2018 Program

Agenda Item
8:00 - 9 am
Registration, light breakfast, networking in Technology Showcase
9:00 - 10 am
Morning Keynote
Morning Keynote

The Human Touch: How Bio-inspired Design and Advanced Fabrication Are Revolutionizing Robotics
Society’s technological progress has always been defined by materials. We have advanced through the Stone, Bronze, and Iron Ages, into the current “Age of Silicon.” The next stage of human technological evolution will begin when we gain precise control over the three-dimensional arrangement of elements within a composite architecture. This talk will reveal how that future has already begun, with the advent of 3D printing for multifunctional composite materials. Learn about cutting-edge innovation happening today in the Organic Robotics Laboratory at Cornell University, where Prof. Shepherd and his team use 3D printing to fabricate mechanical, optical, electrical, and energy functional materials and structures that are enabling the next generation of automation. The Lab is exploring the use of advanced materials to produce revolutionary new “soft” robots that can feel, change color, and interact safely with humans. See what will soon be possible for prosthetic hands, robot end effectors—even touch interfaces for virtual reality simulations. 

  • Rob Shepherd, Organic Robotics Lab, Cornell University
    Rob Shepherd

    Rob Shepherd heads Cornell University’s Organic Robotics Lab (ORL). The lab focuses on cutting-edge bioinspired robotic design, creating synthetic adaptations of natural physiology to improve both the function and autonomy of machines. His work addresses four primary research areas: bioinspired robotics, haptic interfaces, soft sensors and displays, and advanced manufacturing. Professor Shepherd uses soft materials, mechanical design, and novel fabrication methods to replicate sensory organs, like dermal papillae (the ridges in fingerprints); to replicate organs that rely on actuation, such as the heart; and to power soft actuators and robots. He is the recent recipient of an Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Award, and an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award. Professor Shepherd’s work has been featured in popular media outlets such as the BBC, Discovery Channel, and PBS’s NOVA science documentary series.

10:15 - 11:15 am
Morning Workshops
Biotech Innovation

Targeted Collaboration Equates to Increased Opportunities
The Harvard Business Review reported earlier this year about the importance and success of industry clusters which are positioned near major research universities, such as Silicon Valley, Minneapolis and Boston and that this movement has accelerated. However, rather than "monitoring early stage research and pouncing when something of interest emerges, smart companies increasingly seed (invest) in areas of interest to them." Targets to successful partnerships include flexible patent licensing, good faith negotiation, cultivated shared long-term programs within the institution and seeding early-stage research.

This panel of university, industry and business development representatives will discuss how corporations partner in translating discovery to practice, how universities attract industry partnership, and how these relationships positively impact the corporate partner, the university and regional economic development.

Panel Lead

  • Alisa Salibra, Sr. Director, Vital Signs Strategic Business Unit, Welch Allyn
    Alisa  Salibra

    Alisa Salibra is responsible for creating a long-term vision and accountable for developing and executing new product development, global marketing strategies, and portfolio lifecycle management.

    Salibra joined Welch Allyn in 2002 as an associate product manager and has held several roles of increasing responsibility managing business performance and transforming analysis and insights into global product and marketing solutions.  Prior to joining Welch Allyn, she was a consultant in the Pharmaceutical, Biomedical, and Health Services group at leading consulting firm. 

    She joined the Central New York Biotech Accelerator (CNYBAC) advisory board in 2016 and also volunteers her time as a board member for the Labrador Mountain Ski Team and the Skaneateles Elementary Parent Teacher Committee.    

    Salibra earned her bachelor of science in Administration of Health Services, summa cum laude, from Ithaca College and her Master of Business Administration degree from Georgetown University’s highly ranked McDonough School of Business. 


  • David Eilers, Adjunct/MBA@Syracuse, Whitman School of Management, Syracuse University
    David  Eilers

    Dave Eilers is an enterprise leader focused on the convergence of technology development, innovation process and user engagement. Over the course of his career Dave has pioneered new products, opened new international markets and developed new business models in the healthcare industry through his work with the Marmon Group of companies and InterV Medical/ Roundtable Healthcare Partners, resulting in a $785 Million acquisition. In 2008, Dave applied his interest in Open Innovation to the co-founding of Blue Highway, LLC; a technology accelerator focused on creating early diagnosis of adverse health conditions. In 2013, Dave helped launch the Life Reimagined Institute for AARP, focused on improving the social determinants of health for people 50+ through millions of digital interactions and nearly fifty thousand live in-person seminars. Most recently, Dave was asked by leaders at the American Hospital Association (AHA) to co-develop and teach a practical innovation curriculum for AHA’s member hospitals which can prototype novel solutions in a ninety-day period.

