Speakers and Moderators 

 

Mason Ailstock, President, AURP; Vice President of Operations, The University Financing Foundation, Inc.Mason Ailstock

Passionate about place-based design and the convergence of university/industry relationships, Mason Ailstock has been leading the physical and social development of university research parks and innovation districts. Ailstock serves as the Vice President of Operations for The University Financing Foundation (TUFF). TUFF is a private 501(c)3 that partners with institutions around the country in the achievement of their education and research mission through facility investments providing the assets needed to achieve their core goals. Ailstock serves as a member of the TUFF executive leadership team where he will oversee strategy and operations for the firm, which has invested over $1 billion since its founding in 1982.

Prior to joining TUFF, Ailstock served as the Chief Operating Officer of the 7,000-acre Research Triangle Park (RTP) where he led the operational, business development, marketing, real estate, and partnership strategies of the largest high-tech research park in North America. As COO, Ailstock was responsible for expanding partnerships with the three founding Tier 1 research universities as well as the 220 companies located within RTP. Preceding his time at RTP, Ailstock served as the Global Partner Manager at Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) located in Greenville, South Carolina. Ailstock played key roles in the master plan and business development successes of the 250-acre research campus accounting for nearly $250,000,000 in investments, 17 resident companies, 5 LEED facilities, nearly $4,000,000 in competitive federal grants, and over 50 companies supporting sponsored and directed research.

Ailstock received his Bachelors of Science in Architecture & Design, and his Masters in Planning & Real Estate from Clemson University. Ailstock proudly serves as the President of the Association of University Research Parks (AURP), a 2016 Eisenhower Fellow, US Green Building Council LEED BD+C, and is a member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI).

Anirban Basu, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Sage Policy Group

Anirban Basu

Anirban Basu is Chairman & CEO of Sage Policy Group, Inc., an economic and policy consulting firm headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland with offices in Pennsylvania and Cambodia. In 2014, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan appointed him Chair of the Maryland Economic Development Commission. He also serves as chairman of the Baltimore County Economic Advisory Committee. He is also Chief Economic Advisor to the Construction Financial Management Association. He serves similar functions for Visit Baltimore, the Maryland Association of Realtors, and Marcum, LLC.

He lectures at Johns Hopkins University in Global Strategy and has also taught international economics, urban economics, micro- and macroeconomics at Hopkins. In both 2007 and 2016, the Daily Record newspaper selected Basu as one of Maryland's 50 most influential people. The Baltimore Business Journal named him one of the region's 20 most powerful business leaders in 2010. 

Basu has been on many boards over time, including First Mariner Bank, the Baltimore City Public School System, Port Discovery, the Baltimore School for the Arts, and Union Memorial Hospital. He is currently on the boards of St. Mary's College, the University System of Maryland Foundation, the Center for Emerging Media, the Lyric Opera House, and the Archdiocese of Baltimore School System. Basu earned his B.S. in Foreign Service at Georgetown University in 1990. He earned his Master in Public Policy from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and his Master in Economics from the University of Maryland, College Park. His Juris Doctor was earned at the University of Maryland School of Law. 

Leah D. Burton, Director, Centennial Campus Partnership Office and Industry Alliances, NC State UniversityLeah D. Burton

Leah Burton is the Director of Centennial Campus Partnerships and Industry Alliances at NC State University. In this role, she manages the campus-wide strategy for corporate and government interactions with NC State, including the University’s award-winning Centennial Campus.

Prior to joining NC State in 2000, Burton was the Director of Marketing and Communications at the Research Triangle Regional Partnership, a regional economic development organization marketing the 13-county Research Triangle region. Before moving to North Carolina, Burton was the Public Affairs Manager for telecommunications company US West. Burton has a degree in Communication from the University of Colorado.

Kevin T. Byrne, MBA, Past President, AURP; President, The University Financing Foundation, Inc.Kevin T. Byrne

Kevin Byrne spent his early career at Arthur Andersen with a primary focus in the real estate and financial services industries. In 1997, Byrne founded Byrne & Associates, which focused on providing investment-banking services to small and middle market companies. After earning his Master of Business Administration with honors from the Wharton School of Business in 2001, he joined a real estate development firm as the Chief Financial Officer, managing a balance sheet of over $200 million and leading new transactions of over $150 million in just two years.

In 2003, he joined The University Financing Foundation (TUFF) and has managed all aspects of the firm including the firm’s new investments in education and research projects, which total over $800 million. Byrne oversees the operations of the firm and, through his leadership, the firm has become involved in all aspects of research park creation and ongoing operations including the development of facilities. He has crafted full-scale park business plans, assisted in the strategic and master planning of research parks and has helped several global parks with the creation of innovative investment structures enabling these parks to maximize the efficiency of their limited resources. Byrne is an honors graduate from Furman University and currently serves as the immediate past president of the Association of University Research Parks Board of Directors.

Gintas Civinskas, LEED AP, Associate, Ayers Saint Gross Gintas Civinskas

Gintas Civinskas is a Baltimore-based planner at Ayers Saint Gross focused on the design of university-related and urban mixed-use innovation communities. He has led master planning work for a range of innovation districts around the country, including 16Tech in Indianapolis, Discovery Park at Purdue University, Converge Miami, and the University of Pittsburgh Innovation District.

