America's Bio and Pharma Manufacturing Renaissance 
Speakers & Moderators


Mojdeh Bahar, Associate Director for Innovation and Industry Services, National Institute for Standard and Technology (NIST)

Ms. Bahar comes to NIST from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) where she served as the Assistant Administrator for Technology Transfer. There, she had broad responsibility for managing the intellectual property that evolves from the research program of the Agency and served as a resource for management of intellectual property and technology transfer across the USDA. She lead ARS's interactions with government agencies, industries, commodity groups and universities on matters dealing with intellectual property and technology transfer.

Mojdeh Bahar is the Associate Director for Innovation and Industry Services at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). In this capacity, she is responsible for the NIST suite of technology partnership, quality, and advanced manufacturing programs, including the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, the Office of Advanced Manufacturing, the Technology Partnership Program and other extramural activities.

Rich Bendis, Founder, President and CEO, BioHealth Innovation, Inc.

Rich Bendis is a successful entrepreneur, corporate executive, angel investor, investment banker, innovation and technology-based economic development leader, international speaker and consultant in the technology and healthcare industries. He also serves as the founding President and CEO of Innovation America, a national public-private partnership focused on accelerating the growth of innovation economy in America; also the founding Chairman of The Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation; founder and CEO of Innovation Philadelphia; and asked to serve as the Co-Chairman of the AURP BioHealth Caucus.

As a recognized expert in the field of the innovation economy, Rich has served on numerous distinguished boards and task forces including the White House U.S. Innovation Partnership Advisory Task Force, the Small Business Innovation Research Committee, the National Association of State Venture Funds Board; State Science and Technology Institute and the Ernst and Young Entrepreneurial Institute as a National/Regional Judge and Entrepreneur of the Year winner. 

Rich has provided global consulting services to over 16 countries and 22 states, several cities and regions, along with international organizations including the United Nations, NATO, UK Trade and Industry, European Commission, French Embassy, the German Marshall Fund, The Canadian Consulate, METI, AKEA, the International Science Parks and Innovation Expert Group and other global entities. Rich serves on Governor Hogan's Life Science Advisory Board. He was voted one of the Top 5 Speakers on innovation and creativity, voted 4th best Innovation Blogger, a 2017 most influential Marylander award and a 2017 Maryland innovator of the year award, in addition to hosting the BioTalk podcast series.

Chris Carlson, Senior Vice President, The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company

As Senior Vice President with Whiting-Turner, Chris is primarily responsible for oversight of WT’s Raleigh, Winston-Salem and Charlotte, North Carolina offices, as well as the Atlanta Office which have a combined annual revenue of $400M. Chris has 35 years of experience in the construction industry and is a graduate of the University of Florida, with a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management. Throughout his career, Chris has managed a multitude of construction types; however, his primary focus has been constructing higher education, science, and technology facilities, contributing to the success of university and research projects across southeast United States. He has been directly involved as key leadership managing over $580 million dollars of university projects in the southeast prior to his current executive duties.

Chris was the first individual within Whiting-Turner to acquire LEED Accreditation in 2001 and was instrumental in Whiting-Turner’s corporate membership within the United States Green Building Council, whereby he was elected to the LEED Application Guidelines committee to compile a laboratory-specific LEED manual. He has been directly involved in numerous high profile, sustainable building projects such as the Yerkes National Primate Research Center and the Whitehead Biomedical Research Facility both at Emory University, the Paul D. Coverdell Center for Biomedical & Health Sciences at the University of Georgia, as well as over one million SF of space at the Innovation Quarter in Winston Salem, North Carolina.

Brian Darmody, JD, Chief Executive Officer, Association of University Research Parks (AURP)

Brian Darmody was announced as AURP CEO in February 2019 and in this new role Brian will lead AURP into new initiatives including expanding membership, international partnerships and funding in order to build out additional member benefits.  Over the course of the year, Brian will be winding down his activities at UMD where he currently serves as Associate Vice President (AVP) of Corporate Engagement at the University of Maryland (UMD).

