Meet the Judges
Maryland’s most prominent academicians, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors, attorneys, business executives and advisors will serve as judges for the InvestMaryland Challenge. Let’s meet them.
IT Hardware & Software Judges
Shirley Collier is the CEO of Optemax, LLC, and TechGrowth, Inc. She is a nationally known speaker, author, technology entrepreneur, philanthropist and advocate for economic development. For over 25 years, she has worked in technology research, university, government, and private industry including starting, managing, growing and selling a number of small technology firms since 1989. Prior to forming her own companies, Shirley held IT management positions for 8 years.
Chuck Cullen is a General Partner at Grotech Ventures, an early-stage Venture Capital firm. His investment activities focus on enterprise software, e-commerce and healthcare IT. Chuck previously worked as a management consultant on Fortune 500 engagements for A.T. Kearney, Inc., practiced law with Hogan and Hartson and served as the Chief Financial Officer of Avatech Solutions, Inc., an IT solutions provider serving the design automation market.
Culbreath is Director of Information Technology for BITHGROUP, Technologies, Inc., an energy engineering and technical services consulting firm. He is a certified project manager and IT professional with over 20 years of experience. Culbreath is providing support to the Maryland Department of General Services as a Program Manager for an energy management web development project.
Ms. Djamshidi is the Founder and CEO of Speedshift Ventures. She was most recently the Executive Director of the Chesapeake Innovation Center (CIC) and was able to transform the program into a valuable resource for tech startups. During her tenure, Ms. Djamshidi oversaw all of the CIC’s activities and mentored the member companies. Ms. Djamshidi has also been an adjunct professor and lecturer with the A. James Clark School of Engineering.
G. Reza Djavanshir
Reza Djavanshir, Doctor of Science in Systems Engineering and Engineering Management, joined the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School in 2002. He is an Associate Professor with expertise in the areas of Global Sourcing and Supply Chains, Technology Transfer & Strategic Planning, Technology Institutionalization, Auto-poetic Meta-Systems Design, and Systems Integration strategies. He was also the winner of the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School Excellence in Teaching Award in 2010.
Ethan Byler has spent his career supporting the growth of entrepreneurial enterprises. Most recently, Ethan was the Manager of Engineering for Global Development at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers where he managed innovation programs that impact ASME’s role in impacting humankind through developing technology solutions that target the 4 billion people living on less than $4 per day.
Bernadette Goovaerts is a Business Development Manager for the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development. She is responsible for growing the entrepreneurship programs in Montgomery County and catalyzing the IT sector. She works with existing companies, startups and new companies. Ms. Goovaerts has fifteen years of experience assisting high tech companies in the life science, IT and telecommunications, aerospace and defense industries. She has lead the international business development efforts with missions to foreign trade and partnering conferences in the life sciences and advanced technology domains.
Mr. Doub joined New Markets Venture Partners in 2003 and is a General Partner. Robb is the lead administrative partner and serves as a board director for eCoast Sales Solutions and Appfluent Technology, and is lead partner or board observer for K2 Global, Kroll Bond Ratings, Navtrak (sold to Telogis), Three Stage Media, CSA Medical and TidalTV. He also serves on the board of Egeen International and the Conflicts Advisory Board of the off-shore hedge funds.
Mr. Grovic co-founded New Markets Venture Partners in 2003 and is a General Partner. Mark serves or has served on the Board of Directors for Innovative Biosensors, Lightningcast (sold to NYSE: TWX), Moodlerooms (sold to Blackboard) and Workspace.com. Mark also serves as a board observer for Aldagen (sold to Cytomedix CMXI), Andera, BioSET, Overture Technologies, Paratek Microwave (sold to RIM), Questar Assessment, and Vision Chain.
Ms. Hemmerly is Executive Director and President of the UMBC Research Park Corporation and Special Assistant to the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). She is responsible for overseeing a 520,000 SF high technology research and technology park (bwtech@UMBC) which includes three incubators, an accelerator and research park, and two technology commercialization programs (ACTiVATE and INNoVATE).
Howard is founder and Managing Member of the MJH Group, a private investment and management consulting firm. He is also a Board Member and Sub-Committee Chair of the Maryland Venture Fund Authority and served as an Advisory Board Member to the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center.
Mr Lee is Managing Partner at Brightwood Management Partners, LLC which is an investment and business advisory firm for middle market companies, institutional investors, entrepreneurs, and entertainment partners. Mr. Lee is currently a co-chair of the Venture Capital Access Program (VCAP). He also was a member of a delegation of senior U.S. business leaders that participated in the Committee of 100′s Greater China business conference in Beijing.
