Speakers and Moderators 


Amy Adams, Associate Director, Institute for Biohealth Innovation at George Mason UniversityAmy Adams

In her role as the Associate Director at the Institute for Biohealth Innovation (IBI) at George Mason University, Amy Adams leads her team in a vibrant multidisciplinary research community of faculty and students who work together and in partnership with others to make breakthroughs in biohealth research. The IBI promotes and supports advances in human health and wellbeing by using a multi-disciplined approach to develop innovative new technologies, approaches and interventions to predict, prevent, treat and eradicate disease, improve care and enhance the human condition.

Prior to her role as Associate Director, Adams served as the Director of the Summer Internship Program, as well as a Research Specialist at IBI. She received her bachelor’s degree in biology and master’s degree in chemistry from George Mason University.

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

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

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

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

Scott Andes, MPP, Program Director for City Innovation Ecosystems, National League of Cities

Through local partnerships among elected officials, universities, firms, and philanthropic leaders, Scott Andes, Program Director for the Innovation Ecosystems Program, helps cities overcome barriers to innovation and thrive in the modern, global economy. The program also supports applied research in science, technology, and entrepreneurship.  He is a former fellow at The Brookings Institution where his research focused on advanced industries, innovation and technology, and economic development. Prior to Brookings, Andes was an analyst at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. He has worked on numerous congressional and presidential political campaigns and served as Special Assistant to Senator Charles Schumer. Andes received his Masters in Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University and his Bachelor degree from the London School of Economics.

Patrick M. Antkowiak, Corporate Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Northrop Grumman Corporation Patrick M. Antkowiak

Patrick Antkowiak serves as the Corporate Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Northrop Grumman Corporation, where he is responsible for developing and executing corporate technology strategy, setting technology plans and serving as primary interface with technology leaders in the customer community with industry and university research partners. He works directly with the organization’s CEO, Wes Bush, and is a member of the corporate policy council. Since joining Northrop Grumman in 1981, Antowiak has held positions in engineering, program management and product development.

Antkowiak earned a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University and a master’s degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Maryland. He has also completed the General Manager's Program at Harvard University.

Dr. Robert Atkinson, PhD, President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF)

Dr. Robert D. Atkinson is one of the country’s foremost thinkers on innovation economics. With an extensive background in technology policy, he has conducted ground-breaking research projects on technology and innovation, is a valued adviser to state and national policy makers, and a popular speaker on innovation policy nationally and internationally. A sought-after speaker and valued adviser to policymakers around the world, Atkinson’s most recent book, Big is Beautiful: Debunking the Mythology of Small Business, released March 2018. 

As founder and president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), recognized as the world’s top think tank for science and technology policy, Robert D. Atkinson leads a prolific team of policy analysts and fellows that is successfully shaping the debate and setting the agenda on a host of critical issues at the intersection of technological innovation and public policy.

Before founding ITIF, Atkinson was Vice President of the Progressive Policy Institute and Director of PPI’s Technology & New Economy Project. He received his Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Oregon and was named a distinguished alumnus in 2014. He received his Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1989.

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

Anirban Basu

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

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

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

Laura Weisskopf Bleill, Associate Director, University of Illinois Research Park Laura Weisskopf Bleill

Laura Weisskopf Bleill manages the community building portfolio of the Research Park at Illinois. She develops strategy behind the Research Park's events and programming; communications, branding and marketing efforts; and directs the Research Park's efforts to grow and retain its workforce. She also works with the entrepreneurial ecosystem across campus, and has been part of the core National Science Foundation I-Corps at Illinois team. In 2018 she served as an adjunct instructor for the NSF I-Corps national program cohort in Indianapolis. She is the co-PI and co-founder of the AWARE entrepreneurship inclusion effort funded by NSF, which has now has been replicated at other universities. She has a master's and bachelor's degree in journalism from Northwestern University. An entrepreneur herself, Bleill is CEO of a hyperlocal digital magazine in Champaign-Urbana.

Jarrod Borkat, VP, Corporate Strategy at Emergent BioSolutions Jarrod Borkat

As a 15-year+ veteran of the biopharmaceutical industry, Jarrod Borkat currently serves as vice president of corporate strategy at Emergent BioSolutions. Previously he served at MedImmune as senior director and head of global external partnerships & collaborations, where he was responsible for establishing and overseeing global strategic collaborations with universities, non-profit organizations and government entities, across all the therapeutic areas relevant to MedImmune. His team led the creation of several multi-million-dollar collaborations, including one with Johns Hopkins University and one with University of Maryland.

Prior to this role, Borkat led the Portfolio Strategy & Management function for MedImmune, helping the organization optimize its R&D portfolio. Before joining MedImmune, Borkat worked at Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in the sales and commercial departments, with his last position as Director of U.S. Marketing, HIV.

Borkat received a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Georgia and MBA from Kennesaw State University. The recipient of multiple awards throughout his career, including being recognized as “Top 25 Direct-to-Consumer Marketer of the Year” in 2007, he is active in several industry organizations and has served on industry-related panels.

