Chris Downing, P.E.
Vice President of the Enterprise Innovation Institute at Georgia Tech, Chris Downing has more than 25 years of leadership experience at Georgia Tech in technology-based economic development, university outreach and technical assistance, entrepreneurship and start-up support, and program management. Downing has served in a number of capacities in the development and success of the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), Georgia Tech’s primary economic development and outreach organization. His roles have included Associate Vice President of EI2, Director of the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP), Associate Director of the ATDC incubator, and several years as a research engineer with the Georgia Tech Research Institute.
Downing played a key role in the expansion and development of ATDC at Technology Square including the origination of Georgia Tech’s research park and corporate collaboration spaces. His technology-based economic development efforts helped Georgia Tech and the Enterprise Innovation Institute win the prestigious “2014 Innovation Award” from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. Tech Square’s ecosystem also won the “Outstanding Research Park Award” in 2014 from the Association of University Research Parks. Downing is currently leading a feasibility study for the expansion of Georgia Tech’s second research park, Technology Enterprise Park, into a broader life sciences and technology innovation district.
Downing’s engineering expertise includes energy efficiency and energy recovery systems, mechanical facilities design, indoor air quality, and manufacturing process systems. He is a registered Professional Engineer in both Georgia and Florida and holds a B.S. and M.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Florida.
General Manager, Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC)
Jennifer Bonnett is a technology entrepreneur with more than 25 years experience in the Information Technology/Software Development field with a specialty in Web and mobile technologies. She has served as Founder/Chief Technology Officer of a number of venture- and angel-backed firms, acting as both lead architect and growing/managing the technology team. She and her co-founders raised more than $46 million to fund three companies. She is currently the Acting General Manager of the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC).
ATDC is one of the longest-running and largest research university-affiliated incubators in the United States. Since its inception in 1980, ATDC has fostered innovation and economic development and has graduated 170 companies, which, collectively, have raised more than $2 billion in outside financing. Headquartered in Atlanta’s Technology Square and adjacent to Georgia Tech’s main campus, ATDC is the hub for technology entrepreneurship in Georgia.
StartupChicks is a 501c3 focused on empowering women entrepreneurs through education, community, coaching, connections, and investment. StartupChicks has touched over 10,000 women globally through its content and events.
Bonnett played a key role in developing the Entrepreneurs Education Series, a curriculum designed to move “concept stage” entrepreneurs from idea through to angel funding. She is also the architect of the “ATDC @” program which delivers coaching and curriculum to ATDC Entrepreneurs across the state.
Director, Economic Development Lab
David Bridges is a Director of the Enterprise Innovation Institute’s (EI2) Startup Ecosystems group and AVP for EI2 International Initiatives. His group advises governments, communities, universities and entrepreneurial support organizations, both in the United States and around the globe, on innovation-led economic development initiatives (ILED). The ILED activities foster collaborations among informal network players to drive public policy, strategic planning, startup ecosystem formation, and fiscal and economic impact metrics for which his group is a foremost authority.
Bridges has been with EI2 for more than 21 years. In that time, he has managed programs around technology transfer, co-development research, SBIR grants, seed fund management, international commercialization, incubation, acceleration, proof-of-concept centers, cluster development, university innovation centers, and startup ecosystems. Bridges is the author or co-author of more than $32 million in innovation-related grants for Georgia Tech, including the NASA Regional Technology Transfer Center, three EDA Innovation 6 projects, the EDA Jobs Accelerator, and the NIST Manufacturing Technology Acceleration Center. Bridges is also the co-developer of the Georgia Tech Startup Ecosystem model currently in practice on several continents.
Bridges holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University and a master’s degree from Georgia State University.
Director, Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP)
As the director of the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Karen Fite oversees the statewide outreach for service delivery to manufacturers and entrepreneurs. She is responsible for connecting businesses, manufacturers, and communities to Georgia Tech’s wealth of innovation and technology services, which is designed to elevate their competitive position and economic impact. Previously Fite was the state regional network manager for the GaMEP, leading the team of nine regional managers in their outreach efforts.
Fite is an RAB-Certified Quality Management Systems Lead Auditor. As a member of the Center for International Standards and Quality (CISQ), she provides implementation assistance and training to companies pursuing ISO 9001. She has expertise in assisting companies in the implementation of Lean Principles in manufacturing, government and healthcare entities.
Her earlier experience includes the application of industrial and management engineering, employee involvement, and business principles.
Fite has a Masters degree in Business Administration from the University of Miami and a Bachelors of Science (Health Systems) degree from Georgia Tech.
H. Wayne Hodges
Vice Provost Emeritus
Wayne Hodges has more than thirty years experience in innovation, commercialization, and incubation management. Hodges is vice provost emeritus of the Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute. Prior to retirement, he was responsible for a comprehensive set of Georgia Tech services that help industry, entrepreneurs, communities, and economic developers become more competitive through the application of science, technology, and innovation.
During his tenure at Georgia Tech, Hodges established and led the ATDC Seed Fund that has invested in more than 75 Georgia companies. The fund invests in Georgia-based entrepreneurial businesses pursuing innovation in bioscience and advanced technology.
