Skip to main content

Program Agenda: Thursday, Aug 10



Please see the NACROcon App for the most up-to-date list of sessions and speakers!


7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. ▪ Registration

Location: Bell Harbor International Conference Center, South Prefunction


7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. ▪ Breakfast

Location: Bell Harbor International Conference Center, Harbor


8:00 a.m. – 8:15 a.m. ▪ Opening Remarks

Location: Bell Harbor International Conference Center, Harbor

NACRO Co-Presidents: Roger VanHoy, Director, Office of Corporate Relations for University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Todd Cleland, Director, Industry Relations for University of Washington

Conference Planning Committee Co-Chairs: Tamara LaFrance, Senior Director, Corporate Relations for University of Washington and Alex Pietsch, Associate Vice President, Corporate Relations for Washington State University


8:15 a.m. – 8:20 a.m. ▪ University Welcome

Location: Bell Harbor International Conference Center, Harbor

Speakers: Mary E. Lidstrom, Vice Provost for Research, University of Washington and Chris Keane, Vice Provost for Research for Washington State University




8:20 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. ▪ Opening Keynote Address ▪

Location: Bell Harbor International Conference Center, Harbor

Speaker: Elissa Fink, Chief Marketing Officer for Tableau Software




9:10 a.m. – 9:55 a.m. ▪ Concurrent Session: Business School for Corporate Relations Officers

Location: Sound

Description: If you want to improve your corporate relations program, consider going to business school! NACRO presenters will describe three “tools” they have adapted from the Harvard Business Review to improve their respective programs. Topics will include: (1) improving your value proposition by using resources created for start-ups; (2) improving your ability to match university offerings with corporate needs by using the “House of Quality;” and (3) better communicating the value of the corporate relations office by using the “Balanced Scorecard” to monitor organization performance against strategic goals. You will receive all of the information you need to return to campus and apply what you’ve learned.

Speakers: Emily Abbott, Director of Corporate & Strategic Partnerships for University of California Riverside; Terry Grant, Director of Industry Relations for University of Washington; and Joseph Fiskel, Senior Program Manager for The Ohio State University


9:10 a.m. – 9:55 a.m. ▪ Concurrent Session: Industry perspective: Philips on research-based collaborations

Location: Cove

Description: Philips Executive Matthew Rielly will discuss elements of the partnership with the University of Washington, including how the joint steering committee selects and evaluates projects, how a master agreement streamlines contracting, and how both Philips and UW benefit from the partnership which has involved dozens of projects in the past ten years.

Speaker: Matthew Rielly, Director of Clinical Research for Philips Healthcare

Moderator: Rad Roberts, Director of Health Sciences Industry Relations for University of Washington


9:10 a.m. – 9:55 a.m. ▪ Concurrent Session: Holistic Corporate Partnerships

Location: Bay

Description: By now we are all aware of the importance of having multi-dimensional relationships between universities and industry. These relationships can be through recruiting, philanthropic support, research, tech transfer, and more. In this session, representatives from Northrop Grumman, Delta Airlines and W.W. Grainger, Inc. will talk about collaborating with universities across many different units and how those relationships are mutually beneficial to both parties. 

Speakers: David Liaw, University Relationship Manager, Northrop Grumman Corporation; Erin Maude; Program Manager - Marketing, Partnerships and Community Affairs - Delta Air Lines Seattle; Mandi Shelmadine, Research and Development Site Manager, W.W. Grainger, Inc.

Moderator: Mark Nolan, Executive Director of Corporate Institutional Partnerships, Carnegie Mellon University


9:10 a.m. – 9:55 a.m. ▪ Concurrent Session: Collaborations in Clean Technology

Location: Marina

Description: Urbanova is a living laboratory where companies, Washington State University and innovators are working on smart city solutions that could ultimately be replicated around the world.  They’re harnessing data to gain insights, empower people, and solve urban challenges – enabling healthier citizens, safer neighborhoods, smarter infrastructure, a more sustainable environment, and a stronger economy. Urbanova brings together leaders in utility infrastructure, smart metering and communications, higher education, energy efficiency, population health, and urban planning to create a smart city proving ground in the heart of Spokane. Urbanova is focused on citizen-driven applications that strive for social, environmental and economic resiliency and equity.  In this session, you will hear from the Urbanova partners on how they are working together to address urban challenges and especially how they are engaging  university partners in developing sustainable, scalable solutions for communities of every size.