                Outside of his consulting practice, Dave is an Adjunct in Syracuse University’s Online MBA program teaching Corporate Entrepreneurship, serves on the Board of Advisors for Lexington Wellness Holdings; and is a volunteer Board Member for the Lwala Community Alliance which pioneers health and wellness programs in rural Africa. Dave often speaks to innovation communities interested in the design thinking process and commercialization of emergent technologies.

  • David Quinn, Chief Scientist, Welch Allyn
    David Quinn

    David Quinn is currently a Chief Scientist at Welch Allyn, a part of the Front-Line Care division of Hill-Rom. David has over 30 years of experience in the design and development of medical diagnostic devices and sensors. He holds over 125 US and International patents and is recognized in Welch Allyn’s Patent Hall of Fame. David is serving his second term as Co-Chair of the US AAMI Blood Pressure Committee as well as serving as a subject matter expert on the International Standards Organization writing groups for Blood Pressure and Thermometry standards. As an adjunct instructor in the Biomedical and Chemical Engineering Graduate department at Syracuse University, David was presented with the 2016 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Engineering Education.

  • Michael V. Testani, Director of Industrial Outreach, Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science, Binghamton University
    Michael V.  Testani

    Michael Testani has over 30 year of industry experience in electronics, micro-electronics, electronic systems, consulting and education industries working with large, small and start-up businesses, and 25+ years of experience directing industry-academia collaboration resulting in Intellectual Property development and dramatic Business Value (ROI) realization. He has led Global Continuing Education and Professional Development programs and is an industry Consultant in Strategy, Transformation, Leadership, Learning & Developing a Culture of Inclusion and Collaboration. Michael holds an MS in Systems Science and Industrial Engineering from Binghamton University Watson School of Engineering and a BS in Ceramic Engineering with Physics minor from Alfred University.

  • Win Thurlow, Executive Director, MedTech
    Win Thurlow

    Win is the Executive Director of the MedTech Association, New York's trade organization for the BioMed Industry and the President and CEO of Enterprise Excellence, a firm dedicated to assisting businesses, universities, not-for-profits, municipalities and healthcare providers ensure regulatory compliance and build cultures that reflect ethical principles and institutional integrity.

    Previously, Win was Vice President for University Compliance and Ethics at SUNY Upstate Medical University where he oversaw the development and implementation of all university policies; coordinated and directed enforcement of regulations and policies related to ethics, compliance, institutional integrity and conflicts of interest; and developed and delivered education and training programs. He also served as the university's Enterprise Risk Management Officer and its Internal Controls Officer. 

    Win has also worked in various capacities in state government, most notably as Assistant Attorney General-in-Charge for the New York Attorney General from 1999 to 2007. There he managed the AG's Central New York regional office and was responsible for enforcement of state regulatory requirements and the management of litigation, both affirmative and defensive. He began his legal career in private practice, where he specialized in civil litigation and bankruptcy.

    Win has a J.D. degree from Georgetown University Law Center and a B.A. from Union College.

Manufacturing Excellence

Journey to Oz, the Land of the Future Manufacturing Company
Dorothy knew she wasn’t in Kansas anymore when she emerged from her tornado blown house into Oz. The manufacturing company of the future will see changes almost as radical. Wonders will abound, as will lions and tigers and bears. Oh, my! Like the Munchkins, the main inhabitants will be different from what we have been used to. By 2020, just 2 years away, almost 50% of the workforce will be millennials and by 2025 that percentage is expected to reach 75%.  Fortunately, millennials were born to live in manufacturing’s Oz, a wondrous technology-enabled world filled with collaborative robots, automation, gamification, artificial intelligence, and limitless connectivity.  Discover what these changes will mean for companies trying to navigate the new landscape and arrive in Oz… without the tornado.

Panel Lead

  • Scott Laundry, Senior Project Manager, Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, TDO
    Scott Laundry

    Scott leverages over 25 years of experience with manufacturing and a strong engineering and management background in his current role as Senior Project Manager for TDO.  Scott earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Lowell and a Master of Science in Engineering Management from Syracuse University. He is a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt and a TWI Institute certified trainer in TWI Job Methods, Job Relations, Job Instruction and Job Safety and Toyota Kata.

    After 4 years as a Sales and Application Engineer in the field of control and automation, Scott spent 21 years with Albany International. He played various roles  at Albany , including Plant Engineer, Manufacturing Engineering Manager, Global Raw Materials Manager and full time Lean Six Sigma Black Belt dedicated to continuous improvement. During that time Scott developed a passion for continuous improvement. He was able to teach and apply Lean Six Sigma concepts to a supply chain spanning 16 manufacturing plants in 6 countries. His role as a Senior project Manager for TDO provides him the opportunity to continue developing people and organizations. If you ask 10 different people what Scott brings to TDO and the clients he advises you might get 10 different answers. If you ask Scott it is a genuine desire to make people and companies have a better day at work and the skills to make that happen.

