UA-27956762-2

Speakers & Bios


bill-allen-150Bill Allen

Monday Morning Welcome Address
CEO, Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC)

As the Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation and its subsidiary, the World Trade Center Los Angeles, Bill Allen conceived, initiated and supervised the process of developing LA County’s first ever consensus built Strategic Plan for Economic Development by engaging more than 1,000 regional stakeholders from business, labor, government, education and philanthropy to draft the elements of the plan. He is also Co-Chair of the California Stewardship Network, a Vice Chair of the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley and a member of the Board of Directors of the Weingart Foundation, Regional Economic Association Leaders of California Coalition, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy and Jobs, Film L.A., Unite L.A., and Sister Cities of Los Angeles. Additionally, he serves on the LA Advisory Board for BIOCOM and the Advisory Board for the CSUN Center for Southern California Studies.


ComingSoonBonnie Bachman

Professor of Economics and Faculty Fellow for Innovation, Missouri University of Science & Technology

Bonnie is a professor in the Department of Economics at Missouri S&T University. develops new programs in Sustainability, Entrepreneurship and Innovation All programs are designed for multidisciplinary students (social science, science, and engineering). Programs include: Minor in Global Sustainable Economics and Graduate Certificate in Management for Sustainable Business. Currently developing a Professional Masters in Sustainability across six engineering/science departments and a campus wide minor in Applied Innovation. Bonnie has a MS and PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from Rutgers.


deepak-bahl-150Deepak Bahl

Program Director and Co-Principal Investigator, University of Southern California

Deepak Bahl is a Program Director for the USC Center for Economic Development and Adjunct Associate Professor at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. He has more than 18 years of professional consulting experience and has managed federal, state, and local projects in the areas of community and economic development. His work experience includes strategic planning, business development, project management, teaching at USC, and policy research and analysis. He received his Master of Business Administration from the USC Marshall School of Business, Master of Planning from the USC Price School of Public Policy, and Master of Architecture from Clemson University.


jason-ball-150Jason Ball, AICP

President & COO and Director of Capacity Building, Social Impact Philanthropy and Investment

Jason Ball is an integrator. His expertise lies in working with visionaries and people passionate about their cause to develop plans, strategies, and the associated documentation that helps ideas come to life. Jason is an experienced facilitator and consultant, having worked with a wide range of nonprofits, universities, local governments, and state agencies to drive community and economic development projects throughout Michigan for over a decade. Prior to joining SIPI, Jason was the Director of Client Services for an economic development consulting firm in Lansing, Michigan and was a researcher at Michigan State University.


“adrian-banuelos-150" Adrian M. Banuelos

Professor, Automotive Technology, East Los Angeles College

Adrian M. Banuelos currently teaches Automotive Technology at East Los Angeles College where he has served as a Professor from 2000-present and as the Department Chair from 2002 to present. In 2000, Adrian was hired by the LACCD where he took on an underperforming Automobile Technology Program at risk of receiving a program viability report and has since revamped and grown the department to now a successful CTE program that has one of the most students successfully completing CTE program certificates at East Los Angeles College, and prepares students for transfer. The program has also increased student success in passing certification requirements from Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and Snap-on Certification, which are industry driven certifications that give students the competitive edge to enter the Automotive Industry Workforce.


georgette-bhatena-150Georgette Bhathena

Western Region Executive, Global Philanthropy
(CA, AZ, CO, NV, UT, OR, ID, WA)

Georgette Bhathena currently oversees JPMorgan Chase’s global philanthropy activities in the eight-state region of California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Colorado. She has been with the firm since 2010. Prior to joining JPMorgan Chase, Georgette spent nearly 15 years in the financial services industry with a focus on community development issues. Her prior experience includes serving as a Community Relations Officer at a peer financial institution, a Compliance Officer at the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco in their Affordable Housing Program, and a Compliance Examiner at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in the Consumer Compliance and Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) examinations group. Georgette is active serving on various nonprofit boards including Year Up Bay Area and the San Francisco Foundation’s Bay Area Workforce Funding Collaborative. Georgette holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in economics and finance from the University of Washington and earned her Master in Public Policy degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government with a concentration in housing, urban development, and transportation.


matt-bilsky-150Matt Bilsky, Ph. D.

Post Doctoral Research Associate, Innovator and Entrepreneur
Lehigh University

Matt has a Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. from Lehigh University focused on smart product design, technical entrepreneurship, mechatronics, and engineering education in addition to a BS and MEng in Mechanical Engineering also from Lehigh. Matt also owns 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.


“scott-callihan-150" Scott Callahan

Registered Architect, Associate Professor, Architecture & Design, CTE Co-Chair, Los Angeles Harbor College

Scott Callihan is an Associate Professor of Architecture and Design at Los Angeles Harbor College. He teaches a variety of courses including digital technology, design studios, and building technology. Callihan has also served as the Faculty Chair of the CTE Committee at LAHC for the past several years where he coordinates CTE efforts across campus programs.