J. Michael Bowman, State Director of the Delaware Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Associate Director, University of Delaware Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships (OEIP)

Previous to his assignment with SBDC in 2013, J. Michael “Mike” Bowman was Chairman and CEO of the Delaware Technology Park, Inc. (DTP), a collaboration between the State of Delaware, the University of Delaware and private industry formed to launch and support technology companies across a diverse group of industries including life sciences, renewable energy, information technology and advanced materials. DTP, as Research Park of the Year in 2005 by the Association of University Research Parks, is home to 54 early and expansion stage technology companies while 30 more have graduated to larger facilities to accommodate their growth. Bowman was instrumental in incubating the Fraunhofer USA Center for Molecular Biotechnology and capitalizing it with public and private funding sources including DARPA and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Prior to leading Delaware Technology Park, Bowman was a Vice President and General Manager for E.I. duPont de Nemours and Advanced Material Systems business unit, which developed more than 40 new technologies for commercialization and grew to $1B in annual revenue. During the late 1990s, the advanced composites segment of the business was acquired by a private equity firm to form Fiberite, Inc. which was acquired by Cytec Industries (NYSE).

Bowman serves on the boards of First State Innovation, Fraunhofer USA< Delaware BioScience Association, is the past chairman of the University of Delaware’s College of Engineering Advisory Council, and Veroha. He has a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati where he received the Distinguished Alumni Award. While at DuPont he participated in several executive management programs at Wharton and Columbia University.

Molly Bryson, JD, Team Leader, Tax Credits Team, Ballard Spahr

Molly Bryson focuses her practice on using federal and state tax credits to finance affordable housing, businesses in low-income communities, historic preservation, and solar energy throughout the U.S. and its territories.

In addition to Bryson’s focuses the affordable housing portion of her practice on providing strategic tax and business advice for both low-income and mixed-income projects financed by the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) available to housing authorities, state housing finance agencies, developers, investors, and syndicators, her practice focus is on the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) portion on CDE (lender) and QALICB (borrower) representation. Recently, she represented a CDE in its lending to borrowers that were renovating office and school spaces in low-income communities in the Maryland and D.C. areas, and represented a borrower in structuring the NMTC and historic rehabilitation tax credit (HTC) financing of a health center in Baltimore, Maryland. 

A new focus of Bryson's practice relates to Qualified Opportunity Zones, an economic development program created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. 

The investment tax credit (ITC) portion of her practice focuses on the tax structuring of community solar and commercial, residential, and utility scale solar projects on behalf of developers/sponsors and lenders. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Walter G. Copan, Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and National Institute of Standards and Technology Director Walter G. Copan

Dr. Walter G. Copan is an internationally recognized executive leader in business strategy, technology transfer, commercialization, and intellectual property. He was confirmed by Congress as Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Director in 2017. As NIST Director, Dr. Copan provides high-level oversight and direction for the organization.

Prior to his role with NIST and the Commerce Department, Dr. Copan served as president and CEO of the IP Engineering Group Corporation, providing services in intellectual property strategy, technology commercialization and innovation. Until June 2017, he was founding CEO and chairman of Impact Engineered Wood Corporation, an advanced materials technology company. He also is a founding board member of Rocky Mountain Innovation Partners, where he led technology transfer programs and innovation services on behalf of the U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. federal labs and academic institutions and helped foster entrepreneurial businesses in the Rocky Mountain West. Dr. Copan served with the National Advisory Council to the Federal Laboratory Consortium for more than 5 years, providing industry inputs to advance the U.S. economic impacts of the federal laboratory system.

From 2010–2013, Dr. Copan served as managing director of Technology Commercialization and Partnerships at DOE's Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL). Among his accomplishments were leading the creation and implementation of the new DOE technology transfer mechanism, “Agreement for Commercializing Technology” (ACT), to facilitate collaborations between the federal labs and U.S. corporations. He led the “Startup America” initiative on behalf of DOE for entrepreneurial business creation, and he initiated the DOE’s new Small Business Innovation Research – Technology Transfer (SBIR-TT) program.

Dr. Copan received dual bachelors’ degrees in Chemistry and Music and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Case Western University.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brian P. DarmodyBrian P. Darmody, JD, Past President, AURP; Associate Vice President for Corporate Engagement, Office of the President, University of Maryland

Brian Darmody 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 campus of the University of Maryland.

Previously, he was the University’s Associate Vice President for Corporate and Foundation Relations in the Division or University Relations and had prior positions as 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 Economic Development Association, 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.

Neil Davis, Director of Entrepreneurial Development, TEDCONeil Davis

In his role at TEDCO, Neil Davis manages major elements of TEDCO’s Gateway Services Initiative – the mdPACE Program, the Gateway Services Program (Loaned Executives, Gateway Executives, Gateway Advisors, Executive Coaches, and Executive Roundtables), and the Rural Business Innovation Initiative. David is also the Organization’s liaison with the State’s technology incubators, is part of the TEDCO’s seed investment team, and is actively involved in creating new strategies designed to assist entrepreneurs, including the development of educational programming for TEDCO’s portfolio companies. He brings more than 30 years of experience in engineering, business development, business consulting, and P&L management.

