September 2010

Valorie Troesch

Valorie Troesch, J.D., is a Professor of Practice in the Michigan Tech Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies (IIS). She has taught in several departments across campus and currently teaches the Engineering Ethics and the Teaming in the Enterprise course modules within the Enterprise Program. Troesch is trained in program assessment and evaluation and has worked with the PI and other key personnel to design and implement program assessment plans, to evaluate results, and to disseminate outcomes for multiple IIS programs, including Enterprise. Troesch will work on both formative and summative components of this project, as well as the development of new innovation educational materials/curriculum. Troesch is pursuing her PhD in Rhetoric and Technical Communications. Her principal research focuses on the development of a humanities-based component in the innovation curriculum and assessment of educational outcomes for engineering undergraduates.

Mary Raber

Mary Raber currently serves as Associate Director of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies and Director of the Enterprise Program at Michigan Technological University. This program focuses on undergraduate technical and professional skill development by providing a multidisciplinary team environment in which students address real-world projects for industry, community and government organizations. Raber has overseen the implementation and growth of the Enterprise Program at Michigan Tech since its inception in 2000, and is responsible for its overall coordination and development. Her responsibilities include corporate sponsorship development, interdisciplinary program evaluation and assessment, and workshop/course instruction in the areas of teaming and leadership. She received her BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Wayne State University and is currently working on her PhD at Michigan Technological University. Before joining MTU, she held various engineering and management positions during a fourteen-year career in the automotive industry.

David Pistrui

David Pistrui serves as the Managing Director of Acumen Dynamics, LLC, a strategy-based education, training, and research firm that focuses on practical knowledge and skills that help organizations align vision and strategy with execution and performance. Working as an independent scholar, thought leader and advisor to corporations, family foundations, academic institutions, government agencies and global think tanks, Pistrui's activities include strategy development, business succession, assessment modeling, technology transfer, executive education and social science research. This includes programs and activities in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Pistrui has held several scholarly appointments in the US and Europe, including the Coleman Foundation Chair in Entrepreneurship at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. Pistrui is a member of the Kern Family Foundation's Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network Advisory Board. In 2009, he was appointed as a Senior Fellow at the Austrian Economics Center in Vienna.

Norris Krueger

Norris Krueger directs entrepreneurial economic development efforts at Entrepreneurship Northwest. He was founder and manager of TEAMS at Boise State University, a student-centered program using project teams under a problem-based learning format to encourage economic growth and the development of technology, cultural, and social entrepreneurs. A subcomponent, TRAIL, was a "cross-geo" partnership with the Idaho National Lab to promote technology transfer. Krueger is a leading scholar (e.g., Fellow, Max Planck Institute of Economics) who applies his cutting edge work in entrepreneurial cognition to entrepreneurial education.

Susan Whitmer

Susan Whitmer has over twenty-five years of experience in designing environments for offices, healthcare, and education. As a member of the Education Solutions team at Herman Miller, Inc., Susan manages industry-leading applied research focusing on the trends, challenges and opportunities that impact the future of learning and learning space design. Susan is a licensed interior designer, earning her undergraduate degree in Design from Ringling College. She holds a Masters of Business Degree from Brenau University and a Masters of Science Degree in Accessibility and Inclusive Design from the University of Salford in the United Kingdom. Susan has co-authored several articles on learning spaces and in March 2009 was published in the international architectural journal, Open House International. Her affiliations include PKAL Learning Spaces Collaboratory, where she serves a leadership role as a steering committee member; the Society of College and University Planners (SCUP), where she serves on the Professional Development Committee; and the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) EDUCAUSE, where she is a member of the Learning Space Design Constituency Group.

Robert Beaury

Robert Beaury is an instructor in Engineering Entrepreneurship in the College of Engineering at Penn State University. Beaury, an instructor since 2001, teaches a variety of courses related to creativity, innovation and product development. Beaury has worked with many student start-ups and small businesses as a business advisor, and is currently a member of the Board of Directors of several prominent Central PA companies, including Restek, Envinity and Matson & Associates. Prior to joining PSU, Beaury was the CEO and President of Broadband Networks, Inc., a start-up in the fiber optic networking industry, which he successfully grew and eventually sold to a publicly held company.

