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Luncheon & Student Startup Showcase | April 28, 2022 | 11:00am - 12:30pm EDT


Dr. Eric Barron

President - The Pennsylvania State University

Eric J. Barron began his tenure as the 18th president of The Pennsylvania State University on May 12, 2014. Previously, Barron served as president of Florida State. He has more than 35 years of leadership experience in academic administration, education, research and public service, as well as a track record as a talented manager of fiscal policy within large and complex institutions.

Barron is chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Universities Research Association (URA). He also serves on the Board of Directors for Kish Bancorp, Inc. is also a member of the Knight Commission and the College Football Playoff Board of Managers.

Barron spent the first 20 years of his career at Penn State, serving as dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences from 2002 to 2006, and as founding director of the Earth System Science Center, one of the first major initiatives focused on the total study of Earth as a system. In 1999, he was named Distinguished Professor of Geosciences at Penn State.

An accomplished scientist with a long background in atmospheric research, Barron was the director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and dean of the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin. Over the decades, Barron has lent his significant expertise in the areas of atmospheric science and the geosciences to many national committees and federal agencies, including nearly 20 years of service as the chair of multiple National Research Council committees and boards.

Barron earned a B.S. in geology at Florida State and his M.S. and Ph.D. in oceanography at the University of Miami.


Geanie Umberger

Associate Vice President for Research - Penn State University - Office of Industrial Partnerships

Gloria (Geanie) Umberger, PhD, MSPH, RPh, was appointed Associate Vice President for Research and Director of Industry Research Collaborations at Penn State on May 1, 2021. In this role, Umberger will be responsible for developing and nurturing corporate relationships with potential and existing partners to further industrial research growth at the University.

Before coming to Penn State, Umberger spent 10 years at Purdue University, where she has been engaging industry partners in economic development activities, including attracting companies to Indiana, development of IoT and cybersecurity technology park, and other initiatives around student educational offerings, projects and opportunities. She also established collaborations between Purdue faculty with industry for the purposes of sponsoring research and supporting large-scale projects and centers. In addition, Umberger has had significant industry experience performing successful regulatory compliance, large-scale project management, technology-based business development, and building innovative university-industry relations. "We are extremely excited to have Geanie joining us," expressed Senior Vice President for Research Lora Weiss. "She will be leading and expanding our research collaborations with industry in a multitude of ways."

Geanie Umberger attended the University of Kentucky where she earned a Bachelor's degree in Pharmacy, a Master's of Science in Public Health, and a Ph.D. in Anatomy and Neurobiology. Dr. Umberger's postdoctoral work at the UK College of Medicine's Department of Neurology focused on the development of techniques using functional MRI to diagnose Alzheimer's and other memory-related diseases. Umberger served as Purdue's Assistant Vice President for Industry Relations in the Vice President office for Research and Partnerships, and Associate Dean for Engagement in the Purdue Polytechnic. In addition to her extensive work in academics as a senior administrator and faculty member, she worked in industry for IBM, Lexmark International, REGISTRAT, and Bristol Myers-Squibb. 

Closing Remarks

Kevin McGarry

Urish Popeck

Session 1 - Breaking Down Barriers to Capital: New and Innovative Models for Creating More Equitable Access to Capital for Underrepresented Entrepreneurs | April 28, 2022 | 12:45 - 1:45pm EDT


Philip Gaskin

VP of Entrepreneurship - Kauffman Foundation

Philip Gaskin is vice president of Entrepreneurship for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where he is responsible for leading the Kauffman Foundation's efforts to build an economy that works for all people by making entrepreneurship an integral component of economic development policies, practices, and programs.

As a leader with deep expertise in implementing strategies that change conditions in communities of all types, Gaskin provides the vision, strategic thinking, and thought leadership to scale and deepen the impact of the Foundation's comprehensive entrepreneurship portfolio, which aims to eliminate systemic barriers and enhance economic activity through inclusive entrepreneurship. With deep experience in organizational management in a variety of settings, he is also responsible for the department's strategic planning, talent acquisition, program execution, grants process, budgeting, and operations. Charged with leading the team of more than 30 associates, Gaskin uses his collective life and work experiences to inspire each associate to achieve extraordinary things, reach their full potential, and impact the lives of those the Foundation serves.