Levine is Managing Director of Core Capital Partners, a Washington DC based venture capital firm with $350 million under management. An active venture investor for 25 years Levine was an early investor in webMethods, one of the most successful software IPOs in NASDAQ history.
A chartered financial analyst, Luck is Managing Director of Core Capital with a primary focus on the firm’s new media, networking infrastructure and information technology sectors. He has been an advisor to and an investor in emerging technology companies as an investment banker and venture capitalist since 1994.
Robert is Vice President of Business Development, Marketing and Communications for ARINC. Responsibilities include corporate strategic planning, acquisitions, technology evaluation, market research, business case development. In addition, Robert has recently assumed responsibility for the overall corporate marketing and communications for ARINC.
Dr. Koll is an entrepreneur and information scientist with over 30 years of experience in search, social media and related fields. He is Chairman and Co-Founder of 410 Labs, the developers of Mailstrom, Shortmail and Replyz. He is a member of Active Angels and Baltimore Angels investment groups and coaches entrepreneurs in the NVTC FastTrac program.
CEO and a founding partner of Smartronix, Mr. Parris has 24 years of experience in the Department of Defense Information Technology industry. His diverse technical background and successful history in business operations, strategy development, and Government contracting has assisted him in establishing Smartronix as one of the fastest growing companies in the Washington DC metropolitan area and the U.S.
Mr. Siddiqui is the President and CEO of Scientific Systems & Software International Corporation. He has over 26 years of Management and Information Technology experience. His career in IT started in the early 80s, and spans from software and development to corporate management. Special skills include software product development, strategic planning of complex programs, project management, and contracting and business operations.
Ms. Belkis Leong-Hong is the Founder, President, and CEO of Knowledge Advantage Inc., a small woman-owned business specializing in delivery of IT And Knowledge Management Solutions. Ms. Leong-Hong is a strategist and a change agent. As a former career flag-equivalent senior executive in DOD, Ms. Leong-Hong has held a number of high-level positions in DOD including Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for (C3I) and the Principal Director and CIO at the Defense Security Service (DSS). She is a published author of a technical book, dozens of technical refereed articles; as well as keynoter on leadership.
With a background of over 25 years’ experience in strategic and consultative business development, Patrick brings excellent leadership to his role as Program Director to the Howard County Tech Council; and as an Advisor to early stage companies. Patrick was also the Managing Director, Strategic Development at the CSO Breakfast Club; Vice President of Business Development at Sabera; and the National Sales Director for Lawson Software at Ernst & Young Technologies. Patrick currently holds an inactive Top Secret/SSBI Clearance, and is an active member of Infragard Maryland.
Mr. Kohr is a founding member and Chief Executive Officer of Evergreen Advisors LLC. He has over 25 years of experience in advising early stage growth and middle market, closely-held companies. He serves on the Board of Directors for: Acuity Mobile, Inc., Butler Capital Corporation, ICAT Logistics, Inc., MetaSource, Pathsensors, Inc., Emerging Technology Council, and held past Board of Directors positions with various entities including: e.magination network LLC, Platform Logic Inc., Hi-Tech Fasteners Inc., and Maryland Development Technology Center (MDTC).
Life Science Judges
Bendis is founding President and CEO of Innovation America (IA), a Global Innovation Intermediary focused on accelerating growth of America’s entrepreneurial innovation economy. He is also President and CEO of BioHealth Innovation, engaged in commercializing innovations from Federal Labs, Universities, Industry spinouts and Entrepreneurs in the region.
Ted Abraham is the Associate Dean for Research (National Capital Region) at Johns Hopkins Medicine and the Vice-chief of Cardiology at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He is a board certified cardiologist with a faculty appointment in the Johns Hopkins Division of Cardiology and an affiliate appointment in the Johns Hopkins Institute for Computational Medicine. He serves on the clinical advisory board of the Johns Hopkins Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design. He has founded several academic and clinical programs at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Todd Chappell is currently an Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) at the NIH. As the first EIR at NIH, he will assist the Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) in the evaluation of existing technologies, provide an entrepreneurial perspective to OTT in its evaluation of new licensing proposals from start-up companies, advise OTT on opportunities for new ventures based on NIH/Food & Drug Administration (FDA) technologies, assist with developmental strategies, and mentor scientists to help ensure their research becomes commercially valuable.
