Speakers and Moderators


Amy Adams: Executive Director, Institute for Biohealth Innovation - George Mason University

As Executive Director of the Institute for Biohealth Innovation at George Mason University, Amy Adams is responsible for nurturing and advancing biohealth research and innovation interests of more than 250 faculty and thousands of students who represent a broad range of academic disciplines. Her role includes fostering partnerships with industry, healthcare, government, and academic partners.
Prior to leading the development of the Institute for Biohealth Innovation in 2017, she served in several different capacities at Mason. As a scientific researcher, she used genomic and proteomic technologies to study signaling pathway networks in cancer. Amy also led outreach efforts and created programs including the Aspiring Scientists Summer Internship Program and the Galileo’s Science Café to engage high school and undergraduate students in research across STEM disciplines, communicate science to the public, and foster internal and external collaborations. Her journey began at Mason where she earned a M.S. in Chemistry, B.S. in Biology.

Allison Baird-James: Interim Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer, University of California, Los Angeles

Allison Baird-James is the Interim Vice Chancellor & CFO at UCLA. Before coming to UCLA, she worked at Stanford University for 13 years. Allison has spent much of her career working in higher education. Prior to UCLA, she served for nearly 14 years at Stanford University in the roles of interim controller, associate controller and associate director of internal audit. Before Stanford, she worked in the finance divisions of several medical institutions. She started her career in accounting at PricewaterhouseCoopers and earned her Certified Public Accountant certification. Allison holds a B.S. degree in business administration from California State University, Chico. In addition, she is a graduate of UCLA Anderson’s executive program in management and women in governance program as well as Stanford’s leadership program. She is a fellow of the National Association of College and University Business Officers and serves as co-treasurer and a board member of the Organization of Women Executives.

Michael Bassoff: Founding President, TGEN Foundation

Michael Bassoff is a nationally known foundation executive in the field of health science and academic medicine.
Mr. Bassoff began his career at the University of Arizona, being the very first fundraising person hired at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center. He established a highly successful and comprehensive development program during his sixteen years of service during which he completed multiple capital campaigns. 
Mr. Bassoff returned to his home state of New Jersey to serve as President of the Foundation of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) where he was responsible for raising and managing private funds for New Jersey’s entire system of medical and dental schools. 
In 2002, Mr. Bassoff returned to Arizona to create TGen’s nationally based charitable foundation to support the work of the Translational Genomics Research Institute and its programs. Launched by Dr. Jeffrey Trent in June of 2002, the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a non-profit organization dedicated to unraveling the genetic components of common and complex diseases in an effort to develop earlier diagnoses and smarter treatments for patients suffering from serious diseases. Mr. Bassoff served as President of the TGen Foundation, whose sole purpose is dedicated to supporting TGen’s research, played a role in TGen’s growth from its beginning. He worked alongside community leaders and governments in securing the initial $90 million to establish TGen in Arizona and over the course of his career there TGen received more than $300,000,000 in gifts. His success centers around building and fostering relationships and collaborations. 
Most recently, Mr. Bassoff has served as a consultant to a wide range of non-profit and for-profit organizations. Nationally known, he co-authored the book RelationShift: Revolutionary Fundraising with best selling author Steve Chandler. 

Leah Burton: Principal Higher Education Industry Consultant, SAS Institute

Leah Burton began her role as Principal Higher Education Industry Consultant in the SAS Education Practice in 2022. Prior to that, she spent 22 years at North Carolina State University, building the award-winning Centennial Campus, launching the industry partnership office, and contributing to the university’s world-renowned stature as an innovative and engaged public university. Leah is committed to helping educational institutions leverage data to drive student success, faculty success and operational efficiency. At SAS Institute, she works closely with higher education institutions to transform a world of data into a world of intelligence. The use of data analytics to optimize decisions makes a positive impact on our education system, driving student success and building a community of innovators.

