Speakers and Moderators

Steve CaseChairman and CEO, Revolution LLC; Co-Founder, AOL

Steve Case is one of America’s best-known and most accomplished entrepreneurs and philanthropists, and a pioneer in making the Internet part of everyday life.  Case co-founded AOL in 1985 and under his leadership and vision, AOL became the largest and most valuable Internet company, driving the worldwide adoption of a medium that has transformed business and society.

Case is Chairman and CEO of Revolution LLC, a Washington, D.C.- based investment firm that now backs entrepreneurs at every stage of their development. Revolution Growth has invested nearly $1 billion in growth-stage companies including Sweetgreen, Tempus, Tala, DraftKings, and Clear. Revolution Ventures has backed more than two dozen venture-stage companies, including Framebridge, PolicyGenius, and Bloomscape. The Rise of the Rest Seed Fund has invested in more than 130 startups in over 70 U.S. cities, in partnership with many of America’s most successful entrepreneurs and investors.

Steve’s passion for helping entrepreneurs remains his driving force. In 2011, he was the founding chair of the Startup America Partnership—an effort launched at the White House to accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation—and member of President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness where he chaired the subcommittee on entrepreneurship. 

He is also the author of New York Times bestselling book, The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future.

Joseph Allen, President, Allen and Associates

Joe Allen served on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee for Senator Birch Bayh (D-IN) securing passage of the Bayh-Dole Act which fostered R&D partnerships between universities and U.S. industry. The Economist Technology Quarterly called this law “possibly the most inspired piece of legislation to be enacted in America over the past half century.” On leaving the Senate staff, Joe was Executive Director of Intellectual Property Owners, Inc. (IPO) where he worked to create the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit before going to the U.S. Department of Commerce where he became the Director of the Office of Technology Commercialization.

Joe became President of the National Technology Transfer Center established by Congress to promote industry/federal laboratory R&D partnerships. In 2008 he founded Allen and Associates a consulting firm specializing in technology management/IP issues. Joe was the lead witness before the South African parliament on their Bayh-Dole law and consulted with the Republic of Kazakhstan to develop its technology transfer laws. In 2013 he co-chaired the White House Lab to Market Summit. The Association of University Technology Managers presented Joe with the Driving Innovation Award “For His Tireless Work and Support as a Champion for the Bayh-Dole Act during the Past 30 Years” and the Bayh-Dole Award, its highest honor. He also writes a monthly column for IP Watchdog on technology management issues. Joe currently leads Bayh-Dole 40, a broad based coalition celebrating the 40th anniversary of the enactment of that landmark law.

Susanne Althoff, Assistant Professor, Emerson College

Susanne Althoff is a veteran journalist and assistant professor of publishing at Emerson College in Boston. She has served as an adviser for several student-led start-ups. Her book LAUNCHING WHILE FEMALE: Smashing the System That Holds Women Entrepreneurs Backwill be published on October 27, 2020, by Beacon Press. Based on interviews with 100 women founders, as well as nonbinary entrepreneurs, the book exposes the obstacles they face and proposes ways to make the entrepreneurial community more inclusive and equitable. In addition to gender, Althoff’s book examines the impact of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and other identities.

Peter Baird, Senior Associate, Perkins and Will

Peter Baird is a planner and designer who is passionate advancing the design qualities, application of data/information, and collaborative opportunities of science and technology locations. He advocates for deep-dive analysis to establish transparent design decisions, improve problem solving, and create open dialogue with the community. His experience has led to a strong understanding of research environments, funding realities, and the company growth dynamics that underpin campus and innovation environments. His experience spans multiple master plans and facility programs across the United States, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand.

Jonathan Bates, Executive Director, Real Estate Administration & Research Park, University of Utah Research Park

Jonathon Bates is the Executive Director for Real Estate Administration for the University of Utah with responsibility for the development of strategic initiatives to manage the University's real estate transactions. With responsibility for supporting the academic institution, as well as the University Health system, Jonathon is actively involved in leading real estate transactional work including management of a lease portfolio representing over 1.5 million square feet and close to $35M in annual obligations. Additionally, Jonathon oversees a property management and operations team that currently manages sixteen properties totaling over one million square feet of office, lab and clinical space. Jonathon also acts as director for the University of Utah Research Park and has goals to update the Park's Master Plan, Mobility Plan and Architectural Guide with a focus towards further development, densification and, most importantly, increasing the financial contribution that the Park continues to make for the University of Utah and the State of Utah. The University of Utah Research Park encompasses 320 acres and is currently home to over 51 private companies and 81 University entities totaling over 14,000 employees located in over 4 million square feet of space with another 400,000 square feet under construction or in final design. Jonathon has an Executive MBA from the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah.

Scott C. Baxter, President, S.C. Baxter Consulting, LLC

Scott Baxter has a successful track record developing and commercializing new innovative technologies and products in the medical device, consumer electronics, and security industries. His titles have included VP Digital Solutions, VP R&D and GM Global Innovation Center. Scott’s teams have successfully launched over 50 products around the globe utilizing new and breakthrough technologies. Scott is an active angel investor and serves on various boards and advisory committees. Scott earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Stony Brook University and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering. www.linkedin.com/in/scottcbaxter

Josh Berger, Partner, MAg Partners

Josh Berger is company liaison and development lead for all MAg Partners projects. Josh has worked in the real estate industry for more than 15 years. Prior to joining the firm, Josh was Director of Operations for a commercial real estate development company in Lincoln, NE. He is a licensed real estate agent, licensed journeyman electrician, and has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Kansas City Art Institute. His distinct skill-set allows him to master plan, develop, design, and coordinate projects from start to finish. His primary role is to secure and implement real estate developments looking for equity investment opportunities.

Dan Berglund, President and Chief Executive Officer, SSTI

Dan Berglund is the President and CEO of SSTI, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving initiatives that support prosperity through science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. SSTI is the most comprehensive resource available for those involved in technology-based economic development. Leading SSTI since its inception in 1996, Mr. Berglund has helped SSTI develop a nationwide network of practitioners and policymakers dedicated to improving the economy through science, technology and innovation. SSTI works with this network to assist states and communities as they build tech-based economies, conduct research on best practices and trends in tech-based economic development, and encourage cooperation among and between state and federal programs. Prior to joining SSTI, Mr. Berglund worked as a consultant and for the Ohio Department of Development in a variety of positions, including Acting Deputy Director of the Division of Technological Innovation.

Anthony Boccanfuso, PhD, President, UIDP

As the UIDP's President, Tony Boccanfuso is a leading expert on university-industry relations and over the past 29 years, he has gained significant experience and insights by working in the academic, corporate, government and non-profit sectors. Tony holds a PhD in inorganic chemistry from the University of South Carolina and a BS in chemistry and political science from Furman University.

