Funding a decade of innovation.
Thank you for joining us for the event. We enjoyed hearing from our experts about the innovations happening today and how they will shape the next 10 years.
Co-presented by Ann Arbor SPARK and the University of Michigan’s Innovation Partnerships.
Click images to view speaker bios. Additional speakers coming soon!
Adam Rosenberg is currently the President of Vlasic Labs, a cannabis bioscience company founded by the family behind the nation’s largest pickle brand. Vlasic Labs formulates cannabis products and targeted therapeutics using exotic cannabinoids through collaboration with academic institutions including the University of Michigan, University of Miami, and Colorado State University’s Institute of Cannabis Research.
While attending the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, Rosenberg founded the nation’s first student organization focused on cannabis education and career prospecting, Green Wolverine. During that time, he expanded the organization to four states and was named a ZLI Entrepreneurship Challenge Finalist for his cannabis-focused venture, HEMPOWER Detroit. His involvement in education continues through speaking roles and as a Lecturer in the PharmSci420 Medicinal Cannabis Course at the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy.
Rosenberg has worked with the top cannabis-focused research and investment firms on each coast, The Arcview Group and Tress Capital, and was published in a white paper on cannabis investing in 2018. In 2019, Rosenberg owned and operated a 30-acre hemp cultivation project in North Carolina, Oasis Botanicals. He led the operation from seed to a successful harvest before returning to the Midwest to continue his mission of leading the next generation of cannabis industry professionals.
Walter Scott, PhD
Dr. Scott is Maxar’s Chief Technology Officer. He is responsible for Maxar’s next-generation commercial remote sensing systems, R&D, software architecture, and government relations / public policy.
Dr. Scott founded DigitalGlobe in 1992 as WorldView Imaging Corporation, which was the first company to receive a high-resolution commercial remote sensing license from the U.S. Government (in 1993), under the 1992 Land Remote Sensing Policy Act. WorldView became EarthWatch Incorporated in 1995. Dr. Scott managed the development of all of the company’s commercial remote sensing satellites. He secured the first-ever export license for launch of U.S.-manufactured imaging spacecraft on Russian launch vehicles (Start-1 and Cosmos). The company became DigitalGlobe in 2001, and with the launch of the QuickBird-2 satellite that year, offered the world’s highest resolution commercial satellite imagery. Maxar acquired DigitalGlobe in 2017, and today operates a 4-satellite imaging constellation with the best resolution, revisit, accuracy, and greatest capacity in the industry.
From 1986 through 1992, Dr. Scott was with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). He began as Project Leader for Computer Aided Design Tools for the Laser Pantography Program, developing tools to aid in the design of wafer scale integrated circuits manufactured. In 1987, he joined a small team developing a concept for a highly distributed constellation of small (microsat) space-based interceptors for the Strategic Defense Initiative, known as “Brilliant Pebbles.” In late 1987, Dr. Scott became Program Leader for this effort, responsible for creating a series of hardware prototypes and conducting flight experiments. In 1989, Dr. Scott led the program successfully through over 20 reviews of technical feasibility, system performance, military operability, and estimated cost, resulting in the adoption of Brilliant Pebbles for SDIO’s space segment in 1990. In late 1991, Dr. Scott was Assistant Associate Director of the Physics Department and was responsible for the development of new space-related programs and the identification of promising technologies.
Prior to joining LLNL, Dr. Scott founded and served as president of Scott Consulting, a UNIX systems and applications consulting firm. He developed Unix networking subsystems and a pioneering email system that used public key encryption for message protection.
Dr. Scott holds a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Mathematics, magna cum laude, from Harvard College and a Doctorate and Master of Science in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley. He was a visiting student for a year at Edinburgh University in Scotland.
Dr. Scott was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young in 2004 for the Rocky Mountain Region in the Emerging Technology category, and was inducted into the Geospatial Hall of Fame in 2017. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE and an Associate Fellow of AIAA.
