Dr. Bradley 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Tyler Kohrt brings a 360 degree perspective to early-stage startup investing at RCV through his multifaceted entrepreneurial skillset.
Tyler comes from Cleveland startup accelerator BioEnterprise, where he has consulted with over 30 health-tech startups to develop technology assessments, competitive landscaping, and market analyses. Tyler has also collaborated with the NASA Glenn Research Center to found a medical device company through the FedTech Startup Studio.
Tyler holds a Master’s Degree in Engineering & Management and a BS in Electrical Engineering, both from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Tyler is also a 2021 Venture For America Fellow, working to promote job growth and economic progress in cities with emerging entrepreneurial ecosystems, and will graduate from the Fellowship in Summer 2023.
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.
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.
Ben graduated from Davenport University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 2012 and spent 8 years in public accounting with a focus on tax. Now he begins a new phase of his career by joining the MSU Foundation’s finance department as of June 2021. In his free time, he likes watching sports, reading old books, volunteering, and he can hold his own at chess.
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.
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.
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
Melody Stokosa brings a myriad of graphic design, event planning, and advertising experience to Spartan Innovations. She has worked at several private companies in mid-Michigan, where she has helped in a broad range of areas including print and online design, managing trade shows, social media marketing, and running a company apparel program. In short, she loves to help wherever she can.
Melody is a third generation Spartan, graduating in 2016 with a bachelor's degree in Advertising, specializing in Creative Advertising.
Anum Mughal is a community builder who advocates for entrepreneurship as a means for social change, uplifting the under-connected and underrepresented. As the placemaking manager at the MSU Foundation, she strives to build a connected, vibrant, and inclusive community connecting innovation, place, and action.
Before joining the Foundation, Anum worked with the Lansing Economic Area Partnership. Understanding firsthand the barriers and challenges minorities face, she built an inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem across the Lansing region that provides entrepreneurs with the resources and support they need to turn their ideas into sustainable and profitable businesses. She designed One and All, an intensive community support program of aspiring entrepreneurs from the underrepresented communities, which received a gold award from the International Economic Development Council.
Anum also developed the blueprint of opportunity zones investment prospectus and stakeholder network for the Lansing region.
Anum volunteers her time to the Lansing chapter of Startup Grind as the community relations director. Before immigrating to the US, she ran a clothing boutique and a 3D projection mapping startup in Karachi, Pakistan. She holds a bachelor's degree in business and an MBA in management and marketing. Anum is a certified mentor program manager and a tourist ambassador.
When embracing moments of work-life balance, Anum enjoys time with her daughter, Aarya, and husband, Shaharyar.
Bonnie Dawdy serves as the Program Manager for MSU Spartan Innovation’s Grand Rapids Smart Zone. In this role, she assists the Spartan Innovation’s team to accomplish their mission in the development and commercialization of Grand Rapids’ diverse technologies and create a “best in class” organization to exploit the regions high-tech high-growth discovery base and innovations.
Her most recent position was as the Grants Program Manager for the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA). Her primary responsibilities included the successful execution and compliance of their grant-funded programs. She has 15+ years working within the Grant Rapids entrepreneurial ecosystem with 10 of those years for the Grand Rapids Smart Zone. She worked 28 years at Grand Valley State University in various roles; Operations Manager at the applied Medical Device Institute; Operations Director for both the West Michigan Science and Technology Initiative, a life science incubator, and GR Current, which was a spinoff of WMSTI with expanded emerging technology services.
Her educational background includes business incubator management, business finance , marketing, and civil and community engagement from GVSU and Davenport University. She is an active Board Member of the Michigan Innovation Business Association and an active member of the Native American Advocacy Council (NAAC).
Her passion is engaging with ESOs and “startups” with an emphasis on inclusivity and providing them the tools and environment they need to succeed within the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Kyle is focused on bringing new ideas, innovative approaches, and person-centered technology into the communities that need them most. He has a passion for linking industry, academia, and healthcare to develop high impact projects that are capable of scaling to meet unmet needs. Before coming to Spartan Innovations, he was an Assistant Professor and Associate Director at Thomas Jefferson University and Main Line Health, where he focused on developing industry-community partnerships to bring new technological innovations to highly vulnerable populations. Prior to Thomas Jefferson, he was at NYU Langone Health working as Director of Data for Technology and Innovation as well as a faculty member at the NYU School of Medicine in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Medical Ethics. Throughout his career, he has focused on using technology and data to improve the lives of vulnerable populations, ensuring a sound ethical framework for the development, testing, and roll out of new approaches and products. He earned his PhD at Indiana University and completed postdoctoral fellowships in medical informatics (Yale) and computational social sciences (Columbia). He is currently an MBA candidate at the University of Cambridge, growing his skills in entrepreneurship, innovation, and leadership.
Innovative and quality-focused, Janet Wyllie comes to Spartan Innovation with 18+ years of executive experience, delivering value by developing impactful programs, managing complex projects from concept to completion and leading high performing teams. Janet is an analytical, resourceful, and data-driven lifelong learner identifying opportunities and creating effective solutions. Embraces change with adaptability and poise.
Chris began her career as a retail buyer scouting products to place in 250+ stores for Macy's. Inc. She has also worked for the startups and tech companies that support the retail industry, including Facebook, Inc. and Pear (acquired by Custom Ink). While she loved this work, she wanted to more closely support and drive impact for founders. So she began applying her passion for emerging brands to investing venture funding into startups. She was formerly a venture fellow at Unshackled Ventures and NYU's Innovation Venture Fund.
She is a Committee Co-chair for BLCK VC and Mentor at the Tory Burch Foundation.
She has a BA from Spelman College, an MA from London College of Fashion and an MBA from NYU Stern.