Tony also serves as a consultant for government agencies, non-profit organizations and corporations and is the former Chair of the MedStar Health Research Institute.

Jean-Sebastian Bouchard, President, CAPE

With a major in sociology and a minor in social psychology, Jean-Sébastien is driven by social changes and the challenges of tomorrow. His father showed him really early the power of serious gaming and that brought him, in 2012 to give up on is post graduated studies to start an applied research project for HR and organizational transformation. That led to the founding of a Startup that develops innovative tools for the world of work and new educational models.

Amy Bridger, Senior Director, Corporate Strategy & External Engagement at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College

In her role at Penn State, Amy oversees Knowledge Park at Penn State Behrend, the region’s only research park. The park consists of 864 acres which hold six multi-tenant buildings, twenty companies and over five hundred employees. Amy was a principal designer of Behrend’s Open Lab environment which guides how external organizations interact with campus. One project, the NWPA Innovation Beehive Network, is benchmarked nationally as best practices in academia-industry collaboration. Amy has a Master’s in Professional Studies in Homeland Security from Penn State University and a Bachelor of Science in Professional and Technical Communications from Rochester Institute of Technology.

Leah 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, Leah 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, she was the Public Affairs Manager for telecommunications company US West. Leah has a communications degree from the University of Colorado.

Kevin 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, Kevin founded Byrne & Associates, which focused on providing investment-banking services to small and middle market companies. After earning his MBA 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. Kevin 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. Kevin is an honors graduate from Furman University and currently serves as a past president of the Association of University Research Parks.

David Carlebach, Vice President, International Investment, World Trade Center Utah

David Carlebach is the vice president of international investment at World Trade Center Utah. He is responsible for developing and executing the organization’s strategy to increase the amount of foreign capital that flows into the state of Utah.

Carlebach was most recently a managing director at Goldman Sachs. At Goldman Sachs, he held several senior leadership roles working in private wealth management, change management, and regional management in Salt Lake City and the Asia-Pacific region. As the leader of the Salt Lake City office at its inception, Carlebach played a vital role in making Goldman Sachs the largest private employer in Salt Lake City and the fourth largest in the company.

Carlebach previously worked as an international management consultant at Booz, Allen & Hamilton in Dallas, Duesseldorf, Munich, and New York, and as an entrepreneur in digital marketing. Carlebach is an honors graduate of both the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and the University of Michigan. He is fluent in English and German. Carlebach currently resides in Salt Lake City with his wife and three children.

Emma Carlo-Guerrero, Network and Consortia Coordinator, Institute of Innovation

Has a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics by Tecnológico de Monterrey. Has worked in the public sector for over 9 years at the Institute for Innovation and Technology Transfer. Has several diplomas in data base management, project management and public policies. Her fields of experience include strategic planning, statistics, international collaboration, and design and monitoring of KPIs, including a key role in the design of policy instruments for the State’s and the STI sector’s development. Is currently the Network and consortia Coordinator at the Institute of Innovation.

Chris Carlson, 2020 Awards Chair; Senior Vice President, The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company

As Senior Vice President with Whiting-Turner, Chris is primarily responsible for oversight of WT’s Raleigh, Winston-Salem and Charlotte, North Carolina offices, as well as the Atlanta Office which have a combined annual revenue of $400M. Chris has 35 years of experience in the construction industry and is a graduate of the University of Florida, with a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management. Throughout his career, Chris has managed a multitude of construction types; however, his primary focus has been constructing higher education, science, and technology facilities, contributing to the success of university and research projects across southeast United States. He has been directly involved as key leadership managing over $580 million dollars of university projects in the southeast prior to his current executive duties. Chris was the first individual within Whiting-Turner to acquire LEED Accreditation in 2001 and was instrumental in Whiting-Turner’s corporate membership within the United States Green Building Council, whereby he was elected to the LEED Application Guidelines committee to compile a laboratory-specific LEED manual. He has been directly involved in numerous high profile, sustainable building projects such as the Yerkes National Primate Research Center and the Whitehead Biomedical Research Facility both at Emory University, the Paul D. Coverdell Center for Biomedical & Health Sciences at the University of Georgia, as well as over one million SF of space at the Innovation Quarter in Winston Salem, North Carolina.

Casey Carrillo, Program Manager, University of Arizona Center for Innovation, Tech Parks Arizona

Casey Carrillo is a Program Manager for the University of Arizona Center for Innovation. Carrillo is responsible for managing the incubator’s regional cohort-based programming throughout Southern Arizona.

An Arizona native, Casey graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in Communications and a Master of Arts degree in Higher Education. Casey worked at the University of Arizona for five years during her time as a student and staff member. Casey worked at the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship in the Eller College of Management where she learned the importance of incorporating innovation in education and transitioned to the Office of Digital Learning where she supported UArizona’s efforts to provide a virtual learning experience for students.

Dwaine Chapel, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, Research Park at South Dakota State University

Dwaine Chapel has been the CEO/Executive Director of the Research Park at South Dakota State University since March 2012. He currently oversees the business recruitment efforts for the Park and the day-to-day operations of the Brookings Innovation Center. Dwaine enjoyed 6 successful years in Madison, SD as the economic development director of the Lake Area Improvement Corporation. His experience also includes time as a real estate broker, a home builder, and general contractor. He attended SDSU acquiring a degree in Economics in 2004 and a master’s degree in 2005 from the Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering at SDSU.

Jessica Rose Cooper, WELL Faculty, LEED AP, NCIDQ, Chief Commercial Officer, International WELL Building Institute PBC

As Chief Commercial Officer at the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), Jessica’s work brings health-focused design and policy solutions to diverse buildings and human environments around the globe. Jessica bridges the analytical and the creative, leveraging scientific evidence and research to help clients both quantify the value of healthy buildings and develop technical solutions for implementing the WELL Building Standard™. A passionate teacher who is constantly learning, Jessica has led many memorable presentations and technical workshops to business and professionals in cities worldwide.

Jessica leads the IWBI Commercial team, a solutions-oriented and customer-focused group that works daily to improve building performance, foster human health and happiness, and drive business success. Although the team spans four continents, Jessica nurtures a collaborative atmosphere where every individual is enabled and expected to contribute towards this common goal.

