Leah Burton, Director, Centennial Campus Partnership Office and Industry Alliances, NC State University

Leah Burton is the Director of Centennial Campus Partnerships and Industry Alliances at NC State University. In this role, she manages the campus-wide strategy for corporate and government interactions with NC State, including the University’s award-winning Centennial Campus.Prior to joining NC State in 2000, Leah was the Director of Marketing and Communications at the Research Triangle Regional Partnership, a regional economic development organization marketing the 13-county Research Triangle region. Before moving to North Carolina, she was the Public Affairs Manager for telecommunications company US West. Leah has a communications degree from the University of Colorado.

Jonathon Bates, Executive Director, Real Estate Administration & Research Park, University of Utah Research Park

Jonathon Bates is the Executive Director for Real Estate Administration for the University of Utah with responsibility for the development of strategic initiatives to manage the University's real estate transactions. With responsibility for supporting the academic institution, as well as the University Health system, Jonathon is actively involved in leading real estate transactional work including management of a lease portfolio representing over 1.5 million square feet and close to $35M in annual obligations. Additionally, Jonathon oversees a property management and operations team that currently manages sixteen properties totaling over one million square feet of office, lab and clinical space. Jonathon also acts as director for the University of Utah Research Park and has goals to update the Park's Master Plan, Mobility Plan and Architectural Guide with a focus towards further development, densification and, most importantly, increasing the financial contribution that the Park continues to make for the University of Utah and the State of Utah. The University of Utah Research Park encompasses 320 acres and is currently home to over 51 private companies and 81 University entities totaling over 14,000 employees located in over 4 million square feet of space with another 400,000 square feet under construction or in final design. Jonathon has an Executive MBA from the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah.

Brian Darmody, JD, Chief Executive Officer, Association of University Research Parks (AURP)

Brian Darmody leads AURP initiatives including expanding membership, international partnerships and funding in order to build out additional member benefits.  Prior to joining AURP, Brian served as Associate Vice President (AVP) of Corporate Engagement at the University of Maryland (UMD). At UMD, Brian  was responsible for developing the overall university strategy for corporate relationships, as well as the development of projects and policies to support these initiatives centrally and through the colleges and schools on campus of the University of Maryland.

Previously, he was the University’s AVP for Corporate and Foundation Relations in the Division of University Relations, AVP for Research and Economic Development, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Technology Development, Director of State and Federal Relations in the President’s Office and has served in the university’s legal counsel office. He serves on national and state boards, including: Fraunhofer USA, the Maryland Economic Development Association, and the Maryland Tech Council. 

He holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Baltimore and he received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Paul Garvey, Managing Director, Cushman & Wakefield

Since 1986, Mr. Garvey has worked with clients and customers in the greater Philadelphia marketplace and has structured sales and leases for over 7.0 million square feet. Mr. Garvey majored in Finance and Management and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He was an officer in the U.S. Navy stationed shipboard and in Europe.

Throughout his career Paul has served in leadership roles in not-for-profit organizations – including the Philadelphia Relief Foundation, Pennsylvania Foundation for Housing Opportunity, Realtors Political Action Committee, the Delaware Valley Green Building Council and the TriState Realtors Commercial Alliance. He is currently a board member or officer of the Fairmont Park Historic Preservation Trust, the Boy Scouts of America, Crad

le of Liberty Council, the Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors, and the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation – Philadelphia Committee. He serves as Chairman of the Alliance for a Better Pennsylvania.

Will Germain, Senior Investment Officer, Life Sciences, Research & Innovation Centers, Ventas, Inc.

Will Germainis a Senior Investment Officer for Ventas, Inc., an S&P 500 company and real estate investment trust that owns approximately 1,200 healthcare, life science and senior living properties in North America and the United Kingdom, and serves as the primary capital provider to leading healthcare companies. As a member of the Ventas senior leadership team, Will is responsible for investments within the growing university-based life science, research and innovation center portfolio, the Company’s #1 capital priority. Since inception, this portfolio has grown by more than 50% and continues to have a robust development pipeline with its exclusive development partner Wexford Science & Technology. Responsible for originating, negotiating and executing acquisitions and development opportunities, Will has been involved in more than $15 billion of completed real estate transactions during his tenure at Ventas. 

Will joined Ventas in 2006. Prior to his current role, he served as Director of Acquisitions and Investments for Lillibridge Healthcare Services, a fully integrated medical office and outpatient building (MOB) operating company. His earlier roles at Ventas included asset management of the Company’s two million square foot MOB portfolio where he oversaw MOB operations including joint venture partnerships, third-party property management and leasing, loan compliance, budgeting and financial reporting, as well as roles in acquisitions and corporate finance. He began his career at General Electric Capital Corporation.

