Certified Startup Development Officers

The National Council of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer (NCET2) has created a capstone program to certify Startup Development Officers (SDOs) who assist universities, faculty, researchers, students, and entrepreneurs to create, develop, and fund university startups. SDOs work in collaboration with NCET2's corporate membership to identity and develop the most promising university startups and technologies.

SDOs are former Fortune 500 executives, angel investors and serial entrepreneurs with extensive knowledge and experience in startups development, who will sit on boards of directors and boards of advisers to help guide companies from startup through successful milestones to a significant market event.

We are actively recruiting SDOs and have over 30 accepted into the program (a 20% acceptance rate). A partial representative list of SDOs is below:

Watch the webinar on the Startup Development Program

Wayne Barz, MBASDO - Entrepreneur
Since July of 2000, Wayne Barz has managed the Ben Franklin TechVentures incubator program on Lehigh’s campus (2001 and 2012 National Business Incubation Association Incubator of The Year). The incubator is currently home to ~35 early stage technology companies and Wayne has managed Ben Franklin’s investment in and work with more than 100 tech start ups in the Lehigh Valley. Wayne is currently Vice President of the board for the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley and is President of the Board of the Rising Tide Community Loan Fund. He has almost 30 years of experience in business and economic development, including: - 21 years managing business incubator programs in the Lehigh Valley - 6 years in private sector, managing economic development projects across PA, DE and MD. - 3 years managing projects and initiatives for Allentown Economic Development Corporation, including development of their Enterprise Zone and its revolving loan fund. - Provided early leadership to create several Lehigh Valley initiatives including Lehigh Valley Land Recycling Initiative, Lehigh Valley Technology Network, Northeastern PA Angel Network and others. - B.S., Economics, Lehigh University MBA (Management of Technology concentration), Lehigh University - Inaugural winner of Lehigh University MBA Alumni of the Year Award for Entrepreneurship in 2012.
Ron EppersonSDO - Corporate
Ron Epperson is a seasoned energy, chemical and clean tech entrepreneur with over 35 years of experience as a corporate executive, consultant, entrepreneur, investor and mentor. Ron spent 20 years at Royal Dutch /Shell where he was responsible for commercializing seven new energy and chemical technologies. He also built and managed an international licensing business that successfully licensed technologies into Korea, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Austria, Germany, France and South Africa. Ron’s chemical expertise includes alpha olefins, synthetic fatty alcohols, ethylene oxide and ethylene glycol, surfactants, lubricant and fuel additives, polyolefins, polyesters, hydrogen and syn gas. As a consultant, Ron was the leader of Intellectual Property practices at the international firms Ernst & Young and Grant Thornton. As an entrepreneur, he has had C level leadership roles in several startups that include renewable energy project development, renewable energy financing, petrochemical project development, electric motor technology, hydrogen fuel technology, energy storage, fintech and water clean up. As an investor, Ron managed corporate venture teams at Shell, and has been an angel and A Round investor in numerous clean tech companies covering renewable energy production, energy storage, advanced bio materials, carbon fiber composites, enhanced oil and gas recovery, environmental mitigation, novel gas fired power generation and energy efficiency.
Eric Buckland, Ph.D.SDO - Entrepreneur
My passion is to collaborate with innovative teams to bring new product to market that solves problems for our customers in unexpected ways. Over 30 years I have led diverse organizations and cultures in the commercialization of medical device and optical communications technologies. As founding CEO of ophthalmic imaging company Bioptigen, I successfully navigated the startup lifecycle from Duke University spin-out, through funding, to FDA 510(k) clearance, commercialization, exit, and integration into a Fortune 200 public company. Funding avenues included individual and organized angels, a not-for-profit strategic partner, SBIR grants, and re-investment of gross profits from sales. Four SBIR Phase II and one FastTrack awards were among $9M in grants that funded three commercialization of three product families. I have been awarded two Frost & Sullivan awards for Innovation and Technology Leadership, and hold 60 US Patents. I earned my PhD in Optics from the University of Rochester Institute of Optics, and currently serve on the North Carolina State University Physics Alumni Advisory Board and College of Sciences Foundation Board.
