Speakers and Moderators

Dr. Chaouki Abdallah, PhD, Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation, Georgia Institute of Technology

Dr. Chaouki Abdallah is the Executive Vice President for Research (EVPR) at Georgia Tech and a professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The EVPR directs Georgia Tech's research program. As a direct report to the President and a member of the President's Cabinet, the EVPR serves as chief research officer for the Institute.

Chaouki began his college career at the Faculté d'ingénierie (ESIB) of the Université Saint-Joseph, then obtained his bachelor of engineering from Youngstown State University, and his MS and PhD in Electrical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He joined the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) department at the University of New Mexico (UNM) as the ECE department chair, Provost, Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs of UNM, and in 2017, finally became the 22nd President, a position he held until 2018 when returned to his position as Provost. In 2018, he joined Georgia Tech as its EVPR.

Chaouki conducts research and teaches courses in the general area of systems theory with focus on control, communications, and computing systems. His research has been funded by NSF, AFOSR, NRL, National Laboratories, and by various companies.

Henry Ahn, SBIR/STTR Program Director, National Science Foundation

Henry Ahn joined the National Science Foundation in July 2016 as an SBIR/STTR Program Director. Prior to joining NSF, Henry managed seed/early stage investment programs for TEDCO for 12 years including Technology Commercialization Fund, TEDCO’s flagship seed funding program for technology-based companies in Maryland. During his time at TEDCO, Henry was actively involved with various entrepreneurs and entrepreneur support groups as a guest speaker, an advisory board member, a judge, a mentor, among others. Additionally, Henry was part of the licensing/supplier relations team at a biotechnology company called Upstate, where he successfully negotiated, licensed and commercialized approximately 190 biomedical research reagents from around the world. Henry has also done approximately five years of research, mostly in the field of immunology (including graduate work). Henry has an MBA from Rice University, an master of science in biotechnology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and a bachelor of science in biomedical engineering from Boston University.

Mason Ailstock, Immediate Past President, AURP; Senior Principal, HR&A AdvisorsMason Ailstock

Mason Ailstock is a nationally recognized leader in innovation districts, university research parks and anchor-driven developments. With more than 15 years’ experience working with education institutions, governments and private industry, Mason has a proven track record of converging real estate, academia and business activities to advance communities of innovation. Prior to joining HR&A, Mason served as Vice President of Operations at The University Financing Foundation (TUFF), a private operating foundation created to provide research facilities and equipment to non-profit educational organizations.

Prior to joining TUFF, Mason served as Chief Operating Officer of the 7,000-acre (2,833-hectare) Research Triangle Park (RTP). There, he led the operational, business development, marketing, real estate, and partnership strategies of the largest high-tech research park in North America. As COO, Mason was responsible for the recruitment and retention of private sector companies, development of mixed-use projects involving multiple stakeholders, and expanding partnerships among the three founding research universities and the 220 companies located in RTP.

In 2016 Mason was awarded the prestigious Eisenhower Fellowship where he traveled to Sweden and Saudi Arabia researching the development of university-anchored innovation districts. Following his fellowship, Mason founded Convergent, B Corp to build on the expanded global network of universities, elected officials and industry leaders committed to leveraging resources to achieve shared objects. As a Public Benefit Corporation, Convergent was created to lead in the development of innovative real estate solutions that drive social change and increase economic equality.

Prior to his leadership at RTP, Mason served as the Real Estate and Global Partner Manager at Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research. Mason played key roles in the master plan execution and real estate transactions of the 250-acre (101-hectare) research campus, accounting for $250,000,000 USD in investments, over 500,000 sqft of LEED Certified multi-tenant, research and academic space.

Mason is the Past President and current Board Member of the Association of University Research Parks (AURP), Co-Chairman of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) University Development and Innovation Council, a member of the Atlanta ULI Center for Leadership, and the Global Eisenhower Fellowships Network.

Ambrish Baisiwala, CEO Portman Holdings

Ambrish Baisiwala is responsible for the management and profitability of Portman Holdings. He oversees the overall operations of Portman Holdings, including real estate development, investment, and capital raising across the US, China, India and South Korea.

Ambrish brings 20 years of global real estate experience to his role at Portman. His broad geographic and work exposure brings a strong corporate strategy and property development skill to Portman Holdings.

Prior to joining Portman, he was Development Director of ALDAR Properties PJSC in Abu Dhabi, UAE, where he was responsible for a development portfolio in excess of $30 billion. Earlier in his career, he was Development Manager for the Greater Union Organizaiton for the Middle East and India. Prior to that, Ambrish held various senior positions with Coopers & Lybrand Consulting and the TATA Group.
Ambrish has a bachelor of commerce (Honors) from the University of Rajasthan, India, and a MBA from the Melbourne Business School, Australia.

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

Christopher Baylow, AIA, Principal, Academic Research, EYP

Christopher Baylow brings over 25 years of client leadership, design, and project management experience on large, sophisticated academic scientific research and teaching facilities. He has a particular interest in the ever-changing paradigms of academic research and teaching and the critical role building performance plays in the design of high-technology buildings. Christopher is knowledgeable in the cross-pollination of research disciplines, density of research activities, the delicate balance of spaces for collaboration and specialization, and how high-performance building systems and assemblies can work in concert with the architecture.

Rich Bendis, Chief Executive Officer, BioHealth Innovation, Inc.

Rich Bendis is a successful entrepreneur, corporate executive, angel investor, investment banker, innovation and technology-based economic development leader, international speaker and consultant in the technology and healthcare industries. He also serves as the founding President and CEO of Innovation America, a national public-private partnership focused on accelerating the growth of innovation economy in America; also the founding Chairman of The Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation; founder and CEO of Innovation Philadelphia; and asked to serve as the Co-Chairman of the AURP BioHealth Caucus. As a recognized expert in the field of the innovation economy, Rich has served on numerous distinguished boards and task forces including the White House U.S. Innovation Partnership Advisory Task Force, the Small Business Innovation Research Committee, the National Association of State Venture Funds Board; State Science and Technology Institute and the Ernst and Young Entrepreneurial Institute as a National/Regional Judge and Entrepreneur of the Year winner. Rich has provided global consulting services to over 16 countries and 22 states, several cities and regions, along with international organizations including the United Nations, NATO, UK Trade and Industry, European Commission, French Embassy, the German Marshall Fund, The Canadian Consulate, METI, AKEA, the International Science Parks and Innovation Expert Group and other global entities. Rich serves on Governor Hogan's Life Science Advisory Board. He was voted one of the Top 5 Speakers on innovation and creativity, voted 4th best Innovation Blogger, a 2017 most influential Marylander award and a 2017 Maryland innovator of the year award, in addition to hosting the BioTalk podcast series.

