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Selection Committee

Elyse Ball, Project Manager, University of Akron Research Foundation

  • Coordinates provisional patent filings, assists in the negotiation of license and research agreements, and supports technology commercialization grants and fundraising
  • Has served in leadership roles with five early-stage, technology-based startup companies
  • Co-authored a book on patent law for scientists and engineers
  • B.S. in Journalism from Ohio University, J.D. in Law from Boston University

Bob Chalfant, Director, Fitzgerald Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies

  • Senior executive with strong record of leading companies through fast-track growth with an emphasis on market globalization, and strategic business and marketing plans
  • CEO of Metalwood Bats, LLC, where he increased sales by 48% in 12 months and attracted more than $1 million in equity investment 
  • Sales experience in US, Europe, Asia, and the Pacific Rim
  • B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Ohio University, MBA in Business from Harvard University

Susan Dollinger, UA Marketing Director and Technology Manager

  • Responsible for marketing and licensing UA research and technology, classifying inventions for technical content and marketability, and supporting faculty entrepreneurs
  • 25 years in new-product research & development with the Dow Chemical Company where she was involved in the invention and commercialization of Opticite® brand label films for use in bottle labeling, Saranex® multilayer co-extruded barrier films for packaging, and Duramate® residential insulation sheathing
  • Served as Intellectual Capital Manager for Dow’s Building Solutions business, where she managed business IP activities for Styrofoam® brand insulation products
  • B.S. in Macromolecular Science from Case Western Reserve University, M.S. in Materials Science from The Ohio State University

Dan Hampu, Project Manager, University of Akron Research Foundation

  • Assists UA with intellectual property and related emerging enterprise matters, evaluating technologies and markets, preparing related summaries, and developing strategies and promotional materials
  • B.S. in Business from University of Mount Union, J.D. in Law and MBA in Finance at The University of Akron

Ken Preston, Assistant Vice President for Research and Director of Technology Transfer

  • Responsible for identifying, evaluating, developing, protecting, and marketing UA inventions, as well as assisting faculty and staff in research, technology and intellectual property planning, funding, partnering, and related compliance
  • Registered patent attorney
  • Served as Vice President, Senior Counsel and Chief Patent Counsel for TRW, Inc., a Cleveland- and Los Angeles-based, manufacturer of defense, aerospace, electronics, information and automotive products
  • B.I.E. in Engineering from Princeton University/The Ohio State University, J.D. in Law from George Washington University

Barry Rosenbaum, Senior Fellow, University of Akron Research Foundation

  • Focused on promoting wealth creation, Angel Investment, and regional innovation in Northeast Ohio
  • Worked with Exxon Chemical Polymers Division for 25 years, where he served as Technology Manager of Exxon Chemical’s EPDM Rubber Business and was responsible for developing Exxon’s bromobutyl technology for tire inner liners
  • Helped to found Advanced Elastomer Systems as a joint venture between Exxon Chemical and Monsanto, originally located in Akron
  • Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University, B.S. in Chemical Engineering from The Cooper Union

Wayne Watkins, Associate Vice President for Research

  • Directs UA programs in intellectual property management, emerging enterprise creation and support, technology-based economic development, and university/industry collaborations
  • Served as Director of the Research and Technology Park and the Office of Technology Commercialization at Utah State University and as Vice President and Corporate Counsel of a diversified business holding company
  • Has assisted in the creation and leadership of more than 25 technology-based businesses
  • B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Utah State University, MBA in Business and J.D. in Law from University of Utah