Prior to joining the Kauffman Foundation, Gaskin was chief operating officer for Impact Hub in the U.S., where he led organization-wide initiatives to develop and scale a social innovation marketplace to support entrepreneurs and impact investors to build sustainable businesses that drive long-term social and environmental change. He served as lead partner to Impact Hub's global association to promote interorganizational alignment, shape global business strategy, and advance strategic efforts in developing regions of the world - including Africa and Latin America.

Read more on Philip here:


Lee Erickson

Associate Director of Economic Development & Student Programs - Office of Entrepreneurship and Commercialization, The Pennsylvania State University

Lee serves as the Associate Director of Economic Development and Student Programs for Penn State University where she focuses on identifying new strategies and programs designed to increase the impact of IPS's mission to spur economic development, job creation and student career success for Pennsylvania. Key initiatives include building resources and services to support IPS's state-wide network of 21 LaunchBoxes and innovation spaces, piloting and building programs to facilitate diverse, inclusive, and equitable entrepreneurial ecosystems, and increasing opportunities for Penn State students to build entrepreneurial skills, engage in, and identify new entrepreneurial opportunities.

Prior to this position, Lee served as the director of the Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank, for five years building programming and support services for local entrepreneurs and students. Prior to coming to Penn State, Lee was the co-founder and CEO of Erickson Barnett, a full-service B2B marketing agency with clients that included AT&T, The Kauffman Foundation, LexisNexis, and some of the largest venture capital firms in the nation including NEA, Oak Investment Partners, and Columbia Capital.

Session 2 - Small Market, Big Opportunities: The Wilkes-Barre Early Stage Technology Scene | April 28, 2022 | 2:00 - 3:00pm EDT


Matthew Weinbaum

Shareholder - Dentons Cohen & Grigsby, P.C

Matt is a lawyer with extensive experience advising investors, companies and executive teams across all stages of the corporate lifecycle, with a specialization in guiding clients through important early-stage transactions that provide foundational and growth capital to emerging companies.

His clients operate in and/or invest in a diverse array of industries, ranging from robotics to the agricultural sciences, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, autonomous vehicles, digital media and beyond.

Matt formerly served as assistant general counsel and senior investigator at the Mintz Group in New York, a corporate intelligence and investigations firm. Matt began his career in the project finance group at Chadbourne & Parke LLP in New York.


Kristopher Jones

Entrepreneur/Founder - The Accelerator Wilkes-Barre

Kristopher B. Jones is a Pennsylvania-based serial entrepreneur and investor. A 1998 graduate of University Park, Kris is the best-selling author of "Search-Engine Optimization - Your Visual Blueprint to Effective Internet Marketing" with over 100,000 copies sold and most recently co-authored the book "Search Engine Optimization All-In-One for Dummies." In 1999 Kris founded three-time Inc. 500 digital marketing and affiliate network Pepperjam, which he sold to eBay (NASDAQ - EBAY) in 2009. In 2010 Kris founded KBJ Capital to invest in early-stage technology companies. 30+ investments later, several successful exits and tens of millions of dollars raised from top Silicon Valley venture firms, including Lightspeed Venture Partners, Index Ventures, and Greylock Partners Kris has cemented himself as one of Penn State University's most distinguished Penn State alumni entrepreneurs and investors.

