2019 Speakers


Daniel Faggella
CEO / Founder - Emerj AI Research

Daniel Faggella

Daniel Faggella is CEO / founder at Emerj AI Research, a research and advisory firm that helps global organizations develop productive AI strategies.

Emerj specialized in mapping the landscape of AI capabilities, and determining the critical trends that matter most in sectors like healthcare, finance, and defense.

Daniel conducts cutting-edge research for clients like the World Bank, global pharmaceutical companies, and more.


Judy Albers
VanArsdale Chair: School Of Business - SUNY Geneseo

Judy Albers received an appointment to the VanArsdale Chair in Entrepreneurship at Geneseo in the Fall of 2013. Since then, she has introduced a comprehensive program in entrepreneurship to the university including courses, workshops, and events which are open to all upper level students in all majors. The program also involves student participation in local, regional and state-wide business plan competitions and national conferences such as the Clinton Global Initiative through CIDD. Further, she has established an incubator program where students grow their businesses during the summer months and follow-on semesters. The support of highly experienced mentors from both on- and off-campus provides huge value to the students and is vital to the students’ education and achievement. Collaborating with more advanced regional entrepreneurial programs such as those at High Tech of Rochester (HTR) has also been instrumental in student success.

Wayne Bequette
Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Technical Manager - Northern Regional Manufacturing Center of the Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CESMII) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Wayne Bequette

B. Wayne Bequette is a Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Technical Manager for the Northern Regional Manufacturing Center of the Department of Energy Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CESMII) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where his research efforts are focused on the modeling and control of biomedical and chemical process systems. He serves as Board Secretary for the American Automatic Control Council (AACC) and as President of the Computer Aids for Chemical Engineering (CACHE) Corporation. Dr. Bequette is a founding member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, and serves on the Editorial Board of Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research. He is a Fellow of IEEE, AIChE and the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers (AIMBE), and was inducted into the Arkansas Academy of Chemical Engineers.

John Boger, Esq.
Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti

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.

Beth Bornick
Smart Manufacturing Lead - Fuzehub

Beth Bornick

FuzeHub is New York's state-wide Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Center, and provides guided access to an extensive network of experts, programs and assets to address manufacturing productivity, technology commercialization, research and development, and other avenues for growth. As the Smart Manufacturing Lead at Fuzehub, Beth Bornick serves as liaison between small and mid-sized manufacturers and the Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CESMII), in which Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute serves as the Northeast Regional Manufacturing Center. Beth holds a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Clarkson University, an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and an MS in Technology Transfer from Albany Law School.


Kathryn Cartini
Partner, Chloe Capital; CMO, Upstate Venture Connect & Owner, Peacock Media, LLC

Kathryn Cartini

Despite recent progress, less than 5 percent of venture capital goes to women entrepreneurs, yet studies show companies with women at the helm grow faster and produce greater returns for investors. Chloe Capital is an early-stage venture capital firm recognized for its Movement to #InvestInWomen. Since launching in November 2017, Chloe Capital has made 7 investments in women-led innovation companies during a National Tour for women-led innovation companies. As co-founder and partner of Chloe Capital, Kathyrn Cartini is helping to build and empower a network of over 15,000 supporters. Chloe Capital's portfolio is currently valued at ~$35M. In addition, Kathryn is an active philanthropist and startup mentor with organizations such as Upstate Venture Connect, Social Venture Circle and the Jeff Lawrence Innovation Fund. She was born and raised in Upstate NY, and graduated from the SI Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. Kathryn currently "lives on vacation" in beautiful Saratoga Springs, NY, where you can find her about town with her dog-son CHEX the Dalmatian. #CHEXitOUT @SaratogaLife. 

Amanda Curtis
CEO and Co-Founder - Nineteenth Amendment

Amanda Curtis

Amanda Curtis is the Cofounder and CEO of Nineteenth Amendment a venture backed platform for sustainable, on-demand, quick-turn manufacturing in the USA which enables inventory-free retailing for brands of all sizes. A former fashion designer turned tech entrepreneur Amanda through Nineteenth Amendment's 'fashion-as-experience' has worked with over 1,000 fashion brands across 30 countries, and helped forge creative retail partnerships with global brands like Disney, Macy's, Lord & Taylor, Microsoft, Dell, and Bravo's Project Runway. Amanda is Forbes' 30 Under 30 2016 for Retail & E-commerce, Apparel Magazine's 30 Under 30 2016, and was named one of the National Retail Federation's Person Changing Retail's Future.