Matthew L. Bishop, PhD, Director, J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, University of Georgia

Matt Bishop serves as the director of the University of Georgia's J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, an interdisciplinary unit of UGA's Office of Public Service and Outreach. He is responsible for the Institute's overall strategic direction and programmatic operations to fulfill its mission to strengthen communities, organizations, and individuals through leadership development, education, and training. He leads a team of 35 faculty, staff, and students in designing and delivering leadership programs that focus on community, non-profit, and youth audiences.

Prior to being named director in 2012, Bishop served as coordinator of operations for UGA’s Archway Partnership where he was instrumental in helping Archway expand from three to eight communities. His 15-year career at UGA includes serving on the faculty of the Fanning Institute and the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, and as the principal investigator for UGA’s Initiative on Poverty and the Economy.

Before joining the University of Georgia, Bishop served as associate director of the Governor’s Rural Development Council and as regional resource coordinator for the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. In addition to his professional experience, Bishops serves on the boards of the Jekyll Island Foundation and of LEAD Athens. He presently serves as vice president of Leadership Georgia. He is involved in the Rotary Club of Athens, is a member of the Athens-Clarke County SPLOST Oversight Committee, coaches in Athens Little League, and serves as a Sunday school teacher and elder at Athens First Presbyterian Church.

Dan G. Blumberg, Vice President of Industrial and Regional Development, Ben-Gurion University

Prof. Dan G. Blumberg is the Vice President for industrial and regional development, at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. From 2014 through 2019 Prof. Blumberg served as the Vice-President and Dean for Research and Development. Prof. Blumberg received his Ph.D. from Arizona State University (1993) where he studied and worked in the Planetary Geology Group and focused on aeolian processes and microwave radar remote sensing to study arid zone environments and planetary geology.

Prof. Blumberg was a Co-I on the SRL (Spaceborne Radar Laboratory) mission, SRTM mission and other space missions. Prof. Blumberg has been working for the past 20 years on analysis of multi-parameter remote sensing data including radar, hyperspectral, multi-spectral and GPR data; he published numerous papers in the areas of windblown geomorphology and target and anomaly detection. Prof. Blumberg combined field studies with the use of remote sensing data; he recently led the development and successful launch of a Nanosatellite, BGUsat - a 3U cubesat with a shortwave infrared imager onboard.

Prof. Blumberg has been a leader in the development of the IT and cyber eco-system in Beer-Sheva, he brought over 40 multi-national companies, 70 startups and almost 300 new engineers to the advanced technologies park in Beer-Sheva. Prof. Blumberg is also a member of a national committee deigned to leverage the AI industry and research in Israel; he was recently elected to be an academy member of the International Academy of Astronoautics.

Anthony Boccanfuso, PhD, President, UIDP

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

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

Jason Boudreaux, MD, MBA, Manager, Pennington Biotech Initiative; Business Consultant, Louisiana Business & Technology Center

Jason Boudreaux is Manager of the Pennington Biotech Initiative (PBI), an incubator affiliated with LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center, and a Business Consultant at the Louisiana Business & Technology Center (LBTC). Boudreaux is responsible for interviewing and recommending approving of potential tenant companies to PBI, and providing consulting services to those companies and LBTC clientele. Prior to receiving an MBA, with a concentration in Finance, Boudreaux attended LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans and received his Doctor of Medicine.

As a business consultant, Boudreaux has worked directly with over 500 entrepreneurs. His responsibilities have included supporting business owners in areas such as management, sources and uses of capital and market research. He has guided entrepreneurs through the process of business planning and fundraising.

Boudreaux is on the teaching team of the NSF LSU I-Corps Site program, which supports participants through critical market and commercialization evaluations associated with a specific LSU developed idea or technology.

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.

Christian Braemer, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Benefunder

Founded in 2013, serial entrepreneur Christian Braemer, is the founder and CEO of Benefunder, an online marketplace bringing together philanthropists and researchers; serving as a marketplace, attracting new money, lowering costs, and increasing transparency. Benefunder works with wealth management firms, to connect donors with leading researchers across the nation to fill the innovation gap. Through its Charitable Innovation Fund, Benefunder combines the disciplines of wealth management with philanthropic giving for the benefit of innovation across all fields of study.

Last year, individuals accounted for roughly $240 billion in charitable giving and less than 3% was allocated to research. Benefunder believes this represents the single largest opportunity to significantly increase research funding in the United States.

Benefunder has already aligned with more than 200 researchers from top universities, such as
UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco , Stanford, UNC, MIT, Harvard, UT Austin, USC, University of Florida, CMU, Cornell, Purdue, and CU Boulder.

Prior to Benefunder, Christian founded Joe Media, a national free wifi network that later merged with another founded organization, OpenEye Global. OpenEye Global hosted a team of experienced visual designers, media strategists and technologists that developed award winning solutions for some of the world’s leading brands.

Christian’s earlier experience included additional founded organizations, a former financial advisor with both Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch, and sergeant of the Danish Army.

Cassie Branum, AICP, LEED AP, Senior Urban Designer, Associate Principal, Perkins and Will

Cassie is a multi-faceted designer with expertise in the fields of interior design, architecture, city planning and graphic design. Directing large and complex interdisciplinary efforts, Cassie works with clients and design teams that span continents and project types. Globally, she is respected for her ability to build strong relationships, synthesize ideas, achieve consensus and forge new strategies to make great design happen.

Cassie has been developing an expertise in research parks and innovation districts for the past 9 years and is continually seeking to advance these environments in thoughtful, creative and implementable ways. Her clients and projects include: the Science Town at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Innovation Square at the University of Florida, Qatar Research and Development Complex at the Qatar Foundation’s Education City, Cummings Research Park, Technology Enterprise Park at the Georgia Institute of Technology, the Innovate Birmingham Initiative for Birmingham, Alabama and Oklahoma City’s Innovation District and Capitol Environs Strategic Land Use and Development Plan. 