Chris Carlson: Senior Vice President. The Whiting Turner Contracting Company; AURP Board Member

As Senior Vice President with Whiting-Turner (WT), Chris is primarily responsible for oversight of WT’s SE construction operations within its Georgia, Kentucky, North & South Carolina offices, which have a combined annual revenue of $700M.  Chris has 42 years of experience in the construction industry and is a graduate of the University of Florida, with a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management.  Throughout his career, Chris has managed a multitude of construction types; however, his primary focus has been constructing higher education, science, and technology facilities, contributing to the success of University and Research projects across the Southeast United States.  He has been directly involved as key leadership managing over $580 million dollars of university projects in the Southeast prior to his current executive duties.
Chris was the first individual within Whiting-Turner to acquire LEED Accreditation in 2001 and was instrumental in Whiting-Turner’s corporate membership within the United States Green Building Council, whereby he was elected to the LEED Application Guidelines committee to compile a laboratory-specific LEED manual.  He has been directly involved in numerous high profile, sustainable building projects such as the Yerkes National Primate Research Center and the Whitehead Biomedical Research Facility both at Emory University, the Paul D. Coverdell Center for Biomedical & Health Sciences at the University of Georgia, as well as over one million SF of space at the Innovation Quarter in Winston Salem, North Carolina.

Brian Darmody: Chief Strategy Officer, AURP

Brian Darmody leads AURP initiatives including expanding membership, international partnerships and funding in order to build out additional member benefits. Prior to joining AURP, Brian served as Associate Vice President (AVP) of Corporate Engagement at the University of Maryland (UMD). At UMD, Brian  was responsible for developing the overall university strategy for corporate relationships, as well as the development of projects and policies to support these initiatives centrally and through the colleges and schools on campus of the University of Maryland.
Previously, he was the University’s AVP for Corporate and Foundation Relations in the Division of University Relations, AVP for Research and Economic Development, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Technology Development, Director of State and Federal Relations in the President’s Office and has served in the university’s legal counsel office. He serves on national and state boards, including: Fraunhofer USA, the Maryland Economic Development Association, and the Maryland Tech Council.
He holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Baltimore and he received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Kurt Davis: Founding Partner, FirstStrategic Communications and Public Affairs

Kurt Davis is a founding partner for FirstStrategic Communications and Public Affairs in Phoenix, Arizona. Davis leads the firm’s strategic public policy development for non-profit clients, all federal legislative activities, and rural Arizona issues. 
Prior to forming FirstStrategic, Davis served as the Vice President of Public Affairs & Marketing at Northern Arizona University. Additionally, Davis served as the Vice President of Public Affairs & Corporate Communications at the publicly traded fire and ambulance services corporation, Rural/Metro. Preceding his time at Rural/Metro, Davis served as the Deputy Chief of Staff and Executive Assistant in the Office of the Arizona Governor; holding direct oversight for numerous state agencies including the Department of Transportation, Department of Corrections, and the Game and Fish Department. 
Davis’ extensive experience also includes serving as the Arizona co-lead for Senator John McCain’s Presidential campaign in 2007. Davis also served as the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs & Issues Analysis in the Arizona Office of the Attorney General, as a Commissioner on the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, Executive Director of the Arizona Republican Party, and held appointed positions in the Reagan Administration at the the White House.
Davis played a lead role in bringing together governments and state universities around a vision of creating a collaborative research institute (now know as TGen) as the nucleus of a new bioscience hub in Arizona.

Ben Geelan: Senior Managing Director, Phoenix Office Co-Head, JLL

Ben is a Senior Managing Director and co-head of the Phoenix office of JLL Capital Markets, Americas. He joined JLL as part of the HFF acquisition and brings more than five years of experience in commercial real estate. He focuses primarily on office and industrial sales in Greater Phoenix and the Southwest. 
Ben joined HFF in September 2017. Before that, he worked with Cushman and Wakefield, where he was a member of a four-person investment sales team specializing in office and industrial dispositions throughout Arizona. Prior to that, he was an analyst in the research department of Cassidy Turley BRE.