George W. Davis
Business Development Manager - NSION

George W. Davis

Mr. Davis is the Business Development Manager for NSION in the USA.

NSION NSC3: provides a secure video broadcasting and management platform as a service for secure critical communications.

Use-cases include:

Public Safety, Joint Operations (CIV/MIL), Fire/Rescue, UAS and others.

Mr. Davis is also the Geospatial Information Coordinator for NY Metro InfraGard

New York Metro InfraGard is an organization sponsored by the FBI for the purposes of information sharing and the mission of critical infrastructure protection.

Mr. Davis is also an advisor & steering Committee Member of (GISMO) Geographic Information Systems and Mapping Operations (NYC) and member of the New York State GIS Association.

His Innovation through Technology Integration Highlights Include:

• Consultant to NYC DOITT at Emergency Mapping and Data Center following the events of September 11th 2001 – Nov 2001

• 2004 Republican National Convention Common Operating Picture (NYPD)

• Creator of Hurricane Katrina Imagery Mosaics for US Army Corps of Engineers (NOAA,FEMA) 2005

• 2007-2010 DHS Science and Technology SBIR 4D Visualization and Location Systems. (Operation Golden Phoenix, SDSU Viz-Center and Muscatatuck Urban Training Center)

• 2009 Tournament of Roses Parade Common Operating Picture (Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department/Emergency Operations Bureau, DHS)

• 2010-2016 Communications and Geospatial Operating Picture California and New York National Guard (IPS CAL IC4U, ESRI)

• 2016-2017 3D Visualization Baghdad, Mosul, Iraq (USARMY Geospatial Center/NGA, Geoweb3d)

• 2017 Iron Man Championship Kona Hawaii Race Operations Center

• 2018-2019 California Wildfire GIS & Simulation Support (CAL FIRE, Simtable)

• 2019 NSION NSC3 UAS Demonstrations with Albany County Sheriff, Syracuse Fire Department and Commercial UAS Pilots.

Mr. Davis resides in upstate New York and is working with NSION, a Finland based company to establish a presence in the Syracuse area and guide our growth in the Defense, Public Safety, Security and Unmanned Aerial Systems communities.

NSION currently has offices and staff in Tampere, Helsinki and Jyväskylä, Finland.

Richard DeMartino
Director - Albert J. Simone Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, RIT

Richard DeMartino

Richard DeMartino holds the Albert J. Simone Endowed Chair for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). He also serves as the of director the Simone Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which promotes innovation and entrepreneurship education and activity throughout the RIT community. Dr. DeMartino's research and teaching interests include Entrepreneurial Motivations, Technology Commercialization, and Small Business Growth. More recently he has conducted research on the entrepreneurial motivations of the deaf community, in conjunction with RIT's National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID). His articles have appeared in journals including the Journal of Business Venturing, Journal of Small Business Management, and the Journal of Product and Innovation Management. Dr. DeMartino has received external funding from the Kauffman Foundation, US Department of Commerce, National Science Foundation, National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, and NY Empire State Development. His administrative responsibilities include promotion of the RIT Innovation and Entrepreneurship eco-system. In this capacity, he works to develop diverse and inclusive experiential and multidisciplinary innovation and entrepreneurship activities. In this role, he promotes and facilitates innovation and entrepreneurship activities throughout the RIT Community. His innovations include collaborative efforts founding and administering the Saunders College of Business SummerStart Program, the Technology Commercialization Clinic, the Small Business Strategic Growth Program, and the Digital Entrepreneurship Program. Prior to his doctoral studies, Dr. DeMartino worked in industry as a foreign currency, bond, and risk trader. He continues to do consulting in entrepreneurship program development, economic development and technology-related new business ventures. Dr. DeMartino has taught at the McIntire School of Commerce, University of Virginia, and at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Joe Dickson
Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer - Pelitex