Michael Britt, Vice President of Innovation, Southern Company Energy Innovation Center

Michael Britt is vice president of the Southern Company Energy Innovation Center, located in Atlanta's Technology Square. Under Michael's direction, the center focuses on developing and commercializing products and services that benefit customers as Southern Company extends its long-standing commitment to inventing the future of clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy. The Energy Innovation Center is one aspect of Southern Company's enterprise-wide approach to innovation, which includes the advancement of new nuclear in Georgia, a first-of-its-kind clean coal facility in Mississippi and an industry-leading commitment to robust, proprietary research and development.

Prior to rejoining Southern Company, where he held multiple positions during the 1990s, Michael served as partner and utilities practice leader for the southeastern U.S. with Oliver Wyman Inc., based in Atlanta. In that role, he focused on market and growth strategies, acquisition strategy and due diligence, energy, infrastructure, distributed energy, public policy, technology development and customer experience/retail strategy.

Michael holds a bachelor of arts in English from the University of Pennsylvania and graduated with honors with a masters of business administration from the University of Notre Dame.

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.

Dr. Ángel Cabrera, PhD, President, Georgia Institute of Technology

On Sept. 1, 2019, Ángel Cabrera became the 12th president of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Cabrera came to Georgia Tech after serving for seven years as president of George Mason University (GMU) in Fairfax, Virginia.

From 2004 to 2012, Cabrera served as president at Thunderbird School of Global Management, now part of Arizona State University. Prior to that he was dean of IE Business School in Madrid. As a business educator, Cabrera has played a key role in advancing professional ethics, internationalization, and corporate social responsibility. As a senior advisor to the United Nations Global Compact, in 2007 he was the lead author of the “Principles for Responsible Management Education,” now adopted by more than 700 schools around the world.

He’s been named a “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum, a “Star of Europe” by Businessweek, “Henry Crown Fellow” by the Aspen Institute, and “Great Immigrant” by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. He has received honorary degrees from Miami Dade College and Universidad Politécnica of Madrid.

Cabrera earned his MS and PhD in cognitive psychology from Georgia Tech, which he attended as a Fulbright Scholar. He also holds a telecommunications engineering degree (BS and MS in computer and electrical engineering) from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid.

Mario Cambardella, Urban Agriculture Director, Mayor's Office of Resilience, City of Atlanta 

Mario Cambardella currently serves as the city of Atlanta's first Urban Agriculture Director. In this position, he is responsible for agriculture-related policy development, program management and technical expert for food production, aggregation, distribution and restoration within City limits.

Mario holds a BS and MS in landscape architecture from the University of Georgia.

Merry Hunter Caudle, Program Manager - Economic Development, Georgia Institute of Technology

Merry Hunter Caudle is the Program Manager for Economic Development at Georgia Tech. In this role, she develops innovation-focused partnerships by connecting economic needs that drive opportunity with transformative technology and talent. Merry Hunter also supports Georgia Tech, city, and state officials in recruiting and transitioning companies to Georgia. She previously served as Education Policy Advisor and Deputy Director of Communications for Governor Nathan Deal. Merry Hunter holds a B.S. in Public Policy from Georgia Tech, a M.A. in Communications, research emphasis on crisis rhetoric in higher education, from Georgia State University, and is currently pursuing a M.B.A. from Georgia Tech. She is a member of the LEAD Atlanta lass of 2020, the Zell Miller Leadership Institute Class of 2019, and is an active volunteer with the Junior League of Atlanta. Merry Hunter and her husband, Dan, reside in Atlanta.

Bobby Condon, General Manager, SouthEast WeWork

Stephen Coulston, AIA, Principal, Perkins and Will

Stephen Coulston is a Principal in the Austin office of the award-winning design firm Perkins and Will. With a passion for engaging in the innovation economy, 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.

Deborah Cummings, Principal and Senior Director, TEConomy Partners, LLC

Deborah Cumming's 20 year experience in state and regional technology-based economic development, both as a consultant and government official, have made her a well-respected thought leader in the field. At TEConomy Partners, Deborah's research and analytical skills are drawn upon for a range of projects, and her strategic thinking, project management skills, and attention to details have contributed to TEConomy's reputation for ground-breaking work of the highest quality. Deborah leads projects in strategic planning, cluster-based economic development, program assessments, best practice methodology, science and technology policy, and impact analysis.

During Deborah's career, which includes nearly 15 years as a senior program manager at the Battelle Technology Partnership Practice, she has managed state and regional technology strategies and program designs, which have been implemented into robust economic development initiatives. Her work includes analyzing a region's business community and research assets to determine which factors contribute to the area's competitive advantage; analyzing their economic position in relation to peers; and developing strategies and actions upon which the region can position itself for future development.

Deborah has an MBA from The Ohio State University, and a BBA and BA from Ohio University's Honors Tutorial College.

Morgan Daenzer, LEED GA, Laboratory Planner, HOK

Morgan brings a variety of architectural and laboratory planning experience, primarily with HOK’s Science + Technology St Louis group. She has worked on projects of many sizes; programming and designing facilities ranging from small laboratory fit-outs and renovations, to large-scale complex facilities and campuses. Morgan is detailed-oriented and especially adept at identifying and solving project issues.

Her valued lab planning contributions on multi-tenant lab projects in the CORTEX Innovation District in St. Louis have given her a distinct perspective on the challenges surrounding new and renovated spaces to support research innovation at various stages and scales.

Brian P. Darmody, JD, Chief Executive Officer, AURP 

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

Previously, he was the University’s AVP for Corporate and Foundation Relations in the Division of University Relations, AVP for Research and Economic Development, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Technology Development, Director of State and Federal Relations in the President’s Office and has served in the university’s legal counsel office. He serves on national and state boards, including: Fraunhofer USA, the Maryland Economic Development Association, and the Maryland Tech Council. 

He holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Baltimore and he received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, College 

Carie Davis, Startup Relations & Program Director, BridgeCommunity

Chef Santana Diaz, UC Davis Health

SEASONAL. LOCAL. CREATIVE. These words fully define the passion and characteristics that guide Executive Chef Santana Diaz at UC Davis Health. Chef Diaz’s vision has always been to bring a true Farm-to-Fork, restaurant-style culinary experience to all facets of every food venue that he has had the privilege to lead.  Chef Diaz has recently joined the UC Davis Health team after setting up and executing the new Golden 1 Center food program with the most successful farm-to-fork production in sports.  His drive to create an impactful program via healthcare intrigued him and offered him more opportunity to impact the local farming and rancher community. His experience with fine-dining restaurants and with hotel management in the California Bay Area, coupled with large-volume sports and entertainment work, have yielded Diaz the opportunity to bring the high-volume “eats” to a healthier platform – while not losing most important aspect of the meals: TASTE.

Daniel J. Duncan, President, AURP; 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.

Renee Dye, PhD, Associate Professor in the Practice of Organization and Management, Emory University

Renee Dye completed her PhD in English at Emory University in 1994. Dye has previously held positions at Emory, McKinsey, and Navigant, and she is the founder of Stratitect, an independent consulting firm. Her articles have been published in a number of leading journals and magazines, including Harvard Business Review, Fortune, and The McKinsey Quarterly.

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.

Matt Enstice, President and CEO, Buffalo Niagara Medial Campus, Inc.

Matt is the President and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc., a pioneering organization that has become a powerful engine of revitalization in Buffalo. Matt is focused on the intersection of energy, entrepreneurship & technology, and how it will drive the new economy in Buffalo and beyond.

Matt has led the non-profit organization since its formation in 2002 to address shared issues among Campus institutions. Today, Matt oversees a team focusing on diverse, interrelated initiatives designed to lift the entire community including those in transportation, access and safety; energy, entrepreneurship, health & active living, infrastructure, economic opportunity and youth & education. Under Matt’s leadership, foundations, private enterprise, research labs, local community leaders, hospitals, and educational institutions are collaborating to create a model for re-energizing the city that has application all over America.

Prior to returning home to Buffalo, Matt worked in the entertainment industry in L.A. and New York, for Broadway Pictures and with Lorne Michaels at Saturday Night Live. Matt currently serves as a commission member on the U.S. Commission on Transportation Sector Efficiency, part of the international Alliance to Save Energy; and on the Advisory Boards for Niagara University, Daemen College, and the School of Visual Arts Design for Social Innovation in New York City. He is also a founding steering committee member for the Global Institute on Innovation Districts. He is a member of the Sustainable Development Leadership Committee for the Center for Integrated Global Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo. He is active on the boards of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and the Buffalo Renaissance Foundation.

Matt completed his undergraduate degree at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and his MBA at Canisius College. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Dr. Bernard L. Martin Award for someone who has demonstrated demonstrated noteworthy community service and significant career success (2012); the Rev. Thomas E. Fleming, S.J. Distinguished Service Award, conferred periodically to an alumnus who has demonstrated outstanding service to the Graduate Business Programs and alumni association (2018). Matt is married and lives in Buffalo with his family.

Teresa "Terri" Finister, Partner, Murray Barnes Finister, LLP

Ms. Finister has specialized in public finance law since 1990. Her practice primarily involves financings for state and local governments and nonprofit issuers. She represents governmental issuers, investment banks and conduit borrowers as bond counsel and underwriter’s counsel in a variety of tax-exempt financings for public infrastructure, healthcare, higher education, transportation and public-private partnership projects (through tax allocation district bonds). She also represents financial institutions that purchase municipal bonds and that provide credit support for municipal bonds.

Ms. Finister is a member of the State Bar of Georgia. She is also a member of the National Association of Bond Lawyers and a member of the American College of Bond Counsel. The American College of Bond Counsel is a national organization with approximately 300 members that recognizes lawyers who have established reputations among their peers for their skill, experience and high standards of professional and ethical conduct in the practice of bond law.

Ms. Finister graduated from Emory University with a Bachelor in Business Administration. Ms. Finister passed the Certified Public Accountancy exam, and received her M.A. in Taxation from Georgia State University. Ms. Finister received her J.D., with distinction, from Emory University. In law school, she served as Articles Editor of the Bankruptcy Developments Journal and is a member of the Order of the Coif.

Ms. Finister has spoken at seminars sponsored by Georgia Municipal Association, Georgia Government Finance Officers Association and Georgia Society of CPA’s on various issues relating to municipal bond finance.

Bobby Franklin, President & Chief Executive Officer, National Venture Capital Association

Bobby Franklin is the President & CEO of the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), the venture community’s preeminent trade association focused on empowering the next generation of transformative American companies. Based in Washington, D.C., with offices in Palo Alto and San Francisco, NVCA acts as the voice of the U.S. venture capital and startup community by advocating for public policy that supports the American entrepreneurial ecosystem. Powered by its members, NVCA arms the venture community for success, serving as the leading resource for venture capital data, practical education, peer-led initiatives, and networking.

Prior to joining NVCA in 2013, Bobby spent ten years at CTIA, a large Washington, DC-based trade association representing the entire wireless industry. While there, he served as the Executive Vice President and second-in-command to the CEO, former Rep. Steve Largent (R-OK), and was responsible for helping manage the organization’s $58 Million budget and 90 employees. Bobby began his professional career with nearly eight years of experience on Capitol Hill working on various issues in the office of Senator David Pryor (D-AR) and on various Senate Committees, including Agriculture, Finance, and Governmental Affairs.

Bobby earned his bachelor of science in business administration in finance and banking from the University of Arkansas.

Stephen G. Frayser, MBA, 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.

Melanie Gladwell, Vice President, Americas Head of Flexible Working Solutions, Cushman & Wakefield

Melanie Gladwell is the Head of Flexible Workplace Solutions for the Americas at Cushman & Wakefield. She joined the firm in 2019 to lead this dynamic and fast-growing sector. Her team of co-working experts deliver flexible experiential real estate advisory services with institutional insights, tools and products, along with flex brokerage transaction & portfolio management capabilities for both Occupier and Investor clients.

Summarily, Melanie is a results-driven growth management specialist known for generating profitable incremental revenue streams. She brings more than 20 years' experience in guiding start-ups and large enterprise through growth, turnaround and integration initiatives. Leveraging a varied industry background with a foundation as a builder of services, solutions and products derived from turnaround and expansion leadership roles, Melanie’s areas of expertise include customer affinity and loyalty programs, sales & marketing, change enablement consulting with Prosci® certification and flexible workplace. Melanie's accomplishments as a global sales and marketing leader fuel her unique point of view and capability to scale for growth, mentor top flight teams and deliver solutions that drive results.