Will Germain: Chief Executive Officer & Managing Partner, MCB Science + Health

Will Germain is the CEO of MCB Science + Health. Prior to co-founding MCB Science & Health, Mr. Germain served as Senior Investment Officer for Ventas, where he was responsible for investments within the company’s growing university, life science, research, and innovation center portfolio, helping grow this portfolio to over $4 billion and 7MM SF. Will is a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of University Research Parks (AURP), the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) University Development and Innovation Council, the Real Estate Executives Council (REEC), and as Vice President of the Board of High Jump. He served on the board of Phase 1 Ventures (P1V) and as a Steering Committee member for the Global Institute on Innovation Districts (GIID).

Malcolm Green: Growth Initiatives, Maricopa Agricultural Center, University of Arizona

Malcolm is Director of Growth Initiatives, Arizona Experiment Station, and lead for the Maricopa Area of Innovation project.  Prior to joining UArizona in 2019, Malcolm worked 8 years at Arizona State University, launching manufacturing and transportation growth initiatives for the Fulton Schools of Engineering.  He also led corporate engagement activities and managed the undergraduate engineering Capstone program. His move to higher education followed a successful professional career spanning 30 years and covering the agricultural, aerospace, defense, and manufacturing industries. Malcolm has extensive experience in executive leadership, business development, and strategic planning, including the successful launch of 3 new businesses.  
Malcolm is a graduate of Texas A&M University where he obtained B.S. and M.S. degrees in Engineering.  In 2020 he joined the Board of Directors for Maricopa Economic Development Alliance.  In 2019 he completed a 3-year appointment to the City of Phoenix Business and Workforce Development Board of Directors.  He remains active in economic and workforce development activities across Arizona.

Linda Hall: Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Research Triangle Park

Linda Hall serves as the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina. Linda has led the oversight and management of the Foundation’s finances, investments, human resources, IT and operations for over 15 years.
In addition to the day-to-day fiscal management of the Foundation’s assets, Linda is heavily involved in the strategic financial positioning of the investments made in RTP and management of properties owned by the Foundation and its subsidiaries. Linda plays a key role in: the Foundation’s real estate portfolio development and management; the Frontier RTP campus; the Hub RTP mixed-use development strategic planning; and the acquisition, renovation and leasing for nearly 700K SF of commercial office, lab and retail space.
Linda is a licensed CPA with the South Carolina Board of Accountancy, with over 30 years of experience in both public accounting and in private sectors. Prior to joining the Foundation in April 2007, Linda worked as a consultant in both Florida and North Carolina assisting mid-sized partnerships and corporations in financial, tax and strategic business planning.
Linda currently serves as the Finance Committee Chair on NC IDEA Board, TCREW Board and the 2022 TCREW Champion Awards Chair, Raleigh Industry Roundtable of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond and the Membership & Marketing Chair on the RTA Leadership Committee (Regional Transportation Alliance).  Recently invited to join the AURP Membership Committee (Association of University Research Parks).

Kate Hier: AIA, NCARB, EDAC, WELL AP, Architect, Laboratory Planner, Clark & Enersen

Kate Hier is a Principal and Architect at Clark & Enersen. She is passionate about inspiring others through the design of beautiful spaces, and crafting architecture to be a tool for discovery, connection, learning, and healing. As a leader of the firm’s science and technology market sector, she specializes in the design of higher education and science & technology facilities and has led design on numerous high-profile projects at universities, research parks, and medical education centers across the nation. Her focus lies at the intersection of visioning for the future, consensus building, and design excellence.

Dr. Joshua Hunsberger: Chief Technology Officer, RegenMed Development Organization (ReMDO)

Dr. Hunsberger obtained his B.A. in neuroscience from Wesleyan University and his Ph.D. in neuroscience from Yale University where his work focused on the beneficial effects of exercise in treating depression. He then did his postdoctoral work at the National Institutes of Health where he was the Julius Axelrod Post Doctoral Fellow and worked in areas of mood disorders and stroke. He then was a research fellow at the National Institutes of Health Center for Regenerative Medicine where he coordinated efforts for advancing clinical translation of stem-cell technologies. He then came to Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine where he worked on various director initiatives seeking to translate regenerative medicine technologies into the clinic to treat patients. He is currently chief technology officer of a non-profit organization, RegenMed Development Organization (ReMDO) that is advancing regenerative medicine manufacturing platform technologies in pre-competitive space. One of the programs focuses on development of a universal media to support clinical cell manufacturing. The other program focuses on development of a tunable bioink system for 3D bioprinting. He is also executive director of the Regenerative Medicine Manufacturing Society (RMMS) which is a professional society that has a vision of enabling the adoption of manufacturing platform technologies into standards, regulatory pathways, and commercial products by assembling a diverse network of stakeholders.