Jessica is a WELL Faculty and one of the first WELL Accredited Professionals, having earned her credential in 2015. A LEED Accredited Professional since 2008, Jessica also holds a certificate in Green Professional Building Skills Training: Construction Management. Jessica isa licensed interior designer and holds an NCIDQ Certificate. She graduated from CornellUniversity with a Bachelor of Science in Design and Environmental Analysis.Jessica keeps herself healthy by practicing yoga wherever she may be, which has brought her to studios in more than 6 countries and 15 cities around the world. An avid reader, Jessica is constantly applying new knowledge to her daily work. Jessica also dabbles in photography and writing, and paints whimsical water colors aimed to inspire and delight. Jessica has also authored and illustrated two children’s books which are dedicated to her closest friends and family.

Stephen Coulston, AIA, Principal, Perkins and Will

Stephen Coulston is a Principal in the Austin office of the award-winning design firm Perkins and Will. With a passion for engaging in the innovation economy, Stephen has spent his 25-year career working 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, Stephen 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.

Brian Darmody, Chief Executive Officer, AURP 

Brian Darmody was announced AURP CEO in February 2019. In this new role, Brian will lead AURP into new initiatives including expanding membership, international partnerships and funding in order to build out additional member benefits.  Over the course of the year, Brian will be winding down his activities at UMD where he currently serves as Associate Vice President (AVP) of Corporate Engagement at the University of Maryland (UMD). At UMD, Brian is responsible for developing the overall university strategy for corporate relationships, as well as the development of projects and policies to support these initiatives centrally and through the colleges and schools on the UMD campus.

Previously, he was the University’s AVP for Corporate and Foundation Relations in the Division of University Relations, AVP for Research and Economic Development, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Technology Development, 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 Economic Development Association, and the Maryland Tech Council. 

He holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Baltimore and he received his BS from the University of Maryland, College 

Greg Deason, Senior Vice President Entrepreneurship and Place Making, Purdue Research Foundation

Greg Deason, Senior Vice President of Entrepreneurship and Place Making at the Purdue Research Foundation leads the teams that are building a vibrant entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem at Purdue University.   By accelerating startup and tech-based company activities and developing places that provide innovative live, work, play and learning environments Purdue has emerged as a world leader in moving Ideas to Impact, ranking 3rd Nationally in startup creation.  Mr. Deason’s responsibilities include the Purdue Foundry, Purdue Ventures, Discovery Park District, and the Purdue Research Park.  Deason received the AURP Career Achievement Award in 2013.

Keisha Demps, Partnership Developer, Centennial Campus, North Carolina State University

Keisha is part of the partnership team with a focus on the Business Incubator. Her duties include developing and managing outreach, and engagement of current and prospective businesses while fostering opportunities for collaboration with faculty. Keisha obtained her bachelors degree from the University of Arizona. Little known fact - she spent two years as a professional athlete and trained as an alternate for the 2000 Olympics.

Daniel Duncan, President, AURP; Executive Director, Nebraska Innovation CampusDaniel J. Duncan

Dan Duncan 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. Following that position, he served as director of the University of Nebraska Agricultural Research and Development Center; assistant director of the Nebraska Agricultural Experiment Station; and assistant dean and director of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Agricultural Research Division. In 2011, Dan 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 MS in Agricultural Economics-Agribusiness, and BS 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.

Eric Edwards, MD PhD, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Phlow

Dr. Edwards was previously co-founder of Kaléo, Inc. a pharmaceutical company in Richmond, VA, USA. He is the co-inventor of multiple marketed products, including AUVI-Q, epinephrine for the treatment of allergic emergencies (anaphylaxis). Dr. Edwards is named on over 215 issued and pending patent applications and is a published author on numerous scientific publications. During his 16 years at Kaléo, he held several executive management positions including Chief Science Officer where he was responsible for overall scientific strategy and all pharmaceutical development programs, Chief Medical Officer responsible for developing a medical affairs team and capability while operationalizing the Company’s clinical program strategy, as well as Vice President –Innovation, overseeing Kaleo’s innovative, research and development pipeline and overall product strategy for the Company.

After leaving Kaleo, Dr. Edwards began working with Dr. Frank Gupton on the challenges associated with drug shortages and drug pricing in the United States. Together, alongside with their strategic partners, they have built a world-class team focused on solving these challenging problems, including the over-reliance on foreign manufacturers for our Nation’s most essential generic medicines and their ingredients. Dr. Edwards obtained his B.S. in Biology, Ph.D. in the Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Doctor of Medicine degrees at Virginia Commonwealth University / Medical College of Virginia

Kate Engel, Director of Communication and Culture, Nebraska Innovation Campus

In her current position at Nebraska Innovation Campus (NIC), Kate Engel is responsible for developing and implementing programs for NIC aimed at creating a culture that encourages collaboration and partnerships between NIC, the university and the community. NIC programs are focused on creating opportunities for people with different skill sets to meet and socialize – a critical aspect in developing a culture at NIC that embraces and sparks innovation.

Kate grew up on a farm near Red Oak, IA and is a Nebraska Wesleyan University graduate and earned a MA in Management from Doane University. Kate is currently working on a PhD in human sciences with a specialization in leadership studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Jessica Figenholtz, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Associate Principal, Perkins and Will

As a respected leader in the higher education sector, Jessica is focused on enhancing learning experiences and outcomes in the rapidly evolving education landscape. Jessica’s curiosity constantly drives her to ask how things are done and the reasoning behind specific decisions, allowing her to critically think through the approach from multiple lenses. Jessica is regarded for her thorough understanding of the client and project context. She is deeply involved in planning, redevelopment, and sustainability—and believes that design should deliver impact, create value, and transform lives for today’s learner and future generations to come.

Hunter Flodman, PhD, Associate Professor of Practice, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Hunter Flodman is an Associate Professor of Practice in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.In addition to teaching junior and senior level chemical engineering courses, Dr. Flodman is the faculty adviser for the Engineering Student Advisory Board and the faculty sponsor for the Engineering Readiness Academy.He serves as the technical adviser for the Nebraska Ethanol Board. As a staff consultant for the Center for Chemical Process Safety, Flodman teaches chemical engineering faculty from around the world how to incorporate process safety into chemical engineering coursework.

Laura Frerichs, Director, University of Illinois Research Park, University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign Economic Development 

Laura Frerichs is responsible for managing startup company oversight of the University of Illinois Research Park, and supporting the University’s economic development efforts. There are 90 companies located in the Research Park, which is a development including 200 acres on the campus of the University of Illinois. She developed innovative entrepreneur support programs including the Entrepreneur-in- Residence program, I-Start launch program, Student Shared Services, SBIR and Industrial Design assistance. Frerichs led recruitment of new research and innovation centers in the Research Park for large publicly traded firms including: Abbott, Abbvie, John Deere, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Dow Chemical, Grainger, Riverbed, Citrix, ADM, Raytheon, Yahoo, and other publicly traded firms. She has also been instrumental in leading more than 100 event offerings annually for clients including technical training, entrepreneur education, and networking activities. Under her leadership the Research at the University was named AURP Outstanding Research Park of the Year in 2011, by Inc. Magazine as one of the top 3 College Town Incubators in 2013, and by Forbes in 2010 as one of 10 Incubators Changing the World. Champaign-Urbana has emerged as one of the top 20 cities for venture capital per capita, with 3.4 the national average invested for early stage firms.