Joe Dickson

Joe Dickson, co-founder and currently the CEO of Pelitex, is a veteran entrepreneur who has served as the founder and/or senior C-Level executive of seven high-tech start-up firms across multiple industry and technology sectors during his 30-year career.  His areas of primary focus and expertise are advanced materials, renewable energy, microelectronics, biotech, and green tech/clean-tech business development.   Mr. Dickson has helped raise over $30MM in venture and private equity capital, and also has extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions.   He is an expert in business and financial modeling, market validation, strategic positioning, and business plan execution.

Mr. Dickson is currently a NYSERDA EIR, and he has also taught entrepreneurship at both Cazenovia College and Syracuse University, and was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Syracuse Citizen’s Foundation in 1992.   Mr. Dickson also developed and managed a successful Business Incubator for Syracuse University, and has run business plan competitions, internship programs, and mentored hundreds of aspiring entrepreneurs.   Mr. Dickson has a BS in Chemistry from Syracuse University and an MBA from the University of Rochester.  

Dr. Paula Doyle
CMO - EndoGlow

Dr. Paula Doyle

I am a Reconstructive Pelvic Surgeon at the University of Rochester.  I specialize in Pelvic Dysfunction in women.  In the academic setting, I have been doing research for about 8 years.  EndoGlow was born out of one of our research ideas.  Jay Reeder, a researcher I’ve worked with, and I founded our company.

EndoGlow makes medical devices that fluoresce or glow under near infrared imaging.  Near infrared imaging is currently found in multiple medical setting.  The advantage of near infrared imaging is it allows a medical provider to see through tissue or blood for about 1cm.  So, what EndoGlow does is makes medical devices that can be seen through tissue.

We founded our company in Feb 2017.  A patent through the University of Rochester is currently pending. In Feb 2017 we joined the Rochester Venture Challenge.  Later that year we entered the Syracuse based “Medical Innovation Device Challenge”.  Through our mentor we met are current business partners.  We are currently going through commercial production and FDA approval for our first device.

David Eilers
Adjunct Professor - Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University

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 Group/ 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 thousands of 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 concepts in a ninety-day period.


Outside of the office, Dave is Adjunct Faculty in Syracuse University’s Online MBA program, serves on the Board of Directors for Lexington Wellness Holdings; and is a volunteer Board Member for the Lwala Community Alliance which creates health and wellness programs in rural Kenya. Dave often speaks to innovation communities and universities interested in the design thinking process and commercialization of emerging technologies.

Emily Ekland
Commercialization Director - Innovation Resource Center, Division of Science, Technology & Innovation

Emily Ekland

Emily Ekland is the commercialization director at NYSTAR, Empire State Division of Science Technology and Innovation. At NYSTAR, she runs a program called the Innovation Resource Center. The IRC helps entrepreneurs strategically leverage different NYSTAR-funded programs, investigates bottlenecks in the commercialization lifecycle and coordinates programs that alleviate bottlenecks to accelerate innovation and commercialization across New York. Emily’s background includes working in a biotech incubator, investigating economic development policy at a government think tank and helping startups navigate early-stage legal issues. When she’s not working Emily enjoys cooking, reading and anything outdoors, especially camping in the Adirondacks.

Ana-Maria Galeano
Chair, Corporate Practice Group - The Wagoner Firm, PLLC

Ana-Maria Galeano

Ana-Maria Galeano has over 25 years of corporate law experience advising businesses throughout their lifecycle – from formation, governance, restructuring, mergers, acquisitions, private and government financing, intellectual property protection, and contractual matters.

Ms. Galeano was  General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Plug Power, Inc., a fuel cell company.  As General Counsel, she oversaw Plug Power’s initial public offering ($93M), two follow‐on offerings ($61M and $58M), international acquisitions ($45M and$10M), and the creation of strategic alliances with companies in Europe and Asia. And as Corporate Secretary, she was responsible for corporate compliance and advised the Board of Directors on a variety of corporate governance issues.

