UEDA Summit Theme
Designing Resilient Regions: The Biggest Little Ideas for ALL Ecosystems
UEDA Summit 2019
Speakers & Bios
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Development, Department of Commerce
Dennis Alvord serves as EDA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Development and Chief Operating Officer and is responsible for enterprise-wide operations and program execution. Mr. Alvord concurrently performed the duties of the Assistant Secretary and the Deputy Assistant Secretaries of Economic Development and Regional Affairs from April 2017 through March 2019.
Active in the Department, he was elected as Co-Chair of the Department Management Council, comprised of senior executives from all of Commerce’s principal operating units. Previously, as Senior Advisor to the Deputy Secretary, he worked on a broad portfolio of department-wide management, operations, program and policy issues and co-chaired the Department of Commerce’s 2016-17 Presidential Transition, coordinating efforts across the Department and with the White House and President Elect’s Transition Team.
Preceding his Senior Advisor role, he led start-ups as Executive Director of BusinessUSA, a government-wide, multiagency customer service initiative that promoted and improved access to business assistance resources, and as Executive Director of the Department of Commerce’s CommerceConnect initiative, which simplified access to the Department’s business solutions.
Before joining the federal government, Mr. Alvord worked as a manager in the infrastructure finance group of an environmental and transportation consulting practice. Mr. Alvord holds a Master of Public Administration from George Washington University, and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the State University of New York College at Cortland. He is a recipient of the 2015 President’s Award for Customer Service.
Director, Nevada Industry Excellence (NVIE)
Mark Anderson has served as the Director of NVIE since December 2017. Prior to joining NVIE Mark worked in Japanese OEM automotive industry for 24 years, serving in a variety of people, operations, and continuous improvement roles. Mark returned to Nevada after a 30-year absence as the first US employee of Panasonic at the Tesla Gigafactory, where he served as the VP of HR and General Affairs.
SURE Program, Assistant Director
Charlie executes the strategic vision of the SURE Advisory Board and Dr. Saleha Khumawala by managing the SURE Program’s day-to-day operations and cultivating key partnerships. He received an MBA and MA Applied Economics from the University of Houston in 2016. A native Houstonian, he wrote a book about one of the city’s most famous neighborhoods, Images of Modern America: Houston’s River Oaks. When not writing or working at University of Houston, he spends his time covering the register at his family’s used and rare bookstore or teaching improv comedy.
Program Officer, The Lemelson Foundation
Rachel Jagoda Brunette manages the Foundation’s work in our home state of Oregon. She strives to enhance the local ecosystem that inspires Oregonians to invent, supports invention education, and nurtures young inventors in taking their idea to impact through new businesses.
Prior to joining the Foundation in 2014, Rachel worked on science, technology, and education policy in the government and nonprofit sectors. As professional staff with the US House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology, she handled oversight of federal STEM programs at the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Department of Homeland Security, and other agencies. She also helped advocate for investments in education, sustainability, and basic research while working at the American Society for Engineering Education. After relocating to Oregon in 2008, Rachel worked for local elected officials on issues related to STEM education, technology industry development, and economic competitiveness.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in political management from The George Washington University.
Deputy City Manager, City of Pittsburg
Jay Byers serves as Deputy City Manager for the City of Pittsburg. In this role, he is responsible for technology planning and implementation, organizational innovation, environmental improvement, and external relations.
Director of Solution Services , Elsevier
Leader in rapidly growing analytical software business. Helped build business from inception to $125M in total sales in 2017, working in global roles in sales, product development, and business development. Managed global team of 30+ consultants. Managed $600M research portfolio and staff of 50 at Top-10 research institution. Led successful $6M full-lifecycle implementation of critical software system. Restructured business operations and staff to leverage new systems capabilities and improve service delivery. Expertise in strategic planning and business analysis. MBA in Finance and International Business
Executive Director of Economic Development, Continuing Studies, and Government Relations
Jasmine Cardona was appointed Executive Director for Economic Development, Continuing Studies, and Government Relations in 2018.
