2018 Speakers


Chris Kelly
Former Chief Privacy Officer - Facebook

Chris Kelly

Chris Kelly is a Silicon Valley investor with a long track record of building innovative companies and making the Internet a safer place for kids and adults alike. As the first Chief Privacy Officer, General Counsel, and Head of Global Public Policy for Facebook, Chris helped the company grow from its college roots to the ubiquitous communications medium that it is today. Chris’ development of the site’s safety and security policies around real world identity and deployment of a highly-trained staff for rule and law enforcement are credited as critical elements in the company’s success.

Chris is an active investor in companies seeking transformational improvements in technology, media, and finance. Currently, he serves as Chairman of Fandor, a San Francisco-based streaming media company focused on independent film and visual expression, and Chairman of MoviePass, a subscription-based movie ticketing service with headquarters in New York City. Chris is a co-owner or  the NBA Team Sacramento Kings. As a member of the group’s executive board, Chris contributes his expertise in technology and management to basketball operations and the Golden1 Center. Chris serves on the Board of Directors for the San Francisco 49ers Academy, an alternative public middle school in East Palo Alto, and as Chair of the New Leaders Council, a nationwide leadership training program for young progressives. Chris received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University, a master’s degree from Yale University, and his law degree from Harvard University.

Learn more about Chris here.

Rob Shepherd
Organic Robotics Lab - Cornell University

Rob Shepherd

Rob Shepherd heads Cornell University’s Organic Robotics Lab (ORL). The lab focuses on cutting-edge bioinspired robotic design, creating synthetic adaptations of natural physiology to improve both the function and autonomy of machines. His work addresses four primary research areas: bioinspired robotics, haptic interfaces, soft sensors and displays, and advanced manufacturing. Professor Shepherd uses soft materials, mechanical design, and novel fabrication methods to replicate sensory organs, like dermal papillae (the ridges in fingerprints); to replicate organs that rely on actuation, such as the heart; and to power soft actuators and robots. He is the recent recipient of an Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Award, and an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award. Professor Shepherd’s work has been featured in popular media outlets such as the BBC, Discovery Channel, and PBS’s NOVA science documentary series.


Nasir Ali
Co-founder and CEO - Upstate Venture Connect

Nasir Ali

Nasir Ali is a resident of Syracuse, NY. He has been actively building the high growth entrepreneurial ecosystem across Upstate New York for the past 15 years.

Ali launched The Tech Garden incubator in 2004, followed in 2007 by the Seed Capital Fund of CNY, Upstate NY’s first angel investor fund. In 2010, Ali joined with TriNet founder Martin Babinec to form Upstate Venture Connect, a 501c3 non-profit that has helped organize five angel funds in Upstate; built an online communications platform that reaches more than 15,000 startup community members; created the UNY50 Entrepreneur Leadership group; and established the Upstate Venture Ecosystem Awards.

Ali is the co-founder and Managing Director of StartFast Venture Accelerator, Upstate NY’s only private capital-backed startup accelerator program. Ali’s investment portfolio of more than 40 companies have raised well over $100MM since 2007. He is also a board member and advisor to numerous entities including Upstate Capital Association of New York, the NYS Innovation Venture Capital Fund, Next Gen Venture Partners, Fitzgate Ventures and multiple portfolio companies.

Ali received his undergraduate degree in Physics from Princeton University. He also holds an MBA from Yale University.

Jay Amer
Director, Canada Investment & Trade - Empire State Development

Jay Amer

Jay has 20 years of international trade and investment experience through operation of his own full service consultancy, Amer & Associates Economic Development, and as a senior executive with a regional economic development corporation. He previously worked in technical and communications management roles with Ontario's electric utility. Jay provides global expertise in strategy development and implementation, investment and trade, marketing, government relations, incentive programs and site selection. He is a past President of the Economic Developers Association of Canada (EDAC), was involved in establishing and promoting the Innovation Cluster in Peterborough, Ontario and has a successful portfolio of work that includes development of economic development strategic plans, economic research and analysis for investment attraction and trade, marketing communications, government relations and funding programs. Jay currently represents the State of New York as Empire State Development's representative for Global NY in Canada. He is actively involved overseeing all investment and trade activities in Canada. Jay is a founding governor of Invest USA Canada, a Toronto-based organization facilitated by the U.S. Commercial Service and aligned with American Chamber of Commerce in Canada (AmCham Canada) to promote the U.S. as the premier destination for Canadian outbound direct investment and increase the number and value of Canadian investments in the U.S.


John Boger, Esq.
Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti

John Boger, Esq.

Previous to joining Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti P.C., John Boger was Senior Counsel at Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan, Inc.  Prior to attending law school, John worked for 8 years at DePuy, Inc. as a product development engineer and product manager specializing in orthopaedic implant design.  He also worked for DePuy–DuPont Orthopaedics, Inc. as the venture project manager, focusing on the development of advanced implantable biomaterials.

