Dr. Brad Fingland
Dave is Executive Director of the Michigan State University Foundation. In the role, he leads the Foundation and its wholly owned subsidiary companies Spartan Innovations, Red Cedar Ventures, and the University Corporate Research Park. Dave served as President and CEO of the University of Tennessee Research Foundation and also spent 10 years at the University of Illinois where he led the software commercialization practice.
Dave held management and directorship roles in venture-backed software companies from 1988-2000 including Wolfram Research, Kuck & Associates (acquired by Intel), IntallShield Software Corporation (acquired by Macrovision), and Argus Systems Group (acquired by General Dynamics). He holds a BA and MBA from the Gies College of Business at University of Illinois and began his career as a data analyst with Information Resources in Chicago.
Beka is the Director of Finance of the MSU Foundation and its wholly owned subsidiaries, including Spartan Innovations, Red Cedar Ventures, and the University Corporate Research Park. She oversees and manages all finance and administrative functions and is responsible for financial reporting, investments and banking, general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable, capital assets, and special reporting—among other finance-driven tasks. Ultimately, Beka provides the Foundation’s leadership and support team with timely, accurate financial data to assist and ensure the continued growth of the MSU Foundation and its subsidiary companies.
Beka is a Michigan native. She graduated from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, majoring in accounting. After earning her degree, she moved to the Greater Lansing Area, accepting an audit position with Maner Costerisan, PC, where she worked with a variety of clients, including non-profits, governmental, and for-profit construction companies. She then expanded on her audit experience by working for Silberstein Ungar, PLLC, focusing on SEC-regulated companies ranging from biotechnology to healthcare. With over six years in public accounting, Beka transitioned to a Senior Internal Audit role at Dart Container Corporation. She spent over two years performing audits over Corporate and Plant Functions, including IT, treasury, purchasing, cost recovery, and capital assets and inventories with an emphasis on internal controls, data analytics, and SAP implementation.
Beka is also a member of the MICPA. She resides within the Greater Lansing Area with her husband and three sons.
Before joining Red Cedar Ventures in 2018, Wesley was the CEO of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK – the nation's largest local moving company. Wesley received national recognition as a top franchise executive at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK. Wesley also served as the President of Accu Bite Dental Supply, an Inc. 100 company that was acquired by a Fortune 500 company.
Wesley began his career as an Audit Manager at Deloitte. He gained significant experience in leading and scaling private companies to record success. Additionally, Wesley has been an Angel Investor for over 15 years and is presently a member of the Capital Community Angels and the Michigan Angel Fund. Wesley served on various economic and community boards including, Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP). He holds his bachelor's degree in accounting from Central Michigan University.
Prem leverages over nine years of experience in venture capital, investment banking, valuation, and economic development to fulfill his responsibilities as Director at Red Cedar Ventures (RCV) and Michigan Rise Pre-Seed Fund III, which are the venture investment subsidiaries of the Michigan State University Foundation.
Prem brings a broad and deep knowledge of the innovation ecosystem in the Midwest and has invested in over 50 tech startups that went onto cumulatively raise over $500M. Prem began his career in venture capital as an Associate at Michigan Accelerator Fund I in Grand Rapids where he led the sourcing and diligence operations of that first-time fund. He next served as Portfolio Manager at Michigan Economic Development Corporation where he managed a large portfolio of tech startups and venture funds and negotiated complex forbearance, restructure, and conversion terms with public and private stakeholders. Most recently Prem was Director at Invest Michigan where he sourced, led investments, and was an observer in several portfolio companies.
Prem has a Bachelor's and a Masters in Business Administration from Western Michigan University and Grand Valley State University respectively. In early 2017, he obtained an MS in Information from the University of Michigan where he studied Health Informatics and Human-Computer Interaction.
Frank Urban has over 20 years of experience in various life science industries; especially in drug discovery and diagnostics. He has transitioned midway in his career from a bench scientist to a business development/marketing professional and has also been trained in academic technology management. He has worked for entities such as Parke Davis-Warner Lambert, Pfizer, the University of Michigan Medical School, Molecular Imaging Research, Charles River Laboratories, Everist Genomics, Wayne State University, and Spartan Innovations.
Urban holds a Bachelor’s in Biology, General Science and Physical Science from Concordia College, a Master’s in Molecular Biology and Graduate Certificate in Business Administration, both from Eastern Michigan University. Urban is the Director of Venture Creation for Life Sciences within Spartan Innovations. He has helped to create and oversee the process to assess, develop, mature, and fund multiple startups that have launched out of Michigan State University.
Dr. Fingland has spent his career commercializing early technologies. As an Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) at Spartan Innovations, he worked with Michigan State University faculty and staff to facilitate commercialization of bio-based materials technologies discovered or developed at the university. Before his arrival at Spartan Innovations he the lead materials research and lightweighting activities in the Core Science group at Tenneco Automotive, where he worked to develop the next generation of exhaust and suspension systems.