Prior to joining TEDCO, Neil was the Vice President of Operations at the Emerging Technology Centers (ETC), where his leadership and expertise were directed toward the formation of technology-based businesses in Baltimore City. During his tenure, more than 325 early-stage IT and life sciences companies were affiliated with ETC. As one of ETC’s senior leaders, he was instrumental in augmenting ETC’s traditional business incubation model with both coworking and acceleration business models. Prior to his time at ETC, he held executive positions at Environmental Elements Corporation and Browning-Ferris Industries, Inc. where he was active in both domestic and international settings with a wide variety of operational, business development, and financial responsibilities.

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

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

Keisha J. Demps, Partnership Developer, NCSU Centennial Campus

Keisha Demps is part of the partnership development team brokering collaborative relationships with industry partners. Her duties include developing and managing outreach and engagement of current and prospective businesses while fostering opportunities for collaboration with faculty and students.

Prior to joining the Partnership Office, Demps spent 10 years as a volleyball coach at the collegiate and professional level.  After retiring from the coaching profession Demps served as a Business Services Manager under the Capital Area Workforce Development Board where she led her team to achieve one of the highest possible rankings for the state of North Carolina after only 2 years.

Demps obtained her bachelor degree from the University of Arizona in Communications.  Little known fact – she spent two years as a professional athlete and trained as an alternate in volleyball for the 2000 Olympics.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kate A. 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.

Engel grew up on a farm near Red Oak, IA and is a 2006 graduate of Nebraska Wesleyan University and earned a Master of Arts in Management from Doane University in 2011. Engel is currently working on a Ph.D. in human sciences with a specialization in leadership studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Alan Elgersma, Principal, Champlin Architecture Alan Elgersma

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 publically traded firms including: Abbott, Abbvie, John Deere, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Dow Chemical, Grainger, Riverbed, Citrix, ADM, Raytheon, Yahoo, and other publically 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bob Geolas, Partner, HR&A AdvisorsBob Geolas

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

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

Leslee K. Gilbert, PhD, JD, Vice President, Van Scoyac 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 Van Scoyac Associates (VSA), Gilbert 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, Gilbert helps clients identify federal funding trends across multiple agencies and maximize their comparative advantages. 

Before joining VSA, Gilbert was Staff Director and Counsel of the House of Representatives’ Science, Space, and Technology Committee, the primary committee for overseeing non-defense research and development in agencies such as NSF, NASA, NIST, NOAA, EPA, and the Departments of Energy, Homeland Security, and Transportation. She played a central role in developing and implementing Federal science, technology, and civil space policy, including NASA reauthorization bills, the Energy Independence and Security Act, and America COMPETES.

Prior to coming to Washington, she was an Assistant Professor at St. Mary’s University in Minnesota, where she also served as a faculty officer.  She has published a variety of articles for academic and general audiences.  She holds a B.A. from Texas A&M University, an MA and PhD from the University of Kentucky, and a J.D. from the Washington College of Law at American University.  She is a member of the Maryland Bar.

Molly Gilbert, MBA, Director of University and Community Engagement, Tech Parks Arizona

Molly Gilbert has 20 years of management experience that spans retail, education, and economic development. Areas of focus include human resources, operations, marketing, media relations, community relations, and government relations. She has a background in entrepreneurship as both a business owner and a graduate of the McGuire Program for Entrepreneurship at the Eller College of Management.

Gilbert is a member of the senior management team for Tech Parks Arizona and leads the University and Community Engagement team. Her responsibilities include managing tenant and employee relations, neighborhood and community relations, educational outreach, and fundraising.

Gilbert serves as the project manager for The Security Innovation Hub – an initiative to develop a third-party testing and evaluation center at the UA Tech Park for technologies with applications along international borders. The initiative includes efforts to create an industry cluster for border technology companies in Southern Arizona.

Gilbert holds an MBA from the University of Arizona with an emphasis in entrepreneurship and marketing.

Mike Gill, Secretary, Maryland Department of CommerceMike Gill

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ellen Hemmerly, MBA, President and Executive Director, [email protected] Research and Technology ParkEllen Hemmerly

Ellen Hemmerly is responsible for overseeing a 525,000 sf high technology research and technology park which includes three incubators, an international accelerator and research park, and two technology commercialization programs (ACTiVATE and INNoVATE. [email protected] currently has 130 tenants (including 55 cybersecurity/IT and 46 life science companies). Hemmerly received the 2011 Innovator of the Year award recognizing [email protected]’s innovations in cybersecurity, was named a 2012 Corridor Person of the Year finalist and also a 2012 received Leadership Through Athletics’ – Leadership in Business award. In 2013, Hemmerly was, for the second time, elected by The Daily Record as one of the Most Influential Marylanders (technology category) and bwtech’s Cyber Incubator won SmartCEO’s Technology Implementer – Emerging Award. Prior to joining UMBC, Hemmerly was vice president at the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) serving as its senior lender and director of Enterprise Development Fund, the city’s venture capital fund Hemmerly received her MBA at Cornell University’s Johnson School of Management and bachelor of science, magna cum laude, in mathematics from Moravian College.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Steven Jast, President, ROI Research on Investment

