The College of Business Remembers Dr. Paul Bierly


Paul BierlyPaul Emerson Bierly III, 52, of Harrisonburg, Virginia passed away July 4, 2013, after a long battle with cancer. He was born November 14, 1960 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  He is survived by his wife of 24 years, Hilary McCabe Bierly.  In addition to his wife, Paul is survived by his daughter Audrey and his son Evan. Also left to cherish his memory are his mother Carole Gimpel Bierly and his father Paul Emerson Bierly Jr., of Boynton Beach, Fla.; his sister Carolyn Bierly Weber and husband John of Wayne, Pa.; his brother Tyler Charles Bierly and wife Aviva of Boca Raton, Fla.; and 7 nieces and nephews and numerous loving aunts, uncles and cousins.

Paul was a deeply caring person who always saw the glass half full. He was enthusiastic about life and always ready for an adventure. Most importantly, he was a devoted husband and father, who greatly cherished his children. He was actively involved in his children’s sports and school activities.  Paul loved playing a variety of sports, including basketball and golf and was an avid Philadelphia sports fan. As a child and teen he played football, tennis and baseball, often sleeping with his mitt before a game. While deeply humble, he was also fiercely competitive, enjoying some of his most intense tennis matches against his sister. He was an active member of the Court Square First Presbyterian Church in Harrisonburg and participated in a variety of charities.

He received undergraduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983, including a B.S. from Wharton School and a B.A.S. from the Engineering School. Following his graduation from the University of Pennsylvania, Paul was an Officer on a fast-attack nuclear submarine in the U.S. Navy's Nuclear Power Program and earned the Submarine Warfare Insignia “gold dolphins.” He then joined Johnson & Johnson as a Manufacturing Manager, and later was a consultant for Princeton Economic Research, Inc.  Paul went on to earn an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. from Rutgers University. While completing his doctoral studies at Rutgers, he became an Assistant Professor at Monmouth University.

He was a professor at James Madison University in the Management Department of the College of Business from August 1998 until February 2013. He taught graduate and undergraduate courses in Strategic Management and Management of Innovation and Technology. He was the Zane D. Showker Professor of Entrepreneurship, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, and later became the Director of the MBA Program where he created the highly successful Innovation MBA Program.  In addition, he was an integral member of a task force that formed the JMU School of Engineering. 

During his time at JMU, Paul was honored as a College of Business Madison Scholar. His primary research interests were management of technology, innovation, knowledge management and strategic alliances.  He published many academic articles and was honored with a variety of awards, including the International Association for the Management of Technology (IAMOT) 2009 Award in the field of Technology Innovation Management.  This prestigious honor recognized Paul as one of the 50 best researchers in the world in this area of study from 2004 to 2009.

The family will receive visitors Sunday, July 14 from 6:00-8:00 at Kyger Funeral Home in Harrisonburg. A Celebration of Life will be held Monday, July 15 at 11:00 at First Presbyterian Church on Court Square in Harrisonburg.    

In lieu of flowers, Paul requested memorial contributions be made to a James Madison University faculty fellowship created in his honor, called the Paul E. Bierly III Faculty Fellowship in Management, fund #16412. A tax-deductible donation can be made online ( or by phone (855-568-4483).

Published: Monday, July 8, 2013

Last Updated: Thursday, August 11, 2016

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