Meet the Team

Transportation Insight Center for Entrepreneurship Staff

The Transportation Insight Center for Entrepreneurship staff is ready to put their experience to work in helping you achieve your own compelling goals. Bring your ideas, your challenges, and your dreams to the Center and let's get started building your opportunity of a lifetime. If we can't help you, we will find someone that can.

Sara Figlow

Sara FiglowSara is the Associate Director for the Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE) and brings expertise in small businesses and non-profits with a focus on fiscal discipline and compliance.

Sara uses her own entrepreneurial background as former co-owner of a commercial/residential contracting and building company to support entrepreneurship efforts on and off-campus. Sara also manages marketing and communication for the CFE. She came to Appalachian from her position as Executive Director of Climate Voices US where she served as the primary spokesperson to the organization’s constituents, media, and the general public.

Sara worked in the accounting department of Appalachian Institute for Renewable Energy. She also served on the Board of Directors of High Country Local First. 

Justin Kent, PhD

Justin Kent

Justin is the Faculty Advisor for the Center for Entrepreneurship and teaches ENT 3060 (Entrepreneurial Mindset and Design Thinking) and MGT 4000 (Organizational Innovation) in the Walker College of Business. His research interests include entrepreneurial decision making, entrepreneurship through acquisition, and family business. In the 20 years prior to completing his PhD in Strategy and Entrepreneurship from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Justin founded and operated several ventures in the automotive industry, including his first business that was launched when he was a junior in college.  

Justin leverages his academic background and entrepreneurship experience to help students and community members achieve their entrepreneurial goals. Justin has served as an advisory board member, student mentor/coach, and business competition judge.


Erich Schlenker

Erich SchlenkerAs Managing Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, Erich helps students and community members develop, incubate and launch new ventures. 

Erich brings a range of experience to the position. Most recently, he assisted a start-up international mining company in addressing SEC and regulatory issues, implementing financial controls, securing operating capital, and building relationships with government officials in Guyana South America.

Prior to moving to the High Country in 2008, Erich founded and operated Synaptis, a Raleigh-based software training company. He also brings 11 years of experience at Intel Corporation, where he helped define, launch and implement the Intel Inside Program worldwide.