Selma C. Kunitz
Selma has over 35 years of proven ability in applying innovative methodology, technology, and organizational structures to clinical studies. She currently serves as the founder, Senior Research Scientist and Former President for several ongoing NIH contracts and in this role leads KAI efforts to develop quality assurance guidelines, checklists for investigator conduct of clinical trials, data and safety monitoring boards (DSMBs) and procedures, common data elements and data warehouses. She has a B.A., in Economics from the University of Rochester, an M.S., in Management Information Systems and Organization Development from American University and a Ph.D., in Public Health (Behavioral Science/Social Epidemiology) from Johns Hopkins University.
David’s career in biotechnology and biomedical product development spans over 30 years as a researcher, research manager, consultant, entrepreneur and officer of several start-up biotech companies. He was trained in chemical engineering at the Universities of Cincinnati and Michigan and was a post-doctoral fellow in biochemistry at Purdue University. He then joined Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio where he conducted and managed research on more than 100 projects over a 12-year period.
Dubin is a Senior Advisor to DSM Nutritional Products advising on mergers and acquisitions. He also chairs the Maryland Economic Development Commission. and is a member of the Board of Visitors of the University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering.
Landon S. King, M.D., is the David Marine Professor of Medicine and Biological Chemistry, and Director of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and is the Vice Dean for Research at JHU. Dr. King completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Hopkins on the Osler Medical Service, where he served as an Assistant Chief of Service. As a postdoctoral fellow in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, he studied aquaporin water channels with 2003 Nobel Laureate Peter Agre. Dr. King joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor in 2005, and became a Professor in 2010.
Kenneth C. Carter
Dr. Carter is a co-founder and the Chairman of Noble Life Sciences, Inc., a biotechnology service company focused on pre-clinical drug discovery and development that also serves as a platform for incubating product oriented biotechnology companies. He also serves as CEO of NexImmune Inc., a start-up company that is developing human therapeutic products He also co-founded Avalon Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:AVRX) in January 1999 and served as CEO for 10 years until 2009 when Avalon merged with Clinical Data, Inc. Prior to that, Dr. Carter directed the gene mapping initiative at Human Genome Sciences, Inc.
Ms. Sirinakis has more than 20 years of experience creating and growing companies and a proven track record as an early-stage investor and senior executive in various technology and life science companies in the Mid-Atlantic region. She is the co-founder and Managing Partner of Rock Spring Ventures, LP a Maryland-based early stage life science venture fund targeting companies in under-ventured regions of the US and UK.
Mr. Smith is the Head of Therapeutic Solutions at the Lonza Group. During his tenure, he has expanded Cell Therapy manufacturing business, and secured multiple US government contracts. Prior to working with the Lonza Group, Mr. Smith was the Vice President of Cell Therapy Services at Cambrex Corporation, where he also established multiple manufacturing sites.
Dr. Thompson joined the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School in 2002. She is an Associate Professor in the practice track with expertise in the role of character and human values in business, society, and corporate culture. She is a former Secretariat of the International Society of Business, Economics, and Ethics, sponsor of the quadrennial World Congress of Business, Economics, and Ethics.
President & CEO, PharmAthene, Inc., Mr. Richman has extensive experience in the development and commercialization of novel biotechnology-based therapeutics, including work at MedImmune, Inc. and Healthcare Ventures. He was part of the founding team at MedImmune, holding various administrative, financial, strategic planning, and marketing and international positions and was responsible for the U.S. launch of MedImmune’s first commercial product.
Dr. Connolly is the Director of the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS), an award winning program of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) at the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland. The Maryland Industrial Partnerships program accelerates the commercialization of technology in Maryland by providing matching funds for collaborative R&D projects between companies and University System of Maryland faculty.
Gloria Jacobovitz, Ph.D, is an innovative entrepreneur with expertise in business and technology consulting. Ms. Jacobovitz is currently the Program Director at the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, which focuses on igniting an entrepreneurial culture, connecting the layers, and growing the entrepreneurial ecosystem across the state of Maryland. Ms. Jacobovitz holds a Ph.D in Physics, and MS in Biotechnology.
Youseph Yazdi is the Executive Director at Johns Hopkins Center for Bioengineering Innovation & Design, Program Director at Johns Hopkins – Coulter Translational Partnership, and Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins Department for Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Yazdi has over 26 years of experience focused on early-stage medical technology development. Since joining Johns Hopkins University in 2009, Dr Yazdi has led several programs focused on early-stage medical innovation.
Jane Shaab serves as Assistant Vice President for Economic Development, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Executive Director UM BioPark and Senior Vice President and Secretary of the UM Health Sciences Research Park Corporation. Ms. Shaab has been associated with the University of Maryland for eleven years. Ms. Shaab served as Senior Director of Business Development for the Office of Research and Development and Senior Director of Corporate Relations for the University’s Office of External Affairs before joining the pre-project development team for the UM BioPark.
