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Kurt Skifstad

Kurt Skifstad

Executive Director

Bio: A product of Michigan Engineering (BSE CompE ’86, MSE CSE ’87, Ph.D. CSE ’90), Kurt brings to this role more than 25 years of experience leading successful early- and growth-stage companies.

After founding his first company following graduation and leading that business through international expansion and ultimate sale, Kurt held CEO and other senior executive roles in several innovation-driven, venture capital-backed companies. With three of those companies having their roots in university research, Kurt understands the unique challenges faced by these types of ventures. Most recently, Kurt was recruited by investors to lead a comprehensive turnaround of a healthcare analytics company, where he rebuilt the team, technology base, and go-to-market focus while quadrupling revenue over a five-year period.

Kurt’s enthusiasm for the opportunities afforded by entrepreneurship education was sparked when he taught IOE 422 (Entrepreneurship) for several semesters in the early 2010s. He is particularly drawn to the challenges and pace of change in innovation-driven startups. He is a strong advocate for the foundational importance of a company's culture.

Kurt is active in the local ecosystem as an advisor and mentor to early-stage entrepreneurs and has served on local and national nonprofit boards.


Volker Sick

Professor - Innovation for Impact: Climate Change (co-lead)

Volker Sick is the DTE Energy Professor of Advanced Energy Research and an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He leads the Global CO2 Initiative at the University of Michigan that aims to reduce atmospheric CO2 levels by transforming CO2 into commercially successful products using technology assessment, technology development and commercialization. His teaching focuses on experiential experiences in a laboratory course, Techlab Climate Change, and the International Engineering Summer School at TU Berlin.

Prof. Sick served as Faculty Advisor to International Programs in Engineering (2006-2012) and led the development of the International Minor for Engineers, the first Minor offered by the College of Engineering. As Associate Vice President for Research (2012-2018) he oversaw the development and launch of Mcity. He also established and led the Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) Hub for Advanced Transportation. He held multiple leadership roles with SAE International and served as Editor of the Proceedings of the Combustion Institute for 12 years. His research in automotive powertrains connected fundamental physics and chemistry to practical implementations in tight collaboration with local industry.

Sick earned a Diplom (Masters) and Dr. rer. nat. (PhD) in Chemistry and Habilitation in Physical Chemistry from the University of Heidelberg, Germany.

Education: PhD, Chemistry & Habilitation in Physical Chemistry, University of Heidelberg - Germany | Masters, Chemistry & Habilitation in Physical Chemistry, University of Heidelberg - Germany

Name: Miki Banu 
Uniquename: mbanu 
Department: ME

Photo: Akhil Kantipuly Michigan Engnieering Communications & Marketing

Mihaela Banu, Ph.D.

Research Associate Professor

Before joining the University of Michigan, Professor Banu served as the Chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department and Director of the Manufacturing Research Center (ICTM) at her alma mater. She obtained a PhD Cum Laude from University of Galati, Romania and RIKEN, Japan, in 2000 and MS/BS in Manufacturing Engineering from University of Galati in 1993. She was visiting scientist for several periods of 1-3 months each year in Japan and France (2001-2010). She was awarded with Mechanical Engineering College Honorary Professor in 2011 and 2012, Japan Key Technology Award in 2000.

Rachel Hope Schmedlen

Rachael Hope Schmedlen, Ph.D.

Associate Chair for Undergraduate Education, Biomedical Engineering
Lecturer IV, Biomedical Engineering

Name: Kathleen Sienko
Uniqname: sienko
Department: BME, ME

Photo: Joseph Xu, Michigan Engineering Communications & Marketing


Kathleen Sienko, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Kathleen Sienko received the B.S. degree in Materials Engineering from the University of Kentucky in 1998 and the S.M. degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2000. She received that Ph.D. degree in Medical Engineering andBioastronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, Division of Health Sciences and Technology in 2007. Her research interests are medical device design, development, and assessment; wearable balance prostheses and rehabilitation aids; sensory augmentation; biofeedback; mechatronics; haptic interfaces; biomechanics including mobility impairments; affordable medical technologies for the developing world.


David Wentzloff, Ph.D.

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.