Jonathan Hunt: Ecosystems Partnership Manager, McMaster Innovation Park

Jonathan leads the ecosystem and partnerships office at McMaster Innovation Park (MIP). Over the years, he has played an integral role in building relationships and forming lucrative global partnerships to support MIP’s growth initiative. Through strategic alliances, Jonathan has facilitated impactful collisions that continue to be vital to the growth and success of the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA) life sciences corridor. 

Shafin Khan: Vice President of External Affairs and Innovation, UNO Research & Technology Foundation, Inc.

Shafin is the Vice President of External Affairs and Innovation at the University of New Orleans Research Foundation (UNORTF), building programs and facilities to support academic/industry collaborations and student innovation. The team at the UNORTF recently launched the Louisiana Wind Energy Hub at UNO to support research and innovation and new workforce development utilizing assets and expertise at UNO for the burgeoning wind industry in Louisiana.
Shafin previously worked at the Tulane University Office of Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Development. At this office, Shafin helped Tulane faculty translate bench research and other innovations into commercialized products. He provided guidance to faculty and students regarding spinning out companies, managed faculty intellectual property and licensing, and actively engaged with faculty and industry to develop academic/industry collaborations. 
Before the Tulane role, Shafin served as the Director of Technology Commercialization at the New Orleans BioInnovation Center where he developed a life science technology commercialization program, providing business strategy and planning assistance, mentorship, and educational programming aimed at establishing and growing the life science startup ecosystem in Southeast Louisiana. During his five year tenure at the BioInnovation Center, he helped life science startups create over 300 jobs and raise over $80M in funding for their businesses in that timeframe, many of which have continued to create jobs, raise additional follow-on funding, and successfully bring their products to market.
Shafin earned his J.D. from Loyola University of New Orleans and gained his B.S.E. in Biomedical Engineering from Tulane University. Additionally, he has four years of lab research experience at the LSU Health Sciences Center.

Erin Koshut: AURP President; Executive Director, Cummings Research Park

Erin Koshut is the Executive Director of Cummings Research Park (CRP) in Huntsville, Alabama. With 300 companies situated over more than 3,800 acres and employing 26,500 employees, CRP is the second largest research park in the U.S. and the fourth largest in the world. Erin is responsible for managing and marketing CRP, and for providing a business environment that is conducive to growing existing industry and recruiting new industry into the Park. In her role as CRP Director, Erin continues to lead the implementation of the 2016 comprehensive master plan that ensures another 50 successful years for CRP. Partnering with stakeholders and community leaders, Erin is working to transform the culture in the Park and create a vibrant environment where employees connect, work, live, learn, and play. Erin is a certified Business Incubation Manager.

Dr. Theresa Larson: DPT, CSCS, USMC, Founder of Movement Rx; Marine Corps Veteran on a mission to Humanize Leadership

Dr. Theresa Larson, or “Dr. T” as she is affectionately known, is a leading expert and advocate for well-being and strength across both personal and professional domains. She is the founder of Movement Rx*, where she and her team help individuals and organizations optimize physical and mental health. In her work she draws from her own experience as a former Marine Corps officer who overcame severe trauma. She is passionate about helping veterans, business leaders and owners thrive in the face of challenges such as client attrition, employee retention, and scalability issues, which are often linked to compromised mental or physical well-being of leaders and employees.
Dr. T and her team are dedicated to building a community of veterans, business leaders and owners who are resilient, healthy, and happy in all they do. Dr. T is on a mission to help over 100,000 veterans, business leaders and owners improve their longevity and retain their people by 2030 by disrupting outdated leadership culture AND truly prioritizing health and well-being within their organizations.
*Movement Rx is a women-owned and service-disabled-owned small business (WOSB/SDVOSB). Movement Rx has been recognized with the Force for Good Award, a prestigious honor that reflects their unwavering commitment to promoting healthy leadership and organizational well-being.

