Top-notch team

We are a collective group of entrepreneurial warriors, mentors, community influencers, policymakers and ecosystem builders. We live and breathe entrepreneurship and are dedicated to helping entrepreneurs all over the globe transform their dreams into reality.

 InBIA President & CEO

Kirstie Chadwick

Kirstie has over 25 years of experience at technology companies including Sun Microsystems, Mentor Graphics and Lockheed Martin. She has also held executive roles at five venture-backed technology startups, including her role as co-founder and CEO of DigitalOwl. She raised over $15M in venture capital for these companies, and is the former Executive Director of the Winter Park Angels – a 50+ member angel investment group.

In 2004, Kirstie joined the University of Central Florida (UCF) as the Director of the Venture Lab where she facilitated the spin-out of three startup companies based on faculty inventions, and mentored hundreds of local entrepreneurs in business strategy and financing. In addition to her experiences as an entrepreneur and investor, Kirstie led the financing and management of Florida’s Igniting Innovation and Starter Studio Technology Accelerators, which together directly resulted over $50 million in follow-on capital by participating companies. 

Kirstie is the recipient of the Orlando Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business Award, the Working Woman Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, and the Dr. W. Judson King Entrepreneurship Memorial Award. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Central Florida (UCF), and holds an MBA from UCF.

Email: [email protected]


Joe Carlucci, Director of Membership Development

With 20+ years in public, private, and institutional sectors, Joe’s experience is quite diverse. From project management, business development and coaching, capture & strategic planning, rural economic development, incubation development, and sales experience, Joe is our newest Director of Membership Development. In this position, he is our front line for any questions or challenges you might have, or if you just want to grab some coffee and chat with him about championing your organization’s cause. As our members evolve, his expertise in facilitation and problem solving across industries is a great resource for our members to take advantage of.

Joe comes to us shiny and new from West Virginia, where he worked as an SBDC business coach, and on his off time, built a rural incubator network spanning the entire southern half of the state called the WV HIVE. Joe also lobbied legislation in WV to change laws to accept crowdfunding initiatives, which is now being introduced to a rural market for the first time by partners in the state. Joe’s passion for coaching, building innovative ecosystems, and business development internationally is a force multiplier that our members can call on anytime.

Email: [email protected]


Mary Ann Gulino, Administrative Services Manager

Mary Ann Gulino has been with InBIA since September 2000 and has over three decades of customer service experience. She maintains the association’s database and online bookstore; responds to inquiries through InBIA’s information e-mail address; researches industry news for the association; and staffs InBIA’s on-site bookstore and membership booth, both at the association’s own events and at events sponsored by other economic development and incubation organizations.

A proud native of Cleveland, Ohio, Mary Ann earned her undergraduate degree at Kenyon College and her MBA at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Prior to joining InBIA, she worked in retail, serving as a media buyer for a national retail chain and managing an independent bookstore. Mary Ann is a dedicated knitter and volunteer “blanketeer” with Project Linus, which provides handmade blankets to ill and traumatized children. She lived in InBIA’s former headquarters city of Athens, Ohio, for 23 years before relocating to Las Cruces, N.M. in 2012.

Email: [email protected]


Erin Munchick, Trainings Program Manager

Erin Munchick joined InBIA in May of 2016 and has been working with its prestigious training program ever since. Hired as a Research and Training intern, she has built an extensive understanding of execution of course development, back-end logistics of the learning platforms, as well as hosting online webinars designated for members, entrepreneurs and other business seeking individuals, all of which has now granted her with the title of Training Programs Manager. Erin is now responsible for overseeing all educational curriculum offered from InBIA’s robust course portfolio. Aside from Training, Erin also utilizes her passion for marketing and assists with the outreach and lead generation of InBIA’s training courses.

She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Central Florida and has experience working for PepsiCo, where she learned professional development of customer relations as well as cold call sales, resulting in $100,000 of incremental annual revenue for the company. Erin thrives on providing pivotal content and curriculum to members and industry thought leaders to generate powerful impact within the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Email: [email protected]

Andrea Wesser-Brawner, Senior Director of Content and Research

Andrea Wesser-Brawner has assisted thousands of entrepreneurs, research faculty and others in starting technology companies, pursuing federal funding for R&D, and generating revenues. She has led the development and operation of five technology accelerator programs, some with federal partners such as U.S. Department of Energy and Economic Development Administration. Having managed such diverse and large regional initiatives, she has since become a trusted advisor to the development of entrepreneur support organizations, most notably in programming, funding and operations plans. She most recently handled business development and large federal grant management for BRIDG (formerly, the International Consortium for Advanced Manufacturing Research), an industry-led consortium for the manufacturing of sensors and photonic devices.