Todd Greene, Executive Director, Atlanta University Center Consortium

The executive director serves as the day-to-day operator of the business of the Consortium, ensuring effective organizational leadership, program management, planning and staff management. The Executive Director also helps to ensure AUCC member institutions accomplish their civic engagement and community revitalization goals through community-oriented programs and services.

Craig Harmon, Partner, McGuire Woods LLP

In his more than 25 years at McGuireWoods, Craig has focused his practice on real estate finance transactions and matters. He leads a group that represents participants in the mortgage lending area, including representation of institution lenders on originating and servicing/administration of mortgage loans; sellers and buyers of mortgage loans, participations and other investments in mortgage assets; and servicers of mortgage loans. Related to his ongoing representation of institutional real estate investors, Craig advises clients on matters related to mezzanine loans, A/B notes, subordinated debt and other structured investment arrangements.

He routinely represents participants in sale-leaseback, bond lease financing and similar transactions. His experience includes representation of credit tenants, developers/equity participants and lenders, with a concentration on transactions involving national retailers as credit tenants. Portfolio acquisitions and sales, as well as transactions involving the purchase and sale of net-leased properties, including for the 1031 market, also make up a part of his practice in this area.

His practice also includes representing developers and end users on acquisition and lease transactions with a concentration on transactions involving national retailers as tenants. He has written on a variety of lease finance and lease documentation issues, most recently as contributor to publications of the International Council of Shopping Centers, and he speaks at trade organization presentations, seminars and continuing legal education programs, most often on sale-leaseback issues.

In addition to his primary focus on real estate finance, Craig also represents various participants in the music industry. An outgrowth of his involvement in the music industry as an avocation, this area of his practice has led him into representation of recording artists on all major record labels, as well as music producers, personal management companies and recording studios.

Kate Hier, AIA, NCARB Architect, Laboratory Planner Principal, The Clark Enersen Partners

Kate Hier is an Architect, Principal, and Laboratory Architect at The Clark Enersen Partners, specializing in the design of science and research projects at higher education institutions.  During her ten years of professional experience, she has led design on numerous high-profile projects at colleges, universities, and medical education centers across the Midwest.  Her expertise includes spaces for active learning, experiential learning environments, including virtual reality integration and simulation for human clinical, human surgical, and veterinary applications; diagnostic laboratories including AAVLD accredited laboratories; research spaces; translational medicine; equine health facilities; and agricultural engineering facilities. As a leader of the firm’s Science and Research Design team, her focus lies at the intersection of process flow, visioning for the future, and design excellence. 

Edward Highfield, Director of City Growth, Sheffield City Council

Edward Highfield is Director of City Growth at Sheffield City Council. Edward graduated the University of Liverpool in 2001 after reading Politics. He began his career at the North West Regional Development Agency, moving to Sheffield in 2004 to work for Sheffield City Council. Edward has held a number of positions at Sheffield City Council and was most recently appointed Director of City Growth in 2017.

Mitchell Horowitz, Principal 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.

Robert K. Jenkins, Jr., Senior Managing Director, Renaissance Equity Partners LLC

Robert K. Jenkins, Jr. is Senior Managing Director. He is our principal liaison to our nonprofit and public sector partners. Mr. Jenkins has three decades of executive level experience administering public sector community development initiatives. He has served as Executive Director of the DC Housing Authority, the 7th largest municipal affordable housing agency in the country and as Deputy Executive Director and COO of the Norfolk (VA) Redevelopment & Housing Authority (NRHA), the largest municipal community development agency in the state of Virginia. He has also served as President & CEO of the District of Columbia Development Corporation.

Mr. Jenkins was the founding CEO of Hampton Roads Ventures (HRV), a U.S. Department of Treasury certified Community Development Entity (CDE) affiliated with NRHA that he organized, capitalized, and developed into a highly respected community development investment firm. Under Mr. Jenkins’ leadership, HRV was awarded four allocations of NMTC and became known as a NMTC innovator. HRV was the first CDE in Virginia, the first affiliate of a public housing authority to receive a NMTC allocation, the first to successfully combine NMTC with tax-exempt bond financing, the first to use NMTC in tandem with HUD public housing grant funds to finance a mixed-use (residential/commercial) project, and one of the first CDEs to combine NMTC with Historic Tax Credits.

Mr. Jenkins is a graduate of Howard University and the George Washington University School of Law. He is licensed to practice before several tribunals, including the US Supreme Court and US Tax Court. A respected community development finance practitioner, Mr. Jenkins is a member of the Public Private Initiatives Council of the Urban Land Institute and the Boards of Directors of the NMTC Coalition, the Old Dominion University Community Development Corporation and DV Community Ventures of which he is Chairman.

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

Jeff Johnson is responsible for all aspects of establishing and leading the research and innovation portion of the 100-acre, $450 million, mixed-use Tech Center based on the internationally acclaimed Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg, Virginia. 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.

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

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

Erin Koshut, Executive Director, Cummings Research Park

Erin Koshut is the Executive Director of Cummings Research Park (CRP) in Huntsville, Alabama. With 300 companies situated over more than 3,800 acres and employing 29,000 employees, CRP is the second largest research park in the U.S. and the fourth largest in the world.

Erin is responsible for managing and marketing CRP, and for providing a business environment that is conducive to growing existing industry and recruiting new industry into the Park. In her role as CRP Director, Erin is leading a comprehensive master planning effort to ensure another 50 successful years for CRP. Working with stakeholders and community partners, Erin is working to transform the culture in the Park and create a vibrant environment where employees can connect, work, live, learn, and play. Erin recently shepherded a re-branding of the Park, rolling out a new CRP brand and messaging across communication platforms, partners and CRP companies.

For 14 years, Erin worked for AkinsCrisp Public Strategies in a variety of growth positions, rising to Vice President for Washington, DC, and Huntsville, AL, Operations. During her tenure at AkinsCrisp, Erin managed the Tennessee Valley Corridor (TVC), a five-state regional technology and economic development initiative. This initiative linked academia; federal, state and local government; and the private sector to advance new job creation by leveraging the region’s high tech assets. In 2004, the TVC and the Research Triangle Partnership in Raleigh, N.C. were both selected by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration as the top regional economic development organizations in the country for enhancing regional competitiveness.