Ms. Galeano was also a co‐founder, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary of H2Pump, LLC, a hydrogen recycling company. She was instrumental in securing over $12M in private and government financing, several patents, and the delivery of the company’s first beta products.
Prior to her roles as General Counsel, Ms. Galeano was an attorney at the Albany Law firm of Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna where she helped to create Plug Power and Prime Care Physicians, among other notable businesses.

Ms. Galeano earned her J.D. degree at Brooklyn Law School and a B.A. degree in history, minor in Russian language and literature, and business adjunct degree at the State University of New York at Binghamton.  She is actively involved in the business community and works with various nonprofit organizations in the Capital Region.  She is also an Entrepreneur In Residence at Columbia University and is currently working in the Clean Tech Ventures Program.

Timothy Gleeson
Captain - Syracuse Fire Department

Mike Hertzendorf
Interim Chief Executive Officer - NUAIR

Mike Hertzendorf

Mike is the Interim CEO of NUAIR.  He has a leading role in the integration, synchronization, and execution of all activities and policy development for UAS operations aimed at developing a National UAS Traffic Management System.  Mike leads the organizations strategy development process and the execution of supporting fiscal, business development, outreach, and communications plans enabling a targeted approach for growth and revenue generation.  He is also instrumental in developing future budgets, fiscal forecasts, and grant proposal submissions to enable execution of operations and development in Central New York.

Prior to working at NUAIR Mike spent 29 Years in the U.S. Army as a special operations aviator.  He has over 20 years of command and leadership experience.  His last role was as the Chief of Staff of the 82nd Airborne Division.  Mike holds a Master’s Degree in National Security and Strategy from the U.S. Army War College, a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Murray State University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Ithaca College.  Mike volunteers on the Military Advisory Committee for Tuesdays Children as well as the Ithaca College School of Business Advisory Committee and Ithaca College Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Quentin Hillsman
Head Women’s Basketball Coach - Syracuse University

Quentin Hillsman

Quentin Hillsman has transformed the Orange women’s basketball program into a national championship contender. Hillsman took over a program that went 28-55 in the three seasons prior to his appointment and has since guided the Orange to unprecedented heights.
In his 13 seasons at the helm, Syracuse boasts an impressive résumé, which includes 12 consecutive postseason appearances, seven trips to the NCAA Tournament, 17 all-conference selections, five All-Americans, and four WNBA Draft picks. Under Hillsman, the Orange own a 288-145 overall record, averaging more than 21 victories per season. Hillsman is the all-time winningest coach in school history.

The Orange put together one of the most successful regular seasons in program history in Hillsman's 13th year on The Hill. He led Syracuse to the NCAA Tournament Second Round and best tournament seed (No. 3) in program history. Syracuse was ranked in the Associated Press (AP) Top-25 all season long peaking as high as No. 12. The Orange collected five wins over nationally-ranked opponents, had the No. 3 strength of schedule in the country and was top-10 in the RPI. Mangakahia earned AP and WBCA All-America Honorable Mention accolades while being named the ECAC Player of the Year, All-ACC First Team for a second-straight season and was a Nancy Lieberman Finalist. 

