UA-27956762-2

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).


bryan-albrechtBryan Albrecht

President and Chief Executive, Gateway Technical College

Dr. Albrecht serves as president and chief executive for Gateway Technical College. Under President Albrecht Gateway has established a national leadership position in the development of innovative learning strategies, model business and industry partnerships.

Bryan takes pride in giving back to his community serving on several local, state and national boards, including the American Association of Community Colleges, American Technical Education Association, National Manufacturing Institute Board, National Center for Occupational Research and Development, the United Way of Racine County and the American Heart Association.

Bryan holds Bachelors, Masters and Education Specialist degrees from the University of Wisconsin – Stout and a doctorate degree from the University of Minnesota.


matt-bilskyMatt Bilsky

Post-Doc, Adjunct Professor, Innovator, and Entrepreneur,
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Lehigh University,
Founder, Impossible Incorporated LLC

Matt has a Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. from Lehigh University focused on smart product development, technical entrepreneurship, mechatronics, and engineering education. He is also a licensed Professional Engineer in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Matt founded the company Impossible Incorporated LLC to commercialize his passion and experience in Engineering Design and Development. Their first product, also Matt’s dissertation work, is a novel snake-like robot that can drive, drill, and see inside walls to run wires without the mess. It won second place in the 2016 Lemelson/MIT consumer product invention competition in addition to receiving numerous other grants and awards.


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.


maggie-brickermanBuckley Brinkman

Executive Director & CEO, Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing and Productivity

Leading the organization since June 2011, Brinkman brought more than 25 years of transformational manufacturing leadership to WCMP, with a breadth of experience in helping companies drive growth, world-class competitiveness and performance excellence. Experienced in Lean, Six Sigma, supply chain management and turnaround planning, he led efforts to save dozens of operations in the U.S. by finding new ways for them to compete.

Throughout his career, Brinkman provided executive leadership to companies ranging from $5 million to more than $4 billion in sales. He revived the North American operations of the world’s largest playing card company, led the turnaround of a prominent trade bindery, and catalyzed the profitable turnaround of a recycled paperboard mill. Brinkman is an industry thought leader who has authored several white papers on innovation, corporate culture, business strategy and other topics.

Brinkman served as president and chief operating officer of U.S. Music Corp., an Illinois-based musical instrument manufacturer; as chief operating officer of Minneapolis-based Manchester Companies, where he received the Turnaround of the Year award for his work with a medical device manufacturer; and as president of Vallon, LLC, a Minneapolis-based interim executive placement firm. Most recently, he served as executive director and CEO of the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP).

A Wisconsin native, Brinkman holds a Business degree from the University of Wisconsin and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.


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.


charles-buckJosé A. Colucci Ríos

NIST MEP Southeast Regional Manager

José A. Colucci Ríos is the NIST MEP Southeast Regional Manager that includes nine states along the east coast and the Gulf of Mexico from North Carolina to Louisiana, inland Tennessee and Puerto Rico. Previously, he was a professor and held several administrative positions at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez campus such as Department Director, Associate R&D Dean and R&D Center Director. The latter includes supervising the university campus IP program and giving presentations on the motivations to get a patent. In addition, he worked for Union Carbide for eight years from Research Engineer to Market Manager in the Polymers, Specialty Chemicals and Solvents & Coatings divisions. He was also a Patent Examiner for 3.5 years in the Fuel Cells and Battery art unit.


rob-ducoffeRob Ducoffe

Provost and Vice Chancellor, University of Wisconsin-Parkside

Rob Ducoffe has been serving as the provost & vice chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside since April of 2016. Previously, he was the dean and professor of marketing in the Judd Leighton School of Business and Economics at Indiana University South Bend. Under Dr. Ducoffe’s leadership the Leighton School reached historic enrollment highs, was ranked eight consecutive years as a “best business school” by The Princeton Review, and 15th in the Midwest and 68th in the nation by BloombergBusinessweek.

Rob won the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1995. His research has appeared in a wide range of publications and he was ranked 12th in research productivity in specialized advertising journals in the 1989-96 period.

His spouse, Dr. Sandy Ducoffe, is an adjunct marketing professor and Sandy and Rob have five children.


eli-flournoyEli Flournoy

Co-Founder, Sugarbush Valley Impact Investments

Mr. Flournoy co-founded Sugarbush Valley Impact Investments – A Social Impact Development Company, and has joined the board of an Ohio-based renewable energy finance technology company, New Resource Solutions. Eli practices sustainable forestry with family timber and agriculture businesses in Texas and Ohio. For more than a decade Eli has served as a director of the Sugar Bush Foundation, a supporting organization to the Ohio University Foundation. The Sugar Bush Foundation works with Ohio University and local communities to improve the quality of life in Appalachian Ohio by encouraging civic engagement and by fostering sustainable environmental and socioeconomic development, funding jointly-designed projects in the areas of zero waste, environmental protection and restoration, and sustainable development. Eli also serves on Corporate Advisory Boards for Ohio University’s Department of Management in the College of Business and Social Media Analytics Research Team Lab in the Scripps College of Communications, as well as for Lutheran Services of Georgia’s refugee resettlement program. Eli has an MBA from Ohio University and BA in Political Science, Spanish and African Studies from Indiana University. He is a regular lecturer and symposium speaker on servant leadership, impact investing, media management and journalism ethics.


