Sean Collins, pictured here at a KickStart VT event, has been named as interim director of the Apex Center for Entrepreneurs. Photo by Andy Santos for Virginia Tech.

Sean Collins ’09 has been named as interim director of the Apex Center for Entrepreneurs.

Collins, who has been with the Apex Center since 2015 and currently serves as managing director of the Startup Hokies program, will lead a center that “empowers Virginia Tech students to turn their passion, purpose, and ideas into action.”

Housed in Pamplin College of Business, the Apex Center provides interdisciplinary programs and support to students from across the university who want to become entrepreneurs or learn more about starting a business.

Collins will succeed Derick Maggard ’13, who announced that he would be stepping down from his position as executive director.

“Derick’s departure is a bittersweet moment for Pamplin,” said Saonee Sarker, Richard E. Sorensen Dean in the Pamplin College of Business.

“While we are thrilled for his next adventure, we are also sad that the next chapter of his professional life will not be at Virginia Tech. Derick has been the cornerstone of experiential entrepreneurship education at Pamplin and VT, and we wish him the very best in his upcoming endeavors.”

Maggard, who co-founded the Apex Center in 2014 with fellow Virginia Tech alumni Brian Callaghan ’93, Ted Hanson ’91, Edwin "Win" Sheridan ’93, and Jeffrey Veatch ’93, has served as its executive director since its inception.

Under his leadership, the center has grown rapidly, and its success is one of the key reasons that the Princeton Review ranked Virginia Tech No. 25 in undergraduate entrepreneurship programs in 2021 and 2022.

When Maggard joined Virginia Tech in 2014, there were approximately 100 students in entrepreneurial courses and programs. Today, the program works with approximately 900 Virginia Tech students annually and around 50 startup teams per semester, groups that it coins its Startup Hokies community.

As a result of entrepreneurship being at the forefront of today's student experience, enrollment in entrepreneurship courses university-wide has also swelled to more than 3,000 students last academic year.

Under Maggard’s guidance, the Apex Center’s growth has not been limited to just its clientele. Originally launched inside a small, 500-square-foot office space in Pamplin Hall, the Apex Center now calls a 6,000-square-foot technology-enabled space at 432 North Main Street, Blacksburg, home.

As managing director for Startup Hokies, Collins oversees the design, implementation, and content of new venture programs in support of the most promising student-led startups at Virginia Tech. He has also spearheaded events such as Startup Weekend, which has helped guide students through the steps of launching a startup, from ideation to action.

“I am so excited that Sean has agreed to take on the Interim Executive Director’s role,” said Sarker. “Sean has served Apex very well in different capacities over the last many years and I know will build on the platform created by Derick and move Apex to greater heights.”

Collins joined Virginia Tech in 2015, when he was appointed director of the Innovate Living-Learning Community, at the time part of the Apex Center, in partnership with Housing and Residence Life.

Under Collins’ leadership, Innovate launched its entrepreneur-in-residence program, which allowed alumni entrepreneurs to live, teach, and mentor Innovate students.

Before joining Virginia Tech, Collins served as co-owner and vice president of product development at Viqtory, a private talent management and workforce development company.

Collins also served as a pilot, naval aviator, in the United States Navy from 2001-09 and is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, and various worldwide campaigns.