Valerie McDevitt, JD, CLP, RTTP

Executive Director
AdventHealth Research Institute

Candidate Biography

I am currently at the AdventHealth Research Institute in the Research Services Office, since 2019. AdventHealth is the 11th largest health system in the country with the Orlando footprint alone having ~600 active clinical trials, ~400 investigators and a significant grant portfolio primarily with NIH.  I have leadership and management responsibility for the Offices of Sponsored Programs, Research Integrity & Compliance, and Intellectual Property & Development. Within these offices includes the clinical trials business office,  a regulatory core capable of supporting investigators starting their own clinical trials, and prototyping/funding to advance early-stage technologies for technology transfer. The Research Institute is a focused growth area for AdventHealth including: tiers of research support across the multi-state system (hospitals in 10 states); building on and expanding the technology transfer program, pursuit of NCI Consortium designation with Moffitt Cancer Center; expansion of the Rothman Institute to Orlando; AdventHealth University focused research; and a number of genetics research and data related collaborations and opportunities. I led a major Research Services department restructure 2019 through 2020. Currently Research Services has more than 60 employees and a number of additional positions in active recruitment.

Prior to joining AdventHealth Research Institute, I was an Associate Vice President with the University of South Florida Office of Research and served in various leadership and management positions during my 18 year tenure (2001-2019).  I was recognized for top performance on high priority initiatives aligned with the university strategic plan and statewide performance metrics resulting in promotions assuming additional leadership, program, and budgetary responsibility. Management responsibility in 2019 focused on new venture creation including USF CONNECT incubation activities, related grants, and the launch and management of funding initiatives including SEED Florida Early Stage Investment Fund. Responsibility included management of the incubation program including USF CONNECT, Technology Transfer Office, and economic development with over $7M in annual departmental budgetary authority including over $3M in legal budget. Staff of 19 full-time employees.

In 2011, I was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to the Unites States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Public Policy Advisory Committee (PPAC).  PPAC is a nine-member committee that represents the user community of the USPTO. The Committee reviews policies, goals, budgets, fees and provides feedback to the USPTO.  I provided input on issues that affect the startup and technology transfer community such as microentity fees and AIA implementation.

Candidate Q&A

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

I have held volunteer leadership positions in a number of organizations including - BioFlorida (Past Chair and Executive Committee), Florida Research Consortium (Executive Committee), and TiE TampaBay Angels (Access Chair)

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

AUTM National Meeting February 13, 2009: Moderator and Panelist: “Cheap Labor; Business & Law Schools as your Technology Transfer Workhorse.” AUTM National Meeting February 13, 2009: Panelist: “Start-up Death Traps.” Webinar: Bayh-Dole Rule Changes: What they are, What They Mean 2018; Committees and Task Forces: Participation in Public Policy Advisory Committee and the Public Policy Legal Team (sunset 2021). Previous participation on the Interinstitutional Template group. The Conversation; Leadership Forum panel participation 2015.

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

AUTM has been a tremendous resource to me over my career providing learning opportunities, an unparalleled phone-a-friend network of peers, and contribution to the evolution of our profession. A number of the leaders that I have greatly admired and who have served as mentors and resources for me over the years have served on the AUTM Board and expressed how valuable and fulfilling the experience was. I would welcome an opportunity to contribute back to an organization that has given me so much and supported a profession that has truly made my years in the industry ones in which I always felt that I had the best job on campus because of the areas I had the opportunity to work on!

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

Throughout my career, I have had an opportunity to participate in a number of organizations through membership and leadership positions. Participation has included strategic planning, chapter networking events, program and meeting development, advocacy, economic development efforts (company recruitment to Florida and start-up support), fundraising and sponsorship, and participation in topic specific webinars. Within the state of Florida, I have held volunteer leadership positions in a number of organizations including - BioFlorida (Past Chair and Executive Committee), Florida Research Consortium (Executive Committee), TampaBay Tech, and TiE TampaBay Angel group (Access Board Member).

Several years ago, I was fortunate to serve as the Chair of BioFlorida. In my role as Chair and as part of the Executive Committee, we work together to advance the life sciences industry in Florida. Among those efforts include strategic planning and implementation geared at supporting startup growth in Florida, recruiting new life sciences companies to Florida, supporting the industry through state and federal advocacy, and providing career and educational opportunities. With BioFlorida, I have also had the opportunity to lead in Program and Annual Meeting planning on several occasions. I served three times as program chair and led the pitch competition part of the program for multiple annual meetings.