Technology & the Law

 Innovation and Intellectual Property – Decision Points for Startups
The importance of IP protection is well-accepted. The panel will address issues such as patent filing strategy, making decisions about international filings, trade secret protection as an alternative to patenting, and the post grant options offered by the American Invents Act.

  • John Boger, Esq.

    John Boger is a partner and head of the Medical Products/Technology Practice Group at Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti P.C. Prior to joining the firm, John was senior counsel at Capital District Physicians' Health Plan, Inc. He also was an associate with Brown & Tarantino, LLC in Rochester.

    Before attending law school, John worked for eight years at DePuy, Inc. as a product development engineer and product manager specializing in orthopaedic implant design. He also worked for DePuy-DuPont Orthopaedics, Inc. as the venture project manager, focusing on the development of advanced implantable biomaterials and medical implants.

    John is an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Rochester's Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. He also works with students at the Couri Hatchery located in the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University.

  • George McGuire, Esq.

    George McGuire concentrates his practice in all facets of intellectual property law, including, for example, patent and trademark preparation and prosecution, litigation involving intellectual property issues, patent and trademark clearance opinions, patent novelty, validity and (non)infringement opinions, due diligence investigations in merger and acquisition, asset purchase, or other financial transactions, proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board and the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, negotiating and drafting technology transfer and license agreements, and internet and computer law matters.

    George practiced for five years as a patent agent before receiving his law degree. In addition to his practice, George is also an adjunct professor at Syracuse University College of Law where he has been teaching a course on Internet Law since 2004, and prior to that taught and lectured on courses in computer law, entertainment law, trademark and unfair competition law, intellectual property and technology transfer.

  • Jack Rudnick, Esq.

    Jack Rudnick is Director of the New York State Science and Technology Law Center at the Innovation Law Center and a professor of practice at Syracuse University College of Law. He is an experienced corporate and intellectual property attorney who has been providing legal counsel for 40 years. He has extensive experience in commercializing new technologies and advising emerging technology companies. His interests are IP strategy development to maximize protection and return on investment and managing technology commercialization programs and ventures.

    Rudnick began his career as in-house counsel, first at Oneida Ltd. and then at medical device manufacturer Welch Allyn, Inc. Rudnick co-founded Blue Highway, Inc. while at Welch Allyn to locate and accelerate the development of technologies with medical applications. He is currently of counsel with Barclay Damon, LLP’s Emerging Technology Team, where he provides business and legal consultation to technology-based companies.

    In addition, Rudnick serves on the Board of Directors for MedTech Association and the Central New York Community Foundation, Inc., and the Board of Advisors of the CNY Biotech Accelerator. He received his JD from Syracuse University College of Law. He received his undergraduate degree from Middlebury College.


  • Denis Sullivan

    Denis is Barclay Damon’s Intellectual Property Practice Group leader and the co-team leader of the technology, medical devices, communications and networking technology, and emerging technologies teams. A nationally recognized intellectual property lawyer and registered patent attorney, Denis handles patent infringement disputes in federal district court and at the International Trade Commission, patent office proceedings such as inter partes reviews and reexaminations, and the preparation of patent applications.

    His experience as both a patent litigator and patent prosecutor enables Denis to successfully challenge and defend patents under the America Invents Act before the US Patent and Trademark Office. Denis regularly serves as lead counsel in IPRs of patents involved in district court litigation.

    His ability to provide clients with high-value intellectual property counsel is enhanced by his strong engineering background, which includes several years working as a licensed professional engineer. This technical experience enables Denis to handle patent matters across a wide variety of technologies and industries, including health care, telecommunications, semi-conductor manufacturing, and oil and gas.

11:30 am - 1 pm
Luncheon Keynote
Luncheon Keynote

The Future of Technology, Cybersecurity, Innovation and Our Digital World
As a kid growing up in Silicon Valley, Chris Kelly knows first-hand how technology has changed the world. Now as an angel investor, Kelly has an inside view of where technology is heading. What are the newest ideas and how are innovators planning to change the world? Based on his own experience and research, Kelly paints a picture of the future of technology and our digital world.

  • Chris Kelly, Former Chief Privacy Officer, Facebook
    Chris Kelly

    Chris Kelly is a Silicon Valley investor with a long track record of building innovative companies and making the Internet a safer place for kids and adults alike. As the first Chief Privacy Officer, General Counsel, and Head of Global Public Policy for Facebook, Chris helped the company grow from its college roots to the ubiquitous communications medium that it is today. Chris’ development of the site’s safety and security policies around real world identity and deployment of a highly-trained staff for rule and law enforcement are credited as critical elements in the company’s success.

