Student Associates 2013-14

Below are the Lassonde New Venture Development Center student associates for the 2013-2014 academic year.

Dylan Harnsberger, MBA student, Student Director

DYLAN-HARNSBERGERDylan Harnsberger is a graduate of the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business where his concentration was in entrepreneurship. He is currently in his second year of the University of Utah’s MBA program with concentrations in business development and finance.

Shortly after graduation he spent 2.5 years working as a sales and marketing representative for Amirsys Inc. based in Salt Lake City. His team at Amirsys performed market research and generated sales of new products used by physicians and residents to improve education and patient care. He is currently employed at PoleVault Media as Director of Finance.

Dylan is excited to serve as the Student Director of the Lassonde Center and use his experience to assist incoming students on commercialization projects.

Spencer Bacon, MBA student, Student Director

SPENCER-BACONSpencer Bacon graduated from Westminster College in 2008 with a B.S. in Economics, Honors Cum Laude. He then spent four years in San Francisco, where he was promoted to an Institutional Equity Sales person at UBS Investment Bank. When he finished, he was the lead sales contact for three accounts that managed over $10 billion in assets.

He left SF in 2012 to pursue an MBA at the David Eccles School of Business, and is set to graduate in May of 2014. Spencer had the opportunity to participate in an internship at Domo, Inc. during the summer of 2013, where he was on the product management team. He had the opportunity to work on very high profile projects and learn the product intimately. After finishing his MBA, Spencer plans to find a sales or financial strategy role at a tech startup company, ideally within the software space. He is very excited to return to the Lassonde New Venture Development program as a Director after having a successful year as an Associate during 2013.

Sourav Kole, PhD student in bioengineering, Student Director

SOURAV-KOLESourav Kole is a fourth-year PhD student in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Utah. His doctoral dissertation work, at the Alzheimer’s Image Analysis Lab, involves creating novel neuroimaging biomarkers to improve the diagnosis of neurodegenerative disorders. He has a BS in bioengineering from The Pennsylvania State University.

He is an avid problem-solver and has successfully applied these skills to the research, design and development of many different technologies, such as bioprosthetic heart valves, neuroprostheses, minimally invasive surgical devices, etc. Furthermore, he thoroughly thrives in a cross-functional team and environment, particularly at the junction of technology development and business development.

As a Lassonde Associate in 2012-13, he worked to build and develop the business aspect of an early-stage technology called SonoMargin, an ultrasonic tumor margin analysis device for breast cancer surgery, which won several awards and is now a startup.

He is very pleased to have the opportunity to serve as a Student Director of the Lassonde Center to help mentor incoming Associates on commercialization and business development.

Jed Benson, JD student, Associate

JED-BENSONJed Benson graduated with a degree in biochemistry from Utah State University in 2007, where he also worked as a lab technician investigating the mechanism by which asbestos causes cancer.  After graduating from Utah State University, Jed worked in the generics pharmaceutical industry for several years evaluating and reverse-engineering patented pharmaceutical products.  He also completed a Master’s of Science & Technology with an emphasis in science instrumentation at the University of Utah in 2013.  Currently, Jed is a second-year law student at the S.J. Quinney College of Law and plans to focus in the areas of Intellectual Property and Business Law.

Jed has a long-standing love of science and a passion for learning.  Due to his broad educational and professional background, he has developed a strong interest in technology-based start-ups and how to protect, manage, and leverage their intellectual property portfolios. Jed is the proud father of four children and spends most of his free time learning, exploring, and playing with them.

Jason Bentley, JD student, Associate

Jason Bentley is a third year law student at the University of Utah’s SJ Quinney College of Law. Jason graduated in 2011 from Brigham Young University with a Bachelors of Arts in communications with a broadcast journalism emphasis. He did summer internships at Vivint and Hill Air Force Base, and holds a great interest in how law, technology and society play together to make the world a better place.