Callihan’s over twenty years professional architectural experience includes a variety of projects in the US and internationally. He has served as a Senior Design for numerous winning design competitions for mixed-use, residential, commercial, retail, hospitality, and masterplan projects with GDS Architects, Inc. His work has been featured in multiple publications, articles, and exhibitions in Asia, Europe, and the United States.


carlos-cardillo-150Carlos Cardillo, PhD

Director of the Nevada Center for Applied Research, University of Nevada, Reno

Carlos Cardillo serves as the director for the University of Nevada, Reno’s Nevada Center for Applied Research. A professional with a history of directing teams, he served as research director in startup companies in Reno and for the Department of Defense, as vice president for R&D for a research institute in New York and as chief financial officer for a startup medical company in New York. As a PI/Co-PI, Dr. Cardillo has developed, implemented and successfully executed large sponsored-research programs for both public and private organizations. Dr. Cardillo also provided data communication and network administration for a multi-centre international research program sponsored by the World Health Organization and the New York Institute for Medical Research.


soraya-m-coley-150Soraya M. Coley

President, Cal Poly Pomona

Dr. Soraya M. Coley, a veteran administrator with more than 20 years of experience in higher education, became the sixth president of Cal Poly Pomona in January 2015.

Coley came to Cal Poly Pomona from Cal State Bakersfield, where she was the provost and vice president for academic affairs from 2005 to 2014. She served as interim vice president for university advancement in 2011-12.

Her experience includes serving as Cal State Fullerton’s dean of the College of Human Development and Community Service, as administrative fellow, and professor and department chair for the human services department. She was the system-wide provost and vice president for academic affairs at Alliant International University, from 2001 to 2003.

Coley’s career has been marked by efforts to eliminate obstacles that prevent people from reaching their potential and fully participating in society. She worked as a research assistant for the Child Welfare League of America, as the national director of the Child Abuse Prevention Project at the National Urban League, and as a survey manager at a policy research institute in Princeton, New Jersey.

Coley is a member of the American Council on Education Women’s Network, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Pasadena Bioscience Collaborative, and the Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy and Jobs. She is a former member of the board of directors for Children and Family Futures as well as the Kern County Schools’ “Ready to Start” program. In 2000, she was recognized as “One of Ten Women Making a Difference” by Orange County Metro Magazine.


jane-close-conoley-150Jane Close Conoley

President, California State University, Long Beach

Jane Close Conoley serves as the seventh President of California State University, Long Beach. Prior to assuming this role she was the interim Chancellor of the University of California Riverside. She has also held leadership positions at the University of California Santa Barbara, Texas A&M University, and at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. Dr. Conoley is the author, co-author or editor of over one hundred twenty books, articles, and book chapters. Her latest book “Positive Psychology and Family Therapy” was co-authored with her husband, Dr. Collie W. Conoley.

She serves on numerous community boards of directors including Long Beach Memorial Hospital, Long Beach Public Library, and the LA Economic Development Council to name just a few. She has received research, teaching and service honors during her career. Both the American Psychological Association and the Association of Psychological Science honored Dr. Conoley with fellow status. Her research and development efforts in school safety, teacher quality, and student achievement have been supported by over 20 million dollars in external federal, state, and private funds.


william-covino-150William A. Covino

President, California State University, Los Angeles

Since becoming president of Cal State LA in September 2013, President William A. Covino has emphasized the importance of a curriculum that prepares students to transform the future and improve the quality of life in Los Angeles and beyond. He has cultivated new alliances and partnerships that are enriching opportunities for students and the community.

As part of President Covino’s philosophy of putting students first, enrollment at Cal State LA is at an all-time high and the University has opened a new campus in downtown Los Angeles. An unprecedented nationwide study published in the New York Times has ranked the university number one in the U.S. for the upward mobility of its students. Through the Mind Matters initiative, President Covino and the first lady, Dr. Debbie Covino, are aiding student success by providing resources for physical and mental well-being.

President Covino is leading initiatives to strengthen ties with alumni and supporters of the University. As a result of these efforts, Cal State LA has experienced historic levels of philanthropic support.

As part of President Covino’s efforts to build strategic partnerships, the Los Angeles Football Club is constructing a state-of-the-art training facility and soccer operations headquarters at the university. The franchise is also assisting in the development of a new master’s degree program in sports management.

President Covino holds a Ph.D. in English and has published important scholarship on the power and uses of rhetoric, persuasion, and imagination. He is also a nationally celebrated proponent of civic learning.


“alex-davis-150" Adriene “Alex” Davis, Ed.D.

