1. Wolverine Caucus: Leveraging University Innovation to Propel Michigan’s Startup Ecosystem

    Mark Rivett posted February 3, 2022

    Friday, February 18, 2022

    10:00am – 11:30am

    Watch recording here

    The Wolverine Caucus is a free virtual event open to the public

    Innovation Partnerships at the University of Michigan serves the U-M research community by supporting the commercialization of new research discoveries and technologies. Innovation Partnerships further partners with public universities across Michigan to bolster a statewide university technology commercialization ecosystem. This collaborative network is made possible by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) Entrepreneurship and Innovation initiative through a series of programs that provides resources to streamline critical innovation and technology commercialization support.

    The resulting innovations directly support Michigan’s economic growth while improving the lives of our citizens. Nevertheless, the state of Michigan remains an extremely challenging entrepreneurial ecosystem due to a lack of investment risk capital. A December 2021 Crain’s opinion piece by Reilly Brennan, the Founder and General Partner at Trucks Ventures in California, focuses on this issue(Michigan must stop letting other states profit from its innovators).

    Why should Michigan’s decision makers care? The panel will discuss Michigan programs such as ADVANCE, MTRAC, and T3N and the role each plays in moving innovation. And while these funds have been critical addressing early startup investment challenges in Michigan, start-ups have typically shifted focus to more mature companies and a conservative investment thesis. This creates a retention disadvantage for a state like Michigan. Acquiring the resources to ensure these critical innovators continue to contribute to our state’s economy and innovation ecosystem is crucial. The panel will review why it’s not the right time to back down. Michigan’s economy cannot afford to lose our edge if we don’t invest in critical economic development programs.

    Panelists:

    Dr. Kelly B SextonDr. Kelly B Sexton
    Associate Vice President, UM Research and Innovation Partnerships

    As associate vice president for research and innovation partnerships, Kelly works closely with the vice president for research as well as other leaders across the university to provide visionary and strategic leadership of U-M’s innovation, corporate research and technology commercialization activities, including overseeing Innovation Partnerships. In this role, she supports and encourages university-wide programs for intellectual property development, innovation, and engagement with business and venture communities in the region, across the nation, and around the globe.

    Michael PsarouthakisMichael Psarouthakis
    Director of Ventures, Managing Director, Accelerate Blue Fund

    Mike leads the Innovation Partnerships Ventures team supporting U-M faculty, staff and students on new company formation based on intellectual property discovered and developed at the University of Michigan’s 19 schools and three campuses. He also manages the Accelerate Blue Fund, a venture fund focused on U-M licensed startups. Mike has over 30 years of entrepreneurial, senior management and venture fund experience in both the public and private sectors.

    Denise GravesDenise Graves
    University Relations Director, Michigan Economic Development Corporation

    Denise is the University Relations Director for the Entrepreneurship & Innovation team at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). In this role, she interacts with Michigan’s public universities, key entrepreneurial stakeholders and investors, managing programs that support statewide collaboration and the commercialization of early stage technology. Before joining MEDC in October 2011, Denise held sales and business development positions in a number of small and second stage high-tech companies in Ann Arbor. Her experience includes new business development, channel partner relations, client relations, sales, strategic planning, public speaking and contract negotiation and management. Denise holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Ferris State University.

    DBraden RobisonBraden Robison
    Chief Operations Officer, Seraph Biosciences, INC

    Braden serves as Chief Operations Officer of Seraph Biosciences bringing over 19 years of experience in medical devices. He has launched more than one hundred products through the FDA regulated process. As Senior Director of Business Development and Strategy for Stryker Corp., he successfully led $235M worth of transactions and started 2 different divisions for the company. Prior to joining Seraph Biosciences, Braden served as a Mentor-in-Residence at the University of Michigan’s Tech Transfer program and principal of 1021 Partners aimed at helping early stage companies build and grow their businesses.

    Wolverine Caucus members are University of Michigan alumni including legislators, lobbyists, staff, and advisors working in and around the State of Michigan government. They meet with U-M experts on timely, relevant public policy subjects during the legislative session. Our mission is to provide diverse forums at which U-M friends can meet one another, enjoy fellowship, exchange views and learn from the world-class talents of U-M faculty and administrators.

    Please RSVP to the Zoom Webinar HERE

    The Wolverine Caucus is a partnership between the University of Michigan Office of Government Relations and the Alumni Association.


  2. Electric Vehicles – Can Michigan Lead The Way?

    Mark Rivett posted November 30, 2021

    Friday, January 21, 2022

    10:00am – 11:30pm

    View the recording here

    The future of mobility is dynamic – new advancements are happening every day. Increasing funding and emphasis on electric vehicles will have a direct impact on the State’s economy by expanding much needed educational infrastructure to engage, reskill/upskill and educate more students at all levels, while also supporting innovation in essential areas: advancing the state-of-the-art for range and charging; transforming the capabilities for future battery packs through research on new materials, manufacturing methodologies; etc. The University of Michigan has a robust track record of collaboration and partnership that lead to high value outcomes. A strategic investment is critical for positioning the State of Michigan as the leader in EV related research and workforce development, and ensuring the State’s competitiveness and leadership position in the future of mobility for the near- and long-term.