Stephen Coulston, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Managing Principal, Perkins+Will

Stephen Coulston is a Principal in the Austin office of the award-winning design firm Perkins+Will. With a passion for engaging in the innovation economy, Coulston has spent his 25-year careerworking at the intersection of the higher education, research, healthcare and government sectors.  As an architect and urban planner with a focus on strategizing, planning and designing the built form, Coulston leads the southwest regional planning practice, contributing to the firm’s national urban design and architecture practice, including research park, academic health, college-town, and innovation district planning, urban design and facility planning.

 

Jason Cramer, PhD, Director, Accelerate to Industry Program, NC State University Jason Cramer

Dr. Jason Cramer’s passion for education drove him to teach high school chemistry for nine years and then to pursue a master’s degree in Education Leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). He later earned a PhD in biochemistry from the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology in the VCU School of Medicine. 

Dr. Cramer joined NC State University in 2014 as the Coordinator for the Master of Microbial Biotechnology Program in the Department of Plant & Microbial Biology. He currently works in the Graduate School to build instructional platforms that prompt collaboration between the University and the private sector.

Charles F. D’Agostino, MBA, Immediate Past President, AURP; Executive Director, LSU Innovation Park and Louisiana Business & Technology CenterCharles F. D’Agostino

As Founder of the Louisiana Business & Technology Center (LBTC) of Louisiana State University (LSU), Charles F. D’Agostino has been its Executive Director since 1988. The LBTC serves as LSU’s business incubator, small business development center, technology transfer office and disaster recovery business counseling center. In 2005, the LBTC was selected from over 1,000 international members as the National Business Incubation Association’s business incubator of the year. Under D’Agostino’s direction, the LBTC added a 30-seat mobile classroom to conduct rural entrepreneurship training and disaster business counseling in 37 rural communities and hurricane-impacted areas annually. This program has won awards from the Southern Growth Policies Board, NBIA and the Excalibur Award from AURP for its disaster recovery programs.

D’Agostino was a 2010 Fulbright Specialist in Economic Development assigned to the Universita of L’Aquila in Italy to assist in developing a business disaster recovery program after the 2009 earthquake that devastated L’Aquila. He also assisted the university in developing a business incubator as part of the recovery plan. In 2011, he was honored with NBIA’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his role in business incubation.

D’Agostino earned an MBA and bachelor’s degree in chemistry from LSU. He received the Phi Delta Kappa – Excellence in Research Award in 1989 and Faculty Fellow designation from the Foundation of the Mid South and has served on the boards of the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA), AURP, the Greater Baton Rouge Port Commission and currently serves on the Louisiana Legislature’s Small Business Entrepreneurship Commission. He has been active in economic development as a practitioner and consultant for over 30 years.

Brian P. DarmodyBrian P. Darmody, JD, Past President, AURP; Associate Vice President for Corporate and Foundation Relations, University of Maryland

Brian Darmody is responsible for developing the overall university strategy for corporate and foundation relationships, as well as the development of projects and policies to support these initiatives centrally and through the colleges and schools on campus of the University of Maryland.

Previously, he was the University’s Associate Vice President for Research and Economic Development, the Director of State and Federal Relations in the President’s Office and has served in the university’s legal counsel office. He serves on national and state boards, including: Fraunhofer USA, the Maryland Venture Authority and the Maryland Tech Council. Darmody is a past president of the Association of University Research Parks. He holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Baltimore and he received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Gregory W. Deason, Past President, AURP; Senior Vice President and Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Purdue University

Greg Deason leads the team that is accelerating startup and tech-based company activity at Purdue University, known as the Foundry. The Foundry is dedicated to expanding the entrepreneurial ecosystem and providing robust resources to inventors and entrepreneurs leading to new company formation, ideas to the marketplace and job creation. Announced in 2013, the Foundry has had record-breaking performance with startup companies. Deason has been instrumental in the creation of Purdue Research Parks in three additional locations in Indiana, and in the creation of the Purdue Technology Centers Complex – the largest university-affiliated business incubator complex in the U.S. During Deason’s tenure at the Purdue Research Park, the statewide network has grown to more than 250 companies and over 4,600 jobs, providing an annual impact of $1.3 billion to the Indiana economy. In 2013, Deason received the Career Achievement Award from AURP recognizing him for excellence in research park creation, development and service to the industry. In 2010, Deason was named an Outstanding Alumnus of Purdue University and remains active in service to the College of Agriculture.

Laura Demarse, PhD, Assistant Dean, The Graduate School, NC State University Laura Demarse

Dr. Laura Demarse currently oversees the Professional Development Program in the Graduate School at NC State University, supervising a team of four program managers. Demarse holds a doctorate in Higher and Adult Education from the University of Memphis and a master's in Counseling Psychology from Fordham University; she also holds certifications as a Master Career Counselor (MCC) and a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC). She spent the last 12 years building professional development programming for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, and joined NC State University in 2015.

Alison Doyle, Marketing Director, Iowa State University Economic Development and Industry Relations, Startup Factory 

Alison Doyle spent more than a dozen years at advertising agencies and high growth technology companies primarily on the west coast before landing at Iowa State University Research Park (ISU RP) eleven years ago to envision and execute ISU RP’s initial marketing effort. She leads the organization’s branding, business development, workforce recruitment, and marketing strategies alongside ISU RP’s programmatic offerings as well as the marketing/PR/branding efforts for Iowa State’s Economic Development Group and Startup Factory initiatives. She also spends extensive time with companies and ISU bridging the gap between academia and industry. She is a frequent speaker on various marketing/PR topics, and owns a boutique firm serving primarily B2C start-ups/small businesses.