Jasmine has held positions in professional organizations including, University Economic Development Association (UEDA) Awards for Excellence Committee, Network of Academic Corporate Officers (NACRO) Marketing and Communications Committee and is a member of the Phi Beta Honor Society for International Scholars.Jasmine is actively involved in a number of community organizations including YouthWins and the SI Perinatal Network.
Director of Strategic Communication
Senior Vice President, Global Strategic Alliances, Elsevier
Dr. Brad Fenwick is a Professor of Pathobiology and Microbiology. He holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Masters of Pathology from Kansas State University and Ph.D. in Comparative Pathology from UC Davis where he completed his residency and is distinguished alumnus. He is board qualified in Pathology and board certified in Microbiology and Immunology. Dr. Fenwick has received numerous awards and recognitions for his research, holds several patents, founded a biotechnology company, and consults globally with companies, universities, and governments. He is a Fellow with the American Council on Education, an elected Fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a distinguished Scholar and Fellow with the National Academies of Practice, and a Jefferson Science Fellow and Senior Science Advisor to the U.S. Department of State where his portfolio includes Science, Technology, and Innovation policy. Dr. Fenwick has held many senior administrative positions, including Graduate Dean, Vice President for Research / President for Intellectual Properties, Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement, and Chief Scientist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As Senior Vice President for Global Strategic Alliances with Elsevier, he is charged with forging non-commercial partnerships with universities and governments to enhance their academic and research success.
Vice President for Research and Innovation
As vice president for research and innovation and professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno, Dr. Mridul Gautam articulates and implements a shared vision for research and guides the administrative division focused on developing world-class research and discovery, the careers and competitiveness of faculty, and the institution’s capacity as a high-impact research university and economic cornerstone of Nevada.
Dr. Gautam’s leadership style reflects his core values of integrity, the pursuit of excellence, fairness, respect and collaboration. The University of Nevada, Reno is increasingly connected to the region and state it serves, and Dr. Gautam has been a leader in fostering new levels of collaboration and building relationships both on and off campus. Especially notable is his leadership in the creation of an Innovation Ecosystem, anchored by the Nevada Center for Applied Research and the Innevation Center University of Nevada, Reno—Powered By Switch. The University’s Innovation Ecosystem is advancing entrepreneurialism, innovation and commercialization, and it is tangibly contributing to Nevada’s economy and the creation of knowledge- and technology-based jobs.
As an administrator and as a member of the University President’s Council, Dr. Gautam encourages the highest quality of services and infrastructure to enable faculty, students and staff to excel in their research, scholarly and artistic endeavors, and to do so in a safe, healthy and ethical environment. He demonstrates an ability to develop an effective and appropriately scaled infrastructure to meet the needs of a University that is experiencing growth in the size and quality of its student enrollment and research productivity. He believes in hiring the right people, setting them up for success, fostering accountability, encouraging process improvement and then getting out of the way.
Dr. Gautam is an internationally recognized researcher and expert in the area of heavy-duty mobile source exhaust emissions, aerosol sampling, and particulate matter measurement, characterization, and control. Prior to joining the University in 2013, he served as associate vice president for research at West Virginia University (WVU) as well as the vice president for the WVU Research Corporation. Dr. Gautam serves on several national and state advisory committees including the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities’ Council on Research and its Research Task Force on Laboratory Safety, as well as the National Academies’ Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable.
Tom Harris is a Professor in the Department of Economics and Director of the University Center for Economic Development at the University of Nevada, Reno. After receiving his Ph.D. in agricultural economics at Oklahoma State University, Dr. Harris joined the faculty at the University of Nevada, Reno. Dr. Harris has been at UNR since 1981 and his primary areas of teaching, research and extension are rural economic development, economic impact modeling, and local government finance. Dr. Harris has several ongoing projects in rural communities in Nevada through the University Center for Economic Development.
Assistant Director, The Innevation Center, University of Nevada, Reno
Crystal Harvey is the coordinator for the makerspace at the Innevation Center. She earned her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and worked as a mechanical engineer in the aerospace industry before entering into her current position at the University.
Vice President for Economic Development, Continuing Studies and Government Relations
Ken Iwama is the Vice President for Economic Development, Continuing Studies & Government Relations for the College of Staten Island, The City University of New York. He carries the distinction of being one of the few individuals who has served in senior executive positions in one the largest public urban university systems in the nation as well as one of the larger urban school districts in the New York metropolitan area. Ken is also an attorney with expertise in education law and labor/employment law.
