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 for more than 13 years. 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. Mason 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 the recruitment and retention of private sector companies, the development of mixed-use projects involving multiple stakeholders, strengthening relationships with economic development leaders, and expanding partnerships with the three founding Tier 1 research universities as well as the 220 companies located within RTP. His combination of experiences in the areas of planning, green building, architecture, private sector engagement, and real estate allow him to effectively analyze opportunities and deliver clear strategies.

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. While in this position, he led collaborations with university researchers, quasi-governmental entities, and private corporations to create dynamic economic and business development strategies. 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 Mr. 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. 

Mr. 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. Mr. Basu earned his B.S. in Foreign Service at Georgetown University in 1990. He earned his Master's in Public Policy from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and his Master's 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. Burton has a proven track record of building broad-based and sustainable industry-university partnerships and she has a passion for the value created when a successful collaboration is brokered. 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, where she had a front row seat for the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which was the first major overhaul of telecommunications law in more than 60 years. 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.

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, 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.

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.

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, Genopole

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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