Managing Director, Venture For ClimateTech
Jackie brings immense experience in supporting and growing innovation ecosystems, from Canada to Argentina, as well as her own journey as a successful entrepreneur. She was founder and CEO of Revolar Instinct Personal Safety Device, an app-enabled wearable technology that lets trusted contacts know your GPS location and if you need help—at the click of a button. While leading the company, she became one of the first Latinas to raise millions from well-respected investors like Foundry Group. After selling and exiting Revolar, she became the Regional Director for the Americas for Techstars, where she led fully remote multicultural teams and provided coaching and support to a diverse group of entrepreneurs.
Jackie serves as Operations Manager and IT supervisor for NextCorps. She has worked supporting the entrepreneurs at NextCorps in several capacities since 1999. She graduated from SUNY Fredonia with a BA in theatre arts production and has remained involved in Rochester’s vibrant arts community with Blackfriars Theatre.
Holly oversees branding and marketing activities for NextCorps and its many programs and events, including inbound and outbound marketing for Luminate, For ClimateTech, and Embark. She is a seasoned technology marketing and PR professional who has worked at small and large agencies, supporting brands such as Motorola, ViewSonic, Xerox, Mobil Chemical, and a host of fledging tech companies. Before joining NextCorps, Holly helped Brand Cool secure millions in contract revenues, scale and manage the business, and aided in its acquisition by Butler/Till. She teaches executive communication at St. John Fisher College at its Center for Community Engagement, and was a former instructor at Monroe County’s The Entrepreneurs Network. She earned her audio engineering degree at Michigan State University, and has served on boards and committees for Volunteers of America, The Children’s Agenda, and the Rochester Museum & Science Center.
Senior Business Advisor, Growth Services
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. This includes finding the best service providers and potential funding resources for projects such as strategic business solutions and growth services, lean enterprises, quality management, market development, product design, and prototyping.
Prior to NextCorps, Annette has been a senior research engineer and global buyer for General Motors, graphic designer, lecturer, and has held multiple machine shop positions, from office to operations. Annette has chemical engineering degrees from The University of Akron and the University of Kentucky, and an MBA from the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester.
Annette enjoys problem solving with the manufacturers in our region for the diverse products they make and with the wide range of service providers that partner on projects to provide solutions.
Marketing and Community Relations Specialist, For ClimateTech
Chris handles all marketing requirements for Venture For ClimateTech and Scale For ClimateTech programs, including lead generation, videos, podcasts, social media, and content for events and newsletters. Before joining NextCorps, Chris managed reporters and videographers in multiple roles, including acting as the liaison between Congress and all broadcast media on Capitol Hill and as an assignment editor for Spectrum News. In addition, he supported the NBC Olympic Broadcast for the 2014 and 2016 Olympic games in various roles. Chris is a seasoned videographer, and has produced and animated programs for HealthCentral.Com, TheBody, WXXI, Grid Alternatives, and The Climate Mobilization. Chris has a B.S. in Television–Radio Media Production from Ithaca College.
Lynn provides a wide range of support to NextCorps’ management team, clients, and programs, including overseeing lease contracts and onboarding new tenants, managing the facility, scheduling meetings and events, handling client requests, record keeping, and much more. Before coming to NextCorps, Lynn held positions in finance, school administration, and human resources.
Program Coordinator, Incubation Services & Embark
Melanie has recently come full circle, returning to the tech industry as Program Coordinator for the new Embark Program and incubation services at NextCorps. In this role, she now fulfills her WHY of maximizing the potential in people, organizations and the community by combining her experience as an HR professional and a business Founder to support local start-ups on their journey.
Prior to joining NextCorps, Melanie spent the first 15 years of her career supporting small, local technology companies and a large, global corporation across all aspects of HR. In 2018, she took the leap to start her own business–a people centered HR consultancy—where she worked across multiple industries, including Market Research, Managed Services, Construction, and the Arts. As Co-Founder of DisruptHR ROC, Melanie also strives to inspire new ways of addressing persistent challenges in organizations and the community.