debbie-fordDebbie Ford

Chancellor, University of Wisconsin-Parkside

Dr. Deborah Ford has served as the sixth chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside since 2009, leading the campus with the development of strategic integrated planning. Dr. Ford serves on the Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin Board of Directors and is actively involved with the Kenosha Area Business Alliance (KABA), Racine County Economic Development Corporation (RCEDC), Racine Area Manufacturers and Commerce (RAMAC), the Kenosha Area Chamber of Commerce, and Milwaukee 7. Dr. Ford holds a B.S. from the University of Louisville, a Master of Education from Indiana University, and a Doctor of Education from the University of Louisville.


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.


john-glazerJohn Glazer

TechGROWTH Director, Ohio University

As TechGROWTH Director since 2008, Mr. Glazer oversaw the Ohio Third Frontier program at Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affiars, and serves on the Boards of several portfolio companies and in executive roles in multiple nonprofits, social enterprises, and community development organizations. He is also Technical Director in the Social Enterprise Ecosystem project at the Voinovich School and an adjunct instructor at the School’s Leadership Academy as well as the College of Business. Mr. Glazer began his career as an academician, segued to the private sector, and was the long-standing CEO of a national franchising company. Mr. Glazer has consulted both domestically and internationally on entrepreneurial support ecosystems, impact investing, and venture development practices for underserved areas. Mr. Glazer holds an MA and ABD Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.


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.


renee-herzingRenée Herzing

President, Herzing University System

Renee Herzing has served as President/CEO of Herzing University since 2009. She has led the growth of the University’s graduate and healthcare programs as well as the expansion of its online offerings. Herzing University has been ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a “Best Online Bachelor’s” program for the past 6 years. Ms. Herzing is currently on the Board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, is a member of the Greater Milwaukee Committee (GMC) and serves on the steering committee of its Higher Education Regional Alliance (HERA).

Ms. Herzing has worked in education throughout her career, including in instruction and education administration in Europe, and has served in various roles at the University prior to becoming its President. Outside of work she enjoys travel, music and spending time with her family.


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.


ken-iwamaKen Iwama

Vice President, Economic Development, Continuing Studies, and Government Relations, College of Staten Island, The City University of New York

Ken Iwama, JD, was appointed Vice President for Economic Development, Continuing Studies, and Government Relations in 2016. Prior to his appointment, Ken served as Chief of Staff and Deputy to the President from 2010 through 2016, and from 2009 through 2010 he served as the Director of the College’s Office of Diversity and Compliance. Before coming to the College of Staten Island, Ken held a number of senior executive positions with the State-Operated School District of Jersey City, the second largest school district in New Jersey, including General Counsel and Chief Labor Counsel. In these various leadership capacities, he was one of the architects of the Board’s educational policies and procedures in all areas of program and instruction, personnel, fiscal management, operations and management, and governance. Prior to serving in senior administrative positions for educational institutions, Ken practiced law in the State of New Jersey concentrating in education law, labor and employment law, and served in judicial clerkships with the State of New Jersey Office of Administrative Law and the New Jersey Superior Court. Ken has held positions in numerous professional organizations including the Editorial Board of the Journal of College and University Law, National Association of College and University Attorneys; the Editorial Board of the Journal of Economic Development in Higher Education, University Economic Development Association; Committee on Legal Education, National Association of Colleges and University Attorneys; and Chair of the Administrative Law Section, New Jersey State Bar Association; and he is a member of the Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars. Ken has also presented and served as an expert legal speaker at the New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal Education and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and has presented on higher education issues at numerous national conferences. Ken is actively involved in community organizations including serving on the Board of the Staten Island Freshkills Park Alliance of the New York City Park System and is a member of the Staten Island Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD). Ken holds a BA from the University of New Hampshire, an MA from Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations, and a Juris Doctor from Seton Hall Law School.


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.


paul-kinghornPaul Kinghorn

Director, Center for Business Growth and Innovation
University of Northern Iowa

Paul Kinghorn is the Director of the Center for Business Growth and Innovation at the University of Northern Iowa and serves as the UNI Intellectual Property Officer. Through an array of innovative programs, CBGI serves as a valued outreach initiative working to build and support entrepreneurial communities. CBGI staff work to identify the evolving challenges of today’s entrepreneurs and create programs that deliver effective and impactful solutions to meet their needs. Paul has held a number of ownership and key management positions within public and private organizations including a variety of startups and early stage business ventures.


ComingSoonRichard Klavans, PhD

Founder and Chairman, SciTech Strategies

Dick Klavans has published extensively on the art and science of science mapping. He has created these maps of science for research planning in industry (Abbott Labs, Astra Zeneca, DuPont, Glaxo, Kellogg, Kraft, SmithKline Beecham and Unilever), government agencies (DOE, NSF, NIH and IARPA) and over 20 universities. His publications show how one can predict funding patterns at an extremely detailed level (funding predictions for over 90,000 topics) and proposal success (from the perspective of those submitting research grants).