President, University of Nevada, Reno
Marc Johnson’s tenure as president of the University of Nevada, Reno has been marked by record student enrollment and academic achievement, advancement of the University’s research and innovation agenda and a deep commitment to partnering with the state of Nevada to drive business, industry and economic diversification.
A career as a faculty member, researcher and administrator – including roles at several notable land-grant universities – led Mr. Johnson to the University, where he was named the institution’s 16th president in April 2012. Mr. Johnson joined the University in June 2008 as executive vice president and provost and served one year as interim president in 2011.
As Lead Analyst, Richelle uses her expertise in quantitative analysis, economics, and research to advance economic development on behalf of CED’s clients. Prior to joining CED, Richelle worked with the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, the Alaska Energy Authority, and the Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference, where she helped rural communities solve energy and development issues. She is experienced with regression analysis, feasibility studies, and SWOT analysis. Her professional interests include energy policy and development, rural development, and discovering ways to use the strengths of our communities to create new opportunities.
Best known for founding Travelocity.com and serving as founding Chairman of Kayak.com, Terry Jones has become a powerful voice in the world of entrepreneurship through his numerous speaking engagements and the publication of his book, ON Innovation. His career path has established him as a thought leader on innovation in our increasingly digital world. A graduate of Denison University in Granville, Ohio, Jones, began his career as a travel agent, spent 24 years at American Airlines in marketing and information technology, capping his career as Chief Information Officer of its SABRE division. While at SABRE he led a team of six working on a project that became Travelocity.com. Jones served as CEO of Travelocity for seven years transforming it to a public company with three billion dollars in travel sales. He left Travelocity when the company was taken private and became part of the founding team at Kayak.com, a company that yet again revolutionized how travel was purchased. He served as Chairman of the company from its founding until it was sold to Priceline for $1.8 billion dollars in 2013.
Today he is the managing principal of ON Inc. a consultancy he founded to help companies in their transition to the digital economy. He has served on over 13 boards and currently serves on the boards of Boingo, Sonicwall and Camping and Education Foundation. Terry is the author of the best selling book, ON Innovation, and the holder of several patents.
Assistant Director, Economic Development and Community Engagement
Shalin R. Jyotishi is the Assistant Director for Economic Development & Community Engagement at APLU, North America’s oldest presidents-led higher education association. His mission is to help maximize the economic and societal impact of universities. He directs APLU’s Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities program, manages funded projects and studies on workforce development, innovation, and manufacturing competitiveness, and supports APLU’s Commission on Economic and Community Engagement.
Shalin’s background spans science and innovation policy and economic development. Prior to joining APLU, he held various positions at the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and a research appointment at the University of Michigan where he contributed to the 2nd edition of the book, Beyond Sputnik: U.S. Science Policy in the 21st Century (Forthcoming MIT Press). He has also served as a consultant to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Innovation Associates, and the International Monetary Fund.
Outside of APLU, Shalin fulfills his entrepreneurial calling as CEO of the Journal of Science Policy and Governance, a non-profit organization and publication focused on student policy engagement and as a University Innovation Fellow of the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University. Shalin was selected as World Economic Forum Global Shaper and serves on the Washington, DC Executive Council. He serves as an editor of the Journal of Economic Development in Higher Education. He volunteers with the International Economic Development Council’s Higher Education Advisory Committee and the United Nation’s Major Group for Children and Youth. He previously served on the national advisory boards of APLU’s Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness & Economic Prosperity, UCLA’s Science Policy Association, and was active on committees for the University Economic Development Association.
Shalin studied biology and government at the University of Georgia where he completed a medicinal chemistry research program at Peking University in Beijing, China, and held various economic development positions. He contributed to research in UGA’s Institute of Higher Education, was a student editor of the Education Law & Policy Review, and published book articles on regenerative medicine in the SAGE Encyclopedia of Stem Cell Research.
You can find Shalin on Twitter at @ShalinJyotishi.