John is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Rochester- Edmund A Hajim School of Engineering - Department of Biomedical Engineering.  John also works with the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University.

David Eilers
Adjunct/MBA@Syracuse, Whitman School of Management - Syracuse University

Michael Furlong
General Manager, Syracuse Manufacturing Operations, Global Product Development and Supply - Bristol-Myers Squibb

Chris Horacek
Innovation Law Center at Syracuse University College of Law

Chris Horacek

Chris Horacek holds a J.D. from the University of Nebraska College of Law. Prior to joining the NYS STLC, Horacek served as VP Deputy General Counsel for medical device company, Welch Allyn Inc., in Skaneateles Falls, New York. For over 18 years, he provided corporate legal services in various areas of the company as well as managing corporate training functions for compliance related matters. His areas of expertise include business transactions, intellectual property identification and protection, compliance, and mergers and acquisitions.

Rami Katz
COO - Excell Partners, Inc.

Rami Katz

Rami Katz is the Chief Operating Officer for Excell Partners, Inc., managing Excell’s due-diligence and investment processes.  Prior to joining Excell, Rami served as the Director of Technology Commercialization at High Tech Rochester where he worked closely with entrepreneurs, researchers and startups to evaluate the commercial potential of new technologies,  Rami managed the creation of over 50 business plans that led to raising over $40M in funding from VCs, angels as well as grants.

Rami is an attorney that led a litigation, banking and corporate law practice in Israel, managing a legal team that directed the restructure of over $14M in corporate and asset backed debt annually, while growing the group’s revenues by over 300 percent.

After launching his own legal and management consulting practice in Israel, Rami was one of the founding members of a seed-stage investment group, investing and assuming leadership roles in seed stage, technology, ventures to provide financial and business development management.  The group launched 12 high-tech startups that were focused on advanced materials, internet technologies, consumer electronics and medical devices.

Rami earned his MBA from the University of Rochester and his law degree from the Tel-Aviv University in Israel.

Steve Lickstein
Newman & Lickstein

Steve Lickstein

Steven D. Lickstein serves corporate and individual clients as their trusted legal advisor. Prior to joining Newman & Lickstein, Steven worked in both the litigation and corporate departments of two of the most well-respected law firms in Boston, Massachusetts.

In his corporate practice, Steven advises all types of companies, from a couple of founders with an idea to more developed companies, in a wide variety of corporate and commercial matters. As an attorney at Gunderson Dettmer, the world’s leading law firm serving the emerging company and venture capital community, Steven represented major venture capital firms as well as leading entrepreneurs in the healthcare, biotech, new media, e-commerce, financial services, information technology, software and consumer services industries from the founder’s workbench through institutional venture capital financings, mergers and acquisitions, strategic transactions, intellectual property counseling and technology transactions.

In his litigation practice, Steven advises corporate and individual clients through their most sensitive disputes. As an attorney at Nutter McClennen & Fish, one of Boston’s oldest and largest law firms, Steven represented clients in family business and estate disputes, complex commercial and financial litigation, real estate, employment and intellectual property litigation. Steven’s litigation experience runs the gamut from the successful negotiation of disputes before litigation begins, obtaining crucial injunctive and other equitable relief, to international arbitrations, multi-month trials and appellate practice in state and federal courts.  

Steven is a graduate of Boston College Law School and is admitted to practice in the federal and state courts of New York and Massachusetts.

George McGuire, Esq.
Bond, Schoeneck and King, Syracuse, NY

George McGuire, Esq.

George McGuire concentrates his practice in all facets of intellectual property law, including, for example, patent and trademark preparation and prosecution, litigation involving intellectual property issues, patent and trademark clearance opinions, patent novelty, validity and (non)infringement opinions, due diligence investigations in merger and acquisition, asset purchase, or other financial transactions, proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board and the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, negotiating and drafting technology transfer and license agreements, and internet and computer law matters.

George practiced for five years as a patent agent before receiving his law degree. In addition to his practice, George is also an adjunct professor at Syracuse University College of Law where he has been teaching a course on Internet Law since 2004, and prior to that taught and lectured on courses in computer law, entertainment law, trademark and unfair competition law, intellectual property and technology transfer.

Ben Perry
VP of Technology - Quadrant Biosciences Inc.

Ben Perry

Ben’s career encompasses a wide breath of expertise including full stack software development, cloud computing, and blockchain technologies. Currently, he is VP of Technology at Quadrant Biosciences Inc. where he is responsible for software development efforts around the company’s functional and epigenetic assessment tools. Recently, his team brought the ClearEdge brain health assessment toolkit, an FDA 510k medical device, to market. Prior to joining Quadrant Biosciences, Ben developed software for the federal statistical system and public opinion domain. He received his master’s degree in Information Science from Cornell University.