She graduated from Lipscomb University with a BA in public relations.

Dr. James Kovach, Chief Innovation Officer, University of California Davis Health

Dr. James Kovach serves as Director, Entrepreneurism and Innovation at the University of California Davis Health, where he supports physician training in entrepreneurship; and industry outreach to support translational science.

Dr. Kovach received his medical degree with distinction from the University of Kentucky while simultaneously playing in the National Football League. Following his NFL career, he attended law school at Stanford University and practiced corporate law in Palo Alto California.

Previously, he has directed the Technology Transfer Program at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, served as Chief Operating Officer of Athersys, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATHX), a leading public biotechnology company developing stem cell therapeutics, and served as President of the Buck Institute for Age Research, an independent research institute dedicated exclusively to research on aging and age-associated disease.

Dr. Kovach played 7 years in the National Football League as a middle linebacker for the New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers. He is a member of the Southeastern Conference Legends Athletic Hall of Fame; and a member of the COSIDA Academic All-American Hall of Fame.

Brendan Leahy, Ed.D., Assistant Director and Public Service Associate, J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, University of Georgia

Brendan Leahy focuses much of his efforts on community leadership programs, while also working heavily in subject areas such as instructional design, applied research, and leadership assessments.

Julie LenzerChief Innovation Officer; Director, 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.

Dennis E. Lower, President and Chief Executive Officer, Cortex Innovation Community

Dennis Lower has been involved in developing urban, technology-based innovation communities since 1995.

In May 2010, Mr. Lower became the President and CEO of the Cortex Innovation Community in the historic Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri. Cortex is a 203-acre urban innovation district founded in 2002 by Washington University in St. Louis, BJC HealthCare System, the University of Missouri – St. Louis, Saint Louis University and the Missouri Botanical Garden. It is the St. Louis region’s largest innovation campus, designed and actively curated to accelerate technology company formation by providing access to tech facilities and entrepreneurial programs for innovative, creative people. Cortex is now a nationally and internationally recognized innovation hub that supports all technology sectors. To date, over $700 million has been invested in 2 million square feet, 400 companies reside in the District, and 5,800 jobs have been created. At full buildout, Cortex anticipates that $2.5 billion will be invested in more than 4 million square feet of mixed-use development resulting in the creation of 15,000 jobs.

From 1998 to April 2010, Mr. Lower served as Vice President of Planning & Development for the Biomedical Research Foundation and Director of InterTech Science Park in Shreveport, Louisiana. Under Louisiana Governors Mike Foster and Kathleen Blanco, Dennis also served as Chair of the statewide Louisiana Economic Development Council. Prior to Louisiana, Mr. Lower served as the Executive Director of University Heights Science Park in Newark, New Jersey, the Acting Executive Director of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority in Atlantic City, and the Founder and Executive Director of the National Shared Housing Resource Center in Philadelphia. Mr. Lower serves on the boards of the St. Louis PBS Nine Network, St. Louis Contractor Loan Fund, Venture Café St. Louis and the Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience, a St. Louis Public Schools magnet high school. He was recently named as the FOCUS St. Louis 2018 Leadership Award recipient, presented annually to individuals who demonstrate innovative leadership, generate a meaningful impact in the community, and encourage strong community leadership in others.

Educationally, Mr. Lower holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, a Master of Divinity degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts, and a Certificate in Clinical Pastoral Counseling from Boston University Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.

Peter Loya, Senior Manager for Community and Tenant Relations, Tech Parks Arizona

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

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

Ms. Madden joined USF in 1988 and has also served as chief financial officer and business manager for the USF Research Foundation. She holds an M.B.A with focus on management and a B.S. with honors in information systems and decision sciences, both from USF. She is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Societies.

Kenneth M. Marcus, MBA, Chief Financial and Operating Officer, Tech Parks ArizonaKenneth 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.

Ted Matozzo, Vice President, Public Finance Investment Banking, BofA Securities, Inc., Bank of America, N.A.

Mr. Matozzo has over 22 years of municipal finance experience with specific focus on the higher education market and has extensive experience implementing a variety of financing structures for the firm’s clients.  Over the last two years, he has served as banker on research park and higher education financings for: Georgia Institute of Technology, Cobb Research Campus, Technology Enterprise Park, Rosalind Franklin University, Villanova University, Sacred Heart University, Seton Hall University, University of the Sciences, American University, University of Miami, New York University, University of Virginia, Emory University, George Mason University, University of Rhode Island, and Haverford College, among many others. 

Cameron McCoy, PhD, Associate Vice President, Economic Engagement & Emerging Initiatives, 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 Meerman, Chief Executive Officer, UIIN

Leonard Mills, PhD, CFA, CQF, Verte Opportunity Fund

Dr. Leonard Mills has over 30 years of experience in investment management and is currently President of PI Analytics Investment Adviser. His past employment includes positions at the Federal Reserve, Fannie Mae, Wells Fargo, private funds, and as a adjunct professor. Len holds a B.S. in Mathematics,, a Ph.D. in Economics, is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and holds the Certificate in Quantitative Finance (CQF).​

Len spent over 15 years as Head of Portfolio Analytics and Research for Fannie Mae’s portfolio which peaked at over $1.5 trillion in assets. Len and his team of 150 analysts were responsible for the proprietary analytics and research underlying the portfolio’s asset selection and complex asset-liability management strategies. After leaving Fannie in 2005, he was a Principal at Unison Investment Management managing two funds: a real estate equity fund and a interest rate derivatives fund. Len was SVP in Wells Fargo’s Corporate Risk group during 2010-15.

Len's most recent fund is an Qualified Opportunity Zone fund. Unlike most Opportunity Zone Funds, the Verte Opportunity Fund is designed to appeal to a broad array of investors including those not interested in using capital gains. The Verte OZ Fund aims to have a social impact, grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and provide attractive returns for our investors. We have made our first two investments fitting this profile. Ultimately, our portfolio will be diverse and comprised of approximately 50 small companies nationwide, of which will cover a wide range of maturities and expected exits.