Professor of Accounting and Founding Director, SURE Program
Dr. Saleha Khumawala is the Robert Grinaker Professor of Accounting and the Founding Director of the SURE™
(Stimulating Urban Renewal through Entrepreneurship) Program at Bauer College of Business, University of Houston. She obtained her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a CPA and CGMA. She teaches and does research in the fields of Government and NonProfit Accounting and Social Entrepreneurship, is widely published and has made numerous presentations at national and international conferences. She has successfully led the Study Abroad India Program since 2002, is also the coauthor of Government and Not-for-Profit Accounting: Concepts and Practices, 8th edition, and is an active member of several academic and professional organizations. As of May 2019, the SURE™ Program has educated 1,100 aspiring entrepreneurs and launched over 200 businesses. The SURE™ Program and Dr. Khumawala have received numerous awards and accolades including the Piper Professor 2018 award.
President & CEO Alexandria Development Partnership
Stephanie is President & CEO of the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership (AEDP). Appointed by the Board of Directors in April 2015, Stephanie has held leadership roles in the organization since 2005. In her position, Stephanie provides strategic and financial oversight to two hosted organizations: SBDC and Capitol Post. She also offers advice and information to the Alexandria City Council, Planning Commission and City Departments. Stephanie serves in various capacities on Boards, Commissions and Committees related to economic development, marketing and business throughout the Washington, DC region.
Dr. Stanley Maloy
Associate Vice President for Research & Innovation, and Professor of Biology at San Diego State University
I am the Associate Vice President for Research & Innovation and Professor of Biology at SDSU. Prior to this position, I was Dean of the College of Sciences at SDSU for 11 years.
I obtained a PhD in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from UC Irvine, did a postdoctoral fellowship in Genetics at the University of Utah, then moved to a faculty position at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign where I was a Professor in the Microbiology Department for 18 years. Before moving to SDSU, I served as Director of the Illinois Biotechnology Center.
I am a previous President of the American Society for Microbiology, one of the largest international scientific societies. I have served as an advisor for U.S. and international agencies on research, biosafety, biodefense, health, and graduate education, and have testified before the U.S. House Appropriations Committee.
Recent research in my lab has focused on how new infectious diseases arise, and the development of new vaccines and antimicrobials. Together with a wonderful group of students and colleagues, I am co-author of over 100 scientific publications and 10 books. I have developed widely used educational websites, and hosted popular scientific podcasts and videos. I have organized courses and conferences around the world, and have received several teaching awards, Honorary Professorships, an Honorary PhD, and am an elected Fellow of the American Academy for Microbiology.
In addition to academia, I have been closely involved in business. My brother and I started our first company when I was an undergraduate. Since then I have consulted with large agricultural and pharmaceutical companies and small biotech companies. I am currently part of an I-Corps teaching team that provides training in Life Sciences entrepreneurship
Nevada Lieutenant Governor
Kate Marshall was sworn in as Nevada’s 35th Lieutenant Governor on January 7, 2019.
Kate grew up in working-class neighborhoods in San Francisco as the eldest of six children. She worked throughout high school and college, earning a bachelor’s degree and law degree at the University of California, Berkeley, with the help of scholarships, Pell Grants, and student loans.
After serving with distinction at the Department of Justice, Kate was recruited by then Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa to come to Nevada to set up a state antitrust office as Senior Deputy Attorney General.
Kate was elected Nevada’s State Treasurer in 2006 and re-elected in 2010. As Treasurer, she got rid of no-bid contracts and off-the-book accounts, and reduced spending, making government more efficient and identifying innovative methods to increase economic development for businesses in Nevada.
Kate and her husband, Elliott Parker, reside in Reno, Nevada, where she is a board member of the United Way of Northern Nevada and Elliott is an economics professor at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Vice Provost and Executive Director
As vice provost and executive director of the UMKC Innovation Center and founder of SourceLink and KCSourceLink, Maria helps build entrepreneurial communities, from the ground up and is in her own right an entrepreneur.
Maria believes that entrepreneurs strengthen our local and national economy and she uses insight into startups and small business, entrepreneurship and economic development to inform everything she does. In addition to helping entrepreneurs, she works with local economic development organizations across the United States to turn fragmented small business resources into cohesive and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems that attract startups, accelerate business growth and create jobs.
