Speakers and Moderators

Daniel J. Duncan, President, AURP; Executive Director, Nebraska Innovation CampusDaniel J. Duncan

Dan Duncan is the executive director of Nebraska Innovation Campus. He began his tenure with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1987 when he accepted the positions of operations manager at the University of Nebraska Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Scottsbluff, NE. In 1991, he was named director of the University of Nebraska Agricultural Research and Development Center near Mead, Nebraska followed by being named assistant director of the Nebraska Agricultural Experiment Station, then in 2008, he accepted the position of assistant dean and director of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Agricultural Research Division. In 2011, Dan moved into his current position as executive director of the Nebraska Innovation Campus Development Corporation.

Dan was born on a diversified farm and ranch in Sioux County, Nebraska. He attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and graduated with a Master of Science Degree in Agricultural Economics-Agribusiness, and Bachelor of Science Degrees in Animal Science and Agronomy all from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is a LEAD VII Fellow and member of the Nebraska Hall of Ag Achievement and the Agricultural Builders of Nebraska.

Kevin Byrne, MBA, Past President, AURP; President, The University Financing Foundation, Inc.

Kevin Byrne spent his early career at Arthur Andersen with a primary focus in the real estate and financial services industries. In 1997, Byrne founded Byrne & Associates, which focused on providing investment-banking services to small and middle market companies. After earning his Master of Business Administration with honors from the Wharton School of Business in 2001, he joined a real estate development firm as the Chief Financial Officer, managing a balance sheet of over $200 million and leading new transactions of over $150 million in just two years.

In 2003, he joined The University Financing Foundation (TUFF) and has managed all aspects of the firm including the firm’s new investments in education and research projects, which total over $800 million. Byrne oversees the operations of the firm and, through his leadership, the firm has become involved in all aspects of research park creation and ongoing operations including the development of facilities. He has crafted full-scale park business plans, assisted in the strategic and master planning of research parks and has helped several global parks with the creation of innovative investment structures enabling these parks to maximize the efficiency of their limited resources. Byrne is an honors graduate from Furman University and is a past president of the Association of University Research Parks Board of Directors.

Chris Carlson, Division Vice President, The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company 

As Division Vice President with Whiting-Turner since 1999, Chris Carlson is primarily responsible for oversight of WT’s Raleigh, Winston-Salem and Charlotte, North Carolina offices which currently have an annual revenue of about $300M.  Chris has 35 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, he 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, NC.

Stephen Coulston, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Principal, Perkins+Will

Stephen Coulston is a Principal in the Austin office of the award-winning design firm Perkins+Will. With a passion for engaging in the innovation economy, Coulston has spent his 25-year career working at the intersection of the higher education, research, healthcare and government sectors.  As an architect and urban planner with a focus on strategizing, planning and designing the built form, Stephen leads the southwest regional planning practice, contributing to the firm’s national urban design and architecture practice, including research park, academic health, college-town, and innovation district planning, urban design and facility planning.

Brian P. DarmodyBrian P. Darmody, JD, Chief Executive Officer, Association of University Research Parks (AURP)

Brian Darmody was announced AURP CEO in February 2019. In this new role Brian will lead AURP into new initiatives including expanding membership, international partnerships and funding in order to build out additional member benefits.  Over the course of the year, Brian will be winding down his activities at UMD where he currently serves as Associate Vice President (AVP) of Corporate Engagement at the University of Maryland (UMD). At UMD, Brian  is 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 Doctor from the University of Baltimore and he received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Ellen Hemmerly, MBA, President and Executive Director, [email protected] Research and Technology ParkEllen Hemmerly

Ellen Hemmerly is responsible for overseeing a 525,000 sf high technology research and technology park which includes three incubators, an international accelerator and research park, and two technology commercialization programs (ACTiVATE and INNoVATE. [email protected] currently has 130 tenants (including 55 cybersecurity/IT and 46 life science companies). Hemmerly received the 2011 Innovator of the Year award recognizing bwtec[email protected]’s innovations in cybersecurity, was named a 2012 Corridor Person of the Year finalist and also a 2012 received Leadership Through Athletics’ – Leadership in Business award. In 2013, Ellen was, for the second time, elected by The Daily Record as one of the Most Influential Marylanders (technology category) and bwtech’s Cyber Incubator won SmartCEO’s Technology Implementer – Emerging Award. Prior to joining UMBC, Ellen was vice president at the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) serving as its senior lender and director of Enterprise Development Fund, the city’s venture capital fund Hemmerly received her MBA at Cornell University’s Johnson School of Management and bachelor of science, magna cum laude, in mathematics from Moravian College.