Christine D. Copple, Ph.D.SDO - Angel
Chris brings over three decades of experience as a corporate officer and board member in multiple biotechnology enterprises ranging from oncology to neural stem cells to pharmaceutical manufacturing equipment and BioMed IT. As a technology company founder and executive, her responsibilities have included fund raising, business development, operations, build out, cGMP manufacturing build/design, regulatory affairs, human resources, international marketing and sales, corporate communication, PR, investor relations, legislative liaison and R&D. She served as CEO of ASM Resources, Inc., the seed venture fund of the American Society of Microbiology. With ten years of laboratory research experience, she has authored peer-reviewed scientific articles, book chapters and patent applications. Chris gained a Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Birmingham Department of Cancer Studies, U.K. and joined the Cold Spring Harbor Labs Cell Laboratory under the direction of world renowned Dr. James D. Watson. A founder of 2 publicly traded companies (Microfluidics & NeuralStem), Chris serves on the Board of Washington D.C. ArchAngels and Chairs their Bio-Life Science Caucus. She is currently a Board member and/or Advisory Board Member of several private biolifescience companies.
Steve Socolof, MBASDO - Angel
Stephen Socolof is a Managing Partner of New Venture Partners LLC (“NVP”). With over $700 million under management and offices in the US and Europe, NVP is the leading global venture capital firm specializing in corporate spinout venturing. NVP works closely with corporations to commercialize and scale up new innovations as standalone ventures. NVP itself was spun out of Lucent Technologies, where it had been an incubator for spinout opportunities from Bell Labs. NVP focuses on communications and information technologies as well as energy and materials. In addition to Steve’s firm management responsibilities, he leads deals in semiconductors, software, storage, and wireless technologies. He is currently a director of Alverix, CrossFiber, EverSpin Technologies, GainSpan Corporation, Own Products, and a board observer of Intelleflex. He was recently a director of Sychip, Inc. (sold to Murata) and an observer of Flarion Technologies, Inc. (sold to Qualcomm), and Silicon Hive (sold to Intel). Steve holds a BA in Economics and a BS in Mathematical Sciences from Stanford University and received his MBA from the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth College, where he was a Tuck Scholar. He currently serves on the board of the Center for the Study of Private Equity at the Tuck School.
David Hayes, MBASDO - Entrepreneur
David Hayes is a serial entrepreneur, innovator, and university instructor with an extraordinary record of business creation. Mr. Hayes has an advanced educational background and proven, dynamic startup leadership and visioning capabilities. Mr. Hayes has much experience and success in both business and academic environments.
Michael Blaustein, Ph.D.SDO - Corporate
Michael was previously Director of Corporate Venture Capital and Planning Director for Science and Technology at DuPont. He began his career at DuPont in Research & Development. where he held technology, marketing, and business leadership positions in DuPont Nonwovens and DuPont Advanced Fibers Systems until becoming Business Director for DuPont Nonwovens in Europe. In 2000 he became Planning Director for DuPont Central Research and Development, and added responsibility for DuPont’s venture capital investments in 2006. He worked across DuPont on R&D portfolio and innovation management and with external parties on collaborative research and open innovation. Michael holds a BA in chemistry from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Yale University. Michael Blaustein is Principal of the MAB Innovation Group. He is working with early stage companies and the entrepreneurial ecosystem on business development, innovation strategy, and corporate collaborations and venture capital investments, and with larger organizations on strategy and innovation. He serves as a member of the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania materials science investment advisory board.
Kenneth Polk, JDSDO - Entrepreneur
Ken Polk is senior counsel and innovation strategist for the American Chemical Society. Before joining ACS, Ken practiced intellectual property and business transactions law with the world-renowned firm of Reed Smith, as well as environmental law with the Pittsburgh boutique law firm of Babst Calland. For nearly 12 years, Ken founded and maintained a law practice directed at counselling small businesses, entrepreneurs, and early-stage start-ups in legal matters pertaining to intellectual property identification and protection, private equity, acquisitions, enterprise formation and development, and technology licensing matters. Ken worked with the University of Pittsburgh as its Research Counsel/Program Liaison Officer in establishing its first industry outreachy office for the marketing, negotiation, closing of unique technology transfer arrangements involving the University’s promising discoveries and technologies. Ken has also acted in various capacities for start-ups, including executive level positions in business development, legal, and operations - raising nearly $10 million in seed funding.
Robert Gruetzmacher, Ph.D.SDO - Corporate
Dr. Gruetzmacher has over 36 years of industrial experience at DuPont working in multiple functions across a broad range of responsibilities, life and physical sciences, research and leadership. During his tenure he provided corporate leadership on extracting value from intellectual capital focusing on intellectual asset management, licensing, technology transfer, IP valuation, negotiation, university collaborations, and open innovation implementation strategies. Following retirement from DuPont, he served as an independent consultant for Rutgers University’s Office of Technology Commercialization, managing their physical science, engineering, and IT patent portfolios. Dr. Gruetzmacher received a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University and was the recipient of a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellowship.
