Midwest Advisory Board

John Balbach - MacArthur Foundation
John Balbach

John is currently engaged with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, where he serves as the liaison in linking the Foundation’s Impact Investments effort with its climate initiative. Balbach brings more than twenty years of diverse experience across the nonprofit sector, large corporations, early-stage ventures and public-private partnerships to this role. Prior to MacArthur, he was integral to Silicon Valley Bank establishing a strong Seattle presence, and he led the financial effort that closed on both $23 million in venture capital and the eventual acquisition for Seattle-based software company Viathan Corporation.

Balbach has served on a National Science Foundation commercialization review committee, managed and raised just under $5 million for an Impact Investing Fund focused on developing the Michigan life sciences sector, advised an industry leading corporation on infusing cleantech solutions into its supply chain, provided consulting services to leading nonprofit organizations with the Nonprofit Finance Fund, and served as a strategic advisor to hundreds of technology-based startup ventures through a Michigan economic development program. Balbach holds a B.S in Finance from Miami (Ohio) University, an M.A. from St. John’s College, and an M.P.A. from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Mark Borman - Chief Financial Officer, SheerWind
Mark Borman

With more than 30 years of broad-based experience, Mark is a CFO and Board member. He has helped companies achieve strategic growth, profitability, cash-flow, capital-raising, and valuation goals. His passion for growing technology companies ranges from startup, private equity, IPO to publicly traded companies. He has a reputation of good corporate governance and credibility with investors. He raised $7.5 billion in four IPOs and eight other offerings to finance rapid growth and strategic transformations through a leveraged buyout to liquidity events and numerous acquisitions.

Mark brings the best of small-company entrepreneurial passion and larger-company disciplines. In addition to the valuable experience he gained working with entrepreneurs and their startups in 2009 to present, Mark has experience with global, NASDAQ- and NYSE-listed companies in various executive and financial roles. During his career, Borman has held positions with ADC Telecommunications, General Instrument Corporation, First Chicago Corporation, FMC Corporation, Price Waterhouse, and KPMG. He received his MBA in finance from the University of Chicago and his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Michigan State. Mark is a Certified Public Accountant and Chartered Financial Analyst and has experience as an advisor, board member, faculty, speaker, and mentor.

Mark was one of the co-founders of Cleantech Open Midwest in 2010. Since that time, he has served as the Mentor Program Chair for the Midwest division and has been the engine and organizer of a mentorship network that has helped launch over 90 new startups in the region that have raised over $20 million in capital. Mark currently has a leadership role with SheerWind, one of the Cleantech Open Midwest accelerator alumni companies. 

Twitter: mpborman

Kenneth Brown - Minnesota, Public Sector Liaison
Kenneth Brown

Ken is currently the Clean Energy Commercialization Program Manager at the Minnesota State Energy Office; Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources. Ken has over 25 years of experience evaluating technical and economic feasibly of clean technology projects and business plans. He’s performed more than 100 on-site assessments and delivered more than 180 training seminars and presentations. He witnessed the value that the first Midwest Cleantech Open provided to innovators and investors alike in 2010. He’s served as judge, mentor or session planner every year since.

In his role with the state, he works with individual companies in a neutral and confidential setting so that entrepreneurs are best prepared for the questions that come from funders, interest groups and additional stakeholders. He often uses U.S. DOE Technology Readiness Level (TRL) protocols to help businesses refine their commercialization milestones so that the route, challenges, specific actions and additional investment needed for continued growth are strategic and prioritized.

Ken has extensive experience in funding decision-making processes. He has developed numerous Requests for Proposals, served as an evaluator for hundreds of competing project proposals and provided the accompanying rationale used for funding recommendations. He has also developed, executed and managed scores of complex grant contracts. Funding efforts are all designed is to best assure that expected outcomes for the innovation and investment are realized.

Ken enjoys people and partnerships. He meets with lead staff in nine other state agencies at least once a month to help innovative or complex projects problem-solve. He has long-standing relationships with experts in diverse private, academic, non-profit and public sector financial, technical, research and economic development organizations. He takes great satisfaction in aligning mutual goals with partners to best assure that emerging clean energy companies can most effectively grow their business ― and help innovation thrive in the market place.