Andrew Blonquist, JD student, Associate

Andrew-BlonquistAndrew Blonquist graduated from the University of Utah in 2002 with an MBA. After graduation, he spent three years working in US Bank’s commercial banking department where he analyzed the profitability and risks of the Bank’s corporate clients.  Andrew left the Bank to start his own construction company and successfully operated this business for seven years.

In 2012, Andrew chose to sell his company and pursue a law degree. Currently in his second year at the S.J. Quinney College of Law, Andrew’s focus is on business and corporate law. In addition to his industry experience in banking and construction, Andrew’s legal experience includes interning at the Utah Court of Appeals and working at a local law firm.

Brandon Drake, MBA student, Associate

BRANDON-DRAKEWhile attending Purdue University, Brandon Drake worked for two years as an electrical engineering intern with Caterpillar.  There he gained experience with Six Sigma and lean manufacturing.  He designed and implemented a streamlined web interface that resulted in a 30% reduction in engineering response time.  He also programmed an automated SAP-VBA reporting system, decreasing data analysis time by 90%.

In 2008 Brandon graduated from Purdue University. He began work as an associate engineer with Halliburton Energy Services.  He traveled for Halliburton all over the Western United States.  He trained more than 40 employees and 11 foreign engineers.  As a senior engineer, he reduced non-productive time by 47% and grew market share from 40% to 80% in his district.  In 2012 he grossed more than $8M for his division.

In 2012 Brandon left Halliburton to take on the role of operations manager at Western Petroleum (subsidiary of Pilot-Flying J).  He managed logistics for a fuel terminal that served more than 200 customers based in Utah, Wyoming, Colorado and Idaho.  He was responsible for a team of 30 employees that distributed more than 30 Million gallons of fuel and lubricant products annually.

In 2013 Brandon took the opportunity to begin his MBA at the David Eccles School of Business with an emphasis in management consulting and entrepreneurship.

Aside from his academic and career interests he competes regularly in 10k and Half Marathon Races, is pursuing his private pilot’s license, and provides foster care for dogs in need.

Stelios Florinas, PhD student in pharmaceutics & pharmaceutical chemistry, Associate

Stelios-FlorinasStelios Florinas graduated from Philipps‐University Marburg in 2008 with a state examination degree and received the licensure as a pharmacist in Germany (Apotheker ‐ Pharmacist).

In addition, he received an advanced pharmacy degree (Diplom‐Pharmazeut, Germany) Diploma‐Pharmacist and defended in 2009 his Master‐Diploma‐thesis at the Martin‐Luther‐Universität Halle‐Wittenberg, Germany. He is currently a Ph.D. student in pharmaceutics & pharmaceutical chemistry at the University of Utah in Professor Sung Wan Kim’s lab. His dissertation work is in the development of polymer gene therapy techniques for the treatment of cancer. Stelios always wanted to make the connection between science and business and is excited about the unique opportunity to be a Lassonde Associate. If you cannot find him in his lab he will be skiing, hiking, cooking or camping.

Kyle Gray, masters student in international affairs and global enterprise, Associate

Kyle-GrayKyle graduated from the University of Utah in international studies; he has experience for a non-profit assisting in teaching business and health fundamentals in communities in Cuzco Peru, as well as consulting non-profits in Cuzco in Social Entrepreneurship. He also worked on guerilla and grassroots marketing for Azul airlines in Brazil. For the last two years he has been working in Learning Abroad at the University of Utah, advising students and faculty as well as developing new programs and leading online and traditional marketing efforts for the office. Kyle is currently studying in the MIAGE program and focusing on lean and social entrepreneurship.

Kyle has a passion for travel, exploration, rock climbing, skiing, language, and music, and has goals to create businesses that utilize the Internet and technology to expand these passions and help others enjoy them as well.