In 2019 Kris founded the Accelerator Wilkes Barre, a 30,000 sq ft technology campus featuring multiple venture-backed and growth-stage companies, including,, Parlor Beverages, studioBE, and Cybiot. In his free time, Kris loves to read, write, exercise, and travel. Kris lives in Shavertown Pennsylvania with his wife Robyn, three children (Kris Jr., Lauren, and Jackson), three bulldogs, a Himalayan cat, and a small koi pond. Learn more about Kris at


Kenneth Okrepkie

Regional Manager - Ben Franklin Technology Partners

Kenneth G. Okrepkie, MHR, serves as the Regional Manager for Ben Franklin Technology Partners NEP where he oversees investments in a portfolio of more than 40 companies in Northeastern PA. In the last three years, his clients have leveraged his funding to raise more than $60M. Each year this group of companies will generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue while creating family sustaining jobs in the region returning $3.90 in tax revenue back to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for every $1 invested. For 21 years, Ken has supported early stage technology companies and connected manufacturing firms to college and university resources. Okrepkie's career blends a variety of experiences from higher education to the world of the entrepreneur. He started his career at the University of Scranton ultimately serving as Assistant Dean of Admissions followed by Junior Achievement of Northeastern Pennsylvania where he held the position of President. Ken then transitioned to founding member of an internet start-up company,, where he led the sales and strategic initiatives. Prior to Ben Franklin in 2004, he joined the Great Valley Technology Alliance, now TecBridge, as a Vice-President. 

He is credited with creating the Lackawanna and Luzerne County Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ) Program that generates more than $2M each year for technology companies, now totaling $26.4M since the inception of the program. Ken is a contributing author for the books in "Entrepreneurial Communities and Ecosystems: Theories in Culture, Empowerment, and Leadership" and "Empowering Entrepreneurial Communities and Ecosystems: Case Study Insights." 

Penn State's Tech Tournament | April 28, 2022 | 3:00 - 5:00pm EDT


Steve Carpenter

Senior Vice President - Life Sciences Greenhouse of Central PA

Steve Carpenter is a Senior Vice President at the Life Sciences Greenhouse of Central PA. ( The LSGPA is a seed-stage investment organization that invests up to $4 million in promising life science companies in central Pennsylvania. Mr. Carpenter's principal responsibilities include serving as director or board observer for portfolio companies, evaluating prospective companies and performing due diligence for investment. Mr. Carpenter also serves as an Adjunct Instructor at Penn State's Smeal College of Business, teaching Entrepreneurial Finance to second-year MBA students, and as the Program Administrator for the Garber Fund providing venture investment experiences for MBA students. ( Prior to joining the LSGPA in 2004, Mr. Carpenter served more than 20 years in a variety of management and engineering positions, primarily leading operation start-ups and new product launches. Mr. Carpenter earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University and an MBA from Penn State University where his academic concentration was in venture capital, entrepreneurship, and finance.


Todd Erdley

Founder & President - Videon

Todd Erdley is the founder, President, and continued vision behind Videon's groundbreaking advances in video technologies. Erdley's leadership has propelled the company to the forefront of live video edge computing that enables professionals to create transformative solutions that are rapidly driving and simplifying the movement of media from any source to any screen. An avid cyclist, Todd enjoys unwinding from the whirlwind pace of Videon by pedaling around central Pennsylvania's beautiful countryside.


Sharon Ross

Former Manager QED Proof-of-Concept Program - University City Science Center

Sharon Ross has had a long career in technology transfer and commercialization. Most recently, Ms. Ross managed the QED Proof-of-Concept Program at the University City Science Center (UCSC) in Philadelphia. The UCSC, in collaboration with key academic research organizations in PA, NJ, and DE, launched the QED Program in 2009 to provide business development support for life science and medical device/diagnostic research with high commercial potential. At UCSC, Ms. Ross also assisted CSL Behring's Research Innovation team to identify academic research across the US in CSL's therapeutic areas of interest.

Prior to joining the UCSC, Ms. Ross was a Licensing Officer in Tech Ventures, the Technology Transfer Office of Columbia University, New York, where she managed a portfolio of over 35 marketable inventions from the faculty of the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. In addition to negotiating license agreements, Ms. Ross cultivated corporate and government support to further validate commercial applications of innovations. She was also a consultant on a US DOE project, based at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, cultivating technology development for increased energy efficiency in commercial buildings.

Ms. Ross holds a BA from The Pennsylvania State University, and an MBA from Temple University - both in marketing.