Jeff Carpenter - Investor Connect Chair
Jeff Carpenter

Jeff’ Carpenter Bird Dog Innovation Strategies, the due diligence, tech scouting, and strategic partnering services arm of Development Capital Networks. His technology commercialization experience includes product development for a clean tech start-up; nearly 10 years in university technology transfer; tech scout for a medical device company; and commercialization planning, due diligence, and strategic partnering support for entrepreneurs, investors, and technology acquirers.  His expertise includes market and competitor analysis, strategic patenting, partner identification and vetting, patent valuation, and license negotiation.  Jeff is also a founder and “neat stuff developer” for SkoobLevart, Inc., a specialty travel products company that makes anti-pickpocket satchels, travel journals, and is developing a map to hidden gems of historical and cultural interest.

Jeff has been heavily involved in the Cleantech Open for six years, leading investor and partners program in the Midwest for that time, and for the national office over a three year period.  Jeff has also provided mentoring and judging.

Jeff holds a PhD in Cell and Developmental Biology; and Bachelors and Masters degrees in Forestry.  After receiving his doctorate, Jeff worked for 15 months as a Congressional Science Fellow in the U.S. Senate.

Justin Erickson - Alumni Development Chair
Justin Erickson

Justin Erickson has run, since 2006, the Community Venture Network (CVN) program (founded in 1991) which partners together growing, small to mid-size businesses with rural communities, defined as outside of the 7-county Minneapolis-metro.  For companies seeking capital, a new location for operations or to solve growth-related challenges due to labor, cost of doing business, facility or taxation, CVN provides a unique opportunity to bring companies resources in return for economic development activity in otherwise overlooked and underserved areas around the Midwest.  Through this experience, Justin has worked with over 100 economic development groups from 8 states and with hundreds of companies. Prior to purchasing CVN, Justin worked for the Star Tribune in sales management and finance capacities and started his career in sales for Honeywell.

Justin Kaster - 2100 Advisors
Justin Kaster

Justin is a business innovation strategist and leader with diverse work experience. Over the course of his career, he has worked with hundreds of companies and executed on over $2 billion of transactions. He is a frequent speaker on the topics of early stage commercialization, global trends in resource innovation, and the broader Midwest innovation ecosystem. In 2015, Justin founded 2100 Advisors, a specialized advisory practice focused on disruptive innovation. He currently serves as advisory board chair for Midwest Cleantech Open.

Previously, Justin co-founded and served as the Executive Director for Midwest Cleantech Open from 2009 - 2014. Justin also led the launch of the annual Midwest Innovation Summit, a premier annual conference focused on resource innovation.

Earlier in his career, he worked with leading organizations in the financial industry including Citigroup Mergers & Acquisitions (New York City), American International Group (New York City), and Cherry Tree & Associates (Minneapolis).

Justin's awards include a 40 under 40 award from Minneapolis Saint Paul Business Magazine and recognition as a part of Twin Cities Business magazine’s 2011 list of "200 Minnesotans You Should Know". He previously or currently serves on boards for a Department of Energy student entrepreneurship initiative, DistribuTECH and the Defense Alliance.

Twitter: @justinkaster

Sue Marshall - Judging Chair
Sue Marshall

Sue Marshall is an entrepreneur and currently the CEO of NetZro. A start-up that provides integrated solutions throughout the food supply chain eliminating waste and reharvesting nutrients for plant, animal and human health. Sue has entered NetZro into numerous entrepreneurial contests, accelerators and incubators. She uses her proud range of business experience and education to assist other entrepreneurs with start-ups that desire a focus on socially responsible business models and funding. Sue holds a B.S. in marketing from St. Cloud State University and a Masters degree from University of St. Thomas. She proudly lives and works in Minneapolis, MN—claiming more beach front than its neighboring twin, St. Paul. Sue is partnering with Mother Nature to correct the mistakes of her generation and generations past. She spends her days collaborating with others that share her passion for economic &environmental sustainability while creating socially responsible initiatives. She spends her free time traveling the world in dedication to her role as a world-class mother and wife.