Tam Guy, MBA student, Associate

This May, Tam Guy graduated from the full-time master of business administration program at the University of Utah. Prior to the MBA program, Tam worked in securities litigation, as well as purchasing in small manufacturing. During the program, she focused on business strategy. She enjoyed participating in the Lassonde New Venture Development Center, where she worked with a team to conduct market research and develop a business plan to scale iSTAR–an evidence-based curriculum using 3D modeling to build the skills of youth on the autism spectrum.

Josh Hadley, MBA student, Associate

JOSH-HADLEYA native of Kaysville, Utah, Josh Hadley graduated, magna cum laude, from the University of Utah with a BS in finance.  During his undergrad and as a first year MBA student Josh was Co-Chairman of the Utah Entrepreneur Series (UES), another Lassonde program.  He led a group of eight student directors and ten associates in executing state wide competitions for student entrepreneurs.  As Co-Chairman he was able to increase the level of fundraising for the program and oversee the integration of TechTITANS, Opportunity Quest, and the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge into the UES.  Josh’s involvement in the UES and his passion for entrepreneurship inspired him to become a Lassonde associate.

In the summer of 2013, Josh completed a leadership development internship with American Airlines.  At AA he established a new way to manage the ancillary products they sell.  In particular he conducted consumer research on a $30,000,000 product and created a strategic plan currently being implemented to further analyze 750,000 customers and modify the product according to insights found.

Josh is excited to again join the Lassonde Center, this time as a Lassonde associate, to further pursue his goal of leading and developing teams as an entrepreneur.

Alex Maiersperger, MHA/MPH student, Associate

Alex-MaierspergerAlex Maiersperger attended high school in both Pennsylvania and Michigan before attending one-year at Eastern Michigan University. He then graduated with a BS in public health from Brigham Young University, while being active in their healthcare administration and public health student associations.  Currently a second-year MHA/MPH student, his areas of emphasis are healthcare administration, operations, strategic planning, and business development. He has been actively involved on campus, completing projects through the Future Healthcare Leaders of America club, the Spark Healthcare Innovation Lab, and the newly established Institute for Healthcare Transformation.

Last summer, Alex completed an administrative internship at Timpanogos Regional Hospital, implementing QR Code technology into several service lines of the hospital. He has also completed internships at Huntsman Cancer Institute and for the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine.  After graduating, Alex wants to continue to blend his passion for healthcare administration and public health within an integrated health system.

Outside of school and work, Alex enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter.

Mark Mangelson, MBA student, Associate

Mark-MangelsonMark Mangelson graduated in 2008 with a double major in political science and Russian. Shortly after graduation Mark began working for CLEARLINK, where his focus was on B2B start-ups and ventures. As the Vice President of Business-to-Business Operations, Mark managed a $3M P&L while successfully introducing several new marketing services to market.

In late 2012, Mark accepted a position with Allen Communication Learning Services, where he is responsible for the acquisition and design of custom courseware projects within the Fortune 500 space.

Mark is currently a first year professional MBA student, and is excited to join the Lassonde Center to combine his knowledge of B2B start-ups with technology. Mark enjoys spending time with his wife and two children and is always looking for opportunities to squeeze 9 holes of golf into his busy schedule.

Tom Melburn, MBA, Associate

Tom-MelburnTom Melburn graduated with honors in environmental and sustainability studies from the University of Utah. Prior to transferring to the University of Utah, Tom was a concurrent college and high-school student in Santa Monica, California. Throughout his undergraduate career at the U, Tom worked to attain $100,000 from the associated students body for solar photovoltaic installations on campus. He then grew this initial seed funding 120% in five months by leveraging the fund towards other outlets. The David Eccles School of Business is home to Phase I of the solar project, with the Marriot Library welcoming Phase II by late 2013.

Tom’s passion for business and sustainability was further instilled during his fellowship experience at the global life science company PerkinElmer, Inc. While at PerkinElmer, Tom worked to identify and outline strategic investment opportunities for energy efficiency projects in company headquarters, medical, and chemical manufacturing facilities in the Boston area. Tom’s cross-functional role allowed him to work directly with senior-level finance, operations, IT, and environmental health, and safety personnel. In less than ten weeks, identified annual savings of $150,000 were uncovered in laboratory and manufacturing facilities.