Daniel J. Duncan, Executive Director, Nebraska Innovation CampusDaniel J. Duncan

Dan Duncan is the executive director of Nebraska Innovation Campus. He began his tenure with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1987 when he accepted the positions of operations manager at the University of Nebraska Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Scottsbluff, NE. In 1991, he was named director of the University of Nebraska Agricultural Research and Development Center near Mead, Nebraska followed by being named assistant director of the Nebraska Agricultural Experiment Station, then in 2008, he accepted the position of assistant dean and director of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Agricultural Research Division. In 2011, Duncan moved into his current position as executive director of the Nebraska Innovation Campus Development Corporation.

Duncan was born on a diversified farm and ranch in Sioux County, Nebraska. He attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and graduated with a Master of Science Degree in Agricultural Economics-Agribusiness, and Bachelor of Science Degrees in Animal Science and Agronomy all from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is a LEAD VII Fellow and member of the Nebraska Hall of Ag Achievement and the Agricultural Builders of Nebraska.

Nathan Easter, Real Estate and Operations Manager, Iowa State University Research Park Nathan Easter

Nathan Easter has extensive experience working with both public and private entities on complex projects. He has managed numerous large‐scale projects throughout central Iowa, and presented projects in front of numerous councils and commissions. Easter’s career has allowed him to present to councils and boards on both sides of an issue—sometimes representing developers, and sometimes representing the city. As a licensed engineer, he routinely works with other professionals including contactors, engineers, architects, and real estate professionals. He understands plans, specifications, and budgets, and endeavors to work with these professionals to expand the goals and vision of ISU’s Research Par

Alan Elgersma, Principal, Champlin Architecture Alan Elgersma

Alan Elgersma, a Netherlands native, has been with Champlin Architecture for 20 years, bringing a unique perspective to project management and design. Before joining Champlin, Elgersma was a Senior Project Manager in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. His primary focus has been in the Higher Education and Healthcare Sectors managing Research and Hospital Projects in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indian

Dr. Brian K. Fitzgerald, Chief Executive Officer, Business-Higher Education Forum

Dr. Brian K. Fitzgerald has served since 2005 as BHEF’s chief executive officer and developed long-term strategy for the membership organization. BHEF’s National Higher Education and Workforce Initiative (HEWI) has emerged as the organization’s strategic enterprise. Through BHEF member collaboration, HEWI creates strategic partnerships between business and academic institutions to create new talent development models in high-skill emerging fields. BHEF presents insights from its partnerships in case studies, identifies workforce trends through its market intelligence publications and influences thought-leaders and policy makers through its public events. 

Fitzgerald earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He currently serves on the Dean’s Leadership Council. He received his bachelor’s degree from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. 

Scott Foster, Principal, PE, LEED AP, Affiliated Engineers, Inc. (AEI)Scott Foster

Scott Foster has spent his 17-year career to design high performance laboratories. As a principal at AEI, he is a market leader in science and technology practice area with a dedication to achieving optimal energy and water savings for advanced research buildings. He is a graduate of Kansas State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Architectural Engineering

Stephen G. Frayser, MBA, MPA, Executive Director, STAR Park, Texas State University
Stephen G. Frayser

Steve Frayser is the Executive Director of the Texas State University’s Science Technology Advanced Research (STAR) Park and Co-Director of the new Materials Applications Research Center (MARC). Frayser joined STAR Park in 2012. Frayser brings over three decades of experience in economic development, research park management and successful efforts to spur the innovation economy at Texas State. Prior to joining Star Park, he served as one of the principal staff leaders of the University of Nebraska’s original Technology Park in 1996, eventually becoming its President in 2003. Over the next nine years the Park added over 2,400 jobs, 300,000 square feet of laboratory, engineering and office space and $68 million in private sector investment. In conjunction with tenant companies, a $1.5 million need based scholarship endowment was created and 30 acres were set aside for students to employ sustainability practices through experiential learning.

Frayser earned his MBA from the University of Nebraska – Omaha, has served as a Public Service Fellow while working on his Master in Public Administration degree and earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and public administration from Colorado State University. He’s and active member of AURP, the Texas Association of Research Parks and Incubators, as well as the Federal Advocacy and Technology Councils of the Austin Chamber of Commerce.

Denis Gauvreau, PhD, Director of International Affairs, GenopoleDenis Gauvreau

Dr. Denis Gauvreau is a technology entrepreneur and innovation specialist with over 25 years of achievements. Denis’ direct involvement in technology transfer dates to the early 90s, having acted in turn as Founder, President-CEO, Executive Chairman, Chairman, Board Director, Counsel, or Seed Investor in over 20 early-stage companies in Canada and in France (e.g., Nanoledge, Avance Pharma, BioAxone Therapeutics, Evologic, Biobank, Urogene, Cytomics Pharmaceuticals, Planteck Biotechnologies, OncoDiag). His accomplishments include the creation as Chairman and President-CEO of the first Canadian genomics company (Algene Biotechnologies, that was also listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange).