Speakers: Kim Zentz, Director, Engineering and Technology Management + Smart Cities Initiative, Washington State University; Roger Woodworth, former President and Chief Strategy Officer, Avista Corp.; Gordon Feller, former Director of Urban Innovation at Cisco Systems and Co-Founder of Meeting of the; Ash Awad, Chief Market Officer, McKinstry

Moderator:  Dana Ulrich, Director of Corporate Relations, Washington State University





10:05 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. ▪ Concurrent Session: Keys to Cross-Campus Collaboration to Produce Winning Corporate Partnerships

Location: Bay

Description: Engaging the ecosystem of campus partners is essential to a highly effective corporate relationship. But how do you effectively balance the unique needs of each organization while meaningfully moving the needle forward for your top partners? More importantly, how can you show a unified front with your faculty, deans and campus leadership to support the goals of the partners while keeping students at the heart of it all? This session will take an in-depth look at examples of corporate partnerships that have greatly benefitted from strong cross-campus partnerships between business and engineering, examine the keys to success, and how they have grown to be among the most successful corporate partnerships across campus. 

Speakers: Kathryn Marshall, Executive Director of Corporate and External Relations, Leeds School of Business and Melinda Seevers, Assistant Dean of Development and External Relations, UC Davis


10:05 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. ▪ Concurrent Session: Diversity & Inclusion

Location: Marina

Description: This session will identify ways university development teams can utilize diversity initiatives to foster corporate relationships. The panel will discuss authentic and intentional conversations to promote on campus diversity efforts. Examples will include types of programs companies are seeking, how a university can champion those efforts with corporate prospects, and how to create meaningful dialogue with companies to enhance diversity and inclusion efforts on campus.

Speakers: Bernard Coleman III, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Uber; and Rocky Gutierrez, Manager of Interior Integration and WSU Diversity Focal, Boeing

Moderator: Lynell Cadray, Vice Provost, Office of Equity and Inclusion at Emory University


10:05 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. ▪ Concurrent Session: Benchmarking Academic Corporate Engagement Programs: Interactive Workgroup on Financial and Non-Financial Metrics

Location: Sound

Description: Join us for an interactive session focused on defining key financial and non-financial metrics for academic corporate engagement programs. We will begin the session by sharing a report from a pilot benchmarking survey that was conducted by NACRO in February 2017. Following the short presentation, the participants will form small workgroups for a guided discussion. The goal for the workgroups will be to share feedback regarding relevant corporate engagement metrics to help inform development of an annual benchmarking survey of academic corporate programs. Through this session the participants will have an opportunity to learn about best practices from their peers. At the same time, insights from a diverse group of practitioners will be critical for the development of a useful tool for our industry.

Speakers: Charles Hasemann, Assistant Vice President for Innovation & Economic Development for Michigan State University and Dorota Amin, Interim Director of Corporate Relations for The George Washington University


10:05 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. ▪ Concurrent Session: Working Towards a Common Goal: Engaging Your Technology Transfer Office

Location: Cove

Description: Corporate Relations Offices are working increasingly closer with the technology transfer offices (TTOs) at their institutions as their two missions converge. This panel will strive to give a broad overview of the Technology Transfer profession, as only by truly understanding each other can the TTO and CRO learn to avoid any potential sources of friction and best leverage each other’s strengths to ensure our institutions achieve the maximum possible impact with our external collaborators to become one of their preferred partners of choice.

Speakers: Steve Susalka, Chief Executive Officer for the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM); James Zanewicz, Chief Business Officer for Tulane University and Mary Albertson, Senior Licensing Associate for Stanford University


10:50 a.m. – 11:10 a.m. ▪ Networking Break - Kiosk Area




11:10 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ▪ From the C-Suite to Campus: Perspectives from former CEOs now helping lead their alma maters ▪

Location: Harbor

Introduction: Joanna Glickler, Assistant Vice President for Corporate and Foundation Relations at University of Washington

Speakers: Bill Ayer, former Chairman, President, and CEO of Alaska Airlines and Alaska Air Group and Scott Carson, former Executive Vice President of The Boeing Company and President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes at The Boeing Company

Moderator: Connie Kravas, Vice President of Advancement for University of Washington




12:15 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. ▪ Lunch and NACRO Strategic Plan Presentation

Location: International

Speakers: NACRO Co-Presidents: Roger VanHoy, Director, Office of Corporate Relations for University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Todd Cleland, Director, University Relations for University of Washington




1:35 p.m. – 2:20 p.m. ▪ Concurrent Session: Creating Innovation Districts

Location: Marina

Description: Macquarie University in Sydney Australia is located adjacent to a business park which houses more than 180 multi-national corporations. Leveraging the university’s relationships with these corporations has resulted in the re-modeling of the Business Park into an Innovation District. Launched in August 2016, six founding corporate partners are jointly leading the initiative with the university. Incubation spaces have been established on the university campus and will also be developed on the premises of a number of the corporations in the park, creating an innovation eco-system.