In 2017-18, Hillsman guided Syracuse to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth-straight season. The Orange finished 22-9 overall and held a 10-6 record in the nation's best conference, the Atlantic Coast. Tiana Mangakahia led the nation in assists and assists per game en route to earning All-ACC First Team honors while two freshman, Digna Strautmane and Amaya Finklea-Guity, were All-ACC Freshman Team selections.
The 2015-16 campaign put Syracuse on the national map. The Orange advanced to its first Sweet 16, Elite Eight, Final Four, and national final in their history. Syracuse set program records with five wins against nationally-ranked foes, 13 conference victories, 23 regular-season wins, and 30 overall victories. Following its run to the national final, Syracuse was ranked third in the final USA Today Coaches Poll.
Hillsman's impact as the head coach of the Orange program was immediate. In only his second season in 2007-08, he guided Syracuse to a 22-9 overall record and its fourth trip to the NCAA Tournament in school history. SU climbed into the national rankings for the first time in history, checking in as high as No. 21 in the country in the Associated Press Poll. Hillsman was recognized as the 2008 BIG EAST Coach of the Year.
Hillsman has built a strong reputation as one of the top recruiters in women’s collegiate basketball. Eleven of the past 12 recruiting classes have been touted as top-25 classes nationally by the Dan Olson Collegiate Girls Basketball Report. In addition, the school’s first six McDonald’s All-Americans have all been recruited and played under Hillsman.
Prior to being elevated to the position of head coach of the Orange program on Oct. 17, 2006, Hillsman spent one year as an assistant coach on the staff. His collegiate coaching tenure also includes stops at Alabama, American, Siena, and St. Mary’s (Md.). Hillsman also coached at the high school level, leading the Patterson School in Lenoir, N.C., Laurinburg Institute (N.C.), and Newport School in Silver Spring, Md.
Hillsman also has coached on the international level. Beginning in 2011, Hillsman began serving as an assistant coach for various Dutch junior national teams. He has served as an assistant coach for the Netherlands U19 national team in each of its last two trips to the FIBA U19 World Championships in 2013 and 2015.
A native of Suitland, Md., Hillsman graduated from St. Mary’s College (Md.) in 1993 after a standout playing career with the Seahawks. He led the squad to two Capital Athletic Conference championships and one conference tournament title, earning all-conference accolades and setting the school’s single-game and single-season assist records. Hillsman studied sport management at the United States Sports Academy in Daphne, Ala. from 1994-96, as well.
He, his wife, Shandrist, and their sons, Kyan and Harlem, reside in Jamesville.

Laura Holmes
Director of Incubator Operations - Koffman Southern Tier Incubator

Laura Holmes

Laura Holmes is a Southern Tier native, born and raised.  An alumnus of SUNY Broome, she takes pride in giving back to her community. An upbringing within a ‘small-business’ family instilled in her the merits of entrepreneurship. This background proved critical in her career. She played key roles in the marketing department at Universal Instruments, then transitioned to Modern Marketing Concepts (MMC), joining them in its startup stage and helping them grow into a major market player.  Holmes is driven by a passion to positively transform the Southern Tier economy and help others pursue their own passions. Her time at Binghamton University has brought this drive to life through her involvement with student entrepreneurship: mentoring, leading student events, assisting with student clubs and helping students follow their dreams through startups are just a few of the ways she dedicates herself to entrepreneurship and the Southern Tier. In her current role as Director of Operations, she supports 50+ start up companies.

Jamey Hoose
Director - Shipley Center for Innovation, Clarkson University

Jamey Hoose

Jamey Hoose joined the Shipley Center for Innovation in October 2015 and brings a diverse set of experiences in entrepreneurship and collegiate administration to the Center.  In his role as Director Jamey helps to support the mission of the Center as it guides Clarkson University students and faculty, as well as regional entrepreneurs, through the process of commercializing their innovations.  He and his team provide support in relevant areas such as patent research, market analysis, product development and commercialization strategy.  Jamey spent nearly ten-years as an entrepreneur before taking on his first administrative role at SUNY Potsdam in 2007.  Since that time he has continued to serve in administrative positions at both SUNY Potsdam and Clarkson University, culminating in his current role which combines his passion for entrepreneurship, innovation and administration.  Jamey attended Clarkson where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration as well as his MBA.  He is currently pursuing his JD at Albany Law School.

Ryan Lynch
Executive Director - Macroburst Productions

Ryan started his career as a scholarship recipient to Berklee College of Music and touring nationally as a performing musician.   During this time period he also pursued his interest in aviation and became a successful commercial airline pilot before again finding an opportunity to open a Syracuse-based logistics business, Cairn Signs.  As CEO of Cairn Signs Inc., the company was able to grow to additional locations and employ a sizable workforce.  

After the sale of Cairn Signs, Ryan moved on to create Macroburst Productions.   Macroburst focuses on event planning and visual engagement through projection mapping technology.   With its broad range of viable applications including live music and sporting events, commercial advertising, culinary and more, there is no shortage of excitement and artistic expression.   As Executive Director of Macroburst, Ryan has finally returned to an avenue he feels passionate about and is excited to bring the emerging technology to Central New York.

