Patrick Ciccarelli is Co-Founder and CEO of Plumly, a sales engagement platform for the IT service provider sector. He also founded and led Varsity Technologies as CEO; a San Francisco IT service provider. Patrick began consulting with K-12 schools and non-profit organizations in the early 1990s after several years as an educator. His career has spanned 3 decades focused on the use of technology to improve social good. Patrick has held leadership positions with the Ingram-Micro (IM) Services Advisory Council and VentureTech Network. Patrick is co-author of four technology books: Networking Foundations, CCNA Jumpstart, CCDP Exam Notes, and MCSE Jumpstart from Wiley, Inc. Patrick holds a Master’s degree in Instructional Technology.
Will Winn Games
Will Winn Games Inc. is a new East Lansing-based game studio established in Q4 of 2020 and launched out of the Michigan State University Game Development Program, Spartan Innovations, and Red Cedar Ventures. WWG was founded by faculty and former faculty of Michigan State University's number 1 ranked game development program1 and is staffed by MSU GameDev alumni and veterans of the game industry. The initial game that Will Winn Games is launching is a game called Plunder Panic, a swashbuckling multiplayer action arcade game that supports both local and online multiplayer up to 12 players at one time in each game. In May of 2021 WWG obtained an exclusive license of Plunder Panic IP from MSU, establishing an excellent start for WWG’s gaming IP portfolio. The mission of the company is to design, develop, and publish compelling video game experiences that enrich individuals’ lives and help foster enhanced relationships with friends and family.
Matthew has over 34 years of Global Business experience, leading companies within the Medical Device and Aerospace markets, managing global organizations with total Commercial, Operational, P&L responsibilities and for the past five years he has worked within the Michigan ecosystem as an (EIR) Entrepreneur in Residence with Spartan Innovations and The Lean Rocket Lab with extensive experience with assisting startup companies with launching their businesses. Matthew is currently a Business Consulting Coach an (EIR) at Spartan Innovations on the campus of MSU. At MSU he has been working with other EIRs and faculty to determine product/market fit and product viability for technologies under development at MSU. Matthew has held positions as General Manager of Orchids Orthopedics with over 275 employees across three facilities. President and Founder of a startup called Apex Precision Solutions which served the Aerospace and Medical Device markets. He also held positions of Vice President of Advanced Manufacturing for a Global Medical Device company and Prior to that he served for twenty-four years as the Sr. Vice President of the Implant Division for a Global Medical Device company where he led 5 global business units with over 950 employees.
Will Jeffery is a video game producer and instructor from Detroit, Michigan. He completed his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Michigan State University, studying game design and development. At MSU, Will served as a game designer, producer, and lab manager in the Games for Entertainment and Learning (GEL) Lab from 2011 – 2018. He was also an instructor in MSU’s top-rated Game Design and Development program from 2015-2018. Now located in Orlando, Will has worked with Walt Disney Imagineering as a producer and is currently serving as a Course Director of video game design at Full Sail University.
Brian M. Winn is the Founder and Director of the Games for Entertainment and Learning (GEL) Lab at Michigan State University and a Full Professor in the Department of Media and Information. Winn’s expertise is in designing “meaningful play” that combines games and meaningful objectives (such as learning, health, persuasion, motivation, and fitness). Winn’s “Design, Play, Experience Framework” presents a process for designing meaningful play. Winn founded the International Conference on Meaningful Play, serves as a member of the Michigan Film and Digital Media Office Advisory Council (appointed by the governor), and is a faculty advisor of the MSU SpartaSoft student game developers group. Winn’s award-winning work has been presented, exhibited, and experienced around the world. Winn is also an accomplished teacher who became an Apple Distinguished Educator in 2001 and a Lilly Teaching Fellow in 2005. Winn taught the first game design course at MSU back in 2000 and helped grow that one course into the top-ranked MSU Game Design and Development program. Winn also teaches the popular online Coursera Specialization in Game Design and Development.
Nicolas Théorêt is Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Centri. Each year, propane distributors waste over $1.5B on unnecessary deliveries. Centri seeks to help these distributors eliminate the waste in their delivery operations by offering them a simple IoT solution, the CentriConnect platform. Centri's solution helps propane distributors minimize their delivery costs, optimize their operations, and grow their customer base. The technology has been in the beta testing phase with a propane distributor since March 2020 and the company is preparing the business for a commercial launch in the coming months.
CEO NicolasThéorêt is a mechanical engineer and software developer with technical sales experience in the IoT industry. He is a current Venture for America fellow and has worked primarily on sales teams of successful IoT startups based in Detroit.
Anthony Montalbano is a co-founder of Backboard. Previously, he ran a software consulting firm in Detroit, MI. For over 8 years he and his team built enterprise e-commerce, advanced analytics, and sales platforms. He has consulted with multiple QSR pizza companies, most recently Jet’s Pizza. He previously worked for Domino’s Pizza as a tech lead on the e-commerce experience, visual pizza builder, and pizza tracker.