Academic Affairs Instructional Dean, Office of Economic Development and Workforce Education, Los Angeles City College

Adriene “Alex” Davis, Ed.D., is one of the leading Workforce Practitioners in the State of California and an Instructional Dean of Academic Affairs at Los Angeles City College (LACC). She manages staff and programs in the Office of Economic Development and Workforce Education. Under her leadership, Dr. Davis has spearheaded the efforts of over $60M in grant awards to LACC, and colleges within and outside the Los Angeles Community College District, including the following awards: 1) Round One AB86 California Career Pathways Trusts LA HI-TECH Regional Consortium, 2) Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program, 3) Gateway to College Program (high school dropout credit recovery program in partnership with LA Alliance Public Ready Schools, California Community College Linked Learning Initiative – New Media Academy in partnership with Hollywood High School), 4) WIA Title II Adult Education and Family Literacy Program, 5) Deputy Sector Navigator Small Business Program, and many other Career Technical Education-related grant awards.


jim-davis-150Jim Davis

Vice Provost Information Technology & Chief Academic Technology Officer
University of California, Los Angeles
Co-Founder Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition
Co-PI, Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute

Jim co-founded the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition (SMLC) that was recently selected to lead DOE’s Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CESMII), the 9th Manufacturing USA Institute and the 3rd DOE institute to be awarded. He is Co-PI of the Institute.

Jim is Vice Provost, IT and CTO at UCLA with broad responsibilities focused on the investment and deployment of information technology in the university’s academic research, education, and public service mission. He has accountability for university-wide planning and strategic investment in computational research, research informatics, educational technologies, mobility applications, research and education data strategies, privacy/security and internal and external community partnerships. Jim oversees UCLA’s Institute for Digital Research and Education (IDRE).

Jim is also on UCLA’s Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering where he has done research and consulted extensively on AI, machine learning, intelligent systems, monitoring and control, and data/modeling systems across diverse industries including chemicals, refining, paper, packaging, metals and glass. Jim has work experience with Amoco Chemicals.


“israel-fonseca-150"Israel Fonseca, M.P.A., R.T. (R), CRT(R)

Program Director, Department Chair, Radiologic Technology Program, Los Angeles City College

Israel Fonseca is the Program Director and Department Chair for the Radiologic Technology Program at Los Angeles City College. He has worked for the Los Angeles Community College District since 2001 and began his career at LACC in 2008. In 2015, Mr. Fonseca won the Career Technical Education Spotlight Faculty Excellence Award. He has helped the radiology program maintain compliance with the rules and regulations set forth by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology & the California Department of Public Health Radiologic Health Branch.


Robert E. Gordon, Jr.

Director, Archway Partnership, University of Georgia

Rob Gordon is the Director of the Archway Partnership, a University of Georgia public service and outreach unit created to assist communities in addressing self-identified community and economic development priorities. Through its work, the Archway Partnership serves communities, supports faculty research, and enhances student instruction through real-world learning opportunities.

In addition to serving as Director, Rob holds Affiliated Faculty status in UGA’s School of Public and International Affairs where he regularly teaches courses on public finance and economic development.

Rob received his J.D. degree, with honors, from The George Washington University Law School and bachelor’s degree in finance from UGA.


will-j-hagan-150Willie J. Hagan

President, California State University, Dominguez Hills

President Hagan is the chief executive officer of California State University, Dominguez Hills, the most culturally diverse institution in the country’s largest senior system of public higher education. Established in 1960 and located in the South Bay Region of Los Angeles, CSU Dominguez Hills enrolls close to 15,000 students, awards more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate degrees each year, and boasts an alumni base of more than 100,000—sixty-five percent of whom live and work within 25 miles of campus in the greater Los Angeles Area.

Since being appointed the university’s 10th president, President Hagan has successfully refocused campus-wide efforts to improve rates of retention and time to degree for current students and broaden access for hopeful students, particularly those from underrepresented communities. President Hagan previously served at CSU Fullerton where his 16-year tenure in a number of senior leadership positions, including Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer, culminated in his appointment as the university’s Interim President.

Before joining CSU Fullerton, Dr. Hagan served as Associate Vice President for Administration at the University of Connecticut (UCONN) and as a lobbyist at the state and federal level for both UCONN and the Connecticut Board of Governors for Higher Education.

A first-generation college student, President Hagan’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of education and an inspiration to the students he now serves. He holds a doctorate in psychology from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Fine Arts from UCLA.


chad-hardaway-150Chad Hardaway

Associate Director, Office of Economic Engagement and Director, Technology Commercialization Office, University of South Carolina

Chad Hardaway is Associate Director of the University of South Carolina (USC) Office of Economic Engagement and Director of the Technology Commercialization Office. In these roles, Chad seeks to align USC assets with outside corporate and government partners. Chad oversees a portfolio of over 500 university technologies and is responsible for moving those technologies out of the laboratory and into the marketplace. In addition, he works with University Technology Startups and South Carolina Technology Companies to form partnerships, find capital, explore research opportunities, develop new markets, and ultimately move products into the hands of consumers.


dianne-f-harrison-150Dr. 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.

