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Selection Committee

Elyse Ball, Project Manager, University of Akron Research Foundation

  • Instructor in UA's I-Corps Site, who also coordinates provisional patent filings, assists in the negotiation of license and research agreements, and supports technology commercialization grants and fundraising
  • Has served in leadership roles with five early-stage, technology-based startup companies
  • Co-authored a book on patent law for scientists and engineers
  • B.S. in Journalism from Ohio University, J.D. in Law from Boston University

Bob Chalfant, Director, Fitzgerald Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies

  • Senior executive with strong record of leading companies through fast-track growth with an emphasis on market globalization, and strategic business and marketing plans
  • CEO of Metalwood Bats, LLC, where he increased sales by 48% in 12 months and attracted more than $1 million in equity investment 
  • Sales experience in US, Europe, Asia, and the Pacific Rim
  • B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Ohio University, MBA in Business from Harvard University

Pat Gaughan, Executive Director, Innovation Practice Center

  • Leads UA's efforts to create interdisciplinary graduate and undergraduate level courses in entrepreneurship and innovation
  • Expert in business turnarounds, including leading East Palestine China Decorating, LLC, where he won the 2008 Small Business Excellence Award for the company's transformation
  • Business advisor to new startups at the Youngstown Business Incubator
  • B.S. in Political Science from Columbia University, J.D. in Law from University of Virginia, MBA in Business from Trinity College, D.B.A. in International Business from Cleveland State University

Dan Hampu, Project Manager, University of Akron Research Foundation

  • Instructor in UA's I-Corps Site, who also assists UA emerging enterprise matters, evaluating technologies and markets, and developing strategies and promotional materials
  • Board member for NEOSVF, a non-profit fund that makes small investments in Northeast Ohio technology-based businesses
  • B.S. in Business from University of Mount Union, J.D. in Law and MBA in Finance at The University of Akron

Ken Preston, Assistant Vice President for Research and Director of Technology Transfer

  • Responsible for identifying, evaluating, developing, protecting, and marketing UA inventions, as well as assisting faculty and staff in research, technology and intellectual property planning, funding, partnering, and related compliance
  • Registered patent attorney
  • Served as Vice President, Senior Counsel and Chief Patent Counsel for TRW, Inc., a Cleveland- and Los Angeles-based, manufacturer of defense, aerospace, electronics, information and automotive products
  • B.I.E. in Engineering from Princeton University/The Ohio State University, J.D. in Law from George Washington University

Barry Rosenbaum, Senior Fellow, University of Akron Research Foundation

  • Focused on promoting wealth creation, Angel Investment, and regional innovation in Northeast Ohio
  • Worked with Exxon Chemical Polymers Division for 25 years, where he served as Technology Manager of Exxon Chemical’s EPDM Rubber Business and was responsible for developing Exxon’s bromobutyl technology for tire inner liners
  • Helped to found Advanced Elastomer Systems as a joint venture between Exxon Chemical and Monsanto, originally located in Akron
  • Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University, B.S. in Chemical Engineering from The Cooper Union

Tom Swiger, University of Akron Research Foundation

  • Instructor in UA's I-Corps Site, multiple time I-Corps mentor and leaders of early-stage company based on UA technology
  • Led new product divisions in Tremco, GE Silicone Products and Imi Tech
  • B.A. in Chemistry and Mathematics from Western Michigan University, Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Purdue University