Gregg Mast - Cleantech Employers Chair
Gregg Mast

Founder, President and CEO of Earthtech Energy Inc., a specialty consulting company providing biomass and clean energy project development services. Founded in 2004, the company provides commercialization assistance to key partners leveraging Earthtech Energy’s innovation and know-how within the clean energy industry. In my role, I assume full management responsibility for the company, which includes delivering on the company’s mission of providing renewable and sustainable clean energy solutions to industrial, commercial and residential customers. By utilizing and maximizing the value of renewable energy resources and applying innovative technology, Earthtech Energy promotes energy practices that provide economic, environmental, and social benefits.

Tim Nolan - Sustainability Chair
Tim Nolan

Tim Nolan has worked for the State of Minnesota since 1989 at the forefront of efforts to advance and implement progressive public and private sustainable development initiatives. Program experience includes technical and financial assistance, applied research and development, educational outreach, and policy development. His work has involved a history of innovative projects in areas focused on; accelerating community sustainability, business adoption of sustainability practices, advancing the green economy, incubating clean technology and green manufacturing enterprises, fostering commercial scale renewable energy projects, and applying industrial ecology and clean production approaches such as eco-industrial parks.

Ian Rodricks - Recruiting Chair
Ian Rodricks

Ian had more than two decades of experience in technology oriented businesses at a Fortune 100 Company, including global marketing and business development,  strategic planning, joint ventures, acquisitions, alliances, and technology acquisition.He has been involved with the Cleantech Open Midwest Region since its inception in 2010 in several areas, including recruiting, and mentoring.

Shannon Schlecht - Board Member
Shannon Schlecht

Shannon M. Schlecht, Executive Director of the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute provides overall strategic and operational responsibility for the Institute’s staff, programs and execution of its mission.


Schlecht most recently served as Vice President of Policy for U.S. Wheat Associates in Arlington, Virginia. He has extensive background in agriculture, policy influence, market development, international trade, strategic planning and management. He served as wheat industry representative to the USDA Secretary of Agriculture and U.S. Trade Representative for the Grains, Feed, Oilseeds, and Planting Seeds Agricultural Trade Advisory Council, was the liaison to multiple agricultural coalitions, and staff lead for national committees covering trade policy and biotechnology as well as a food aid working group. Internationally, he conducted initiatives to develop U.S. wheat exports in over 40 countries. He holds Bachelor’s and Master of Science degrees from North Dakota State University in Fargo, North Dakota.

Lee Skaalrud - Recruiting Committee
Lee Skaalrud

Retained by Boards of Directors, CEOs, VPs of HR, and top-tier investment groups to fill critically important mechanical, electrical, and life science positions. Lee has worked with industries that include Semiconductor, Telecommunications, Life Sciences, Agriculture, Precision Engineering and Manufacturing. He has worked with public, private, multinational, high-growth, turnaround, startup, and Fortune 500 companies.

Lee offers a unique, streamlined, and proven phased approach to create and deliver unique solutions for each client¹s situation. With more than 17 years of experience in human resources and talent acquisition leadership roles, Lee offers a consultative, solutions-based approach to each search engagement.

In addition to Lee’s role at Versique, he currently serves on the Board of Advisors for ADOGO Pet Hotels, volunteers for YouthLink, the Cleantech Open, is Chairman Emeritus of the Lyngblomsten Foundation, past President for the Colleyville Texas Lions Club, former Director of the Colleyville Texas Economic Development Corporation and the Center for Nonprofit Management of Dallas.

Dick Sommerstad - Company Investment Readiness
Dick Sommerstad

Dick  has  an  extensive  business  development  background  spanning  more  than  thirty-­five years  in economic and community development. Dick has held both active and consulting management roles with both startup and emerging companies.  Dick’s expansive network includes local, national and international funding and investment sources and his network is equally expansive to include legal and accounting firms, foundations, associations, banks and lending institutions. Dick’s personal network of associates are from the areas of business development, government, communities, higher education, medical and science; and entrepreneurs in in Minnesota, the Midwest, and throughout the world.