Melanie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Management from St. John Fisher College, a Change Leadership certificate from eCornell, and is a Certified Emotional Intelligence Assessor and Practitioner.
Damon Diehl, PhD
Technology Program Manager, Luminate
As Technology Program Manager for Luminate, Damon Diehl works to ensure that the cohort teams establish deep, enduring roots in the Rochester community. Damon has been active in the optics industry since he moved from Chicago to Rochester to begin graduate studies at The Institute of Optics. Damon’s career crisscrossed with Nextcorps for over a decade. Damon worked for the metrology company Lumetrics when it was still located at the original Nextcorps (then High Tech Rochester) facility, and while the chief scientist at ASE Optics, Damon’s lab was located in Nextcorps until Rochester Precision Optics acquired ASE in 2010. Damon was at the helm of the Optical Systems Technology program at Monroe Community College during its “reboot” in 2012 (during which the program exploded from only 6 active students to running over-enrolled day and evening sections of every first-year class). After a stint in the technology-centric marketing company Launch Team, Damon maneuvered back into optics as a pitch coach for the first Luminate cohort, and he joined the staff full-time in July 2019.
Damon earned his Ph.D. in optical engineering at the University of Rochester’s Institute of Optics, and he holds a B.A. in physics and mathematics from the University of Chicago.
Program Coordinator, Scale For ClimateTech
Anthony is the Scale For ClimateTech Program Coordinator at NextCorps. In this position, he helps ClimateTech companies scale their products from validation to market implementation. Before his time at NextCorps, his travels led him to work in education, entrepreneurship, and small business development. During his free time, he enjoys traveling, being active, reading, and reflecting.
Dan Dykens is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at NextCorps. As a serial entrepreneur, Dan has taken many companies from concept to exit, including Meet the Street, and helped to turn around Clear Momentum, Inc. before its sale to Ipero (a Blackstone & Goldman portfolio company). Dan also has a wealth of experience in finance, helping to invest more than $1 billion in tech companies. This combination gives him a unique perspective when working with founders on challenges — from market entry to securing funding.
Currently, Dan is CEO & Founder of Diligence Lab, which uses data science to intelligently match college students with the jobs they will thrive in.
Dan was named one of Boston’s 40 Under 40 Rising Business Stars by the Boston Business Journal in 2007. He was also nominated for Emerging Innovative Company of the Year Award by the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council, and he’s a Founding Member of the Notre Dame Business Council.
Managing Director, Incubation Services & Embark
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.
Matt was also 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. Prior to that, Matt was a senior qualitative market research consultant at Harris Interactive (now Nielsen), and a co-founder of 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.
As Assistant Controller, Jeremiah prepares financial reporting and analysis for internal and external users, as well as assists with budgeting, grant compliance, and other accounting functions. Prior to joining NextCorps, Jeremiah served as Controller at the Rochester Museum & Science Center, where he oversaw many aspects of the finance department, including grant management, financial reporting, and the annual audit. Jeremiah is a graduate of St. John Fisher College, where he completed his B.S. in Accounting.
Entrepreneur in Residence
Max Henry, an executive entrepreneur with more than 25 years of experience leading Silicon Valley Internet, consumer, and business-to-business technology companies, has joined NextCorps as an entrepreneur-in-residence.
He augments NextCorps existing team of EIRs, who provide business and commercialization support and mentoring to NextCorps clients in residence and to affiliate clients out in the community. Typically, EIRs meet with startups on a regular basis and help them chart milestones and achieve strategic and operational goals and objectives toward commercialization.
Henry is currently the founder and president of Humming Bird Leadership, a leadership development firm that helps people, teams, and organizations win. His former experience includes serving as president and CEO of multiple companies including Topica (internet marketing), PrivateExpress (digital courier delivery company), Fabrik Communications (business messaging company, sold to Critical Path), and JSB Corporation (global software company, sold as SurfControl to Websense).
