Speakers & Bios

joseph-aounJoseph E. Aoun

Monday Lunch Keynote Address
President, Northeastern University

Joseph E. Aoun, a leader in higher education policy and renowned scholar in linguistics, is the seventh President of Northeastern University.

An internationally respected voice on the value of global and experiential education, President Aoun has enhanced Northeastern’s signature co-op program with opportunities around the world. During his tenure, the University has realized a 189 percent growth in external research funding, established a network of campuses with five locations in the U.S. and Canada, amassed one of the largest libraries of online and hybrid professional masters programs of any university in the U.S., and hired 60 percent of its tenured and tenure-track faculty.

President Aoun came to Northeastern from the University of Southern California’s College of Letters, Arts & Sciences where he was the inaugural holder of the Anna H. Bing Dean’s Chair. He received his Ph.D. in linguistics and philosophy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and advanced degrees from the University of Paris (France) VIII and Saint Joseph University (Beirut, Lebanon). He was named a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Academiques (Knight of the Order of the Academic Palms) by the French government and is a recipient of the Carnegie Corporation of New York’s Academic Leadership Award. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and a past Chair of the American Council on Education (ACE).

maggie-brickermanMaggie Brickerman

Managing Director, gBETA at gener8tor

Maggie Brickerman is the Managing Director of gBETA at gener8tor, a nationally-ranked startup accelerator headquartered in Wisconsin. Maggie co-manages gener8tor’s free programs for entrepreneurs, artists and musicians which operate in eight cities across five states. Maggie came to gener8tor after ten years of working for Wisconsin political organizations and campaigns, where she gained extensive experience starting things from scratch, building high-functioning teams and managing big budgets.

charles-buckDr. Charles Buck

Associate Vice President, Center Executive Officer, University of Idaho, Coeur d’Alene

Dr. Buck serves as the chief administrator for the University of Idaho in Coeur d’Alene. His efforts for the University focus on community and economic development. UICDA has played a central role in regional economic transformation by engaging innovators and bringing resources from the University to the community.
Dr. Buck graduated from the College of Idaho before receiving his PhD in molecular neurobiology from the Cornell University Graduate School of Medical Sciences in New York City. In addition to higher education administration, his experience includes technology development and startups, molecular biology and genetics, proteomics, biofuels, and precision medicine.

adam-glaserAdam Glaser, AIA LEED AP

Director, Planning + Strategies, Perkins+Will

Adam leads design and strategies for innovators, entrepreneurs and university-corporate partnerships, with a focus on how higher education, workplace design and city-building are converging. He has led key projects for institutions including UC Berkeley, LBNL, Penn State, Wake Forest, UCity Science Center (Penn and Drexel) and a new anchor community in Chula Vista, CA. Founding co-chair of the ULI University Development and Innovation Council (UDIC), Adam was also a founding member of Urban Innovation Network, a London-based group advancing university-corporate development models. Adam’s passion is exploring how emerging trends in education and work will reshape our communities and local economies.

mitch-hammMitch Hamm

Director, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, University of North Alabama

Mitch Hamm serves as the Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of North Alabama. Hamm established the Generator, a student incubator – as well as Smart Start Weekend, a business startup challenge. Hamm served as a consultant to business and industry firms on entrepreneurial-focused endeavors regarding innovative approaches to solve business issues. He has training from Eureka Ranch, Innovation Engineering Black Belt Certification, and is a graduate of the “Emerging Leaders Program” with the National Institute of Standards and Technology. He has degrees in Computer and Environmental Sciences, and an Executive MBA from the University of Alabama.

harrisonDr. Dianne F. Harrison

President, California State University, Northridge

Dr. Dianne F. Harrison began her appointment as president of California State University, Northridge in June 2012. Prior to her appointment, she served as president of California State University, Monterey Bay since 2006 and for nearly 30 years worked at Florida State University, where she began as a faculty member and served in various administrative leadership roles, including vice president for academic quality and external programs. President Harrison is known for her commitment to students, academic excellence, strategic leadership, and for building strong partnerships with public and private organizations. She holds a Ph.D. in social work from Washington University in St. Louis and a master’s of social work and a bachelor’s in American Studies, both from the University of Alabama. Her academic and research areas of expertise include HIV prevention among women and minority populations and higher education issues related to university leadership.

elizabeth-hartmanElizabeth Hartman

Executive Director, Office of Economic Development & Community Relations, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

Elizabeth Hartman is the Executive Director of the Office of Economic Development & Community Relations at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh where she oversees several economic development activities including AeroInnovate and the partnership with gener8tor on the gBETA accelerator program. She also helped found and serves as the Fund Administrator for Angels on the Water, an angel fund focused on investing in Northeast Wisconsin. She previously served as CEO of Chamco, a local economic development organization. She has also been a practicing attorney for 17 years representing small to mid-sized businesses. Her passion is strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Northeast Wisconsin.

huangLee Huang, MPA

Senior Vice President and Principal, Econsult Solutions, Inc.

