Board of Directors
As a corporately driven organization, the MedTech Board of Directors is comprised of senior officers of our member companies.
Sarah Oliker, Chair
Assistant General Counsel and Assistant Secretary, CONMED Corporation
Sarah Oliker is the assistant general counsel and assistant secretary at CONMED Corporation. In this role, she advises on international and domestic distribution matters, health care provider arrangements and provides strategic counsel on day-to-day matters affecting CONMED’s business. Oliker has more than 15 years of healthcare experience. Prior to CONMED, she served as senior counsel for ProCure Treatment Centers, Inc., where she structured complex physician arrangements and hospital joint ventures, provided health care regulatory and reimbursement counsel, as well as overseeing the Corporate Compliance Program. Prior to ProCure, Oliker spent five years with Epstein Becker & Green in its Health Care & Life Sciences group based in Washington, D.C., where her practice consisted of health regulatory and transactional matters, representing clients from all verticals of the health care industry. She is currently admitted to practice in Washington, D.C. and New York and is a member of the American Health Lawyers Association. She also serves as president of the Syracuse University Law Alumni Association. Oliker holds a bachelor’s from Colgate University and earned her JD at Syracuse University College of Law.
Jeff Champagne, Vice Chair
General Manager of Emerging Categories, Kohler Co.
Jeff joined Kohler Co. in Sept of 2020 as the General Manager of Emerging Categories, coming from MPR Associates, Inc., where he was the Director of Business Development. Jeff oversees Smart Home and MedTech solutions as part of the Emerging Category portfolio. He brings 13 years of experience in medical device R&D innovation and 20 years of sales and marketing leadership in healthcare and innovative ecosystems. Jeff brings solid experiences in both well-established and start-up organizations, with strong bias for growth. He developed relationships with business leaders and coached his clients to improve their productivity and profitability by defining roadmaps, navigating obstacles, and reaching objectives to speed up commercialization efforts.
Jeff is Board Vice Chair at MedTech Association, Syracuse, NY, Board Advisor at M2D2 Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center at UMass-Lowell, Lowell, MA, and is on the Life Science Screening Committee for Boston Harbor Angels, Boston, MA.
Jeff earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration, Visual Communication Design degree from the University of Hartford Art School and an MBA in Marketing, Entrepreneurial Studies from the University of Hartford, West Hartford, CT.
Jim Leggett, Treasurer
Plant Controller, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals
Jim Leggett is a plant controller for Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. In this role, he has financial responsibility for the Rensselaer Industrial Operations and Product Supply Group. Prior to Regeneron, Leggett was the global controller for the coated fabrics division of Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, a publicly-traded French multinational building products company. With more than 20 years of experience in finance and accounting, including 6 years in public accounting as an auditor, his specialties include telecommunications, manufacturing and biopharmaceuticals manufacturing. Leggett graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder with a bachelor's degree in Accounting. He has also held a Certified Public Accounting license since 1995.
Kathi Durdon, Secretary
Director of Operations and Innovation Partnerships, CNY Biotech Accelerator
Kathi is Executive Director of the Central New York Biotech Accelerator (CNYBAC), a 50,000+ square foot state-of-the-art biotech commercialization and education facility located in Syracuse, NY. CNYBAC is operated by Upstate Medical University and is a NYS Certified Business Incubator licensing laboratory space to for-profit start-up companies.
Kathi manages facility operations, develops programming to assist for-profit biotech innovators, serves as a mentor and is responsible for generating economic business development and collaborative innovation networking and educational partnerships.
In addition to her position on the MedTech Board of Directors, she also serves on the Board of BIANYS, the Business Incubator Association of NYS. Previously, Kathi was the Clinical Affairs Manager at Welch Allyn, a medical device manufacturer, and Director of Clinical Trials at SUNY Upstate Medical University. Kathi serves as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Upstate Medical University and has presented to professional organizations on the topics of Human Factors Usability Validation, FDA Regulations, Clinical Research Good Clinical Practice process, and Medical Device Innovation. She is the NYS Chapter Chair as well as Medical Device Annual Conference Chair for the Society of Clinical Research Associates (SOCRA). Kathi holds Bachelor’s degrees in English and Anthropology and a Master’s degree in Business.
