Team

Meet the team making NextCorps work every day

Jackie Amigone

Operations Manager

jackie.amigone@nextcorps.org

Jackie serves as Operations Manager and IT supervisor for NextCorps. She has worked supporting the entrepreneurs at NextCorps in several capacities since 1999.

Jackie graduated from SUNY Fredonia with a BA in theatre arts production and has remained involved in Rochester’s vibrant arts community with Blackfriars Theatre. Jackie is inspired by the passion and drive Rochester entrepreneurs possess, and she’s excited to see the startup community continue to strengthen and help drive economic growth.

Holly Barrett

Marketing Director

holly.barrett@nextcorps.org

As Marketing Director, Holly focuses on inbound and outbound marketing for Luminate as well as branding and marketing activities for NextCorps. She is a senior-level marketing and PR professional who has worked at small and large agencies, including Brand Cool, Brand Integrity, Text 100, and Young & Rubicam. Holly has been a branding and marketing instructor at The Entrepreneurs Network for the last four years and she teaches executive communication at St. John Fisher through the Center for Community Engagement. She is excited to be a part of Rochester’s vibrant entrepreneurial community.

Annette Brenner

Client Development Manager

annette.brenner@nextcorps.org

As a Client Development Manager, Annette identifies and develops new clients and projects as she promotes all of NextCorps’ manufacturing growth services to the region’s small and mid-sized manufacturers. These projects include strategic business solutions and growth services, lean enterprises, quality management, market development, product design, and prototyping.

Annette strategizes to assist companies in identifying the best service provider and potential funding resources.  Prior to NextCorps, Annette has been a senior research engineer and global buyer for General Motors, graphic designer, lecturer, and office to operations in a machine shop. Annette has chemical engineering degrees from The University of Akron and the University of Kentucky and an MBA from Simon School of Business, University of Rochester.

Annette enjoys problem solving with the manufacturers in our region for the diverse products they make and various stages of development and with the wide range of service providers that partner on projects to provide solutions.

Doug Buerkle

Executive Director, NEXUS-NY

doug.buerkle@nextcorps.org

As Founding Executive Director of NEXUS-NY, Doug Buerkle helps catalyze and accelerate early stage, clean energy startup companies.  Through its financial and business support, NEXUS-NY has helped launch more than a dozen new companies since 2014.

Prior to joining NextCorps, Doug held various executive positions in industry where he guided the rapid growth of multiple technology companies.  Doug was co-founder and CEO of Lumella, Inc., an optical component startup, which he exited through the sale of the company’s silicon photonics IP to a Global 1000 firm.  He holds an MBA from the Simon School at the University of Rochester and a BS in Engineering from Temple University.

Doug is passionate about improving commercialization pathways for scientific innovations which promise to improve the human condition.  He is encouraged that a high percentage of NEXUS-NY graduate companies are gaining early traction with customers, investors, and strategic partners.

Lynn Cranmer

Administrative Assistant 

lynn.cranmer@nextcorps.org

As NextCorps’s Administrative Assistant, Lynn provides a wide range of support to the NextCorps Clients and the NextCorps Management Team including reception, scheduling, meeting support, record keeping, systems administration, and many other tasks.  Lynn also provides support for several NextCorps programs and events. Her prior experience includes roles in finance, school administration and human resources.  Lynn is excited to be part of the startup community in Rochester.

Matt Foley

Director, Startup Incubation 

matt.foley@nextcorps.org

Matt is a serial entrepreneur working primarily on software startups in the market research industry. He is the founder and CEO of FocusGroupIt, a web-based platform for capturing qualitative feedback online.

Prior to founding FocusGroupIt, Matt was the co-founder of PluggedIN, a Rochester-based company that built and managed private online insight communities for mid-to-large size enterprises. PluggedIN was acquired in 2011 by Edelman, the world’s largest independent PR firm, where Matt stayed on as a Senior Vice President for two years following the acquisition.

Beffore PluggedIN, Matt was a senior qualitative market research consultant at Harris Interactive (now Nielsen), and a co-founder of a user experience research firm, Customer Relevance.

Matt received a bachelor of science in business administration from Boston University and is a professionally trained market researcher through the Research in Values and Attitudes Institute.

Emily Hessney Lynch

Digital Marketing & Communications Manager

emily.hessneylynch@nextcorps.org

As the Digital Marketing & Communications Manager, Emily develops and implements NextCorps’ digital content strategy, including content creation and curation for social media, email campaigns, the blog, and our website. Emily has a B.A. in English and History and an M.S. in Educational Administration from the University of Rochester. Prior to coming to NextCorps, she was Assistant Director of Communications Management in Financial Aid, where she counseled students, facilitated all office communications, and launched a financial literacy program.

