AUTM Updates

Dearie Will Bring Insights on Entrepreneurship and DC Dealmaking to Fireside Chat

John Dearie, Founder and President of the Center for American Entrepreneurship (CAE), will share a stage in San Diego with AUTM CEO Steve Susalka on February 18 as the guest for this year’s Annual Meeting Fireside Chat—a conversation that will explore Dearie’s insights as a Capitol Hill insider as well as an advocate for small businesses.

CAE is a nonpartisan research, policy and advocacy organization—founded in 2017 and based in Washington, DC—that works with US policymakers on behalf of American entrepreneurs and startups.

“I was absolutely thrilled and honored to be invited to be the Fireside Chat guest with Steve at this year’s annual meeting in San Diego,” Dearie said. “The work done by AUTM’s membership—the academic research and commercialization—is such a critical driver of innovation and entrepreneurship, both here in the US and around the world. I’m really thrilled to have the chance to share with all of them what CAE does on behalf of American entrepreneurs and innovators in Washington, DC.” 

AUTM has been strongly supportive of entrepreneurs as essential contributors to the technology transfer process—and the relationship between entrepreneurs and tech transfer offices is becoming even more interconnected, noted Ian McClure, the immediate past Chair of the AUTM Board.

“The AUTM Licensing Survey has shown that licenses to startups have grown over the last 10 to 15 years. As tech transfer moves away from being purely transactional and toward a venture firm approach with entrepreneurship coaching and accelerators, we must care more about the startup landscape, including policies that help startups grow. We are aligned with CAE's work here,” said McClure, who is Associate Vice President for Research, Innovation and Economic Impact for UK Innovate at the University of Kentucky.  

CAE does some policy work with the White House and other executive branch agencies, but most of its work is done on Capitol Hill, working with key members of Congress and their staffers, Dearie said.

“Most of our work is done on the Hill, where legislation begins, is debated, and passed. For example, most recently we’ve been extremely active in supporting and advocating for the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act, which, among other important provisions, will restore first-year expensing of businesses’ research and development investments,” he said. “We established the House and Senate Entrepreneurship Caucuses—the first entrepreneurship-focused caucuses in Congress ever—in 2019 to facilitate our work on the Hill, and they’ve been very productive. I think AUTM’s membership will find fascinating how policy happens on the Hill, how we pursue our agenda, what some of our top 2024 objectives are, and a few of the war stories I can tell.”

Orin Herskowitz, Executive Director of Columbia Technology Ventures and a member of the CAE Board of Directors, agreed that Dearie’s insights on dealmaking in Washington should resonate with Meeting attendees.

“John is a passionate advocate for America’s entrepreneurs and believes in this mission to the core. But more broadly, John is a rock star at working the halls of power in DC—the critical relationship-building, thought leadership, and system navigation that drives new policies and influence those already underway,” said Orin Herskowitz, Executive Director of Columbia Technology Ventures and a member of the CAE Board of Directors. 
"As an industry, we in tech transfer are very good at reacting quickly and advocating passionately when it comes to policy—talking to our own local elected officials, writing op-eds and responding to requests for information (RFIs). I think AUTM Members will find it interesting to hear John talk about how people and groups with a clear point of view (on march-in rights, for example, or patent policy) can be more proactive in getting things done in DC.”

This year’s Fireside Chat is sponsored by King & Spalding, an international corporate law firm.

“I’m thrilled to introduce John Dearie to my fellow AUTM Annual Meeting attendees,” said Alfonso Chan, a Partner with King & Spalding who focuses on complex intellectual property cases. “John is a thought leader in US technology entrepreneurship and a major proponent of the CHIPS Act. His Fireside Chat will provide insights into universities’ critical role in American technological competitiveness.” 

Dearie says he is looking forward to the conversational format of the Fireside Chat.

“It’s less formal, more interactive and, therefore, easier and more enjoyable to listen to than a formal speech or presentation,” he said. “It’s also more conducive to storytelling, which, after all, is a big part of entrepreneurship, so the format is perfect for the topic of discussion. Also, I’m Irish and love to tell stories.”