Tom is eager to join the Pierre Lassonde Center this year to learn more about business strategy and development as well as the opportunities to partner with ambitious like-minded entrepreneurs.

Abhijit Mondal, master’s student in mechanical engineering, Associate

Abhijit-MondalAbhijit Mondal holds a Bachelor and a Master of Sciences in mechanical engineering and is currently pursuing his doctoral degree in bioengineering. He has also worked as a development and applications engineer in an advanced manufacturing and robotics firm based in Chennai, India.

Abhijit possesses a broad academic background in control systems, instrumentation, robotics, automation, MEMS, microfabrication techniques, nanotechnology, tissue engineering and cardiac electrophysiology. He strongly believes that the next technological revolution will come from the merging of such interdisciplinary fields and a broad knowledge base would be principal in developing cutting edge products. His current doctoral research involves the development of two and three dimensional microelectrode array embedded tissues for cardiac electrophysiology, under the supervision of Dr. Alonso Moreno at the Nora Eccles Harrison Cardiovascular Research and Training Institute. His professional goal is to build a career around developing commercializable biomedical technologies for research and clinical applications.

Outside research, Abhijit is fond of nature, wildlife and photography. During his time at the U, he has explored many nearby national and state parks. In his free time at the U, he enjoys biking, hiking, swimming, badminton and basketball.

Robert “Smitty” Oakes, PhD student in bioengineering, Associate

ROBERT-_SMITTY_-OAKESRobert “Smitty” Oakes is originally from Hickory, North Carolina. He attended Lenoir-Rhyne University for his undergraduate education and attained a B.S. in physics and a B.A. in theology. He relocated to Utah in 2010 to pursue a PhD in bioengineering and currently works for Dr. Patrick Tresco, PhD, at the Keck Center for Tissue Engineering as a graduate research assistant. His research is centered on the regenerative properties of extracellular matrix (ECM) and its potential to improve device integration in the central nervous system.

Dipan Patel, PhD student in pharmacology & toxicology, Associate

Dipan-PatelDipan Patel is currently a third year PhD student in the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology, School of Pharmacy. He is associated with the Glia-Neuronal Interactions in Epilepsy Lab at the Brain Institute where he studies molecular mechanisms underlying viral infection-induced changes in the brain functions which lead to temporal lobe epilepsy under the mentorship of Dr. Karen Wilcox.

He received a Bachelor of Pharmacy from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences in India in 2007, and a M.S. in pharmaceutical sciences/pharmacology from Northeastern University, Boston in 2010 where his research work focused on ethanol metabolism in mouse brain to understand the toxic effects of alcohol abuse on the brain functions. Before joining the University of Utah, he worked on the development of novel therapeutic compounds to treat neurological and psychiatric disorders at Pfizer Global R&D in Connecticut. His career goal is to become a scientific entrepreneur working at the crossroads of academia and the pharmaceutical/biotech industry. This is the reason which led him to pursue Lassonde New Venture Development Program.

Besides research, Dipan is passionate about reading (a range of topics most notably science, technology, nature, geography, astronomy, politics and international relations), exploring natural world, adventure travelling, hiking, trekking, and social service

Richard Pater, MBA student, Associate

RICHARD-PATERFor over 20 years, Richard Pater held many leadership and executive positions, in both the “for-profit” and the “not-for-profit” arenas. He has extensive experience in overseeing all areas of business activities, including, planning, directing, and implementing financial and organizational activities. He has served in senior management positions, as a corporate officer, a member of the executive committee and on the Board of Directors for several companies.