In her spare time, Emily runs a website called I Heart ROC, which tells the stories of Rochesterians through candid interviews. She also enjoys reading, drinking coffee, and spending time with her two rescue dogs. 

Jennifer Kruse

Accountant

jennifer.kruse@nextcorps.org

As the Accountant at NextCorps, Jen completes all bookkeeping and transaction processing, including processing invoices, expense reports, deposits and billing.  Jen came to NextCorps with more than a decade of accounting experience, and has an Associate degree in Accounting from RBI.  She has previously worked at Paychex, Inc, processing payables for all of the US and Germany, and at Starbridge, a local not for profit.  She joined NextCorps in 2016 and is happy to be working for a company that provides support to the Rochester community.

Gary Nothhard

Optical Metrology Technician

gary.nothhard@nextcorps.org

As the Optical Metrology Technician, Gary helps all Luminate teams with their optical metrology needs and maintains the Luminate lab. Gary graduated from the Optical Technology program at Monroe Community College, and spent much of his career at Kodak. At Kodak, he worked on the development of a cinema digital laser projector. IMAX bought the rights to that technology, and Gary worked at IMAX in support of commercializing the projectors prior to coming to NextCorps. He also is the co-inventor of 9 granted patents.

Suzanne A. O’Connor CPA

Managing Director, Finance and Administration

suzanne.oconnor@nextcorps.org

Sue is responsible for all aspects of accounting, contract administration and finance at NextCorps. Additionally, she develops the human resources, administrative and financial policies and processes that ensure NextCorps operates efficiently and effectively. She also assists NextCorps’ new venture clients in the areas of finance, administration and human resources.

Sue’s career began in public accounting with an international accounting firm in Rochester, NY, and Charleston, WV. Since then she has worked in finance and accounting for a Fortune 500 specialty chemicals company, VP/Controller for a $350 million indirect auto lending division of a local bank, and subsequently as the VP/Treasurer for an indirect automobile finance company, of which she was one of the four founders.

Sue earned a B.S. in accounting and law from Clarkson University. She holds a CPA license in New York State and is also a Chartered Global Management Accountant. Sue is a member of American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Institute of Managerial Accountants.

In 2005, she welcomed the opportunity to give back to the community by working with NextCorps in its mission of developing successful entrepreneurs and businesses and is still committed to making the Rochester/Finger Lakes Region a great place to work and live.

Sujatha Ramanujan, PhD

Managing Director, Luminate Accelerator

sujatha.ramanujan@nextcorps.org

Sujatha Ramanujan is serial entrepreneur and seasoned executive with 25 years of experience in Clinical Devices and in Consumer Electronics. Sujatha has started, built and grown three startup businesses in cardiac surgical equipment, optical communications and nano materials. In addition, as CTO and Product Line Manager of Mammography CAD and Pediatric Businesses within Kodak and Carestream, her team  developed and launched clinical equipment and Clinical IT on every continent. Sujatha has held scientific, technical leadership, and laboratory head positions in Chrysler Corporation, GE, Kodak, Carestream, and Intrinsiq Materials. She holds 28 issued US patents. As a corporate investor for Kodak, then later working with regional investment councils she provides guidance to start-ups, M& A strategies for growing businesses and vetting of technologies to investors. She has served on investment advisories in US, Canada, and Israel.

Dr. Ramanujan holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan and is an Executive Board Member of the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Michael Riedlinger

Program Manager, Technology Commercialization

mike.riedlinger@nextcorps.org

Mike creates and provides experiential programs for entrepreneurs throughout the region.  He has created programs including NextCorps LaunchPad for web and mobile startups by drawing on his experiences from founding and co-founding eight startups (including one that became publicly-traded) as well as training through the National Science Foundation ICorps Program at Stanford University.

Invention and creativity are key areas of interest for Mike, who holds a BFA from Rochester Institute of Technology and a MBA from the University of Rochester, where he is also a lecturer in Technical Entrepreneurship Management.

Mike revels in the rich history of regional innovations in agriculture, computing, medical devices, optics, and telecommunications. He serves on the Industrial Advisory Board at the Cornell Center for Materials Research and supports educational outreach programs including Cornell’s Lending Library of Experiments and the Rochester chapter of Engineering World Health.

Devin Sandon

New Venture Specialist, NEXUS-NY 

devin.sandon@nextcorps.org

In his role as New Venture Specialist, Devin works to recruit, develop, and support the growth of clean tech startups both inside and outside of the NEXUS-NY accelerator. In addition, he works broadly to support NextCorps’ programs and strategic initiatives with regards to generating greater program integration within the NextCorps ecosystem.