Gauvreau started his career as research scientist and professor at the University of Quebec (National Scientific Research Institute - Health, 1981-1990) and at the University of Montreal (Department of Pathology and Montreal Interdisciplinary Geriatric Research Institute, 1990-1995). He is currently Director of International Affairs at Genopole – the first and still largest French biocluster. Genopole currently houses 86 start-ups, 19 public research institutions, 25 technology platforms and research facilities, with over 2,500 individuals on the ground. Genopole’s development activities focus on personalized medicine, regenerative medicine and synthetic biology. In his previous tenure at KAUST (2009-2013), Gauvreau was one of the original members of the group of some 300 Founders of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST, Saudi Arabia) that he joined before inauguration. Denis was also a strong supporter of KAUST’s Platinum Sponsorship of AURP. At KAUST Economic Development, Denis drove the commercial strategy of KAUST’s Research Park (KRP). Denis headed successfully the negotiations, and closed the contractual agreements with the three first industrial (anchor) tenants in KRP. His work contributed directly to the creation of the Dow Middle East and Africa R&D Center at KAUST, the SABIC Corporate Research and Innovation Center at KAUST, and the Saudi Aramco R&D Center at KAUST.

Gauvreau obtained his PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Cambridge (UK)(1981). His doctoral work led to the creation and characterization of six novel antibiotics. He completed his undergraduate studies (B.Sc., 1973) as well as his M.Sc. (1975) in Biochemistry at the University of Montreal (Canada).

Jonathan M. Genn, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Global LifeSci Development CorporationJonathon Genn

Jonathan Genn is the Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Global LifeSci Development Corporation, a metropolitan Washington, DC-based family business with more than 75 affiliated private companies.  Genn’s primary responsibilities include planning, designing, and constructing large mixed-use lifestyle communities in the Washington, DC Capital Region, with particular emphasis on the biomedical and biotechnology industries.

Genn, born in Washington, DC, is a graduate of Georgetown University and a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law.  Genn serves on the board of numerous private companies, charitable foundations, business associations, and civic organizations.

Bob Geolas, Partner, HR&A AdvisorsBob Geolas

Bob Geolas, Partner, HR&A Advisors, is a nationally recognized leader in the development of innovation districts and research parks. With more than 20 years’ experience, Geolas has a proven track recordof leveraging world-classeducation, research and business activities for the greatest public good. 

Prior to joining HR&A, Geolas servedas the President and Chief Executive Officerof the Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina, the steward organization for the Research Triangle Park, where he coordinated initiatives and effortssurrounding its redevelopment. He has received several awards for his work tofurtherthe missions of institutions, including the Vision Award from AURP.

Mike Gill, Secretary, Maryland Department of CommerceMike Gill

Secretary Mike Gill is a business leader with four decades of experience as an entrepreneur, technology executive, investment banker, and public servant.  ​He was tapped by Governor Larry Hogan to lead the Maryland Department of Commerce (formerly the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development) in January 2015. 

Mike led the transition to Maryland Commerce in October 2015 and spearheaded a major cultural shift in the way the department interacted with its partners, stakeholders and customers. Under Mike’s leadership, Commerce created an aggressive customer outreach effort, expanded its business development team, and increased emphasis on Maryland’s growth industries, including life sciences, cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, as well as higher education.    Mike chairs the Commerce Cabinet, which is made up of seven state agencies that connect regularly with the business community, and sits on the board of the Maryland Public-Private Partnership (P3) Marketing Corporation, which was created to help drive the state’s branding and marketing efforts. 

Prior to his appointment as Secretary, Mike Gill led Evergreen Advisors, an investment bank, as chairman and principal.   Previously, Gill founded Hoyt Capital, an investment and advisory firm serving start​ups and growth companies.   In 1984, Gill founded AMERICOM, a Baltimore-based provider of cellular products and services to businesses in the area. Under Gill’s leadership, AMERICOM expanded nationwide with more than 1,200 team members.   In 2000, it was acquired by Solectron.   He started his career with IBM and held a number of positions in sales and marketing, and then became director of data systems for Ernst & Young’s mid-Atlantic region.  Gill served on the University System of Maryland Board of Regents from 2004 to 2009, heading the audit committee and technology transfer and commercialization workgroup.   His past and present board memberships also include the Calvert Hall Board of Trustees, Baltimore County Economic Development Commission, St. Joseph's Medical Center, Bay National Bank, and Towson University of Board of Visitors. He is also a member of the President's Advisory Board at Clemson University. 

Gill earned his B.S. in business administration from Towson University in 1974 after first attending Clemson University on a baseball scholarship.   He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree by Towson University in 1996.

Eli Griggs, Project Manager, Civil Engineer, The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company Eli Griggs

Eli Griggs has focused on laboratory construction and containment for the past 15 years of his career.  He has successfully completed research facilities varying from BSL-1 to BSL3 Enhanced research laboratories.  He’s completed laboratories for the University of Kentucky, Emory University, the University of Georgia, the State of Georgia, the State of Connecticut, and the US Department of Agriculture.  Griggs is one of Whiting-Turner’s preeminent lab containment experts and holds a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Kentucky.

Adam Gross, FAIA, Principal, Ayers Saint Gross Adam Gross

Adam Gross provides the broad design direction for Ayers Saint Gross. His goal as an architect and planner is to engage people and places to create uplifting designs that enrich the world. Gross has 40 years of experience in urban planning and architectural design, having worked across the United States and abroad. He has written and lectured extensively on urban design, architecture, and master planning and served on many award juries. He has taught at several universities, including as the Fay Jones Chair in Architecture at the University of Arkansas and the Kea Distinguished Professor of Architecture at University of Maryland.