    Chris is an active investor in companies seeking transformational improvements in technology, media, and finance. Currently, he serves as Chairman of Fandor, a San Francisco-based streaming media company focused on independent film and visual expression, and Chairman of MoviePass, a subscription-based movie ticketing service with headquarters in New York City. Chris is a co-owner or  the NBA Team Sacramento Kings. As a member of the group’s executive board, Chris contributes his expertise in technology and management to basketball operations and the Golden1 Center. Chris serves on the Board of Directors for the San Francisco 49ers Academy, an alternative public middle school in East Palo Alto, and as Chair of the New Leaders Council, a nationwide leadership training program for young progressives. Chris received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University, a master’s degree from Yale University, and his law degree from Harvard University.

    Learn more about Chris here.

1:15 - 2:15 pm
Afternoon Workshop
Biotech Innovation

Blockchain and Web 3.0: A New Landscape for Healthcare Data
With growing concerns around data privacy, information systems in the healthcare industry are prime for disruption. This presentation will explain how blockchain and distributed ledger technologies could play a key role in catalyzing these changes.

  • Ben Perry

    Ben’s career encompasses a wide breath of expertise including full stack software development, cloud computing, and blockchain technologies. Currently, he is VP of Technology at Quadrant Biosciences Inc. where he is responsible for software development efforts around the company’s functional and epigenetic assessment tools. Recently, his team brought the ClearEdge brain health assessment toolkit, an FDA 510k medical device, to market. Prior to joining Quadrant Biosciences, Ben developed software for the federal statistical system and public opinion domain. He received his master’s degree in Information Science from Cornell University.

Manufacturing Excellence

There's a Crowd in the Cloud!
Is your future “cloudy”? Learn how services and capabilities provided by industry giants like Amazon, Microsoft, Google and IBM as well as a host of other enablers are changing how companies leverage computing power and data for customer-facing and operational needs. If you don’t know your Azure from your elbow, you might want to attend. Explore the opportunities and challenges of the industrial Internet of Things and what that means to your business’ future.

  • Mike McKechney, Cloud Solutions Architect, Azure
    Mike McKechney

    Michael McKechney is currently a Cloud Solution Architect for Microsoft. Working in information technology for almost 20 years, Michael has been a part of the rapid transition that ubiquitous computing has had in the transformation many industries. His career has spanned a variety of roles from building inventory and ordering systems to managing the design and deployment of connected field hardware. In his current role at Microsoft, he helps companies understand the potential of cloud computing and the important role it will play in their digital transformation.

    Michael holds a Bachelor's degree from Clarkson University and a Master's degree from the University of Rochester.

  • Trey Talbott, Cloud Solutions Architect, Azure
    Trey Talbott

    Trey Talbott is a technology professional with a wide range of experiences across several business functions and technologies: cloud based services, patterns and consumption models, data center infrastructure technologies, systems engineering, technical sales, managed services and outsourcing, systems engineering, business development, OEM programs, systems and enterprise architecture.

    Based here in Upstate NY, Trey’s primary responsibilities are to architect solutions for Azure and help enable clients realize new business outcomes the cloud affords.

    Prior to joining Microsoft, Trey began his career at Carrier R&D in Syracuse as a software engineer and has since held various technical presales engineer and architect positions for AT&T Data Systems Group, Sun Microsystems and EMC.

Technology & the Law

Key Legal Issues for Technology Companies: Startup and Finance - Practitioners Discuss Best Practices for Founding and Financing Early Stage Companies
Setting up a new company to bring a product to market involves a myriad of legal issues. Practitioners discuss strategies to manage the issues confronted by startups, such as choice of business entity, managing equity, and issues with licensing technology.

Panel Lead

  • Molly Zimmermann

    Molly Zimmermann’s experience includes serving as an Associate Counsel to the State University of New York Upstate Medical University, handling academic, research, employment, medical staff and risk management issues. Prior to that she provided counsel to the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, and the New York City Department of Mental Health concentrating in the areas of mental health, health care and disability law. She has been acting as NYS STLC’s Associate Director since January 2008.


  • Chris Horacek

    Chris Horacek holds a J.D. from the University of Nebraska College of Law. Prior to joining the NYS STLC, Horacek served as VP Deputy General Counsel for medical device company, Welch Allyn Inc., in Skaneateles Falls, New York. For over 18 years, he provided corporate legal services in various areas of the company as well as managing corporate training functions for compliance related matters. His areas of expertise include business transactions, intellectual property identification and protection, compliance, and mergers and acquisitions.

  • Steve Lickstein

    Steven D. Lickstein serves corporate and individual clients as their trusted legal advisor. Prior to joining Newman & Lickstein, Steven worked in both the litigation and corporate departments of two of the most well-respected law firms in Boston, Massachusetts.