Suzanne Kijewski, Ph.D.

IP Liaison - Penn State University

Dr. Suzanne Kijewski has a PhD in Immunology & Microbiology from Boston University where her dissertation work focused on HIV transmission. Prior to Penn State, she has worked in IP development with a cancer therapeutics startup (Transgenex Nanobiotech), a hospital system (Shriners Hospitals for Children) and in the university setting (University of South Florida). More recently she has done tech transfer consulting and patent analysis. She is very excited to be a member of the Office for Innovation and helping the researchers in the Eberly College of Science.


James Pietropaolo

Associate Director - Penn State University - Office of Entrepreneurship & Commercialization

Jim is the Associate Director of the Penn State Office of Entrepreneurship and Commercialization and an active member of the Invent Penn State team. Jim's efforts are focused on supporting Penn State startup companies including the development and management of the Penn State Startup Leadership Network (SLN). The SLN is a network of experienced industry leaders that provide business support to the growing number of Penn State startups.

Prior to working at Penn State, Jim was a medical imaging industry veteran with a combination of large company (J&J, GE-Lunar, Hitachi) and entrepreneurial experience working with tech-based startup companies. Jim's successful track record includes his role as VP of U.S. Sales for Lunar Corporation. During his five-year tenure with Lunar, annual sales grew from $12 million to $100 million leading to a successful acquisition by GE Medical Systems.


Erika Swift

Operations Director - Penn State College of Medicine's Center for Medical Innovation

Erika Swift serves as the Operations Director for Penn State College of Medicine's Center for Medical Innovation, which helps accelerate technology development through education, discovery, proof of concept programs, funding initiatives and startup support. The Center also facilitates collaborations with fellow institutions, industry partners and economic development organizations. Understanding the importance of technology transfer to regional economic growth, Ms. Swift also serves as the President of BioStrategy Partners, Inc. a 501c3 nonprofit consortium of seven academic medical centers and research institutes committed to the development and transfer of academic research into the marketplace. Prior to joining Penn State College of Medicine in 2015, Ms. Swift worked in various industry sectors including medical devices, dental equipment and consumer goods, having almost 20 years of experience in regional economic development, technology commercialization, new business development, operations, and startups. Ms. Swift received her bachelor's degree in marketing with a concentration in international business from Bloomsburg University, an MBA from York College of Pennsylvania, and is currently enrolled in the MHA program at Penn State University.

Breakfast & Keynote | April 29, 2022 | 7:30 - 8:45am EDT


Doug Farren

Managing Director - National Center for the Middle Market

Doug Farren joined The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business after an 11-year career at Limited Brands, where he most recently served as senior manager of supply chain planning. His responsibilities included developing the supply chain network and planning/allocation functionality for inventory to support three distinct international store channels. Farren started with Limited Brands as a summer intern while completing his MBA in Operations and Logistics Management at Fisher. Farren's previous experience includes work for Six Sigma Qualtec, a process improvement consulting firm based on Scottsdale, Arizona. His primary functions included marketing strategy, new client relationships, and on-site training and implementation. As part of his responsibilities, he was certified in 1998 as a Six Sigma Black Belt in Transactional Quality. Farren holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Penn State University, where he was a member of the football team as an athlete and student assistant under Joe Paterno. He is an active member of the Penn State Football Letterman's Club.

Session 3 - IP 101: What Every Startup Needs to Know About IP Protection | April 29, 2022 | 9:00 - 10:00am EDT


Matthew Frederick

Partner - Reed Smith LLP

Matt is a Partner counseling clients in the fields of patent, trademark and trade secret law, in addition to representing clients in IP transactions, disputes and litigation. Matt has over a decade of experience in working with clients to obtain patents, develop patent and trade secret strategies, and litigate patent and trade secret disputes in federal court. Matt's background as a Chemical Engineer allows Matt to work across many different industries, including the chemical, polymer, pharmaceutical, medical device and consumer products industries. Matt also counsels clients in trademark clearance and prosecution, enforcement, and litigation. Matt works closely with clients in industries including higher education, food, pharmaceuticals, entertainment and consumer products to develop and protect key brands. In addition, Matt represents clients in negotiating all manner of IP agreements including licenses, sales, joint ventures and coexistence agreements. Matt has also experienced the client side of IP counseling, having been awarded three patents from the USPTO as a product development engineer for Federal Mogul before attending law school. Matt is a proud graduate of Penn State and is active with the University. In particular, he has participated in Penn State's educational seminars and programs, including sponsoring and attending the Invent Penn State Venture & IP Conference since its inception.