Morgan High, Director of Marketing & Communications, Office of Partnerships & Economic Development, NC State University

​Morgan High is the Director of Marketing and Communications for NC State University's Centennial Campus. She is responsible for increasing awareness of Centennial Campus as a top innovation hub and promoting NC State's partnerships with industry and government. Prior to NC State, High led marketing initiatives for Wake County Economic Development focused on raising brand awareness of Raleigh, NC as a leading economy in order to recruit companies and talent to the Research Triangle region. She also previously led communications for Community Care of North Carolina's healthcare IT programs and has prior experience managing marketing projects for clients including IBM, GE and Lowes Home Improvement. High is a graduate of NC State University and East Carolina University. 

Mitchell Horowitz, Vice President and Managing Director, TEConomy Partners, LLCMitchell Horowitz

As the Vice President and Managing Director of TEConomy Partner, LLC, Mitchell Horowitz’s work centers on research park feasibility analysis and conceptual plan development includes USC Biomed Tech Park, Georgia State University, East Baltimore Life Science and Technology Park, Pittsburgh Technology Space Study, University of Maryland Baltimore incubator feasibility, and Friendship Technology Park in Hagerstown, Maryland.

He has built a strong record of accomplishment in technology development where he has worked as a principal economic development consultant, high-ranking state development official and as an executive in a fast-growing diversified technology firm. Prior to starting TEConomy Partners, Horowitz spent a number of years with Battelle's Technology Partnership Practice and prior to that he worked with a diversified technology firm. As part of his executive management responsibilities, Horowitz served as president of a mezzanine capital financing group and executive vice president for business development and marketing for a fast growing clinical trials informatics company.

Horowitz holds a master’s degree in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University.

Steven Jast, President, ROI Research on Investment

As President of ROI Research on Investment, Steven Jast led the growth of the company from a two-person start-up to a Profit Magazine “Hot 50” company, having posted revenue growth over 300% and becoming Canada’s 26th fastest growing company. Jast was further recognized as a Finalist in the Ernst & Young International Entrepreneur of the Year Competition. Since 2002, ROI has worked with over 350 economic development organizations from around the world and has facilitated over $20 billion of investment, generating over 150,000 new jobs. 

Jast has trained international economic development organizations on the fundamentals and best practices related to investment prospecting, business retention and attraction, as well as advanced nurturing and engagement techniques. Over the past year, he has provided advanced training to the Federal Government of Norway (Innovation Norway), Louisville Forward (Kentucky), The Province of Saskatchewan’s Ministry of the Economy, The Provincial Government of Trentino, Italy (Trentino Sviluppo), The State Government of Bavaria (Germany) and the Economic Development Group of Entergy Corporation, among others. 

Prior to founding ROI, Steven was Partner and Executive Vice President at CAI Corporate Affairs International, a boutique site selection practice. During his 10 years with CAI, Jast led the site selection and incentive negotiation efforts for large multinational organizations including Bridgestone/Firestone, Electrolux, Ericsson, ABB and SC Johnson, among others. While with CAI, Jast was part of the management team awarded the Gold level Achievement Award in the Private Developers Economic Development category by Business Facilities magazine. 

Jackie Kerby Moore, Executive Director, Sandia Science & Technology ParkJackie Kerby Moore

Jackie Kerby Moore is the Executive Director of the Sandia Science & Technology Park and has been since its inception in 1998.  This 350-acre technology community is affiliated with Sandia National Laboratories.  The Park serves as home for more than 40 companies and organizations employing over 2000 people, while total investment in the Park exceeds $385 million.  In recognition of its success, the Sandia Science & Technology Park received the Outstanding Research Park of the Year Award from the Association of University Research Parks (AURP) in 2008.  Moore also leads Sandia Labs Technology-Based Economic Development Programs.

In related activities, Moore is a Past President of the Board of Directors for AURP, an international association.  She chaired AURP’s first Washington Summit and led the effort to get the first Science Park legislation introduced in both the U.S. Senate and House.  She serves on the Board of Directors for Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University and the Santa Fe Business Incubator.  In 2010, she received the Career Achievement Award from the AURP.

Moore has been recognized as one of New Mexico’s Power Brokers, was honored for Who’s Who in Technology in New Mexico, and has appeared on the cover of New Mexico Woman Magazine.  She has been featured on CNBC Television and has been a frequent participant on local radio shows in New Mexico.  In addition, she regularly speaks on the topic of research parks at conferences and events throughout the world, including in China, Taiwan, Finland, France, Spain, Canada, Mexico, and Ireland.

Tony Kershaw, Events and Outreach Manager; Director, Experience Innovation Studio, Office of Partnerships & Economic Development, NC State University

Tony Kershaw is the Events and Outreach Manager for the Office of Partnerships and Economic Development at NC State UniversityHe curates events and outreach initiatives that connect and catalyze relationships between faculty, students, corporate partners and other university stakeholders. Prior to joining NC State, Kershaw administered a variety of state-funded programs and initiatives geared toward commercialization and innovation at The Tech Garden in Syracuse, NY. He's worked with university and industry startups across a number of industries which have gone on to raise several million dollars in public and private funding. Kershaw earned a Bachelors and Masters Degree in engineering from Syracuse University. 