Speakers: Margaret Hudson, Director Corporate Engagement for Macquarie University


1:35 p.m. – 2:20 p.m. ▪ Concurrent Session: International Partnerships, Best Practices for a Successful Alliance

Location: Cove

A panel discussion will take a look how to develop international partnerships.  We have three different perspectives on growing university/industry international partnerships.

  • Sara Broadbent, Director of Corporate Responsibility, Philanthropy and EHS at AVAYA, a global leader in delivering communications experiences, will discuss how Avaya builds relationships with universities across the globe.
  • Brian Wall, Oregon State University Assistant Vice President for Research, Commercialization and Industry Partnering, will share how Oregon State advanced a relationship with Thailand Petroleum Company (PTT).  The is one of OSU’s most strategic and rewarding partnerships.
  • Susan Chiu, Huawei Technologies, Senior Technology Collaboration Manager, will share the perspective of how a company headquartered in China is developing partnerships with U.S. universities. She will share Huawei’s focus on partnerships with long term goals that include: call for proposal sponsorship program (HIRP), student recruitment and collaborative research.


Speakers: Sara Broadbent, Director of Corporate Responsibility, Philanthropy and EHS at AVAYABrian Wall, Oregon State University Assistant Vice President for Research, Commercialization and Industry PartneringSusan Chiu, Senior Technology Collaboration Manager, Huawei Technologies

Moderator: Julie Brandis, Executive Director of Strategic Partnerships for Oregon State University College of Engineering


1:35 p.m. – 2:20 p.m. ▪ Concurrent Session: Best Practices: Up Close and Personal

Location: Bay

Description: The Best Practices subcommittee co-chairs will present on improvements made to the processes of submitting and finding best practices and on new methods for recording and presenting best practices. They even hope to record some new best practices on the spot – during the session itself! Ultimately, these changes are making it easier than ever to share best practices, creating more opportunities for members to highlight their successes (and failures), and raising industry standards for university-corporate relations nationally.

Speakers: Brendan McGinty, Director of Industry and Government Relations for University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Eric Swenson, Director of External Relations for MacMurray College


1:35 p.m. – 2:20 p.m. ▪ Concurrent Session: Pfizer: Through the Corporate Lens

Location: Sound

Description: Jackie Waldrop, Grant Director from Pfizer, Inc., will discuss the types of projects Pfizer funds, how projects are evaluated, and what makes a successful application. As a case study, a collaborative project with the Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit health care and research institution, will be analyzed. 

Speakers: Jackie Waldrop, Grant Director for Pfizer, Inc. Independent Grants for Learning and Change and Martha McClees, Corporate and Foundation Relations Officer for Mayo Clinic




2:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. ▪ Concurrent Session: The Corporate Relations Tinder Profile: How to Make Sure You Get the Right Swipe

Location: Marina

Description: Ever wondered how to play up your strengths and find the right corporate partner for your institution? Tired of weeding through bad matches? Could it be you and not them? We will help you get the ‘right swipe’ by learning how to feature your university’s best assets, recognizing the right companies to approach, and making a strong connection with corporate donors that fit your profile. Our own "experts", including United Health Care and HP Enterprise, will weigh in on the metrics they use to evaluate their perfect university partner matches, including: diversity, degree programs, research, geographic proximity, hiring/acceptance rates/retention, and third-party partnerships. Discussion will include things like: How could a university overcome a geographic challenge? Is it helpful if a third-party partner that the company supports is engaged with the university? What can you do if you are not a designated Top Tier Research Institution? 

Speakers: Dale Rimmey, Manager, College Talent Acquisition and Solutions for Leidos Corporation; Bill Hunter, Portfolio Manager, University Affairs for Chevron; Daniel Limbago, Vice President, External Affairs for United Health Foundation 

Moderator: Robin Shah, Assistant Director of Corporate Relations for the University of Houston


2:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. ▪ Concurrent Session: The Business of Data Analytics

Location: Sound

Description: As companies across industry sectors embrace data-driven management and decision-making, demand for data scientists has exploded, with industry looking to universities to fill a critical talent gap.  Data Science and Data Analytics have become cornerstones for innovation as industries embrace the potential for big data to transform business processes, generate new business models, boost operational efficiency and catalyze innovation. In this session, industry representatives will talk about data analytics processes and operations at their companies and how they are partnering with universities to address related needs.