Dr. Harrison currently serves on the executive board for the California Campus Compact, the Steering Committee of the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment, and as a commissioner on the WASC Senior College and University Commission. In 2015, she was re-appointed by California Governor Jerry Brown to serve another term on the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, having been initially appointed in 2011 and serving in 2014 as chair of the Commission. In September 2015, she was appointed to the NCAA Board of Governors and has served on the NCAA Division I Board of Directors and the Division I Presidential Advisory Group since July 2014. Her appointments at the NCAA includes service on the NCAA Board of Governors’ Commission to Combat Campus Sexual Violence, the NCAA Division I Committee on Institutional Performance and the NCAA Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Limited Resource Institutions Academic Advisory Group. As an active civic leader, she serves on the boards of directors for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA), and Valley Presbyterian Hospital. She is a member of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator Leadership Council and the Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy and Jobs. She also serves on the Board of Governors of the Valley Economic Alliance, the Executive Committee of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, and the Advisory Council of BizFed.  She and her husband, John Wujack, reside in Northridge.


“marianne-haver-hill-150”Marianne Haver-Hill

Executive Director, PROPEL LA

Marianne Haver Hill is the Executive Director of PROPEL LA — the Countywide Strategic Plan for Economic Development, housed at the LA Economic Development Corporation. She supervises a team working with over 500 stakeholder groups in Strategic Plan implementation. The Plan includes strategies around workforce development, job creation, and livable communities.

From 1987 – 2016, Hill served as CEO of MEND–Meet Each Need with Dignity, one of the largest poverty relief agencies in LA. Under her leadership, MEND assisted 37,000 applicants monthly, utilizing a volunteer work force of more than 5000, and a staff of 34. MEND received the 2012 Governor’s Award as California Nonprofit of the Year.


“ismael-herrera-150"Ismael D. Herrera, Jr.

Associate Director, Office of Community and Economic Development, Fresno State University

Ismael contributes to the development of university-led activities that align Fresno State’s assets to regional initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life and economic competitiveness of the San Joaquin Valley. He serves as the Lead Executive for the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley, a regional public-private initiative comprised of civic leaders from an 8-county region. He launched the nationally-recognized San Joaquin Valley Rural Development Center in 2010. Herrera earned Bachelor’s degrees from UC Irvine and a Master’s degree from Harvard.


“rick-hodge-150"Rick Hodge

Dean of Workforce Development/CTE,
Los Angeles Southwest College

Rick Hodge, Dean of Workforce Development/CTE at Los Angeles Southwest College is an experienced administrator with more than 26 years of higher education experience in campus management, economic and workforce development, community education, and corporate and business training. Rick has worked in community colleges and universities, both public and private, serving in his 12th year as Dean at Los Angeles Southwest College, Pasadena City College and West Coast University, respectively. He has been the Board Chair of California Corporate College, a State Chancellor’s Office Economic & Workforce Development unit and Board Member of the Foothill Workforce Investment Board in Pasadena. He also served as Executive Director with statewide responsibilities for National University and National Director of Training for University of Phoenix.


jean-horstman-150J. Jean Horstman

CEO, Interise

J. Jean Horstman is the CEO at Interise. She was appointed in 2006 to develop an organization that could scale the initial Boston University applied research initiative, at that time serving 12 to 14 small business owners a year, into a national organization. Under her leadership, Interise has built a network of partners in 79 cities, supporting a current alumni network of 4200 small businesses, to which another 1400 are added annually. Interise has been recognized by the World Bank as one of the 25 “must-see programs for growing established entrepreneurs” and was recently featured by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas in its podcast series on economic development.


“cory—hunt-150"Cory Hunt

Deputy Director, Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development

Cory Hunt is Deputy Director of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development. He oversees business development, legislative affairs, special projects, industry specialists, and office administration. Prior to working in economic development, Cory served as Senior Policy Advisor to Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, and worked in private sector management consulting. Cory is a proud native Nevadan, and an alumnus of the University of Nevada, Reno (BA) and the University of Southern California (MPA).


dion-jackson-150Dion Jackson

Program Director, USC Center for Economic Development, AMP SoCal

Dion specializes in community outreach and economic development strategic planning. She is currently the coordinator of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership for Southern California, a collaboration supporting the industrial ecosystem for aerospace and defense companies and their supply chain, and a federally designated manufacturing community. Dion holds a Master’s degree in Urban Planning with an emphasis in Economic Development, a Master of Business Administration, and a Master of Real Estate Development from the University of Southern California.


michael-kelly-150Michael H. Kelly

Executive Director, The Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy & Jobs

Michael H. Kelly currently serves as the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy & Jobs, a non-profit organization comprised of leaders in the business, labor, academia and non-profit sectors dedicated to ensuring a path for economic growth and the creation and retention of quality jobs in the greater Los Angeles region.

Prior to working with the Los Angeles Coalition, Mr. Kelly has worked in a number of high-level positions, both in the private sector and with California State government.