TiE TampaBay is a chapter of the Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) which was founded in 1992 in Silicon Valley. I have been a member of the board of TiE for several years. I currently serve as the Access Chair. Our Access efforts are aimed at providing support and advancement for woman and minority entrepreneurs. I have also participated in Committee with the American Chemical Society (ACS) and Council of Government Relations (COGR). With ACS I served on the Committee on Patents & Related Matters (CPRM) around 2000-1. On CPRM we provided guidance to the association on topics that arose regarding patents and related technology transfer issues. We provided guidance to the Board on the creation of policy statements on legislation and pending cases in these areas. While I was on that committee, CPRM took the lead for the organization and prepared a nomination of WARF (with their assistance and approval) for the National Medal of Technology which they won in 2005. In the past with the ACS Division of Chemistry and Law, I was also involved with development of programing related to alternative careers in chemistry and topics related to chemistry and law at the ACS annual meetings.

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

Yes. As the field continues to evolve, I would be happy to serve in a Chair role if the opportunity arose. I am at a point in my career where I have support and an opportunity to contribute back to an organization that has given me so much.

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

A personal strength that I believe would be valuable to the AUTM Board of Directors is my ability to approach things collaboratively. My previous roles required the ability to establish and maintain working relationships in a challenging and ever-changing environment and help find ways to work together across teams and leaders that were in different areas of the university from the Research Office. In the different roles I have taken on over the years both within the University and with outside organizations, I have found strength in my ability to prioritize and not lose sight of the big picture. Communication and strong project management skills helped me guide my teams to where they needed to go and meet my strategic goals in often under resourced and often changing conditions.

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

At the University of South Florida, I was involved twice in the larger university strategic planning process. Translation of research and aspects of technology transfer were included in the strategies and tactics of USF’s strategic plan. Implementation of these initiatives required cross collaboration with the community, medicine, engineering, and other disciplines. Effective communication (both back to leadership and to the components of the university executing) and project planning were critical to our efforts being successful. The Office of Research also had its own strategic plan that included translation as a pillar. The Innovation Enterprise -technology transfer, incubation, high tech corridor grant program, etc.- worked collaboratively across campus and with the community and was an integral part of meeting the goals and tactics set. I have also been involved with strategic planning and implementation in my volunteer organization experiences with BioFlorida, Florida Research Consortium and TampaBay Tech.

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?

The terms of the AUTM Board position would fit in with my current role. While I have a broader responsibility across our research enterprise- my role includes innovation and technology transfer as well as genetics research and data related collaborations and opportunities. Hospital systems outside of AMCs are continuing to evolve and even entering the research/academic area -becoming “privademic” institutions. The opportunity for development and advancement of innovation and technology transfer is effectively supported by the large hospital enterprise, wealth of data and great diversity of patients and disease. At this point in my career, my current institution is supportive of my volunteer participation in a national organization like AUTM.

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 presently serve as the Access Board Chair for TiE TampaBay. TiE TampaBay is a chapter of the Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) which was founded in 1992 in Silicon Valley. I have been a member of the board of TiE for several years. Our Access efforts are aimed at providing support and advancement for woman and minority entrepreneurs. In collaboration with the TiE Chapters in North Carolina and Atlanta, we provided investment funding for women and minority companies and also launched a grant program that expanded our ability to contribute. TampaBay Chapter alone raised over $400K that was invested in the winning companies. Our TiE Chapter Access company winner from Miami, Florida is currently competing at the TiE meeting in Dubai! Throughout my tenure at USF, we supported the development of women and minority companies substantially changing participation in the incubator and consistently supporting a diverse group of I-Corps companies. Addressing issues of diversity, equity and inclusion is an area that I feel passionate about and would appreciate the opportunity to participate through AUTM board service.

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

I have had the opportunity to collaborate with my peers on some articles on technology transfer - citations below. I am really enjoying the opportunity to build an innovation and technology transfer program within a large hospital system in this phase of my career. I have had a number of past opportunities to participate in advocacy efforts in support of technology transfer, start-ups and  innovation- including past  membership in the Council on Government Relations (COGR) Intellectual Property Committee and participation in the Association of American Universities Patent Task Force. 
  • Herber, DonnaL & Mendez-Hinds, Joelle & Miner, Jack & Sedam, Marc & Wozniak, Kevin & McDevitt, Valerie & Sanberg, Paul. (2017). University Seed Capital Programs: Benefits Beyond the Loan. Technology & Innovation. 18. 305-314. 10.21300/18.4.2017.305.
  • McDevitt, Valerie & Mendez-Hinds, Joelle & Winwood, David & Nijhawan, Vinit & Sherer, Todd & Ritter, John & Sanberg, Paul. (2014). More than money: The exponential impact of academic technology transfer. Technology & Innovation. 16. 10.3727/194982414X13971392823479.
  • Sanberg, Paul & McDevitt, Valerie. (2013). Patents: Universities profit from products. Nature. 502. 448. 10.1038/502448b.