Robert Manasier
CEO - In Focus Brands

Robert Manasier

Robert Manasier is a serial entrepreneur and brand builder, with experience in over 144 international startups, 400 products/services commercialized, 1000s of acceleration/commercialization campaigns, as the CEO of In Focus Brands.  In addition to the In Focus Brands' portfolio of companies, Robert currently serves as Entrepreneur-in-Residence of the NYS Innovation HotSpot Program (Innovate 518), UAlbany Innovation Center, IgniteU NY and the Sage Colleges; Adjunct Professor at Sage College School of Management and Hudson Valley Community College; Board Member of the Parkhurst Field Foundation, EDA Labs, SparkSaratoga, Rutgers University Big Data Board and Tech Valley Center of Gravity.  He also currently serves as Saratoga Springs  Recreation Commission Member.

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.    

Ryan McMahon
County Executive - Onondaga County

Ryan McMahon

County Executive J. Ryan McMahon, II is the 4th County Executive. He assumed office on November 2nd, 2018. Ryan is a graduate of Bishop Ludden High School and LeMoyne College. He grew up in the Strathmore neighborhood in Syracuse and currently resides in the Winkworth neighborhood with his wife and three children.  Ryan started his career in public service as a Syracuse City Councilor in 2005 after being elected at the age of 25. He
was reelected in 2007 for a second term and quickly earned a reputation as a bi-partisan problem solver.

In 2011, County Executive McMahon was elected to the 15th District of the Onondaga County Legislature which includes portions of the City of Syracuse, the town of Geddes and the town of Onondaga. Ryan was subsequently elected Chairman of the County Legislature in 2012 by his fellow legislators becoming the youngest Chairman in County history. As Chairman, his primary focus was job creation and ensuring good fiscal discipline in the
county. Under his leadership, property taxes were brought down to historic lows.  Upon taking office as County Executive, Ryan McMahon has placed a focus on three main initiatives: poverty, infrastructure and economic development.

Sean Miller
Controls Engineering Manager - Bartell Machinery Systems

Sean Miller

Sean currently oversees the controls engineering group for Bartell. Over the past 10-years, Sean has collected a wide range of experience related to applied industrial software and controls design in areas such as new product design, industrial automation, customer support and service, field commissioning, and project management. In alignment with Bartell’s strategic initiatives, Sean has been assigned the lead engineering role for the development of IIoT and Industry 4.0 solutions involving remote service, predictable maintenance, and data collection and analysis. Before acquiring his current role at Bartell, Sean worked at GA Braun as a Software Controls Engineer and holds a Bachelors of Science, Electrical Engineering from Alfred University, Alfred, NY.

Norma J. Nowak, PhD
Executive Director, NYS Center of Excellence, Bioinformatics & Life Sciences, Center for Advanced Technology, Business and Entrepreneur Partnerships and Professor of Biochemistry, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo an

Norma Jean Nowak, Ph.D., is recognized as a leader in the field of human genomics.  Her research contributed directly to the Human Genome Project, as well as to genomic based approaches to understanding heritable disorders and cancer. In 2015, Dr. Nowak was named executive director for the University at Buffalo New York State Center for Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, and holds the rank of Professor of Biochemistry. In addition, Dr. Nowak is the founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Empire Genomics LLC, a molecular diagnostics firm focused on enabling personalized medicine. Dr. Nowak was appointed to the Empire State Stem Cell Board in 2014, and to the New York State Life Science Advisory Board in 2018.

She previously served as the director of science and technology for UB’s New York State Center for Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences from 2003-2015, as well as director of the UB/RPCI Genomics Facility from 1999-2012, a collaborative research lab shared by UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Prior to that, she was involved for 14 years in research at RPCI developing physical clone resources for cloning disease genes and mapping the human genome.

