AUTM Technology Valuation Course Instructors
Steven M. Ferguson currently serves as the Deputy Director, Licensing and Entrepreneurship. Prior to joining NIH Office of Technology Transfer in 1990, Mr. Ferguson served in marketing and management positions in biomedical firms subsequent to being a scientist at the National Cancer Institute. His healthcare experience has also included work as Director of Marketing and Public Relations for a rural 70-bed hospital. Registered to practice before the USPTO and a Certified Licensing Professional (CLP), Mr. Ferguson also holds Master's Degrees in Business Administration (George Washington University) and Chemistry (University of Cincinnati) as well as Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry (Case Western Reserve University). Mr. Ferguson has been an economic reviewer for Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) as well as the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) grant programs and is an instructor for both the USDA Graduate School and the NIH FAES Graduate School where he is also the department chair for the new Certificate in Technology Transfer Program. Mr. Ferguson was also the Susan T. and Charles E. Harris Visiting Lecturer at the Watson School of Biological Sciences at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and has published articles on licensing and technology transfer issues.
Rubén Flores-Saaib is Associate Director of Licensing, bringing more than 15 years of experience in both corporate and academic research, business development, and technology commercialization. Most recently, he was the Director of the Office of Innovation and Commercialization at UC San Diego, leading a team of 18 licensing, intellectual property, marketing managers and assistant directors at the largest technology transfer office of the UC system. During his tenure, the OIC doubled the annual number of startups and increased licenses by 50 percent. Flores-Saaib’s previous experience includes positions with Biosite (now Inverness), Chemicon (now Millipore-Sigma), and the Los Angeles BioMedical Research Institute at Harbor UCLA Medical Center. In 2016 he co-founded the San Diego Innovation Council, a nonprofit organization that brings together academic research technology transfer offices in San Diego along with investors, incubators, and government programs supporting academic startups. Flores-Saaib earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCLA, where he studied the molecular basis of embryological development.
Michael Sharer, Ph.D., MBA was most recently the Associate V.P. for Commercialization and Executive Director at Texas A&M University. He has over 25 years of experience negotiating and managing early-stage IP licensing deals in a wide variety of industries and applications, with both existing companies and new ventures. In addition to a Master’s degree in Business (finance concentration), he has also taken intermediate and advanced IP Valuation courses from the Licensing Executives Society (LES) and the Business Development Academy. He typically creates a discounted cash-flow IP valuation model to support negotiations for every licensing deal he participates in (n > 50). He has served as a member of AUTM’s IP Valuation Committee since 2018, and was formerly a member of the LES Valuation Committee from 2013-2018.
Rick Smith is the Director of Lehigh University’s Office of Technology Transfer. He has been engaged in many aspects of technology development, commercialization, and innovation, and was previously the Director of Technology Commercialization at Ohio State, Columbia, and Rutgers University. Rick began his technology commercialization career as a consultant for Innovaro where consulted clients on technology transfer with universities and federal labs. He has held engineering design and development positions in the fields of spectrophotometry instrumentation, optical network design, and underwater acoustics. As a corporate financial consultant he drafted business plans and facilitated the acquisition of growth capital for clients. Rick has Bachelor of Science degrees in Applied Physics and Computer Science, a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering specializing in Photonics, an MBA in finance and accounting, and a Master of Science in Entrepreneurship in Applied Technologies. He also has graduate coursework in economics, chemical engineering, and law. Rick received his CLP and RTTP certifications in 2014, and is a member of the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM).
Debora Stewart is a CPA and the Managing Director of InvotexIP. InvotexIP is a consulting firm that specializes in royalty compliance. Debbie has been working in the Intellectual Property Consulting world for over 30 years. Arguably, Debbie has personally managed more royalty audits than anyone else in the industry. She has worked with clients and their counsel testifying to both damages in IP infringement matters as well as breach of contract issues revolving around IP Licenses. About 20 years ago Debbie saw the need for a specialized royalty audit firm to work in the complex technology space with clients that were interested in receiving their appropriate royalties while maintaining a positive relationship with their Licensees. This was the catalyst for InvotexIP. The firm’s practice philosophy is one of polite persistence. Her firm is known for their publications of their royalty audit findings statistics as well as their ability to uncover large underpayments while relationships are preserved. With a dedicated staff of experienced royalty audit experts and resources around the world, InvotexIP works with some the world’s most prestigious universities and research institutions as well as the world’s largest for-profit licensing organizations.