He previously served on the National Research Council’s Committee on Earth Science and Applications from Space (CESAS) and on the board of directors of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC). He currently serves on the board of SSPI (Space & Satellite Professionals International), and is a member of the Landsat Advisory Group, supporting the USGS, and on the AFRL Space Vehicles Directorate Independent Advisory Team.
Ann Arbor SPARK
As Senior Vice President of Ann Arbor SPARK, Skip works with technology startups and early-stage companies. He focuses on preparing start-ups for equity fundraising.
He is the Managing Member of the for-profit Michigan Angel Fund which invests in Michigan-based technology companies that are capital efficient. The Michigan Angel Fund is the state’s largest angel group with 140 high-net-worth individuals looking for an above-average return while helping grow and diversify the state’s economy.
Skip has been successful in raising over $26 million in grants through the state’s 21st Century Jobs Fund program for the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund. This program provided very early-stage start-ups with small loans and matching investments of up to $250,000.
Prior to his role at Ann Arbor SPARK, Skip was the Managing General Partner at the Ralph Wilson Equity Fund, which was a $31 million fund-of-funds with LP investments in several venture capital funds. RWEF also made side-by-side direct investments in several early-stage companies.
Skip has 29 years of experience serving in management positions at several television stations around the country. His last position was President and General Manager of a Charter Fox affiliate in Indiana owned by Ralph Wilson Enterprises. During his time there, he started the market’s first independent news operation and directed the network affiliation switch to CBS.
In 2018 he was recognized in the first annual dBusiness magazine list of Detroit’s 500 most powerful people. Skip participates on both profit and non-profit boards, and was a founding member of the Michigan Venture Capital Association.
Roush Products Group
Roush Products Group
Joe Thompson is group president of Roush Products Group, working within the corporate structure of Roush and overseeing ROUSH CleanTech and ROUSH Performance Products. He is a member of the Roush Enterprise Cabinet.
Previously he served as president of ROUSH CleanTech since its inception, growing the company from six employees to more than 90. Under Thompson’s leadership, ROUSH CleanTech won numerous quality control and environmental awards, including Supplier of the Year from Blue Bird and a Michigan Green Leader honorable mention. He appeared live on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street with Rick Santelli and is a recipient of the 2013 Green Fleet Sustainability All-Star award.
Thompson has worked with Roush since 1996. In his previous appointment as vice president and general manager, he helped establish ROUSH Performance as one of the premier brands in the automotive aftermarket segment.
Raised in Ohio, he earned a degree in public relations from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism. He lives with his wife, two sons, and a vizsla retriever in Ann Arbor, Mich. He is a sports enthusiast and is committed to a healthy lifestyle.
Tony Tomczak is the vice president of Electric Sales and Marketing for DTE Energy. Tomczak is responsible for developing and executing marketing and sales growth value add programs including Major Accounts, Community Lighting, and Joint Use Businesses. Economic Development and business attraction is a vital and important responsibility of Tomczak’s role along with promoting and supporting customers in the transition to Electric Vehicles and Electrification.
Tomczak joined DTE Energy in 2006. He most recently served as vice president of Corporate Services and chief procurement officer where he was responsible for strategic management of the company’s procurement, supplier performance management, warehousing, fleet, facilities, and real estate organizations.
Prior to that position, he served as director of Supply Chain Management where he was responsible for all non-fuel purchases, materials planning, contract development and performance, and warehouse operations for DTE Energy.
Prior to joining DTE Energy, Tomczak was vice president of Purchasing for Tower Automotive, responsible for materials and services expenditures. Tomczak earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University and a Master of Science degree in Industrial Operations with distinction from Lawrence Technological University.
Tomczak was selected as the 2019 Chief Procurement Officer of the Year by the National Minority Supplier Development Council. He also received the 2019 Community Leader Award from Results Mentoring. He is the 2018 chairman of the board of directors of the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council and a member of the Utility Purchasing Management Group 2018 Executive Committee. In 2017, he was the chairman of the Electric Utility Industry Sustainable Supply Chain Alliance.