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

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

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

Barry Johnson, PhD, Director, Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships, National Science FoundationBarry Johnson

Dr. Barry Johnson was selected as director of the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships of the Directorate for Engineering at NSF in 2015. Prior to this, he served since 2006 as senior associate dean for the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science, where he was also the L. A. Lacy Distinguished Professor of Engineering. The NSF Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP) fosters partnerships to advance technological innovation and plays an important role in the public-private innovation partnership enterprise. IIP invests in science and engineering research across all disciplines that have the potential for high impact in meeting national and societal needs. To achieve this goal, IIP focuses on leveraging federal, small business, industrial, university, state and community college resources. Johnson joined the University of Virginia in 1984 as an assistant professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering after working at Harris Corp. for several years. He rose steadily within the department and in 1998 became director of the Center for Safety-Critical Systems. From 2006 to 2011 Johnson was the Engineering School’s associate dean for research. Johnson earned his Bachelor degree, Masters degree, and PhD in electrical engineering, all at the University of Virginia. His expertise is in techniques for the design and analysis of safety-critical systems. He has investigated architectures and algorithms to ensure the safety of hardware/software systems, and he has developed methods for modeling, analyzing, and predicting the safety of these systems. He has published more than 150 technical articles, and he is an inventor on 29 issued patents.

Jeff Johnson, MBA, Director of Tech Center Research Park, Virginia Tech Corporate Research CenterJeff 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. Johnson 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. Johnson 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, Johnson also holds an Executive MBA from Tulane University and a bachelor in chemistry from Virginia Tech.

Wendy Kennedy, MBA, Founder & President of WKI-wendykennedy.com inc.Wendy Kennedy

Wendy Kennedy is the founder and President of WKI and creator of the popular entrepreneurial thinking methodology, So what? who cares? why you?  For more than 12 years, WKI’s products have been helping universities, health care institutions, federal labs, incubators and more to think, speak and act more entrepreneurially. Today, WKI’s products are making an impact in 25+ countries.

Prior to founding WKI, Kennedy held executive positions in six start ups in telecommunications, software, computing and operating systems, where she launched new and novel ideas into the market.  Kennedy also spent several years as a college professor teaching engineers and scientists to articulate the business value of their ideas.  

She holds an MBA from Queen’s University is the recipient of the Dr. Laurent Isabelle Award for entrepreneurial thinking in education.   Kennedy lives in Ottawa, Canada with her family.

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.

Wendi Kotzen, JD, Co-Practice Leader, Tax Group, Ballard Spahr

Wendi L. Kotzen advises clients on the taxation of all types of real estate transactions, has an extensive background in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia realty transfer tax planning, and advises clients on mergers and acquisitions. She is also experienced working with REITs; real estate partnerships (both for developers and investors); leasing transactions, including sale-leasebacks; Pennsylvania state tax incentives; and structuring like-kind exchanges (forward, reverse, and TIC exchanges). 

Kotzen represents clients before federal, state, and local tax agencies contesting proposed adjustments and in connection with obtaining rulings on tax issues. She provides tax advice in labor and other litigation matters and withholding tax issues. She also regularly advises on Pennsylvania state and local tax planning and opportunities.

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

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

Kelvin H. Lee, PhD, Director, NIIMBL; Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Delaware 

Dr. Kelvin H. Lee is Gore Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware and is Director of NIIMBL: the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals, one of 14 Manufacturing USA Institutes. He received a BSE in Chemical Engineering from Princeton and PhD in Chemical Engineering from Caltech. He spent several years in the Biotechnology Institute at the ETH in Zurich, Switzerland and also completed a postdoc in Caltech's Biology Division. Prior to his current appointment, he was on the faculty at Cornell University where he held the titles of: Samuel C. and Nancy M. Fleming Chair Professor, Professor in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Director of the Cornell Institute for Biotechnology, and Director of the New York State Center for Life Science Enterprise.

Julie LenzerChief Innovation Officer; Co-Director of UM Ventures, The University of Maryland, College Park

As Chief Innovation Officer and Co-Director of UM Ventures, Julie Lenzer is charged with fostering and supporting the development that is currently underway in the UMD Research Park and Greater College Park. She will also promote and facilitate productive, university-wide collaboration to launch startup ventures based upon University intellectual property, as well as maximize synergies between UMD and the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) to leverage strengths of each and encourage technology commercialization.

Most recently, Julie was appointed to lead the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) within the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). In her capacity as Director of the OIE, she drove programs and policies that support innovative economic development such as innovation-based entrepreneurship and regional innovation clusters.