Kellianne Lauer: Vice President, McAllister & Quinn

Kellianne Lauer is a Vice President in McAllister & Quinn’s growing Research Universities Practice. In this role, Kellianne manages consulting services for R1 and R2 university clients in McAllister & Quinn’s Research Universities Practice. Drawing on her experience working directly with multi-disciplinary teams to pursue complex funding opportunities, Kellianne works strategically to address the research development needs of universities, supporting and enabling growth in their research enterprise and improving their ability to pursue and win extramural funding for groundbreaking research. Kellianne specializes in delivering services to strategically plan for funding opportunities; strengthen relationships with sponsors; design and deliver faculty training programs; and develop competitive proposals for large, complex federal funding opportunities.
Prior to joining McAllister & Quinn, Kellianne served as the Proposal Manager in the central Research Development Office at Arizona State University (ASU) where she facilitated proposal development for large-scale research programs across disciplines and federal sponsors. In addition to direct proposal management, Kellianne designed and led capacity building and training initiatives for research development professionals and principal investigators, adapting industry best practices in capture and proposal management to the unique environment of academic research development and the federal funding landscape. Kellianne also worked with ASU’s International Development team to strengthen the university’s capacity to pursue, win, and implement international development projects.
Kellianne earned an M.B.A from Arizona State University and a B.A. from College of Saint Benedict. Kellianne is certified by the Association of Proposal Management Professionals as a Practitioner-level Proposal Manager (CP APMP) and is a trained facilitator. She is a member of the National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP). Kellianne is a returned Peace Corps volunteer and served in Armenia as an English teacher and teacher trainer.

Lexie Lehmann: Associate Director of Economic Development, Southern Research

Lehmann supports senior leadership in driving the organization’s strategic plan and due diligence projects. She has a background in project management and strategic planning for innovative and mission-driven organizations. Before joining Southern Research, Lehmann led strategic projects and economic development at Ed Farm, a STEM education non-profit headquartered in Birmingham which is partnered with Apple’s Community Education Initiative. At Ed Farm, she also assisted with early program development for the Propel Center, a $50M initiative spearheaded by Apple and Southern Company to create a global campus for HBCU collaboration in Atlanta. A Massachusetts native, Lehmann moved to Birmingham through a Venture for America fellowship. She is a member of the Rotaract Club of Birmingham and the Vulcan Park and Museum’s Junior Leadership Board. She has a bachelor’s degree in urban studies from Columbia University and is working toward a credential as a project management professional.

Brock Matthews: Advisory Consultant for Higher Education, SAS Institute

Brock Matthews is an Advisory Industry Consultant at SAS. In this role, he builds public-private coalitions between institutions of higher education, federal and state government agencies, and private sector partners. Brock works with a network of postsecondary education alliance partners to provide analytic solutions to higher education’s most pressing issues. During his 21 years working in higher education, Brock forged partnerships and relationships with individuals and academic institutions across the country in various disciplines, including admissions, advancement, career services, human resources, finance, academic affairs, student affairs, and research. Prior to joining SAS, Brock worked for both public and private institutions including Duke University, Emory University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In his most recent role, he served nearly eight years as the Assistant Dean of Advancement and the President of the Foundation for the NC State University College of Sciences. Brock holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from UNC-Chapel Hill and received his MBA from Emory University.