Courtney Gras - Board Member
Courtney Gras

Courtney Gras is an engineer by training and an entrepreneur by nature. After leaving her job as a power systems engineer at NASA, Courtney has focused her career on supporting startup companies and small businesses. She has served as co-founder and Chief Operations Officer for Cleantech startup, Design Flux Technologies (DFT) for the past 7 years and also serves as Executive Director for Launch League, a community of startup founders in NE Ohio.

Scott Propp - Mentor and Board Member for Cleantech Open-Midwest
Scott Propp

A former Fortune 100 executive, Scott helps CEO’s successfully navigate their way to consistent, sustainable growth. A hands-on strategist with deep expertise in functions as diverse as R&D and sales, he has successfully led large-scale “industry first” projects in 22 different countries using 12 proprietary business models. Now, Scott lives at the intersection of strategy and implementation – providing unique and powerful insights that help companies create a self-sustaining culture of innovation that allows them to thrive. Scott serves CTO-M both as a mentor to select teams and at the board level helping to integrate his background with the needs of the emerging teams.

Joe Hrdlicka - Board Member
Joe Hrdlicka

He is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism. Hrdlicka grew up in St. Louis, but has lived in West Des Moines since 1995 with his wife and two sons. Since 2014, Joe Hrdlicka has been the executive director of the Iowa Biotechnology Association. He serves as chief executive of this 100-member organization of biotech companies where he is responsible for annual budgeting and direction of all operations including strategic planning, member communication, events and advocacy.

Pat Morand - Board Member
Pat Morand

Pat is the President of Open Prairie and Managing Director of the Southwest Michigan First Life Science Fund. His expertise is in complex regulated industries, with special strength in turnaround management, investor relations and accountability standards and performance. Prior to joining Open Prairie, he was a three-time chief executive officer in the biologics industry; Vice President of Commercial Operations for Genesis Therapeutics; Executive Vice President of Sequitor Medical Technologies; and Executive in Residence of the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse. Pat holds a BA from Athenaeum of Ohio.

Dr. Rajiv Tandon - Curriculum/Academics
Dr. Rajiv Tandon

Dr. Rajiv Tandon is Executive Fellow at the University of St. Thomas running the “Rocket Network”, an ecosystem of leaders of Fast Growing Companies who, through forums and a collaborative network, fearlessly tackle the issues generated by rapid growth. His efforts at CTO are to provide process and content for developing more robust startups. He also runs a peer group of Leaders of Fast Growing Companies. Twin City Business Magazine listed him as one of the “200 Minnesotans You Should Know” for his focus on “EduTech”. He is a serial entrepreneur and has been involved with Technology in Education/Training ever since there has been that domain; including founding Adayana listed in Inc 500/5000 fastest growing companies for 5 years in a row. As a Bush Leadership Fellow, his doctoral dissertation in entrepreneurship examined critical success factors in emerging companies that became the basis of the earliest and very successful program in Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas where he was a tenured Professor. He was awarded the Edwin M. Appel Prize by the Price-Babson Program, Boston "for bringing entrepreneurial vitality to academia".

Kelsey Underwood - Marketing Chair
Kelsey Underwood

Kelsey is the CEO of Re-Module, and an independent business consultant. She specializes in growing sustainable/cleantech companies domestically and internationally by transforming marketing, business development, and organizational management from expenses into successful strategies. Like the companies with whom she works, Re-Module focuses on scalable, sustainable solutions to global challenges (by re-purposing and incorporating plastic pollution into high-quality green building materials). Kelsey was a CTO 2016-2017 participant and national finalist, and now serves as the Marketing Chair of the Cleantech Open Midwest Board of Advisors.