Prior to her political appointment, Julie was the Executive Director of the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship (MCE), an initiative of the Howard County Economic Development Authority focused on igniting the entrepreneurial culture and bringing together the entrepreneurial ecosystem across the state. During her short tenure, the MCE quadrupled its client base and saw the creation of new programs such as 3D Maryland, a leadership initiative connecting resources in additive manufacturing; the Conscious Venture Lab, an accelerator focused on Conscious Capitalism; and a technology transfer accelerator in partnership with Johns Hopkins Advanced Physics Lab and other leading research institutions. A serial entrepreneur, Julie was also the co-chair of Startup Maryland as well as co-founder and former CEO of the Path Forward Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a nonprofit that helped women expand economic opportunity by starting and building growth-oriented businesses using technology transfer.

I-Hung Li, PhD, President & CEO, iNovate Global Consulting Inc.I-Hung Li

Dr. Li has been involved in Technology R&D over 30 years. Currently, President & CEO, iNovate Global Consulting Inc, focusing on Advanced Manufacturing and IoT technologies. He currently also serves as the thesis advisor for the DBA program of Paris School of Business in China. Prior, he was the Executive Dean, Nanjing University-NYU-Poly joint Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Dr. Li joined Bell Labs in 1980 and took early retirement in 1998 and has been involved in startups since then.

In recent years, he has been giving presentations at the IASP (International Association of Science Parks) annual conference on the subjects such as, – “Next Generation of China Science and Technology Park”, “Networked Incubators - Knowledge Creation through a Networked Environment”, and “Globally Networked STPs Platform to foster knowledge– based regional economy in China”.

Dr. Li holds a Ph.D in Mathematics from the Johns Hopkins University.

Laurie Locascio, PhD, Vice President for Research, University of MarylandLaurie Locascio

Dr. Laurie Locascio previously worked at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, MD, rising from a research biomedical engineer to senior leadership positions, including, most recently, Acting Principal Deputy Director and Associate Director for Laboratory Programs, providing leadership and operational guidance for NIST's seven scientific and mission-focused laboratories.

Locascio directed the Material Measurement Laboratory (MML), one of NIST's largest scientific labs, overseeing 1,000 research staff in eight locations around the U.S. and a $175M annual budget. The Material Measurement Laboratory is the Nation’s reference laboratory for the biological, chemical, and materials sciences, and provides research, measurement services and quality assurance tools to address problems of national importance in areas that include precision medicine, data and informatics, biologic and cellular therapeutics, environmental science, and the Materials Genome Initiative.

As MML Director, she recruited top talent, fostered excellence, and built a collegial and collaborative workplace. She implemented strategic partnerships with universities, industry, and other government labs, including a partnership with UMD's Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research at Shady Grove. Prior to that, Locascio served as chief of the Biochemical Sciences Division in the MML.

Locascio’s most recent honors and awards include the 2017 American Chemical Society Earle B. Barnes Award for Leadership in Chemical Research Management, and the 2017 Washington Academy of Sciences Special Award in Scientific Leadership. She has published 115 scientific papers and holds 11 patents in the fields of bioengineering and analytical chemistry. Her honors and awards include the US Department of Commerce Silver Medal, US Department of Commerce Bronze Medal Award, ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry Arthur F. Findeis Award, and the NIST Applied Research Award. She is a Fellow of the American Chemical Society (ACS) and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE).

Locascio received a bachelor of science in chemistry from James Madison University, a masters in science in bioengineering from the University of Utah, and a PhD in toxicology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cameron J. McCoy,Cameron J. McCoy PhD, Assistant Vice President, Corporate and Foundation Relations and Career Services Lehigh University

As the Assistant Vice President of Corporate and Foundation Relations and Career Services at Lehigh University, Cameron McCoy is responsible for developing and executing an integrated strategic plan for the Lehigh University’s economic engagement functions, including corporate relations, foundation relations, career services, federal agency – industry – Lehigh relation, research park development assessment, and some elements of technology transfer and economic development. 

Prior to joining Lehigh in June 2014, he served as the Executive Director of the Corporate Engagement office (CEO) at the University of Oklahoma (OU) where he was responsible for developing and executing an integrated strategic plan for the award winning University Research Campus (URC), coordinating research enterprise activities with industry partners, developing and expanding the engagement pipeline, and growing external partnerships with Oklahoma’s economic development organizations. He was also responsible for all marketing and public relations activates related to University Economic Development efforts, which include the CEO, Office of Technology Development (OTD) and the University’s student focused Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth (CCEW). 

McCoy holds undergraduate degrees from Washington State University in architectural studies, history and social studies, with minors in military science and leadership studies. He is also a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, holding a masters degree in leadership. He earned his PhD with a focus on economics and educational administration.