Today, that model she developed from within a university framework is begin used in regions and states nationwide.
Associate Director, Strategic Alliances
Afroze Mohammed joined Virginia Tech as Associate Director of Strategic Alliances in December 2011, based in the National Capital Region. Her role focuses on building strong partnerships between Virginia Tech and companies in metropolitan Washington, DC, with the goal of fostering greater collaboration in research endeavors, entrepreneurial activities, and economic development. Afroze is active in economic development and industry groups in the National Capital Region.
Prior to joining VT, she directed successful product marketing and alliance development programs at companies including Blackboard, CURRENT Group, and Lucent Technologies. In the academic arena, she worked as a Research Associate at Harvard Business School, developing best-selling case studies on topics in marketing, policy, operations, and international business. Afroze has an M.B.A. from the Yale School of Management and a B.A. in Economics, summa cum laude, from Georgetown University.
Director, Purdue Agile Strategy Lab
Ed Morrison directs the Agile Strategy Lab at Purdue University. Ed has been developing a new approach to developing strategies for complex collaboration in open, loosely connected networks. Called “Strategic Doing”, this methodology emphasizes the strategic value of collaboration in today’s global economy. For over twenty-five years, he conducted strategy projects throughout the U.S. His work won the first Arthur D. Little Award for excellence in economic development presented by the American Economic Development Council. Prior to starting his economic development work, Ed worked for Telesis, a corporate strategy consulting firm. Ed started his professional career in Washington, D.C., where he has served as a legislative assistant to an Ohio Congressman, staff attorney in the Federal Trade Commission, and staff counsel in the US Senate. He holds a BA degree cum laude with honors from Yale University and MBA and JD degrees from the University of Virginia.
Senior Fellow, Levin College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland State University
Hunter Morrison is Senior Fellow at at Cleveland State University’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs. Formerly, he was the Director of the Center for Urban and Regional Studies at Youngstown State University. In this role he advised the president on the Youngstwon State campus plan. Prior to this he was Director of the Cleveland City Planning Commission and was responsible for Civic Vision 2000, a $3 million initiative that resulted in the comprehensive updating of the City’s Downtown Plan, Citywide Plan, and Zoning Code. Civic Vision received the 1992 American Planning Association National Planning Award for Comprehensive Planning. He holds degrees in city planning and political science from Yale College, city planning from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and business administration from Cleveland State University. He has taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and at Cleveland State.
Chief Strategy Officer, Pittsburg State University
Dr. Shawn Naccarato serves as Chief Strategy Officer at Pittsburg State University. In this role, he leads the university’s efforts in the areas of strategic partnerships, economic development, and community relations.
Mary Ann Pacelli
Acting Division Chief, Network Leaning and Strategic Competitions
Mary Ann Pacelli has been the Program Manager, Workforce Development, at the NIST Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) for over 4 years. Her work includes advocating for Manufacturing Workforce priorities with related federal agencies and providing technical support to the network of MEP centers across the country for workforce related activities. In addition, she manages special MEP projects, and coordinates the Workforce Directors of the Manufacturing USA Institute Network, on behalf of the NIST Advanced Manufacturing Program Office. Mary Ann is moving to the position of Acting Chief of Learning Systems and Competitions to oversee the special competitions award process and develop a plan for Learning and Knowledge Sharing across the National Network.
Previously Mary Ann was Assistant Director, Workforce and Talent Development at MAGNET (Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network), an Ohio MEP affiliate center leading efforts for new business development and the delivery of training and consulting services to area manufacturers designed to improve performance of the organization. In addition, Mary Ann directed activities to access federal, regional and local funding for projects related to developing a stronger manufacturing workforce pipeline in Ohio. Ms. Pacelli’s experience in Workforce Development began working for Cuyahoga Community College’s Corporate Services Division in Cleveland Ohio. For over 28 years, Ms. Pacelli has served numerous manufacturing businesses by assessing their needs and designing and delivering customized programs to improve employee performance.
Mary Ann earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from John Carroll University, and a Master in Education, Adult Learning and Development, from Cleveland State University.