After his successful career in banking, Richard decided to take his career in a new direction and returned to school to complete his preparation. In May 2012, he graduated from the Honors College of the University of Utah with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics, a Business Minor, and an Undergrad Research Scholar Designation, Cum Laude. As part of this degree, Richard wrote a thesis titled, Financial Innovation in Mortgage Financing Instruments and Off-Balance Sheet Banking, which received an award from the Marriot Library. Richard is currently pursuing an MBA with a finance focus, at the University of Utah, and anticipates graduating in May 2014.

Richard is currently serving as the Vice-president of Finance for the Guadalupe Schools and was instrumental in helping the charity obtain a $10 million New Markets Tax Credit allocation. These funds will be used for the building of a new school for the charity. In addition, Richard is a student associate with the Pierre Lassonde Entrepreneur Center at the University of Utah.

Mark Pittman, JD/MBA student, Associate

Mark-PittmanMark Pittman graduated from the University of Utah in 2011 with a BS in political science, economics and international studies. He also holds a MS in international affairs and global enterprise from the University of Utah, 2012. Additionally he has several years of professional work experience including over 4 years as the firm manager of a local Salt Lake City law firm as well as his work in a variety of political and campaign related positions at the local, state and federal levels.

In 2012, Mark began the pursuit of his JD/MBA at the University of Utah. After the completion of his first year at the S.J. Quinney College of Law, he was hired by a prestigious corporate law firm in Salt Lake City working primarily on startups and small companies which provided him the opportunity to put his legal education to work before pursuing his real passion, business.

Mark also has a variety of international experience having spent the majority of his life in countries other than the United States. He is excited to work as a student associate with the Pierre Lassonde Center, putting to use the year of practical and academic experience that he has accumulated.

A.J. Reall, MBA/MHA student, Associate

A.JA. J. Reall is a native of Columbia, MO and received a B.S. degree in business strategy from the Marriott School of Management.

While an undergraduate student, he worked as a consultant for several small companies developing business plans and improving operations.  Following his undergraduate degree, he worked for Lockheed Martin as part of their Operations Leadership Development Program.  He executed many functions including operation system development, facility management, sourcing management, and supply chain management.

Currently, A. J. is a first year MBA/MHA student looking to apply his training and experience to the volatile and exciting healthcare industry.  In his spare time, A. J. enjoys roller hockey, rock climbing, and new experiences with his wife and daughter.

Jordan Renner, student, Associate

Jordan Renner, a Park City, Utah native traded in the ski slopes for beach waves and began his academic career at Santa Barbara, School of Media Arts. Jordan studied animation and marketing until he transferred to the University of Utah to finish his degrees in media & design.  He has identified the opportunity through his collaboration with the University of Utah SPARK Health Innovation Lab and the Moran Eye Center to innovate the practice, delivery, and research of medicine through digital design. Leveraging technological advances and their application to create synergies is the foundation of Jordan’s entrepreneurial interest. Jordan is actively involved in several projects that he is looking forward to bringing to market in the near future.

He is hopes for a better way to understand the relationship between creativity and financial side of business through his involvement with the Lassonde Center.

When not engaged in entrepreneurial endeavors, Jordan prefers to spend his time traveling or enjoying the outdoors with his family.

Chad Salvadore, MBA student, Associate

Chad-SalvadoreChad Salvadore graduated summa cum laude from the University of Colorado with degrees in finance and economics. He has worked for over eight years in a range of financial roles spanning government, non-profit and for-profit organizations. He possesses a strong interest in social enterprise with well-refined abilities to produce actionable financial analysis that balance the social mission and financial vitality of an institution. Entering the University of Utah as an MBA candidate in 2013, Chad is focused on leveraging technology to promote missions of profitability and social responsibility.

Outside the classroom, Chad enjoys international travel, backcountry hiking, skiing, cooking and relaxing with his wife and two hound dogs.

Chris Shipley, MBA student, Associate

CHRIS-SHIPLEYIn 2009, Chris Shipley graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelor of Science in entrepreneurship with an accounting minor. After graduation, Chris worked for Vivint, the world’s largest home automation company. Chris managed 40 direct-sales representatives that performed in the top 1% of sales teams in the industry. His team generated over $11 million dollars in revenue in just three years.