Among her major achievements, Nowak has authored landmark papers describing the cloning of several heritable cancer disorders, including a form of Ataxia Telangiectasia (Nijmegen Breakage Syndrome). Her work on the Human Genome Project was published in the 2001 landmark genome issue of Nature describing the sequencing of the human genome. Dr. Nowak led and coordinated the three groups for the NCI extramural Cancer Chromosome Aberration Project. As part of this project, Dr. Nowak also developed BAC based array CGH (Comparative Genomic Hybridization) a microarray-based method for identifying numerical differences in DNA between tumor and normal cells and cells from individuals with genetic disorders including autism and other developmental disorders. The results of this work were published in Nature Genetics. She also was a key member of the GENSAT project studying spatial and temporal gene expression during development of the central nervous system in mice, and this work was published in the 2003 genome edition of Nature.  Dr. Nowak received the 2008 American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) Team Science award for the development of CGH (Comparative Genomic Hybridization) and array CGH technology. In addition she was awarded the 2008 Thomas B.Tomasi award for her outstanding achievements in science by the Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

Dr. Nowak's efforts were instrumental in obtaining more than $70 million in funding for research and infrastructure and she has authored or co-authored 150 research articles in leading scientific journals.  She also has served on the editorial board of Cytogenetics and Genome Research as well as an Associate Editor of Physiological Genomics.

Robert Podfigurny
President, Lerentech Solutions; Owner, Rail Line - Partner, Macroburst Productions

Jeffrey Rubin
Chief Executive Officer - Sidearm Sports

Jack Rudnick, Esq.
NYS Science & Technology Law Center, Syracuse University College of Law

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.


Chuck Stormon
Chief Executive Officer - Acumen Detection, Inc.

Chuck Stormon

Chuck has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Syracuse University. He has cofounded six successful companies and a venture fund for seed stage startups. His background includes executive leadership positions in both public and private companies, research, engineering, board directorships and faculty at two universities (Syracuse University and LeMoyne College).

Denis Sullivan
Partner - Barclay Damon

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.

Richard Uhlig
Chief Executive Officer - Quadrant Biosciences

Richard Uhlig

With more than 25 years of business experience focused on the design and development of innovative products across various industries, Richard’s management capabilities range from ownership of regional retail businesses to the start-up and management of major corporate divisions with domestic and international product sourcing and sales experience. Previously, he was the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Morgan Stanley Bank, the principal banking subsidiary of Morgan Stanley, and was the Chief Investment Officer at Merrill Lynch Bank. He held other significant posts in the financial industry and served as an Executive in Residence at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management. Richard is a graduate of Cornell University.

Dr. Pramod Varshney
Director, CASE and Distinguished Professor - Syracuse University, College of Engineering and Computer Science

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.

Jessie Verna
Director of Regulatory Affairs - CONMED Corporation

Jessie Verna

Jessie Verna is currently associated with the Innovation Law Center.  Jessie has an undergraduate degree in engineering and is a licensed attorney. Jessie previously worked in the medical device industry as Director of Regulatory Affairs at Conmed Corporation for over 12 years. During this period her team was responsible for 510k’s and various regulatory registrations around the world. She also participated in multiple FDA inspections and EU Notified Body audits during her time at Conmed. Prior to joining Conmed Jessie held various positions with General Electric, Lockheed Martin, and Carrier Corporation.

Kelley Walton
Head of Global Experiential Marketing - Under Armour, Inc.

John Wildhack
Director of Athletics - Syracuse University

John Wildhack

A uniquely qualified executive with a vast knowledge of and passion for Syracuse University Athletics, John Wildhack '80 was named Syracuse's 11th Director of Athletics in July 2016. Wildhack, a veteran leader at ESPN, most recently served as the network’s executive vice president for programming and production. Wildhack was responsible for oversight of all ESPN and ABC game, event and studio production work for domestic and international television and radio networks, as well as programming acquisitions, rights holder relationship management and scheduling.

At Syracuse, he is responsible for leading the daily operations of a 20-sport athletics department with more than 550 student-athletes in an environment that coaches, administration and staff foster for student-athletes to maximize their performance in the classroom and on the playing field to prepare them for future success.

