Our team is the connection between your ideas and UB

Here is where differences become our strengths, where scientific and technological adventures transform into profitable ventures, and where bettering the world becomes our life’s work. A successful team is about more than finding a group of people with the right mix of professional skills; it's about finding a team who is passionate about helping you succeed and then working together to do it.


Rick Gardner

Associate Vice President for Economic Development

With more than two decades of experience in the public, private, nonprofit and startup sectors, Rick Gardner has been an innovator throughout his career. He holds 32 U.S. patents and has taken dozens of products to market.

Under Rick's leadership, the BEP team helps grow the infrastructure and support services needed to commercialize innovative research, increase industry-academic collaborations, identify expert talent, align industry expertise and advance the next generation of startups and technologies.


Asal Barem.

Asal Barem

Operations Manager, Baird

Peter Burakowski.

Peter Burakowski

Senior Associate Director, Startup Ventures

Timothy Dee

Associate Director, Technology Transfer

Jeffrey Dunbar

Director of Business Partnerships

David Duplessis.

David du Plessis

Business Development Manager, Life Sciences

Esther Eagan

Senior Associate Director, Contracts

Michelle Friedman.

Michelle Friedman

Licensing Manager

Michael Fowler

Commercialization Manager

Rick Gardner.

Rick Gardner

Associate Vice President for Economic Development

Sara Goodman

Startup Program Manager

Kathryn Helfer

Senior Manager, Stakeholder Engagement

Smitha James

Senior Associate Director, Life Sciences Programs

Christopher Janson

Senior Business Development Manager

Richard Kim.

Richard Kim

Director of Startup Ventures

Kimberly Kohl

Associate Director, Finance & Operations

Tracy Krawczyk-Schiedel.

Tracy Krawczyk-Schiedel

Assistant Vice President for Communications, Marketing & Digital Operations

Rebecca Larson.

Rebecca Larson

Commercialization Coordinator

Adrian Levesque

Industry Engagement and Visualization, Center for Computational Research

Jennifer Mandina

Senior Manager, Contracts

Tom Matheny

Senior CRM Marketing Manager

Dan Miner.

Daniel Miner

Senior Manager, Program Administration

Hoda Moussa

Contracts Manager

Thomas Murdock

Manager, Incubator Network

Norma Nowak

Senior Advisor, Life Sciences

Matthew Pelkey

Program Director, Entrepreneurship Law Center

Diane Plinke

Finance and Operations Assistant

Alan Rae.

Alan Rae

Director, NYS Centers of Excellence and Advanced Technology

Jason Saylor

Operations Manager, CBLS

Danessia Scott-Warren.

Danessia Scott-Warren

Contracts Manager

Steven Shepler.

Steven Shepler

Finance Associate

Sandra Small

Senior Manager of Science Education and Workforce Development

Jessica Szklany.

Jessica Szklany

Associate Director of Marketing Communications

Sandra Talley

Startup Program Assistant

Deanna Thames

Senior Administrative Associate

David Thiemecke

Senior Startup Success Manager

Penny Turrell

Patent Paralegal & Compliance Specialist

Emma Vecellio

Marketing Content & Writing Manager

Evan Witmer

Technology Assessment Specialist

Our Extended Team

We work with accomplished scientists, experts, entrepreneurs and businesspeople who help us move innovations to impact.

Life & Health Sciences Advisory Board Manufacturing & Materials Advisory Board Entrepreneurs in Residence Seed Fund Advisory Board Accelerator Fund External Review Committee
Carlos Pena.

Chief Regulatory Officer & Chief Quality Officer, The Jacobs Institute

Charles Jones.

Director, mRNA Commercial Development, Pfizer

Erica Wehling.

R&D Manager, Thermo Fisher Scientific

Karuna Sharma.

Vice President & Chief Scientific Officer, Antylia Scientific

Matan Rapoport.

Director, Portfolio Development & Alliance Management, Empire Discovery Institute

Michael Norsen.

Principal, Alexandria Venture Investments & Head of LaunchLabs @ Columbia 

Michael Smolinki.

Senior VP, Chemical Development and Pharm Sc, Nirogy Therapeutics

Stephen Tyrpak.

Product Development & Commercialization Executive, Medical Devices & Pharmaceuticals Industries, PQE Group