Dave Quinn
Director of Diagnostic Technologies - Welch Allyn

Jack Rudnick, Esq.
NYS Science & Technology Law Center, Syracuse University College of Law

Jack Rudnick, Esq.

Jack Rudnick is an experienced corporate and intellectual property attorney who has been providing legal counsel for almost 40 years. He has extensive experience in commercializing new technologies and advising emerging technology companies. His interests are IP strategy development to maximize protection and return on investment, developing corporate governance best practices at public and private companies, and managing technology commercialization programs and ventures.

Rudnick co-founded Blue Highway, Inc. while at Welch Allyn, Inc. to locate and accelerate the development of technologies with medical applications. He continued with Blue Highway after it was transferred to Syracuse University in the role of Senior Vice President, Legal and Government Affairs. He is currently of counsel with Barclay and Damon. Prior to his appointment as Director of the Innovation Law Center, Rudnick contributed to the program as an adjunct professor, assisting Founding Director Ted Hagelin in the Commercialization Research Center from 2011 until 2013. He is an active member of several professional organizations, including the American Bar Association, New York State Bar Association, and the Association of Corporate Counsel (past president of Central and Western New York chapter). Rudnick has also served as the company representative to the Business Council of New York and is on the boards of a number of charitable and arts organizations.

Alisa Salibra
Sr. Director, Vital Signs Strategic Business Unit - Welch Allyn

Alisa  Salibra

Alisa Salibra is responsible for creating a long-term vision and accountable for developing and executing new product development, global marketing strategies, and portfolio lifecycle management.

Salibra joined Welch Allyn in 2002 as an associate product manager and has held several roles of increasing responsibility managing business performance and transforming analysis and insights into global product and marketing solutions.  Prior to joining Welch Allyn, she was a consultant in the Pharmaceutical, Biomedical, and Health Services group at leading consulting firm. 

She joined the Central New York Biotech Accelerator (CNYBAC) advisory board in 2016 and also volunteers her time as a board member for the Labrador Mountain Ski Team and the Skaneateles Elementary Parent Teacher Committee.    

Salibra earned her bachelor of science in Administration of Health Services, summa cum laude, from Ithaca College and her Master of Business Administration degree from Georgetown University’s highly ranked McDonough School of Business. 

Denis Sullivan
Partner - Barclay Damon

Denis Sullivan

Denis is a nationally recognized intellectual property lawyer and leads Barclay Damon’s Intellectual Property Group.  Clients value the depth and breadth of Denis’s capabilities.  As a registered patent attorney, he handles patent infringement disputes in federal district court and at the International Trade Commission, patent office proceedings such as inter partes reviews and reexaminations, and the preparation of patent applications.  His experience as both a patent litigator and a patent prosecutor enables Denis to successfully challenge and defend patents under the American Invents Act before the US Patent and Trademark Office.  He regularly serves as lead counsel in IPRs of patents involved in district court litigation.

Denis’ ability to provide clients with high-value intellectual property counsel is enhanced by his strong engineering background.  He graduated first in his class with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and worked for several years as a licensed professional engineer.  The technical background enables Denis to handle patent matters in a wide variety of technologies and industries, including health care, telecommunications, semi-conductor manufacturing, and oil and gas industries.

After graduating first in his class from law school, Denis began his legal career as an intellectual property litigation associate at Kirkland & Ellis.  He later joined an intellectual property boutique, where he became managing partner before joining Barclay Damon in 2011.

Jennifer Teagen
Partner and VP of Finance/Administration - Cayuga Ventures

Jennifer Teagen

Prior to joining CVF in 2002, Jennifer served in various senior roles advising and managing small, growing for-profit and nonprofit businesses including EMF Corporation, a small optical coating manufacturing company, and the Paleontological Research Institution, a science and research-based educational organization. Jennifer earned BA and MS degrees in Geology from Smith College and University of Cincinnati, respectively, and an MBA from Cornell University. Jennifer is on the executive committee of the Upstate Capital Association of New York, an organization whose mission is to increase access to capital for entrepreneurs and companies in Upstate NY.

Jennifer is an active member of the Ithaca community, including serving on the boards of Tompkins Trust Company, Tompkins Cortland Community College Foundation, Tompkins County Area Development, and Elizabeth Ann Clune Montessori School of Ithaca.

Michael V. Testani
Director of Industrial Outreach, Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science - Binghamton University

  • Date

    Thursday, November 15, 2018

  • Location

    Holiday Inn Syracuse-Liverpool
    Liverpool, NY - Get Directions!

  • Speakers

    Keynotes: Chris Kelly & Rob Shepherd

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