President & CEO, iuvo BioScience
Prior to co-founding iuvo BioScience and taking on the roles of President and CEO, Ben was Vice President of Quality for the Pharmaceutical, Solutions and External Manufacturing organizations of Valeant Pharmaceuticals. Prior to the acquisition of Bausch + Lomb by Valeant, Ben served as Global VP of Quality for the Pharmaceutical Business Unit, and was a member of the B+L Global Leadership Team.
Earlier in his career, he held the position of Director, Quality and Technical Services for Norwich Pharmaceuticals, responsible for driving new business development and revenue and leading the technical services organization in delivering customer projects, as well as heading up the site quality organization. Ben began his career with Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals as a Process Engineer, moving up to roles of increasing responsibility in Product Development, OTC Engineering (Cayey, PR) and Global Clinical Supplies.
Ben holds a BS from Carnegie Mellon University with a double major in Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering, and a dual MS/MAT in Chemistry and Education from Binghamton University.
Director of Sales and Marketing, CO-AX Technology
Chris Cassan has been involved with sales leadership roles in Electronic Distribution industry with Arrow Electronics , Avnet Inc. , and its acquisitions since 1981 in the region .
His current position is to expand CO-AX's design and electronic contract manufacturing awareness and solutions in the United States. This initiative is to leverage the on-shoring resurgence for design, automation, and cost competitiveness using our North American supply chain.
Chris received his BSBA from Ohio University in Athens.
Vice President, Communications, AngioDynamics
Saleem M. Cheeks was named AngioDynamics’ Director of Communications in February 2018 bringing with him more than 16 years of private and public-sector experience in communications, community relations and politics. Prior to joining AngioDynamics, Mr. Cheeks served as a key member of the Mower public affairs practice, where he advised global corporations and non-profits, and developed award-winning communications strategies for major economic development projects. Prior to his role at Mower, Mr. Cheeks served in several key roles for a New York Governor including deputy director for legislative affairs and deputy press secretary. In addition, Mr. Cheeks provided communications support for several United States presidential candidates and served as a professional volunteer for the White House. Mr. Cheeks holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the State University of New York at Oswego.
Head of Assay, R&D, Ortho Clinical Diagnostics
Joe Chiapperi has been with Ortho Clinical Diagnostics for over 27 years and is currently Head of R&D for Clinical Labs Menu. Prior to this he was Head of R&D for Transfusion Medicine. Joe has extensive experience in new product development, program management, portfolio management, and strategic partnerships. Joe has led numerous programs across Ortho’s business including in Immunohematology, Chemistry, Immunoassay, Lab Automation, and Commercial Excellence. He is a certified process excellence black belt and holds several patents. Joe is an alumnus of the University of Rochester where he earned an MBA from the Simon School of Business and a Bachelor of Science in Optics.
CPA/Principal, The Bonadio Group
Dave is a principal in the firm’s Commercial division. Dave works closely with a wide array of clients including manufacturers, high tech companies, service providers, software companies, private equity firms, contractors, real estate/property management companies, and employee benefit plans.
Dave’s responsibilities include the overall coordination and management of financial statement audits and other attest services including financial statement reviews, compilations and agreed-upon procedures engagements. In addition to performing attest services, Dave also has considerable experience in merger & acquisition due diligence, consulting, and transaction-based projects.
Dave received both his B.S. degree in Accounting and his M.B.A. from St. Bonaventure University. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Partner, Barclay Damon
With an MBA and BS in business, working as a business attorney is a natural extension of Zach's passion for collaborating with visionary leaders. Zach has served businesses ranging from sole proprietorships and start-ups to multinational corporations, helping them navigate legal issues from formation through growth to eventual exit. He routinely provides business and corporate advice and drafts and negotiates agreements; manages mergers and acquisitions, reorganizations, restructurings, and dissolutions; and handles diverse corporate transactions, entity formations, and general corporate entity maintenance for both privately and publicly held companies. While providing legal counsel for various mergers and acquisitions, Zach acts as a liaison between his clients and the firm's tax, real estate, environmental, regulatory, and labor and employment attorneys to provide comprehensive advice. Zach also represents both growing and established businesses in a number of regulated industries, including energy, health care, and cannabis. In addition to his own practice, Zach serves as a member of the firm's Diversity Partner Committee.