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.


mark-moneMark Mone

Chancellor, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Dr. Mark Mone was appointed Chancellor to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2014. He has put the University on a strategic course for strengthened student success, research, partnerships, entrepreneurship and innovation while managing unprecedented challenges facing higher education, and the consolidation of two regional campuses into branch campuses of UWM.

Dr. Mone has served higher education for more than 30 years as a faculty member, associate dean and senior administrator. He has a B.S. in Management from Central Washington University, a M.B.A. from Idaho State University, and a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Organization Theory from Washington State University.

Chancellor Mone is an avid cyclist, athlete and a gourmet cook. He is married to Dr. Sara Swanson and they have two adult children.


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.


PostupackMary Frances Postupack

Vice President, Economic Development & Entrepreneurship, East Stroudsburg University

Mary Frances Postupack is the Vice President for Economic Development and Entrepreneurship at East Stroudsburg University. Included in the division are the award winning Business Accelerator Program– featuring the J-1 Visa International Innovation Program, the Entrepreneurial Leadership Center, Office of Career and Workforce Development, Conference Services, Schisler Museum and McMunn Planetarium and the ESU Center for Research and Economic Development. Mary Frances has over 20 years of experience in the areas of education, business and economic development. While at ESU, she secured in excess of $7M in federal and state grants to support economic development and entrepreneurial initiatives. She is a past president of the University Economic Development Association, a national organization representing higher education, and private and public economic development stakeholders. She received her undergraduate degree from The Pennsylvania State University, master’s degree from East Stroudsburg University and she completed the Corporate Entrepreneurship Certificate Program at Lehigh University.


kathleen-rinehartKathleen Rinehart

President, Cardinal Stritch University

Kathleen A. Rinehart, J.D., serves as the ninth president of Cardinal Stritch University. Under her leadership, she has engaged the University in activities and initiatives resulting in a momentum that positions the institution to assume a long-term leadership role in higher education throughout the greater Milwaukee community, the state and beyond.

Prior to her arrival at Stritch, Rinehart served as general counsel and secretary of the Corporation for Saint Xavier University in Chicago where she was responsible for overseeing the University’s legal affairs, risk management services and institutional compliance obligations. In addition to her work at Saint Xavier, she has provided legal representation for and/or consultation with numerous colleges and universities in Wisconsin, Illinois and across the country for more than 20 years, working closely with institutional leadership on strategic initiatives, financial health and sustainability, and the professional development of faculty and staff.


tracy-shickelTracy Shickel

Director, Economic Development, University of Delaware

Tracy Shickel is the Director of Economic Development at the University of Delaware (UD). In this newly
established role, Tracy leads campus-wide corporate and government engagement supporting innovation community growth, including the University’s Science Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus. Tracy’s background prior to UD includes extensive strategy development and commercial leadership with chemicals, biologics and advanced materials innovators such as WL Gore, DuPont, FMC and Monsanto. Tracy is a connector, supporter and facilitator of regional economic development and serves on various boards committed to creating vibrant communities including UD Horn Entrepreneurship, the University Science Center Community Engagement and PHLLife Congress. Tracy holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Marketing Management from the University of Delaware.


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.


tasha-werryTasha Werry

Grant Coordinator, Marietta City School District

Dr. Tasha Werry started her professional career as a middle school teacher with Marietta City Schools and taught for 12 years. Moving into a grant coordinator’s position with the district propelled her into supporting the schools with implementation of school reform initiatives. Through this work, she realized a need for deepening the relationship between the community and local businesses and the schools, not just Marietta City Schools, but all of the schools in the county. Building upon collaborative efforts already in existence in the county, Dr. Werry supported the founding of Building Bridges to Careers (BB2C) in 2012 to further connect students, teachers, and parents to business and community adults in order to increase career awareness for students. She went on to complete her Educational Doctorate in 2016, with BB2C as the focus of her research. BB2C has spent that last 6 years developing programs that work to engage all stakeholders and support the mission, and became an official non-profit in 2017. The most recent project is the Epicenter, which is a youth and entrepreneurial development center located in Marietta, Ohio.


sheri-winesettSheri Winesett

Business Innovator & Facilitator for 21st Century Leadership
and The Future of Work

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.


alan-yeungAlan Yeung, Ph.D.

Director, U.S. Strategic Initiatives, Foxconn & President, FEWI Development Corporation

Alan Yeung heads up the Flying Eagle Project in the U.S. on behalf of Foxconn Technology Group. As Director of U.S. Strategic Initiatives, Alan led the team in evaluating options and engaging stakeholders across the U.S., resulting in the announcement of a $10 billion investment in a TFT-LCD fabrication plant in Wisconsin. Prior to Foxconn, Alan was an entrepreneur and an author, after working at Metro Group, Foxconn, Inventec and Raychem Corporation. Alan earned his undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from University of Wisconsin-Madison, his MBA from the University of California at Berkeley, and his PhD from Stanford University.

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