Prior to Tenneco, was at ExxonMobil where he investigated renewable fuels, catalysis, and hydroprocessing technologies that resulted in large investments in refining capacity. Through these roles, Brad has experience working with start-ups, national labs, research institutes, and university faculty on commercializing new technologies. He earned his B.S. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Missouri and his Ph.D. at Purdue University in Chemical Engineering with an emphasis on heterogenous catalysis.
Tom is a professional manager and business coach, with expertise in organizational design, program design, and operational strategy. Over the last decade, he has provided consultation to hundreds of organizations, many of which were new or emerging small companies. Tom is responsible for identifying and evaluating investment opportunities, structuring and negotiating transactions, managing due diligence, and working with portfolio company management teams to execute strategic growth initiatives.
His efforts have resulted in nearly $25M in new client revenues, 100+ new jobs, and over $5M in external funding for his portfolio. As Conquer Accelerator’s Director, Tom’s hands-on style creates an intentional space where entrepreneurs discover and put into action the innovations they already possess, transforming their ideas into profitable, sustainable, and socially responsible organizations.
Jeff Smith is Director of the University Corporate Research Park UCRP at MSU Foundation. In this role, Jeff manages and directs the real estate and economic development opportunities on behalf of the MSU Foundation. This includes development and construction within the Research Park system, and management of Research Park facilities, the VanCamp Incubator and Research Labs, and the Technology Innovation Center. His goal continues to focus on leveraging university, corporate research, and community technologies toward commercialization and expansion of the marketplace.
Jeff currently or previously served as an advisory board member for the Lansing Regional Chamber, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation Advisory Board for Redevelopment Ready Communities, the Capital Area IT Council, Prima Civitas Foundation, Entrepreneur Institute of Mid-Michigan, and the Capitol Collective. Jeff has also served as an adjunct lecturer at both Baker College and Michigan State University, teaching classes in economic development at both institutions. Jeff is a proud graduate of Michigan State University, earning both a Bachelor's in telecommunications and a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning. Jeff, his wife, and three children live in East Lansing and are proud to call the Lansing area home.
As the Project Manager, Gabriela works with the University Corporate Research Park (UCRP) and the MSU Foundation. Her responsibilities include daily facility management of three properties tenant management, construction and design oversight, and leasing. This includes management of the Research Park facilities, VanCamp Incubator + Research Labs and the Technology Innovation Center. Cultivating placemaking, engagement and collaboration with high-tech startup companies to expedite company growth and economic development in the Greater Lansing area are some of her top goals.
As a recent graduate of Michigan State University, Emily is starting her career as the communications coordinator for the MSU Foundation. In this role, Emily works closely with all of MSU Foundation's entities and is responsible for social media marketing, web and print content, and storytelling. She started at the MSU Foundation as the communications intern, working mainly with Conquer Accelerator and student entrepreneurship. Emily earned her bachelor's degree in communications with double minors in women's and gender studies and public relations.
Hunter is a recent first-generation graduate and Venture For America (VFA) Fellow, who is passionate about supporting entrepreneurs, developing economies, and advancing technology through investment.
Hunter has worked across the world as an investment or operational analyst for startups and investment funds including CrowdStrike, Pago Rural, Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), Kata Capital Partners, and Tuesday Capital. Hunter hopes to use his broad skillset to support Michigan’s entrepreneurs from the ideation to growth stages.
Hunter obtained a B.A. in History and a minor in Economics from Claremont McKenna College.
Matt Okoneski brings broad life science industry experience to RCV and is a strong proponent of elevating the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Michigan across all industries through early-stage investment and company building.
Matt comes from the Michigan Biomedical Venture Fund, where he worked as an analyst and supported several investments in seed stage life science spinouts from the University of Michigan. Other experience includes project management at the U-M Coulter Translational Research Program and regulatory affairs at Medtronic.
Matt holds an MS in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Michigan as well as a BS in Marine Biology and BA in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
Jamie has served as the Finance Coordinator for the Michigan State University Foundation and its subsidiaries since July 2017. She joined the staff in October 2005 as an Administrative Assistant. Her responsibilities over the past 15+ years have varied with each having had a significant role in the Foundation’s continued growth. Her biggest roles have been the oversight of donor planned gifts and currently full administration of the Charitable Gift Annuity program, in conjunction with Michigan State University’s Office of Gift Planning within University Advancement. She is responsible for approximately 320 annuities and its diversified investment portfolio backed by assets of over $352M.