During his distinguished career at ESPN, Wildhack held a number of critical leadership roles and was responsible for a number of firsts at the network. Those firsts included producing ESPN’s first live regular-season college football game in September 1984 and its first live NFL game in August 1987.

As ESPN’s executive vice president for programming and production, Wildhack managed all league and conference relationships and negotiated all live sport television rights; renegotiated a nine-year deal with the National Basketball Association (NBA), extending the existing contract through 2023; renegotiated a new 20-year agreement with the Southeastern Conference that extended the existing media rights deal through 2034; helped secure long-term multiplatform agreements with the NBA, Major League Baseball, College Football Playoffs, Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12, U.S. Open Tennis, the Rose and Sugar Bowls, the Women’s National Basketball Association, the American Athletic Conference and the Mountain West Conference; and won more than 30 Emmy Awards. He was responsible for 50,000 hours of on-air content annually.

Wildhack served as ESPN’s executive vice president for programming and acquisitions from 2007 until 2012. While directing programming and acquisitions, he oversaw all rights negotiations and managing relationships with rights holders for all ESPN entities. These included ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes, ESPNU, ESPN International, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN3, ESPN Mobile Properties, print and more. In 2009, he began leading strategic program planning for all the ESPN television networks, ESPN on ABC and ESPN’s digital platforms.

Wildhack’s managerial role at ESPN began in 1990 when he was named director, event productions. In 1991 he was promoted to vice president, remote production, a position he held through 1993 when he became senior vice president, remote production. In September 1994, he moved to the programming department as senior vice president, programming, and in 2005 he became senior vice president, programming acquisitions & strategy. Wildhack was directly involved in the renewal and expansion of many ESPN and ESPN2 programming agreements including NFL, MLB, NBA, the Bowl Championship Series, NCAA, tennis’ four Grand Slam events and a variety of major college conferences. His efforts were integral in the increase of live and original programming on ESPN and ESPN2. Under his direction, the evolution of ESPN2’s programming lineup included an extensive commitment to auto racing and college football and basketball, leading to ESPN2 becoming the fastest growing network of the 1990s.

Wildhack first joined ESPN as a production assistant in 1980. He served in a number of production positions prior to his move to the management track at the Worldwide Leader in Sports, including production assistant, associate producer, senior associate producer, producer, coordinating producer and director of event productions. Among the sports he worked on were college football, NCAA basketball, boxing, golf and auto racing.  He served as coordinating producer of ESPN’s Sunday Night NFL and NFL Draft telecasts in 1988 and 1989 and produced NFL games for the network – the first NFL games on cable – from 1987-89.

A native of Buffalo, N.Y. and a 1980 alumnus of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications (Bachelor of Arts in Telecommunications), Wildhack joined ESPN in its first year of operation immediately following his graduation from Syracuse University. An active Syracuse alumnus, he sits on the Advisory Board for the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics and was an honoree at the “Newhouse at 40” Gala. 


He and his wife, Amy, have two sons, Tommy and James. John is also the father of a son, M.J.

Jamie Winders
Director - ASPI Policy Institute

Jamie Winders

Jamie Winders is Director of the Autonomous Systems Policy Institute (ASPI) at Syracuse University and Professor of Geography in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. As ASPI’s director, Jamie brings together faculty and students from across Syracuse University to offer interdisciplinary insight into the policies, regulations, and varied uses of autonomous systems, from driverless vehicles and pilotless ships to unmanned aerial vehicles. Given ASPI’s focus on the technology, policy, and social implications of autonomous systems, Jamie works closely with key stakeholders in industry, government, non-profits, and wider communities impacted by or associated with autonomous systems. Beyond her work with ASPI, Jamie is known for her interdisciplinary research on international migration, as well as her contributions to geography’s engagements with race, labor, and social reproduction. She is Editor-in-Chief of the International Migration Review, the flagship journal in migration studies, and Associate Editor of cultural geographies. She holds a PhD from the University of Kentucky and joined the Syracuse University faculty in 2004.


  • Date

    Friday, November 8, 2019

  • Location

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

  • Speakers

    Keynote: Daniel Faggella - 36 Speakers!

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