NAU Innovations Advisory Board
The NAU Innovations Advisory Board was established in July 2015 to provide strategic guidance, advice, and suggestions to NAU Innovations on issues related to industry partnerships, sponsors, and commercialization.
The board’s support is expected to help NAU Innovations serve faculty in transforming their research in ways that will generate real impact for society.
NAU Innovations is also seeking additional advisory board members with industry connections. Please contact NAUInnovations@nau.edu for more information.
George Adams Accordion Closed
During George’s 38-year tenure in the oil/gas business, he managed large purchasing, materials, transportation, and supply chain organizations for British Petroleum and Bow Valley Exploration oil/gas corporations. He was a partner in Premier Pipe, Inc., one of the largest North American oil field steel distribution centers. He also developed, implemented, and managed fifteen global service centers for Sumitomo Corporation. George retired as chief commercial officer from Borusan Mannesmann, a global steel pipe manufacturer, in 2016. George currently coaches and tutors youth and serves as a resource for the Children’s Diabetes Foundation.
Anthony Bajoras Accordion Closed
Anthony Bajoras is the founder and managing director of CANCER FUND, a Limited Partner in the Arizona Founders Fund, a board member at BioAccel, and manages the BioAccelerator Fund I. He has 20+ years of experience building early-stage ventures, taking several ideas from concept through exit. His advisory and board experience include work with medical device, pharmaceutical, bioinformatics, wellness, and healthcare IT/IoT companies. Anthony earned his BS in Business Management and Entrepreneurship from DePaul University, adding non-degree undergraduate and graduate studies in design, engineering, and business from Arizona State University, Illinois Institute of Technology, and Northwestern University.
Richard Boals, PhD Accordion Closed
Rich Boals is the president and chief executive officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ), where he has used his strategic vision and expertise to lead the health insurer through many years of stability and success. His professional capacities are supplemented by serving on the board of directors for BCBSAZ, as well as for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. He is chairman of the board of directors for TriWest Healthcare Alliance and board member of CSA General Insurance Agency Inc., a BCBSAZ subsidiary. Throughout his professional career and in his community efforts, Rich has remained a stalwart supporter of education and the development of Arizona youth. He serves as a role model to those who aspire to become significant business and community leaders.
Bertrand Cambou, PhD Accordion Closed
Dr. Cambou has had a long career in senior positions with Motorola and has been involved in multiple technology start-up companies over the past 15 years. While at Motorola, he was designated as a “distinguished innovator” and served as Scientific Adviser to the Board of Directors. Dr. Cambou has received 31 patents (with 340 citations) in microelectronics. His main current interest is research in the area of cybersecurity, in particular focusing on how to strengthen the level of security at the Secure Element level with both improved hardware and software. In the last several years, he has developed a new class of “spintronic” devices using magnetic elements, and filed 16 patents. Dr. Cambou invented the concept of “Match In Place,” an authentication process that protects cryptographic keys and authentication patterns. He won a contract with the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) that can open up the door for a new method of “Quantum Cryptography.” Most recently, he enlarged this concept to be applicable to mainstream systems on chips that incorporate embedded Flash, DRAM, and Resistive RAM. These solutions have the potential to profoundly impact cybersecurity, and he would like to take the concept to a higher level at a leading academic institution like NAU.
Thomas Kwan Cheng Accordion Closed
Tom Cheng is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at NAU’s W. A. Franke College of Business. His involvement includes promoting entrepreneurship with students, faculty, and researchers, and advancing the university’s intellectual properties through commercialization. Prior to coming to NAU, he held a similar position at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Tom was previously the owner/president of a vertical company that manufactured dancing attire and distributed its products via wholesale and retail channels. Tom was also involved in several startups in healthcare and online retail businesses. During his career, he spent 20 years in engineering with several nationally known apparel companies. He was often credited for producing quality products with innovative processes in limited resource environments.
Brandon Clarke Accordion Closed
Brandon is a founder, mentor, and community builder, having spent more than 15 years starting companies and advising entrepreneurs. In 2015, Brandon co-founded the StartupAZ Foundation, a nonprofit that helps Arizona’s most innovative startups improve their leadership, performance, and connections, while inspiring generosity and philanthropy within their communities. In 2016, Brandon launched CRADL, a research and design lab that evaluates and develops products, media, and services that impact the lives and learning of children. Brandon is a Phoenix native, Northern Arizona University graduate, SHRM class of ‘98, and lives in north-central Phoenix with his wife and three children.