Greg Gdowski, Ph.D.
Executive Director, CMTI, University of Rochester
Dr. Greg Gdowski is the executive director of the Center of Medical Technology and Innovation (CMTI) at the University of Rochester. With a background in both academic research and industry/incubation settings, he was most recently a senior research engineering fellow at Blue Highway, where he managed ideation, invention, incubation and subsequent innovation opportunities. He also served on the faculty in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Rochester from 2001-2010 where he established and managed a NIH-funded research laboratory in vestibular sensory processing. Dr. Gdowski received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate in Biomedical Engineering at Boston University, and his post-doctorate in Neuroscience at the University of Chicago.
James Grabowski, PhD, MBA
Vice President - Portfolio and Sourcing, Albany Molecular Research Inc.
James Grabowski, Ph.D., MBA, is Vice President - Portfolio and Sourcing at AMRI in Albany, NY. James has held a number of roles of increasing responsibility with experience managing diverse, international teams within AMRI since joining the company in 2006. His current role includes, but is not limited to, the development of business, product strategies, the management of cost savings initiatives, and leading API operations in India for AMRI. Dr. Grabowski received a MBA from the University at Albany, State University of New York in 2015, a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Brandeis University in 2006 and a B.A. in Chemistry from the College of the Holy Cross in 2001.
Sr. Director of PR and Content, MasterControl
Jennifer is the Sr. Director of PR and Content at MasterControl, headquartered in Salt Lake City. She has been developing effective marketing, PR and content plans for over 25 years and has worked in industries including hospitality, real estate development, technology and life sciences. At Master Control, Jennifer is responsible for all PR activities including media placement, news releases and corporate publicity and messaging. Additionally, she oversees a team of content writers to develop content strategy and materials that help both prospects and customers understand the value of MasterControl products.
Jennifer is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin- Madison and holds a B.S. in Journalism. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Utah First Credit Union.
Irfan Khan, MD
Founder & Chief Strategy Officer, Circuit Clinical
Irfan Khan is the Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Circuit Clinical - a rapidly scaling clinical research site network powered by proprietary data management software. In this role he is responsible for Circuit's strategic positioning and all business development and industry engagement. He has also been a clinical research investigator for almost 15 years and as a partner in Buffalo Heart Group built its electrophysiology clinical research program. Dr. Khan is a Board Certified clinical cardiac electrophysiologist trained at Case Western Reserve University and has performed thousands of cardiac procedures in his past role as the Director of the Electrophysiology program at Mercy Hospital of Buffalo. Dr. Khan is a passionate advocate for patient education and responsibility and speaks frequently on these topics, including a 2014 TEDx appearance on prevention of sudden death.
CEO, Excell Partners, Inc.
Theresa Mazzullo has been the CEO of Excell Partners since 2006. She has a 30-year track record in business, finance and entrepreneurship. Having owned and sold a small business, she brings firsthand knowledge, unique skills, and proven experience to the seed stage investment arena. In her role as CEO, her duties include governance, compliance, reporting, community integration, finance and fundraising. Her fundraising ability has resulted in bringing over $60 million into the upstate ecosystem for investments in high tech startups. Prior to joining Excell, Theresa spent six years as President & Principal of EPIC Advisors, Inc a 401(k) retirement plan company with $1.5 billion in retirement plan assets. In her capacity as President, she built an infrastructure that supported annual revenue growth of 20%. She also directed business planning process regarding business strategy and tactics in the areas of finance, sales, marketing, administration, operations and information technology to ensure increased profitability and the achievement of the company vision. Ultimately, she led the team to a successful exit in 2005.
