David Potter

David Potter, MBA

Sage Partners LLC

Candidate Biography

Following 16 years in increasingly challenging marketing and brand management roles at divisions of General Mills Inc., Textron Inc., and Unum Provident Inc., I was retained by the University of Rhode Island to create, launch, and drive growth for URI’s first IP license-based spinout. Following the sale of ProChange Behavior Systems to American Healthways Inc. in 2008, I played similar roles for Temple University (Previser Health Solutions Inc.), the University of Vermont (Patient Engagement Systems Inc.), and Raytheon AI Labs (Senscio Systems Inc.).

In 2017, I was recruited by Brown University as Senior Director of Technology Transfer. My central mission was guiding the Office from a traditional "patent shop" to an externally focused engine for delivering innovation to industry, and hence to the public. Notable achievements there included the IPO of Ocean Biomedical Inc., assisting in the purchase of Transposon Inc. by Canaan Venture Partners, and launching commercial collaborations through the Brown Lifespan Center for Digital Health Innovation.

Perhaps the most significant achievement was creating and instituting a methodology for Office personnel to realistically evaluate Invention Disclosures from an industry use case perspectives, and to then pursue licensing and other collaborations through an informed, industry-focused lens.

Candidate Q&A

What experience do you have working on or with a strategic Board of Directors? 

I have served on the Board of Directors of 3 (small) private companies, and reported to the Board of Directors VP Corporate Marketing at Unum Provident Inc. 

Please include a brief description of your volunteer experiences within AUTM. 

No formal roles. Worked closely with AUTM colleagues from Yale and MIT. 

Why do you want to join the AUTM Board of Directors? 

I believe that AUTM members will be increasingly presented with exceptional opportunities to expand commercialization of their IP, thanks to CHIPS Act of 2022 and other vehicles, but many need to adopt new strategies to qualify for funding, and to eventually commercialize that research output. I believe that my experiences can contribute significantly to achieving those goals. 

Have you served in a volunteer leadership role for other organizations? If so, please explain. 

Board of Director role for a non-profits in Portland ME. Active member of the Bowdoin College Alumni Placement Council. 

If elected by the Membership to the Board, would you consider serving as Chair? Please explain. 

I would consider acting as Chair if other Board members believed that my background matched well with AUTM's needs. 

Please share personal strengths that you believe would be valuable to the AUTM Board and/or the strategic direction of the Association. 

Having experienced the advancement of university research based IP to successful commercialization from "the inside out and the outside in", I believe that this 360 degree perspective would help to refine AUTM member philosophy and practice related to improving IP commercialization metrics. 

What special experience do you have in driving and implementing a strategic plan? 

As VP of Corporate Marketing for Unum Life Inc., under the direction of the CEO and Executive Committee, I created the company's first Consolidated Marketing Plan, across 11 divisions in 3 companies. I received Unum's 1994 Chairman's Award for this effort. 

How do terms of  the position (both responsibilities and time commitment) fit with your other responsibilities? Will you have any conflicts of commitment between your full-time position and your volunteer time on the AUTM Board? 

I do not anticipate any time or interest commitments. 

AUTM is committed to addressing issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion both on the Board and on behalf of our Members. Briefly describe how your experiences can contribute to the Association’s growth in this area.

I have successfully supervised and collaborated with professionals from multiple gender, racial, ethnicity, and cultural backgrounds and orientations within academy and commercial organizations, and am confident that my AUTM activities would accurately reflect this experience. 

Advocacy for the innovation ecosystem is something AUTM has promoted recently.  How do you think AUTM should continue to be involved? 

I believe that AUTM needs to be much more proactive in guiding its members as to how to move effectively channel their immense innovative capabilities into more active leadership roles in creating regional and cross-member ecosystems that drive greater collaboration and force-multiply the value of individual members' contributions. 

Is there anything else you would like AUTM Members to know about you before they vote? 

America's research universities are the world's greatest. A small percentage of them "punch their weight" in terms of converting their research into innovation, and industry very much wants to expand collaborations. New approaches and energy are critical in this paradigm, and I believe that I could be a constructive part of this.