Gerry McDougall: Strategic Advisor and Founding CEO, TGen

Gerry McDougall’s passion is to link scientific breakthroughs to clinical application for the benefit of patients and society. His specialty is creating strategic alliances, joint ventures and partnerships to advance landmark projects that bring big ideas to life and result in large-scale transformational change at the leading edges of science, medicine, and biotechnology. He’s been doing it for over 25 years in many parts of healthcare — especially cancer and precisionmedicine.
Following the mapping of the human genome, Gerry drove the development of a renowned bio-cluster in Arizona, begun with the creation of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen). Initially built as one structure on a brownfield in Phoenix, TGen’s creation has mushroomed into a campus that today houses centers of proteomics and informatics, and other world-class institutions that together form a bioscience cluster. It has produced breakthrough diagnoses and treatments for diabetes, cancers, rare childhood diseases and neurological disorders that constitute new standards of care. The newly resilient economy of the region, which once relied heavily on real estate development, is now bolstered by health care and bioscience, with billions of dollars in new capital investment expected to result in the creation of thousands of new jobs in a post-pandemic era.
Subsequent to the initial three-year process of design and implementation of the plan for the creation of TGen, Gerry and his teams have assisted with operating models for partnerships with research institutes in Michigan and California which have driven investment into TGen’s continuing success.

Dr. Nat Moorman: Co-Founder and Scientific Adviser, Rapidy Emerging Antiviral Drug Development Initiative (READDI)

READDI co-founder and scientific adviser Nat Moorman is an associate professor in the UNC School of Medicine’s microbiology and immunology department. His research includes studying how viruses hijack cellular machinery to facilitate their replication.
Nat uses a combination of new technologies and traditional molecular virology techniques to investigate host-pathogen interactions, especially the ways viruses alter cell signaling pathways to drive viral protein synthesis. In addition, he is leading multiple efforts to discover and develop novel direct-acting and host-targeted antiviral drugs for viruses of pandemic concern.
Nat was a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton for six years. He earned a Doctor of Philosophy in molecular biology and microbial pathogenesis from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and a Bachelor of Science in microbiology from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Laura O'Blenis: President & CEO, Stiletto: Make a Point

Laura O’Blenis is the founder of Stiletto and Co-Founder and former Managing Director of the Canadian Association of University Research Parks. With more than two decades of experience in economic development and working with post-secondary institutions, Ms. O’Blenis and her team develops strategies that get results for workforce and broader economic development impacts for communities throughout North America. A skilled consensus builder, O’Blenis has facilitated more than 700 strategy sessions in communities globally. Specializing in innovation ecosystem building, innovation districts, research and technology parks, and innovation hubs, she has travelled the world to study global trends and best practices that have been applied to Stiletto processes and strategies. She was awarded the Startup Canada Female Entrepreneur of the Year for Atlantic Canada in 2016, was a finalist for Businessperson of the Year for the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce in 2018, is the recipient of the 2019 NBCC Alumni Award and was most recently recognized as one of the top 25 Most Powerful Women in Atlantic Canada (2022).

Vickie Palmer: Chief Executive Officer, AURP

Vickie Palmer was appointed CEO in 2022, following 15 years’ experience significantly expanding the Association’s membership and sponsorship community. During her time with AURP, she has led the organization’s membership, event management and overall operations while working closely with the organization’s prior CEOs, Board of Directors and membership community. 
Recipient of the 2021 AURP Vision Award, Vickie brings to a proven record of success in association management primarily with The Kellen Company, a global association management company, and Management Plus, Ltd. She has over 25 years leadership experience with such associations as the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Elder Life Care Planners (formerly known as the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers) and the National Guardianship Association. 
Prior to her jump into the non-profit sector, she held executive convention management positions at the Hilton El Conquistador Resort in Tucson, AZ (formerly ITT Sheraton). Vickie obtained a bachelor of science with major in hotel and restaurant management from Northern Arizona University’s W.A. Franke College of Business. Additionally, she is a commissioned Stephen Minister. 