Jackie Kerby Moore, Past President, AURP; Executive Director, Sandia Science & Technology Park

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

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

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

Ed Morrison, JD, MBA, Director, Purdue Agile Strategy Lab, Purdue University

At the Purdue Agile Strategy Lab, Ed Morrison has been developing a new approach to developing strategies for complex collaboration in open, loosely connected networks. Called “Strategic Doing”, this methodology emphasizes the strategic value of collaboration in today's global economy. For over twenty-five years, he conducted strategy projects throughout the U.S. His work won the first Arthur D. Little Award for excellence in economic development presented by the American Economic Development Council.

Prior to starting his economic development work, Ed worked for Telesis, a corporate strategy consulting firm. In this position, he served on consulting teams for clients such as Ford Motor Company, Volvo, and General Electric. He conducted manufacturing cost studies in the U.S., Japan, Mexico, Canada, Italy, Sweden, and France.

Ed started his professional career in Washington, D.C., where he has served as a legislative assistant to an Ohio Congressman, staff attorney in the Federal Trade Commission, and staff counsel in the US Senate. He holds a bachelor of arts cum laude with honors from Yale University and master of business administration and juris doctorate from the University of Virginia.

Jeremy Munn, Program Director - Facilities Division, Northeastern University

Jeremy Munn is a Program Director for Facilities, Design and Construction at Northeastern University. He spends his time helping University leadership make complex decisions on how to plan, design, build or renovate space across the Boston Campus. A strategic management professional with nearly 20 years of experience in both the design industry and higher education, Jeremy is involved in a number of complex projects for the University including multiple historic restorations to the Huntington Avenue YMCA and laboratory planning and fit outs in the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex/ISEC.

David Neuman, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C, Strategic Campus Planner, Neu Campus Planning

David Neuman is the Founding Principal of Neu Campus Planning, a planning and programming consultancy, which utilizes a unique ‘360 degree’ approach developed after 40 years of experience in higher education/campus planning and as both an internal administrator and an external consultant. His current clients range from prominent research universities to major corporations to leading preparatory schools to significant non-governmental organizations. In addition, the firm has a strategic alliance with the Architectural Resources Group (ARG), with offices in San Francisco, Pasadena, and Portland, which specializes in historic preservation and hospitality.

Vic Nole, Director, Life Science Incubator, Mayo Clinic, Florida

Thomas G. Osha, Board Chair, Global Institute on Innovation Districts; Senior Vice President, Innovation & Economic Development, Wexford Science & Technology 

 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.

Tzvetya Panayotova, LEED AP, Principal, Senior Laboratory Planner, HOK

Tzveta is a Principal in HOK’s Science + Technology group specializing in conceptualizing and designing laboratory space for a wide variety of clients. Her experience includes, biosciences and biomedical research labs, core and engineering labs, small animal research vivarium facilities, pharmaceutical and BSL-3 facilities. She is involved in all project phases from programming, lab planning, and design, to spec writing, cost estimating, shop drawing review, and construction site visits. Her thorough understanding of laboratory space needs and planning is an asset to the team and the project.

For the Mt Sinai Artificial Intelligence & Human Health building in New York City, Tzveta planned computational and incubator labs in an existing building with challenging conditions.  

Dr. Sethuraman "Panch" Panchanathan, PhD, Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer, Arizona State University

Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan leads the Knowledge Enterprise at Arizona State University, which advances research, innovation, strategic partnerships, entrepreneurship and international development at ASU. Under his leadership, ASU has quintupled research performance over the last decade — growing to over $600 million in 2018 — positioning it as one of the fastest-growing research universities in the United States. ASU has also been ranked as the most innovative university in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for the last four years, ahead of Stanford and MIT.

In 2014, Panchanathan was appointed by President Barack Obama to the US National Science Board (NSB) for a six-year term. He is the first American of Indian origin to be appointed to the NSB. He served as Chair of the Committee on Strategy and currently serves on the External Engagement and National S&E Policy committees of NSB. Additionally, he was appointed by former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker to the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE).

Panchanathan’s research interests are in the areas of human-centered multimedia computing, haptic user interfaces, person-centered tools and ubiquitous computing technologies for enhancing the quality of life for individuals with disabilities, machine learning for multimedia applications, medical image processing, and media processor designs.

Panchanathan holds a PhD in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Ottawa in Canada; an MTech in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras; a BE in electronics and communication engineering from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; and a BSc in physics from the University of Madras in India.

Betsy Plattenburg, Executive Director, Curiosity Lab

Betsy Plattenburg is the Executive Director of Curiosity Lab, a publicly funded 5G enabled autonomous vehicle track and smart city living lab. Curiosity Lab is located within a 500 acre technology park and one of the only facilities of its kind in the world. Prior to running Curiosity Lab Betsy was an innovation consultant working with incubators and Fortune 500 innovation centers and spent more than a decade in leadership positions at Georgia Tech at both the research institute and technology incubator.

John Reim, Managing Director, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management

John Reim is a Managing Director of Morgan Stanley’s Private Wealth Management division in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley in 1986, John earned his CPA designation working for Price Waterhouse as a senior staff accountant in Philadelphia, and earned an MBA in Finance from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in 1984. John graduated from Penn State with a bachelor of science and the Honors Program in Accounting.

John manages more than $900 million of client assets, providing discretionary separate account management services for families and trusts. John has been regularly listed among top financial advisors in the United States based upon annual rankings published by Barron’s. 

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

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.

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. 

Daniel Sineway, Partner, Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP

IP practice leader Daniel E. Sineway is a registered patent attorney who takes a strategic, business-focused approach to helping protect the IP rights of his clients. Daniel and his team work with companies of all sizes to craft and develop innovative IP strategies in ways tailored to best fit each client’s needs.

Daniel’s team provides significant value in helping not only startups and early-stage entrepreneurial companies but also mid-market and large companies navigate difficult IP issues with respect to “high tech” areas. He is adept at managing and shepherding patent and trademark portfolios of all sizes, preparing and filing patent and trademark applications, drafting license agreements, and otherwise guiding his clients through difficult IP issues. He takes a pragmatic approach and focuses on helping his clients connect technical details and legal requirements to business goals and needs.

Daniel’s work often takes him to the cutting-edge of technology, including computer software and computer-implemented technologies, electronic commerce and payment systems, Internet-of-Things (IoT), social media technologies, electronic medical records and healthcare systems, medical devices, electromagnetic technologies, network security, nanotechnology, “green” technologies and power management systems.

Daniel also represents research organizations, universities, and institutions of higher education, particularly with respect to helping those institutions protect and commercialize technologies.