President Clinton's praise for E-Team Sproxil: "A genuinely remarkable achievement"

Last year, Ashifi Gogo, former NCIIA E-Team grantee and founder of Sproxil, was awarded $10,000 by the Clinton Global Initiative University to develop his anti-counterfeit drug technology venture. On Thursday, Sept 23, he spoke at the 2010 Clinton Global Initiative, giving an update on Sproxil's work in Nigeria, where thousands of locals are signing up every month to use the mobile phone system to find out if their medicine is authentic or not.

President Clinton's reaction following Ashifi's update: "This is a genuinely remarkable accomplishment...(it's) empowering...putting people in charge of their own healthcare."

Watch Ashifi's presentation (introduction by President Clinton at 6:20).

NCIIA announces new global education program at Clinton Global Initiative

Initiative will create science and technology education and entrepreneurship opportunities to address global poverty

The NCIIA today announced the launch of the Global Innovation Initiative (GII), a program designed to support Science, Technology, Math and Engineering (STEM) educators and students in solving the problems of global poverty in environmentally and economically sustainable ways. The announcement was made at the Clinton Global Initiative Summit in New York City.

See the announcement (at 1 min 55 sec).

In the photo, NCIIA's Executive Director Phil Weilerstein is flanked by President Bill Clinton and Arianna Huffington.

A $9.5 million commitment

NCIIA’s $9.5 million commitment was announced this morning during CGI’s Enhancing Access to Modern Technology Plenary.

Launched with a $1 million cornerstone commitment by The Lemelson Foundation, an additional $8.5 million will be raised through partnerships, grants and additional fundraising over the next two years.

Read the press release. Visit the GII webpage to learn more and get involved.


Sustainable Vision VentureLab


Date:  August 26-30, 2011

Location: Microsoft NERD Conference Center, 1 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA

Meet the teams and their technologies!

The Sustainable Vision VentureLab is an intensive, five-day, highly experiential and immersive workshop designed to enhance the success of your venture. Participants develop strong, sustainable business models that create products or services for the benefit of people living in poverty. 

At Sustainable Vision VentureLab you'll have the space to think and explore within a dynamic environment that will help you evolve your business strategy, sales channels, marketing, and financial mechanics of your venture, with support from people who have been there and done it themselves.

You'll come out of the workshop not only with a more competitive action plan, but also with a set of tools that will help you grow your venture for years to come. 

Topics discussed may include:

  • Blocks and barriers to performance
  • The Human operating system
  • Strategy mapping
  • Operating in another country/culture
  • Understanding your customer
  • How do you create and articulate value
  • Innovating at every level
  • Business model case studies from the developing world
  • Understanding the supply chain
  • Designing for affordability
  • Features vs. benefits
  • Telling a story
  • Presentation techniques & tips


About the Instructor

James Barlow, NCIIA's Program Manager for Outreach, has worked in the University entrepreneurship space for 7 years and has been Commercial Advisor or Commercial Director for 16 start-ups.  He has served as a consultant internationally on start-up strategy, enterprise education and training. Prior to working in Higher Education, James was a Performance Coach, Motivational Speaker, and Strategy Consultant for FTSE listed companies and also worked in the Pharmaceutical Industry in Sales and Sales Management. He earned his BSc Honours Degree in Biochemistry from the University of Kent. 

Sustainable Vision VentureLab is held twice a year, the next workshop will be in 2012. For more information, contact us:


What participants have said about VentureLab:


"How would I describe the NCIIA VentureLab? No amount of adjectives could ever do it justice but here are a few I would use: exciting, exhausting, inspiring, humbling, challenging. hilarious, risqué, refreshing, and so much more. The VentureLab is something you have to experience before you can really understand its worth. Not only do you come away with a better understanding of your venture and its place in the market, but also new skills, contacts and even friendships. The instructors are fantastic and it's a chance to mingle with the best and brightest of your peers. I would recommend it to any budding entrepreneur, it's a must." —2010 VentureLab participant


"VentureLab was a great experience. It's definitely a hands-on, extremely inspiring and helpful opportunity that allowed us to think actively about the short and long term goals of our venture. The workshop was fast-paced and applicable in many ways to not only our venture, but also life in general. I left VentureLab humbled and inspired by the people I met and the experiences and opportunities I had." —2010 VentureLab participant

"VentureLab is a good experience for anyone feeling alone in the world of social entrepreneurship. VentureLab helps you find direction and inspiration for your developing-world venture."—2010 VentureLab participant