubator and the iCenter.

“With this new responsibility, we create a stronger connection between both organizations,” Ball said. “Incubator clients will have a direct line to College of Business faculty members in areas like marketing, accounting, management, and entrepreneurship for their expertise, as well as to students for experiential learning opportunities and internships.”

Ball was recently selected as one of 40 fellows from 13 states for the inaugural class of the Appalachian Regional Commission’s Appalachian Leadership Institute, in which she is one of only three representatives of the state of West Virginia. Previously, she served as the director of marketing for the Appalachian Transportation Institute and Center for Business and Economic Research. She also has professional experience in corporate marketing and leadership development education.

Ball says the incubator will continue to look for entrepreneurs and small business owners who would like help getting their ideas off the ground.

“My goal as the interim associate director is to build awareness around the incubator – that Huntington has this great asset, the services we are able to provide and why an entrepreneur would want to become a client of ours,” Ball said. “To accomplish this goal, we need to expand our outreach with organizations and events in the community.”

The dean of the Brad D. Smith Schools of Business, Dr. Avinandan Mukherjee, says the addition of Ball to the incubator will allow the facility to continue striving for its goal of helping ambitious startups throughout the region.

“Tricia Ball is well positioned to connect the incubator with a variety of stakeholders to foster the innovation ecosystem in Huntington and the Tri-State region. The incubator will connect our students and faculty from across the university with entrepreneurs, investors, mentors and innovators to create and host successful start-ups,” Mukherjee said.

Brad D. Smith, for whom the incubator is named, says he’s excited for the direction of the business school and the Incubator.

“Education and entrepreneurship are the great equalizers of opportunity that ignite economic growth, connecting job readiness with job creation. Tricia’s experience in economic development and her leadership role in the iCenter will serve as a valuable resource to the entrepreneurs who will benefit from the services the incubator provides,” Smith said.

Ball has a bachelor’s degree in journalism (public relations) from West Virginia University and a master’s degree in student personnel in higher education from the University of Florida. She is originally from southwestern Pennsylvania, where she learned the value and impact of entrepreneurship from her parents, who owned and operated multiple small businesses. Ball and her husband, Christopher, a downtown Huntington business owner, have two sons.

Tenants are currently being accepted for the Brad D. Smith Business Incubator. For more information or to tour the facility, contact Ball by phone at 304-696-5120 or by e-mail at