Five industry veterans join Center for Commercialization’s Entrepreneurs-in-Residence Program, two entrepreneurs transition to start-ups

Five high-tech and biotech industry veterans with extensive experience as innovators, developers, entrepreneurs, and executive-level managers have signed on as Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIR) at the University of Washington’s Center for Commercialization, Vice Provost for Technology Transfer Linden Rhoads announced today.
As these five leaders are joining the program, two entrepreneurs have completed their service and are transitioning out to lead promising new start-ups.

The five incoming industry veterans are the latest to join a program originally conceived by the Center for Commercialization in cooperation with the Washington State Economic Development Commission, with funding from Washington State Legislature and additional financial support from the Washington Research Foundation.

The Center for Commercialization’s New Ventures group matches staff entrepreneurs with entrepreneurial researchers, according to industry focus. Entrepreneurs will assist UW researchers in identifying promising technologies and launching commercialization efforts by providing expertise in target markets, product development, and fundraising strategies.

“This highly effective program employs veteran industry experts to leverage the state’s considerable research enterprise in an effort to generate many more company starts and high-value jobs,” says Rhoads, who is also executive director of the Center for Commercialization, “It’s motivating that such talented and experienced executives are choosing to devote their time to identifying opportunity at our university.”

The following five industry leaders are the Center’s newest EIRS.

Ken Myer gained extensive knowledge of the state’s technology sector through his recent tenure as president and CEO of the Washington Technology Industry Association and in the past as board president of the Technology Alliance. Over a 20-year career he has led companies ranging from startups to those at the Fortune 100 level. Myer co-founded Interval Systems and positioned the company as a leading provider of lean manufacturing software tools for industrial engineers. He also led worldwide marketing, sales, technical, and customer service teams for Active Voice Corporation, which Cisco Systems purchased in 2001. Earlier in his career he held executive positions at IBM Corp. Myer earned an MA in speech communication and an MBA at the UW. In his new role, Meyer will spend time with faculty working on information technology-related research that might have licensing or new company opportunities.

David Kaplan is a Seattle-based innovator and entrepreneur who will concentrate on smart grid and supporting power industry technologies. In 2006 he founded V2Green to deliver information technology solutions that capture the full economic value of connecting electric vehicles with the power grid. He served as chairman, CEO, and chief technology officer until the company’s 2008 acquisition by GridPoint, after which he led the Electric Vehicle Business Management unit until February 2009. Earlier in his 30-year technology career he worked at Microsoft and Impinj. Kaplan holds degrees in economics and operations research and is the inventor or co-inventor of more than a dozen patented or patent-pending technologies.

David Croniser, an engineer and pioneer in diagnostic imaging, will focus his clinical, technical, and business experience in the healthcare sector. In the 1980s he founded and led one of the earliest ultrasound imaging companies, Quantum Medical Systems, purchased in 1991 by global industry leader Siemens. Croniser has consulted for numerous start-up companies focused on cardiovascular diagnostics, simulation software, and medical practice software. He returned to Siemens in 2000 to work on strategic product development, then direct ultrasound marketing efforts, and later work in the anesthesia technology sector. Croniser recently moved back to the Seattle area to drive the market efforts for a company focused on therapeutic vascular technologies.

Thomas Schulte, who has 30 years of experience developing medical devices and medical diagnostic products, will focus on working with UW faculty to position their research findings in the medical and life sciences areas for commercialization. Dr. Schulte spent 17 years leading research and product development programs at Becton Dickinson & Co., a Fortune 500 healthcare product provider. His technology management experience also includes successful product development in start-up companies like Micronics, Inc. of Redmond, Wash., a spin-out company from the UW’s Department of Bioengineering, and at Pelikan Technologies in Palo Alto, Calif., a company focused on diabetes care and glucose testing.

• Over a 21-year career at Weyerhaeuser Company, Terry Grant built an impressive record of achievement in new product development, technology commercialization, strategic partnership and business development, and management. Most recently he directed research and development for a $2-billion Weyerhaeuser business unit and led its bioproducts technology division. Grant earned a doctorate in chemical engineering and holds six patents, with two others pending. He has substantial experience building and leading multidisciplinary teams, enhancing intellectual property, and working in the international arena. At the UW, he will focus on cleantech opportunities.

The following two entrepreneurs are transitioning to new start-ups rooted in university innovations.

Bob Wilcox, an entrepreneurial executive with a history of building and leading world-class technology development and production teams, will be pursuing a new start-up company, Viket, to commercialize an exciting innovation coming out of the UW School of Medicine. Wilcox is also working with the university to form a Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering, where he will serve as executive director. The Center is bringing engineering and neuroscience together to improve neural researchers’ ability to gather, explore and extract information from the brain, and, conversely, use the extraordinary processes of the brain to inform engineering systems and technologies.

Jeffry Canin, former general partner with venture capital firm eFund and associate with US Venture Partners, will be moving on to Vitriosic, a company he co-founded to commercialize Professor Minoru Taya’s electrochromatic window technology, bringing glass partners and funding candidates to the venture. Says Canin, “Serving as an EIR was highly interesting and intellectually satisfying. The university and region will benefit from commercialization. I’m optimistic about future opportunities and hope our new company Vitriosic will contribute to job creation and the local economy.”