Ruminder Dhillon, MBA Accordion Closed
Ruminder (Romi) Dhillon is the Founder and Managing Director of the Arizona Founders Fund, a seed stage capital fund dedicated to investing in Arizona technology startups. Prior to his work in Arizona, he was a Senior Associate at Utah-based vSpring Capital and Kickstart Seed Fund. He has over ten years of experience in venture capital and has evaluated hundreds of early stage technology opportunities in his career. He has also worked in various strategic international consulting roles and has supported entrepreneurship throughout his career. He holds an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management, an MA from Columbia University (New York), a Certificate in Venture Capital Development from the Indian School of Business in (Hyderabad, India), and a BA from Emory University.
Scott Hathcock Accordion Closed
Scott Hathcock presently serves as the CEO of Moonshot at NACET in Flagstaff, AZ, helping entrepreneurs build successful start-ups and brands. Scott is a Sales and Marketing and Business Development Executive with 20 years of experience of diverse media experience, including the sale of media services, creative services, and digital content delivery for Fortune 100 companies to start-ups. He has an established track record for managing key accounts, growing distribution, creating ROI, solidifying brand loyalty, and industry recognition.
Prior to joining NACET, Scott served as Vice President at the Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce. He is also a Co-Founder of Flagstaff Tech Track, a business-led collaboration of digital products companies in the greater Flagstaff region working together to improve competitiveness of the sector and position Flagstaff as a digital hub.
Heather Horrocks, JD Accordion Closed
Heather Horrocks is a corporate and securities attorney with Weiss Brown, PLLC, a boutique law firm in Scottsdale, Arizona, that specializes in working with businesses in the tech and startup sectors. She works with clients in a variety of different industries, including healthcare and education technology. In her role as outside general counsel, she advises clients on everything from best practices concerning data privacy and technology, to preparing for and structuring a successful company exit. Prior to establishing a corporate law practice, Heather was a civil litigator for a national law firm in Phoenix, practicing in the areas of media law and commercial litigation, which afforded her the opportunity to litigate business disputes and dissolutions. She is also a summa cum laude graduate of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, and former law clerk for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Arizona Supreme Court.
Gail Jackson Accordion Closed
Gail Jackson is the Business Attraction Manager for the City of Flagstaff and leads the city’s business recruitment efforts. Prior to joining the Economic Development team, Gail was at the Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau and spent many years in resort sales and marketing, where she held various management positions with Enchantment Resort in Sedona, AZ and Pebble Beach Resorts in Pebble Beach, CA. Gail is passionate about welcoming new businesses to our community and adding to Flagstaff’s economic prosperity.
David Johns, JD Accordion Closed
David Johns has been Intellectual Property Counsel to W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc. since 1993. Gore is a diversified multi-national company with a wide variety of products, including implantable medical devices, GORE-TEX® fabrics, industrial and electronic products, ELIXIR® guitar strings, and numerous other innovations. During his tenure at Gore, David has provided legal support in virtually every aspect of intellectual property law, including patent preparation and prosecution, trademark clearance and registration, patent and trademark litigation, and IP transactions. David also leads Gore’s global trademark team. He currently serves on the board of the Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (NACET).
Nina Ossanna, PhD Accordion Closed
Nina Ossanna is a Principal at Sonora Bioconsulting, where she advises in life sciences business development, intellectual asset management, and technology transfer. For the previous ten years, she served as The University of Arizona’s interim Director of the Office of Technology Transfer and as Co-Director of BIO5 Oro Valley/Director of Business Development for the BIO5 Institute. She also served as a mentor in the UA Eller College’s McGuire Entrepreneurship Program and as faculty for the Advanced Technology Transfer Program in Mexico.
Nina is active in the community as Chair-Emeritus of the Southern Arizona Bioindustry Association (BIOSA) and was a past chair of AZBio. She serves on the Executive Advisory Board for the new journal Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship. Prior to joining UA in 1995, she was Senior Director of Business Development and Intellectual Property/Corporate Secretary for ImaRx Therapeutics, a Tucson biopharmaceutical company. Before that, Dr. Ossanna spent eight years at The Johns Hopkins University of Medicine’s Office of Technology Licensing, including serving as the director of that office.
She is a former patent examiner in the biotechnology arts at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and is a registered patent agent. Nina earned her PhD in Molecular Biology from UA.
Sam Salamone, MS, MBA Accordion Closed
Sam is the owner and principal at Peak Pharma Consulting in Flagstaff, where he advises companies—from virtual to multinational—on regulatory and technical issues related to pharmaceuticals chemistry, manufacturing, and controls (CMC). He has more than 15 years of experience in regulatory CMC, technical drug development, and overall project management. Prior to Peak, Sam spent 10 years with Johnson & Johnson working on novel pharmaceutical drug development and commercialization for unmet medical needs. He started his industry career bringing a hepatitis C drug to market with Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Sam has a BS in chemistry from Merrimack College, an MS in synthetic organic chemistry from Florida State University, and an MBA from the University of Florida. He also holds a regulatory affairs certification (RAC) in US regulatory affairs.