Greg King, CEcD, Associate Vice President for Economic Development, Georgia Institute of TechnologyGreg King

Greg King serves as the Associate Vice President for Economic Development at Georgia Tech where he develops innovation partnerships between companies and campus. In addition, he supports the state’s economic development efforts by identifying and representing the unique higher education resources and opportunities to those companies looking to relocate or expand in Georgia. King also leads Georgia Tech’s engagement with industry that involves the creation and operation of innovation or technology centers on or near campus. King holds a Bachelors of Science in Industrial Management from Georgia Tech and a Master’s in Economics from the University of Oklahoma. He was also part of the Fulbright International program representing university-industry collaboration and economic development.

Erin Koshut, Director, Cummings Research Park

Erin Koshut is responsible for managing and marketing Cummings Research Park (CRP), which houses 300 companies, is situated on over 3,800 acres and employs 29,000 employees—making CRP the second largest research park in the U.S. and the fourth largest in the world.

In her role as CRP Director, Koshut is leading a comprehensive master planning effort to ensure another 50 successful years for CRP. Working with stakeholders and community partners, she is working to transform the culture in the Park and create a vibrant environment where employees can connect, work, live, learn and play. She recently shepherded a re-branding of the Park, rolling out a new CRP brand and messaging across communication platforms, partners and CRP companies.

Previously, Koshut was Vice President for Client Services and Special Events with the Nashville-based public strategies firm, CRISP Communications. While at CRISP, she served as the lead strategist and account planner for the firm’s work with the U.S. DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Additionally, she led numerous high-tech issue advocacy campaigns and events in both Alabama and Tennessee.

She graduated from Lipscomb University in 1998 with a B.A. degree in Public Relations.

Brian Kowalchuk, AIA, LEED AP, Senior Vice President, HDR Brian Kowalchuk

Brian Kowalchuk is a senior vice president, board member and global design director. For more than 35 years, Kowalchuk has specialized in turning clients' visions into exceptional architecture, collaborating with leaders of universities and global science and technology organizations, helping them articulate their goals, and following through with designs that bring their missions to life. His designs increase efficiencies and promote productivity within inspiring places where people want to be--often reinventing long-held building paradigms.  He is a frequent guest speaker, panelist and design juror for various organizations including Tradeline, SCUP, and R&D Magazine.

Dr. Wallace D. Loh, President, University of Maryland

Dr. Wallace Loh assumed the position as University of Maryland President in 2010, having previously served as Executive Vice President and Provost at The University of Iowa; Dean, College of Arts & Sciences, Seattle University; Director, Executive Policy Office and chief policy adviser to Governor Gary Locke, State of Washington; Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculties, University of Colorado-Boulder; Dean, University of Washington Law School.

At Maryland, he is Professor of Public Policy. Previously, he was Professor of Law at Washington, Colorado-Boulder, and Iowa; Visiting Professor of Law at Cornell, Peking University (China), Emory, University of Texas at Austin, University of Houston, and Vanderbilt. His scholarship and teaching are in the areas of law and social change and in criminal justice reform.

Born in China, Loh moved with his family to Peru. After high school, he immigrated to the United States and became a naturalized citizen.

Education: Grinnell College, B.A.; Cornell University, M.A.; Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium), graduate study; The University of Michigan, Ph.D.; Yale Law School, J.D.

Kenneth M. Marcus, MBA, Director, University of Arizona Science and Technology Park; Chief Financial Officer, Campus Research CorporationKenneth M. Marcus

Ken Marcus began his career with the University of Arizona Science and Technology Park (UA Tech Park) in 1999 as controller, where he quickly placed controls, procedures and budget systems in place to provide accurate management reports to the Campus Research Corporation’s (CRC) Board of Directors. He was soon promoted to his current position as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Director of the UA Tech Park. Marcus is directly responsible for the finances and operations of the UA Tech Park and UA Bio Park, which includes lease negotiations, compliance, maintenance, building renewal, construction and food operations. He sits on the Arizona Center for Innovation Advisory Board, a technology incubator where he provides finance and client facility support. Marcus developed a site-wide data, cable and telecom system, a large municipal water system and electrical infrastructure system, as well as developed and implemented cafeteria improvements, life and safety improvements and the construction of the Vail Academy and High School’s Julian Wash Greenway, a 222-acre Solar Zone and adjacent public roadway improvements. These projects required Marcus to develop close government, industry and community partnerships.

Jeanne Mell, Vice President Marketing Communications and Community Engagement, The University City Science Center

Jeanne Mell joined the University City Science Center in 2009 as Vice President Marketing Communications. She is responsible for corporate marketing, program development, communications, public and media relations and community engagement. Mell also oversees Quorum, the entrepreneurs’ clubhouse and the Science Center’s participation in the Blackstone LaunchPad Philadelphia program.

Before joining the Science Center, Mell was Senior Vice President of Communications for the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce, where she had overall responsibility for print and electronic communications, public relations and media relations. Before making the move to PR and marketing, Mell was a journalist. Most recently she served as Director of Photography and Design at The News Journal in Wilmington, Del. She also worked at the Associated Press in New York and Philadelphia, ABC News, Good Morning America and Popular Photography Magazine. She started her career at Inc. Magazine, when it was a startup.