Anthony co-founded Backboard in 2020 to create a new touch-less communication experience for frontline employees in organizations with numerous locations. In 2021, Backboard is launching in 400+ restaurants in the US.
CardioGenerics offers innovative, reusable/disposable surgical devices. CardioGenerics has redesigned the traditional, single-use, disposable heart stabilizer into single-use suction pods that snap onto a multiple-use flexible arm. The hard-to-clean, blood contact parts are designed for single use. The flexible arm is expensive. Hospitals can clean and re-sterilize the flexible arm multiple times at half the cost of single-use heart stabilizers. These products will save a hospital $1300 or 4.2% for every surgery done on Medicare patients. These savings could be the difference between profit and loss for Medicare reimbursed surgeries. This patent pending innovation of splitting single use devices into single and multiple use components could disrupt the $156 billion medical device market.
Bill O’Neill is the founder of CardioGenerics and a veteran of three medical device startups. His first startup, InnovX Medical, received FDA approval for a cardiac surgery product and was later sold to a division of Johnson and Johnson. Bill has worked at many medical device firms including J&J Ethicon, Medtronic and 3M Health Care. While director of R&D at Medtronic, Bill’s team of engineers grew the division from $8MM to over $75MM in five years with innovative, organically grown, cardiac surgery products. Bill earned both his bachelor and master degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan State University.
Hire Niche is an online job board that reduces the amount of time to onboard new talent and addresses compliance issues during the hiring process by incorporating video technology.
Randy Kuckuck is co-inventor of the ZoomBroom and CEO of Aceleon, the company which is developing the ZoomBroom. ZoomBroom makes cleaning off your deck, patio, sidewalks, and steps a breeze. Its slim, lightweight design makes it easy to store in a convenient location in your home, so it is always handy and ready to tackle these cleaning challenges. Leaf blowers are great for clearing leaves off your yard in the fall, but the ZoomBroom is designed for more common, everyday tasks around the house.
Randy is a graduate of MSU and Loyola Marymount Law School in Los Angeles. Randy started his business career as CFO of BookCrafters in Chelsea, MI. He then joined All Media Guide in Ann Arbor as COO. He helped grow AMG from $2M to $10M in revenue and positioned it for sale to Tivo for $72M. He has also served as COO of Muze. In 2010 he founded PublishNext, an online book publisher, which he later sold to Thomson-Shore in Dexter. Since the sale of PublishNext, he has worked as a consultant, started a non-profit, and is a presenter at publishing conferences.
Ali Alhimiri, MD is the Principal Founder of MODUS and is a Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Physician who has been providing cost-effective, high quality care to thousands of patients in Southeast Michigan since 2002. His experience in treating patients with pain led directly to the development of MODUS, a digital health platform that improves patient access to evidence-based care, enables employers to implement value-based contracting technology, and rewards physicians for positive outcomes.
eSimplify is a predictive practice analytics platform for primary care physicians. eSimplify helps primary care physicians maximize revenue, identify gaps in care and, most importantly, improve the quality of care for their patients. eSimplify's analysis has shown that primary care practices are leaving billons of dollars in recoverable revenue on the table. As healthcare providers shift to a value-based payment model, eSimplify’s affordable analytics helps small to mid-sized practices successfully make that transition. Founded in 2018, eSimplify is currently focused on primary care physician practice but will be expanding to other specialties in the near future.
Pradeep Kalmat is the founder and CEO of eSimplify. Pradeep worked at Aon Hewitt for over 18 years and was responsible for delivering high quality services in a highly challenging environment across various areas of human resource management. The demanding accuracy requirement of 99% or higher in that field prepared him to rely on data and metrics that provided meaningful insights to identify inefficiencies and improve processes. Pradeep relied on this knowledge and expertise to assess the market and then design, develop, and deploy eSimplify with the specific goal of creating value for primary care physician and other providers.
RIZZARR is a tech-enabled content marketplace for brands to work with Millennial and Gen Z content creators worldwide. RIZZARR acts as an intermediary marketing platform for brands to find, connect, and collaborate with over 5,300 content creators from around the world. RIZZARR helps Millennial and Gen Z nano-influencers and micro-influencers to authentically produce high-quality videos, selfie videos, podcasts, social posts, articles, and photos for brands to use across their apps, social media, and other digital media properties.
Ashley M. Williams is the founder and CEO of RIZZARR. She also founded Millennials Change, an event series created to inspire Millennials to make a positive impact on the world. Before starting her journey into entrepreneurship, Ashley was an award-winning journalist working for NBC News, WBAL Radio, and USA TODAY. She graduated with honors from the University of Southern California, earning a B.A. in broadcast and digital journalism as well as minors in international relations and Spanish. As a collegiate debater, she received a scholarship and placement on the USC Trojan Debate Squad. In her spare time, Ashley is a board member for various mission-driven entities including Techbridge Girls and the National Association for Media Literacy Education.