Maria Thompson – Board Chair
Maria Thompson is Entrepreneur-In-Residence for Arsenal Venture Partners. Maria was President and CEO of T/J Technologies, Inc., a nationally recognized Michigan company for proprietary alternative energy technologies that she and her husband, Dr. Levi Thompson, co-founded in 1991. Formerly the General Manager of the Government Solutions Group for A123Systems, she recently became Chairman of NextEnergy and serves as a member of the University of Michigan Technology Transfer National Advisory Board, the University of Michigan Ross School of Business Zell Lurie Institute Advisory Board, and Old National Bank’s Michigan Market Board. Under Ms. Thompson’s leadership, T/J Technologies attracted national and regional recognition. In 2008, she was honored by the Washington DC based Minority Enterprise Executive Council as one of 25 Powerful Minority Women in Business. She was named as one of Crain’s Detroit Business Most Influential Women in 2007 and as one of Metro Detroit’s Innovators. The Small Business Foundation of Michigan awarded her “Small Business Entrepreneur Extraordinaire” in 2008. Maria was invited to speak to the U.S. House Committee on Small Business at the 50th anniversary of the Small Business Administration.
Paul Skalny is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Fortress 17, LLC, Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer of Venture Management Services, LLC, and the Vice President for Strategic Development for Visca, LLC. He spent nearly 33 years as a civilian within the Army, culminating his service as both the Acting Executive Director of Product Development, and the Director of the National Automotive Center for the US Army Tank-Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC). He was the Department of Defense lead for the 21st Century Truck Initiative, the Future Tactical Truck System Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration, and the Government lead for an advanced battery initiative that led to $1.5B in Federal stimulus funding. Paul is also a member of the Advisory Council of the California Hybrid, Efficient and Advanced Truck (CalHEAT) Research Center.
As Wayne State University’s Vice President, Economic Development, Ned is part of the university’s cabinet with responsibility for leading economic development activities that leverage university assets across the university and the local community. His activities are designed to function as a catalyst for growth in Midtown Detroit and include interactions with TechTown, Wayne State’s Office of Technology Commercialization, and Midtown Detroit, Inc. Ned, who has private sector experience with both early stage technology ventures and Fortune 150 companies, served previously in a variety of senior roles with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, where he was most recently Vice President for Entrepreneurial and Capital Services.
Steve Hilfinger is a partner and business lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP. His experience includes corporate and finance work with companies in the energy industry, and more recently he held two senior positions with the State of Michigan where his responsibilities included regulatory and economic development activities directly impacting companies in the energy industry. In his most recent role, Mr. Hilfinger was the executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), the economic development arm of the State of Michigan. His oversight responsibilities at the MEDC included the Michigan Energy Office, which is a key partner with the federal Department of Energy in implementing loan and energy efficiency programs in the State of Michigan. The Michigan Energy Office also partnered with the Governor’s Office and the Public Service Commission on the development of energy policy, including in the areas of reliability, efficiency, affordability and portfolio diversification.
Mark Barteau is Director of the University of Michigan Energy Institute and the inaugural DTE Energy Professor of Advanced Energy Research. He previously served as the Senior Vice Provost for Research and Strategic Initiatives at the University of Delaware, where he held appointments as the Robert L. Pigford Endowed Chair of Chemical Engineering and Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2006 and has served as the co-chair of the Chemical Sciences Roundtable of the NRC and the chair of the Council of Chemical Sciences for the DOE Office of Science. He currently serves on science advisory boards for the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory at Pacific Northwest National Lab and for the National Institute of Clean and Low-Carbon Energy (NICE) China. In 2008,Dr. Barteau was named one of the “100 Engineers of the Modern Era” by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
Eric Shreffler is the Managing Director for the Automotive Office at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. In this role he works directly with automotive industry stakeholders to establish economic development opportunities for the State. His team collaborates with federal agencies to identify partnership and funding opportunities to drive innovation, commercialization, and growth. Shreffler led a cross-functional team focused on advanced energy storage that led to $6B in direct investment in the State, including $1.3B in federal investment, as well as secured state funds to support the establishment of the ALMMII/LIFT and IACMI lightweight materials manufacturing innovation centers in downtown Detroit leveraging US Department of Defense and Department of Energy grants. Prior to joining the MEDC in 2006, Shreffler was the Global Thermal Product Manager for Delphi Product & Service Solutions. He holds a BS in Applied Engineering from Michigan State University and an Executive MBA from Northwood University.
Patricia (Patti) Glaza serves as Vice President of Invest Detroit and Managing Director of First Step Fund and Detroit Innovate, two early-stage venture funds. Ms. Glaza joined Invest Detroit in 2014 with more than 20 years of experience in the development, implementation and commercialization of advanced technologies. Patti serves as a resource to start-ups and as an advisor/board member, including: Michigan Venture Capital Association, The Great Lakes Protection Fund, NSF I-Corp, and the University of Michigan’s M-TRAC – Advanced Transportation Technologies Committee. Prior to joining Invest Detroit, Patti was with Arsenal Venture Partners, a national venture capital firm focused on IT, energy and industrial technologies. She has served as the CEO and executive management of several start-ups in the nanotech, energy, and healthcare IT sectors. Patti started her career as an IT consulting professional and manager for Accenture. Patti is a graduate of Michigan State University and has a MBA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Lizabeth (Beth) Ardisana is the co-founder, principal owner and chief executive officer of ASG Renaissance, a global technical and communication services firm. As the CEO, Ardisana is responsible for the Company’s overall strategic direction and financial management while also taking an active role working directly with clients on various projects. In addition to managing ASG, Ardisana is an active business and civic leader in the Michigan and Hispanic Communities. She serves on numerous corporate and educational boards, and has received numerous awards for her contributions to the community. Prior to starting ASG Renaissance, Ardisana worked at Ford Motor Company as an engineer. During her 14 years with Ford, she quickly advanced up the ranks holding various management positions in vehicle development, product planning and marketing. Ardisana holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Detroit, a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan, and a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Texas.