Andrea has also been an entrepreneur while executive in a number of micro- and nano-technology based start-up companies. She graduated with Honors from the University of Central Florida with her Masters and Bachelor’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering. Andrea is thrilled to offer members and other industry leaders who support entrepreneurs with rich content and easily-accessible benchmark data among peer organizations.

Email: [email protected]


Lindsay Schuenke, Director of Publications and Content

Lindsay Schuenke has been with InBIA since December of 2004, when she joined the training and events team. In her time with the association, Lindsay’s responsibilities have primarily focused on coordinating content and details for events, including the annual conference, the fall trainings and the advanced summits. She was involved in the inception and launch of the Business Incubation Management Certificate program and has helped plan more than a dozen conferences and several smaller tours and events. Over the years, Lindsay has managed hundreds of speakers, written thousands of session and course descriptions, managed dozens of tours, and been involved with countless other aspects of planning and executing the conferences and other events. In recent years, Lindsay has shifted her focus to be more specifically on content and to include editing and working on the association’s publications. Lindsay works remotely from her home office in Maine, where she lives with her husband and four children.

Email: [email protected]


Meredith Hall, Marketing Manager

With social media marketing, advertising, event planning, and project management experience, Meredith brings extensive knowledge to InBIA as the Marketing Manager. She is responsible for the content creation and community engagement of InBIA’s social media platforms; along with facilitating associated research, analytics and the administration and management of marketing programs. Her skills are essential as the organization expands its global presence across various digital media channels.

Meredith has past experience working at a Orlando and Tallahassee, Florida-based marketing agency. She graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Information Communications and Technology in May 2015, and is extremely passionate about marketing in the digital world.

Email: [email protected]


Patty Stephens, Program Administrative Manager

Patty Stephens joined InBIA as Program Administrative Manager in June of 2017. She is extremely detail orientated and is constantly looking to work “smarter not harder” improving the systems around her. Patty has 10 years of administrative and customer service experience, she most recently worked for JetBlue Airways as an assistant to the Chief Pilot. During her time at JetBlue she created multiple record keeping programs and systems to assist the pilot team company wide. Patty is a proud UCF Knight and graduated with a BS in Sociology in 2009. Patty grew up in an Air Force family and lived around the world, she has a passion for travel and experiencing new places.

Email: [email protected]

World-Class Board of Directors


Jamie Coughlin, Director, Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network, Dartmouth College

Jamie is the Director of the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network at Dartmouth College and the Founding Director of the DEN Innovation Center, where he oversees the development of entrepreneurial programming and the growth of new venture creation and incubation through the greater Dartmouth Entrepreneurial community for students, faculty, staff and alumni.  Jamie has a 15-year history in entrepreneurship, both as an entrepreneur and as an incubation professional.  Previously, Jamie was the CEO and Entrepreneur in Residence of the abi Innovation Hub, NH’s oldest business incubator.  In the process, he was awarded NHBR’s 2012 “Business Excellence” Award as NH’s most innovative nonprofit leader, was the former President of the NH Business Incubator Network, and recognized as a 2013 NH Union Leader’s “40 Under Forty” recipient.  An InBIA member since 2010, Jamie has moderated panels and presented at InBIA events.  Jamie received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University.

Email: [email protected]

Second Vice Chair

Leslie Lynn Smith, President, EPIcenter

Leslie is the president of EPIcenter, a collaborative and community-wide strategic initiative led by Memphis Bioworks Foundation in Memphis, Tennessee that is helping entrepreneurs conceive, launch and scale businesses across the region. She originally joined InBIA in 2010 with TechTown Detroit, where she ultimately became president and CEO. Leslie has been involved with InBIA committees and delegations, and TechTown’s SWOT City program won the Summit Showdown at InBIA’s 2013 Summit for Advanced Incubation Professionals in Santa Monica, Calif. She previously served on the boards for Midtown Detroit, Invest Detroit’s First Step Fund and the Wayne State University Innovations Council.

Email: [email protected]


Esther Vargas, Director, Emerging Ventures Ecosystem (EVE)

Esther has directed the Emerging Ventures Ecosystem at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. since 2014. She was incubator site manager and assistant director of the Office of Research and Commercialization at the University of Central Florida for eight years. UCF’s Business Incubation Program was named InBIA Incubator Network of the Year in 2013, and client and graduate companies won InBIA awards in 2014 and 2012. An incubation professional with diverse experience in corporate, entrepreneurial and university environments, Esther joined InBIA in 2007 and serves on the board of the Business Incubator Association of New York State.