Ryan Petersen - Strategic Partnerships and Development
Ryan Petersen

Ryan has 15 years of experience in organizational development, management & leadership, business development and fundraising. He grew up and rural Minnesota and has spent his professional career working with visionary leaders addressing issues of dignity and equity. He has built fundraising strategies, business plans and strong teams that have consistently exceeded revenue goals and positioned organizations to be leaders in their industries. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, with a Minor in Spanish, from Bethel University in St. Paul, MN. He also holds a Master's Degree from the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs with an emphasis in leadership and management.

Garrick Villaume - Business Clinic and Innovation Summit Planning
Garrick Villaume

A physicist and technology executive with over 20 years of experience developing electronics products and engineering systems, Dr. Villaume has optimized operations and business processes to produce some of the world’s most advanced devices and machines.  He’s a prolific developer of knowledge management systems enabling technical operations to achieve unprecedented efficiency and agility by increasing planning confidence, performance predictability, and execution continuity.  As an executive in both mature enterprises and several early ventures, he’s led development of hundreds of design and manufacturing processes for many market leading products, and guided world-class operations to best-ever performance and efficiency with intelligent, sustainable processes and systems.

Chip Laingen - Board Member
Chip Laingen

Chip Laingen is the Vice President, Midwest Region, Logistic Specialties, Inc. (LSI); and Executive Director of the Defense Alliance. Defense Alliance is the region’s defense industry network, with members in 34 states. The Alliance was presented the prestigious “Progress Minnesota” award in 2014, became one of the nation’s three Advanced Defense Technology Clusters in 2010 and won the Veterans Small Business Champion of the Year Award in 2007. He is a past President of the Twin Cities Council of the Navy League and is the owner of Laingen Communications.  He is a 21-year Veteran of the US Navy, and a 1983 graduate of the University of Minnesota NROTC program. 

Tremaine L. Phillips, J.D., M.A. - Board Member
Tremaine L. Phillips, J.D., M.A.

Tremaine is a graduate of Michigan State University and The Ohio State University, where he received his Juris Doctorate from the Moritz College of Law a M.A. in Public Policy and Management from the John Glenn College of Public Affairs. Tremaine currently develops and manages energy efficiency programs as the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Columbus-based Empower Gas & Electric. Tremaine was also a recent recipient of the Midwest Energy News 40 Under 40 award. During law school, Tremaine served as an intern for the Energy & Climate Change Team for President Barack Obama's White House Council on Environmental Quality. He also served as an intern for Ohio State Senator Eric Kearney and explored the financing of global climate adaptation programs as a research assistant at the Moritz College of Law. Prior to attending Moritz, Tremaine served as the Director of Innovation & Region Building for the Prima Civitas Foundation in East Lansing, Michigan. Prior to his time at Prima Civitas, Tremaine served as Assistant Deputy Director for the State of Michigan's Department of Energy, Labor, & Economic Growth (DELEG) and as an Energy Program Associate for the Michigan Environmental Council.

Swarnav Pujari - TouchLight Innovations
Swarnav Pujari

Swarnav Pujari is the CEO/Founder of TouchLight Innovations – a power generation solutions company set on harvesting energy from ambient mechanical energy. He is an internationally recognized researcher for his work with power generation materials. He has served as a startup consultant helping young businesses renovate their business models to help increase cash flow and position them for success. On the side he is a public speaker travelling across the US talking about his methods behind commercializing high technology products, building the platform of tomorrow and not another app and why the renewable & green energy market is the new internet. Pujari also hoists the honor as one of the Top 3 Entrepreneurs in the USA.

Rama Prasad, Ph.D. - Faculty Engagement
Rama Prasad, Ph.D.

Rama Prasad received her PhD in micro electro-mechanical systems from Cornell University in 1996. She joined Hewlett Packard Company's inkjet printer business, and worked on developing several printer products and new printer platforms. In 2010, Rama joined Honeywell advanced research laboratory in Plymouth MN. There she led teams of scientists and engineers to write and win government grant proposals for DARPA and DOE. Additionally, many next generation technology concepting and feasibility was demonstrated for Honeywell businesses by the team.

Since 2013, Rama has worked on formulating the business case for early technology and product ideas outside of large multinational corporations, and launching startup companies to take these ideas to market and revenue.