He also initiated the formation of VentureLab at Georgia Tech, and more than $50 million has been invested in VentureLab companies. This proactive technology transfer program, now run by the Georgia Research Alliance for Georgia’s research universities, has been the model for similar programs at other U.S. and international universities. He was also instrumental in the formation of the GRA Venture Fund, LLC, a private investment fund created to help finance promising companies that emerge through the GRA VentureLab commercialization program. The fund’s investors are the State of Georgia, private individuals, corporations, and foundations. Currently, Hodges serves as executive director of the Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI), a non-profit formed to commercialize and develop medical devices in the areas of cardiology, pediatrics, orthopedics, and health information technology. The founding members include Georgia Tech, Piedmont Heart Institute, Saint Joseph’s Translational Research Institute (SJTRI), and the Georgia Research Alliance (GRA).
Assistant Director, Advanced Technology Development Center
As the Assistant Director of ATDC at Georgia Tech, Johanna Kaiser has more than 11 years of leadership experience in real estate management, entrepreneurship/start-up support, and program management. She has served in a number of roles within the Enterprise Innovation Institute, Georgia Tech’s primary service and outreach organization. With a Master’s in Business Administration from Georgia Tech, Johanna manages the day-to-day operations of the technology incubator powered by Georgia Tech, and leads ATDC operations, including facilities, schedules, metrics, and finance.
General Manager and Chief Operating Officer, Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI)
Tiffany Wilson is the general manager and chief operating officer of the Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI). She has spent more than 11 years bringing innovative medical technology from benchtop to bedside. She joined GCMI in 2011 to direct business development activities, build strategic relationships, and bring together core members of the medical device ecosystem. GCMI represents the Southeast’s first comprehensive medical device innovation center. It was founded to accelerate the commercialization of innovative medical technology that will improve patient lives and grow a stronger medical device industry in Atlanta and the Southeast. Wilson is working with universities, clinicians, industry, investors, and startups focused on innovation, patient care, and economic growth. She currently leads all day-to-day operations of the center.
Wilson joined GCMI from Scientific Intake, where she served as the vice president of business development and strategy, evaluating marketing and distribution opportunities and driving product development projects for the global obesity market. Prior to Scientific Intake, Wilson was vice president of corporate strategy and finance at ACell, Inc., a regenerative medicine and tissue engineering company based in Columbia, Md. At ACell, she led a broad range of initiatives covering corporate finance, investor relations, strategic and operational planning, business development, regulatory matters, and reimbursement. Wilson began her career in management consulting and investment banking, and brings considerable U.S. and international experience in strategic planning, business development, financial analysis, and market evaluation in technology related industries.
Wilson currently serves as the co-chair of the Medical Device Subcommittee of the Metro Atlanta Chamber Bioscience Leadership Council and chair of the Sponsorship Committee of the Southeast Medical Device Association (SEMDA). She earned a BBA in International Business from Loyola University and an MBA from the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business.
Keith McGreggor is the director of VentureLab, Georgia Tech’s comprehensive center for technology commercialization that is open to all faculty, research staff, and students who want to form startup companies based upon their research. VentureLab transforms those innovations into companies by developing engaging business models, connecting the researcher with experienced entrepreneurs, locating sources of early-stage financing, and preparing these new companies for global markets.
McGreggor has been an entrepreneur for the last three decades. His first company, Artificial Intelligence Atlanta, was the first AI company in the Southeast, which led to a job in robotics for Lockheed. He has been a founder or co-founder of six software companies. McGreggor wrote and shipped the first 3D program (1984/5) and first color paint program (1987) for the Macintosh. He developed the color architecture for the Macintosh operating system and managed the graphics group at Apple Computer. A stint as co-founder of an internet company in the mid-1990s led to McGreggor becoming a director of engineering at Yahoo in 1999.
McGreggor holds bachelor and master’s degrees in computer science from Georgia Tech. He’s currently writing his dissertation on fractal visual analogies, in support of his Ph.D. in computer science from Georgia Tech.
Gregory T. Owen
Director of Human Resources
Gregory T. Owen serves as human resources director of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute. He has also served as adjunct faculty for Georgia Tech teaching GT1000 for multiple semesters. He also holds an additional USG adjunct faculty appointment and teaches social science courses in the College of Liberal Arts at Georgia Gwinnett College. He completed his graduate studies at Georgia State University with a Ph.D. in Higher Education Policy and a Master’s of Science in Educational Psychology. He has more than 15 years’ experience working in higher education and in the field of human resources. His research interests include policy and organizational development, performance management, human resources process improvement, and qualitative research design.
Péralte C. Paul
Marketing & Communications Manager, Enterprise Innovation Institute
Paul has been with the Georgia Institute of Technology since 2014. He has more than 20 years media and communications experience as a reporter and writer for various news outlets — including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Florida Times-Union, and The Jersey Journal — and as an editor in online news media at Aol. He has covered a number of different business-related topics, including Banking, Economic Development, Georgia Agriculture/Agribusiness, and Law. He also has a public relations background having worked for a boutique, New York-based public relations agency where he worked on a number of business-to-business and business-to-consumer accounts. Paul is a graduate of Rutgers University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in English, with a concentration in journalism.