Glenn Vonk, Ph.D.SDO - Corporate
Glenn Vonk has over 30 years’ experience leading technology developments in diagnostics, drug delivery, and medical devices including immunoassays, molecular diagnostics, detection systems, and new chemical entities. He established life sciences R&D at BD BioVenture Centre in Singapore leading to several commercialization programs in developing world diagnostics and biopharmaceutical manufacturing. Glenn is inventor of BD intellectual property used in drug delivery and diagnostics products. While in Singapore, he was responsible for infectious disease proof of concept clinical research in Thailand. While Director of Advanced Technology Glenn coordinated innovation resources at corporate R&D and sourced key technologies for BD’s strategic business needs. Glenn rapidly connects new technology options to significant business needs and processes to accelerate their progress to market.
Mark Vreeke, Ph.D.SDO - Angel
Dr. Vreeke is a cofounder of the Chemical Angel Network. The Chemical Angel Network provides a source of capital for early stage firms that converge with the chemical sector in the materials, measurement and manufacturing space. Previously, Dr. Vreeke served as vice president of R&D for Rational Biotechnology, a Rational Systems spin-off. Rational Biotech’s mission was to speed the adoption of personalized medicine through the development of combined IVD and drug therapy products. Rational Biotech identified a novel route to the delivery of personalized therapy without the requirement of massive clinical trials. He also served as the Senior VP of R&D at Pepex Biomedical (St. Louis, MO). Pepex is an early stage medical device company specializing in developing, manufacturing and marketing disposable miniaturized electrochemical biosensors. He graduated from Calvin College with a BS in chemistry and went on to receive a PhD in analytical chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin. He is currently a member of the editorial advisory board of IVD Technology and is a visiting professor in the chemical engineering department at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (Tarragona, Spain). He sits on several academic, industry, and corporate boards. Academic honors include a Dow Scholar, Welch Fellow and Woodrow Wilson Fellow.
Joseph A. George, MBA, Ph.D.SDO - Corporate
Joseph brings over 25 years of experience in food science research and technology, with emphasis in technology scouting, open innovation, product development, protein ingredient technology and dairy industry. As a Fellow at Kellogg, Joseph co-led and managed Technology Scouting program to provide new capability to build the open innovation program. He collaborated and managed relationships with external partners to strengthen the front end of the innovation pipeline and develop potential new business opportunities. Has a passion for innovation and technical curiosity, future oriented mindset by proactively bringing strong technical ideas linked to business need, while operating within a cross-functional team environment. During his tenure at Kellogg, Joseph has held multiple management and technical positions, providing leadership role in planning, innovation, organizing research and development management with proven record of new product launches. Gained global experiences as Director for Asia Pacific R&D and Business Partner, responsible for the overall leadership and success of high profile multiple new products launch, product improvement, line extensions, and identify business opportunities or gaps within innovation process for International Markets. Prior to Kellogg, Joseph has led and managed R&D activities, managed production within protein ingredient industry and the dairy industry within the US, Middle East and Asia. Joseph has an MBA from Iowa State University and a Ph.D. from North Carolina State University.
Brian McIlroy, Ph.D.SDO - University
Brian McIlroy, Ph.D., took on the role of new executive director of the Buffalo Institute for Genomics and Data Analytic at the University at Buffalo in April 2016. As executive director of BIG, Dr. McIlroy will develop and implement a comprehensive plan for advancing BIG’s mission, with a focus on driving innovation and generating economic impact through industry collaboration. He will lead the team at BIG in engaging industry and other partners on projects that transform genomic research advances into tools for treating, preventing, managing and diagnosing disease. Brian was recruited to GE Global Research in May 2007 as the Senior Bioinstrumentation Leader. Brian was responsible at GRC for advanced technology for four business units within GEHC – Interventional Systems, Life Care Solutions, Ultrasound & Surgery. Leading a group of approximately sixty technologists at GE Global research and responsible for the inception & development of the advanced technology roadmap for this group. Brian’s current role focus’s on commercial avenues to monetize GE’s intangible assets through partnership and licensing agreements with partners. Overall, Brian has over 20 years’ experience in all aspects of medical device development together with management of clinical trials ranging from preclinical through phase III FDA controlled global trials.
Robert Hisrich, Ph.D.SDO - University
Dr. Robert D. Hisrich is the Bridgestone Professor of International Marketing and the Associate Dean of Graduate and International Programs at College of Business, Kent State University. He has been involved in the startup of numerous global companies. Professor Hisrich received his BA from DePauw University, his MBA, and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Cincinnati, and honorary doctorate degrees from Chuvash State University (Russia) and the University of Miskolc (Hungary). Prior to joining Thunderbird, Dr. Hisrich held the A. Malachi Mixon, III Chaired Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University.