Leslee Gilbert, Vice President, Van Scoyoc Associates

Leslee K. Gilbert has an extensive background in higher education, research, technology development, and politics. She has nearly 12 years hands-on experience in the Washington policy-making process, and over 20 years of experience working in and with institutions of higher education. She uses her insider’s understanding of academia and government policy to help her clients navigate the changing world of Washington.

As a Vice President at VSA, Leslee focuses on federal research, development, and competitiveness. In addition to helping clients navigate Congressional policy making, she has developed a research and development consulting practice focused on federal agencies. Through partnerships with former officials from several key agencies, she assembles teams of experts to meet clients’ unique needs. By coordinating and managing these teams, Leslee helps clients identify federal funding trends across multiple agencies and maximize their comparative advantages. 

Nick Goodwin, PhD, MAPM, Chief Operating Officer, Anglia Innovation Partnership

Nick is Chief Operating Officer for Anglia Innovation Partnership and focussed on the growth and development of the Norwich Research Park (UK) research and innovation cluster. The Park is home to a diverse range of life-science businesses, a leading university, regional hospital and four independent research institutes with over 15,000 staff. Nick leads on the Park’s 10-year ‘Forward Together’ strategy to attract investment, strengthen the business community and achieve the translation and application of world-leading ‘frontier’ research into societal benefits. Nick believes that community building and place making are central to the park vision to ‘Change Lives and Rethink Society’.

Tom Hardy, Managing Member, Palo Alto Partners & Altair Real Estate Services

Tom has over two decades of urban planning and economic development experience. He works with primarily with institutions, local governments and non-profits. Tom has worked extensively with Urban Innovation21a partnership between universities and economic development agencies in Pittsburgh. He previously provided consulting services to York College and its Knowledge Park. Tom earned an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University and a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from the University of Pittsburgh.He holds the American Institute of Certified Planners’ AICP designation. His undergraduate degree is in Public Policy Studies from Duke University.

Kate Hier, AIA, NCARB, WELL AP, Architect and Laboratory Planner, The Clark Enersen Partners

Kate Hier is an Architect, Principal, and Laboratory Planner at Clark & Enersen, specializing in the design of science and technology projects at higher education institutions. She graduated from the University of Nebraska with a Bachelor of Science in Design and a Master of Architecture. During her 11 years of professional experience, she has led design on numerous high-profile projects at colleges, universities, research parks, and medical education centers across the Midwest. As a leader of the firm’s Science and Research Design team, her focus lies at the intersection of process flow, visioning for the future, and design excellence.

Terry Howell, PhD, P.E., Executive Director of the Food Processing Center, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Terry Howell is the Executive Director of the Food Processing Center at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.The Center provides a broad set of consulting services to the food industry, from helping startups navigate regulations and gain market access to providing access to multiple pilot plants for product testing.The Center provides product development support, sensory testing, microbiological testing, workshops to serve the food industry, and access to groundbreaking research capabilities in the university’s Food Science and Technology department.Prior to joining the University of Nebraska, Howell was Senior Manager of Product Development at McKee Foods Corporation.Howell is a past-President of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.

Jeff Johnson, MBA, Director, Tech Center Research Park, Virginia TechJeff Johnson

Jeff Johnson is responsible for all aspects of establishing and leading the research and innovation portion of the 100-acre, $450 million, mixed-use Tech Center based on the internationally acclaimed Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg, Virginia. Jeff identifies, vets, recruits and supports technology-based companies that are focused on commercializing discovery and growing businesses that matter. In 2009, he founded his own consulting company, Averitas, to help small and medium-sized businesses profitably grow. He has worked with several national and international brands. Prior to that, he was founding CEO and Executive Director of an innovative healthcare-based work force training program for adults, and an arts-based education program for high school students in Cleveland, Ohio. He has over 20 years of corporate experience and has held director and senior-level executive leadership positions with profit and loss responsibilities at global industry leading companies in automotive tires and building material finishes. As a certified Six Sigma Champion Trainer, Jeff also holds an Executive MBA from Tulane University and a bachelor in chemistry from Virginia Tech.

Maurice Jones, President and CEO, LISC

Maurice A. Jones was appointed CEO and President of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) in September of 2016. LISC is one of the country’s largest organizations supporting projects to revitalize communities and catalyze economic opportunity for residents. Prior to joining LISC, Maurice was the Secretary of Commerce and Trade for the Commonwealth of Virginia where his primary job was to utilize Virginia’s assets to solidify its position as the preeminent place to live, work and conduct business.

Maurice previously served as Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from April 2012 through January 2014. As the second most senior official at HUD, Maurice managed the Department's day-to-day operations, the annual operating budget of $40 billion and the agency's 8,900 employees. Before his appointment at HUD, Maurice was President of Pilot Media, the largest print and digital organization in Hampton Roads, Virginia. He joined Landmark Media Enterprises, owner of Pilot Media, in 2005, serving as Vice President of the Landmark Publishing Group. In 2006, he became the Vice President and General Manager of Pilot Media, and in 2008 he became President and Publisher of The Virginian-Pilot.

Maurice also served as the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Social Services and Deputy Chief of Staff to then-Virginia Governor Mark R. Warner. Other positions include: Special Assistant to the General Counsel at the U.S. Treasury Department, Legal Counsel to the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund and Director of the Fund during the Clinton Administration, Associate Attorney at Hunton & Williams in Richmond, Virginia, and Partner at Venture Philanthropy Partners. Maurice received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Hampden-Sydney College and attended Oxford University in England on a Rhodes Scholarship, where he received a Master of Philosophy in International Relations. He later received a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia.

Katherine Ku, Partner, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Katherine H. Ku is a corporate and securities partner in the Los Angeles office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. She represents both public and private companies and private equity funds in a variety of corporate transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, equity and debt financings, and joint ventures. Kathy also advises clients on corporate governance and securities compliance matters. In addition, she has experience representing special committees of boards of directors in connection with buy-out matters. Prior to joining the firm, Kathy was a corporate partner in the Los Angeles office of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP. Following her graduation from law school, Kathy served as a law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (2003-2004) and for Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court (2004-2005).