Dennis Butler

Partner - Panitch Schwarze Belisario & Nadel LLP

Dennis J. Butler is a Delaware and Pennsylvania attorney who helps innovators protect their inventions and companies protect their intellectual property. Dennis' practice focuses on intellectual property and technology law, including representing clients in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware and additional U.S. district courts, as well as before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and foreign patent offices.

Dennis has extensive experience in preparation, filing and prosecution of patent applications and inter partes practice before the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board. Dennis has extensive experience conducting in-person and remote interviews with U.S. patent examiners to expedite allowance of U.S. patents. His practice is concentrated in mechanical technologies, including medical devices, polymer systems and materials, industrial equipment, automotive and agricultural equipment, supply chain technologies, structural composite assemblies, orthopedic devices and methods, consumer goods and electro/mechanical devices.

His practice also focuses on patent litigation on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants. He has worked on cases involving a wide variety of technologies, including medical devices, cellular telephones, electronic monitoring systems, smart phone technologies, industrial equipment, electrical equipment, medical testing equipment, supply chain systems, and banking processes.

Dennis received his J.D. from Temple University's Beasley School of Law while working full-time at Boeing Defense and Space Group and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. He received his A.S. and B.S in Mechanical Engineering Technology and M.S. in Engineering Mechanics from the Pennsylvania State University.

Dennis is a member of the Delaware Bar, the Pennsylvania Bar, Penn State Alumni Association, the Irish American Business Chamber and Network and the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce. He is registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as well as before the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, Eastern, Central and Western Districts of Pennsylvania.


Kimberly Chotkowski

President - Brandywine Ventures LLC

Kimberly S. Chotkowski is a dynamic, strategic, outcome-driven leader with demonstrated success driving performance and growth in advanced technology product management and R&D in challenging environments on a global scale. Seize opportunities and secure capital funding to take global technology companies to next-level growth. Spearhead acquisitions, divestments, spin-offs as well as structural transformations. Thrive in collaborative environment with positive energy and team-focus. Build trust and conceptualize creative solutions. Develop and mentor high-performance teams. Collaborate with stakeholders and advise corporate boards. Contributor to industry thought leadership, including experience in delivering congressional testimony on global business impact of international trade and IP policy.

Kim has been listed in the Intellectual Asset Magazine as one of the top 300 IP Strategists in the World. She was the first woman CEO of the Licensing Executives Society. Kim has managed and served as an expert witness in various patent litigations. Kim is an inventor herself holding 4 US patents.

Kim holds a BS in electrical engineering and a BS in Humanities/History from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, a JD from the Franklin Pierce Law Center and an MBA, concentration in international business and finance, from Sacred Heart University.

Kim is a member of the Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New York, USPTO bars, and is a Certified Licensing Professional.


David Perry

Partner - Blank Rome LLP

David Perry concentrates his practice on the creation, protection, defense, and licensing of intellectual property. He represents multinational companies with large, complex IP portfolios and needs, as well as successful mid-market companies, entrepreneurs, and small businesses in a variety of industries, such as: life sciences; energy; beer, wine, and spirits; software; gaming and sports; music and entertainment; graphic design and advertising; insurance; and retail. David advises and assists clients with:

  • Comprehensive U.S. and international brand creation, clearance, enforcement, and counseling
  • Prosecution and maintenance of trademark filings before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and coordination abroad
  • Intellectual property litigation in state and federal jurisdictions and before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Copyright counseling and filing before U.S. Copyright Office
  • Litigation and strategic advice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act
  • ("DMCA") and related anti-circumvention and infringement provisions of the U.S. Copyright Act
  • Counseling and practice in Internet law, domain name disputes ("UDRP"), and related litigation
  • Preparation and negotiation of publishing, music, media, and entertainment agreements
  • Preparation of domestic and international license agreements of trademarks, copyrights, software, and know-how
  • Preparation and negotiation of technology transfer, acquisition, assignment, and confidentiality agreements
  • Corporate and financial services diligence and intellectual property structuring

In addition to his family life as a husband and a father of two daughters, David's lifelong passion for music bridges his copyright/IP practice with his band, Athensville, for which he writes and records music on lead guitar. He also combines his penchant for craft beer and branding with his various brewery representations.

Session 4 - Bootstrapping from $0 - $250 million in 6 years: How Tuft & Needle Disrupted and Catalyzed Change in the Mattress Industry | April 29, 2022 | 10:00 - 11:00am EDT


JT Marino

Co-Founder/Chief Disruption Officer - Tuft & Needle/Serta Simmons Bedding

Co-founder of Tuft & Needle (T&N) & Chief Disruption Officer of Serta Simmons Bedding, John-Thomas "JT" Marino is a passionate storyteller, facilitator & teacher, inspiring T&N's most challenging & disruptive projects. JT has been instrumental in redefining the sleep industry & retail experience through the business's rapid nationwide retail expansion, award-winning company culture, evolving product offering & acclaimed advertising campaigns.

With $6,000 of personal investment in 2012, JT &his business partner, Daehee Park, have grown T&N from $1 million in their first full year of business to $200 million+ in annual revenue in less than 6 years.

Prior to T&N, JT combined principles from both design & engineering to develop future-forward software products in the high-tech industry, & he has applied this same discipline to reimagining the sleep industry. JT has extensive experience building & leading teams of designers & engineers, along with researchers & scientists, to develop innovative experiential initiatives. JT started his career as an engineer at the world's leading software application consultancy, where he accelerated his experience through working amongst the foremost thought leaders and tech leaders for VC-funded startups and Fortune 500 companies.

JT has been featured on FOX Business, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Inc., Recode, Buzzfeed, Mashable, among others, & he is a frequent keynote speaker at startup & industry events such as SXSW, Startup Grind and ShopTalk. JT has been named as one of The Recode 100, Arizona Republic's 35 Under 35, & received eTail West's Visionary of the Year Award. JT studied computer science & mathematics at Penn State University.


Scott Woods

President - West Arete

Scott Woods (Comp Sci '00) is CEO of West Arete, a company that builds custom enterprise software for higher education. The company has been recognized for its leading implementations in Research Information Management, and for the MIT Living Wage Calculator, which serves as the de facto definition of what constitutes a living wage in the United States.

West Arete has been part of the Penn State and State College entrepreneurship ecosystem since its founding in State College in 2005. They are a Ben Franklin portfolio company, and they've contributed to many Invent Penn State initiatives over the years, including the Summer Founders Program, various LaunchBox events, and the initial Venture & IP Conference.

Scott spent several years rock climbing and running ultramarathons full time. These experiences led to West Arete's policy of a mandatory annual sabbatical for every employee, which was the subject of his TEDxPSU talk.

Session 5 - Preparing for Exit Upon Entry | April 29, 2022 | 11:15am - 12:15pm EDT


Jonathan Moyer

Partner - Reed Smith LLP

Jonathan is a Partner in the Reed Smith's Global Corporate Group in Philadelphia, PA. Jonathan advises companies, funds and significant individuals regarding venture capital and growth equity transactions, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, private equity transactions, equity and debt offerings, corporate governance issues and general corporate law. In his practice, Jonathan regularly counsels clients focused in the healthcare, life sciences, financial services, energy and media and technology industries, among others. Jonathan is a 2002 graduate of the Penn State - University Park Smeal College of Business. He received his Juris Doctorate, with honors, from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey School of Law. He also holds his Masters of Business Administration from Temple University and Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées.


