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Konneker Medals awarded to OHIO alumni for technology innovations, entrepreneurial successes

From staff reports | Jan 30, 2018
David Pidwell and Rob Painter.
David Pidwell and Rob Painter. Provided photos.

Ohio University has awarded the 2017 Konneker Medal for Commercialization and Entrepreneurship to two alumni for their innovations in technology development and successes in entrepreneurship.

David Pidwell, an alumnus of the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, and Rob Painter, an alumnus of the College of Arts and Sciences, will be recognized for their accomplishments at the Ohio University Inventors Dinner on Feb. 7.

The Ohio University Foundation established the Konneker Medal to recognize current and former faculty members or students who have demonstrated excellence in innovation, invention, commercialization and entrepreneurship. The award is named for Wilfred Konneker, an Ohio University alumnus renowned for his contributions to these fields.

“David Pidwell and Rob Painter are living examples of the tremendous impact Ohio University alumni have on the world each and every day,” Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis said. “They are very deserving of this year’s Konneker Medals and I congratulate them for the honor and their fine careers to date.”

Pidwell (BSEE ’69, MS ’70) has been a partner with Alloy Ventures, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, since January 1996. His investment activities are concentrated in the computer software industry, primarily with companies addressing enterprise information management, the internet or software-as-a-service (SaaS, cloud computing) related fields. He currently is on the Board of Directors of Xactly Corp., as well as one privately held corporation.

In 1986, Pidwell founded Rasna Corp., a mechanical design automation software company, and was CEO until 1995 when the firm was acquired by Parametric Technology Corp. Prior to Rasna, he was president and general manager of the Mil-Spec Computer Division of Rolm Corp. He was employed at Rolm from the company’s early startup for 15 years. With more than 2,500 employees and $1.2 billion in annual revenue, the company was acquired in 1985 by IBM.

Pidwell has been a faculty member, lecturer or student mentor with the Stanford University Graduate School of Business for the past 20 years. He is currently a member of the Ohio University Board of Trustees, a trustee emeritus of the Ohio University Foundation and a member of the dean’s advisory council for the University’s Russ College of Engineering and Technology. Recently, he has been involved in developing the Ohio University C-Suite, a campus-wide hub for student entrepreneurship, social and public innovation and creative endeavors.

Pidwell is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Ohio University Russ College of Engineering Academy of Distinguished Graduates, and the College of Business Award for Achievement in Business. He holds degrees in electrical engineering and industrial and systems engineering from Ohio University, and has completed three years of study at Stanford University on a Ph.D. in engineering economic systems.

Painter (BS ’93) is a founding partner at Razor’s Edge Ventures, an early-stage venture capital fund focused on investing in technologies and businesses that deliver direct, meaningful impact to the U.S. defense and intelligence community. He actively mentors and advises venture-backed companies in Silicon Valley, the Rocky Mountain Region and the Mid-Atlantic while serving on the Board of Directors for Mersive Technologies, Wireless Registry, Zoomdata, Hawkeye 360, AELIUS Exploitation Technologies and LoudounSTEAM, a non-profit he founded in 2015. He is also a special advisor to the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command. Painter is a 12-year veteran of the U.S. Army and Army National Guard.

In tandem with the founding of Razor’s Edge, Painter was the executive director for strategy and innovation at Raytheon-Blackbird Technologies and served as the director of venture investing for Raytheon’s Intelligence and Information Systems Business Unit on behalf of the Advanced Concepts and Technologies Division. During his eight years at the company, Painter crafted and managed several classified, special access programs supporting both technology development and foreign and domestic intelligence operations for Intelligence Community and Department of Defense partners.

Before joining Raytheon-Blackbird Technologies, Painter was chief technologist for Google Federal and simultaneously a product manager for Google Geo supporting humanitarian assistance and disaster response activities worldwide. Prior to Google, he was the director of technology assessment at In-Q-Tel, the strategic venture capital firm of the U.S. Intelligence Community. His work with the firm includes leading over two dozen investments, most notably Keyhole, now Google Earth, and @Last Software, now Google SketchUp. His entrepreneurial experience also includes founding and exiting Encompass Technologies, Inc., a K-12 desktop mapping company created to enhance geography in the classroom.

Painter, who earned a bachelor’s degree in geography and computer science from Ohio University, is currently a fellow with the university’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. To engage his expertise with technology commercialization entrepreneurial services provider program TechGROWTH Ohio, part of the Voinovich School, Painter was recently named to the evaluation and selection committee of the newly awarded Ohio Third Frontier Technology Validation and Start-up Fund.

Nominations for the 2018 Konneker Medal for Commercialization and Entrepreneurship can be submitted through Oct. 31, 2018. Details about the nomination process are available on the Research Division website, https://www.ohio.edu/research/konneker.cfm.