Mell chairs Campus Philly’s Board of Directors and also serves on the board of the Alliance of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) and chairs AWE’s Marketing Committee. She also serves on the board of the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Greater Philadelphia Life Sciences Congress. A native of Providence, Rhode Island, Mell has a bachelor’s degree in art history from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Joe W. Meredith, PhD, President, Virginia Tech Corporate Research CenterJoe W. Meredith

Dr. Joe Meredith is president of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center (CRC) in Blacksburg, Virginia. CRC consists of over 100 high-technology companies that employ over 1,775 people. In 1997, CRC was named “Best Practice in Technology Transfer and Research Centers” in the eight-state, mid-Atlantic region. The park was selected to join an elite network of the best research parks in the world called “it-parcs.” In addition to managing the operation of the center, Meredith is responsible for facilitating technology transfer from the university, increasing the level of sponsored research at Virginia Tech and marketing CRC to prospective tenants. Meredith holds a Bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from Virginia Tech, a Master's degree in aeronautics, astronautics and engineering science from Purdue University, and a Doctor of Philosophy in industrial and systems engineering from Virginia Tech. He also is a graduate of the Defense Systems Management College's Program Management Course.

Aaron Miscenich, MBA, President & Chief Executive Officer, New Orleans BioInnovation CenterAaron Miscenich

Aaron Miscenich has been the President & CEO of the New Orleans BioInnovation Center (NOBIC) since 2004. With an emphasis on entrepreneurship in the life sciences, the BioInnovation Center is a $48 million business incubator, primarily focused on the local commercialization of university technologies. It is a LEED Gold Certified facility that houses state-of-the-art wet labs and office spaces.

The organization has helped to create over 100 companies, handling a variety of technologies ranging from medical devices and therapeutic drugs to green technologies. As its President, Miscenich has worked to develop a regional network that has included the State of Louisiana, private investors, local universities, and community leaders.

In 2011 Miscenich was selected to serve as interim Executive Director of the Louisiana Cancer Research Center (LCRC), a New Orleans-based research collaborative bringing together the best minds from LSU Health Science Center, Tulane University, Xavier University, and the Ochsner Health System. With the mission of establishing the first National Cancer Institute designated institution in Louisiana, the LCRC now operates from a 170,000 square foot laboratory facility in the heart of the New Orleans' downtown research and clinical community.

Aaron Miscenich also manages BioFund, a $2.4 million evergreen capital source for the life science industry. Miscenich oversees the fund’s activity in equity investments, alternative finance/mezzanine lending, and senior debt transactions for start-ups and emerging companies.

Miscenich holds a B.S. in Physics with a minor in Mathematics from the University of New Mexico, and his masters in business administration in Finance and General Management, from Tulane University.

Laura O’Blenis, President, Stiletto Consulting Laura O'Blenis

Laura O’Blenis is the chief strategist for Stiletto, which she founded in 2010. Since then, she has worked with over 100 businesses and organizations, and closed more than $200 million in grants, revenue and financing. O’Blenis has an extensive experience working with universities, colleges, municipalities, economic development agencies and external stakeholders on development and strategic planning for research, technology, and innovation parks. 

She is also the Co-Founder and Managing Director of the Canadian Association of University Research Parks (AURP), where she spearheaded federal government negotiations for funding, negotiated MOUs, prepared a national marketing and FDI strategy and more.

Thomas G. Osha, Senior Vice President, Innovation & Economic Development, Wexford Science + Technology Tom Osha

 Tom Osha is employed by Wexford Science + Technology as Senior Vice President, Innovation and Economic Development. In this role, he guides Wexford’s implementation of its Knowledge Community strategy across its portfolio, working with Wexford’s partner universities and research institutions, entrepreneurs and innovators, growth companies, and economic development stakeholders globally to position Wexford’s research park developments as critical hubs in the regional innovation ecosystem. Osha is an engaging speaker who has recently delivered keynotes on creating innovation ecosystems and helping universities, research institutions, cities, regions, and federal governments, leverage their research and technologies into knowledge-led economic development.

David Petr, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC)David Petr

As the inaugural President and CEO of MCEDC, David Petr has hit the ground running to develop innovative strategies, strengthen partnerships and promote Montgomery County as a great place to do business. He is charged with leading the MCEDC effort to help businesses start, relocate and expand in the county, as well as connect them to top talent and marketing insight. 

Joseph A. Reagan, Jr., AIA, Northeast Region Executive Senior Vice President, Wexford Science + Technology Joseph Reagan Jr.

Joe Reagan brings over 30 years of commercial real estate experience to his current role leading the Northeast Region for Wexford Science + Technology. As the Northeast Region Executive and Senior Vice President for Wexford, Reagan is chartered with developing and executing projects focused on growing Innovation Districts in West Philadelphia, known as uCity Square, in Providence, and in Pittsburgh’s Innovation Corridor. With 15 years of institutional real estate, design and construction experience in Philadelphia, Reagan has a strong track record of results, developing nearly 3.5 million square feet of laboratory, office and retail space.

Dr. Antonio Rios-Ramirez, PhD, Director, Institute of Entrepreneurship (IEEGL) Region North, Orion Technology Park Antonio Rios

As current director of the Institute of Entrepreneurship (IEEGL) Region North, Dr. Antonio Rios is key to integrating and potentializing the entrepreneurship ecosystem. He has held executives’ positions at the Tec de Monterrey, in areas of entrepreneurship, research and development. As director of the Orion Technology Park he became a professor to create greater links with industry. He has secured awards for bonding and state prizes for science and technology. Rios has a PhD in management with specialization in operations and international business from ITESM and the University of Houston. He graduated with a degree in engineering. He has seven graduate degrees in areas of innovation, quality and technology, in addition to certificates in entrepreneurship from Babson, a family-owned businesses, and ontological coaching by New Field. He has been president of various business and professional associations, consultant, author and coauthor of books and articles on entrepreneurship and issues of public opinion.