Sreekar Gadde

Managing Partner - BTVC

Sreekar Gadde, Managing Partner of BTVC, leverages his background in engineering, law, and business to identify and analyze early-stage companies for potential investment opportunities. In addition, he assists management teams of early- and mid-stage companies in developing an IP strategy that complements the company's business strategy. Sree's work experience spans various fields including Artificial Intelligence (Edge Case Research, Aspinity, TalkMeUp, and Ariel Precision Medicine), medicine (Lindy BioSciences and CytoAgents), data analytics (BlastPoint), and consumer goods (Aeronics, Anglr, and Crafty Counter). Independent of industry, Sree works with companies to identify what differentiates them from their competition and determine what forms of IP provide them the best strategic value to protect that differentiation.

Prior to joining BlueTree, Sree worked as an IP litigator and an IP prosecutor at two top law firms, Ropes and Gray and Sterne Kessler, as well as Assistance Chief IP Counsel for Dynamics, Inc. In addition, he was a validation engineer and team lead for Intel's microprocessor design business unit.

Sree holds an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business, a JD from The George Washington University Law School, a Master's and Bachelor's in Electrical and Computer Engineering from CMU, as well as a Bachelor's in Cognitive Science.

Beyond working with specific companies, Sree frequently presents at conferences on how investors can analyze IP Strategy and how companies can improve the efficiency of their IP spending by taking ownership of their IP strategy. Recently, he has spoken at the Giles S. Rich Inn of Court, the "IPforAI" conference, and the "2019 Global IP Strategy Conference."


Ben Garber

Vice President - 7 Mile Advisors

Vice President with Healthcare delivery and operational expertise. Previously, Ben served as Senior Director, Corporate Development & Innovation at MedExpress, an Optum Health subsidiary, leading their relationships for both acquisition targets and joint venture partnerships. Before joining MedExpress, Ben spent five years at Grouse Ridge Capital sourcing and executing targets, growth capital investments, and joint ventures. Ben leads 7 Mile's Healthcare practice. B.S. Plant and Soil Science - University of Vermont; MBA, Finance and Operations Research - Carnegie Mellon University.


Phil Mellet

General Counsel & Chief Administrative Officer - Healthpilot

Phil is the General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer at Healthpilot, leading legal, human resources, corporate and administrative functions. Before joining Healthpilot, Phil was General Counsel and SVP of Corporate Development at InstaMed, a private equity-backed fintech business delivering healthcare payment and transaction processing solutions to health insurers, providers and consumers. InstaMed was acquired by JPMorgan Chase in July 2019, a transaction on which Phil played a key role pre-and post-acquisition.

Prior to InstaMed, Phil was a corporate and securities attorney at Troutman Pepper LLP (previously known as Pepper Hamilton LLP). Phil has a JD and MBA from Villanova University and a Finance degree from Pennsylvania State University.


Hunter Swisher

Founder & CEO - Phospholutions, Inc.

Hunter currently serves as the Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Phospholutions, Inc., which he founded prior to graduating with an undergraduate degree from Pennsylvania State University. Phospholutions develops solutions for managing global phosphorus use. RhizoSorb technology is a soil amendment and fertilizer additive increasing nutrient and water use efficiency, cutting fertilizer costs, and reducing the environmental impact of phosphorus fertilizers. Phospholutions has raised over $12M in non-dilutive, convertible, and equity financing.

He received his B.S. in Plant Sciences with minors in Mycology and Plant Pathology from the College of Agricultural Sciences. During his undergraduate career, Hunter was recognized by the Vice President of Research as Top Entrepreneur within the university for his work in commercializing two patents from the university. Under his leadership, Phospholutions was awarded the top prize in the Penn State Venture and IP Technology Showcase, Big IDEA Contest by Ben Franklin Technology Partners, and featured on the WPSU television series The Investment. Hunter has been recognized three consecutive years as Foremost under 40 by Pennsylvania Business Central, Top 100 People of Pennsylvania, and recognized for his contribution to the environment by Governor Tom Wolf.

