This month, we’re launching a feature to introduce new colleagues at the Enterprise Innovation Institute. With remote work continuing, it’s often hard to get to know one another, so we’re looking for new ways to make connections. If you run into some of these people or someone else you don’t know at a meeting or on Zoom or Teams, introduce yourself. Work relationships are important to well-being, and this is just one way to help cultivate those relationships.
Carnellia Ajasin, Entrepreneur in Residence, Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC)
In her role, Carnellia will support, cultivate, and advise ATDC member companies in ways to help them grow and scale. A particular focus will be companies working in automation and robotics in support of the partnership with Amazon Global Robotics.
Carnellia is a serial entrepreneur and CEO of Mind Katalyst, a humanity-centered, tech-innovation, and sustainability venture studio. She was named a 2022 Georgia Titan 100, which recognizes business visionaries in the state.
She stays active outside of work, pursuing interests that include travel, cycling, yoga, and cooking. A graduate of Drexel University in Pennsylvania, Carnellia has a bachelor’s in computer science and a master’s in information science and computer technology.
Marc Carson, Lead Startup Catalyst, ATDC
Marc will lead a team of startup catalysts that provides services to help ATDC companies grow, connect, and scale.
Marc was the founder, president, and CEO of startup Keystone Industries and founder, president and CEO of HOTPACK. He also serves as chair of the planning commission for the city of Braselton, Georgia.
His extensive business experience will go a long way at ATDC, where he looks forward to helping mentor young tech entrepreneurs as they make the tough decisions that will move their companies forward.
A fan of the outdoors, Marc enjoys hunting, fishing, playing golf, and spending time with family. He graduated from Gannon University in Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in finance.
“ATDC provides business coaching to help startup founders reach scale,” said ATDC Director John Avery. “We look for coaches who have broad backgrounds in both startups and in large companies. These two worlds are very different, but our goal is to help founders get from one to the other. Both Marc and Carnellia have very successful careers, including experience in both large and small companies. We couldn’t be more excited to have them on the ATDC team.”
Katerina Dimovski, Project Manager, Energy and Sustainability Services, Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP)
Katerina will provide technical assistance to manufacturers in the areas of energy management and sustainability.
A native of the Republic of North Macedonia, Katerina brings expertise in energy efficiency that will help GaMEP clients manage energy challenges. She worked for nine years as an energy manager in steel production and most recently as a national energy management and energy efficiency consultant for UNIDO, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, in North Macedonia.
Outside of work, she enjoys fencing, cycling, and running. She is a graduate of Saints Cyril and Methodius University, in Skopje, North Macedonia, with a bachelor’s in computer system engineering and automation and a master’s in mechanical engineering.
“Katerina’s experience and perspective from working as an energy efficiency consultant for UNIDO and as an energy manager in the steel manufacturing industry, will allow her to advise our clients on energy management best practices and international standards,” said Tim Israel, director of GaMEP. “We are very happy to have her join our team, allowing us to continue to grow our sustainability service offerings for manufacturers.”
Vance Merritt, Project Manager, Process Improvement, South Georgia, GaMEP
Vance will focus on manufacturing clients in South and Central Georgia, by providing services in lean manufacturing, process improvement and stability, lean six sigma, and leading cross-functional teams.
Vance, who lives in Perry, Georgia, has years of leadership experience in manufacturing, most recently as Tennessee plant manager at Metalpha, Bridgestone Tire’s U.S. supplier of steel tire cord.
At the end of the day, World War II history and John Grisham books command his attention. He also enjoys travel and being outdoors. A Georgia Tech grad, with a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering, Vance is also a certified lean six sigma black belt.
“We are thrilled that Vance will help us expand our network of resources in the south part of the state,” Israel said. “He brings a wealth of knowledge from his previous experience as a plant manager and in other manufacturing leadership roles, that will allow him to help companies navigate many challenges from process improvement to workforce development.”
Kayla Burns, Program and Operations Manager, Partnership for Inclusive Innovation (Partnership)
Kayla will oversee development and implementation of the Partnership’s programs and operations. She will work with research, academic, and administrative staff, along with vendors and sponsors, as well as other internal and external partners.
Kayla has nearly a decade of experience in business development, program management, and operations for BlueSprig, which offers services to children with autism, and at HNCS, a company that specializes in home podiatry care for diabetic, geriatric, and other home-bound patients.
She is pursuing a combined bachelor’s/master’s degree program at the University of North Georgia in psychology and industrial and organizational psychology.
Cody Cocchi, Student Engagement Manager, Partnership
Cody will oversee the advancement of student engagement efforts for the Partnership, helping to develop a more inclusive Georgia and the next generation of leaders across the state.
Before joining the Partnership, Cody, who lives in Brunswick, Georgia, served as the interim director of service learning and undergraduate research at the College of Coastal Georgia. He looks forward to bringing the skills he developed there to the Partnership as he works to enhance opportunities for all Georgians.
Working at Georgia Tech is a dream come true for Cody, who grew up a Georgia Tech football and basketball fan. He also enjoys the beach, running, and landscaping. He has a doctorate in education in leadership from Valdosta State University, a master’s in higher education administration from Georgia Southern University, and a bachelor’s in history from Georgia State University.
Polly Sattler, Strategic Relations Manager, Partnership
Polly will develop strategic relationships across the state and work to increase awareness of and support for Partnership programs.
Before joining the Partnership, she worked as the sustainability manager at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, where she directed sustainability initiatives at the world’s busiest airport. She looks forward to bringing her enthusiasm for and expertise in sustainability to her work with the Partnership.
She enjoys kayaking and canoeing, travel, taking art classes, and playing Wingspan. Polly has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Georgia and a master’s in environmental and resource policy from George Washington University.
“We are thrilled that Cody, Polly, and Kayla have joined our leadership team,” said Partnership Executive Director Debra Lam. “Together they will deepen our student and strategic engagement and strengthen our operations so that we can continue our mission of accelerating innovation, opportunity, and shared economic prosperity across the state and beyond.”