    In his corporate practice, Steven advises all types of companies, from a couple of founders with an idea to more developed companies, in a wide variety of corporate and commercial matters. As an attorney at Gunderson Dettmer, the world’s leading law firm serving the emerging company and venture capital community, Steven represented major venture capital firms as well as leading entrepreneurs in the healthcare, biotech, new media, e-commerce, financial services, information technology, software and consumer services industries from the founder’s workbench through institutional venture capital financings, mergers and acquisitions, strategic transactions, intellectual property counseling and technology transactions.

    In his litigation practice, Steven advises corporate and individual clients through their most sensitive disputes. As an attorney at Nutter McClennen & Fish, one of Boston’s oldest and largest law firms, Steven represented clients in family business and estate disputes, complex commercial and financial litigation, real estate, employment and intellectual property litigation. Steven’s litigation experience runs the gamut from the successful negotiation of disputes before litigation begins, obtaining crucial injunctive and other equitable relief, to international arbitrations, multi-month trials and appellate practice in state and federal courts.  

    Steven is a graduate of Boston College Law School and is admitted to practice in the federal and state courts of New York and Massachusetts.

2:30 - 3:30 pm
Mid-Afternoon Workshops
Manufacturing Excellence

Supporting the Changing Workplace
The workforce of the future will be inclined towards continuous learning. They will certainly need a lot of it to replace the vast amounts of knowledge and experience that will be lost when the “Boomers” exit the workforce. Add to this the rapid rate of adoption of the new technologies required to remain competitive and the need becomes clear. We must have the capability as an interconnected community and as individual organizations to develop the workforce and enable them to support increasingly complex technology and processes. Join us for a panel discussion featuring leaders who have insight into how we meet those needs.

  • Jennifer McCullough

    Jennifer McCullough is Apprenticeship Coordinator for the American Apprenticeship Initiative grant at the Workforce Development Board of Herkimer, Madison and Oneida Counties. Jennifer assists companies across a 19 county region setting up apprenticeships. The AAI grant help supports these apprenticeships by funding related instruction. Her efforts have helped create over 200 new apprentices in New York State over the last 3 years.  Jennifer’s partnerships with other workforce development providers have resulted in paradigm shifting training strategies that have been successful all across Central New York, both with entry level training and now with pre apprenticeship opportunities. Jennifer’s work with one of her employers resulted in New York State’s first apprentice-able trade in the emerging field of Information Technology. She is currently working on the development of 5 additional IT trades with another employer. Jennifer and her husband, Ken, reside in Rome.

  • Mike Metzgar, Associate Vice President, Economic & Workforce Development, Onondaga Community College
    Mike Metzgar

    Mike Metzgar currently serves as the Associate Vice President of Economic and Workforce Development at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse New York.  He began his career as math faculty member and then transitioned to administration, ultimately landing on workforce education when his professional focus shifted to systems change.  He is passionate about helping people find their place in society through the dignity of work.  He hopes to see competency-based education become mainstream in the US before he retires.

    Metzgar holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Lehigh University and a master’s degree in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

  • Lisa Rawcliffe, Founder, Engage Forward
    Lisa Rawcliffe

    Lisa has been working in manufacturing since 2004 starting in a thriving manufacturing company in her home town.  Over the years, her career progressed into leadership roles in continuous improvement, sales, operations management and quality.  As her career developed, so did her awareness of the impact attracting and retaining a quality workforce has on the success of the business, people, families and communities.  Lisa created Engage Forward to work collaboratively with regional workforce development partners support employers’ engagement of their current workforce and to inspire a workforce for tomorrow.  She provides training and coaching of teams to achieve greater capacity for problem solving and goal attainment, as well as introducing systems that support efficient and effective on-the-job training.  Outside of industry, Lisa works closely with schools as a career recruiter and skills coach to advocate for careers in the trades and manufacturing, as well as provide foundational employability skills essential for today’s working world.

Biotech Innovation and Technology & the Law

Finding the Funds: New Venture Assistance for Innovation and Capitalization
How to obtain funding is foremost in the minds of many entrepreneurs. The panel will discuss the availability and pitfalls of various types of funding, how funding options can influence the structure of a company, which fund sources have the best long run perspectives, the evolution of different financing structures and tips on best approaches for success.

Panel Lead

  • Kathi Durdon, MA, CCRP, is Director of Operations and Innovation Partnerships for CNYBAC, a Division of SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY. Kathi supports the Accelerator's strategic objectives in supporting biotech for-profit start-up companies and early innovators. As Director of Operations she develops and promotes collaborative opportunities, service and mentor programs, management of the Annual Commercializing Biotech Innovation Conference and Medical Device Innovation Challenge as well as serving on the CNYBAC Advisory Board.