Arno MeermanPhD (ABD), Chief Executive Officer, University Industry Innovation Network

Arno Meerman is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of the University Industry Innovation Network (UIIN). In his role, he oversees UIIN's events, publications and research and consulting activities. His research focuses on university-business cooperation and university engagement. Meerman was a project manager and researcher on several European and national large-scale research projects in the area of innovation and entrepreneurship. Since January 2016, he is the responsible project manager of the European Commission project on the State of University-Business Cooperation in Europe, the largest study yet undertaken in this field. He is also the Director for Business Development at the Science-to-Business Marketing Research Centre, a research centre at the Münster University of Applied Sciences.

Paul Moses, Director of Business and Economic DevelopmentPurdue Research Park, Purdue Research Foundation

Paul Moses serves as director of Business and Economic Development for all five Purdue Research Parks across the state of Indiana and in his role, he leads the parks’ economic development efforts as well as high-tech incubation programs in each of the parks’ Purdue Technology Centers. Among other specialties, the portfolio of more than 350 client companies includes those working in the defense, medical device, i.t., clean-tech and other markets.

An entrepreneur and angel investor, Moses is very active in the Indiana and Kentucky entrepreneur ecosystems and business communities.  He co-founded a southern Indiana investment group, the Innovation Angelsand is on the board of directors for Greater Lafayette Commerce.  Moses is a past-President of the Louisville Venture Connectors(Louisville Venture Club, Inc.).  He also serves in advisory board roles for Greater Louisville Inc’s Enterprise CorpsXLerateHealthand the VentureCap-VentureWellaccelerator programs.  Paul is member of the Board of Managers for Poly Group, a high-tech start-up focused on commercializing an anti-microbial co-polymer, licensed from Purdue

Before joining Purdue, Moses held management positions with both start-up and Fortune 500 companies, heading their marketing, communications, advertising, public and governmental relation efforts.  He also works as a private consultant and is co-founder and CEO of his own company, Kristaul LLC, which helps entrepreneurs and established companies refine their business models and improve their performance through strategic management and effective use of various marketing communications channels.

A former journalist, Moses received numerous honors over 26 years in broadcasting.  His investigative reporting earned him an Edward R. Murrow award, three Emmy Awards and other recognition from the Associated Press.  A private pilot, Moses has a passion for aviation.  He has been honored with the Max Karant Award by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) for a series of investigative reports he did on the impact of proposed user fees on general aviation and local economies.  He continues to work for AOPA as a guest commentator and reports for AOPA Live.  He and his wife have five children and reside in West Lafayette, Indiana. 

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

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

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

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

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

Lucien Parsons, MBA, Director, Mixed/Augmented/Virtual Reality Innovation Center (MAVRIC), The University of Maryland

With 20 years of technology and strategy consulting and 10+ years in video game company management, Lucien Parsons has been at the forefront of the changes that has turned computer science into a tool for creative people, not just engineers and accountants.  His background covers the range from fine arts to programming to education to management, so he is able to clearly translate the requirements of business to creatives, academics, and software engineers and visa-versa.  Having bootstrapped startups, run fully funded studios, and worked in and with Fortune 50 corporations, Parsons is uniquely suited to bringing together a diverse set of stakeholders and discovering the common interests and goals between them. 

Parsons holds an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in Innovation and an MA from Johns Hopkins SAIS (School of Advanced International Relations) in International Technology Policy. His BA was completed at Hendrix College. He was recently elected to Board Treasurer of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) and serves as an advisor to multiple startups and entertainment companies.

Darryll Pines, PhD, Dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering, Farvardin Professor of Aerospace Engineering, University of MarylandDarryll Pines

Dr. Pines is the Dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland (UMD) and the Nariman Farvardin Professor of Aerospace Engineering. His research focuses on spacecraft and aircraft structural dynamics, including structural health monitoring and prognosis, smart sensors, and adaptive, morphing and biologically-inspired structures, as well as the guidance, navigation and control of uninhabited aerospace vehicles. Dr. Pines joined UMD in 1995 as an assistant professor and later served as chair of the Clark School's Department of Aerospace Engineering. During a brief leave of absence, he served as program manager for the Tactical Technology Office and Defense Sciences Office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Dr. Pines also held positions at the Chevron Corporation, Space Tethers Inc. and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where he worked on the Clementine Spacecraft program, which discovered water near the south pole of the moon.

Dr. Pines received his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkley, and his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is a fellow of the Institute of Physics, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He currently serves on the boards of the Executive and Advisory Board for Engineers Without Borders-EWB National and several major corporations.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Doug Ryder, President, Holy Cross Germantown Hospital Doug Ryder

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

Mona Sabet, Managing Director, Tribal Advisors Mona Sabet

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

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

Robie Samanta Roy, Ph.D., VP Technology and Innovation, Lockheed Martin Robie Samanta Roy

As Vice President of Technology Strategy and Innovation at Lockheed Martin, Dr. Robie Samanta Roy leads the company’s efforts in developing and providing technical intelligence, research and strategy and partnering with external companies and organizations—from established industry leaders to small businesses and startups. Additionally, he utilizes experts within the organization in other verticals to promote enterprise technology roadmaps aligned with customer and business area needs. Through each aspect of these roles, he also serves as a liaison with government and non-government organizations critical to the formation of S&T policy and the execution of research.