Martha Leal-Gonzalez, PhD, Director of Planning, Postgraduate, Outreach, International Cooperation and Research Networks, Institute of Innovation and Technology Transfer of Nuevo León

Innovative leader, holds a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Sheffield in England. Since 2002 she has worked in the public sector, first as coordinator of advisers to the Director General of the National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT), and from 2004 to January 2007 as head of the Technical Unit for Special Projects and Strategic Information from the same institution. Starting in 2009, she assumed the Direction of Planning, Postgraduate, Outreach, International Cooperation and Research Networks of the Institute of Innovation and Technology Transfer of Nuevo León.

Chris Leary, AIA LEED AP, Vice President, Jacobs

Chris Leary has served asPrincipal-in-Charge on many of Jacob’s most complex and innovative laboratory and office projects. His passion is for improving building performance and sustainable design with innovative tools and practice models. His diverse project experience includes office and lab tenant fit-outs, with clients ranging from large established corporations to edgy and fast-growing start-ups, as well as complimentary core& shell mixed-use projects for the developers that lease this space to these tenants.

Scott Livingston, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Livingston Securities, LLC

Scott Livingston has been working on emerging technologies at Wall Street firms for 25 years specializing in nanotechnologies since 2002 and called "sharp and highly connected" by the Forbes Wolfe Nanotechnology Report (July 1, 2005) and "the King of Nanotechnology on Wall Street”. He has been a keynote speaker on advanced technology investment trends in more than 30 states across America, connecting investors with their local innovation economy.

Earlier in his career, Scott was a managing director at Axiom Capital Management, Inc, and head of the Livingston Group, a division within Axiom focused on nanotechnology, director in the Private Investment Management Division at Lehman Brothers, director in the Private Client Group at Cowen & Co (later renamed SG Cowen Securities), where he was a member of the Chairman's Club from 1998 to 2000 the firm's highest honor for private client management. Prior to that, Scott was a senior vice president in the Private Client Group at Smith Barney Inc. Scott graduated from the State University of New York at Albany with a bachelor of arts in Political Science with a concentration in International Economic Relations.

Ariella Lukach, PhD, Vice President, Strategy & Positioning, Stiletto

Ariella specializes in multi-year strategic planning and execution support for high-impact initiatives, market focusing and positioning, institutional and corporate governance, multi-sector stakeholder relations, business planning, market intelligence, funding applications, and business development. Ariella has a strong scientific background and works in the intersection of science, industry, and government.Working with research & technology parks, businesses, communities, governments, academic institutions, non-profits, industry associations, and economic development in North America and Europe has given her a unique lens into how to create economic and social success for clients. Industry expertise include cleantech, ICT, smart grid, cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, smart agri-food, and healthcare.

Allison Madden, MBA, Director of Operations and Secretary, University of South Florida Research Foundation

Allison Madden is director of operations for the University of South Florida Research Foundation in Tampa, and also serves in the officer position of secretary of the USF Research Foundation, Inc. The Research Foundation is a non-profit, direct-support organization serving the research mission of the University of South Florida. Allison is responsible for corporate governance, strategic planning, and all areas of USF Research Park operations including planning, construction, vendor and client relations, and compliance. The Research Park is a vital component of USF’s Innovation Enterprise which infuses $582 million yearly into Florida’s economy, sustains more than 4,000 public and private sector jobs, and returns more than $71 million in tax revenue to local, state and federal coffers.

Allison joined USF in 1988 and has also served as chief financial officer and business manager for the USF Research Foundation. She earned a MBA with focus on management and BS with honors in information systems and decision sciences, both from USF. She is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Societies.

David Martin, Director, Nebraska Innovation Studio

David Martin has served as director of Nebraska Innovation Studio since 2017. Since coming to Nebraska Innovation Studio, he has overseen the construction of a new metal shop, a 50% increase in membership, and the creation of a therapeutic program for local veterans. Previously, he was a writer and producer for CNN, The Associated Press, and others.

George Martin, Partner, McGuire Woods

George is managing partner of the firm's Richmond office. He practices construction, commercial real estate and local government law. He has represented public and private entities on numerous real estate projects, including construction, acquisition and disposition of real property, and redevelopment and adaptive re-use. His construction practice focuses on representing owners, design professionals, contractors and subcontractors with negotiating and drafting design and construction contracts. He has more than 20 years of experience handling construction-related transactions, including joint ventures, public-private partnerships and project finance transactions.

George has negotiated and drafted numerous construction-related agreements, including design-build, construction, construction management (agency and at-risk), design, program management, project management, and development agreements. Project examples include luxury hotels; convention centers; office buildings and corporate headquarters campus projects; environmental remediation; museums and exhibit contracts; multifamily housing and mixed-finance development; water and sewer projects; road construction; hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers; roasting plants; manufacturing and distribution plants; luxury homes; and retail.

He also has extensive experience negotiating and drafting comprehensive development agreements for public-private partnerships and has worked on bond financings to fund construction of those projects. He is also a member of the firm’s education law team, and has handled numerous education related real estate and construction matters. Throughout his career, George has been involved in firm management. He has served on the firm's advisory, pension and recruiting committees.

Michelle McMurry-Heath, MD, President & CEO, Biotechnology Innovation Organization

Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath assumed the leadership of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) as President and CEO on June 1, 2020. A medical doctor and molecular immunologist by training, Dr. McMurry-Heath becomes just the third chief executive to steward the world’s largest biotechnology advocacy group since BIO’s founding in 1993.

BIO represents 1,000 life sciences companies and organizations from 30 countries. The organization’s mission is to support companies that discover and deploy scientific breakthroughs that improve human heath, environmental stewardship, and sustainable agriculture.  

The common thread in McMurry-Heath’s work across academia, government and industry has been her focus on broadening access to scientific progress so more patients from diverse backgrounds can benefit from cutting-edge innovation. Driven by her own past family experiences navigating clinical trials and funding uncertainties within the rare disease community, McMurry-Heath calls “the distribution of scientific progress the social justice issue of our age.” 

She comes to BIO from Johnson & Johnson where she served as Global Head of Evidence Generation for Medical Device Companies and then Vice President of Global External Innovation and Global Leader for Regulatory Sciences. She was also instrumental in bringing J&J’s incubator, JLabs, to Washington, DC. She led a global team of 900 with responsibilities in 150 countries around the globe.

Prior to her time at J&J, Dr. McMurry-Heath was also a key science policy leader in government. The Obama-Biden transition team tapped her to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the National Science Foundation’s policies, programs and personnel. President Obama then named her associate science director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health under Commissioner Peggy Hamburg. In that role, she championed clinical trial evolution, the use of real-world evidence in product evaluation, and an embrace of the patient’s voice in health research so new medical products deliver outcomes that matter to them.