    Kathi is also a medical device innovation mentor in regulatory and human factors/usability-related areas.  Kathi is a Certified Clinical Research Professional (CCRP) and has presented at several medical device, regulatory and clinical research-related conferences. She chairs the annual SoCRA Medical Device Conference and is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) Human Factors Engineering Committee. Kathi holds Bachelors degrees in English and Anthropology from SUNY Potsdam College as well as a Master of Arts degree from SUNY Empire State College. Previously, Kathi was employed at Welch Allyn, a medical device manufacturer, as Manager of Clinical Operations.


  • Nasir Ali, Co-founder and CEO, Upstate Venture Connect
    Nasir Ali

    Nasir Ali has been actively building the high growth entrepreneurial ecosystem across Upstate New York for the past 15 years.

    Ali launched The Tech Garden incubator in 2004, followed in 2007 by the Seed Capital Fund of CNY, Upstate NY’s first angel investor fund. In 2010, Ali joined with TriNet founder Martin Babinec to form Upstate Venture Connect, a 501c3 non-profit that has helped organize five angel funds in Upstate; built an online communications platform that reaches more than 15,000 startup community members; created the UNY50 Entrepreneur Leadership group; and established the Upstate Venture Ecosystem Awards.

    Ali is the co-founder and Managing Director of StartFast Venture Accelerator, Upstate NY’s only private capital-backed startup accelerator program. Ali’s investment portfolio of more than 40 companies have raised well over $100MM since 2007. He is also a board member and advisor to numerous entities including Upstate Capital Association of New York, the NYS Innovation Venture Capital Fund, Next Gen Venture Partners, Fitzgate Ventures and multiple portfolio companies.

    Ali received his undergraduate degree in Physics from Princeton University. He also holds an MBA from Yale University.

  • Rami Katz

    Rami Katz is the Chief Operating Officer for Excell Partners, Inc., managing Excell’s due-diligence and investment processes.  Prior to joining Excell, Rami served as the Director of Technology Commercialization at High Tech Rochester where he worked closely with entrepreneurs, researchers and startups to evaluate the commercial potential of new technologies,  Rami managed the creation of over 50 business plans that led to raising over $40M in funding from VCs, angels as well as grants.

    Rami is an attorney that led a litigation, banking and corporate law practice in Israel, managing a legal team that directed the restructure of over $14M in corporate and asset backed debt annually, while growing the group’s revenues by over 300 percent.

    After launching his own legal and management consulting practice in Israel, Rami was one of the founding members of a seed-stage investment group, investing and assuming leadership roles in seed stage, technology, ventures to provide financial and business development management.  The group launched 12 high-tech startups that were focused on advanced materials, internet technologies, consumer electronics and medical devices.

    Rami earned his MBA from the University of Rochester and his law degree from the Tel-Aviv University in Israel.

  • Jennifer Tegan, Partner and VP of Finance/Administration, Cayuga Ventures
    Jennifer Tegan

    Prior to joining CVF in 2002, Jennifer served in various senior roles advising and managing small, growing for-profit and nonprofit businesses including EMF Corporation, a small optical coating manufacturing company, and the Paleontological Research Institution, a science and research-based educational organization. Jennifer earned BA and MS degrees in Geology from Smith College and University of Cincinnati, respectively, and an MBA from Cornell University. Jennifer is on the executive committee of the Upstate Capital Association of New York, an organization whose mission is to increase access to capital for entrepreneurs and companies in Upstate NY.

    Jennifer is an active member of the Ithaca community, including serving on the boards of Tompkins Trust Company, Tompkins Cortland Community College Foundation, Tompkins County Area Development, and Elizabeth Ann Clune Montessori School of Ithaca.

CNY Drone Industry Update

Latest Developments in UAS/UAV/drone technology and how it is impacting the CNY region
Central New York has established itself as a major center for the development of unmanned systems technology, particularly for unmanned aircraft systems or UAS. Many of the companies that helped to establish operations at the Griffiss International Airport FAA Test site have developed technology solutions right here in CNY. Other companies have moved into the area to help enable the growth and development of the UAS traffic management (UTM) corridor being funded and implemented by New York State. It is widely agreed that there is a unique ecosystem here that can help establish a roadmap for the rest of the world to follow. Our panel will seek to extract from each panelist how their company/organization is playing a unique role in the local ecosystem and what technologies and approaches are they bringing to advance UAS integration either alone or through various partnerships locally. 