Walter Parkes: CEO and Co-Founder, Dreamscape Immersive

Walter Parkes is a motion picture producer, writer, former studio executive and currently the Co-Founder and CEO of the location-based virtual reality company Dreamscape Immersive. Films produced or executive produced by Parkes have garnered numerous awards and have grossed over $6B worldwide, and include Gladiator, Minority Report, the Men In Black series, Free Solo, Flight, Catch Me If You Can, Awakenings, The Kite Runner, Amistad and many others. As a screenwriter, Parkes is largely acknowledged as a pioneer, along with writing partner Lawrence Lasker, in the development of the "tech-thriller" genre with WarGames, a Best Original Screenplay Oscar nominee, and Sneakers, starring Robert Redford. As the founding co-head of Dreamworks Studios, Parkes, along with partner and wife Laurie MacDonald, was responsible for the development and production of the studio’s diverse slate of films which included, for only the second time in Academy history, three consecutive Best Picture Oscar winners American Beauty, Gladiator, and A Beautiful Mind. Parkes’ current focus is on “Dreamscape Learn,” a partnership with Arizona State University aimed at redefining remote and in-person learning through the implementation of emotional narrative and mixed reality technologies. Previous experience in education incudes serving on the Yale University Council for ten years, and as its President for four. He is presently a Director of Para Los Ninos, a service organization that operates three charter schools in Downtown LA.

Jackson Pruett: Economic Development, City of Hoover, Alabama

Jackson Pruett has over six years of local economic development experience. His focus areas include entrepreneurship, business retention and expansion, and workforce/talent attraction. Pruett is a graduate of the Auburn University Government & Economic Development Institute and The University of Alabama Economic Development Academy.

Dr. Philip Regier: University Dean for Educational Initiatives & CEO of EdPlus, Arizona State University

Phil Regier serves as the University Dean for Educational Initiatives and CEO of EdPlus at Arizona State University. In this role, he is accountable for expanding the university's digital immersion programs and enhancing its leadership in education innovation. During his tenure as dean, the fully online student population experienced significant growth, increasing from 400 to over 90,000 students, with the number of online programs expanding from six to more than 325. ASU's online programs now utilize over 100 technologies, and the university plays a key role in co-convening the ASU+GSV Education Innovation Summit, the nation's largest and most recognized gathering of education technology entrepreneurs, investors, and users.
Phil Regier has led various EdPlus initiatives to transform the education landscape, create opportunities, and enhance access to higher education. In 2014, a groundbreaking partnership with Starbucks Corporation was launched, providing eligible Starbucks partners with ASU's online degree programs at no out-of-pocket cost for tuition. 
The Global Freshman Academy, launched in 2015 in collaboration with edX, offered first-year college-level courses to nontraditional students worldwide, allowing them to earn and transfer credits to pursue a degree program at ASU or another university.
An agreement with Uber in 2018 provided degree and non-degree learning incentives for the company’s most productive drivers or family members.
In recent years, EdPlus has undertaken other transformative initiatives. A partnership with the Al Ghurair Foundation for Education created a college and career readiness platform for Arab youth in the MENA region. Sponsorship by the Mastercard Foundation supports programs that offer high-quality training in e-learning to universities in Africa and the Middle East. Air University, headquartered at Maxwell Air Force Base and the lead agent for Air Force education, partners with EdPlus@ASU to bring an agile learning environment to the Air Force’s online military education. The MACS Accelerator, developed by EdPlus, aims to significantly improve student success in STEM subjects in grades 8 through 14.
Phil Regier, a philosophy major with a math minor, earned his undergraduate degree from St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He holds a Ph.D. in Accountancy from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

Carl Rodrigues: Chief Executive Officer, Harvard Allston Land Company (HALC)

Carl J. Rodrigues serves as the Chief Executive Officer for Harvard Allston Land Company (HALC). Prior to joining HALC, Carl completed seven years serving in various real estate and economic development roles for the City of New York. Most recently he served as the Chief Operating Officer of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and helped manage key aspects of the agency’s mayoral transition. He also served as Chief of Staff to the NYC Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development, acting under both Deputy Mayors Vicki Been and Alicia Glen. As Chief of Staff, he managed the development, tracking, and improvement of City policy and programs focused on equitable economic growth. Prior to joining NYCEDC, Carl was involved in residential and office acquisitions in Los Angeles and worked in global securities at Goldman Sachs.
Carl grew up in Leominster and earned his B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Tufts University. Carl is also a graduate of UCLA’s Anderson School of Management and is a Chartered Financial Analyst.