McMurry-Heath was the founding director of the Aspen Institute’s Health, Biomedical Science, and Society Policy Program, where she promoted personalized medicine and bolstered international preparation for pandemic disease threats. She received her early training in science policy from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and later served as Senator Joe Lieberman’s top legislative aide for science and health. In that role, she drafted legislation to protect the country from biological attacks. 

McMurry-Heath received her MD/PhD from Duke’s Medical Scientist Training Program, becoming the first African-American to graduate from the prestigious program. She spent 12 years working at the research bench before taking policy and leadership roles in government and industry.

Veena Misra, Director, National Science Foundation ERC ASSIST Nanosystems Center, North Carolina State University

Veena Misra is the Director of the National Science Foundation Nanosystems Engineering Research Center on Advanced Self- Powered of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (ASSIST). She is a Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at North Carolina State University and a 2012 IEEE Fellow. She is also a distinguished lecturer for IEEE Sensors. Veena has authored or coauthored over 200 papers. Dr. Misra was the recipient of the 2001 National Science Foundation Presidential Early CAREER Award, the 2011 Alcoa Distinguished Engineering Research Award, and 2007 Outstanding Alumni Research Award and the 2016 R.J. Reynolds Award.

Peter O'Neill, Director, Business Development, Fraunhofer USA Center for Experimental Software Engineering

Kevin Patterson, Director of IT, Research Triangle Park of North Carolina

Kevin Patterson is the Director of Information Technology for the Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina. Kevin will manage the daily Information Technologies for the Foundation, Frontier RTP Campus, and assist with the Conference Center. Kevin is a native of Wake County and currently resides in Durham. A graduate from North Carolina State University, Kevin brings experience in managing and maintaining different components of IT.

Lance Patterson, Chief Executive Officer, Patterson Real Estate Advisory Group

Lance Patterson is the CEO of Patterson Real Estate Advisory Group, LLC, which he founded in the fall of 2009.   Patterson is a capital placement and real estate finance advisory firm based in Atlanta, with additional office locations in Charlotte, Charleston, and Nashville.  Under Lance’s leadership, the firm now employs 18 full-time professionals and has closed more than 250 transactions representing approximately $5 billion in capital placement.  Patterson is active in all asset classes and capital platforms, primarily throughout the Southeastern United States.

Chris Pearson, President, 5G Americas

Chris Pearson is the President of 5G Americas. In his executive role, he is responsible for the overall planning of the organization and providing management for the integration of strategy and operations in the areas of technology, marketing, public relations and regulatory affairs. As President of 5G Americas (formerly called 4G Americas), Mr. Pearson represents the organization’s Market Representation interests within the 3rd Generation Partnership Program (3GPP) organization.

Mr. Pearson led the organization from its inception in 2001 as the 3GPP family of technologies market share grew from 10 percent in 2001 to more than 90 percent in North, Central and South America. Mr. Pearson came to the organization from the Universal Wireless Communications Consortium (UWCC) where he served as Executive Vice President in charge of the strategic executive management of the global TDMA wireless technology consortium. Prior to joining the UWCC, Mr. Pearson held several senior technical and marketing positions at AT&T Wireless and GTE.

With more than 28 years of experience in the telecommunications industry, Mr. Pearson is a recognized spokesperson in mobile wireless and 5G technology trends and has spoken at technology conferences throughout the world including CES, Mobile World Congress, CTIA, LTE World, 5G World North America, and 5G Forum USA. Mr. Pearson earned a Master of Business Administration degree from The Albers School of Business and Economics at Seattle University and a Bachelor of Arts degree with emphasis in Marketing and Finance from the University of Washington.

Chuck Peters, Partner, Altair Real Estate Services

Chuck founded and manages Altair Real Estate Services, LLC a full-service real estate company.Chuck has provided comprehensive advisory, brokerage and property management services for Knowledge Park and Penn State Behrend since 2017. Previously he worked extensively with Pat Whalen in managing real estate for the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. While attending Gannon University, he founded ErieNet which was sold to Stargate in 1999. Chuck was appointed by Governor Wolf to the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority. He was recently selected to serve on the Council of the Great Lakes Region.

DeRionne Pollard, PhD, President, Montgomery College

In 2010, Dr. DeRionne Pollard assumed leadership of Montgomery College, a three-campus community college with 55,000 credit and noncredit students. She spearheaded the development of a new Montgomery College mission and strategic plan. She has partnered actively with Montgomery County Public Schools and the Universities at Shady Grove in the creation of Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success (ACES), a support program designed to help disadvantaged students transition from high school to college completion. The program now has 2,700 students enrolled. Montgomery College is also a member of Achieving the Dream network, a non-governmental reform movement for student success at community colleges.

Dr. Pollard formerly served as president of Las Positas College in Livermore, California. She served on the American Association of Community Colleges’ 21st Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges and the Commission on Academic, Student, and Community Development. Dr. Pollard is a member of the Equity Advisory Board for Mission Partners and the Center for First-generation Student Success Advisory Board for the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the American Association of Community Colleges and as the president of the American Association for Women in Community Colleges. Locally, she also serves on the boards of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, Universities at Shady Grove, the Montgomery County Advisory Board of the Greater Washington Community Foundation, and the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area.

Dr. Pollard was named one of Washington's 100 Most Powerful Women by Washingtonian Magazine, won a 2017 Academic Leadership Award from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and was a recipient of a Visionary Award by the Washington Area Women’s Foundation. Additionally, she has been honored by Leadership Montgomery, The Daily Record, Bethesda Magazine, and the Washington Business Journal and is a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. as well as the Silver Spring Chapter of The Links.

Dr. Pollard’s MA and BA in English are from Iowa State University, which awarded her its Distinguished Alumni Award in 2019. Her PhD is in educational leadership and policy studies in higher education from Loyola University Chicago.

Benham Pourdeyhimi, Executive Director, The Nonwovens Institute

Behnam is the William A. Klopman Distinguished Professor of Textile Materials in the Wilson College of Textiles at NC State University and is also a professor in the departments of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and the Biomedical Engineering. He also serves as Associate Dean in the Wilson College of Textiles and is the Executive Director of The Nonwovens Institute. He is best known for his contributions to nonwovens and establishment and the growth of nonwovens at NC State. His work in the area of filtration won him the O’ Max Gardner award in 2015 (The Highest award by the University of North Carolina System), and in 2018, he received The Holladay Medal for Excellence (The highest faculty award bestowed by NC State University).

He joined NC State in part to take on a leadership role in the Nonwovens Cooperative Research Center (NCRC). Under his vision, the center morphed into the Nonwovens Institute (NWI). NWI is the largest university-based research institute in the nation across all disciplines.

