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Speaker Biographies

Sandra Cochrane, Technology Business Consultant, Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center, Kalamazoo, Mich.
Cochrane assists high-growth start-up and early-stage technology companies. She previously managed the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center in Kalamazoo. Under her leadership, SMIC won the NBIA Incubator Innovation Award in 2006 and the NBIA Outstanding Incubator Graduate – Technology Category award in 2008. A frequent NBIA presenter, listserv contributor and source for books and newsletters, Cochrane is vice president of the Michigan Business Incubator Association board of directors and a current NBIA board member. 

Rick Roeser, Business Development Specialist, Wisconsin Business Innovation Corp., Spooner, Wis.
Roeser has more than 25 years of experience in business and economic development. Over the past 10 years, he has developed and managed a regional business incubation program, which has included construction of 10 facilities totaling 180,000 square feet of space for mixed-use business incubation and acceleration. Through this process, Roeser has gained extensive knowledge of federal construction grant programs. He serves on the board of directors of the Wisconsin Business Incubation Association and the National Business Incubation Association.

Jim Bowie, Associate Director, University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program, Orlando, Fla.
Bowie is the associate director of the University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program in Orlando, Fla., and site manager of UCF’s St. Cloud Business Incubator. Before joining UCF in the spring of 2010, Bowie was director of the Columbus Regional Technology Incubator, operated by the University System of Georgia. Bowie has served NBIA over the past seven years as a presenter and awards judge. He has more than 20 years of experience in business development with companies such as AT&T and Orkin, as well as with entrepreneurial start-ups.

Karl LaPan, President & CEO, Northeast Indiana Innovation Center, Fort Wayne, Ind.
LaPan has more than 12 years of experience in the incubation industry and operates one of the top incubators/research parks in the U.S. He has raised more than $30 million while building out more than 74,000 square feet of office, manufacturing and wet laboratory space. LaPan co-authored Creating Winning Business Plans with Steve Franks. His latest work, Strategies for Advancing Your Organization and Yourself, is the first in a series of incubator guidebooks. He has also co-authored a revision of one of NBIA's best-selling works, Best Practices in Action. LaPan serves as first vice chair of NBIA's Board of Directors.

Tom Strodtbeck, Director of Events and International Programs, National Business Incubation Association, Liverpool, United Kingdom
Strodtbeck oversees the development, programming and execution of NBIA's International Conference on Business Incubation and Training Institute. Under his direction, NBIA successfully launched three new training initiatives: the Incubator Management Certificate Program, the Summit for Advanced Incubation Professionals and NBIA Webinars. He has presented on the subject of incubation and business creation in the U.S., Mexico, England, Malaysia, China and France.

Jasper Welch, President & CEO, National Business Incubation Association, Durango, Colo.
Welch is an experienced entrepreneur, business incubator manager, thought leader, strategic thinker, team leader and public speaker. He began his management consulting firm, Four Corners Management Systems, in 1991. The firm has provided consulting services to businesses, government agencies and nonprofit organizations for more than 20 years. Welch also directed the San Juan College Enterprise Center, a mixed-use incubation program in Farmington, N.M., for 12 years. In 2011, he co-founded DurangoSpace, the first coworking facility in micropolitan western Colorado.

Ana Greif, Director of Business Development, Impulsa Business Accelerator, Tucson, Ariz.
Greif supports the operations of Impulsa’s 14 offices around the world, developing entrepreneurship-support methodologies including incubation, acceleration and training programs, and she heads the launch of new offices. She has 18 years of experience training and supporting entrepreneurs, has been an incubator manager and has conducted numerous international studies and projects related to business incubation. As NBIA’s main point of contact for Latin America, Greif expanded the organization’s influence to several Spanish-speaking countries through consulting and training and has organized its Latin American conferences.

Devon Laney, Chief Operating Officer and Vice President for Client Services, Innovation Depot, Birmingham, Ala. 
Laney is the chief operating officer of Innovation Depot, a high-tech/biotech business incubator located in downtown Birmingham, Ala., and recipient of NBIA’s 2011 Dinah Adkins Incubator of the Year, Technology Focus. Prior to joining Innovation Depot, Laney worked on a broad range of marketing, IT and strategic organizational projects with various Fortune 500 companies as an analyst with Atlanta’s Accenture. Laney serves as president on the board of the Birmingham Venture Club and on the executive committees of TechBirmingham and BioAlabama.

Carol Lauffer, Partner, Business Cluster Development, Palo Alto, Calif.
Lauffer is an experienced business incubation consultant for both new and operating incubators, providing needs assessments and business plans for sector-focused incubation programs, incubator development assistance, plans for achieving financial sustainability, expansion of programs, strategic planning and deployment of best practices. BCD has assisted in the development of nearly 70 incubation programs for universities, communities and corporations. Lauffer, a past chair of the NBIA Board of Directors, previously managed Panasonic’s corporate, venture-backed incubator in Silicon Valley, and has served on several incubator advisory boards and management teams.

Chuck Wolfe, President, Claggett Wolfe Associates, Auburn, Calif.
Wolfe is an economic development professional and serial entrepreneur with extensive experience in supporting entrepreneurial development, technology commercialization, and venture formation and growth in both developed and developing economies. His work has ranged from strategic planning and feasibility assessment to program design and administration. Wolfe has also founded three technology and two service businesses, and has worked with numerous small businesses in planning, marketing and capital acquisition. Wolfe has authored a number of guides on best practices and co-authored both the first and second editions of one of NBIA'sbest-selling books: Best Practices in Action.

Mark Long, President, Long Performance Advisors, Ellettsville, Ind.
Long operates a global consulting company focused on accelerating efforts in incubation, technology transfer, sales and marketing, and business and economic development. He is currently a senior lecturer in entrepreneurship and management at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business. Long is the former president and CEO of the Indiana University Research and Technology Corp., which owns and operates the Indiana University Emerging Technologies Center, a life science incubator. He has more than 30 years of experience in clinical diagnostics in sales, marketing and technical services.

Jeff Reid, Incubator Director, West Texas A&M University Enterprise Center, Amarillo, Texas
Reid, a former banker and small business owner, understands the many issues clients face on a daily basis. Having earned certification through Coach University in 2010, he is uniquely positioned to assist start-ups. In addition to his coaching responsibilities at WTAMU, as incubator director Reid manages the Enterprise Center’s day-to-day operations, monitors and evaluates client performance within the incubator program, and assists in the development and implementation of client training programs.

Leslie Lynn Smith, President & CEO, TechTown, Detroit
Smith joined TechTown in 2010 from the Michigan Economic Development Corp., where she served as director of business acceleration, overseeing the state’s $300 million investment portfolio. She was previously chief financial officer of real estate firm McKinley Inc. and director of real estate for Trammell Crow Co. Smith serves as chair of the Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan, sits on the management committee of Invest Detroit’s First Step Fund, and is a member of the boards of directors for organizations including Detroit Nation’s DRIVE program.

Bob Cohen, CEO, Braintree Business Development Center, Mansfield, Ohio
For more than 30 years, Cohen was a faculty member at the Ohio State University, where he taught business and communication topics. He has more than a decade of incubation industry experience and is a member of the National Crowdfunding Association and the Ohio Venture Association. A certified business advisor with an MBA and a doctorate to his name, Cohen has given more than 100 presentations on business practices in 30 states and eight countries.