Jami Savage-Gray: Executive Vice President, JLL

For over a decade, Jami led CBRE’s retail corporate accounts and brokerage business with experience at both regional and national levels. From there, she was recruited to maximize her efforts on a new role within corporate office real estate. Shortly thereafter, she was recruited to join JLL’s top Tenant Office Team. Jami prides herself in being “the middle man” between broker and the client, she is known for rapidly developing long term relationships based on mutual trust and respect.

Jamie Schwartz: Associate Director, UNLV Research Foundation

Jamie Schwartz is the director of industry and business engagement for UNLV's Office of Economic Development and the associate director of UNLV's Research Foundation. Both are located within the Black Fire Innovation hub at the Harry Reid Research & Technology Park, where Schwartz is a former director for the Small Business Development Center at UNLV. The SBDC is part of a nationwide nonprofit that offers free, confidential assistance with business plans, loan and grant applications, and educational workshops to small businesses and startup entrepreneurs.
Schwartz has a background in business consulting, valuation analysis, financial analysis, banking, commercial real estate and business sales, and acquisitions. Prior to running a business strategy and valuation firm locally, she spent many years as a partner in a pharmaceutical research firm, specializing in business expansion, marketing, and new study acquisition.
The Las Vegas native has spoken to media outlets on topics such as navigating supply chain issues and business closures during the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of inflation on small businesses, the startup ecosystem in southern Nevada, and economic diversification.

Jeff Smith: Director, University Corporate Research Foundation, Michigan State University

Jeff Smith serves as the Director of the University Corporate Research Park UCRP at MSU Foundation. In this role, Jeff manages and directs the real estate and economic development opportunities on behalf of the MSU Foundation. This includes development and construction within the Research Park system, and management of Research Park facilities, the VanCamp Incubator and Research Labs, and the Technology Innovation Center. 
His goal continues to focus on leveraging university, corporate research, and community technologies toward commercialization and expansion of the marketplace. Jeff is a Board Member of the Association of University Research Parks (AURP), the Michigan Economic Development Corporation Advisory Board for Redevelopment Ready Communities, the Lansing Regional Chamber Policy Committee, the East Lansing DDA, BRA, and EDC. 

David Snow: Executive Director, Technology Ventures, University of Arkansas Technology Development Foundation

David E. Snow currently serves as the executive director of Technology Ventures with responsibility over intellectual property management and licensing activity for the University of Arkansas and president of the University of Arkansas Technology Development Foundation (UATDF). The combined mission and vision of these organizations work to grow a diverse and engaged entrepreneurial community facilitating the use and commercialization of research generated innovations, creating new sources of wealth in our community, and building safe innovation districts were anyone can belong. UATDF, a non-profit, is focused on building and expanding an innovation corridor in Northwest Arkansas through talent development, fostering open innovation and technology commercialization, community engagement, and place-making strategies, primarily at the Arkansas Research and Technology Park. Dr. Snow’s professional journey has moved from traditional academia through various startups as an entrepreneur, intellectual property protection and IP transactions, and now working across public and private partnerships to build innovation districts. Prior to the UA, he led research commercialization and technology transfer efforts for Texas Tech University system. Dr. Snow holds a PhD in chemistry, an MS in electroanalytical chemistry, a BA in biochemistry, is a registered patent agent with the USPTO, and is a Certified Licensing Professional.

Toby Teeter: Director, The Collaborative, University of Arkansas

Toby Teeter is the director of the Collaborative, the University of Arkansas innovation center in Bentonville. Previously, he was the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce president/CEO, where he focused on fostering a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem and championing innovation culture, as well as attracting both talent and new industry to the region. Prior to that, he was the founder of Omni Brands, a direct-to-consumer product studio and 3PL fulfillment center; the founder of Inuvo, Inc., a publicly traded ad tech company now based in Little Rock; and founder of LocalRaces.com, an online registration platform for running and cycling events. The balance of his career has included stints in private equity management, as a commercial real estate developer, a lobbyist, a litigation attorney, and as a M&A/corporate attorney. He earned a BS in Insurance & Risk Management from Missouri State University and a JD from the University of Missouri School of Law.