Prior to joining the Foundation, she was employed at Michigan State University since 1994 in departments such as, the Clinical Center Billing Office, Mathematics, and MSU Technologies. Jamie continues to play an integral part at the Foundation with her combined 26+ years of experience servicing the MSU community. She is a lifelong resident of the East Lansing area, having graduated from East Lansing Public Schools and attended Lansing Community College to study Business. When not working, Jamie enjoys spending time with her family and friends traveling, watching sports, and building her dream home with her husband of 26 years (they are on number 3)!
Susan has worked in the accounting field for just over 15 years. Currently, Susan works on the MSU Foundation’s accounting/finance team focusing on Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivables for MSU Foundation, Spartan Innovations, and Red Cedar Ventures. Susan earned her associate's degree from Lansing Community College in Applied Science for Diagnostic Medical Sonographer and holds credentials in College Reading and Learning Association – Accounting Tutor – Lansing Community College.
Karri Christie, CPA, is an accountant for Michigan State University Foundation with over six years of experience in the accounting field. In her role at Michigan State University Foundation, she assists with recording, communicating, and analyzing financial information, with a focus on real estate properties and gifts of property. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from Michigan State University.
Chris joined the MSU Foundation in April 2019 as a member of the Finance Department. With a primary focus on the accounting and administrative duties related to the Foundation’s endowment, he works closely with key stakeholders including investment managers and consultants, as well as the Foundation’s Investment Committee, to streamline the overall investment process. Prior to joining the MSU Foundation, he spent seven years in public accounting, with experience in both tax and audit. Chris holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in accounting from Michigan State University and is a certified public accountant.
Jenna McNamara graduated from Michigan State University in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies. While at MSU, Jenna was a member of the Building Early Emotional Skills Lab where she conducted research to help identify and promote healthy nutrition-based behavioral strategies for Lansing families. She has extensive experience in leadership and community outreach and provided support to Salus Center, an LGBTQIA+ Community Center in Lansing, as the center’s first student intern. Jenna joins the foundation from Jackson National Life where she was a Strategic Support Associate for 6 years.
Kay previously worked in the Oil and Gas Industry as an Administrative Assistant, reviewing Oil and Gas Leases, sending documents to the Register of Deeds office for recording and organizing meetings. Kay also worked in the Investment industry where she processed paperwork for IRA’s, Roth IRA’s, and Annuities for client signature. Kay started at the MSU Foundation in 2014 where she currently works with the University Corporate Research Park as the Administrative Assistant for the UCRP Director. Here, she manages tenant leases, invoices for tenants and contractors, and Salesforce data input.
Nichole Maguire serves as the Administrative Assistant for Spartan Innovations & Red Cedar Ventures. In this position, she ensures the fluidity of day to day operations through database management, event coordination, and marketing and communications projects.
Nichole comes to us from South Bend, Indiana where she worked at two long standing non-profit organizations in Marketing and Development; LOGAN Community Resources, and Bashor Children’s Home. During her time at LOGAN, she also worked closely with the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns as a Community Based Learning Coordinator (CBLC).
Erik serves as the Salesforce Administrator for the Michigan State University Foundation and its subsidiaries. Erik is responsible for developing efficient processes within and around the instance of Salesforce. The data he manages is integral to the Foundation's programming, as well as the startups served by Spartan Innovations and the University Corporate Research Park. Working with each team, Erik helps streamline business processes to facilitate data input and organization.
Prior to coming to the MSU Foundation, Erik worked at Dynatrace and Compuware as a Salesforce Administrator and Team Lead for a customer support group. He graduated from Central Michigan University with a BS in Health and Fitness in Preventative and Rehabilitative settings.
Todd has worked 23 years in the automotive industry and 19 years working within the research park as the facilities and maintenance manager. Todd attended Lansing Community College from 1980-1982. Todd is a Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA).
Drew started his career off working for a construction company (Jeff Rouse Construction) doing residential trim carpentry for about eight years. Drew started with the Foundation, January of 2019, as a Facilities Specialist working closely with Todd for the first eight months, before the opening of VanCamp Incubator + Research Labs. Drew now mainly works at VanCamp, taking care of building maintenance and helping tenants with any needs they may have. Drew also helps City Center and the Alliance building as needed. Since starting at the Foundation, Drew has taken two electrical training courses (Basic Electricity & Electrical Troubleshooting), a Boiler Operation, Maintenance & Safety training and an HVAC Controls & Air Distribution course. Drew also become a Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA). Drew studied Construction Management at Central Michigan University
Kara Headley joined the MSU Foundation team in January 2021 as a Media Intern. She graduated from Michigan State University in December 2020 with a B.A. in Professional Writing and minors in Documentary Production and Environmental and Sustainability Studies.
Kara works a variety of jobs, including as the Communications Coordinator for the MSU Innovation Center, the social media specialist for Agnès Films, and an Editorial Fellow at Women and Hollywood. She frequently volunteers as Script Supervisor with Nain Rouge Films, a film company from her hometown of Macomb, Michigan.