Helena Wisniewski, Ph.D.SDO - University
Dr. Helena S. Wisniewski assumed the position of Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Studies and Dean of the Graduate School, at UAA in August 2011. She is President of Seawolf Holdings, a wholly owned subsidiary of UAA, and the Founding Director for the Arctic Domain Awareness Center (ADAC) a DHS National Center of Excellence. She has a breadth of senior executive and leadership experience in academia, the federal government, and private industry. She has an impressive record of leading technology innovation and has successfully launched and sold startup companies. She holds patents and has received awards for outstanding leadership, entrepreneurship, and significant contributions to scientific areas, including the 2002 Women in Technology Leadership Award for Entrepreneurship;the Award of Honor in Recognition of Extraordinary Leadership, Management, and Service from Lockheed Award for Special Achievement from the CIA, and for Special Recognition from DARPA. Recently she was selected as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors and will inducted in April 2016 at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Victoria Scarborough, Ph.D.SDO - Corporate
Dr. Victoria Scarborough was with The Sherwin-Williams Co. for more than thirty years as the Program Director for the Global External Technology Team. This team has several responsibilities including identifying & leveraging technologies that address the global technical needs of Sherwin-Williams by scouting universities, the technical marketplace, search agencies, venture capital groups, and adjacent consumer product industries. Her lab team provides proof-of-concept research & data for technologies new to the paint & coatings industry. Dr. Scarborough has served as the Director of New Technology for the SW Diversified Brands Division, directed the R&D team for the Thompson’s ® Water Seal® brand and published and presented extensively on wood protection, water repellency and wood chemistry in addition to holding several patents in this area. Dr. Scarborough holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Tennessee.
Wes Blakeslee, JDSDO - University
Wes Blakeslee is a former NASA engineer and systems analyst, Wes spent more than 16 years at The Johns Hopkins University. He began as an Associate General Counsel, where he practiced intellectual property and complex business law. He also taught "Patents, Trademarks and Copyrights" and "Law, Intellectual property and the Information Age". He was the lead University attorney in negotiations acquiring a university and health system wide enterprise management software system. His expertise includes complex business agreements and operations, copyright fair use, sponsored research and collaboration agreements, material transfer agreements, intellectual property agreements, export controls, university and business policies, corporate formation, mergers and acquisitions. In 2006, Wes was requested to become Executive Director of Johns Hopkins Technology Transfer, where he led a formerly struggling office to seven consecutive years of growth, turning the office into one of the strongest in the US.
Michael Wu, MBASDO - Angel
Michael Wu brings 14 years of experience in venture capital, five years in technology commercialization, and eight years in product management. Prior to founding Blue Angel Partners (pre-seed funding on enabling technologies for “Internet of Things”), Michael was a Principal at Chart Venture Partners focusing on dual-use (with both commercial and defense applications), federally funded technologies in Communications, Cyber Security, Decision Analytics, Sensors, and Clean Energy. Prior to that, Michael founded Blue Angel Ventures in angel funding and co-founding or advisory roles at NC-based startups. Prior to entering venture capital, Michael held engineering and product management roles in fiber optics and wireless communications at Nortel, Ericsson and Nextel. Michael earned his MBA from Duke University-Fuqua, M.S. in Electrical Engineering and Graduate Certificate in Management of Technology from Georgia Tech, and B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Michael is also a registered patent agent and Certified Licensing Professional.
Adam Greenspan, MSSDO - Entrepreneur
Adam Greenspan has over thirteen years’ experience in technology development, translation, and commercialization. In June 2017, he concluded his role as Director of Business Incubation at the University City Science Center in Philadelphia. He has established BluePoint Innovation which provides commercialization consulting for medical technology startup companies and research organizations. His previous work includes: • Overseeing the Science Center turnkey incubator facility and delivering advisory support to over 70 research and technology-based startup companies • Running the Science Center’s proof-of-concept program which funds $600,000 of translational R&D from academic labs annually • Launching Aries Medical Textiles, a startup company developing antimicrobial textile garments • Working in the Johns Hopkins tech transfer office to assess invention disclosures, recommend IP filing strategies and draft provisional patent applications, identify appropriate licensing partners and negotiate agreement terms, and correspond with inventors • Conducting quality control testing of biomaterial formulations for orthopedic trauma medical device company DePuy Synthes • Performing freelance technology commercialization assessments on a project basis for two consulting firms Adam has degrees and research experience from Johns Hopkins (BS Biomedical Engineering/Materials Science), the University of Florida (Graduate research assistant), Drexel University (MS Biomedical Engineering), and the Mayo Clinic (Summer research intern). He is also registered as a patent agent with the USPTO.

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.