He currently serves on the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Advisory Board within the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State. He is an active member and an Ambassador for the International Fertilizer Association and serves on the Public Affairs & Communications and Agricultural Strategic Advisory Teams, as well as the Metrics and Applications Sustainability Committees. He also serves on the Sustainability Committee for The Fertilizer Institute.

Hunter's passions include sustainable agriculture, circular economies, entrepreneurship & innovation, and venture capital.

Awards Ceremony | April 29, 2022 | 1:00 - 1:30pm EDT


James Pietropaolo

Associate Director - Office of Entrepreneurship and Commercialization, The Pennsylvania State University

Jim is the Associate Director of the Penn State Office of Entrepreneurship and Commercialization and an active member of the Invent Penn State team. Jim's efforts are focused on supporting Penn State startup companies including the development and management of the Penn State Startup Leadership Network (SLN). The SLN is a network of experienced industry leaders that provide business support to the growing number of Penn State startups.

Prior to working at Penn State, Jim was a medical imaging industry veteran with a combination of large company (J&J, GE-Lunar, Hitachi) and entrepreneurial experience working with tech-based startup companies. Jim's successful track record includes his role as VP of U.S. Sales for Lunar Corporation. During his five-year tenure with Lunar, annual sales grew from $12 million to $100 million leading to a successful acquisition by GE Medical Systems.

Keynote Session - Penn State Unicorn Panel | April 29, 2022 | 1:30 - 2:20pm EDT


Ryan Newman

Managing Director - Goldman Sachs

Ryan is a managing director in the Private Wealth Management business in the Consumer and Investment Management Division. He advises Fortune 500 executives, family office groups and Entrepreneurs in the management of their personal assets, as well as assets on behalf of foundations, endowments and pension funds. Ryan is a member of the Private Wealth Management Top Advisors, and is co-chair of the Market Intelligence Group. He also leads new associate business development training for the Private Wealth Management business each year. Ryan joined Goldman Sachs as an analyst in 2001 and was named managing director in 2019.

Ryan is a member of the External Advisory Board for the Schreyer Honors College at The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) and was co-chair of a fundraising campaign that raised more than $54 million for the Honors College. In 2011, he was awarded the Alumni Achievement

Award by Penn State, and in 2009, he was named the Outstanding Scholar Alumni Mentor by the Schreyer Honors College. Ryan is a chartered financial analyst charterholder.

Ryan earned a BS in Economics with a minor in Philosophy from the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State, where he was also a Schreyer Scholar.


Ash Ashutosh

Founder of Actifio (Acquired by Google) - Global Director of Solution Sales at Google

Ash is currently the Global Director of Solution Sales at Google, responsible responsible for developing global go-to-market strategy and accelerating regional execution. Ash is a Nittany lion with a Masters in Computer Science from the school.

Ash joined Google Cloud at the end of 2020 through our acquisition of Actifio, where he was the founder and CEO. Across his three-decade enterprise career, Ash has worn many hats: founder/CEO of three enterprise software companies, venture capital investor, and executive at multiple global enterprise organizations. Ash is a passionate champion of entrepreneurship, actively engaging, advising, mentoring and investing in software enterprises.


Mo Bhende

CEO & Co-Founder - karat

Mo Bhende co-founded Karat with Jeffrey Spector to unlock opportunities. Karat created the world's first Interviewing Cloud to solve the multi-decade global shortage of software engineers. The Interviewing Cloud is an always-on, scalable, and consistent human + technology solution for conducting predictive, fair, and enjoyable technical interviews 24/7. Karat's global network of Interview Engineers, unparalleled market intelligence, and purpose-built interviewing infrastructure opened the pipeline for engineering talent, limited pedigree bias, and provided access for underrepresented candidates. The fastest growing and largest enterprises such as Roblox, American Express, Intuit, Compass, and Wayfair trust Karat to expand hiring capacity, unlock developer time, and raise engineering quality so they can innovate and grow. Mo Bhende graduated from Penn State with honors in 2001 with degrees in math and economics.