Jill A. Tarzian Sorensen
Jill A. Tarzian Sorensen is a senior innovation manager with over twenty-five years of experience in emerging technology, intellectual asset, business and economic development management. She is the Executive Director of BEVI, the Baltimore-Washington Electric Vehicle Initiative, a division of the non-profit International Center for Sustainable Development. As a clean energy advocate, Jill also serves as a Board Member and, currently, Vice Chair of the Maryland Clean Energy Center, and member of the Maryland Electric Vehicle Council, both by appointment of Governor Martin O’Malley.
Mojdeh Bahar, J.D., M.A., CLP
Mojdeh Bahar is the Chief of the Cancer Branch at the Office of Technology Transfer, NIH where she leads a group of Licensing and Patenting Managers responsible for patenting and licensing NIH and FDA inventions in the areas of cancer, gene therapy, and biological response modifiers. She also serves as the Chair of the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC). She has spoken nationally and internationally on a wide spectrum of topics ranging from restriction practice, double patenting, and claim drafting to technology commercialization, business development, and licensing.
Ms. Pettengill is currently the Vice President of the Greater Baltimore Committee. She coordinates efforts to enhance growth of the bioscience industry in Maryland by building a network of stakeholders to address barriers. Ms. Pettengill was formally the Director of Development Communications at the University of Maryland, and the Associate Vice Chancellor of Public Affairs at North Carolina State University. Ms. Pettengill was also named one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women in 2005 and 2008.
Owner and president of Ausley Associates Inc., Ausley specializes in unmanned air systems and fighter aircraft acquisition and engineering management. The company has over 100 employees with program management, system engineering and logistics expertise. The former U.S. Navy Flight Officer has 15 years of management experience in the defense industry.
Dion D. Banks
Banks is Director of Governmental Affairs of Cambridge International. He has been responsible for the development of Cambridge Environmental Technologies, positioning Cambridge as a supplier in the gasification market and the development of a self-cleaning electrostatic precipitator.
Darmody is Associate Vice President for Research and Economic Development, Director of Corporate Relations, and Special Assistant Vice Chancellor for Technology Development, University System of Maryland. He is responsible for developing linkages with private and government sectors, and developing projects funding opportunities and policies to support these initiatives.
Greg Cangialosi is an entrepreneur and early stage investor based in Baltimore, MD. Most recently Greg is a co-founder of Betamore, a Baltimore based urban campus for technology and entrepreneurship. Prior to that his company, Blue Sky Factory, a leading email marketing service provider was acquired by WhatCounts. Greg is also currently the managing director of both the Baltimore Angel’s and Nucleus Ventures.
Daniel R. Wallace
Wallace is Director of Renewable Energy Systems, BITHENERGY, Inc., an energy engineering and technical services consulting firm. He is an energy engineer, project manager and business consultant with over 10 years of experience. Recent projects include a 700KW solar array for Baltimore-based Chimes, International.
Ms. Martin is currently an Associate Professor at the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Maryland. She is also a visiting Research Scholar at Princeton University, and her research includes computational fluid dynamics, numerical simulation of turbulent flows, and direct numerical and large eddy simulation. Ms. Martin was an Assistant Professor at Princeton before joining the University of Maryland, and received the Alfred Rheinstein’11 Faculty Award in May 2007.
Julie Lenzer Kirk is the Director of the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship based in Columbia, Maryland which is focused on igniting the entrepreneurial culture and bringing together the entrepreneurial ecosystem across the state. She is also the co-founder and former CEO of the Path Forward Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a nonprofit that helps women expand economic opportunity by starting and building growth-oriented businesses.
Donald C. Fry has been the president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC), the central Maryland region’s most prominent organization of business and civic leaders, since November 2002. Fry served as GBC executive vice president from 1999 to 2002. From 1980 to 1999 Fry was engaged in a private law practice in Harford County. He is one of only a handful of legislators to have served on each of the major budget committees of the General Assembly.
Vice President and Director of Business Development for the Direct Energy and Radiological Detection Research Operation at SAIC, Molino leads marketing efforts across the government funded research customer set. He also works with the company’s customer base to develop plans to transition research projects to operational use both commercial and inside the Department of Defense.
Mike Thielke has been a lifelong entrepreneur, starting his first business at the age of 23 in 1977. Mr. Thielke is currently the Executive Director for the Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center. His entry into nonprofit activity, and most rewarding life experience, began with the Schooner Sultana project in Chestertown, MD as the founding Executive Director responsible for creating the organization and capital campaign.
