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.
Managing Director, Venture For ClimateTech
As a successful entrepreneur, Jack brings unique experience to Venture For ClimateTech, along with a global network of contacts from his more than 17 years in the energy and climate tech industry. Prior to this role, he was Co-Founder and President of Sweetwater Energy, a cellulosic ethanol/sugars company that, in its early years, was part of a NYSERDA clean energy incubator. Under his leadership, the company went on to raise $57M and prove its full-scale production capabilities in Europe. Prior to starting Sweetwater, he co-founded PAETEC, serving as president and chief marketing officer to help to take the telecommunications company from launch to $2B in revenues, and through its exit and sale to Windstream.
Jack is an Endeavor Entrepreneur, a prestigious designation that provides access to the global Endeavor network of mentors, partners, and funders. He was part of MIT’s Startup Exchange / STX25 incubator/accelerator program, acted as the former Chairman of the Rochester Angel Network, and was the former President of ETI Technical College. He sits on a number of boards in Rochester — including the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, The Harley School, and OneStream Networks — and has been involved in helping his wife’s organization, Greentopia, become the first designated EcoDistrict in New York State.
In his spare time, Jack plays the guitar and sings in his rock band, Don’t Know Jack. He and his family reside in Rochester on Irondequoit Bay, and are active in outdoor sports, including boating, kayaking, hiking, camping, golf, and skiing.
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.
Finance Analyst, Luminate
Anjali is a finance expert with experience in private equity, risk management, credit agency, accountancy, and real estate finance. She has written several finance research papers and reports during her undergraduate in Business Administration. She has done multiple complex Excel modeling projects using GARCH and Monte Carlo Simulations, and has coding brilliance in Python and SQL. Anjali spent time teaching economics to high school students in India, and has more than five years of volunteer experience for underprivileged students and families in India. She recently completed her M.S in Finance from Simon Business School, University of Rochester.
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.
Damon Diehl, PhD
Director of Technology Integration, Luminate
As Director of Technology Integration 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.
Startup Community Coordinator
Ben provides program support to the Embark No-Code Bootcamp and Incubation Services. His focus area is the client experience within these programs, both as individuals and as members of NextCorps’ business community.
Prior to NextCorps, Ben served as a business advisor and a program manager in the community development space. His direct service experience spans CDBG, CDFI, DOL, USDA, and SBA microenterprise initiatives. When away from work, Ben is a hobbyist software developer and likes to build data visualization and web audio projects.
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.
Startup Manufacturing Program Coordinator
In his role as Startup Manufacturing Program Coordinator, Peter helps climate tech companies scale their products from validating prototypes to market implementation to production.
Peter comes from a background working in and with startups, originally starting his own nonprofit, MassVaxx, a mass vaccination distribution software system, alongside teammates and mentors from RIT and Marquette University. He then moved on to working at MAGIC Spell Studios supporting early game development teams, and Open@RIT supporting technology transfer in open science. On the side he leads Fly Team, a cleantech composing venture utilizing black soldier flies. Peter is a recent RIT grad with a BS in Computer Science.
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 executes the content strategy for NextCorps and its programs, managing the organization’s multiple websites, social media handles, and enewsletters. Kate got her start in tech PR and gained experience in creative copywriting and inbound marketing, nearly always in a multi-discipline role before coming to NextCorps. She earned a B.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications from Ithaca College, where she also minored in Psychology.
Managing Director of Finance & Administration
As Managing Director of Finance and Administration, John brings over 40 years of professional experience to the role. He began his career in public accounting, working for two national accounting firms and specializing in serving small to mid-sized, privately-held companies. John has spent the last 30 years in senior financial and operational roles, as both CFO and COO, with companies in the construction, information technology, direct marketing, transportation, and public accounting sectors. In these roles, he has been responsible for the financial, HR, technology, marketing, and facilities functions, making him uniquely qualified to address both the financial and operational areas of an organization.
John holds a B.S. in Accounting from St. John Fisher University and is a CPA. He is actively involved in the Rochester community and sits on the Board of The Friendly Home, the Rochester Chapter of Financial Executives International, and the Rochester Broadway Theatre League.
MEIR Program Coordinator, Scale For ClimateTech
Startup Manufacturing Program Coordinator
As Startup Manufacturing Program Coordinator, Mike helps manufacturing startup companies scale their products from validating prototypes to market implementation and production. He is using what he learns in this role to assist in developing a framework for new manufacturing startups to move efficiently from the hardware product idea phase to pilot production.
Mike has a wide range of professional experience. He spent 10 years in manufacturing as a product designer and production supervisor. After that, he spent 16 years in higher education both as a professor of computer science and mathematics and a project manager in continuing education. He was a co-founder of Boundless Connections Technology Centers and stayed on through their startup phase. Mike then went on to create his own nonprofit, Strength Solutions, to help people recognize strengths in themselves and those around them.
Program Manager, Venture For ClimateTech
Before joining the Venture For ClimateTech team as Program Manager, Scott worked as a Subcontractor Coordinator for Dandelion Energy, a Residential Geothermal Heat Pump Installer based in the Hudson Valley. He has also worked in Solar Energy as a Community Organizer for a solar B-corp, SunCommon. After graduating college, he served in Americorps NCCC as a Team Leader, where his team worked in frontline communities all across the country.
Scott grew up in Leroy, NY, graduated from SUNY Brockport in 2017, and currently resides in Rochester, NY. He is very active in the Rochester community where he co-founded The Rochester Sunrise Movement hub — a local climate justice activist organization.
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.
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.
Helen Rose Shine
Marketing & Content Coordinator
In her role as Marketing & Content Coordinator, Helen Rose assists the NextCorps marketing team with content creation, social media campaigns, event planning, and research. She is a recent graduate of St. John Fisher University with degrees in Marketing and Economics, as well as a minor in Psychology. During her time there, she led student teams in impactful marketing research projects for renowned corporations like The Wall Street Journal and Amazon, which sparked her passion for strategic marketing.
Helen Rose’s professional experience spans diverse industries, from tech to medical and finance. She has held roles in event planning, social media marketing, and consumer insights, and has worked as a part-time EMT for the past four years. Outside of work, Helen Rose enjoys running and has ran several half-marathons; she also enjoys kayaking, photography, and finding new local coffee shops to try.
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.