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  3. Innovation Sparks: How Tech-Hubs, Incubators, and Universities engage innovators to thrive.

Innovation Sparks: How Tech-Hubs, Incubators, and Universities engage innovators to thrive.

@ 12:30
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    ​Event Description:

    This session will have a distinguished panel of experts from organizations such as the: National Security Innovation Network NSIN, Defense Innovation Unit DIU, and AFWERX giving viewers the insights they need to be successful in working with government. Panelists will share what their organizations do to support the innovation ecosystem. We'll look at how tech hubs, incubators, and accelerator programs can get individuals connected to programs that support their innovative efforts. The session will provide detailed examples of how universities have joined the ecosystem to leverage the intellectual property being developed. Specific programs with an overview of how they work, the tools provided, and the process to join a program are shared. Viewers will have a chance to ask questions of the panel and find out more about how they can benefit from the many programs in place. 


    Series Description:

    A series looking at government, private industry, and investor perspectives on how innovation happens and how it makes a difference. This series will give you insights on what others have done and how you can apply what they have done in your environment. Hear what works, what doesn’t, and lessons learned along the way. Hear from organizations such as the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), industry vendors, tech-transfer offices, and investors in what they look for and how they make things work. 



    Time: 12:30 to 2:00pm (ET) (9:30 – 11:30 a.m. PT)





    George Vukotich – Moderator, Visiting Faculty Member, DAU

    George Vukotich, Ph.D. is a visiting faculty member at DAU focusing on innovation and approaches organizations can take to be more successful. In addition to his work at the Defense Acquisition University, he helps organizations and universities set up tech and innovation hubs. His prior experience includes helping the City of Chicago build 1871 which has become ranked as the #1 tech hub in the world and the University of Wisconsin add a Smart Cities and Innovation hub. His educational work includes being a faculty member, department chair, and dean of a college of business. He has spent time in Corporate America with organizations such as Accenture and IBM with a focus on creating the future and what it takes for organizations to get there. He is an author and has served in the U.S. military.  


    Lt Col Alex "STOIKY" Goldberg


    Lt Col Goldberg is the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) lead for Strategic, Defense, and Commercial Engagement in Austin, Texas. He comes to DIU from the Texas National Guard Joint Force Headquarters, where he served as the Chief Innovation Officer and Managing Director of TMDx. Alex lead the Texas Military Department Joint Innovation unit (TMDx) and a portfolio of over 40 companies, which received more than $200M in innovation contracts. As an Air Force aviator in the F-16 and MQ-1/9, Alex has more than 2,000 combat hours in IRAQI FREEDOM, ENDURING FREEDOM, NEW DAWN, and NOMAD SHADOW. He is a former Defense Advanced Project Agency (DARPA) and National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) fellow, Stanford Ignite Graduate School of Business alumni, and a previous winner of the Chief National Guard Bureau Innovation Competition, Geospatial Intelligence Award, USAF Innovator of the Year, and Presidential Gears of Government Award. Currently, Alex is responsible for implementing the innovation strategy of the Office of the Secretary of Defense throughout the southwest region of the U.S, as well as acting as the primary liaison between the DoD and venture capital, private equity, and startup communities. His passion is in solving the toughest problems that face our nation, empowering others to have an impact, and in changing the culture of the Department of Defense to move at the speed of relevance!



    Abigail Desjardins, Venture Portfolio Director, National Security Innovation Network (NSIN)

    Abigail Desjardins serves as the Director of the Venture Portfolio and the Director of Enterprise Services at the National Security Innovation Network (NSIN). A transformative leader and strategic thinker, Abi is results-driven, specializing in strategic and operational planning and execution, business development, and customer success management. Her portfolio of prior experiences includes problem identification and novel solution development in the defense and national security innovation sectors.  Abigail has an undergraduate degree in International Relations from American University and a Masters in Applied Social Psychology and Program Evaluation from Claremont Graduate University



    Ali Mahvan, Founder & CEO, Terasynth

    Ali Mahvan is Founder & CEO at Terasynth, a company that is pioneering ultra-realistic virtual synthetic training solutions for both Defense and industrial enterprise organizations. Although originally from New York City, Ali has found a second home in Orlando, where he has immersed himself in the city's thriving technology community, and is a member of the Orlando Tech Council.

    Currently, Ali is focusing on accelerating novel, non-traditional modeling, simulation, and training solutions that can revolutionize the way organizations train the warfighter and high-workforce roles. 



    Warren Katz, Chairman of The Alliance for Commercial Technology in Government

    Warren Katz is Chairman of The Alliance for Commercial Technology in Government, an industry association representing commercial technology companies that would like to sell into government without being forced to become defense contractors.  In his role, Warren lobbies congress and the Department of Defense for changes to acquisition regulations that make the defense industry more of a meritocracy, reducing the barriers to innovative commercial vendors, and keeping the US ahead of its adversaries.  Prior to that Warren was the Managing Director of Air Force Accelerator Powered by Techstars, the first outreach activity for the US Air Force's AFWERX office to the traditional startup community.  Immediately prior to that, he was President of Neurala, a leading Artificial Intelligence company that develops an edge-based AI framework with continuous learning. He co-founded MÄK Technologies in 1990, the leading vendor of interoperability solutions to the distributed simulation market, later acquired by VT Systems of Alexandria, Virginia. He is an avid startup mentor, advisor, board member and investor with expertise in how to fund technology companies using government contracts. He is a noted industry advocate of open interoperability standards and commercial business models in defense procurement. He was six-term chairman of the Simulation Interoperability Standards Organization, the international not-for-profit consortium that develops standards for synthetic environments. From 1987 to 1990, he worked for Bolt, Beranek, and Newman on DARPA's SIMNET program as a drive train simulation expert, responsible for mathematical modeling of physical systems. He holds dual bachelor's degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering from MIT. Some of Katz's investments include Harmonix, GrabCAD, Neurala, Bevi, LovePop, Vita Inclinata, Mesodyne, Cleo Robotics and Notch Technologies.  He has received numerous awards and honors for his acquisition reform work, including being named the 2022 IITSEC Fellow, and being appointed to the Defense Innovation Board Task Force on Strategic Investment Capital.

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