Carol Stewart, Associate Vice President, Tech Parks Arizona, University of Arizona; President, Campus Research Corporation 

Heather Turney-Navaei, Team Leader for the Transformational Innovation Group, Nationwide

Leveraging her energetic, collaborative and inspirational demeanor, Heather Turney-Navaei has spent her career building human-centered communities and teams that empower curious people to solve problems through meaningful products, services and experiences.

Currently Heather works as a Team Leader within Nationwide’s Transformational Innovation group having joined Nationwide in August of 2018 as the first Nationwide associate on the ground in Atlanta.

Before joining Nationwide, Heather led the innovation effort at Porsche North America, focused on both delivering innovative value to the company and to consumers while embedding design thinking into the organization’s DNA. By bridging future thinking and design thinking, she’s been a key partner to world-class brands like Porsche Cars North America, Havas Sports and Entertainment (consulting clients - The Coca-Cola Company, The Disney Company, Yahoo!, NBCUniversal, Compassion International) and the U.S. Soccer Foundation.

Outside of the office, Heather services as the Junior League of Atlanta’s Women’s Leadership Forum Chair and as Board Secretary at The LIFE School of Atlanta.

David Tyndall, Principal, Gateway Development Services

David Tyndall is co-founder of Gateway Development, the original developer and current majority, for-profit owner of the initial phases of Tech Square. He is also lead principal in the Gateway management division involved in everything from marketing to maintenance at Tech Square and co-founded the company that provides community activation and maintains the virtual Tech Square community organization.

Graduating from Georgia Tech in 1983 with a BS in Building Construction, David worked in construction project management before attending Emory Law School. A 1988 honor graduate and law review managing editor, he was recognized as Emory’s most outstanding real estate law graduate and practiced both construction and real estate law before founding Gateway in 1998.

Alone and in partnerships with others, David has developed, managed and consulted on research and innovation districts with multiple universities. He is also personally involved with several start-up companies, is a sponsor of university research and is an active venture investor.

Julie Wagner, President, Global Institute on Innovation Districts; President, Urban Insight

Julie is president of The Global Institute on Innovation Districts, where she leads The Global Institute in conducting research to better understand the development, characteristics, and economic and social strengths of the more than one hundred innovation districts emerging around the globe. She also serves as president of Urban Insight, a boutique consulting practice dedicated to the support and advancement of innovation districts. She is a prolific urban researcher and is co-author of the papers “The rise of innovation districts: A new geography of innovation in America,” and “The evolution of innovation districts: The new geography of global innovation.”

Julie has over 25 years of work experience advancing cities and urban areas. She is a nonresident senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, an independent think tank based in Washington, D.C., where she designed and led numerous global research initiatives, including the Bass Initiative for Innovation and Placemaking. She is also a visiting scholar for the Esade Business School’s Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics. Julie has co-authored several papers on the changing role of innovation and place, including “Innovation spaces: The new design of work” and “Advancing a new wave of economic competitiveness: The role of mayors in the rise of innovation districts.”

Living in Europe, she continues to help advance the competitiveness of cities and regions globally, including Amsterdam, Copenhagen, London, Milan, Silicon Valley, Sheffield, Sydney, and Turin. She is also supporting an innovation district process in Israel (Strategic Advisor to Israel's National Economic Council).

A trained city planner, Julie served as a deputy planning director for the District of Columbia, where she developed the city’s long-range plan. She earned a master’s degree in city planning from MIT and holds a bachelor’s degree in organizational communication from Northeastern University. Julie has received several planning awards from MIT and the American Planning Association for her work.

Stan Wall, P.E., Partner, HR&A Advisors

Stan Wall joined HR&A as a Partner in our Washington D.C. office in August 2015 after holding several senior positions in the mid-Atlantic region. In his previous posts, Stan worked across the entire real estate project lifecycle including strategy, planning, finance, development, and construction.

Prior to joining HR&A, Stan was the Director of Real Estate and Station Planning at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), the second busiest transit system in the United States. In this role, he reinvigorated the agency’s transit oriented development (TOD) program by helping them leverage their transit infrastructure to support housing and economic development. In the past three years, Stan helped to secure Board approval to pursue 16 new TOD projects. Eight of the 16 approved locations are now in the negotiation and/or solicitation stages; four more are in the final stages of pre-solicitation planning; and the remaining four are in the early planning stages. As these projects are implemented in the next 3-4 years, they will begin to yield significant financial and ridership benefits for the agency.

Stan received a Master of Business Administration in Finance and Real Estate from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Engineering from Pennsylvania State University. In 2013, the Washington Business Journal recognized Stan as one of the region’s Minority Business Leader Award winners.

Commissioner Pat Wilson, Commissioner of Georgia Department of Economic Development

Pat Wilson was appointed Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) by former Georgia Governor Nathan Deal in 2016. As Commissioner, he leads the state agency responsible for creating jobs and investment opportunities in Georgia through business recruitment and expansion, workforce and development, international trade and tourism, as well as the arts, film and music industries. Pat is responsible for leading the GDEcD team in planning and mobilizing state resources for economic development. Under former Governor Deal and Commissioner Wilson’s leadership, Georgia was named the No. 1 state in the nation in which to do business for the sixth consecutive year in a row by Site Selection and fifth year in a row by Area Development. GDEcD was also rated as the nation’s best state-level economic development organization by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) in 2017.

He an undergraduate degree in political science with a focus on international relations from the University of Georgia.

Tiffany Wilson, Chief Executive Officer, Global Center for Medical Innovation

Tiffany Wilson has spent more than 15 years bringing innovative medical technology from benchtop to bedside. She joined Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI) in 2011 to lead its startup phase, establishing overall strategic vision, building strategic relationships and bringing together key stakeholders of the medical device ecosystem. Her strong background in medical devices, commitment to fostering innovation and understanding of business strategies have propelled her into a leadership role in the Southeast and brought her into the national spotlight.

She joined GCMI from Scientific Intake, where she served as the Vice President of Business Development and Strategy, evaluating marketing and distribution opportunities and driving product development projects for the global obesity market. Prior to Scientific Intake, she was Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Finance at ACell, Inc., a regenerative medicine and tissue engineering company based in Columbia, Maryland.

Tiffany earned a BBA in international business from Loyola University and an MBA from Georgetown University McDonough School of Business.