Mitchell Horowitz, Vice President and Managing Director, TEConomy Partners, LLCMitchell Horowitz

As the Vice President and Managing Director of TEConomy Partner, LLC, Mitchell Horowitz’s work centers on research park feasibility analysis and conceptual plan development includes USC Biomed Tech Park, Georgia State University, East Baltimore Life Science and Technology Park, Pittsburgh Technology Space Study, University of Maryland Baltimore incubator feasibility, and Friendship Technology Park in Hagerstown, Maryland.

He has built a strong record of accomplishment in technology development where he has worked as a principal economic development consultant, high-ranking state development official and as an executive in a fast-growing diversified technology firm. Prior to starting TEConomy Partners, Horowitz spent a number of years with Battelle's Technology Partnership Practice and prior to that he worked with a diversified technology firm. As part of his executive management responsibilities, Mitch served as president of a mezzanine capital financing group and executive vice president for business development and marketing for a fast growing clinical trials informatics company.

Mitch holds a master’s degree in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University.

Jeff Johnson, MBA, Director of Tech Center Research Park, Virginia Tech Corporate Research CenterJeff Johnson

Jeff Johnson is responsible for all aspects of establishing and leading the research and innovation portion of the 100-acre, $450 million, mixed-use Tech Center based on the internationally acclaimed Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg, Virginia. Johnson identifies, vets, recruits and supports technology-based companies that are focused on commercializing discovery and growing businesses that matter. In 2009, he founded his own consulting company, Averitas, to help small and medium-sized businesses profitably grow. Johnson has worked with several national and international brands. Prior to that, he was founding CEO and Executive Director of an innovative healthcare-based work force training program for adults, and an arts-based education program for high school students in Cleveland, Ohio. He has over 20 years of corporate experience and has held director and senior-level executive leadership positions with profit and loss responsibilities at global industry leading companies in automotive tires and building material finishes. As a certified Six Sigma Champion Trainer, Jeff also holds an Executive MBA from Tulane University and a bachelor in chemistry from Virginia Tech.

Greg King, CEcD, Associate Vice President for Economic Development, Georgia Institute of Technology 

Greg King serves as the Associate Vice President for Economic Development at Georgia Tech where he develops innovation partnerships between companies and campus. In addition, he supports the state’s economic development efforts by identifying and representing the unique higher education resources and opportunities to those companies looking to relocate or expand in Georgia. Greg also leads Georgia Tech’s engagement with industry that involves the creation and operation of innovation or technology centers on or near campus. Greg holds a Bachelors of Science in Industrial Management from Georgia Tech and a Master’s in Economics from the University of Oklahoma. He was also part of the Fulbright International program representing university-industry collaboration and economic development.

Scott Levitan, President & Chief Executive Officer, The Research Triangle Park of North Carolina

Scott Levitan is the President and CEO of The Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina and is leading its efforts to reposition the Research Triangle Park. His current focus is to develop a new town center for the region that will support existing companies and attract new ones to RTP. Additionally, the expansion of The Frontier, RTP's innovation neighborhood for emerging companies, is expanding and will provide a sustainable revenue stream to support the operations of the Foundation. Prior to RTP, Scott led development initiatives for Eager Park at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, Tech Square and Technology Enterprise Park at Georgia Tech and was Director for University and Commercial Real Estate at Harvard. He is a trust-builder among universities, developers and municipalities to convene them to do great things collaboratively.

Jackie Kerby Moore, Executive Director, Sandia Science & Technology Park

Jackie Kerby Moore is the Executive Director of the Sandia Science & Technology Park and has been since its inception in 1998.  This 350-acre technology community is affiliated with Sandia National Laboratories.  The Park serves as home for more than 40 companies and organizations employing over 2000 people, while total investment in the Park exceeds $385 million.  In recognition of its success, the Sandia Science & Technology Park received the Outstanding Research Park of the Year Award from the Association of University Research Parks (AURP) in 2008.  Jackie also leads Sandia Labs Technology-Based Economic Development Programs.

