Jonathan Fay, Ph.D.
Dixon and Carol Doll Executive Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship
Prior to U-M, Jonathan had senior operating roles in several medical device startups in Silicon Valley. The companies ranged from infant hearing screening, to asthma diagnostics, to hearing devices. Most recently, Jonathan was the COO/CTO of EarLens Corporation a medical device startup in Silicon Valley. In addition to his responsibilities as the operational head of the company, he raised capital from a variety of sources including SBIRs, angels, strategic partners, and VCs. Jonathan has over 12 patents and received his PhD in Biomechanics Stanford. Products developed under Jonathan’s leadership have received numerous national awards as first-of-kind innovations.
Jonathan focuses his efforts on facilitating entrepreneurship and innovation in the students and faculty at the University of Michigan and across the Midwest. In addition to being the Dixon and Carol Doll Executive Director at U-M, he is also the Executive Director and Co-PI of the NSF Midwest I-Corps node. In that role, he helps bring the entire Midwest region together to facilitate the sharing of best practices, experts, investors, and mentors so that emerging technologies can have an impact on the regional and global economy. Jonathan is passionate about using advanced technologies in partnership with human networks to bring about large-scale changes in mobility, climate change, and healthcare.
Steven Goldstein, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, University of Michigan College of Engineering & Medical School; Res Professor Emeritus, University of Michigan Institute of Gerontology
Dr. Goldstein joined the faculty at the University of Michigan in the Section of Orthopaedic Surgery in 1981, and was promoted to Assistant Professor on tenure track in 1983. During the next number of years he rose through the academic ranks, including promotion to Associate Professor with tenure, followed by Full Professor in the Department of Surgery, eventually being changed to the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery during its “split” from the Department of Surgery. In addition to appointments in the Medical School, he also was granted joint appointments in the College of Engineering where he currently holds the titles of Professor of Mechanical Engineering as well as Professor of Biomedical Engineering. In 1998 he was awarded the Henry Ruppenthal Family Professorship of Orthopaedic Surgery and Bioengineering, the first endowed chair available to the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.
During Dr. Goldstein’s 30 years on the faculty at the University, his research was dominantly focused in the area of musculoskeletal science where he studied connective tissue diseases, their prevention or treatment. His very large and diverse research program included studies ranging from fracture repair and reconstructive surgery, to investigating the mechanisms associated with inherited or degenerative connective tissue fragility to the development of strategies for tissue regeneration. Some of his findings have led to the development of a variety of implants and instruments, gene-based therapeutics for wound repair and novel diagnostic technologies for tissue degradation.
In addition to his remarkable record of leadership and contribution to his disciplines worldwide, he has also made truly substantial contributions to the University of Michigan. In the course of his career he has trained more than 29 doctoral students, a number of whom have already had distinguished careers in academics as well as industry, approximately 50 to 60 master students, most of whom are working in industry and an enormous number of undergraduate, medical students and postdoctoral fellows. He served as the head of the Bioengineering Interdisciplinary Program for five years and was one of the critical faculty members who led its evolution to becoming a department in the College of Engineering. He built the academic research programs in Orthopaedic Surgery where he served as the Associate Chair for Research and has been responsible for the development and mentoring of more than two dozen faculty, both clinicians and basic scientists as they developed their academic careers. He also held leadership positions in the Medical School, serving as the Assistant Dean for Research and Graduate Studies from 1993 to 1998, and then as the Research Dean for the Medical School from 1999 through 2004.
As might be expected he has also served on a very large number of committees and has been a key faculty member in numerous University initiatives, including contributing to the evolution of the University’s Technology Transfer programs and most recently, serves as the first chair of the Institutional Conflict of Interest Committee. And yet, despite this enormous level of contribution to many aspects of university life, Dr. Goldstein has also been a very active entrepreneur with more than 25 patents, several of which have led to devices or technologies currently in use for patient care, he is a co-founder of two university start-up companies, and has served on numerous advisory boards for a variety of small and large companies.
Dr. Goldstein is an active emeritus faculty member providing continuing mentoring, strategic leadership, and consulting to ongoing programs at the University.