Chief Executive Officer, SoPark Corporation
Gerry Murak is the sole owner, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of SoPark, which is an ISO 9001:2008, AS 9100 and ISO 13485 Certified contract electronics service provider. He is also the founder, president and chief executive officer of a new high tech venture, Precision Scientific Instruments, Inc. (PSi™), which is commercializing disruptive US patented technology. Prior to starting his management consulting firm, Murak & Associates LLC in 1991, he turned around the performance within two different locations of a Fortune 500 FDA regulated corporation, as well as a Top 100 Western New York corporation. He is currently a member of the University at Buffalo (UB) School of Management (SOM) Dean’s Advisory Council and a Director on the UB SOM Alumni Board. Murak has a master’s and an MBA and is a Certified Professional in Human Resources. He also serves as a professional speaker and is the author of several journal articles.
CEO, Efferent Labs, Inc.
Bill Rader is the CEO of Efferent Labs, Inc., a pre-clinical stage company focused on biosensor systems for life science. A serial entrepreneur, Rader sold his first company at age 18. To date he has launched five ventures, including the most recent Efferent Labs and orchestrated multiple mergers and acquisitions. In October 2014, Efferent Labs was a winner in the world’s largest business contest, 43North. Rader started in the engineering sector of the U.S. Navy as a nuclear engineering member of the Submarine Fleet and is a member of many industry organizations. He is a past contributing writer for Forbes and Inc., where he wrote on entrepreneurship and business. Rader holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and is a graduate of the University at Buffalo School of Management. He is also a member of Harvard Business School, Business Innovations in Global Healthcare class of 2015.
Director of Strategic Marketing, Hillrom
Dave Rider is the Director of Strategic Marketing for Hillrom. He has a passion for identifying new solutions, building business cases and working cross-functionally to accelerate market adoption. In his current role, he is responsible for defining, driving and bringing to market differentiated healthcare solutions both through organic and inorganic means. Prior to Hillrom, Dave spent 10 years in research and consulting services focused on portfolio optimization and customer experience for fortune 50 technology and telecommunication companies.
He has a bachelor’s in Marketing Management from SUNY Brockport and an MBA from Clarkson University.
M. Jack Rudnick
Director, Innovation Law Center
M. Jack Rudnick is counsel with Barclay Damon, LLP on their Emerging Technology Team, where he provides business and legal consultation to technology-based companies. He is experienced in corporate and intellectual property law and has been providing legal counsel for over 40 years. Rudnick is also the Director of the Innovation Law Center at Syracuse University, with long-term experience as an adjunct professor. He serves on the Advisory Board of CNY Biotech Accelerator as well as and the Lally School (RPI) Advisory Board for Technology Commercialization and Entrepreneurship. He served as Vice President and General Counsel with Welch Allyn, Inc from 1992 to 2012. Rudnick earned his Bachelor’s in Political Science and History from Middlebury College and his JD from Syracuse University College of Law.
Associate Provost for Research & Economic Development, Alfred University
Dr. John J. Simmins is Associate Provost for Research and Economic Development at Alfred University. In this position, he oversees approximately 50 research faculty and 200 graduate students. In addition, he directs the efforts of the NYS Center for Advanced Ceramic Technology (CACT) as Executive Director. Simmins is also partially responsible for bringing jobs and opportunities to western NY and in particular Allegany County, one of the most underserved counties in NY State. Dr. Simmins has expertise in the intersection of augmented reality, artificial intelligence and geospatial information systems developed while he was at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) where he was employed for the 10 years before becoming Associate Provost.
Director, The Kevin M. McGovern Family Center for Venture Development in the Life Sciences, Cornell University
Lou Walcer was appointed in June 2011 as the first Director of the Kevin M. McGovern Family Center for Venture Development in the Life Sciences at Cornell University. Lou’s career spans 40 years in drug, medical device, vaccine, and diagnostic product development as Entrepreneur, Consultant, Manager, Director, Company Officer and President.
From 2006-2011, Lou had served as Consultant to, then Senior Commercialization Executive for New Ventures at Cleveland Clinic Innovations where he managed a portfolio of 30 startups, and planned, created and obtained initial investment funding for 10, which eventually netted two licenses, one IPO, and 3 exits by sale for that institution.
Lou earned a B.A. degree from Cornell University, and his M.B.A. from New York University. He has served as Director, Vice Chair, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Business Incubator Association of New York State.