Our team includes community members and Centre College students determined to put the Human-Centered Approach™ (HCA) into practice. We use this approach to understand what matters to the people who live in this region so that we can address challenges and design solutions that create an intentionally inclusive, resilient community. From FUSION leadership to our Urban Innovation interns, our students collaborate with community members to start initiatives that build a stronger community.
Co-founder & Executive Director
Andrea is Executive Director of CentreWorks, an initiative of Centre College designed to partner with the city of Danville and the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky. Andrea led the effort to design CentreWorks as a catalyst to build community, establish resilience, and stimulate economic growth. CentreWorks programming, built on a foundation of the entrepreneurial mindset, has been customized to provide collaboration, ideation, education, mentoring, skills enhancement, and investment opportunities.
She co-designed both the LIFTOFF entrepreneurship program and the FUSION community collaboration groups. LIFTOFF has provided startup experiential learning to nearly 100 students and community members with seven area launches within two years. FUSION has provided human-centered innovation experiences for students and community with various community challenges including access to fresh food, urban innovation, and local housing.
Andrea has a strong pedigree as an entrepreneur and educator including experience as President of TechGrit, an entrepreneurial ecosystem design consultancy, also serving as President and CEO of The Valentine Project, a nonprofit that supports families affected by childhood chronic illnesses, including cancer.
Andrea received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the College of Wooster and earned her Master of Science in food science and nutrition at Ohio University. Her entrepreneurial skills have been certified by the prestigious Cornell University Women’s Entrepreneurship Program and INBIA’s International Business Incubation Management. She is a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program, has served on the Board of Directors of LaunchTown Experience™ and is a graduate of the Women's Network Community Leadership Institute. As an educator, she has taught language arts and science to middle and high school students as well as science, technology, and nutrition at Ohio University, West Virginia University, and Walsh University.
Andrea has a vast array of experience in food and agriculture, ranging from quality control to development of innovative food products. She has been a leading advocate for the promotion of farm-to-table, locally sourced, and low-carbon-footprint food. She has had the privilege of hosting farm-to-table and entrepreneur workshops for groups of international diplomats in conjunction with the U.S. State Department. Andrea continues to share her passion for ecologically sound food production on Morning Mist Farm, which she established in 1999 as a model of sustainable agriculture, using farm practices to promote good stewardship of agricultural lands.
Anthony Margida, Ph.D.
Co-founder & Executive Director
Anthony is Co-Executive Director of Centreworks. He is an accomplished entrepreneurial ecosystem architect with deep expertise in customizing startup programming for communities, universities, and corporations. His depth of experience spans business incubator/accelerator design, equity investment, private/public partnerships, company formation, and organization sustainability.
Andrea and Anthony together co-designed two of CentreWorks' impactful programs: the LIFTOFF entrepreneurship program and the FUSION community collaboration groups. Approximately 100 students and community members have benefited from LIFTOFF experiential learning through seven area launches over the past two years. FUSION community collaboration groups address community challenges such as access to fresh food, housing, and urban innovation, providing human-centered innovation experiences for students and community members alike.
His 30-year career in innovation has focused on developing/commercializing new technologies and the creation of companies spanning the specialty chemical, advanced material, cleantech/energy, IT, medical device, and food/agriculture industries. As CEO of the Akron Global Business Accelerator, he envisioned and spearheaded its transformation into an entrepreneurial super-hub creating 450 new jobs and securing $75 million in equity investment while securing over $10 million in grant funding to ensure multi-year operations. As Director of Technology at HB Fuller he led development and global commercialization of a water-based footwear adhesive offering an alternative to a highly abused toluene-based staple. His Magnetorheological Fluid (MR) patents are widely cited and are core to General Motors’ Magneride suspensions on over one million vehicles.
A nationally recognized thought leader, Dr. Margida has served on the US Council on Competitiveness, teaming with top US innovation experts to develop policy and programming for the National Commission on Innovation. He is a certification instructor for Entrepreneurial Center Directors with the International Business Innovation Association (INBIA). He co-founded LaunchTown Experience™, a program designed to promote entrepreneurship for students. He has served on the Akron ARCHAngels Deal Flow Committee and the University of Akron Research Foundation Spark Fund Board focusing on investment of University technologies. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the College of Wooster, Dr. Margida received a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Akron and his business education from the University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School.
Maddy is the first ever Innovation Fellow at CentreWorks and a graduate of the Centre College class of 2022 with a double major in International Studies and Spanish. Maddy’s love for community engagement and creative problem solving motivated her to work with CentreWorks as a volunteer, then as a paid intern, and now as a full-time employee. She got her start working on the FUSION: Access to Fresh Food team, a Community Collaboration Group with a goal to better understanding and appreciation of community members' food access experiences in order to address our local food access challenges.
Maddy fell in love with an initiative and a process that incorporates the perspectives of the people she wants to serve at every step of the problem solving process – that process is the Human-Centered Approach™ (HCA)! By using intentional and inclusive outreach, this Community Collaboration Group was able to make incredible progress empathizing, defining, ideating, prototyping, and currently, testing a prototype!