SBIR/STTR, Federal Grants & Contracts
Anna Bier brings extensive experience with federal grants and contracts to the MI-SBDC as well as engineering research and development and other various aspects of creating and running many divisions of a high-tech business enterprise.
Before joining the MI-SBDC, Anna spent seven years as the Vice President/Chief Financial Officer/Scientist of her co-owned, small, high-tech business in Virginia with approximately 30 employees and seven consultants. As such, she has researched, written, negotiated and managed over 30 Phase I and Phase II SBIR and STTR contracts/grants for several U.S. Government agencies including the DoE, DoT, NSF, NIH, NRC, EPA, USDA, DoD, and NIST. Before the company was sold, three products were moved successfully into Phase III commercialization. Additionally, she has written, presented and published several papers at various conferences relating to her engineering and scientific research and served as a technology and commercialization advisor for the NSF, DoE, and NIH proposal programs.
Anna received a master’s degree in business administration from Virginia Tech in 2002. She also received a master’s degree in physics from Texas A&M University in 1995 and a bachelor’s degree in physics from Virginia Tech in 1993.
Business Development and Project Manager
With over 15 years of state-level economic development experience, Toni has established many relationships with key local economic development practitioners and Michigan companies. She spent many years assisting second-stage and mature companies expand and grow in Michigan. Now she’s assisting the state’s most innovative entrepreneurs by managing the Emerging Technologies Fund and Business Accelerator Fund.
Toni earned her bachelor’s degree with a concentration in cultural anthropology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Melanie de Vries
EdTech, FinTech, SecureTech, SaaS, Go-To-Market and Commercialization Strategy and Tactics, Complex B2B Sales and Client Management, Customer, Market and Competitive Research and Analysis
Melanie has over 20 years of experience in driving growth strategy for early-stage software, education technology, professional services, nonprofit, alternative energy, manufacturing, and health services organizations. She has a history of success in developing marketing and sales programs that build and improve on the profitability of companies.
Her recent experience includes serving as CEO and Co-Founder of PaymentScholar (an edtech start-up). She has worked in the entrepreneurial ecosystem as an independent consultant advising start-up organizations on strategic planning, market positioning, market analysis, brand development, and customer discovery. She has also served as the senior marketing officer for Deloitte & Touche/Deloitte Consulting, The Learning Care Group and ForeSee Results. In these roles, she oversaw the execution of business and marketing strategies to drive growth and increase market share.
Melanie is a graduate of the University of Michigan.
Transportation, Technology Road Mapping, Patent Landscaping, Strategic Planning, Scenario Planning, Business Model Development
Dave uses his expertise to expand the capability of entrepreneurial and startup companies to use technology roadmapping and other highly visual techniques to better target their work to meet the latent and explicit needs of the market and identify required resources, complementary technologies, and partners to ensure successful commercialization. He provides consulting, training and tool development to the MI-SBDC.
Dave has a degree in mechanical engineering from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Robert has spent the past several years working as CFO for several start-up entities, including Wave Aircraft Corporation and Advanced Predictive Analytics, Inc. He has provided consulting advice, including financial modeling and business plan writing, for various individuals considering launching new businesses.
From 1999 to 2010, Robert was corporate controller and then CFO for DataCore Software Corporation, a $30 million software developer located in Fort Lauderdale, FL. As corporate controller, he created the legal structure for DataCore¹s international presence, opening subsidiaries in Europe, Asia, and North America. As Vice President Finance, Robert negotiated receivables-based loan agreements that helped the company bridge and survive the tech crash of 2000-2003. As CFO, he was a member of the executive management with board-level responsibilities.
Robert earned both a bachelor’s degree in economics and an MBA in finance from the University of Michigan.
Clay has deep practical experience in open innovation, intelligence, business development, strategy, and alliance management. From 2014-2018 he was an independent innovation and growth strategy advisor for stat-ups, large companies and nonprofits. He has served as adjunct instructor for the NSF Innovation Corps program and mentor for Detroit Techstars and GAMIC programs with a focus on transportation, advanced mobility and energy.