Mark S. Romney, Director, Research Development & Industry Alliances, UC Davis Health Mark Romney

Mark Romney, Director for Research Development & Industry Alliances with UC Davis Health in Sacramento, has been actively engaged in facilities planning for 26 years, including a special concentration on research facilities. Hecoauthored several NIH CO6 GrantApplications, resulting in grant awards exceeding $6 million.  Romney coauthoredthe California Institute for Regenerative Medicine’s Shared Lab Facility Grant and the Large FacilitiesGrant, providing over $25 million in grant funding for the construction of the stem cell program facilities, and he has stewarded the process of planning and implementing an innovation district master plan on the UC Davis Health campus.

Doug Ryder, President, Holy Cross Germantown Hospital Doug Ryder

Doug Ryder is the inaugural President of Holy Cross Germantown Hospital, which opened in 2014. He was heavily engaged in planning for opening the new hospital, the construction, the hiring process, building a medical staff and linking with the community. Now leading an operational Holy Cross Germantown Hospital, Ryder is responsible for the day-to-day functions of all clinical and non-clinical departments throughout the hospital.

Mona Sabet, Managing Director, Tribal Advisors Mona Sabet

Mona Sabet has two decades of experience in the tech sector as a corporate executive and an entrepreneur. She has negotiated hundreds of technology deals including nearly 50 acquisitions.  Sabet is Managing Director at Tribal Advisors, a firm that helps technology companies develop their business with a view to maximizing their exit opportunities. 

Previously, as Corporate Vice President at Cadence, she led mergers and acquisitions, strategic transactions and venture investments, delivering tens of millions of dollars in incremental revenue. Sabet holds an engineering degree from the University of Toronto, a J.D. from the University of Western Ontario, and management certificates from Simon Fraser University and UC Berkeley.

Martha Schoonmaker, CEcD, Executive Director of PIC MC Martha Schoonmaker

Martha Schoonmaker is the Executive Director for the Pinkney Innovation Complex for Science and Technology (PIC MC) Foundation, the entity that develops, manages and markets the Germantown campus on behalf of Montgomery College.  PIC MC is an integrated academic, business and research campus and is the only community college with a hospital, Holy Cross Germantown Hospital, located as the anchor resident partner. Schoonmaker manages contracts, leases and partnerships with existing resident tenant partners, including Holy Cross Germantown Hospital, is responsible for the development of corporate partnerships that expand internship, learning and career opportunities for students within PIC MC. 

Carol Stewart, Chief Executive Officer, Association of University Research ParksCarol Stewart

Carol Stewart is the CEO of the Association of University Research Parks (AURP), an organization with a mostly North American-based membership that is growing into a robust international network. She is founder and Immediate Past President of the AURP Canada Chapter chartered in 2007 and has been a board member with AURP since 2010, until her recent appointment as CEO.

Prior to joining AURP as its CEO, Stewart managed the David Johnston Research + Technology Park (R+T Park) at the University of Waterloo, beginning in 2004 from its first building through to the ground-breaking of the 11th (evolv1) in 2017, which is the largest Net Positive project of its kind in North America. The evolution the R+T Park experienced under Stewart led to the commitment of a second replicable, evolv2, bringing the total park footprint to over a million square feet, 95 companies and with a combined staff of 4,400. The R+T Park, part of group of 26 parks, is responsible for 10% of the total of the group’s collective 4.3 billion annual contribution to the Canadian economy. Prior to managing R+T Park, Carol worked with both not-for-profit and technology organizations in various management roles in education, marketing and professional services at the Canadian Industrial Innovation Centre (CIIC) and Maplesoft.

Stewart also sits on the boards and participates in committees for various tech, economic development and charitable initiatives in Waterloo, Ontario.

Harold Strong, Jr., Past President, AURP; Principal, Medical, Innovation Collaborative (MIC)Harold Strong

James W. Tilghman, AIA, Clinical Associate Professor, University of Maryland School of Architecture Planning and Preservation; Principal, M12 Design James Tilghman

James W. Tilghman is a practicing architect and educator. As Principal of M12 Design, he is active in the United States and internationally as lead designer in the Institutional and Corporate Technology sectors. As Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Maryland’s School of Architecture, he is a design instructor in the senior undergraduate, graduate and graduate thesis studios. Prior to founding M12, Tilghman served as Director of Design at AECOM where he was a GSA Design Excellence Lead Designer for the Nation’s most renowned and mission critical agencies, leading multiple projects at NASA Langley Research Center.

Adam Wenchel, Vice President - AI & Data Innovation, Capital OneAdam Wenchel

Adam Wenchel is the VP for AI & Data Innovation and leads Capital One’s Center for Machine Learning (C4ML). Adam started his career building AI systems at DARPA and went on to work at several successful startups including Anax Security, Endgame, and EverFi before joining Capital One in 2015. Currently, he chairs the University of Maryland Advisory Board for Computing and has previously chaired the White House working group on Universal Authentication in K12 Education. In his spare time, he is developing a natural language AI bot that will engage in repetitive conversations with his kids about cleaning their rooms.

 
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