In other roles, he served as vice president and general manager of Information Access Company (sold to Thomson), executive vice president and general manager of U.S. Telestar, and vice president and general manager of NeXT Computer (sold to Apple), where he was a direct report to Steve Jobs and was part of the executive policy team. Henry has served on numerous boards of directors and advisory boards and is currently board chairman at InfoStreet, an Inc 500 SaaS company.
Henry holds an MBA degree in Finance and Marketing from the University of Oregon and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Hobart College.
Jen completes all bookkeeping and transaction processing, including 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. Before joining NextCorps in 2016, she worked at Paychex, Inc., processing payables for all of the U.S. and Germany, and at Starbridge, a local not for profit.
Digital Marketing Manager
Kate develops and implements NextCorps’ digital content strategy, including content creation and curation for social media, email campaigns, and the organization’s multiple websites and blogs. Kate has a B.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications from Ithaca College, where she also minored in Psychology. She got her start in PR and gained experience as a copywriter and inbound marketing specialist at agencies large and small.
Sujatha Ramanujan, PhD
Managing Director, Luminate
Sujatha Ramanujan is a 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, and then later working with regional investment councils, she provided guidance to startups, M&A strategies for growing businesses, and vetted technologies for 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.
Managing Director, Technology Commercialization & Scale For ClimateTech
Mike is the Managing Director of Scale For ClimateTech and of Technology Commercialization at NextCorps. He has created multiple 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 his training through the National Science Foundation iCorps Program at Stanford University.
Invention and creativity are key areas of interest for Mike, who holds a B.F.A. from Rochester Institute of Technology and a M.B.A. from the University of Rochester, where he is currently a Lecturer in Technical Entrepreneurship Management. He also is a teaching team member for the NSF National I-Corps program and an instructor for the I-Corps Regional Node led by Cornell, University of Rochester, and RIT.
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.
Operations Manager, Venture For ClimateTech
Devin works to recruit, develop, and support the growth of early stage ClimateTech startups both inside and outside of the Venture For ClimateTech program. 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.
Business Development Analyst
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.
Jim joined the organization as President in 2009, and leads NextCorps in achieving its mission of creating entrepreneurship and innovation-based regional growth. During his tenure, the organization has launched several new initiatives including a software accelerator program, a 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 MBA in marketing and entrepreneurship from the Simon Business School at the University of Rochester.
Managing Director, Finance & Administration
Prior to joining NextCorps, Candice held multiple senior executive positions at non-profits and for-profit organizations, including Vice President of Finance and HR at the Rochester Museum & Science Center, interim CEO/CFO at Westside Health Services, CFO at LiDestri Foods, and Manager of Compensation and Payroll at Unity Health Care. She received her accounting degree from Western Carolina University.
Operations Director, Luminate
As Operations Director, Andrew Simon identifies new clients for the Luminate accelerator and ensures their success in the program. 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 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 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. Andy holds a B.S. in Communications from the University of Hartford.
Senior Business Advisor, Growth Services
Mike 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- to 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, and has worked in 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 is 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.
Manufacturing Programs Associate, Scale For ClimateTech & Growth Services
Matt develops and helps administer web content, tools, and program material for the Scale For ClimateTech and NextCorps Manufacturing Accelerator programs. With an education in hardware engineering and entrepreneurship from the University of Rochester, he completed mechanical design and business development work for an early-stage musical instrument startup company in the NextCorps student incubator. Prior to that, he designed a novel biomechanical device that was published in the journal Tissue Engineering. He is also a self-taught UI/UX designer and has developed websites and web features for several startup companies. Matt brings a customer-centric, product mindset to the NextCorps team and is passionate about creating solutions to help hardware entrepreneurs bring their products to market.