Signe Pringle, Assistant Secretary, Maryland Department of Commerce

Tom Quinn, Vice President, Van Scoyoc Associates

Tom Quinn works daily to bridge the gap between clients and the Federal government by helping navigate the complicated legislative and budgetary processes. Tom advises leaders of large and small universities, research consortiums, high tech businesses, and major defense contractors on their interactions with Congress and the Federal agencies.

As a Vice President at VSA, Tom understands that Federal representation today requires an all-encompassing approach, and he successfully works with his clients to target and develop strong relationships with Federal agency officials and Members of Congress. Clients turn to Tom for his knowledge of the priorities and personnel at the Federal agencies as well as the procedures and people involved in legislation. In recent years, he has worked with clients to achieve successes in programs related science, defense, homeland security, education, and energy.

Prior to joining VSA, Tom served as the Legislative Director and Appropriations Associate for Congressman Peter J. Visclosky (D-IN-01), the current Ranking Democratic Member of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee. In that role, Tom oversaw matters related to academic research, infrastructure development, and national security.

Aiswariya Raja, Research Associate, Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation, Carnegie Mellon University

Aiswariya develops research associated with faculty and corporate interests, gathers data from primary and secondary sources, and conducts fundamental data analysis to yield actionable information. She also leads proposal efforts for future work at the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation. She works closely with the Executive Director of the Scott Institute in managing large components of the annual CMU Energy Week. Aiswariya has a master's degree in Public Policy and Management from CMU's Heinz College. She is a former Teach for India Fellow, where she led a class of 80 second and third grade students from low income communities in Tamil Nadu, India. Her strengths and interests lie in combining data analytics, communication, and program management to maximize social impact.

Kelley Rich, Executive Director of Commercialization, IDEA Center at University of Notre Dame

Kelley Rich is the Executive Director of Commercialization at the IDEA Center of the University of Notre Dame overseeing the Commercialization Engine process that transforms early-stage innovations into attractive investment opportunities through problem, technology and market validation. Kelley is an experienced entrepreneur with previous brand management, innovation and marketing leadership roles at SC Johnson and Whirlpool Corporation. Her brand innovation experience includes: WhirlpoolⓇ, AmanaⓇ, KitchenAidⓇ, ZiplocⓇ, RaidⓇ, and GladeⓇ. She has an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University, a masters in aerospace engineering from University of Cincinnati and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management.

Carol K. Robertson-Plouch, DVM, Chief Executive, Convergence Bioscience, LLC

Dr. Carol Robertson-Plouch is an advisor working with companies and academia following 26 years in executive large pharma roles. She has led programs across multiple therapeutic areas in human and animal health, directly impacting success of >5 blockbuster/leading products. She has led corporate-wide innovations and systems improvement, working across matrixed teams including R&D, business development, regulatory/pharmacovigilance, and academic relationships. Carol received her DVM from the University of Missouri; leadership/professional certificates from UCSF, Northwestern. She has received corporate awards in bioethics, research excellence/quality, and the President’s Recognition Award. She is currently a Board Director of the comparative oncology “Canines-N-Kids Foundation”. linkedin.com/in/carol-robertsonplouch

Mark Romney, Chief Industry Alliance Officer, Aggie Square - University of California, Davis 

Mark Romney, Chief Industry Alliances Officer with UC Davis Health in Sacramento, has been actively engaged in facilities planning for 26 years, including a special concentration on research facilities. He co-authored several NIH CO6 Grant Applications, resulting in grant awards exceeding $6 million.  Romney co-authored the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine’s Shared Lab Facility Grant and the Large Facilities Grant, 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.

Sally Rood, Senior Policy Analyst, Economic Opportunity Division, National Governors Association

Charles Ross, Chief Executive Officer, InBIA

Over the past 15 years, Charles has worked with communities of various shapes and sizes to build and sustain vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems. His experience spans across several innovation-related disciplines to include entrepreneurship, business incubation, economic development, and investment management. He has provided strategic leadership for organizations within the public, private, and nonprofit domains and has directly mentored and coached founders/CEOs at over 30 high-growth companies.

Before joining the InBIA management team, Charles was responsible for driving economic impact for local communities through senior leadership positions at Kennesaw State University and the Georgia Institute of Technology. In these roles, Charles connected universities’ talent, know-how, and assets to businesses and communities to increase economic prosperity and to improve quality of life.

Prior to his assignments in higher education, Charles directly worked with entrepreneurs to launch and grow technology businesses. As Vice President of the Telecommunications Development Fund, Charles sourced, structured, and managed investments in several early-stage communications companies, and as a Director of Ameritech’s venture capital division he identified and executed strategic technology investments. Charles joined InBIA as a member in 2006, was elected to its Board of Directors in 2011 and served as Chair in 2017. Charles holds an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Marquette University and an MBA from Indiana University.

Fred Schonenberg, Founder, VentureFuel, Inc.

Fred has helped over 100 companies, from General Mills to Beam Suntory to Netflix, discover and implement new technologies and innovations to deliver breakthrough results (18.7% sales lift, $10m+ savings, 5x purchase intent, etc.). As Founder of VentureFuel, he has created a repeatable innovation framework, that bridges his deep relationships with the VC, Angel and Startup ecosystem with his C-suite corporate relationships to deliver first-to-market, tangible solutions that drive growth for all involved. He is a frequent speaker at industry events such as SXSW, Ad Tech, Advertising Week, IAB, OMMA, etc. and an industry thought-leader published in The Huffington Post, Media Post, The Drum, Tech.co, Creator Magazine, Adweek, Event Marketer, etc. 

Martha Schoonmaker, CEcD, Executive  Director of Pinkney Innovation Complex for Science and Technology (PIC MC) Martha Schoonmaker

Martha Schoonmaker is the Executive Director for the 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. 

Ty Shattuck, Chief Executive Officer, McMaster Innovation Park

Ty is the CEO of McMaster Innovation Park, Canada’s Premier Research Park, where companies come to grow. Prior to joining the MIP team, Ty held various senior leadership positions within the digital media, aerospace, and venture capital industries, including Founder and President of Aethon Technologies, CEO of PV Labs, and Vice President at L3Haris – Wescam.

Ty is well known within the GTHA area for his business acumen and community leadership. In 2010, he was awarded “Engineer of the Year” from The Ontario Society for Professional Engineers. In 2011, as CEO of PV Labs, he led the company toward being named one of “Canada’s Top 200 Fastest Growing Companies” by Profit Magazine, and in 2012 they received an Academy Award under his leadership. Ty has a Bachelor of Engineering from the Royal Military College of Canada, and an MBA from University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business.