Gary N. Keller - MsB, CEO Xomix Ltd.
Gary N. Keller

Gary Keller is CEO of Xomix Ltd., a global technology accelerator and consultancy providing intellectual asset management, commercialization, and global businesses development services. Keller has more than 30 years of experience in international business development for leading biotechnology companies and is responsible for the development, funding and launch of numerous technology and commercialization initiatives and startup companies. He has addressed a broad range of intellectual property, technology transfer and tech startup topics in presentations around the world as a keynote speaker, moderator or panelist on behalf of the USPTO and other organizations.

He is President and Managing Director of the Midwest University Research Network (MRUN) and Cofounder and Industry Chairman of H20TECH, a Water Innovation Cluster for the Southeast U.S.  He is author of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Guide to Commercialization of Intellectual Property and workshops. His startups include NantKwest (NK NASDAQ), a San Diego based Immuno-oncology Company and the Florida Institute for Commercialization of Public Research.

He is and International Delegate and cofounder and Chairman Emeritus of the LES USA Canada Emerging Enterprise Committee, and LESI Vice President for Life Sciences and a LESI Advisor for WIPO GREEN.  He is the author of the WIPO Guide on the Commercialization of Intellectual Property and the affiliated workshop. Keller is a cofounder and Industry Chairman of H2OTECH, an Atlanta based EPA Water Innovation Cluster for the Southeast seven United States and an Advisor for Cleantech Open Midwest.

He is a member of AUTM, served as Co-Chair BIO Technology Transfer Committee and served for on the Board of Trustees of Sinai Hospital System - Chicago. Keller has a Masters of Biotechnology from Northwestern University, a Bachelor’s of Science from Pennsylvania State University, and is graduate of Second City Improv, Chicago.

Dr. Aeraj Haque - Board Member
Dr. Aeraj Haque

Dr. Aeraj Haque is chief technologist for Argonne National Laboratory’s technology incubator Chain Reaction Innovations (CRI) and the Argonne Design Works (ADW) center.

He is responsible for forging R&D partnerships with industry, mentoring startup companies, leading entrepreneur efforts, as well as identifying opportunities for Argonne scientists to partner with industry and commercialize technologies grown at the laboratory. His career has included intellectual property law, academic research, engineering work in the oil, auto, and chemical industries, and a stint as a co-founder and chief technology officer of a biotech veterinary diagnostic startup company.

Paul Taylor - Advisory Board Member
Paul Taylor

Paul Taylor is in the eighth year of his “Fourth Career”: Fortune 500 Corporate Officer, Minneapolis, MN based start-ups, Management Consulting and “Serial Mentor” to MN start-ups.    Taylor has the “rolodex of kings” and is very generous in sharing it with others.

Paul Taylor is a University of Minnesota Twin Cities graduate with an Economics major and Mathematics minor.  His thirty year career with International Milling/Multifoods included business unit (Consumer Products and Industrial Foods) senior management responsibilities and Corporate Officer positions in Sales, Marketing, General Management and Information Services.  Since leaving International Multifoods he has worked with three Twin Cities early stage companies and had a successful management consulting career as a Principal with the Masters Alliance.

Taylor’s “fourth career” includes active business volunteer engagement with the  MN Cup, Clean Tech Open, MN High Tech Association and MN Innovates.   Taylor was the Midwest Region Clean Tech Open 2013 Mentor of the Year and mentored Garden Fresh Farms (St. Paul, MN) the 2013 Regional and National Clean Tech Open Sustainability winner.   In 2015 Taylor mentored Arc Suppression Technologies and Viroment, the two Midwest Region Clean Tech Open winners.    Viroment was the 2015 Global Clean Tech Open Water prize winner.  In 2016 Taylor mentored QLean Tech Enterprises, the 2016 MW Region Clean Tech Open Global Impact winner and 2017 CTO Global Chemicals and Advanced Materials winner.   At the 2017 MN Entrepreneur Kick-Off Taylor was named the first recipient of the Lifter/Mentor Of  The Year Award.