Lee Huang brings over 20 years of experience in economic development experience to his public, private, institutional, and not-for-profit clients. He has led consulting engagements in a wide range of fields, including higher education, economic inclusion, environmental sustainability, historic preservation, real estate, neighborhood economic development, non-profits, retail, state and local government, strategic planning, tax policy, and tourism/hospitality, and is a sought-after speaker on these and other topics. His higher education clients have included Carnegie Mellon University, Emory University, University of Chicago, University of Notre Dame, University of Pennsylvania, and the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities. His economic inclusion work has included analyses of the utilization of minority- and women-owned businesses in municipal contracts in Philadelphia, as well as examinations of home lending, business lending, and branch location patterns in Philadelphia Washington, DC, and New York City.

scott-hutchesonScott Hutcheson

Associate Director, Purdue Agile Strategy Lab

Scott Hutcheson is the Associate Director of the Purdue Agile Strategy Lab and a professor of Collaborative Leadership and Agile Strategy at Purdue University. With Purdue since 1998, Scott has held leadership positions in Extension and at the Purdue Center for Regional Development. Prior to his academic career he worked for American Airlines and United Way. He has partnered with dozens of universities in the US and internationally to help them design and guide their engagement and economic development strategies. He holds an undergraduate degree in theatre, a masters of public administration, and a PhD in public policy.

lisa-johnsonLisa Johnson

CEO, BioForward Wisconsin

Lisa Johnson is CEO of BioForward Wisconsin and admits that managing a nonprofit has an entire new set of challenges vs. private industry. A finance major out of UW-Madison who was fortunate to work with brilliant scientists in starting the life science reagents company Novagen back in 1989 and travel the world working for Merck KGaA/EMD. She has a passion for building Wisconsin’s biohealth ecosystem and will support those that are action-oriented, and exhibit positive energy in driving our state’s economy. Her expertise lies in general management, operations, business development and leading results-oriented teams.

faith-knutsenFaith Knutsen

Director, Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship,
Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, Ohio University

Faith Knutsen is Director of Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. Ms. Knutsen’s team brings venture development services to social enterprises in rural SE Ohio and contiguous states. She lectures in entrepreneurial ecosystem development, venture development toolkits, and grantwriting. Ms. Knutsen started her career with the Peace Corps in Central Africa and segued to consulting before her 12-year executive administration role at engineering startup Sunpower, Inc. She joined Ohio University in 2008. Ms. Knutsen has an Oberlin College BA, an Ohio University MA, and is a member of three social enterprise Boards.

crystal-leachCrystal S. Leach, PhD, FAIMBE

Director, Industry Collaborations, Office of Research,
University of Georgia

Crystal Leach is Director of Industry Collaborations at the University of Georgia where she builds industry partnerships that align with UGA’s research capabilities. Crystal is actively engaged in UGA’s innovation ecosystem, including serving as a business mentor for their NSF I-Corps program. Crystal earned her BS in chemical engineering and MS in biomedical engineering from The University of Akron, followed by her doctorate in polymer science from Clemson University. Crystal spent 18 years in R&D leadership at Kimberly-Clark, a Fortune 500 company.
Crystal holds four U.S. patents and is a fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering.

bill-michaleryaWilliam Michalerya, MEng, MBA, PE

Director of Federal Research Engagement,
P.C.Rossin College of Engineering & Applied Sciences,
Lehigh University

William Michalerya has primary responsibility for developing Federal, State and regional programs in research and economic development. Prior to the current post, Mr. Michalerya served as Associate Vice President for Government Relations & Economic Development at Lehigh. He served in multiple leadership positions in Regional, State and National initiatives in Economic Development. This includes the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation, the Southside Bethlehem Keystone Innovation Zone, Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance, and statewide Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority. He is Past President of the University Economic Development Association, and active in the International Economic Development Council. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and Master of Engineering degree from Cornell University, as well as a Master of Business Administration from Lehigh University. He is a licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.) in Pennsylvania.