Email: [email protected]

Ted Baker, CEO & Executive Director, Innovation Connector

Ted is in his fifth year as CEO and executive director of the Muncie Innovation Connector, a technology incubator and coworking space in Muncie, Ind. He previously built, grew and sold several successful businesses and is remains involved with several community economic development projects. An InBIA member since 2010, Ted has presented at InBIA events and served as a judge for the incubation awards. He currently chairs the boards of Hillcroft Services Inc., an $18M non-profit that serves the disabled population in Muncie. Ted was also instrumental in the startup of two other nonprofits that are still in operation.

Email: [email protected]

Charles Ross, VP of Economic Development & Community Engagement, Kennesaw State University

As KSU’s chief economic development officer, Charles provides campus-wide leadership in deploying University resources to support Northwest Georgia’s economic development efforts and engaging off-campus communities. He chairs the KSU Economic Development Task Force, is KSU’s chief liaison to the Cobb County Competitive EDGE Project, and oversees KSU’s Office of Community Engagement and IgniteHQ, a support organization that serves local entrepreneurs in partnership with the Cobb Chamber of Commerce. He previously served as a venture catalyst and general manager at ATDC, and has worked in early-stage telecommunications investment and has served on the board of the National Association of Seed and Venture Funds (NASVF), as well as numerous private company boards. An InBIA member since 2005, Charles also holds an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Marquette University and an MBA from Indiana University.

Email: [email protected]

Jorge Varela, Executive VP, Texas Research & Technology Foundation

Jorge is Executive Vice President of the Texas Research & Technology Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to economic development through investments both in early stage companies and in the entrepreneurial ecosystem with a focus on the biosciences and technology including cyber security. He is on the Executive Board of the Alliance of Texas Angel Networks, an organization consisting of accredited angel groups in Texas that come together to syndicate deals and share best practices. In addition, he serves as a reviewer for the National Science Foundation on Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR and STTR) grants.  He was most recently Director of TECH Fort Worth, an innovation super-hub focused on helping entrepreneurs launch and grow emerging technology companies. During his almost 5 years at TECH Forth Worth, he and his team contributed to the financial success of clients totaling over $4 Billion. From 2012 to 2017 he was Associate Director of Entrepreneurship at the University of North Texas Health Science Center.

Email: [email protected]

Krista Covey, Vice President Economic Development / Operations, VelocityTX

Krista serves as Vice President of VelocityTX, an innovation hub in San Antonio, Texas. Previously, Krista was the Director of the Pasco County Economic Development Council’s SMARTstart Business Incubator in Pasco County, Florida. She has an extensive background in banking and finance and experience in economic development, economic gardening for growth companies, business incubation, management, business development, marketing and public relations. An InBIA member since 2013, Krista has completed the association’s Business Incubation Management Certificate Program and currently serves as a member of the InBIA Board. She is part of the Startup Champions Network, and has served on numerous community and industry boards.

Email: [email protected]

Ron Duggins, Professor of Entrepreneurship, University of Central Arkansas

Ron is also the founding advisor for a public/private entrepreneurship support organization at the university. Before moving to Arkansas in 2015, Ron directed the Center for Business Development at Meridian Technology Center and oversaw the Oklahoma Technology and Research Park in Stillwater, Oklahoma. He also worked for Autry Technology Center’s James W. Strate Center for Business Development in Enid, Okla. when he joined InBIA in 2007. Ron has extensive international training experience and has presented at InBIA events. He also holds InBIA’s Business Incubation Management Certificate. 

Email: [email protected]

First Vice Chair

Devon Laney, President & CEO, Innovation Depot

Devon is president and CEO at the Innovation Depot in Birmingham, Alabama, one of the largest and most successful incubators in the United States. His program won InBIA’s 2011 Dinah Adkins Incubator of the Year, Technology Focus with Devon lead the effort to have Innovation Depot designated as an InBIA Soft Landings International Incubator, and he was a primary source for the Innovation Depot’s case study in Best Practices in Action from InBIA Publications. He serves on the executive committees of TechBirmingham and BioAlabama and recently completed a second term as president of the Birmingham Venture Club.