Eric Smith, Executive Director, University of Arizona Center of Innovation

Eric Smith is the executive director for the University of Arizona (UA) Center for Innovation. In this role, Smith will be responsible for the daily operations and growth of the UA Center for Innovation, which includes administration, budgeting, financial management, grant submissions & sponsorships, client recruitment, building mentor & advisory networks, community outreach, and staff management.

Eric Smith brings with him almost a decade’s worth of technology commercialization experience and a passion for entrepreneurship. Smith comes to the UA Center for Innovation after serving as the commercialization network manager for Tech Launch Arizona (TLA), the UA’s office responsible for moving UA research and technological innovation into the marketplace.

While at TLA, he focused on building and leveraging a network of domain experts and business leaders who consult on university technologies to help reveal their commercial relevance as they are prepared for the market. He also managed TLA's National Science Foundation Innovation-Corps (I-Corps) Site grant program which teaches inventing teams about lean startup methodology and customer discovery. An entrepreneur in his own right, after Eric started, developed and sold his first company, he embarked on a career in various technology startups. Smith holds a BSBA in business management and entrepreneurship and an MBA from the University of Arizona."

John Stanford, Executive Director, Incubate

Prior to taking the helm at Prism Group, John advocated for critical changes to policy in the areas of entrepreneurship, innovation, and the workforce. In that work, he has been recognized in the Congressional Record, in state legislatures, and by chambers of commerce for his advocacy and communication efforts.

John is the co-founder of Small Business Roundtable and leader of venture capital advocacy group, Incubate. More recently, he is on the board of directors of Pass USMCA, the organization dedicated to ratification of the U.S. - Mexico -Canada Agreement. As a part of the trilateral negotiating round in Montreal, Canada and in testimony before the International Trade Commission, John encouraged the inclusion of entrepreneurship priorities in all trade deals and the need for strong intellectual property protections.

His previous efforts included work for a Democratic House Member on Capitol Hill, the British Houses of Parliament, a Presidential and Senate campaign, and with non-profit organizations. A Denver, CO native, he is a graduate of the College of William & Mary and has a B.A. in Government as well as an M. Ed. in Secondary Education. Prior to returning to Washington, John committed to Teach For America in Phoenix, Arizona. He currently sits on the DC board of his alma mater.

Louis Stewart, Chief Innovation Officer, City of Sacramento

Louis Stewart currently serves as the City of Sacramento's first Chief Innovation Officer. Mr. Stewart is responsible for the development of a broad citywide portfolio of programs and initiatives that support, drive, influence and build upon the City of Sacramento's economic inclusion philosophy, business development strategies, goals, customer relationships and business results. He spent the last seven years serving as California's Deputy Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz). In that capacity he oversaw the coordination and promotion of innovative programs, activities, and emerging technologies throughout California for the last seven years. He managed a robust statewide innovation-based economic development support network of regional innovation clusters called the California Innovation Hubs (iHubs). Mr. Stewart has served in the public sector for 10 years including as the Deputy Director of the Census for the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, the Assistant Deputy Director of the Field Operations Division for the Department of Motor Vehicles, and the Information Technology. While Mr. Stewart’s experience is vast, his greatest expertise and focus includes: Smart and Connected Cities Bio Technology Tech Equity Development of Innovation Ecosystems Mr. Stewart is a service based leader who embodies the belief that he cannot be a success without helping others be successful. Mr. Stewart grew up in France and Italy, and played professional basketball in Peru and Belgium until he landed back in Sacramento. Mr. Stewart received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Santa Clara University. Director for Californians for Schwarzenegger. His professional experience also includes 17 years in the private sector in sales, marketing, and information technology.

Donald Thompson, Chief Executive Officer, Walk West, The Diversity Movement

With two decades of experience growing and leading firms, Donald Thompson is a thought leader on goal achievement, influencing company culture, and driving exponential growth. As an entrepreneur, Donald has led companies that have attained successful exits with strong returns for shareholders and employees. Donald is an angel investor, personally infusing over a million dollars in North Carolina ventures, including Creative Allies, Gryppers, and SpokeHub, all with African American CEOs at the helm.

Adept at building teams that accelerate growth, Donald is also CEO of Walk West, a digital marketing firm, led by more than 70% women and/or African Americans and recognized by Inc. as the fastest growing agency in North Carolina for 2018, 2019, and 2020. In addition, Donald serves on boards for several organizations in the fields of technology, marketing, sports, and entertainment and is a mentor for Black Founders Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange.

A member of the National Speakers Association, Donald frequently speaks for businesses, organizations, and universities to share actionable insights and strategies across key functions of business, entrepreneurship, and diversity and inclusion. He is a Certified Diversity Executive (CDE), and conducts workshops with c-suite executives of leading organizations who are looking to develop, expand, or optimize their diversity and inclusion practice.

Simran Trana, AVP Innovation and Commercialization, Indiana University

Simran Trana is Associate Vice President for Innovation and Commercialization at Indiana University. The office’s mission is to drive innovations to market for the benefit of the public, the university, and IU innovators, to drive state, national and global commerce. Simran has 27years of experience in business development, technology licensing,venture creationand new product launch. Tranastarted her career inacademic tech transfer,and spent the last10 years in industry.Sheholds a master's degree in plant genetics from Punjab Agricultural University and a master of business administration from University of Ottawa.

Laura Toraldo, Executive Director, MD5G Partnership

Laura is an experienced communications professional with a track record of success. Laura not only develops the basics of a layered and targeted communications plan and issue advocacy campaign, but also thinks creatively and beyond traditional industry tactics, resulting in a tailored path to success for the firm’s clients.

Prior to joining KO, Laura worked at the Maryland Chamber of Commerce as the Senior Director of Communications and Digital Media, where she developed and executed communications initiatives including: a complete rebrand, website redesign, advocacy education and outreach, creation of sales and membership collateral, branded corporate events, digital messaging, sponsorship visibility and social presence.

Laura managed the Maryland Chamber’s yearly editorial calendar, organizing website content for member and prospect messaging and directed the redesign of the organization’s website to improve functionality, brand consistency and overall create value—more than doubling the organization’s digital traffic. Laura also worked, for nearly a decade, with National Geographic Magazine’s international editions. During her time there she managed digital platforms, edited layout designs, revised text and maintained quality control for 39 local-language versions of National Geographic.

Kenneth J. Williams, AIA, LEED AP, Director of Real Estate, MIT Investment Management Company

Kenneth J. Williams, Director Real Estate, joined MITIMCo in 2008. Prior to joining MITIMCo, he was a Project Executive with Murphy & McManus, Inc. in the development group where he managed the development of laboratory and medical buildings. Ken is responsible for managing large complex capital projects. He graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Architecture degree. Kenneth is a registered architect, licensed in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.