2031: What the Future Holds
Funding a decade of innovation.
Wednesday, October 6 | 2 – 4 p.m.
Free Virtual Attendance
Join us for an insightful tech forecast as global thought leaders discuss trends and revolutionary products in healthcare, IoT, AR/VR, mobility, and other driving industries that have a foothold in the region.
Hear from futurists as they explore tomorrow’s predictions and possibilities, October 6 at 2 p.m.
Co-presented by Ann Arbor SPARK and the University of Michigan Office of Tech Transfer.
University of Michigan
Office of Tech Transfer
University of Michigan Office of Tech Transfer
Mike leads the Tech Transfer Venture Center working with U-M faculty, staff, and students on new company formation based on intellectual property discovered and developed at the University of Michigan’s 19 schools. He will also manage the investment activity of the Accelerate Blue Fund. Mike has over 30 years of entrepreneurial, senior management, and venture fund experience in both the public and private sectors.
Before joining the University of Michigan, Mike was the vice president of Business Acceleration at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation where he oversaw a $250 million portfolio of investments in over 150 early-stage technology companies. Prior to the MEDC, he was an assistant vice president at Forest Health Services where he managed a $50 million corporate venture fund that focused on life sciences, IT, and manufacturing opportunities.
Mike has directed several successful company exits and is the founder of four companies. He has served on numerous profit and non-profit boards and advisory boards including; eBay, PayPal, Compendia Biosciences, Online Technologies, the College of Creative Studies in Detroit, and the Ann Arbor Local Development Financial Authority. He remains very active in the Michigan startup community working with Invest Michigan, Ann Arbor SPARK, Invest Detroit, Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, Great Lakes Entrepreneur’s Quest, TechArb, DTE Energy Business Plan Competition, and many others.
Mike earned his MBA with concentrations in corporate strategy and marketing and MS in natural resource management from the University of Michigan. He also holds a BS in history and political science from Eastern Michigan University.
Ann Arbor SPARK
Skip Simms joined Ann Arbor SPARK in 2006 as Director of Entrepreneurial Services and was its second employee. In 2011, he was named Senior Vice President. Skip oversees all the entrepreneurial activities including incubators, business accelerator programs, and all capital programs.
He was the architect of the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund co-investment program, the multiple microloan programs managed by SPARK, and the MI Innovation Equipment Depot. His newest initiative is the Michigan Angel Fund.
Skip has nearly fifteen years of experience in financing and investments. Prior to joining Ann Arbor SPARK, he was the Managing General Partner at the Ralph Wilson Equity Fund, a $31 million fund-of-funds.
Skip was a charter member of the Michigan Venture Capital Association and currently serves on their Board of Directors. He is a past board member of the New Enterprise Forum. You may have seen him at an entrepreneur event or program, as he is often asked to serve on panels or make presentations regarding start-up funding.
Scientific discovery is one of humanity’s most important endeavors. Using the tools of exploration, we can better understand our world and our universe and ultimately learn more about ourselves. All discovery is interconnected, and no important question stands alone. As NASA’s Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen is tasked with helping us answer some of humanity’s biggest questions: Where did we come from? Are we alone? How does the universe work? Dr. Zurbuchen is well versed in the practice of asking difficult questions that help us seek interconnected answers leading to real-world impacts. He is keenly interested in innovation and how leadership is developed and how the pursuit of excellence can help change the world.
Growing up in Switzerland, Dr. Zurbuchen was a keen observer of the natural world from an early age. His curiosity led him to pursue degrees in physics, and he has served on and led innovative scientific teams that have helped enlarge our perspective on the solar system and the universe. Previous points of focus have been the planet Mercury and our Sun. He was also a professor of space science and aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He was the founding director of U-M’s Center for Entrepreneurship at the College of Engineering and developed and ran several campus-wide innovation initiatives, one of which led to the top-ranked undergraduate entrepreneurship program nationally.
On a daily basis, Zurbuchen works to ensure that NASA’s science missions build partnerships across disciplines and with industry and other nations to generate new questions and help advance the frontiers of knowledge and exploration. He brings a wealth of scientific research, engineering experience, and hands-on knowledge to NASA’s world-class team of scientists and engineers. Zurbuchen sets the NASA Science strategy and inspires the teams to carry it out.
During his career, Zurbuchen has authored or co-authored more than 200 articles in peer-reviewed journals in solar and heliospheric phenomena. He earned his doctorate and Master of Science degrees in physics from the University of Bern in Switzerland. His honors include multiple NASA group achievement awards, induction as a member of the International Academy of Astronautics, a NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, and the 2018 Heinrich-Greinacher prize, the leading science-related recognition from the University of Bern. Zurbuchen engages people worldwide with NASA’s work and the inspiration of science.