Todd A. Watkins, PhD, is a Professor of Economics and has served as Executive Director of the Martindale Center for the Study of Private Enterprise at Lehigh University since 2015. Author of more than 75 related publications, his research and teaching focus on the intersection of innovation, entrepreneurship, public policy, and financial tools for sustainable development. He has published in the journal Science, and well as Research Policy, Issues in Science and Technology, Technology Review, Small Business Economics, Industrial Relations, Environmental Science and Technology, and other journals and books.
Author of a recently published book, Introduction to Microfinance, on the international microfinance industry and inclusive financial services for the poor (2018, World Scientific), Watkins is also co-editor of the books Moving Beyond Storytelling: Emerging Research in Microfinance (Emerald) and The Future of Microfinance (forthcoming, Brookings). He directs Lehigh’s Microfinance Program, and was a founding member of the advisory Faculty Council for ACCION International’s Center for Financial Inclusion, which seeks to promote innovation and growth of commercial microfinance worldwide. He was a long time Board Member and past President of the Rising Tide Community Loan Fund, which targets the business development credit needs of low-to-moderate income communities regionally. He’s also on the board of directors of the Lehigh Valley Arts Council, the Cultural Coalition of Allentown, the non-profit Humanitarian Social Innovations, and of the Africa Network, promoting the study of Africa in the nation’s colleges.
Winner of multiple teaching awards and over $15 million in external research, contract, and training grant funding, Watkins led Lehigh’s efforts in developing entrepreneurship curricula and a support infrastructure for student technology startups. He was founding Executive Director of Lehigh's Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Innovation and co-founded Lehigh’s national-award-winning Integrated Product Development Program. Under Watkins’ leadership the undergraduate entrepreneurship program was regularly ranked among the nation’s top 20 by Princeton Review and Entrepreneurship Magazine, and was ranked #12 by Bloomberg BusinessWeek. He’s served as principal advisor for dozens of entrepreneurial startup companies and international development-oriented social entrepreneurial organizations started by students. He’s been a consultant to the U.S. Department of Commerce's NIST Advanced Technology Program, the U.S. Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, and a member of The National Academies’ Committee on Innovation Models for Aerospace Technologies, to advise NASA on improving their innovation processes.
Prior to his graduate studies, he worked in Optical Design and Optical Manufacturing Engineering for Eastman Kodak. Watkins earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Optics from the University of Rochester and his Ph.D. and Masters degree in Public Policy from Harvard University.