Will is a member of the steering committee of the Global Institute on Innovation Districts which conducts deep impactful research to advance the theory and practice of innovation districts. He is a member of the Board of Phase 1 Ventures (P1V), a program from the Philadelphia Science Center which matches proven entrepreneurs with academic scientists to help move ideas from the lab to the marketplace by strategically contributing expertise and funding to the commercialization process. Will is a member of the Urban Land Institute’s University Development and Innovation Product Council, and serves on the Board of High Jump, a non-profit organization that aims to equalize access to education for Chicago middle school students who have exhibited academic ambition and potential and who are of limited economic means. A New York native, Will earned a Bachelor of Finance degree from the University of New Haven with a minor Accounting and Economics.

Travis Hunter, Director, MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program

Travis Hunter leads the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (MIT REAP), an initiative of MIT Sloan Global Programs. Through his role as Associate Director, Travis engages with regional leaders to implement strategies that support their regional innovation-driven entrepreneurial ecosystems.Prior to joining MIT in 2016, Travis was the Director of the Quincy Center for Innovation (QCI) where he expanded the center to support over 50 startups. During his time at the QCI, he oversaw partnerships with private and public organizations, expanded programming, and brought together funding opportunities.

Ted Hyman, FAIA, LEED AP® BD+C, Partner, ZGF Architects LLP

Since joining ZGF in 1989, Ted Hyman has taken responsibility for many of the firm’s most challenging and technologically complex projects, encompassing a broad range of academic and research facilities, hospitals, courthouses,and other civic buildings nationally. He has played a key role in guiding the development of the firm, and in January 2014, he was named Managing Partner and now oversees the firm’s strategic and overall performance. As a LEED AP®, he has a particular passion for sustainability, and played a key role in the design of a number of the greenest buildings in the United States, including the J. Craig Venter Institute La Jolla, which has achieved LEED Platinum® and was designed as the first net-zero energy biological laboratory in the world and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Headquarters, also LEED Platinum® and net-zero energy. He continues to share his strategies and approach to creating innovative solutions with the professional community at national and international conferences, and remains involved in various committees with the American Institute of Architects. In 2016, Ted was one of a handful of U.S. architects invited to participate in a historic forum in China to address China’s commitment to signing the Paris Agreement and establishing Zero-Net Carbon (ZNC) as a necessary and achievable goal for buildings and developments.

Lori Gold Patterson, CEO, PixoVIN

A Mechanical Engineering graduate from the University of Illinois, Lori spent the first 8 years of her career in corporate America working for Andersen Consulting (Accenture) before she was hired away by Caterpillar to head up a 20-person product development team and then moved on to join Solo Cup where she re-engineered processes and products throughout the company. In 1998, Lori co-founded Pixo, a software engineering consulting firm of 35 software engineers and creatives. In 2020, twenty-two years after founding Pixo and growing it into a national presence, Lori exited Pixo and is now a leadership coach, tech startup advisor, board member, and runs a small tech startup.

Lori has been an Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Illinois Research Park for over 15 years and has been enmeshed in economic development and the tech ecosystem in Champaign County.

Lori has extensive board experience including as chair of her county‘s Economic Development Corporation and is currently a corporate board member and committee chair for Delta Dental of Illinois and Hickory Point Bank. Lori received the Woman on the Rise award from the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office, the Entrepreneurial Excellence in Management Award, the Athena Award, and in 2016 Lori was celebrated as the Entrepreneur of the Year in her county.

Danya C. Perry, Director, Equitable Economic Development and DEI, Wake County Economic Development

Danya Perry serves as the Director, Equitable Economic Development with Wake County Economic Development (WCED) and Director, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.  In this role, Perry supports efforts to ensure economic development in Wake County’s most vulnerable communities.  This includes increasing economic mobility, workforce development, strengthening municipal economic ecosystems, and supporting small businesses.  To support existing industries in their DEI journey, Perry leads the Chamber’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity Alliance.  The Alliance’s vision is to lead in making the Triangle region the most diverse, equitable, and inclusive business environment in the country. 
For the past 12 years, Danya has served as the Vice President of Youth Development for Communities In Schools of North Carolina.

In this role, Danya supported schools and communities in building their capacity to surround youth with the necessary support to be successful in life.Danya is native to North Carolina, hailing from New Bern before earning a BA in Political Science and MA in Public Administration from North Carolina State University. From attending festivals to frequenting museums, he and his family are fully immersed in all that Wake County has to offer. He is also a passionate youth advocate and community activist, capitalizing on any opportunity to volunteer and facilitate positive change in the community. Danya moved to Raleigh in 1994 and has no plans to leave. Wake County and North Carolina is a special place to raise a family and build a spectacular life. He looks forward to making this a reality for all of its residents.