Prior to 2014 he was an executive at General Motors R&D where he held leadership positions in corporate and advanced technology strategy, alliance management, and innovation commercialization. He was a founding member and VP of GM’s corporate venture capital arm, GM Ventures, and led commercialization due diligence for the R&D Center’s open innovation and internal start-up program. Earlier in his career he managed international product and portfolio planning and new business development initiatives.
Clay holds a BA from Trinity College and an MBA from Columbia University. In between degrees he served as an intelligence officer with the U.S. Navy for six years.
Defense, Agriculture & Aerospace
Alain brings extensive experience in organizational development, manufacturing, R&D, market development, technology transfer and international expansion to the team.
He most recently served as president of an advanced manufacturing company, which was a technology spinout from a large automotive supplier. His activities included marketing and commercialization and leading the advanced R&D activities. The company focused its efforts in the aerospace, military and transportation industries.
Alain has also worked in Europe, Southern Africa, and Central and South America for international corporations such as DuPont, Sherwin Williams and Kongsberg Automotive. He has been involved with turnaround, start-up and M&A activities.
Alain holds a BSBA and MBA from Wayne State University.
Information Technology, SAAS Businesses, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence
Jason brings extensive entrepreneurial and business coaching experience to the SBDC. He’s a self-identified “data nerd” who has owned several profitable businesses, covering an array of niches from virtual business services to insurance and fantasy sports software. The common thread through each of his businesses is the practical application of cutting-edge technology to gain competitive advantages and operational efficiencies. He has extensive expertise in Applied A.I., SaaS business models, investor pitch coaching, and pricing strategy.
Jason holds a BS in computer science and mathematics from Lake Superior State University and has completed the CTI coaching program. He has served as a board member for tech companies, industry trade associations, and nonprofit organizations.
He has extensive expertise in SaaS business strategy, investor pitch coaching, revenue & pricing model development.
Arcadio D. Ramirez
Clean/Climate Tech, Corporate Formation, Licensing, Early/Middle Stage Financing, Commercialization Strategy, M&A, Pitchbook
Throughout his 20-year professional career, Arcadio has been extensively involved with early-stage companies. As an attorney with Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosti, he advised start-up companies with financing, commercial, corporate governance and intellectual property issues. In financings alone, he directed projects exceeding $15M.
From the practice of law, Arcadio transitioned into entrepreneurial ventures, organizing, securing financing, operating and selling two companies, including one of the first venture-funded transaction-based Internet sites, Do It Sports. Arcadio has also served on the management team and acted as a business consultant to numerous early-stage companies.
In addition, Arcadio has been engaged as a management consultant by a number of Fortune 50 companies, including AT&T, Intel and Ford Motor Company. Engagements included new product development strategy, customer segmentation and restructuring, financial process re-engineering and private marketplace strategy projects. These projects saved/earned clients millions of dollars.
Arcadio received his business education at the University of Michigan Business School. He earned his Juris Doctorate from Stanford Law School and his BA with highest honors from the University of Michigan.
Launch Strategies, Product Strategy, and Sales Processes
Scott offers an in-the-trenches business, technical, and entrepreneurial background to our SBDC Tech Team. Most recently, as one of two founders of Soloshot Inc, he served as president while the company scaled from an idea conceived on the beach to a global brand with two product line generations, worldwide distribution, in-house production, in-house sales/marketing/R&D teams, and multiple issued patents. Scott holds a master’s degree in chemical engineering and a bachelor’s degree in naval architecture and marine engineering, both from the University of Michigan.
Director of Technology Commercialization Services
Under Phil’s leadership, the Tech Team has grown to a statewide group of 8 business consultants that assist Michigan’s emerging technology-based companies with their commercialization, financing, and growth strategies.
Since Phil began working with us, the Tech Team has helped clients raise more than $200 million in capital formation and created more than 800 jobs. In 2008, he also launched the Michigan Emerging Technologies Fund with annual funding of $1.4 million to provide commercialization funding to match federal SBIR/STTR research and development grants and contracts. In 2012 he launched the $3 million Business Accelerator Fund that is accessed by Michigan’s business accelerator network to provide specialized services to their high-tech clients.
Phil serves on the board of directors of the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Local Development Finance Authority, BBC Entrepreneurial Training Corporation and Recycle Ann Arbor. He is a former president and VP of programming at Ann Arbor’s investor forum, the New Enterprise Forum.