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Bios

Members of the SBIR/STTR Subcommittee of the Directorate for Engineering Advisory Committee

  • Annette Finsterbusch (Chair) has extensive experience as an operating executive and as a venture capitalist, focusing on early-stage investments in technology companies. Annette is currently the President and CEO of EnPower, Inc., a Phoenix-based lithium-ion battery company focused on the electrification of vehicles. Before joining EnPower, Annette was the Founder and Senior Director of Applied Ventures, the strategic investing arm of Applied Materials, where she led investments in solid state lighting, energy storage, fuel cells, and lithography. She also served as CEO of MindShadow, Inc., a spin-out from DaimlerChrysler’s Research and Technology Center, focused on automotive infotainment systems, and Ketra, Inc., an early-stage company that developed high quality LED lighting products with IOT capabilities. Having been both investor and fundraiser, Annette has a unique perspective on how to build strong, lean, successful startups. Annette has extensive experience on both corporate and non-profit boards. She currently serves as a Member of the SBIR/STTR Subcommittee, Directorate for Engineering Advisory Committee of the National Science Foundation. Annette is both a fellow and mentor in the prestigious international Society of Kauffman Fellows, where she was awarded the first Jeffrey Timmons Memorial Award for service. Annette has a bachelor’s degree in Geology and Economics, an MBA, and she is certified as an integral coach.

  • Paul Fischer leads Corporate Development at W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc. In this role, he focuses on external growth opportunities through acquisitions and collaborative partnership. Prior to this commitment, Paul led Gore’s Core Technology division responsible for research and development in polymerization and processing of fluoroploymers as well as manufacturing of fluoropolymer intermediates within the company. In addition to his corporate development role, he serves on the Board of Managers of Avobis Bio LLC an early stage Stem Cell biologics company and on the Board of Directors of Shanghai Gore 3f, a fluoropolymer research and polymer manufacturing joint venture facility in China. Paul is also member of Gore’s intellectual property committee, innovation center of excellence, and a fiduciary on Gore’s associate stock ownership plan. He has worked for Gore for 35 years in two separate stints and has worked at ICI, 3M, and led a venture-backed startup in the display industry. He holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Rochester.

  • Victoria Gonzalez has spent 30 years leading organizations as a change agent and entrepreneur. Educated as an engineer, she worked for Fortune 100 companies for 15 years implementing new technology solutions. In 2000, Victoria shifted her focus to technology startups, playing a significant role in helping to build the biotech startup community in St Louis. More recently, Victoria has turned her focus to education and small business as effective ways to address the socio-economic divide in our country and her community. She serves on the Board of Marian Middle School, a school with a mission of breaking the cycle of poverty for inner-city girls and teaches The Basics of Bioentrepreneurship at Washington University in St. Louis. Victoria Gonzalez received a B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Texas A&M in 1984 and an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis in 1990 and is a 2019 DCI Fellow at Stanford.

  • Christopher “Chris” Hewitt is Innovation Network Manager for BASF. In his role Chris is responsible for building connections inside and outside BASF to provide sustainable innovative solutions for its customers’ unmet needs. Chris is passionate about creating value through working as the interface between chemical technology and business and is a frequent panelist and invited speaker on university/corporate collaboration and teaches on business case development and innovation. Chris joined BASF in 2008 in a specialty chemical reagents business which he led as Global Business Manager from 2010. In 2014, he transitioned back to research, developing a strategy for and leading relations with universities and national labs in North America prior to his current role. Prior to joining BASF, he held positions with increasing responsibility in research and marketing at Sigma-Aldrich, latterly leading global marketing and R&D for the Aldrich catalog business. He earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from Durham University in the United Kingdom and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

  • Matthew J. Higgins is Professor of Entrepreneurship & Strategy in the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah, Director of the Sorenson Center for Discovery and Innovation, a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition (Munich, Germany). His research interests center primarily on firm responses to productivity challenges and the performance implications of these decisions. Most of his research has been conducted within the context of the pharmaceutical industry and has been published in a diverse range of leading journals. Matthew has received funding and support from the Georgia Research Alliance, Kauffman Foundation, Rich Foundation, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), NSF, Pfizer Inc., and IMS Health, Inc. He is also the recipient of numerous teaching awards from the undergraduate, MBA and Executive MBA programs.

  • Cathy Hill is President of The Plummer – Hill Group (PHG), LLC providing strategic business development services. Georgia Chamber of Commerce engaged PHG to develop Georgia InVenture Prize, an annual college innovation competition. Cathy is also a Managing Director with Golden Seeds, Inc. a discerning network of investors, seeking and funding high-potential, women-led businesses. Cathy retired as vice president of Georgia Power Company after 33 years of leading real estate, transportation, engineering, construction, customer operations, external affairs and as assistant to the president & CEO. She received the Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech and the Master of Business Administration from Georgia State University. She completed executive management programs at Harvard Business School and Cambridge University’s Judge School of Business. She is enrolled in Georgia State University’s Executive Doctorate in Business Administration program. Cathy’s civic achievements have been recognized in resolutions from Georgia’s governor and state general assembly.