Speakers: Chris Smith, Director, Data Science, Analytics & Analytics Engineering at Nordstrom; Chad Jennings, Product Manager, BigQuery team at Google; Winson Taam, Principal Data Scientist Manager, Microsoft; Dave Brown, Program Director, Data Analytics and Associate Professor, Crop & Soil Sciences, Washington State University

Moderator:  Dana Ulrich, Director of Corporate Relations, Washington State University


2:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. ▪ Concurrent Session: How to Bring Your Faculty Along

Location: Bay

Description: This session will provide examples and discussion on best practices in working with and training faculty across your organization for successful corporate partnerships. Corporate relations officers rely on faculty expertise and faculty time. Sponsored research is a key component of a strategic corporate relationship and it’s often the responsibility of the corporate relations officer to help faculty best understand how to work with companies. 

Speakers: Dr. Daniel Schwartz, Boeing-Sutter Professor of Chemical Engineering and Director, Clean Energy Institute for the University of Washington; Julie Smith, Director of Development & Strategic Partnerships for the Rollins School of Public Health; and Jamie Shattuck, Manager, Office of Corporate Relations for UC Davis

Moderator: Rachelle Rozsonits, Assistant Director, Innovation Partnerships & Programs, Office of Commercialization for Washington State University


2:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. ▪ Concurrent Session: Economic Impact of Universities

Location: Cove

Description: Universities have always been important economic drivers of their regions, states and ever increasingly, the world. They, along with industry and economic development organizations, are at the core of economic growth. In this session, Chris Mefford, a leading economic development consultant, will discuss how universities can contribute to economies and collaborate with industry to meet the needs of their communities. 

Speakers: Chris Mefford, President and CEO of Community Attributes Inc.


3:15 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. ▪ Networking Break - Kiosk Area




3:45 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. ▪ Find Your People: Affinity Group Discussions (Corporate Relations Structure) 

In these sessions, NACRO members have the opportunity to participate in an Affinity Group discussion. The groups are designed around the primary constituencies we serve in our Corporate Relations roles. During these concurrent sessions, members will share interests, common goals, and current challenges. Affinity sessions are designed to be conversational with a moderator and discussion leaders. In an effort to prepare the moderators, we urge participants to submit a question or challenge ahead of time.

To submit a question or if you notice that we are missing an affinity group, please contact Derrick Harris and Aimee Ahmed at


Affinity Group: Business

Location: Sound

Moderators: David Broughton, Sr. Director of Development Corporate Sponsorships and Strategic Alliances, University of North Texas


Affinity Group: Central Office

Location: Bay

Moderators: Mark Boeck, Senior Director of Development, Corporate Relations, Iowa State University Foundation; Stacey Smith, Senior Director, Corporate and Foundation Relations, Oklahoma State University; Brad Fravel, Executive Director, Corporate Relations, Indiana University


Affinity Group: Engineering

Location: Cove

Moderators: Derrick Harris, Director of Corporate Relations for USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences; and Michael Bivens, Senior Advancement Officer, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


Affinity Group: Medical/Health Sciences

Location: Pacific

Moderators: Mary Lynn Ulch, Director of Development, West Virginia University and James Zanewicz, Chief Bisiness Officer for Research, Tulane University


Affinity Group: Research/Economic Development

Location: Marina

Moderators: Emily Abbott, Director of Corporate and Strategic Relationships, University of California, Riverside and Eric Swenson, Director of External Relations for MacMurray College


Affinity Group: Ag/Life Sciences

Location: Inlet

Moderators: Deborah Thompson, Director of Research Partnerships, North Carolina State University




5:15 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. ▪ Evening Reception

Location: Bell Harbor International Conference Center, Olympic Ballroom

Please join us for hors d’oeuvres, wine, great company, and views of the Olympic Mountains, Mount Rainier, Puget Sound’s Elliott Bay, and the Seattle skyline. The reception is included in conference registration. 

Welcome: NACRO Co-Presidents, Roger VanHoy, Director, Office of Corporate Relations for University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Todd Cleland, Director, Industry Relations for University of Washington

After the reception, join fellow NACRO members for more socializing at one of the recommended restaurants found on the NACRO Conference App.