Mr. Twele is currently the Executive Vice President of Business Development for Howard County. Larry focuses on business and real estate development. Prior to this position, Mr. Twele served as the Director of Carroll County’s Department of Economic Development for more than six years, and held numerous other positions focusing on Economic Development. Mr. Twele attended both the University of Maryland and Loyola University.
Stephen M. Rice
Stephen M. Rice is currently the Vice President of Business Development for The Howard County Economic Development Authority. Mr. Rice brings to the Authority years of experience from an Economic Development Policy Analyst for the Manhattan Borough President’s Office to the Greater Baltimore Urban League as their Director of Economic Development Projects. He has served on a variety of local civic commissions and currently serves as a Captain in the Maryland Defense Force.
Timothy E. Harwood
Timothy E. Harwood had been the Business Development Manager for the Howard County Economic Development Authority, supporting businesses within the county and those looking to relocate their operation to or within Howard County Maryland since 2010. Most recently he served as the Director of Marketing and Events at the Howard County Chamber of Commerce. Prior to his position with the Chamber of Commerce, Harwood was the Director of Business Development at Stewart Technologies, Inc.
Mr. Rosenbaum is an accomplished finance and operations executive with a 30 year history of building and managing high performance teams and organizations. As President and Executive Director of TEDCO, he is responsible for the strategic and operational leadership to ensure its position as a national leader in technology transfer from academic and federal research labs, as a seed and early-stage investor and as a provider of entrepreneurial business assistance.
Jason Hardebeck is a serial entrepreneur and has been a founder and senior executive in a number of venture- and angel-backed startups. He founded and sold WhoGlue to Facebook in 2011 and currently serves as the Executive Director of gb.tc Greater Baltimore Technology Council. He also served five years of active duty in the U. S. Navy as a nuclear-qualified surface warfare officer. Jason holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and an MS in Business from Johns Hopkins University.
Elana Fine was appointed Managing Director of the Dingman Center in July 2012, after joining the team in 2010 as Director of Venture Investments. As Managing Director, Elana’s primary focus is leading the Dingman Center in support of its mission and strategic plan. Key responsibilities include oversight of our student venture incubator, Dingman Center Angels investor network, business competitions, and technology commercialization efforts.
Anthony C. Nelson
Anthony C. Nelson is the dean of the College of Business at Bowie State University. He is responsible for overall operation of the college, and led the partnership between the Bowie Business Innovation Center, the City of Bowie, and Bowie State University to house the Center within the College of Business. Prior to joining Bowie State University, he was the dean of the College of Business at Grambling State University. He has held various systems development and project management positions with manufacturing firms and the banking industry.
Sally Sternbach is Executive Director of Rockville Economic Development, Inc. Since she began in early 2003, she has launched the Rockville Women’s Business Center, gained approval for a hotel for Rockville Town Center, participated in successful bids for Choice Hotels and MesoScale Diagnostics headquarters, initiated the Rockville Innovation Center which today houses 35 start-ups, and created a women’s business plan competition with $20,000 in annual cash prizes and an annual Postdoc Conference and Career Fair for 500 S.T.E.M. postdocs. In her prior life, she spent 18 years with AT&T.
Jay G. Cohen has more than 20 years’ experience representing venture capital and private equity funds in connection with their fund formation, portfolio company investments, and exit transactions. He has represented clients in more than 50 venture capital and private equity investments. Mr. Cohen also actively represents early and later stage companies in connection with their funding and expansion requirements, in addition to their day-to-day operational needs. Admitted to practice in Maryland and the District of Columbia, Mr. Cohen is a graduate, with honors, of George Washington University Law School.
Art Jacoby is an award-winning, well known small business expert based in Baltimore, Maryland. He is currently the Managing Partner at MD Cyber Investment Partners, and Principal at JACOBY. Since 1986, Mr. Jacoby has advised several hundred small business owners, raised capital, and sourced and negotiated acquisitions and divestitures. He has been honored as the recipient of Smart CEO’s 2006 Top Advisor Award and the Greater Baltimore Technology Council’s 2005 Connector of the Year Award.
Kirby Fowler is President of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, Inc., a nonprofit corporation working to make Downtown Baltimore a destination of choice for businesses, employees, residents, and visitors. During his tenure, The Partnership has revitalized parks, promoted new housing and retail, retained and attracted employers, implemented new transit strategies, assisted the homeless, and launched an initiative to reimagine Pratt Street, Baltimore’s main boulevard.