Economic Development Specialist
Stephanie Pierce serves as an Economic Development Specialist, joining the Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization in December of 2018. In this role, she manages special projects specific to companies interested in expanding or relocating to the Manhattan region. She also plans, organizes, and manages programs designed to identify economic development or corporate engagement prospects. In addition to this role at K-State, Ms. Pierce has experience in administration within the Office of the Vice President for Research. Prior to joining K-State, Ms. Pierce had several entrepreneurial endeavors and worked in small business. Ms. Pierce earned her master’s degree in Business Administration and her bachelor’s degree in Marketing, both from Kansas State University.
UEDA President-Elect | Director of Educational Partnerships Development & Special University Projects California State University, Northridge
Julia Potter is the Director of Educational Partnerships Development & Special University Projects at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). Her responsibilities include a wide-range of external relations activities including establishing university-wide partnerships with businesses and industries for contracted applied research and customized workforce development programs, developing relationships for grants and sponsored programs and fostering regional economic and community development initiatives. She serves as the point-of-contact for CSUN’s Elevate Campaign, a business development strategy conceived by campus leadership when state funding was significantly reduced. She is a key stakeholder in the CSUN Innovates! initiative, leading the CSUN Innovates! Interest Group (115+ members) and serving on the CSUN Innovates! Executive Steering Committee.
Julia serves as the campus Guide for the CSU5, an alliance of the five California State Universities in Los Angeles County. Together, the CSU5 campuses are working across institutional lines to provide enhanced educational and research opportunities as well as to be a catalyst for new models and standards for how higher education can and should play a significant role in economic and community development.
In 2016, Julia was elected the Board of Directors for the University Economic Development Association (UEDA). Her Board activities include serving as planning lead for UEDA’s 2017 Annual Summit hosted by the CSU5 in Long Beach, chairing the 2018 UEDA Awards of Excellence committee (the Awards of Excellence program recognizes cutting-edge university-based economic development initiatives from across North America) and chairing the 2019 Annual Summit committee. She is currently serving as the President-elect for UEDA, becoming President in October 2019.
Julia serves as the campus designee for the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) Commission on Economic and Community Engagement (CECE). In 2018, CSUN received the APLU CECE Innovation and Economic Prosperity University (IEP) designation and Julia was a key contributor to that successful effort. Additionally, in 2018, she was appointed to a two-year term of service as one of two Los Angeles County representatives for the 10-county AMP SoCal partnership created by the Federal I.M.C.P. designation awarded to the region to advance manufacturing in Southern California.
Julia has worked for CSUN for over ten years in various roles. Prior to her current role, she served the University as the Director for Strategic Partnerships & Special Initiatives in the Office of the President and as the Director of External Relations for the Tseng College of Extended Learning, the entrepreneurial self-support college at CSUN. She was also the accreditation compliance lead for the Tseng College and served on the University’s re-accreditation committee, a three-year appointment.
Before launching her career at CSUN, Julia worked in the private sector doing business development and stockholder relations for a privately held company as well as in the non-profit sector as a fundraiser.
Julia holds a B.F.A in Theatre Arts from Southern Methodist University.
UEDA Vice President | Director, Office of Economic Development, Virginia Tech
John Provo is the director of Virginia Tech’s Office of Economic Development. Provo provides leadership for the university in the design and implementation of its economic engagement mission. A “pracademic,” he has more than 15 years of experience in higher education and government. He builds relationships between businesses, communities, and the university and leads a team that delivers applied research projects that create economic opportunities.
Provo received his Ph.D. from the School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University. He received a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1999 and a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary in 1989. While in Richmond, he worked for Virginia’s Secretary of Commerce and Trade on implementation of revisions to the state’s workforce development system.
Chris Reilly leads workforce development and education programs for Tesla, focusing on the expansion of Gigafactory 1, a battery and motor manufacturing facility in Nevada. Over the past two years, his team has launched several programs to develop the next generation of engineers in Nevada, providing high school graduates the opportunity to start full-time careers at Tesla, college students to get hands-on, robotics work experience at Gigafactory 1, and Nevadans to learn advanced manufacturing fundamentals through partnerships with schools and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Most recently, Chris managed Tesla’s $37.5 million investment into Nevada K-12 education over five years. Prior to Tesla, Chris worked at Apple for almost a decade in San Francisco, Shanghai, and London in roles across Product Merchandising, Program Management, and Finance.