Prior to Lockheed Martin, Dr. Samanta Roy was a staff member with the senate Armed Services Committee where he oversaw the portfolio of the Department of Defense’s wide spectrum of science and technology-related activities. He was also served as the Assistant Director for Space and Aeronautics with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, a Strategic Analyst at the Congressional Budget Office and as a Research Staff Member in the Systems Evaluation Division of the Institute for Defense Analyses.

Dr. Samanta Roy earned his bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a master’s degree in Space Policy from George Washington University and diplomas from the International Space University and Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris. He is an Associate Fellow and member of the Board of Trustees of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, member of the National Research Council’s Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, is chair of the Industry Relations Committee of the International Astronautical Federation, board member on the Board of Visitors for the University of Maryland’s College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, chair of the FAA’s Drone Advisory Committee and continues to serve in the U.S. Air Force Reserve.

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

Jessica Sebeok, JD, Deputy Vice President for Federal Relations and Counsel for Policy, Association of American Universities

Jessica Sebeok has served at AAU since August 2014. As the Deputy Vice President for Federal Relations and Counsel for Policy, she has primary responsibilities for issues related to intellectual property and information technology and technology transfer. She shares responsibilities for a wide range of other regulatory, compliance and legal issues that affect research universities. She is the lead staff for the AAU Council on Federal Relations and the AAU General Counsels Committee.

She previously served as Counsel for Policy and International Affairs in the U.S. Copyright Office, Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, and Assistant General Counsel of Yale University.

Sebeok received her JD from Yale Law School and her master’s degree from the University of Oxford, where she was a Marshall Scholar. She earned her BA in History from the University of Chicago.

Jane M. Shaab, Assistant Vice President for Economic Development, University of Maryland, Baltimore; Senior Vice President and Executive Director, UM BioPark

Jane Shaab has been associated with the University of Maryland for fifteen years. Prior to coming to the University, Shaab served as Executive Director of The Greater Baltimore Technology Council; Director of Economic Development for the Maryland Chamber of Commerce; Director of National Marketing for Maryland Economic Growth Associates, Inc. (MEGA) and as a marketing consultant to The Greater Baltimore Committee.

As Executive Director, Shaab is charged with the development and management of the UM BioPark, fast emerging as Baltimore’s leading Innovation District. The City’s largest cluster of life sciences companies is located in this fourteen acre world-class biomedical research center immediately adjacent to the UMB campus in the west Baltimore community of Poppleton. 

Today forty companies and institutes are headquartered in the UM BioPark employing 1,000 people. The UM BioPark embarked on a new phase of development with the Maryland Proton Treatment Center opening in spring of 2016 and the Lion Brothers Building opening in 2017. The UM BioPark proudly partners every day with the Southwest Partnership, a coalition of the seven communities surrounding the BioPark, focused on improving the quality of life of residents, businesses and visitors.

Shaab is a graduate of Rosemont College, Rosemont, Pennsylvania, and the Goucher College Business Management Institute. She serves as a member of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy Board of Visitors and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance. She is a member of the Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC) Life Sciences Committee; and is a former member of the Association of University Research Parks (AURP) Board of Directors.

Tracy ShickelDirector, Economic Development, University of Delaware

Tracy Shickel is the Director of Economic Development at the University of Delaware (UD). In this newly established role, Shickel leads campus-wide corporate and government engagement supporting innovation community growth, including the University’s Science Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus. Her background prior to UD includes extensive strategy development and commercial leadership with chemicals, biologics and advanced materials innovators such as WL Gore, DuPont, FMC and Monsanto.

Shickel is a connector, supporter and facilitator of regional economic development and serves on various boards committed to creating vibrant communities including UD Horn Entrepreneurship, the University Science Center Community Engagement and PHLLife Congress. Shickel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Marketing Management from the University of Delaware.

Phillip SingermanAssociate Director for Innovation and Industry Services, National institute of Standards & Technology (NIST)

Phillip Singerman is the Associate Director for Innovation and Industry Services at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). In this capacity he is responsible for the NIST suite of external partnership programs, including the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, the Office of Advanced Manufacturing, NIST technology transfer, economic analysis, and small business innovation research awards. Singerman was appointed to his position in January 2011. Immediately prior to joining NIST, he was a Senior Vice President at B&D Consulting, a DC-based firm providing strategic advice and technical assistance on federal economic development programs to non-profit organizations, local governments, and universities. Previously he was a managing director of a$120 million seed stage venture fund that invested in biotechnology. 

Singerman serves as the U. S. Co-Chair of the Israel–U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation and on the U.S. – India Science & Technology Endowment Board (STEB) and the Stakeholders Council of the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA). 