Jeffry Brown - Advisory Board Member
Jeffry Brown

Mr. Brown worked at Apple in the early years leading the HAL team focusing on setting Apples innovation culture and trends, helping to launch the Macintosh and envision what is now the iPhone and iPad. He has also been CEO and Board Chair of both public and private companies, and was the founder or partner in several entrepreneurial business ventures. He’s been called a thought leader in start ups creating market leading strategy, branding, and marketing.

Visionary, optimistic, innovative and experienced describe his coaching and facilitation style. Clients say: ‘If you need to fit a square peg into a round hole? Jeff can do it. He’s an out of the box thinker who can create and turn vision into profit. He has a unique ability to make rapid assessment of diverse situational challenges and develop and drive the resulting action plans.

Mr. Brown has also structured, negotiated and/or advised on over $550 million in transactions during his career as well as provided due-diligence advisory services relative to mergers, acquisitions, technology licensing, joint ventures, and strategic alliances. He has significant expertise in the financing and development of early-stage technology ventures as well as successful post-merger integration expertise.

Employment experiences: Disney, Apple, Miller Brown Marketing (Founder), Gage Marketing, Chancellor Media (Founding Director), and BioKey International.

Client engagements include: AT&T, AOL, Dell, Sprint, Chrysler, Heinz, RJ Reynolds, Whirlpool, Kitchen Aid, General Mills, Proctor & Gamble, Intel, Oracle, ebay, Microsoft, US Government, PGA Tour, NASCAR, Mondovi, bswing, and Sunrise Banks.

Board positions include: Chairman: BioKey International; President: Leukemia Lymphoma Society; Director: Gourmet wines, Voice2Page.com, Expressway Technologies, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Cancer Kids Fund, Simon Says Give.

Top Five Strengths  (Gallup Strengths Finder)

Maximizer | Strategic | Positivity | Restorative | Ideation

Lois Josefson - Advisory Board Member
Lois Josefson

Lois is an attorney, business owner, non-profit executive, board member, founder and investor.  Her accomplishments and focus are in business strategy, business growth and finance in the early stage company arena, non-profit administration, education and community and government service and leadership.   She is the principal of Greater Minnesota Development Services, LLC.  Lois is a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College and holds a J.D. from the University of Minnesota.  Originally a Minneota, MN farm girl, she has been a Fergus Falls, MN resident for more than thirty years while working across the State of Minnesota. Lois and her husband, Robert Russell, have two grown daughters.

Tariq Samad - Advisory Board Member
Tariq Samad

Tariq Samad holds the Honeywell/W.R. Sweatt Chair at the Technological Leadership Institute at the University of Minnesota, where he also serves as the Director of Graduate Studies for the nation’s longest-running M.S. in Management of Technology program and has an adjunct faculty appointment in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Dr. Samad joined TLI in 2016 after a 30-year career with Honeywell, for the last half of which he was Corporate Fellow with Honeywell Automation and Control Solutions.  During his career with Honeywell he contributed to and led automation and control technology developments for applications in electric power systems, clean energy, building management, the process industries, automotive engines, unmanned aircraft, and advanced manufacturing. His research interests relate broadly to automation, intelligence, and autonomy for complex engineering systems. In 2015-2016 he also served as the first Global Innovation Leader for the business.

Dr. Samad was the President of the American Automatic Control Council for 2014-15 and the President of IEEE Control Systems Society in 2009.  He is a Fellow of the IEEE and of IFAC.    He is editor-in-chief of IEEE Press.  He is the founding chair of the new Industry Committee for IFAC that is developing recommendations for improving university/industry collaborations in control and automation. Dr. Samad holds 20 patents and has authored or coauthored over 100 conference and journal publications.  His book publications include the Encyclopedia of Systems and Control (co-editor-in-chief, Springer, 2014).  He was a founding board member of the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel, representing industrial and commercial stakeholders. In 2012 and 2014 he co-led technology deep dives as part of the U.S. Advanced Manufacturing Partnership initiative. Dr. Samad holds a B.S. degree in Engineering and Applied Science from Yale University and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.