Email: [email protected]


Jeff Milanette, President, Innovation Partners Incubation

Jeff is CEO of the Ethiopia Climate Innovation Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and president and CEO of Innovative Partners Inc., an incubation consulting firm that has been an InBIA member since the organization’s inception in 1985. His many industry accomplishments include establishing the San Diego Incubator Corporation, developing the Rutgers Business Innovation Center, serving as president and CEO of the New Jersey Entrepreneurs Forum, establishing and managing PortTech Los Angeles, and consulting with numerous InBIA member programs and international organizations.  Jeff’s current project in Ethiopia is a World Bank initiative employing incubation and entrepreneurship to help the country adjust to climate change.

Email: [email protected]

Adrian Wallace, Executive Director, SEED Center Business Incubator

Adrian spearheaded the development of the SEED Center Business Incubator, which opened in 2013 and has helped create 210 new jobs and nearly $4 million in gross revenue. An InBIA member since 2007, Adrian previously worked in business development, city government, online training, laboratory research and small business ownership. He is certified in incubator management through InBIA and Wendy Kennedy’s training program and has moderated sessions at a number of InBIA conferences. Adrian currently chairs the Louisiana Business Incubation Association, among his many other volunteer activities.

Email: [email protected]

Lou Cooperhouse, Executive Director, Rutgers University Food Innovation Center

Lou has been an InBIA member since 2002 and is director and founder of the Rutgers University Food Innovation Center in Bridgeton, New Jersey. The Rutgers program has earned InBIA’s Soft Landings International Incubator designation and previously was recognized as “Incubator of the Year.” Lou is also President of the New Jersey Business Innovation Network and has significantly expanded this state organization, doubling its size to 26 members.  A frequent speaker at InBIA events, Lou is recognized as a leading global authority in business innovation, incubation, and industry clustering, and has over 30 years of management and entrepreneurial expertise.

Email: [email protected]

Angela Crane-Jones,  Executive Director, Nashville Business Incubation Center

Angela joined the Nashville Business Incubation Center at Tennessee State University in 2003 and has served as executive director since 2012. She implemented a service delivery and revenue diversification initiative, successfully expanding NBIC’s client base while reducing its budgetary reliance on service fees from 80% to 54% in one fiscal year. The Center for Nonprofit Management recognized these efforts with the Frist Revenue Development Award in 2015. An InBIA member since 2005, Angela’s business advising skills and leadership helped her clients receive multiple awards, including InBIA Client and Graduate of the Year awards in 2015, 2014 and 2010.

Email: [email protected]

Gail Gillian-Bain, President, Food Business Incubation International

Gail is the president of Food Business Incubation International (FBII). FBII believes in supporting entrepreneurs where everyday successful, innovative and high-growth companies are being launched through the support received from its members. FBII is able to open doors and create access to markets, facilitate industry-led activities aimed at developing international markets, assist companies to understand and implement food safety and traceability systems, and market attribute/quality standards. Gail is also the founder of Bain Consult, a team of experts who support client partnerships through entrepreneur program improvement and development in our client’s local communities and former President and CEO of the Canadian Acceleration and Business Incubation Association.

Email: [email protected]


Nic Zito, CEO, Rev3 Innovation Center

Nic is CEO of Rev3 Innovation Center in Naperville, Illinois and business services director at Choose DuPage, a county-wide economic development organization. An InBIA member since 2013, he completed the Business Incubation Management Certificate Program and spoke at the Orlando Conference on Millennial Innovation. Nic serves on the boards for the Small Business Advocacy Council –Suburban Chapter and DuPage PADS, a provider of homelessness services. He was honored as one of the top twenty business professionals under the age of 40 by the Daily Herald Business Ledger and is a recipient of an Entrepreneurial Excellence award. He is a trustee for Wayne Township’s six cities.

Email:  [email protected]

Paul Riser Jr., Managing Director, TechTown Detroit

Paul serves as Managing Director of Technology-Based Entrepreneurship at TechTown Detroit. In this capacity, he guides the design, execution and ongoing management of the nonprofit’s technology programming for early and seed stage companies. This includes support for startups in the form of business acceleration, proof of concept, university and health care system commercialization and incubation services. Paul is also an entrepreneur, chief technologist, information officer and systems engineer with more than 20 years of professional experience working with startups to global enterprises. He is a founding member of the Legacy Associates Foundation, board member and equity partner of B.L.A.C. Magazine, board member of the New Detroit Coalition, Motown Museum, Cranbrook Institute of Science and the National Advisory Board for the University of Michigan’s Fast Forward Medical Innovations (FFMI).

Email: [email protected]