With more than 35 years of experience in tech based economic development; he was the first chief executive of two of the best known and longest lasting private-public partnerships; the Ben Franklin Technology Center of Southeastern Pennsylvania and the Maryland Technology Development Corporation. During the Clinton Administration he served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, a Presidential appointment requiring Senate confirmation. 

He received his B.A. from Oberlin College and holds a Ph.D. from Yale University. He has taught at Yale College, Barnard College (Columbia University), and the Fels Institute of Government (University of Pennsylvania). After graduating from college he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia, South America, working in rural community development.

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

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

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

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

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

Harold Strong

Harold Strong is currently President & CEO of the Medical Innovation Collaborative, MIC. Prior to MIC, Harold served as Director of the University of North Discovery Park and Technology Transfer to oversee the design and development of strategies to stimulate and manage multidisciplinary research, education, and training that benefit students, faculty, researchers, and the business community. He worked to provide assistance to innovators, entrepreneurs, and researchers to launch new ventures, commercialize new technologies, and secure access to capital resources, while supporting regional economic development.

Harold is a nationally recognized leader in research park development with vast experience in developing partnerships between institutions of higher education and industries, defining and executing economic development plans, and developing and managing business incubators. He is a current Board member and past President of the Association of University Research Parks (AURP), an organization whose missions is “Fostering innovation, commercialization and economic growth in a global economy through university, industry and government partnerships.”

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

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

Ken Ullman, J.D., President, Margrave Strategies and Chief Strategy Officer for Economic Development, University of Maryland College Park FoundationKen Ullman

Ken Ulman is President of Margrave Strategies, a firm which provides a comprehensive array of economic development, planning and visioning services to businesses and organizations, including the University of Maryland College Park Foundation, where Ulman serves as Chief Strategy Officer for Economic Development.

Prior to this, Ulman served two terms as the Howard County Executive, as well as serving as the President of the Maryland Association of Counties and Chairman of the Baltimore Metropolitan Council. Throughout his political career, he has been an advocate for technology small businesses and environmental sustainability. In his early career, he was an attorney before entering local politics in 2002 as a Member of the Howard County Council.

Ulman attended the University of Maryland, where he received his bachelor’s degree and J.D. He received numerous awards and was named a Tech Titan by Washingtonian Magazine, a “Top 25 Doer, Dreamer and Driver” by Government Technology Magazine and a Regional Visionary by the Greater Baltimore Committee.

George Ward, Executive Director, Coldstream Research Campus, University of Kentucky, Adjunct Professor for the Retail and Tourism ManagementGeorge Ward

George Ward is the Executive Director and leads the evolution of Lexington’s technology-based economic development ecosystem at Coldstream Research Campus for the University of Kentucky by fostering university-industry partnerships and marketing the ripe economic environment available in Kentucky.

Before joining the team Coldstream Research Campus, Ward held positions as President of H&W Management Co., Commerce Cabinet Secretary and Commissioner of State Parks for the Commonwealth of Kentucky and Vice President for Business Development for Transposagen Biopharmaceuticals.

Ward received his bachelor’s degree in Hotel Administration from Cornell University.

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

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

Sean Xiao, AIA, Principal, U+ DesignPartners

Sean Xiao is a founding Principal of U+ DesignPartners. He plays a lead role in the development of U+ DesignPartners’s office, culture, commercial, residential, and mixed use projects, demonstrating a strong commitment to smart growth and sustainability principles. He is a member of American Institute of Architects, National Grade 1 Registered Architect in China and Senior Architect. He has more than 20 years of experience and is committed to creative and functional architectural design and sustainable building elements. Many of his projects have earned excellence awards, as well as innovation awards for Green Building Design at both the national levels. He has been involved in many of U+ DesignPartners’s design-build initiatives and is recognized nationally and internationally as a design innovator, which can be partly attributed to his uncanny ability to recognize and understand market trends.

Dai YanyanYanyan Dai, Deputy Director of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Development Center at Shenyang Jianzhu University

Ms. Dai Yanyan, Deputy director of innovation, entrepreneurship and development center in Shenyang Jianzhu University. A certified senior key facilitator of International Labor Organization KAB entrepreneurship education in China and authorized coach by Erickson Coaching International, IPA international registered Chinese teacher (Advanced). In the past 11 eleven years, she has trained more than 400 trainers of the International Labour Organization's KAB entrepreneurship education program and taught on various entrepreneurship courses such as "KAB Entrepreneurship Education Foundation for College Students", "College Students' Entrepreneurship Foundation", "Entrepreneurship Design Thinking" and others.

Ms. Dai has been quite instrumental in facilitating the technology transfer, based upon the triple helix model, at the Jianzhu University. In 2017, Ms. Dai instructed the student team to win the national silver award of the "Internet +" Undergraduate Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition. Dai is in charge of one national educational reform project entitled "Research on the Construction and Mechanism of Ecological System of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Education in Colleges and Universities under the Mode of School-Enterprise Cooperation" and four provincial-level projects and also participate in edited and published books such as "innovative thinking and innovative methods."

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