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Driving Innovation and Growth
2014 Polsinelli Innovation Competition Judges
Shez joined KPMG Corporate Finance as the head of the U.S. Cleantech practice.  As a leader in Corporate Finance, Shez serves and expands relationships with Cleantech clients that expand across the industrial, technology, and energy sectors with a focus on M&A advisory services and private equity and debt capital raises, including renewable project finance. Shez advises the management teams of publicly traded and privately owned companies as well as their board members and venture/private equity investors.  Shez directs the firm’s efforts in key Cleantech subsectors, including renewable power generation (solar, biomass), advanced energy technologies (advanced batteries, PEV, HEV, fuel cells), advanced alternative fuels, energy efficiency (smart grid, advanced lighting, demand, and supply-side solutions), preservation (water purification, recycling), and environmental markets.  Shez has been an investment banker since 1992 with a deep background serving middle-market growth companies within various high-profile sectors.  Shez holds an MBA degree in finance and marketing from The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and a BS in computer engineering from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois. 

John Banta serves as the CEO & Managing Director of IllinoisVENTURES, LLC, and the Managing Partner of the IllinoisEmerging Technologies Fund.  John is the former President and COO of DigitalWork, Inc., a Draper Fisher Jurvetson, TL Ventures and Dell Ventures portfolio company, having served previously as its Senior Vice President of Corporate and Business Development.  John has worked with a wide variety of portfolio companies, with an emphasis on clean technologies including biofuels and biochemicals.  John serves on the Board of Directors of several early-stage clean technology, instrumentation and medical device and IT businesses, including Tetravitae Biosciences, iCyt Mission Technologies and Nanodisc, Inc., and has collaborated on coverage of several other investments.  He also serves on the Advisory Boards of the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois and the Chicago West Side Entrepreneurship Center. John is a frequent guest lecturer at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.

Jason Blumberg is CEO & Managing Director of Energy Foundry, where he sets the firm’s vision, leads its investment activities, and advises its entrepreneurs.  Jason is also an Adjunct Professor at the Chicago Booth School of Business, where he teaches energy and clean tech entrepreneurship.  Prior to co-founding Energy Foundry, Jason co-founded Energy Results, where he was the company’s CEO.  At Energy Results he built a leading residential energy business which gained significant market traction and was adopted by industry leaders such as Best Buy.  Before co-founding Energy Results, Jason worked at McKinsey & Co. where he was a member of the firm’s Energy & Climate Change leadership teams.  Earlier in his career, Jason worked for the CEO of GVW Holdings, an industrial and transportation platform of The Carlyle Group, where he led direct investments and was an active Board Member of GVW’s portfolio companies. Prior to working with GVW, Jason served as Vice President of Corporate Development at The Interpublic Group. Jason other experience include working for Sterling Partners and the Transaction Advisory Group at Arthur Andersen.  He was named by NBC as one of Chicago’s top “Eco-preneurs” and WGN as their “Entrepreneur of the Week.”  He received a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University.

Marguerite Clark has over 25 years of international business and innovation experience, mainly focused in the energy & environmental sectors. After working several years in the U.S., she relocated to Germany as Director of Business Development & Technology Transfer for Westinghouse’s Environmental Division. She subsequently joined GDF SUEZ in 1994, at their headquarters in Paris as the Director of Research and Development for SUEZ Environment - SITA. She then created and became the Director of the Environmental, Sustainability and Quality Department. In 2000, she joined the GDF SUEZ Sales and Marketing Division, as Vice President of Strategic Accounts., followed by a position as a Director at GDF SUEZ University, running the internal think-tank. Most recently, she relocated to the Chicago area to head-up GDF SUEZ’s innovation efforts within the North American innovation ecosystem, while also working as a Vice President of Business Development within the Infrastructure Division. She has also actively been a member of various venture capital, energy sector, and educational advisory boards.