ed-morrisonEd Morrison

Director, Purdue Agile Strategy Lab

Ed Morrison directs the Agile Strategy Lab at Purdue University, where he has been developing a new approach to strategy and complex collaboration in open, loosely connected networks. Prior to joining Purdue, he conducted strategy projects throughout the U.S. and China. He started his professional career in Washington, D.C., where he has served as a legislative assistant on Capitol Hill, staff attorney in the Federal Trade Commission, and staff counsel in the US Senate. He holds a BA degree cum laude with honors from Yale University and MBA and JD degrees from the University of Virginia.

bill-murphyBill Murphy, PhD

Harvey D. Spangler Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Professor of Orthopedics & Rehabilitation, and Director of the Forward BIO Institute at the University ofWisconsin-Madison

Bill Murphy is the Harvey D. Spangler Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Professor of Orthopedics & Rehabilitation, and Director of the Forward BIO Institute at the University of Wisconsin. His research interests focus on creating new biomaterials inspired by the materials found in nature. Murphy’s research group is using new biomaterials to understand stem cell behavior and to induce tissue regeneration. He has published more than 170 scientific manuscripts, filed 47 patents, co-founded multiple start-up companies, and received awards that include the National Science Foundation Career Award, the Wisconsin Vilas Associate Award, the H.I. Romnes Faculty Fellowship, and induction as a Fellow in the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

zach-niederZach Nieder

Manager of Strategic Initiatives, ICIC

Zach is a skilled researcher, with broad, practical experience in advancing place-based economic development policy and planning. As the Manager of Strategic Initiatives at ICIC, he directs and manages a number of projects focused on catalyzing inner city economic growth, developing innovative anchor engagement strategies, and growing urban small businesses. He works closely with senior leadership to strategically expand ICIC’s research and advisory portfolio and to spearhead dissemination strategies to expand the impact of the organization’s research by connecting it to a broader stakeholder audience.

Prior to joining ICIC, Zach was Senior Associate at The American City Coalition, a place-based nonprofit in Roxbury, MA. He previously held several professional roles at the intersection of economic development, public health, and urban planning. Zach has led the creation of a number of urban planning studies and economic development resources, including authoring a business and job attraction and retention strategy for Boston’s Fairmount Indigo Corridor. Zach holds a MA from the University of St. Andrews and a MPH from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Zach sits on the board of Artmorpheus, a Boston-based nonprofit that runs a creative economy business accelerator.

palmAdrienne Palm

Director, gBETA Northeast Wisconsin

Adrienne Palm is the Director of gener8tor’s gBETA Northeast Wisconsin program where she mentors startups pursuing a venture-backed path. Prior to joining the gBETA team, Adrienne was Director of Pulse Young Professionals Network at the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce and Fox Cities Regional Partnership. Adrienne created and curated fresh community initiatives such as The Artery (tri-annual urban arts market), YP Week Fox Cities, Fox Cities SOUP and Bazaar After Dark (Fox Cities ‘first night market). These non-traditional programs continue to support entrepreneurship, inspire education, foster business development, support philanthropic endeavors and creative place-making in the Fox Cities region.

jennifer-simonJennifer Simon

Executive Director, Ohio University Regional Innovation

Jennifer Simon became the Executive Director of Regional Innovation at Ohio University (OHIO) in 2016 to build the LIGHTS Regional Innovation Network. Ms. Simon manages a network of twelve place-based makerspaces and incubators in a three state region. Previously, she directed OHIO’s Innovation Center (IC) providing a supportive environment where entrepreneurs flourish. Successful companies graduated and created jobs in the community. Simon raised more than $3 million in grants. Before coming to Ohio University, Simon served as President Athens County Economic Development and Athens Chamber of Commerce, and as Assistant Director of the Governor’s Office of Appalachia.

michelle-somes-booherMichelle Somes-Booher, MBA

Director, Wisconsin SBDC at the UW-Madison Wisconsin School of Business

Michelle Somes-Booher is the Director of the Wisconsin SBDC at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She consults primarily with established businesses. Michelle’s clients have been finalists in the WI Governor’s Business Plan Competition, participants in The White House Demo Days and featured on NPR, in Forbes and on ABC’s Shark Tank. Michelle has over ten years of sales experience and has been a small business owner herself. In addition, she has significant experience in teaching entrepreneurship and management in higher education. Michelle holds a MBA, as well as a BSBA in Management and Interpersonal and Public Communication from Central Michigan University.