Prior to working for NextCorps, Devin served as an information analyst at the Center for Emerging and Innovative Sciences at the University of Rochester, where he worked to support and grow the optics and photonics cluster in Rochester.

Devin is a graduate of the University of Rochester, where he completed his bachelor’s degree in political science and economics, as well as completing the Take Five Scholars program in which he investigated the political, economic, cultural, philosophical, and religious development of Southeast Asia, with a particular focus on China.

Mark Schrader

Business Development Analyst

mark.schrader@nextcorps.org

As Business Development Analyst, Mark connects small and medium-sized manufacturing firms with technical services and resources that remove barriers to growth, improve productivity, and expand capacity across the entire spectrum of business operations.

Prior to joining NextCorps, Mark was director of commercialization practice at Foresight Science and Technology, Inc. of Providence, Rhode Island, where he developed business plans and market research reports for high tech firms performing government-sponsored research and development and for private-sector clients.

A Rochester native, Mark was a career officer in the U.S. Air Force where he served in operational, technical, and staff positions in the United States and overseas. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Buffalo and a Master of Science degree in Meteorology from Penn State University.

Mark works closely with the Finger Lakes region’s Global NY Working Group to help regional manufacturers expand and accelerate the growth of  international market share by leading HTR’s Export Assistance Program. In a six month pilot, this program developed projects valued at almost $240,000 and NextCorps clients received over $100,000 in financial assistance.

James S. Senall

President

james.senall@nextcorps.org

Jim joined NextCorps as President in 2009, and in that capacity leads the NextCorps team towards their mission of creating entrepreneurship and innovation-based regional growth.  During his tenure at NextCorps, the organization has launched several new initiatives including a software accelerator program, clean tech accelerator, a statewide Entrepreneur-in-Residence program, and an optics, photonics, and imaging accelerator. Through these and its other offerings, NextCorps has served more than 800 client companies over the past 5 years.

Prior experience includes co-founding the Rochester Angel Network in 2005, which he continues to lead as its Managing Director; experience with multiple startup companies; engineering and manufacturing roles at multi-billion dollar firms; and teaching graduate level courses in tech entrepreneurship.

Jim has served in various board roles including chairman of the Business Incubator Association of New York State, board member of the New York State Economic Development Council, board member of Adarza Biosystems, Executive Committee member of the University of Rochester’s Tech Development Fund, Investment Committee member of Launch NY’s seed capital fund, and board member of Rochester Angel Network and the Rochester Angel Fund.

Jim holds a B.S. in electrical engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology, and an M.B.A. in marketing and entrepreneurship from the Simon Business School, University of Rochester.  He and his family reside in Penfield, NY and they enjoy spending time in Lake Placid each winter and the Outer Banks, NC each summer

Andrew Simon

Client Engagement Manager

andrew.simon@nextcorps.org

As Client Engagement Manager, Andy has a dual role overseeing both the Luminate NY Accelerator and Incubation programs at NextCorps, identifying new clients for both and ensuring their success in the programs.

Prior to joining NextCorps, Andy has an extensive background in startups and the digital space, including: founder of Dogways Inc., a venture-backed mobile app startup; President of Toontrack Music USA, launching the Swedish music software firm in the U.S. and leading it to #1 in the world in sales; XLN Audio of Sweden, leading them to 15x sales growth; Brixy Inc., a 150+ baby store store association, launching their digital platform; Brannland Cider of Sweden, launching the brand in the U.S. in 2017, and Andrea Arden, celebrity pet trainer, on numerous digital and and business projects. Andy is also an accomplished musician, having written and produced songs for major label artists worldwide, including a #1 single in 2013 for Hey! Say! JUMP of Japan.

Michael Sisson

Senior Business Consultant

michael.sisson@nextcorps.org

Mike as Senior Business Consultant has over 30 years of diverse manufacturing and economic development experience with manufacturing firms in the Finger Lakes Region. His passion is working with small/medium size manufacturing companies helping them grow and innovate. He has extensive experience working with clients in manufacturing operations, strategic planning, business plan development and funding resources. He has a strong background in Lean, ISO, and Operation Management. His experience spans a wide variety of industries, including fabricated metals, medical industry, plastics, food and agriculture processing, optics and metal finishing.

Mike is a N.I.S.T Certified Trainer in all Lean Tools and a LEAN Certified Trainer via MEP University. Mike holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an M.B.A. from the Simon Business School, University of Rochester. He has also completed numerous training classes in world-class manufacturing operations