Mr. Dines is Assistant Director, New Ventures of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Office of Corporate Relations (OCR).  He works principally with new ventures and early stage investors with the objective of fostering creation and growth of new ventures at UW-Madison and in the greater Madison community.  Mr. Dines co-founded the Midwest Research University Network (MRUN), an alliance of those who create, fund and grow start-up companies associated with Midwest research institutions.  He currently serves as president of MRUN.  From 2007-2012, he was Program Manager for the Wiscontrepreneur program focused on expanding the campus-wide access to entrepreneurship.  Mr. Dines was a principal in three start-up ventures, all in the biotechnology sector, two of which he co-founded.  All three companies were acquired by leaders in their respective markets.  

Teresa Esser serves as Managing Director of the Silicon Pastures Angel Investment Network.   She invests in technology and life sciences companies that improve business processes, save time, save money or save lives. Teresa  serves on the board of Hardcore Computer, Inc. and the Hmong American Peach Academy.   She is the author of The Venture Cafe: Secrets, Strategies, and Stories from America’s High Tech Entrepreneurs (Warner Business Books, 2002).   Teresa served as a judge in numerous business plan competition including the Cleantech Open, the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Competition, UW Milwaukee, and UW Whitewater.

Andrea Marengo co-founded Marengo Hampshire Partners because she saw a gap in the overall recruiting marketplace. Her objective is to innovate within a transaction-oriented industry and pioneer a partnership alignment model that delivers real value and long-term relationships. Her clients range from emerging venture-backed start-ups to global enterprises. She has built Advisory Boards, Board of Directors, working management and cross-functional teams, in addition to placing individual executives across all functional areas of a company. She has successfully placed candidates in the fields of enterprise software, technology, consumer products, life sciences, non-for-profit, finance, energy, telecommunications, manufacturing/distribution, bio and healthcare. She continues to give back to the community and serves on several key philanthropic boards, Advisory Boards and Board of Directors of emerging companies. 

Mil Ovan, Chief Marketing Officer at Navitas Systems, is a senior executive with more than 25 years experience focused on introducing innovative high technology products & services and creating new market categories. Mil has been at the forefront in bringing discontinuous world-changing new technologies to global marketplaces: Digital Central Office switches in the early ‘80s; dial-up PC modems and data PBXs in the mid ‘80s; cellular Network Systems in the late ‘80s; wireless LANs in the early 90s; wireless PC cards and PDAs in the mid ‘90s; wireless (4G) and Wireline Broadband systems in the late ‘90s; speech recognition systems in the early 2000s; and, most recently, renewable energy storage systems. A business innovator and pioneer, Mil is a noted speaker on high technology issues at major industry conferences, as well as a quoted expert in high tech marketing in such media as Fortune Magazine and the Wall Street Journal.

Teddy Scott is a Shareholder with a practice that focuses on a wide variety of intellectual property issues.  By combining his unique experience as a registered patent attorney, corporate attorney and researcher, he is able to organize and manage a client’s IP portfolio in harmony with the legal, business and technology objectives of his clients.  Much of his practice involves the design and management of global strategies for the acquisition and enforcement of intellectual property rights in the areas of life sciences, software and mechanical devices.  He has experience prosecuting patents in a vast range of life science technologies including stem cells, gene therapy, oncology, immunology, cardiovascular disease, combinatorial chemistry and pharmaceuticals. He also has experience prosecuting mechanical and software patents in areas including microscopy, spectroscopy, arrays, catheters, sports equipment, exercise equipment, bioinformatics, algorithms and graphical interface systems.  Mr. Scott also represents clients in domestic and international technology transactions involving intellectual property rights, such as licenses, collaborations, development, manufacture, technology acquisitions, joint ventures and other types of strategic alliances. 

Spencer Wood is a Shareholder in the firm's Science and Technology practice where he focuses on intellectual property asset management, information technology, digital media and privacy rights. He regularly counsels clients engaged in structured acquisitions of technology assets as well as the licensing and transfer of trademarks, patents and copyrights.  Mr. Wood began his career litigating disputes involving trade secrets, patents and commercial contracts, and now applies that experience to bring value to clients seeking to exploit and protect intellectual property rights.  He also provides advice on matters in advertising, branded entertainment and mobile marketing, and assists companies seeking to monetize their IP assets. He represents companies in connection with mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and strategic alliances, and regularly negotiates patent licenses, transition services agreements, outsourcing agreements, media distribution and production agreements and software development and license agreements. 

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