David J. Adams

 Headshot of David J. Adams

Chief Innovation Officer
University of Cincinnati

1819 Innovation Hub, Suite 460


As the first Chief Innovation Officer at the University of Cincinnati, David J. Adams oversees the university’s innovation agenda and is the architect of the newly unveiled Cincinnati Innovation District®, anchored by the University of Cincinnati. Adams’ focus is simple: to ensure the world knows that Cincinnati is the global blueprint of innovation districts with the goal of empowering transformation for all. His tenacious leadership style has led to the rapid success of the 1819 Innovation Hub, an innovation ecosystem of industry, students and researchers. Opened in Fall 2018, the 1819 Innovation Hub is now at capacity and is home to global, mid-sized and small companies like: Kroger, P&G, Fifth Third, Cincinnati Insurance, FIS, Cincinnati Bell, Kingsgate Logistics, CincyTech, Hillman and other social, non-for-profit and for-profit innovation centers. In October 2020, David and UC President Neville Pinto announced a comprehensive skilling and talent initiative with Microsoft. 

Before joining UC, he was the Chief Administrative Officer and CEO of the Institute for Product Realization at the University of Louisville. As CAO, he oversaw the $1.2B financial and operational aspects of the university, implemented financial reporting and operational efficiencies, and developed the emerging innovation ecosystem. Prior to his work in academia, David was recruited by Governor Mitch Daniels to lead the operational improvement and merger of Indiana’s $30B pension systems. During his tenure, David turned a problematic public pension system into a world class operation. He was also a founding member of the executive team that grew i2 Technologies from $4M to $1.1B in 7 years, becoming a NASDAQ 50 company in the process. David has held senior management positions in North and South America, and leading sales and consulting roles Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. He has a breadth of experience that is a great asset to UC and the region as a whole.

David is committed to Cincinnati’s economic vitality and currently serves on the boards of the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce, REDI Cincinnati (executive committee), NKY Chamber, CincyTech and Cintrifuse. He was awarded the 2021 REDI Upward & Onward! Award, was twice named a CEO ‘C-suite finalist’ by Cincinnati Business Courier, a finalist for ‘Catalyst of the Year’ by VentureOhio, and one of ‘Indiana’s Leading Entrepreneurial Business Mentors’ by the state of Indiana.