Panel Lead

  • Dr. Pramod  Varshney

    Pramod K. Varshney (S’72–M’77–SM’82–F’97-LF’18) was born in Allahabad, India, in 1952. He received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering and computer science (with highest Honors), and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA, in 1972, 1974, and 1976 respectively. From 1972 to 1976, he held teaching and research assistantships with the University of Illinois. Since 1976, he has been with Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, USA, where he is currently a Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the Director of CASE: Center for Advanced Systems and Engineering. As Director of CASE, he is responsible for technology transition of university expertise to make economic impact in the high-tech economy of New York. He served as an Associate Chair of the department from 1993 to 1996. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Radiology at Upstate Medical University, Syracuse. His current research interests include distributed sensor networks and data fusion, detection and estimation theory, wireless communications, image processing, radar signal processing, physical layer security, and machine learning. He has published extensively. He is the author of Distributed Detection and Data Fusion (New York, NY, USA: Springer-Verlag, 1997).

    Dr. Varshney was a James Scholar, a Bronze Tablet Senior, and a Fellow while at the University of Illinois. He is a member of Tau Beta Pi and received the 1981 ASEE Dow Outstanding Young Faculty Award. He was elected to the grade of Fellow of the IEEE in 1997 for his contributions in the area of distributed detection and data fusion. He was the Guest Editor of the Special Issueon Data Fusion of the IEEE Proceedings January 1997. In 2000, he received the Third Millennium Medal from the IEEE and Chancellor’s Citation for exceptional academic achievement at Syracuse University. He received the IEEE 2012 Judith A. Resnik Award, Doctor of Engineering degree honoris causa from Drexel University in 2014, the ECE Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Illinois in 2015 and ISIF’s Yaakov Bar-Shalom Award for a Lifetime of Excellence in Information Fusion in 2018. He is on the Editorial Board of the Journal on Advances in Information Fusion and has served on the editorial boards of IEEE Transactions of Signal Processing as well as IEEE Signal Processing Magazine. He was the President of International Society of Information Fusion during 2001.


  • Colonel Anthony B. Basile, Chief Operations Officer, NUAIR Alliance
    Colonel Anthony B.   Basile

    Colonel Anthony Basile (ret) is the Chief Operations Officer for the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance, Inc. (NUAIR), a non-profit corporation leading a coalition of New York and Massachusetts aerospace industry and academic institutions, working together to establish a site for the testing and certification of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and the training of their operators.

    A 1977 graduate of Fordham University, Bronx, NY, Colonel Basile is a resident of Manlius, NY.  After completing undergraduate pilot training in 1981, he spent 29 years with the 174th Fighter Wing, Syracuse, NY, serving as its commander from 2003 until 2008.  While at the 174th, Colonel Basile accumulated 4000 hours flying the unit’s A-10 and F-16 aircraft. He has logged 67 combat sorties, including 51 during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.  Among his numerous military awards are the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor, Meritorious Service Medal, and Air Medal with 4 devices.From 2008 to until his retirement in 2010, Colonel Basile was assigned as Chief of Staff, New York Air National Guard (NYANG), headquartered in Latham, NY.  In this position, he was the senior air officer responsible for the successful mission accomplishment of the NYANG:  5 flying wings and air defense sector totaling 6000 airmen, 75 aircraft and 9 installations….5 billion dollars in resources, 450 million dollars in annual budgets.  In this capacity, Colonel Basile served as the primary advisor to The Adjutant General, New York, in all matters dealing with the NYANG, both in execution of its federal mission supporting the global war on terrorism and federal disaster relief taskings, and its Defense Support to Civil Authority (DSCA) state mission responding to taskings from the Governor of New York State for domestic homeland security issues.

    Colonel Basile was the Airport Service Group Manager for C&S Engineers, Inc., Syracuse, NY, from 2010 thru the end of 2013, overseeing the engineering planning, design, and construction of the firm’s 30 regional airport clients.  In addition to his work with NUAIR, he serves as President, Mach 2 Associates, LLC, consulting to a variety of clients on issues related to aviation, safety, crisis management, and media relations.

  • Robert Brown, Director of Portfolio & Strategy, Saab Air Traffic Management
    Robert  Brown

    Mr. Brown is responsible for managing Saab’s global air traffic management portfolio and shaping long-term strategies. He leads a wide range of activities, including market and product research, roadmap planning, strategy development, and solution design. Saab’s air traffic management products are deployed at more than 100 sites around the world and play a critical role in ensuring the safety and efficiency of flight operations. Mr. Brown holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Lafayette College, where he graduated with honors. He has been with Saab for 13 years and previously served as a Product Manager and Software Architect.

