At UNLV, Dr. Jim Thomson serves as special advisor to the president for regional development. He is the former CEO of the RAND Corp., a nonprofit, nonpartisan institution that helps improve policy and decisions through research and analysis, which he led as CEO from 1989 to November 2011. With annual revenues of over $250 million and a staff of more than 1,600 from more than 50 countries, and a Ph.D.-level graduate school, RAND’s research programs address a range of domestic, international, and national security issues. RAND’s core competencies include health care services, supply chains, energy and environment, transportation and infrastructure, education, personnel management, demography, defense, and international security.
Thomson has had a varied career. In addition to his leadership at RAND, he was previously an experimental nuclear physicist and published numerous scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals; he served as a U.S. government official dealing with defense and arms control matters, serving both in the Defense Department and at the White House; and he focused on policy research covering a range of strategic issues. He became RAND’s fourth president in 1989.
Zach Miles serves as the Executive Director of Economic Development and Technology Transfer for UNLV’s Division of Research & Economic Development. Miles also serves as the Director of the Nevada Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at UNLV.
In these capacities, Miles manages the assessment, protection, and commercialization of intellectual property owned or controlled by UNLV and assists start-up companies in building a strong business foundation and seeking capital.
Prior to joining UNLV, Miles served as the deputy executive director of Technology Venture and Commercialization at the University of Utah. Miles has also co-founded, advised, and served as general counsel for a number of Utah based start-up companies.