Director of Economic Development
Rebecca is the Director of Economic Development at the Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization, where she leads the organization’s partnership with Knowledge-Based Economic Development. Ms. Robinson focuses on recruiting or expanding businesses to the region through research-based relationships with K-State. She has participated in recruiting 18 technology-based companies, creating over 500 jobs and a projected economic impact of over $77 million. In addition, Ms. Robinson has stimulated university multidisciplinary research and industry collaboration through coordination of over 25 strategic events. She consults with emerging companies to provide strategy and business plan development, facilitating over $750,000 in corporate sponsored research and $55.8 million in investment capital raised. Ms. Robinson has garnered international recognition for her economic development efforts at K-State. Ms. Robinson earned her master’s in Business Administration, her bachelor’s in Marketing, Spanish, and Leadership Studies, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Leadership Communication from K-State.
Director, Innevation Center/Entrepreneur In Residence, University of Nevada, Reno
Jim Sacherman was fortunate to begin his career in Silicon Valley in the early 80’s. Starting as a boutique design and engineering consultancy, Palo Alto Products grew into an international manufacturer with revenues in excess of $100M. After some addition entrepreneurial success and failures, Jim relocated to Nevada where until a few weeks ago he was Director of the University of Nevada Reno Innevation Center, powered by Switch.
Interim Director of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development
Kristopher Sanchez is the Interim Executive Director of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), which promotes the state’s economic growth. Mr. Sanchez was appointed to the position in April 2019 by Gov. Steve Sisolak. Before accepting the position as interim executive director, Mr. Sanchez was GOED’s Director of International Trade since 2013 and had been the office’s Southern Nevada Regional Director.
While leading the International Trade Team, Mr. Sanchez oversaw and organized Governor-led trade missions to 14 countries to enhance Nevada exports and develop relationships with major overseas businesses. Prior to joining GOED, Mr. Sanchez was a legislative assistant for a Nevada Congressman and later a field representative for a California Congressman. Mr. Sanchez worked closely with Congressional committee staff, policy experts, federal agencies, community organizations and Nevada state officials on a diverse range of issues and legislation affecting Nevada.
In his current role, Mr. Sanchez has met with business and community leaders around the state in every community as he oversees the creation of Nevada’s new economic plan.
Mr. Sanchez has a master’s degrees in public administration and military history from Norwich University, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from California State University, Stanislaus. He lives in Las Vegas with his wife and two sons.
Director, Research Communications
As director of research communications, Jane Tors contributes to the University of Nevada, Reno’s reputation and capacity as a high-impact research university and an economic cornerstone for Nevada. Before moving to this part-time role in 2016, Jane was the University’s director of communications for 11 years, a dynamic period of growth and achievement for the University. Her prior work experience includes a decade with northern Nevada’s largest healthcare organization where she served as communications director.
Jane is accredited in public relations (APR) by the national Public Relations Society of America. She is a former president and honoree of the Sierra Nevada Chapter of PRSA. She serves on the Nevada Humanities Board of Directors, the Nevada Land Trust Board of Trustees and the KUNR Community Leadership Board. She formerly served on the University’s Reynolds School of Journalism Advisory Council and the Nevada Women’s Fund Board of Directors, and was volunteer public relations chair for the 2009 International Science and Engineering Fair hosted in Reno. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Nevada, Reno.
A recognized thought and action leader, Dr. James K. (Jim) Woodell helps to realize the economic and societal impact of higher education. He provides professional services to institutions of higher education, and to their current and prospective partners in the private, civic, and government sectors. Dr. Woodell most recently served as vice president for economic development and community engagement at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). Woodell has over 30 years’ experience working in educational contexts, and earned a PhD in higher education from Penn State University, a master’s degree in education from Harvard University, and a bachelor’s degree in communications from Syracuse University.
Welcome to Reno-Tahoe
A trip to Reno-Tahoe puts everything you could want – good food, arts and culture, outdoor adventures galore – at your fingertips. Grab a bike and cruise through Reno for some urban flavor, then take the short drive to Lake Tahoe for some fresh air.