He currently serves on the board of directors of the Center for Sustainable Energy, chair of the FUSE Corps L.A. Advisory Committee, the chair of the Philanthropic Foundation for California State University, Dominguez Hills, and a member of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator’s Diversity in Entrepreneurship Committee, the Pacific Council on International Relations, a partner at Saving The West, advisory board member for WorkingNation, as well as an adviser to Transmosis. He was also the recipient of the EnCorps Teachers Program 2010 “Torchbearer of the Year” Award.

Michael received an Economics Degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Southern California. He was a Dean’s Merit Scholar at USC.


ScottKohl2015Scott Kohl

Co-Principle Investigator and VESTA Campus Director, Highland Community College, KS

Mr. Kohl directs the Viticulture and Enology Program at HCC including overseeing daily operations in the 8-acre vineyard and accompanying college winery and winery incubator. In addition, Mr. Kohl leads the educational and extension activities delivered by the program to train and consult for the grape and wine industry throughout Kansas. Mr. Kohl graduated from Fort Hays State University with a B.S. in Mathematics and from Kansas State University with a M.S. in Theoretical Mathematics.


raymond-luk-150Raymond Luk

Founder & CEO, Hockeystick

Raymond Luk is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor. He is the founder of Year One Labs, a startup accelerator and Flow Ventures, a venture consultancy. He is the founder and CEO of Hockeystick, a private market data network used by the top investors and startups in Canada and around the world.


joey-mak-150Joey Mak

Director of Economic Development & Innovation, University of Illinois

As the Director of Economic Development & Innovation, Joey works with the private sector and communities to design and implement initiatives that foster economic growth in Illinois. He also directs the Illinois Defense Industry Adjustment (DIA) Program, a public-private collaboration to strengthen the state’s defense supply chain. Previously, Joey led the Office of Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Technology for the Illinois Department of Commerce, where he oversaw the agency’s efforts to assist small businesses and emerging sectors. He graduated from Loyola University Chicago with degrees in Political Science and Anthropology and received his MBA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


jason-mathis-150Jason Mathis

Solutions Sales Manager, Elsevier

Jason Mathis is a Solutions Sales Manager for the Research Intelligence team with Elsevier. As a member of the Research Intelligence team, he uses advanced algorithms, semantic technologies, data visualizations, and other text and data mining techniques, to help institutions better understand the impacts that universities make in both basic and applied research, and how that research contributes to the economic vitality and dynamism of cities and metro regions. Jason further illustrates how Elsevier is developing increasingly sophisticated tools to better measure the front end of the innovation cycle, to better understand how research evolves into commercial patenting and IP activity to drive new firm formation and job growth. Jason works with institutions to understand these activities using a data science approach.


tim-mcelroy-150Tim McElroy

Senior Account Executive, EMSI

Tim McElroy is a Senior Account Executive at EMSI. Tim works with universities to supply data for economic planning, program review, and workforce readiness. He is passionate about people learning valuable skills that enable them do work they enjoy and contribute to their regional economies. To that end, he builds connections between students, education, and employers.


bill-michalerya-150William D. Michalerya, MEng, MBA, PE

Director of Federal Research Engagement
P. C. of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Lehigh University

William Michalerya has primary responsibility for developing Federal, State and regional programs in research and economic development. Mr. Michalerya served as Associate Vice President for Government Relations & Economic Development at Lehigh and in multiple leadership positions in regional, state and national initiatives in economic development. 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 from Cornell University, as well as an MBA from Lehigh University. He is a licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.) in Pennsylvania.


liz_nilsen-150Liz Nilsen

Senior Program Director, Purdue Agile Strategy Lab

Liz Nilsen is Senior Program Director at the Purdue Agile Strategy Lab, shepherding the expansion of the Lab’s programming and partnerships with other universities interested in deploying Strategic Doing. She is a former senior program officer at VentureWell, where she provided leadership to the Pathways program for the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter), an effort to engage with 50 colleges and universities to embed innovation and entrepreneurship undergraduate engineering education. She previously led STEM initiatives at the Penn State Center – Pittsburgh and the Pennsylvania STEM Network, and served as Director of Outreach and New Economy Program Development at the Institute of Advanced Learning & Research, a Virginia Tech initiative. She earned her BA from Stanford and an MBA from Northeastern University.


sung-no-150Dr. Sung C. No

W.E. Tucker Endowed Professor, EDA University Center/Southern University and A&M College

Dr. Sung C. No is Co-Director of EDA University Center for Economic and Entrepreneurial Development at Southern University. He also holds W.E. Tucker Endowed Professorship and runs the 21 Century Financial Analysis and Security Trading Lab. He strives to fulfill the mission of AACSB International: Engagement, Innovation, and Impact at Southern University and A&M College. He engages in numerous outreach and workforce developments across the State of Louisiana, initiates innovative ideas and publications, and makes a positive impact on the University Center’s stakeholders. He was a recipient of Teacher of the Year at College of Business from 2005 – 2009 each year in a row, the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2014 and the System President’s Teaching Excellence in 2014.


michelle-norgren-150Michelle Norgren

Director and Principal Investigator, VESTA National Center

Michelle Norgren has served as the Director and PI of the VESTA (Viticulture and Enology Science and Technology Alliance) National Center for the past 13 years, during which time the program has grown to a 16 state, 23 institutional partnership with participation of over 1700 students from around the world. Michelle’s in-depth knowledge of distance education, lead Missouri State University to the establishment of the Missouri Virtual School and the model for the VESTA program. Michelle graduated from Missouri State University with a BS in Education and a Master of Science degree in Educational Administration.


john-ochs-150John B Ochs, Ph. D.

Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Lehigh University

John Ochs is the founding director of Lehigh’s Technical Entrepreneurship (TE) Capstone Program, recognized by the National Academy of Engineering as one of the top 30 schools in the nation to provide students with real-world hands-on experiences. He is also the founding director of Lehigh University’s Masters of Engineering in Technical Entrepreneurship (www.lehigh.edu/innovate ). The TE Masters won the first place award for the UEDA 2014 “Excellence in Talent Development.” In 2015 the Journal of Engineering Entrepreneurship (JEEN) presented him with the Engineering Entrepreneurship Pioneer award and he is a Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).


tom-odonnell-150Tom O’Donnell

Senior Director, Innovation Initiatives and Director, Innovation Hub – Lowell & Haverhill; Visiting Faculty, Manning School of Business, Office of Entrepreneurship & Economic Development, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Tom O’Donnell is currently Senior Director, Innovation Initiatives at UMass Lowell. This includes oversight and operations of the UMass Lowell Innovation Hubs in both Lowell and Haverhill, MA, co-working and incubator facilities supporting early stage, technology-based startups in a variety of areas including advanced materials, cleantech, robotics and information technology. Tom is also a faculty member at UMass Lowell’s Manning School of Business, teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in innovation, technology commercialization and new venture creation. Tom holds a B.S.E.E. from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, M.S. Computer Engineering from Boston University and M.S. Management from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.


kathleen-oshea-150Kathleen O’Shea

Senior Research Analyst, ICIC

As a senior research analyst at ICIC, Kathleen is responsible for managing a diverse portfolio of engagements directed at inner city economic growth. She is the lead on ICIC’s partnership with JPMorgan Chase on their Small Business Forward initiative, which includes evaluating entrepreneurial support organizations across the country. Kathleen also directly supports all of ICIC’s anchor initiatives by managing advisory projects and tracking urban anchor strategies nationally. She is a lead author on ICIC publications and provides content for ICIC’s robust communication platform.

Prior to joining ICIC, Kathleen worked at The American City Coalition, a Boston nonprofit working to revitalize distressed urban neighborhoods, where she supported a public committee that was tasked with reviewing development projects in Lower Roxbury. She also worked at Boston College’s Corcoran Center for Real Estate and Urban Action, where she helped to develop the initial proposal for an anchor strategy at Boston College. Kathleen holds a Bachelor’s degree from Boston College.


eric-porter-150Eric Porter

Managing Partner at ComNet, LLC

Eric Porter is the senior partner with ComNet, LLC, founded in 1998. He had held various senior level positions with Emery Worldwide, AT&T and MCI Communications. In 2005, after a long corporate career, Eric embarked upon a new phase of his life: entrepreneurship.  Armed with a severance package and a driving will to succeed, ComNet acquired Regional Broadband of Lafayette, LA.  In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the acquisition start-up blew its projections off the charts.  In 2006, ComNet, LLC expanded to include construction, construction management and program management services. In February of 2017, ComNet launched “Creating Neighborhood Developers,” in partnership with EDA University Center at Southern University.


john-provo-new-150John Provo, Ph. D.

Director, Office of Economic Development
Virginia Tech

John Provo is the director of Virginia Tech’s Office of Economic Development, where he provides leadership for the office in the design and implementation of applied research and technical assistance projects that link university and community resources to address the economic development needs of the Commonwealth.  John has developed partnerships between Virginia Tech and entities in the public, private and non-profit sectors to address economic development needs of communities around the Commonwealth.  He received his Ph.D. from the School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University, and his master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Commonwealth University.


h-puentes-150H. Puentes

Director of Outreach, CONNECT

Currently, H. serves as Director of CONNECT ALL at CONNECT, the oldest business accelerator in San Diego focusing on early stage tech and life science startups. At CONNECT ALL, he leads and organizes government, business, community, and innovation leaders to help bring entrepreneurial resources to traditionally undeserved communities of San Diego. Previously, headed marketing at Grantoo (now Fuel) where we designed, budgeted, and implemented campaigns to increase user acquisition and retention to drive traction in preparation for a $3.5M Series A round that we would eventually close. Experience as a management consultant for a tech and a private equity fund in London, and as regional director at a large non-profit member organization in the US and Canada. Master’s degree from The London School of Economics and bachelor’s degree from George Mason University.