  • Richard Clonan, Vice President for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, CenterState CEO
    Richard  Clonan

    Rick Clonan serves as Vice President for Innovation and Entrepreneurship for CenterState CEO and The Tech Garden, where he provides high level venture development assistance for early stage entrepreneurs, start up businesses, and innovation industry leaders. Rick assists mentorship efforts and connects entrepreneurs with resources, programs, and events at The Tech Garden.  The Tech Garden is the premier business incubator of Central New York and has a long history of enabling the successful start up of dynamic businesses in Upstate New York. He offers direct guidance to programs such as The Clean Tech Center, the New York State Hotspot program, and the GENIUS NY Accelerator. Rick brings a unique background from the private sector, startup experience, and military service to his current position. He has been in innovation roles for over 20 years, working as an executive for various start ups including his own 6 year venture, several ventures within C&S Companies, and as a consultant. Rick has attained three patents and won multiple best in category awards for his products. He earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from Syracuse University and served in the United States Air Force and Air National Guard for a combined 23 years.

  • Craig Marcinkowski

    Craig Marcinkowski is a director of Gryphon Sensors at SRC, Inc., a research and development company with more than 60 years of experience in defense, environment and intelligence. Together, SRC andits for-profit subsidiaries are redefining possible® by delivering unique, next-generation solutions of national significance to keep America and its allies safe and strong.

    Mr. Marcinkowski has P&L responsibility for the Gryphon Sensors business and oversees all aspects of the business including product
    development, program execution and strategy. He is responsible for developing current and future product roadmaps and investment across
    the product line. Previously, as Vice President of Strategy and Business Development, Mr. Marcinkowski was responsible for developing Gryphon Sensors market and product strategies, forming domestic and international partnerships, and capturing business in the quickly expanding Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) market. He serves as an officer on the Commercial Drone Alliance board of directors. Mr. Marcinkowski founded
    and currently supports the Project U-SAFE (UAS Secure Autonomous Flight Environment) initiative—a world-leading, safe UAS integration program for the State of New York.

    Prior to co-founding Gryphon Sensors, Mr. Marcinkowski was a business development manager for SRC, where he led international business development. Prior to joining SRC, Mr. Marcinkowski held a variety of business capture/development and program management positions of increasing responsibility while employed at Lockheed. He led the new business capture efforts and managed proposals for the Q-53 product line. He began his career at Lockheed Martin as a software engineer.

    Mr. Marcinkowski holds a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, both from the State University of New York at Binghamton.

  • Frank Matus, Director, Strategy & Business Development , Thales Air Traffic Management
    Frank  Matus

    Mr. Frank Matus has 18 years of experience establishing strategy and development initiatives for emerging air traffic management concepts and solutions in the United States and the global aviation market.  Currently, Matus serves as the Director of Strategy & Business Development for Thales Air Traffic Management in the US.

    At Thales, Matus leads UTM activities in the United States, collaborating with the FAA on Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) and serving on the RTCA NextGen Advisory Committee Subcommittee (NACSC), the RTCA Drone Advisory Committee Sub Committee (DACSC), the RTCA Working Group 228, Minimum Operational Performance Standards for Unmanned Aircraft Systems, the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) UAS Working Group and the American National Standards Institute Unmanned Aircraft Systems Standardization Collaborative (UASSC).

    Matus is involved in a variety of industry development activities including articles in publications such as The Journal of Air Traffic Control and Avionics, and speaking engagements at conferences including ICAO RPAS, ICAO GANIS 2, Global UTM, ATCA, DASC, CTIA and ICNS.  Matus also serves as a board member for the Center of Advanced Systems and Engineering (CASE) at Syracuse University.  Further, Matus is a member of the Professional Pricing Society (PPS) which encourages the exchange of innovative pricing strategies and ideas across many domains.

    Matus holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Syracuse University.    

  • Vijay  Srinivas

    Vijay Srinivas serves as the Director of the Assurance Lab at Assured Information Security, Inc. (AIS) – a firm based in Rome NY that specializes in cybersecurity research.  The A-Lab at AIS  supports design consultation, testing/assessment, and training services for cybersecurity performance of cyber-physical systems in multiple verticals such as; Automotive, Industrial Control Systems, Medical devices, and UAS sectors.

    Prior to joining AIS, Vijay spent 6 years as the Senior Director of Corporate Relations and Technical Alliances at Syracuse University, and over 20 years in the private sector, in a variety of roles spanning systems engineering, program management and business development at companies such as Saab (Sensis) and SRCTec, Inc. Vijay holds MS (Engineering) and MBA degrees from SU and is a graduate of the inaugural cohort of the Central New York Advanced Course in Engineering (ACE) program.

3:30 - 5:00 pm
Reception and Networking in Technology Showcase
  • Date

    Friday, November 8, 2019

  • Location

    The Oncenter Nicolas J. Pirro Convention Center
    Syracuse, NY - Get Directions!

  • Speakers

    Keynote: Daniel Faggella - "Near-term Trends and ROI of AI" - 38 Speakers!

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