Mark Romney, Chief Industry Alliance Officer, Aggie Square - University of California, Davis

Mark Romney, Chief Industry Alliances Officer with UC Davis Health in Sacramento, has been actively engaged in facilities planning for 26 years, including a special concentration on research facilities. He co-authored several NIH CO6 Grant Applications, resulting in grant awards exceeding $6 million.  Romney co-authored the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine’s Shared Lab Facility Grant and the Large Facilities Grant, providing over $25 million in grant funding for the construction of the stem cell program facilities, and he has stewarded the process of planning and implementing an innovation district master plan on the UC Davis Health campus.


Andrea Batista Schlesinger, Managing Partner, Inclusive Cities

Andrea Batista Schlesinger leads the Inclusive Cities practice at HR&A Advisors, where she is a Partner. As a former leader in government, think tanks, philanthropy, and political campaigns, Andrea uniquely understands the capacity and role of government, advocacy, and philanthropy in making cities just and dynamic places. She helps disrupt traditional approaches to economic development by centering equity as the goal, and equipping community members with the understanding to coopt the tools of economic development to advance a new vision for their cities. Her recent work includes developing an initiative addressing the food access crisis in South Los Angeles for the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, advising the Economic Justice Circle, a group of grassroots activists in Pittsburgh, on how to advance an equitable economic development agenda starting with demands for a transparent City budget, and making recommendations on behalf of the Trinity Park Conservancy to prevent involuntary displacement, protect cultural heritage, promote wealth creation and community ownership, and establish equitable policies and practices accompanying their $150M park investment.

Andrea began her career in public policy at age 16 as the Student Advisory Member on the New York City Board of Education, for which she was the subject of an award-winning documentary, “Hear Us Now.” She is the author of the book The Death of Why: The Decline of Questioning and the Future of Democracy (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2009). Andrea received her Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy from the University of Chicago and holds Masters degrees in History from Columbia University and the London School of Economics, where she focused her studies on how global cities have constructed their responses to inequality during the latter half of the 20th century.

Scott Stern, PhD, David Sarnoff Professor of Management, MIT Sloan School of Management

Scott Stern explores how innovation and entrepreneurship differ from more traditional economic activities, and the consequences of these differences for strategy and policy.  His research in the economics of innovation and entrepreneurship focuses on entrepreneurial strategyinnovation-driven entrepreneurial ecosystems, and innovation policy and management.  Recent studies include the impact of clusters on entrepreneurship, the role of institutions in shaping the accumulation of scientific and technical knowledge, and the drivers and consequences of entrepreneurial strategy.

Stern has worked widely with practitioners in bridging the gap between academic research and the practice of innovation and entrepreneurship.  This includes advising start-ups and other growth firms in the area of entrepreneurial strategy, as well as working with governments and other stakeholders on policy issues related to competitiveness and regional performance.  In recent years, Stern has developed a popular new MIT Sloan elective, Entrepreneurial Strategy, co-founded the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program, advised the development of the Social Progress Index, and served as the lead MIT investigator on the US Cluster Mapping Project.

Stern started his career at MIT, where he taught from 1995 to 2001.  Before returning to MIT in 2009, he held positions as a Professor at the Kellogg School of Management and as a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.  Stern is the director and co-founder of the Innovation Policy Working Group at the National Bureau of Economic Research.  In 2005, he was awarded the Kauffman Prize Medal for Distinguished Research in Entrepreneurship.

Stern holds a BA in economics from New York University and a PhD in economics from Stanford University. 


Doug Woodruff, Senior Vice President, West Region Executive, Wexford Science & Technology LLC

Doug Woodruff serves as Wexford’s West Region Executive and Senior Vice President of Development. In his role, he is chartered with developing and executing projects that create and expand Wexford Knowledge Communities in the Midwest and West regions. 

Doug brings over 30 years of experience in real estate development and finance, including development management, stakeholder advisory, construction oversight, and financial structuring. Prior to joining Wexford, Doug was CEO of Downtown STL, Inc. a public-private partnership focused on economic development in downtown St. Louis. Doug’s previous experience includes consulting with Knowledge Community stakeholders, including the Cortex Innovation District and Washington University in St. Louis. From 1985 to 2007, Doug was employed at Bank of America where he held several company-wide leadership positions at the bank, including President of the Community Development Banking Group and President of the Franchise Banking Group.Doug currently serves on the Advisory Board of the George Warren Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. He is a former board member of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, the Local Initiative Support Corporation and the St. Louis Equity Fund.