Aileen Huang-Saad, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering and Engineering Education University of Michigan
Aileen is faculty in the U-M Department of Biomedical Engineering. Since 2007, she co-founded the U-M Center for Entrepreneurship, launched the National Science Foundation U-M (NSF) I-Corps Node and created the biomedical engineering graduate design program. Aileen’s research is dedicated to integrating evidenced-based practices into higher education to promote successful student professional development. She is funded by the NSF to explore explicit and implicit learning outcomes of undergraduate entrepreneurship courses based on the Lean Launch curriculum; entrepreneurship education microenvironments and their impact on the engagement of women; and, the influence of I-Corps on university ecosystems. Last year, she launched the NSF funded U-M BME Instructional Incubator to transform experiential learning in the U-M BME Department and promote student professional development.
Aileen’s research and academic practice is informed by her pre-academic industry experience in new venture biotech, the defense industry, and medical device testing. Aileen has a Bachelor’s of Science in Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, a Doctorate of Philosophy from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and a Masters of Business Administration from University of Michigan Ross School of Business.
Founding Member and Patent Attorney, Schox Patent Group; Consulting Professor, Stanford Law School
Kristin Toth Smith
Kristin Toth Smith is currently the Chief Operating Officer at Fernish, a furniture subscription service that allows you the high-quality, modern home furnishings you want - without the commitment. Her startup career began at Zulily as Vice President, Operations where she built and scaled supply chain, logistics, and fulfillment through the IPO. She subsequently held CEO and COO positions at startups Code Fellows (software coding trade school) and Dolly (on demand last-mile delivery and moving). Earlier, in eight years at Amazon.com, Kristin led several teams across the company, helping build Prime, launching same day delivery, as category manager of Movies & Television, and leading the Product Management, Site Merchandising, Pricing, Business Development, and Design teams responsible for Amazon’s digital music cloud offering. She holds a BSE and MSE in Industrial Engineering & Operations Research from the Tauber Institute for Global Operations at the University of Michigan, a SM in Civil and Environmental Engineering from MIT, and an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management through the Leaders for Global Operations fellowship program. She's also an active volunteer and serves on and leads non-profit boards of directors and dedicates time helping others be successful, through education, advisory positions, and mentoring. Currently, she is a mentor and advisor for several startups and leaders across organizations. She is also the Board Chair for University of Michigan’s Center for Entrepreneurship. Kristin lives outside of Seattle on a lake where she can often be found paddle boarding (with her puppy, Maizey) or wake surfing.
General Partner, Michigan eLab
Partner, Reed Smith LLP
Bob is a graduate of The University of Michigan Graduate School of Engineering (MS 1986) and the Law School (JD 1989). He remains very actively involved with UM, including as a speaker with the Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE), as a member of the President’s West Coast Advisory Council, as a member of the board of the CFE, as a mentor for the university’s startup incubator, TechArb, and as an instructor in the CFE’s I-Corps program, which guides aspiring faculty and researcher entrepreneurs in the commercialization of their research. He is a co-founder and general partner of Michigan eLab, a venture capital fund located in Ann Arbor and Silicon Valley that invests in early stage technology companies from the Michigan ecosystem. He is also the proud parent of a University of Michigan sophomore, his oldest son Paul.
After graduating from The University of Michigan, Bob began his career as an attorney with the New York law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges, where he represented companies in the technology, media and entertainment industries. He was also the Director of Intellectual Property for Reuters before moving to Palo Alto in 1997 to join the founding team of TIBCO Software, an enterprise software company, where he served as the Executive Vice President of Corporate Development, General Counsel and Secretary. Bob led the initial public offering of TIBCO in 1999 on its way to becoming one of the leading enterprise infrastructure software companies in the world. Bob left TIBCO in 2008 to pursue his passion for early stage startups, and has served as an advisor and board member for many Silicon Valley startup companies. Bob is also a partner in the Silicon Valley office of the international law firm Reed Smith. His undergraduate degree is from Northern Michigan University in computer science and mathematics.
