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Staff & Leadership

  • Stacy Strauss

  • Director

  • Stacy Strauss joined the Innovation Center as the Associate Director in August 2014 and was promoted to Director in October 2016. At the Innovation Center, Strauss oversees the staff, makes connections for clients, oversees facility management, fundraising efforts, budget analysis, grant writing, and other Innovation Center operations. She was instrumental in securing a $2 million dollar grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission in 2016.

     

    Ms. Strauss joined the Innovation Center from Hocking College, where she served in a dual role as a Student Affairs Coordinator and Career Services Director from April 2013 through August 2014.  Prior to that position, she was Ohio University’s Head Soccer Coach for 13 years. During her tenure, the Bobcats won two Mid-American Championships, maintained a 3.4 cumulative GPA, and boasted a 97 percent graduation rate.  In addition, Ms. Strauss was the founder and director of a small business - the Bobcat Soccer Club - from 2010 to 2013. Before her coaching years at Ohio University, Strauss worked as an assistant soccer coach at Dartmouth College and at the University of Rhode Island.

     

    Ms. Strauss holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Kenyon College and a master’s degree in education from Ohio State University. She also holds a Business Incubator Management certificate from the International Business Innovation Association. Ms. Strauss resides in Athens, Ohio with her husband, John.

       

  • Tanya Conrath

  • Associate Director

  • Tanya Conrath joined the Innovation Center in November 2016 as the Associate Director.  At the Innovation Center, Conrath manages client services, oversees the student staff, manages the facility, organizes events and assists with fundraising efforts, grant writing, and other Innovation Center operations. 

     

    In her previous role with TechGROWTH OHIO, she facilitated regional outreach and educational/training opportunities for entrepreneurs. Her career has focused on supporting regional economic development in Southeast Ohio and creating professional development opportunities for its leaders and businesses. Tanya is an attorney, trained mediator, and holds a Business Incubator Management certificate from the International Business Innovation Association.  She has a B.S. in Communication from Ohio University, and a J.D. from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

     

       

  • Misako Hata

  • Lab Director

  • Misako Hata joined the Innovation Center in September of 2017 as the Director of the Biotechnology Research and Development Facility and 3D Printer Lab. Misa is very passionate about helping small businesses succeed in Southeast Ohio. Hata oversees operations for and maintenance of the incubator’s biotechnology and 3D printing labs. She also assists with marketing and grant writing. Hata holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial systems engineering, a master’s degree in industrial systems engineering and a master’s degree in biomedical engineering, all from Ohio University’s Russ College of Engineering and Technology. In addition, she has experience in 3D printing processes.

     

    Prior to the OUIC, Hata worked at Edison Biotechnology Institute, an Ohio University interdisciplinary research facility, where she served as the facility manager and biomedical R&D assistant. In this role, she oversaw the institute’s lab and equipment training. Prior to her tenure at the institute, Hata worked for two former Innovation Center companies: as a research associate at Quidel— formerly Diagnostic Hybrids, Inc.—for six years and as an industrial systems engineer at Sunpower, Inc.

       

  • Erin Rennich

  • Client Liaison

  • Erin Rennich joined the Innovation Center in February 2016 as the Client Liaison.  As the Client Liaison, Rennich acts as a concierge to coordinate all activities for clients with the goals of increasing client revenues, follow-on investment, employment and, ultimately, graduation from the incubation program. Acting with other staff, Rennich monitors progress, follows up on solutions identified, understands the clients' wants/needs and provides research for critical business pathways.

     

    Before joining the Innovation Center, Rennich served as the Technology Coordinator at the Ohio University Technology Transfer Office for nearly four years.  Rennich has extensive experience providing business support to technology-based companies in various stages of maturity. In 2004, Rennich earned her Bachelor of Arts at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania.  In 2013, she completed her Professional MBA at Ohio University. 