“Ellen—purpus-150”Dr. Ellen Purpus

Assistant Vice President for Enterprise & Innovation, University of Nevada, Reno

Dr. Ellen Purpus is the Assistant Vice President for Enterprise & Innovation at the University of Nevada, Reno. Dr. Purpus is responsible for expanding the University’s footprint in the entrepreneurial community. E&I is comprised of four subdivisions, and each plays a vital role in the University and regional entrepreneurial ecosystem: Enterprise & Commercialization, The Innevation Center University of Nevada, Reno—Powered by Switch, Nevada Center for Applied Research, and Nevada Industry Excellence. Enterprise & Commercialization is the University’s technology transfer office. Dr. Purpus is a frequent speaker for entrepreneurial organizations and has been active in the Association of University Technology Managers’ professional development programs for several years. She is a widely known expert on technology licensing as well as industry-­academic collaboration. Dr. Purpus earned her PhD in Pathology and Cell Biology from Thomas Jefferson University and completed her post-­doctoral fellowship at the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health.


estelle-reyes-150Estelle Reyes

Director of Community Engagement,
Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI)

Estelle Reyes is the Director of Community Engagement at LACI, where she focuses on creating a pipeline for all talent to enter the cleantech and sustainability sector.  She is building programming around high school student engagement, college internships, workforce development, and women in cleantech to capitalize on the rapidly growing green job market.  Previously, Estelle was the Executive Director at the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) Greater LA, a First Grade Teacher, and a Financial Analyst at Goldman Sachs. Estelle holds a Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience from Brown University, and a Master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.


rex-richardson-150Rex Richardson

Vice Mayor, City of Long Beach, California

Vice Mayor Richardson was elected to the Long Beach City Council in 2014 to represent District 9, and elected Vice Mayor in 2016. He is the youngest to serve in both capacities in the city’s history.

Since taking office, Vice Mayor Richardson has led North Long Beach on a “Road to the Renaissance,” placing a focus on economic and community revitalization, and has worked to shift the culture of city hall by embracing a systemic and collaborative approach to problem solving. In 2016, Richardson championed the creation of the Long Beach Office of Equity, to help address the economic and health disparities affecting neighborhoods, and spearheaded a number of innovative initiatives like the Long Beach My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, and Participatory Budgeting.


“lucia-robles-150"Lucia F. Robles, J.D., M.A.

Dean of CTE/Workforce Development,
Los Angeles Community College District

Dr. Robles joined the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) in October of 2011. She is responsible for providing district, regional and state leadership to all nine district colleges on matters relative to CTE and Workforce Development. As the CTE/Workforce Development District Dean, she represents the LACCD in state and regional occupational administrative groups. Dr. Robles works very closely with the nine CTE college deans to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations in the use of funds.


chuck-shoopman-150Charles E. Shoopman, Jr.

Assistant Vice President, Institute for Public Service, University of Tennessee

Chuck Shoopman is Assistant Vice President of the University of Tennessee’s Institute for Public Service (IPS). The Institute is composed of five outreach organizations that connect people and solutions to improve the efficiency and performance of businesses and governments across Tennessee. Chuck leads efforts to help business and government leaders improve job retention and promote job growth. An important focus of that work is the DRIVE! for the Future Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) initiative aimed at promoting the competitiveness of the automotive cluster in a 69-county, four state region in the Southern U.S.


tom-smith-150Tom Smith

Michigan Coordinator and Co-Principal Investigator, VESTA National Center

Tom Smith serves as the Michigan coordinator, co-principal investigator, and is an instructor for the Viticulture and Enology Science and Technology Alliance (VESTA), a National Center of Excellence for online wine and grape education funded by the National Science Foundation. He is also the Associate Director of the Institute of Agricultural Technology at Michigan State University and was recently named the Executive Director of the National Pesticide Safety Education Center (NPSEC). Mr. Smith’s major responsibilities focus on skills and workforce development in food and agriculture and serving and supporting the national network of extension pesticide safety education programs.


ian-trammell-150Ian Trammell

Executive Director, Economic & Cluster Development, NJII

Ian Trammell holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Fordham University, graduate degrees in Sacred Theology at the Catholic University of America, and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Administration at Rutgers University. His work experience includes public and private education, both in teaching and administration. He served as a Catholic priest for a decade in many pastoral and executive leadership capacities. Ian has given many dynamic presentations, lectures, and workshops to audiences large and small throughout his career. He has served as Founding Executive Director with the Force 21 and MechaForce public-private partnerships for the German dual-education model until 2016. He is currently the Executive Director of Economic & Cluster Development for NJII and Program co-manager for NJ MarketShift, a DOD funded activity for aerospace and defense supply chain mapping and fortification. Ian is married to the love of his life, Camille, and has three wonderful and accomplished stepchildren.


elli-travis-150Elli Travis

Economic Development Specialist, Virginia Tech

Elli Travis works to connect communities across Virginia to resources within the university through applied and community-based research and strategic planning. She is passionate about working with organizations to plan and evaluate their work in ways that bring economic prosperity to their regions, especially in the areas of agricultural and community development. A native of Washington, DC, Travis received an MS from Virginia Tech in Agricultural and Applied Economics and BA in Economics and Russian from Indiana University. She is currently pursuing a part-time PhD at Virginia Tech with a focus on program impact evaluation.