Stewart Thornhill, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies
Eugene Applebaum Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies
Professor of Business Administration
Stewart Thornhill, Executive Director of the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, serves as the Eugene Applebaum Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies and the Managing Director of the Zell Founders Fund. Prior to Ross, Dr. Thornhill served as the executive director of the Pierre L. Morrissette Institute for Entrepreneurship and a member of the faculty, focused on strategy and entrepreneurship at Ivey Business School at Western University in London, Ontario. At Ivey, he championed a number of new initiatives and has sizable experience helping entrepreneurs through his involvement in QuantumShift, an Executive Development program for high-growth entrepreneurs. Thornhill's extensive background also includes global experience, having held the Karel Steur chair in entrepreneurship at the Universidad de San Andreas, Buenos Aires and various professorial roles at Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany, the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris in France and the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto. Dr. Thornhill's research interests include strategic execution, leadership, competitive strategy, innovation and corporate entrepreneurship. His work has appeared in several top management journals and he has published more than 20 teaching cases. He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Business Venturing, the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, the International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, and the Journal of Global Entrepreneurship Research. He received his Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia and also holds a B.Sc. (Eng.) in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA with a concentration in Finance. Prior to pursuing a career in academia, he worked as a manufacturing engineering and a radio journalist.
President & CEO, uRefer
Paul Vlasic possesses a unique blend of deep private-equity investment and venture capital experience combined with over two decades of leadership in start-ups, operations, and finance. A skilled visionary entrepreneur, Paul has been involved in the creation and success of multiple companies ranging from market research to healthcare, and to this day continues to have a role in each one. He is a founding partner of RSVP Capital, an early-stage venture firm focused on technology-based accelerators, green energy and the health and sustainable living sectors. He is also the previous CEO and current Chairman of Amplifinity, a market research company focused on managing customer advocacy programs to drive word-of-mouth advertising and increase revenue, loyalty and profitability specifically for enterprises. He is an active member of the Investment Committee for the Illinois Innovation Accelerator, a $10 million for-profit early-stage investment fund created to provide seed-stage investing and the first external professional capital raised by companies.
Paul’s ownership perspective and unique insight are honed from his membership and management of the family’s investment group, Vlasic Investments (VILLCo). He has been an active participant in VILLCo’s growth, focusing on asset allocation and operational entities such as private equity, venture capital, mezzanine and specialty finance. For nearly ten years, Paul played key executive roles in the leadership of O/E Systems & O/E Enterprise Solutions, a $190 million provider of IT consulting, integrated solutions and leased assets. He led the transformation and repositioning of the firm’s services business to achieve continued success in the new information technology market.
Practical by nature, Paul has earned a reputation as an adroit and thoughtful decision-maker. His keen management approach and passion for watching companies and their people grow and prosper lend a spirit of excitement to all his endeavors. Paul holds an M.B.A. with Distinction from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and is active in numerous Boards and community activities.
Faculty Director, Center for Entrepreneurship
Associate Professor, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
David D. Wentzloff received the B.S.E. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1999, and the S.M. and Ph.D. degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, in 2002 and 2007, respectively. Since August, 2007 he has been with the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he is currently an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. His research focuses on RF integrated circuits, with an emphasis on ultra-low power design. In 2012, he co-founded PsiKick, a fabless semiconductor company developing ultra-low power wireless SoCs. He is the recipient of the 2009 DARPA Young Faculty Award, 2009-2010 Eta Kappa Nu Professor of the Year Award, 2011 DAC/ISSCC Student Design Contest Award, 2012 IEEE Subthreshold Microelectronics Conference Best Paper Award, the 2012 NSF CAREER Award, the 2014 ISSCC Outstanding Forum Presenter Award, the 2014-2015 Eta Kappa Nu ECE Professor of the Year Award, the 2014-2015 EECS Outstanding Achievement Award, and the 2015 Joel and Ruth Spira Excellence in Teaching Award. He has served on the technical program committee for ICUWB 2008-2010, ISLPED 2011-2015, S3S 2013-2014, RFIC 2013-2020, and ISSCC 2020, and as a guest editor for the IEEE T-MTT, the IEEE Communications Magazine, and the Elsevier Journal of Signal Processing: Image Communication. He is a senior member of IEEE, IEEE Circuits and Systems Society, IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society, IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society, and Tau Beta Pi.