       

  • Susan Bauman

  • Administrative Specialist

  • Susan Bauman joined the Innovation Center and the Technology Transfer Office in September of 2008. Her duties are split between the two areas. While wearing her Innovation Center hat, Susan maintains close contact with the member companies, often working with potential new tenants.

     

    In conjunction with the Technology Transfer Office, her duties focus on database management and helping coordinate the patent and invention disclosure processes. Susan has been with Ohio University for over 15 years, having worked for the Telecommunications Center (now the WOUB Center for Public Media) and the College of Business. She has a bachelor's degree in education from Ohio University, and holds the CAP designation through the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP).

       

  • Tina Echemann

  • Office Assistant

  • Tina Echemann graduated from Sidney High School in 2013. She took post secondary classes at Edison Community College. She is currently in the College of Business majoring in Accounting and Business Pre-Law. She is a member of the Ohio University Hover Craft Club and the Vice President of the Ohio University Club Gymnastics team. Tina joined the Innovation Center as an Office Assistant in August 2016.  She helps with various tasks and performs daily duties to keep the center in tip-top shape.  She also manages the conference room calendars, metrics, and contact lists.

       

  • Jordan Fornash

  • Office Assistant

  • Jordan Fornash graduated from Zane Trace High School in 2015. She was in the National Honor Society, varsity volleyball, and varsity softball. She is currently in the College of Business perusing a degree in marketing. Jordan began working at the Innovation Center in July of 2017 as an Office Assistant. Her many daily tasks consist of answering phone calls, greeting visitors, scheduling conference rooms, and organizing and updating files. 

       

  • Laura Gilmore

  • Office Assistant

  • Laura Gilmore graduated from Athens High School in 1994. She holds an Associate of Applied Business in Accounting and Financial Services from Hocking College and is currently a sophomore in the OHIO College of Business, majoring in Accounting. Laura started working at the Innovation Center in November 2015 and, among other tasks, manages office inventory, accounts payable, and student employee scheduling.

       

  • Michelle House

  • Office Assistant

  • Michelle House graduated from Dover High School in 2013. She minored in Mechanical Engineering Technology at Kent State University, where she served as vice president for the Student Activates Council (Student Government), vice president for the Animation Imagineers, and vice president of Vision. She is currently in the Scripps College of Communication majoring in Games and Animation. She is a member of the Ohio University Women’s Ensemble and the Newman Club. Michelle joined the Innovation Center as an Office Assistant in August 2016; she helps with various tasks and performs daily duties to keep the center in tip-top shape. 

       

  • MacKenzie Kronk

  • Office Assistant

  • Mackenzie Kronk graduated from Assumption High School in 2015. She is currently in the College of Arts and Sciences majoring in Social Work and minoring in Spanish and Psychology. She is the director of fundraising for the Ohio University Student Social Work Association and a member of GIVE (Growth International Volunteer Excursions). Mackenzie joined the Innovation Center as an Office Assistant in February 2017. She preforms daily duties such as answering phone calls, greeting visitors, and scheduling conference rooms.

       

  • Antonia McFadden

  • Communication and Marketing Coordinator

  • Antonia "Toni" McFadden is a junior at Ohio University studying Organizational Communication and Marketing. She is also a member of the Student Alumni Board. Toni joined the Innovation Center in August of 2017 as the Communication and Marketing coordinator. She is responsible for the content on the IC's Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn platforms and also assists with content for the monthly newsletter and promotion and marketing of events.

       

  • Haley Sponaugle

  • Office Assistant

  • Haley Sponaugle graduated from Seton High School in 2015 where she was in the National Honor Society, the StrongHer Club, and a Student Ambassador.  She is currently in the College of Business pursuing a degree in finance with a minor in Spanish. She is a member of Gamma Phi Beta and the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society.  Haley began work at the Innovation Center in August, 2016.  Her many tasks include maintaining and updating various documents and assisting with events and workshops for the Innovation Center.

       

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