Chad Testa, PhD Accordion Closed
Dr. Testa is Vice President at Cūrza Global, LLC, which develops novel antibacterial agents with a new mechanism of action that selectively target bacterial protein synthesis. He has more than 15 years of bioscience experience spent in private sector biotech/chemical organizations. In his current role, his duties include leading all biological/biochemical characterization; establishing and managing grants, contracts, and collaborations; contributing to conception of novel chemotypes; and is a member of the core team that determines project progression, timelines, and overall direction of all programs.
Chad is also co-Director of the University of Utah Synthetic and Medicinal Chemistry Core, where he provides support for projects across campus, including design of novel biological/biochemical assays and probe development. Previously, Chad was at Echelon Biosciences/Frontier Scientific, where he rose from bench scientist to Vice President of Research and Development.
Chad is an accomplished chemical biologist with a diverse multi-disciplinary background. He led the development of an antibacterial discovery and development platform targeting the methylerythritol phosphate (MEP) pathway and biological/chemical products to study biological pathways and develop therapeutics. In this role, he directed projects and product development efforts focused on discovery and development of antimicrobial agents [targeting the MEP pathway, photodynamic therapy], diagnostic and biomarker assays (in vitro and in vivo for a variety of disease targets involved in cancer, inflammation, and antimicrobials), and new chemicals (small molecule building blocks).
Chad has been awarded numerous grants (SBIR, R01, CARB-X) from NIAID, NCI, FDA, and NSF as principal investigator and has served as a reviewer for NIH-NIAID and NSF SBIR programs. His scientific expertise has been recognized with 10 published peer-reviewed research papers and 2 issued patents. Chad possesses strong communication skills that have been used to establish collaborative relationships for portfolio advancement, presenting research activities to outside parties, at conferences, and as an exhibitor at trade shows.
Mickey Urdea, PhD Accordion Closed
Dr. Urdea is founder and partner at Halteres Associates. He founded the Nucleic Acid Diagnostics business at Chiron Corporation, where he pioneered viral load assays for the human hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and human immunodeficiency viruses; his team introduced the first commercial viral load assays for all three viruses. Mickey also headed the Oncology Diagnostics business unit at Chiron. He then became business head of the Molecular Diagnostics group and Chief Scientific Officer at Bayer Diagnostics. After he left Bayer, Mickey was CEO of Quantum Dots Corporation. Later, he founded and served as Chief Executive Officer of Tethys Bioscience, a proteomics-based diagnostics company that was involved in laboratory tests to help prevent type 2 diabetes. Additionally, Mickey is a founder and the Chairman of Catalysis Foundation for Health (CFH), a non-profit organization addressing gaps in global healthcare caused by inefficiencies in disease diagnosis and monitoring; CFH is developing potential biomarkers for tuberculosis bacterial load with grant funding from the Gates Foundation and the FNIH. He is a member of the University of California at San Francisco Leadership Council for Global Health. He founded Halteres Associates in 2002, a biotech consulting firm with a special emphasis on diagnostics products and services. Mickey serves on the scientific advisory boards and boards of directors of a number of biotechnology and diagnostics companies; he is an author on more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific publications and has more than 125 issued and pending patents.
Gregory Winn Accordion Closed
Greg Winn has more than 45 years of experience in the telecommunications industry, including more than 20 years as a senior operations officer. Greg is a cofounder and the CEO of WCM Global LLC and a cofounder and the COO of TruCo Technology LLC, which invests in and partners with companies in the U.S. and internationally to provide high speed broadband and differentiated services to end users. Greg also served as Telstra’s chief operations officer from August 2005 to April 2009, where he had an integral role in the strategic design and execution of the company’s five-year transformation program. Prior to joining Telstra, Greg served 30 years with USWEST and its predecessors.
J. Stewart Witzeman, PhD Accordion Closed
Dr. Witzeman is an independent consultant specializing in various aspects of innovation and university-industry partnerships. Prior to starting his consulting practice, Stewart worked for Eastman Chemical Company for over 30 years, where he managed a wide range of industrial research and innovation organizations. Stewart remains active with a number of professional organizations, including the Innovation Research Interchange (IRI) where he served on the board of directors and ultimately as board chairman of the American Chemical Society, where he leads local STEM education initiatives.
A proud Lumberjack, Stewart received bachelor’s degrees in Chemistry and Environmental Science from NAU. He also holds a PhD in Organic Chemistry from The University of California, Santa Barbara and was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at The University of Chicago.