Dirk Benedict, CLP, RTTP,
is Assistant Director for Technology Marketing at the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center (LSU AgCenter), which primarily commercializes technology related to crops and natural resources such as sweet potato and rice varieties, food technology, agricultural engineering and bio-based materials. He is a Certificated Licensing Professional and a Registered Technology Transfer Professional with over ten years of experience in the technology transfer profession. He has worked jointly with three different LSU commercialization offices, including ones at the LSU Agricultural and Mechanical College, the LSU AgCenter and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center. He also heads commercialization of formulations and recipes from the LSU AgCenter Food Incubator that helps develop and test new products for food businesses. Dirk has been an instructor for the AUTM Essentials Course on topics including innovation assessment, research and marketing since 2017.
Alexander P. Ducruet, PhD, CLP,
is Director, Licensing & Intellectual Property for the University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute, where he is responsible for managing all intellectual property protection and licensing activities for Pitt innovations. The Innovation Institute is Pitt’s hub for innovation and entrepreneurship and provides a comprehensive suite of services for Pitt Innovators, from protecting intellectual property to commercialization through licensing and new enterprise development. Prior to the formation of the Innovation Institute, Alex led licensing activities for Pitt’s Office of Technology Management. Alex received his PhD in molecular pharmacology from the University of Pittsburgh. Alex is a Certified Licensing Professional and an AUTM Member since 2005.
is Executive Director and Assistant Vice President of the University of Iowa Research Foundation, the organization that protects and commercializes technology emanating from innovations by University of Iowa researchers. Marie is a Certified Licensing Professional as well as a registered Patent Agent with the US Patent and Trademark Office. She has over two decades of experience in university technology commercialization, and prior to joining UIRF Marie ran technology commercialization programs for the Indiana University system and the University of Virginia. She has extensive experience offering training to those new to the field of tech transfer in the US and internationally. She is an active AUTM volunteer and is currently serving as chair of AUTM’s Essentials Course committee and considers meeting Essentials Course attendees one of the highlights of her year!
Andrew J. Maas,
is the Assistant Vice President for Research and Director of the Office of Innovation & Technology Commercialization at Louisiana State University. Andy is an engineer by training with a MS in civil engineering from Brigham Young University and the University of Texas at Austin, respectively. He is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Texas where he worked for several years and grew a start-up engineering company from two individuals to 14 employees. Andy also has a JD from the University of Akron School of Law, and a LLM with a focus on intellectual property. His research focus for his LLM degree was "early stage patent valuation under the new America Invents Act." He has been published in the Journal of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and in Cement and Concrete Research.
Arundeep S. Pradhan, MS Pharm Ad, RTTP,
is a technology transfer professional, teacher, mentor and entrepreneur. Engaged in technology transfer for over 30 years, he was at the forefront of creating the biotech burst in Salt Lake City; helped develop the first biotech roadmap for Colorado; and helped create the first biotech incubator and the first translational research development center in Portland, Oregon. He served on the AUTM Board, was AUTM President in 2009, and AUTM Foundation President and Board Chair in 2011. In 2013 he was the interim CEO of a research tools start-up and currently, he serves as the president of Apio Innovation Transfer (APIOiX) and the vice-president for business development of Practical Biotechnology, an oncology therapeutics start-up. He continues to work with many clients across the globe on licensing and technology transfer related issues as well as mentoring entrepreneurs and start-ups.
Ellen Purpus, PhD,
is Assistant Vice President for Enterprise & Innovation at the University of Nevada Reno, where she is responsible for expanding the university’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. She oversees the development of enhanced enterprise and commercialization services, including technology transfer functions of patents, licensing, agreements, start-ups, spin-offs and corporate relations. UNR recently received a federal grant to provide assistance to small businesses with access to SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) grants, a federal non-dilutive grant to enable small businesses commercializing innovative technologies. Ellen formed the Nevada Research & Technology Corp. (NVRIC), an independent non-profit organization dedicated to supporting UNR’s efforts to commercialize innovations stemming from research, and is NVRIC’s vice president and secretary. She is a frequent speaker for AUTM and for the Licensing Executives Society, and has served on the faculty and planning committee of AUTM’s Essentials Course for many years. Ellen earned her PhD in pathology and cell biology from Thomas Jefferson University and completed her post-doctoral fellowship at the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health.
Brian Shedd, PhD,
is Director of Licensing for the University of Houston Office of Technology Transfer and Innovation. Prior to UH, he founded Precision Technology Consulting, a freelance consulting company providing technology commercialization assistance to companies and research institutions. He has also worked in university technology transfer roles at UCLA and LSU. He received his MS and PhD in mechanical engineering from UCLA. Brian is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana but has lived and worked across the US and internationally.
is Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications for Tech Launch Arizona (TLA), where he develops and executes marketing strategies, manages the organization’s web and social media presences, and works with leadership to help TLA extend its reach into both the UA community and the greater business community. Prior to joining TLA, he spent three years with University Relations Marketing at the UA. He made the jump from academia to business in the mid-1990s, gaining experience developing communications and branding solutions for corporations, nonprofits and agencies. Paul received his MA in Spanish literature from the University of California, Irvine.
Julie M. Watson,
is a patent attorney and member of the transactions practice group at Marshall Gerstein & Borun, LLP, a Chicago-based intellectual property law firm. A licensing professional with deep experience in structuring and negotiating deals to deliver strategic solutions, Julie concentrates her practice on IP transactions with a particular emphasis in technology start-ups and university technology transfer. Her prior work includes managing nonprofit IP licensing programs, including the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the American Medical Association. She received her law degree from Wake Forest University Law School and is admitted to practice law in Illinois, North Carolina, and holds a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. She is a Certified Licensing Professional, a long-time member of AUTM and LES and a frequent speaker and educator on IP and transaction issues.
Ray Wheatley, MS, CLP,
retired in 2015 as Director for Technology Commercialization in the Office for Technology Development at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center with 31 years of service. He has worked with US and foreign companies, including major pharmaceutical companies, venture capital firms and leading medical device manufacturers. After retiring, he joined APIOiX, LLC, as Director and now consults in a variety of technology transfer-related areas. He also and develops and presents educational programs. He is frequently invited to speak on various topics at many national and international meetings, specializing negotiation skills and advanced licensing topics. Ray has an MS degree in healthcare administration from Texas Women’s University and is an emeritus member of AUTM, who has awarded him with the President’s Award and the Volunteer Service Award.