    The Challenge We Face

    Almost fifty years ago Michigan’s auto industry faced a serious challenge, as demand increased for smaller, imported vehicles. It hasn’t been easy and it has taken a long time, but with research and innovation, strategic partnerships, engineering and talent, today’s auto industry is strong. Michigan is now facing another inflection point, a key moment in time. Vehicle electrification represents another generational shift in the mobility industry. Michigan’s existing auto industry is vulnerable. The state is at a critical crossroads that will need to educate nearly 15 percent of the workforce, re-purpose our manufacturing sector while enhancing our research infrastructure.

    Panelists

    Jeff Sakamoto
    Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, and Macromolecular Science and Engineering

    As a materials scientist and engineer with an interest in synthesis, processing, and functionalization of ceramics and hydrogels, his research is highly interdisciplinary guided by the fields of energy storage/conversion and biomedicine.

    Greg Less
    Director of the University of Michigan Battery Lab

    Greg Less is the Senior Laboratory Manager at the UMEI Battery Fabrication and Characterization User Facility, responsible for the day-to-day operation of the laboratory. Less received a doctorate in Chemistry from the University of Michigan. Prior to joining UMEI, he was a research scientist with battery companies T/J Technologies and A123 Systems.

    Wolverine Caucus members are University of Michigan alumni including legislators, lobbyists, staff, and advisors working in and around the State of Michigan government. They meet with U-M experts on timely, relevant public policy subjects during the legislative session. Our mission is to provide diverse forums at which U-M friends can meet one another, enjoy fellowship, exchange views and learn from the world-class talents of U-M faculty and administrators.


  3. Governor Whitmer Makes Appointments to Boards and Commissions

    Mark Rivett posted November 11, 2021

    Read Press Release Here

    Michigan Early Stage Venture Investment Corporation Board of Directors

    Dawn Batts, Ph.D., of Bloomfield, is a capital strategist for TechTown Detroit. She holds a Ph.D. in Business and Cultural Anthropology from Wayne State University, Master of Business Administration from the University of Michigan, and Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from Michigan State University. Dr. Batts is appointed to represent a member of the general public with the requisite knowledge and experience in finance and business investment. She will serve for a term commencing November 10, 2021 and expiring June 13, 2024. Dr. Batts succeeds Jeb Burns whose term expired June 13, 2021.

    Environmental Rules Review Committee

    Melissa Stults, Ph.D., a Democrat of Ann Arbor, is the sustainability and innovations manager for the City of Ann Arbor. She holds a Ph.D. in Urban Resilience from the University of Michigan, Master of Arts in Climate and Society from Columbia University, and Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Biology and Environmental Sciences from the University of New England. Dr. Stults is reappointed to represent local governments for a term commencing November 10, 2021 and expiring October 4, 2025.

    Environmental Permit Review Commission

    Tony R. Anthony, of Novi, is the principal and co-founder of AKT Peerless Environmental Services. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Geological Sciences from the University of Michigan and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Wayne State University. Mr. Anthony is reappointed for a term commencing November 10, 2021 and expiring August 28, 2025.

    Heather Dawson, Ph.D., of Holly, is an associate professor of biology at the University of Michigan-Flint and an adjunct associate professor for the Michigan State University Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. She holds a Ph.D. in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Ecology from Michigan State University, Master of Science in Ecosystems Biology from Eastern Michigan University, and Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Michigan. Dr. Dawson is appointed for a term commencing November 10, 2021 and expiring August 28, 2025. She succeeds Theodore Bornhorst whose term expired August 28, 2021.

    Carol J. Miller, Ph.D., of Ann Arbor, is a professor of civil and environmental engineering Wayne State University and the director of WSU Healthy Urban Waters. She holds a Ph.D., Master of Science, and Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Michigan. Dr. Miller is appointed for a term commencing November 10, 2021 and expiring August 28, 2025. She succeeds Jeffery King whose term expired August 28, 2021.

    Library of Michigan Board of Trustees

    Terrence J. McDonald, Ph.D., of Ann Arbor, is the director of the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan and a professor with the Department of History. He holds a Ph.D. in History from Stanford University and Bachelor of Arts in History from Marquette University. Dr. McDonald is appointed to represent a librarian from a special library for a term commencing November 10, 2021 and expiring October 1, 2024. He succeeds Elaine Didier whose term expired October 1, 2021.

    Michigan Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee

    Bradley J. Uren, M.D., of Pinckney, is an associate professor of emergency medicine and an attending physician for the University of Michigan Health System. He earned is Doctor of Medicine from the University of Michigan and Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan Technological University. Dr. Uren is reappointed to represent physicians for a term commencing November 10, 2021 and expiring October 1, 2023. The Governor has designated Dr. Uren to continue serving as Chair of the Committee.

    Read Press Release Here


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