  • Mary Juhas is associate vice president in the Office of Research at the Ohio State University. In this role, she develops programs that expand pathways to research leadership. As the leader of Ohio State ADVANCE, Mary directs “REACH for Commercialization™”, a career development program for women innovators. She is an angel investor. For two years, Mary served as program director in the Directorate for Engineering at NSF. She is a Fellow of ASM International; former ABET board member and past president of the Women in Engineering ProActive Network (WEPAN). Mary earned a Master’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the Ohio State University. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Paris. Mary has held engineering research and leadership positions at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Edison Welding Institute.

  • Kirsten Leute of Osage University Partners (OUP) is responsible for the relationships with the more than 100 academic institutions that are partnered with the fund, engaging potential new partner institutions, and enhancing and creating value-add programs for the partnered academic institutions. Kirsten is an experienced technology transfer professional, spending 19 years in technology transfer at Stanford University and the German Cancer Research Center. Prior to joining OUP, she was Associate Director at Stanford’s Office of Technology Licensing. Over her career at Stanford, she managed portfolios of inventions in most technology areas, but concentrated in biotechnology. Kirsten has also been actively involved in technology transfer outside her daily work. She is a former two-time board member for the Association of University Technology Managers and speaks frequently on university technology transfer.

  • John Christopher “Chris” Moran is the Executive Director and General Manager of Lockheed Martin Ventures; the venture capital investment arm of Lockheed Martin Corporation. In this capacity, he is responsible for leading the Corporation’s investments in small technology companies which support Lockheed Martin’s strategic business objectives. Prior to joining Lockheed Martin, Chris served in a variety of increasingly responsible positions at Applied Materials, Inc., Santa Clara, California. He served most recently as the head of the Business Systems and Analytics group in the Applied Global Services Organization. Chris was with Applied for over 32 years. Prior to his most recent role, Chris was head of Corporate Strategy and General Manager of Applied Ventures LLC; the strategic investing arm of Applied Materials. He is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he obtained both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering.

  • Richard Morganstern was the former Managing Partner of a Beverly Hills based intellectual property and business litigation and counseling law firm. He was the former Chairman of a NASD licensed investment-banking firm, which focused on arranging funding, principally from foreign sources, for domestic early stage technology companies. He co-founded Language Weaver, Inc. an In-Q-Tel funded company spun out of University of Southern California’s computer science department and the world's leading supplier of statistically based natural language translation systems. Richard is an active Angel investor. He is the former President and currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Tech Coast Angels LA Network, whose members have funded over 400 companies and are the leading source of angel funding and guidance for early stage, high growth companies in Southern California. He serves as the Board Chairman of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI). Richard also serves on the Board of Advisors for the UCLA Anderson School of Management’s Global Access Program. He has served as a member of the Advisory Board of USC's Center for Technology Commercialization, a guest lecturer for the California Institute of Technology Entrepreneurial Fellowship Program and a Distinguished Speaker at USC's Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. He is a member of the California, New York, Patent Office and Supreme Court Bars. He holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a J.D. from Cornell University. He resides in Brentwood California with his wife and two extraordinary dogs.

  • For over a decade, Genoa Ventures’ founder and managing director Jenny Rooke has been deploying capital at the frontiers of life sciences innovation, with a penchant for technology-fueled solutions and category-defying opportunities. Jenny got her start in venture at Fidelity Biosciences, a Cambridge-based healthcare venture capital fund, during their Fund I formation. Jenny then brought her unique toolkit of genetics domain expertise, strategic business acumen, and venture investing to the Gates Foundation, where she deployed and managed over $250M in funding in genetic engineering, diagnostics, and synthetic biology. She also played a key role in establishing the foundation’s investing function. In 2014, Jenny began independently investing under the brand 5 Prime Ventures, financing her investments using what has become the largest life sciences syndicate on AngelList, and one of the highest-performing AngelList syndicates of any sector. Jenny founded Genoa Ventures in 2018, building on the 5 Prime Ventures track record, in order to scale a proven, differentiated investing strategy, to ensure continued access to the very best deals, and to maximize portfolio returns.

  • Stuart Schoenmann brings than 35+ years of expertise in the applied technology and high-tech industries, including more than a decade in the CEO role. He currently participates on and chairs the Board of Directors for multiple U.S. technology and healthcare companies. Stuart has held partnership positions in venture capital, including his association with Norwest Equity Partners. With business and technical knowledge gained through work experience at notable companies -- IDEX/CVI Melles Griot; Danaher/Fluke/Raytek; Corning; Perkin-Elmer; and Rockwell International -- Stuart has driven aggressive growth strategies to lead companies from $10 million to $200+ million in sales. Stuart’s holds a bachelor’s degree in physics with honors from the University of California San Diego (with a year of laser physics at the University of Sussex) and master’s degree in business administration with honors from the University of Southern California.

  • Ajoy Vase is a Senior Portfolio Manager at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. He has spent the past few years building innovation ecosystems for learning that bridge research from cognitive and brain sciences, community practice and technology development. His path to this work began in the classroom as a high school math teacher, followed by stints in edtech and school turnaround management. Prior to joining the Chan Zuckerberg team, he also spent time advising healthcare, technology, and social impact organizations on growth and innovation strategy as a management consultant with Bain & Company in San Francisco. He has degrees in physics, applied mathematics, education and business from Pomona, Stanford and Berkeley.