“rudy-triviso-150"Rudy Triviso

Professor, Aviation Mechanics, West Los Angeles College

Rudy Triviso has over 40 year’s experience in the industry working with the Flying Tigers, UPS and Fed Express. His teaching career started at WLAC 1997, but has taught Aviation Maintenance training for Northrup Gruman, UPS, Fed Ex, and the Flying Tigers since 1980. More recently, Rudy has taken on the challenge of teaching the skills team that prepares students for the national competition. His efforts have been validated as he has lead the teams in winning 2nd place in 2016 and 4th place 2017.


“maria-uliana-150"Marla Uliana

Dean, Career Technical Education & Workforce Development,
Los Angeles Mission College

Ms. Uliana has 30 years of experience in CTE and Workforce Development. She currently serves as dean at Los Angeles Mission College, where she collaborates with faculty, staff and industry partners to develop and enhance educational and training programs that lead to entry and middle-skill jobs that provide sustainable wages in the San Fernando Valley and greater Los Angeles region. Ms. Uliana has a M.A in Education and a B.A in Organizational Communication from California State University, Stanislaus.


“tom-vessella-150"Tom Vessella

Dean of Career and Technical Education, Los Angeles Pierce College

Tom Vessella has been involved in Career and Technical Education for over 30 years. He comes to Pierce as Dean of CTE after a long career in the classroom, having taught taught at both the secondary and community college level. He brings with him broad experiences in curriculum, assessment of CTE programs, and program development.


tom-white-2-150Tom White

Executive Director, LACI@CSUN

Tom White’s passion is building companies. He is the Executive Director of LACI@CSUN, the business incubator at California State University, Northridge. The mission of LACI@CSUN is to foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship across the CSUN campus. There, Tom builds corporate and community partnerships, engages faculty, staff, community and student entrepreneurs, and develops programs to attract portfolio companies and facilitate their growth.

Tom is also a customer experience architect, a design-thinking strategist and an award-winning storyteller. He is a TEDx Speaker, and created C2, The Commerce of Creativity Distinguished Speakers Series at CSUN. Tom has spoken on “The Seven Secrets to Launching a Megaselling Start-up,” and at LACI authored the “Master the Pitch” series to teach storytelling presentation structure and technique to portfolio companies.

Tom creates value by fueling customer attraction and commitment to generate growth. As a marketing executive, Tom helped Lockheed-Martin win the $70 billion F-22 fighter jet contract from the US Air Force. He also developed customer strategies that helped companies like Motorola, Volvo, Philips, Iridium and others to raise billions in sales and investment.

Tom has created repositioning initiatives for advertising agencies and design firms, achieving unprecedented growth by developing new programs that attracted partnerships from clients including Ferrari, Shell, Unilever, Paccar, GE, HP and others. Based on success with new customer acquisition, Tom successfully positioned agencies for strategic growth and sale.

In the academic sector, Tom successfully oversaw the increase in enrollment and financial turnaround as President of The Columbus College of Art and Design. He was also instrumental in development of the strategic plan for the Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta. Tom has taught design at his alma mater CSUN and at the UCLA Extension. Most recently, Tom is developing a new Design Thinking curriculum at the Tseng College at CSUN.

Tom received his undergraduate degree in Industrial Design from CSUN with highest honors from the Industrial Design Society of America, and his MBA from Pepperdine University.


“marcia-wilson-150"Dr. Marcia Wilson

Dean, Pathway Innovation and Institutional Effectiveness, Los Angeles Trade-Technical College (LATTC)

Dr. Marcia Wilson began her employment with LACCD in 2001 when she was hired as Tech Prep Director for LA City College and Los Angeles Trade-Technical College (LATTC). After five years, she transitioned to LATTC full-time as a Program Director. She has been instrumental in the development and implementation of numerous grant-funded workforce development programs and innovations that have had a significant impact on the college. Dr. Wilson is currently a Dean of Pathway Innovation and Institutional Effectiveness. She represents LATTC on the Los Angeles Orange County Regional Consortia and coordinates the Strong Workforce Programs for the college.


steve-wolbert-150Steve Wolbert

CEO and Director of Network & Opportunity, Social Impact Philanthropy and Investment

After working in outreach and fundraising capacities in the non-profit sector, Steve Wolbert created an opportunity to assist a for profit company to move beyond “checkbook philanthropy” and into a more focused effort on how corporations can impact a community. Steve saw the impact this model of philanthropy can create by facilitating and implementing community partner driven projects at a “for profit pace.” Steve’s vision for SIPI is to see and provide hope where most aren’t looking. When people ask him what SIPI is, his response is simple, “SIPI is a platform for change.”

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