Chris left Vivint to pursue an MBA at the University of Utah. One of the primary reasons he selected the U of U’s full-time MBA program was the program’s focus on entrepreneurship. The opportunity to participate in The Pierre Lassonde Entrepreneur Center will support his passion for entrepreneurship and go-to market strategy.

Since coming to the University of Utah, Chris has served as the Vice-President of the Entrepreneur Club on campus. Chris has also been in charge of the Milestone Funding Program, a program that assists in helping fund students entrepreneurial ideas through their milestones. Chris was at Verizon Wireless this past summer as an MBA intern in their device-marketing department.

Following graduation in the spring of 2014, Chris will pursue a career in the technology industry. Chris has a wife and two kids. Chris enjoys golf, dirt biking, wakeboarding, and snowmobiling.

Brandon Skenendore, MBA student, Associate

JBrandon Skenendore graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Honors College at Boise State University with a Bachelor’s degree in health science studies and a minor in Biology. As part of this distinction, he completed an intensive year-long research project. During his time at Boise State he worked in various research and teaching functions. He is currently a first-year MBA student and chose the University of Utah’s full-time MBA program because of the fast growth of the business school as well as the opportunity to be involved in the Lassonde program.

On his spare time, he enjoys playing classical piano and guitar, running, biking, snowboarding, sports, and everything else outdoors.

Jared Smith, MBA student, Associate

Jared-SmithJared Smith graduated from BYU Idaho in 2010 with a B.S. in accounting with emphases in finance and entrepreneurship. During his time in Idaho, Jared worked for Renewable Tech Ventures, a venture capital firm, analyzing potential investments in renewable energy and green technologies. His research was used to obtain joint venture funding. After graduation, Jared accepted an offer with UMB Bank performing third party administration for hedge funds, fund of hedge funds, and private equity funds. While at UMB Bank, Jared received his CPA license and began the Professional MBA program at the University of Utah.

Currently, Jared works for a private equity firm in Salt Lake City. Upon graduation from the Professional MBA program, Jared plans to continue his career in either private equity or venture capital. He enjoys the outdoors, music, and spending time with his family.

Katelyn Wheeler, masters student in business and healthcare administration, Associate

KATELYN-WHEELERKatelyn Wheeler graduated from Brigham Young University having majored in family studies with minors in business management and gerontology. Her passion for geriatric care management led her to seek a master’s in business and healthcare administration from the University of Utah.

Her internship experiences at LDS Hospital and Legacy House Assisted Living allowed her the opportunity to better understand the continuum of care in the United States and how it is currently being affected by healthcare reform. She plans to take the best practices and ideas from her prior experience and education and apply them in the geriatric care setting in order to improve the quality of life for the senior population she serves.

Jiamin Yi, masters student in science, Associate

JIAMIN-YIJiamin Yi graduated from Hunan University, China in 2012 with a BS degree in finance. During her undergraduate studies, she applied her knowledge of finance and gained real world experience during two internships. The work experience Jiamin got from the accounting department in a petrochemical company and a futures trading company solidified her desire to continue a career in finance. Jiamin considered the opportunity to continue her education in finance at the University of Utah as a great step in her career.

After graduating from Hunan University in China, Jiamin was accepted into the Master of Finance Program at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business. Based on previous coursework and work experience, Jiamin has a great deal of enthusiasm for the field of derivatives.  Jiamin also piqued her interest in real estate finance after taking a class about real estate investment and appraisal.  This newfound interest in real estate was supplemented by an internship offer at the Zions Bank National Real Estate Department in the summer of 2013. At the conclusion of her internship, Zions Bank extended Jiamin the offer to continue on as a part time employee to coordinate with her Fall Semester class schedule.

Outside of school and work, Jiamin enjoys viewing most sports, playing basketball, reading books and watching movies.