samantha-steidleSamantha Steidle

Innovation Agent, Innovation Agency, LLC

Samantha served as Innovation Officer and Entrepreneurship Professor with Virginia Western Community College since 2012. Through these roles, she’s contributed to the launch of three coworking spaces, an incubator, an accelerator, a FabLab and an innovation corridor. She holds a Bachelor in Accounting, a Masters in Business Administration, and is working toward a PhD in Community College Leadership. She regularly hosts workshops and consults on the topics of entrepreneurial leadership, revenue innovation, new business models, entrepreneurial philanthropy, design thinking, and the gig-economy. She is also a certified Icehouse facilitator for the entrepreneurial mindset workforce and academic program.

elizabeth-thelenElizabeth Thelen, M.S.

Vice President of Innovation & Tech Transfer,
Midwest Innovation Exchange with OAI and NASA

Leader, network builder, coach, facilitator or whatever title you give Elizabeth, she brings energy, influence and results to all her projects. Elizabeth began her career as an intern at Human Resources Development Center, a Wilson Learning Agency, and left the agency as President. Displaying her entrepreneurial spirit, she founded her own consulting business called Be!. Before joining Milwaukee 7, Elizabeth was a founding team member of The Water Council. Frequently referred to as the “BREW Master, Director of the BREW water technology accelerator. Currently she is Vice President of Innovation at Milwaukee 7 working on a new opportunity to create a Midwest Innovation Exchange (MIE). The MIE is in partnership with Ohio Aerospace Institute, the EDA and the NASA Regional Economic Development program. Oconomowoc, Wisconsin is home with her husband, two teenage boys and a yellow lab. Her husband is a partner at Slinger Super Speedway. You can find her on Summer Sunday nights in the race track tower as the DJ, aka “Mix Master DJ E.”

elli-travisElli Travis

Economic Development Specialist, Virginia Tech

Elli Travis is an Economic Development Specialist who works to connect communities across Virginia to resources within the university through applied research programs and introductions of businesses and community members to faculty. She is passionate about working with organizations to plan and evaluate their work in a way that is consistent with their mission and goals, especially in the areas of agricultural and community development. Her recent evaluation work includes the EDA i6 Innovation Challenge Grant “CatalyzeVT” that connects VT faculty and students with regional business owners around technology commercialization and proof of concept services; designing and implementing an evaluation for GO Virginia which promotes regional collaboration through multi-jurisdictional grants with a focus on new partnerships; and an evaluation capacity building project for the local Workforce Investment Board where she works collaboratively with staff to think evaluatively and continually assess their outcomes and impact. Elli has facilitated evaluation workshops and presented on economic impact and evaluation topics at conferences throughout the United States.

A native of Washington, DC, Elli received a Master’s degree from Virginia Tech in Agricultural and Applied Economics in 2015. She received a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Russian from Indiana University, Bloomington. She is currently pursuing a PhD at Virginia Tech in Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education with a focus on impact evaluation.

tom-tubonThomas C. Tubon, Ph.D.

Faculty, Madison Area Technical College and Principal Investigator: Stem Cell Education Initiative / Network Lead: Adv Manufacturing – Cell & Tissue-based Products

Dr. Thomas Tubon currently serves as the Executive Director for the National Science Foundation Advanced Technology Education Coordination Network for Advanced Manufacturing of Cell and Tissue-based Products. In addition, he oversees workforce education in Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine at Madison Area Technical College in the Biotechnology program. His work has led to the acquisition of over $2M in federal funding to support workforce readiness in developing areas such tissue biofabrication. Dr. Tubon also serves on the National Leadership committees for the NSF Bio-Link National Center for Biotechnology and the STEM Higher Education Council for Career Technical Education.

sheri-winesettSheri Winesett

Executive Director – Botetourt Chamber of Commerce

For more than 20 years, Sheri has been an advocate for entrepreneurs and executive leaders in businesses large and small through her work as international lobbyist and the CEO of a business growth consulting firm. Sheri is an adjunct faculty member for Virginia Western Community College and taught the first business cohort who participated in the RAMP business accelerator program. She is also a certified IceHouse facilitator teaching entrepreneurial mindset. She has served as Vice Chair of Strategic Planning for the Prince William Chamber of Commerce and President of the Haymarket-Gainesville Business Association.

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