In related activities, Jackie is a past president of the Board of Directors for AURP, an international association.  She chaired AURP’s first Washington Summit and led the effort to get the first Science Park legislation introduced in both the U.S. Senate and House.  Jackie serves on the Board of Directors for Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University and the Santa Fe Business Incubator.  In 2010, she received the Career Achievement Award from the AURP.

Jackie has been recognized as one of New Mexico’s Power Brokers, was honored for Who’s Who in Technology in New Mexico, and has appeared on the cover of New Mexico Woman Magazine.  Jackie has been featured on CNBC Television and has been a frequent participant on local Radio Shows in New Mexico.  In addition, she regularly speaks on the topic of Research Parks at conferences and events throughout the world, including in China, Taiwan, Finland, France, Spain, Canada, Mexico, and Ireland. 

Paul Moses, Director of Business and Economic Development, Purdue Research Park, Purdue Research Foundation

Paul Moses serves as director of Business and Economic Development for all five Purdue Research Parks across the state of Indiana and in his role, he leads the parks’ economic development efforts as well as high-tech incubation programs in each of the parks’ Purdue Technology Centers. Among other specialties, the portfolio of more than 350 client companies includes those working in the defense, medical device, i.t., clean-tech and other markets.

An entrepreneur and angel investor, Paul is very active in the Indiana and Kentucky entrepreneur ecosystems and business communities. He co-founded a southern Indiana investment group, the Innovation Angelsand is on the board of directors for Greater Lafayette Commerce. Paul is a past-President of the Louisville Venture Connectors (Louisville Venture Club, Inc.). He also serves in advisory board roles for Greater Louisville Inc’s Enterprise Corps, XLerateHealthand the VentureCap-VentureWellaccelerator programs. Paul is member of the Board of Managers for Poly Group, a high-tech start-up focused on commercializing an anti-microbial copolymer, licensed from Purdue.

Before joining Purdue, Paul held management positions with both start-up and Fortune 500 companies, heading their marketing, communications, advertising, public and governmental relation efforts. He also works as a private consultant and is co-founder and CEO of his own company, Kristaul LLC, which helps entrepreneurs and established companies refine their business models and improve their performance through strategic management and effective use of various marketing communications channels.

A former journalist, Paul received numerous honors over 26 years in broadcasting. His investigative reporting earned him an Edward R. Murrow award, three Emmy Awards and other recognition from the Associated Press. A private pilot, Moses has a passion for aviation. He has been honored with the Max Karant Award by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) for a series of investigative reports he did on the Impact of proposed user fees on general aviation and local economies. He continues to work for AOPA as a guest commentator and reports for AOPA Live. 

Laura O’Blenis, President, Stiletto Consulting Laura O'Blenis

Laura O’Blenis is the chief strategist for Stiletto, which she founded in 2010. Since then, she has worked with over 100 businesses and organizations, and closed more than $200 million in grants, revenue and financing. O’Blenis has an extensive experience working with universities, colleges, municipalities, economic development agencies and external stakeholders on development and strategic planning for research, technology, and innovation parks. 

She is also the Co-Founder and Managing Director of the Canadian Association of University Research Parks (AURP), where she spearheaded federal government negotiations for funding, negotiated MOUs, prepared a national marketing and FDI strategy and more.

Martha Schoonmaker, CEcD, Executive  Director of Pinkney Innovation Complex for Science and Technology (PIC MC) Martha Schoonmaker

Martha Schoonmaker is the Executive Director for the Pinkney Innovation Complex for Science and Technology (PIC MC) Foundation, the entity that develops, manages and markets the Germantown campus on behalf of Montgomery College.  PIC MC is an integrated academic, business and research campus and is the only community college with a hospital, Holy Cross Germantown Hospital, located as the anchor resident partner. Martha manages contracts, leases and partnerships with existing resident tenant partners, including Holy Cross Germantown Hospital, is responsible for the development of corporate partnerships that expand internship, learning and career opportunities for students within PIC MC.