At UMD, Brian is responsible for developing the overall university strategy for corporate relationships, as well as the development of projects and policies to support these initiatives centrally and through the colleges and schools on campus of the University of Maryland. Previously, he was the University’s AVP for Corporate and Foundation Relations in the Division of University Relations, AVP for Research and Economic Development, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Technology Development, Director of State and Federal Relations in the President’s Office and has served in the university’s legal counsel office. He serves on national and state boards, including: Fraunhofer USA, the Maryland Economic Development Association, and the Maryland Tech Council. 

He holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Baltimore and he received his bachelor degree from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Arthur L. Edge III, Associate Director, Global Technical Operations, AstraZeneca (AZ)

As an Associate Director, Global Technical Operations at AstraZeneca (AZ), Arthur is a Product Champion, pushing the boundaries of science to deliver life-changing medicines. His focus is on strengthening AstraZeneca’s manufacturing strategy and leading the launch of new products in a fight to eliminate severe asthma and COVID-19. Prior to AZ, Arthur developed a broad array of experiences supporting advancements in medicine and technology. While at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), he built robust manufacturing processes to ensure patients never run out of the first drug approved to treat lupus. At Emergent BioSolutions, he created new vaccines and therapies to help the US Government quickly respond to Zika and Ebola outbreaks. And in search of renewable energy sources at DSM, he designed biofuels from algae, which BMW leveraged at the 2012 Olympics in London to power its low-emission vehicle fleet.

When not pushing biotech solutions, Arthur is actively searching for opportunities to build science-based ventures and to grow the STEM talent pipeline. In Maryland, he serves as President of the Manufacturing, Engineering, & Technology advisory board for Montgomery County Public Schools, the top-ranked district in the country for number of students completing the Project Lead the Way Engineering and Biomedical Science curriculum. Previously, Arthur consulted on the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) standards-setting panel with the Department of Education to conduct the first assessment of technology and engineering proficiency in the United States' eighth-grade population.

Arthur is also active in the scientific community, leading workforce development initiatives and big data think tanks with the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing of Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL). He supports the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) as Director of the Healthcare Innovation Special Interest Group and his past NSBE service includes being President of the Washington DC Professionals chapter, named “2012 Chapter of the Year”. Finally, Arthur is an advisory board member for both George Mason University's Bioengineering Alliance and the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE), while also being an ambassador for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC).

Arthur holds a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering (University of Michigan) and Master of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (Johns Hopkins University). During his free time, he "shakes it up" with salsa and swing dance teams in Washington, DC.

Dr. Eric Edwards, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Phlow Corp. at VA Bio + Tech Park

Dr. Eric Edwards is a seasoned pharmaceutical executive, entrepreneur, and inventor. He is currently the Co-Founder, CEO and Chairman of the Board for Phlow Corporation - a pharmaceutical company focused on end-to-end essential medicine advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing. Phlow recently received one of the largest HHS - Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) Government Contracts in U.S. History valued at up to $812 Million. Dr. Edwards was previously co-founder of Kaléo, Inc. a pharmaceutical company developing novel medicines for the treatment of a variety of chronic and acute-care diseases. He is the co-inventor of several currently marketed products, including AUVI-Q, epinephrine for the treatment of allergic emergencies (anaphylaxis). Eric is named on over 215 issued and pending patent applications and is a published author on numerous scientific publications. During his 18 years at Kaléo, he held several executive management positions including chief science officer where he was responsible for overall scientific strategy and all pharmaceutical formulation development and manufacturing technology development programs, chief medical officer responsible for developing the medical affairs team and capability while operationalizing the company’s clinical program strategy, as well as vice president – innovation, overseeing Kaléo’s research and development pipeline and overall product strategy for the company. Eric obtained his B.S. in biology, Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences, and Doctor of Medicine degrees at Virginia Commonwealth University/Medical College of Virginia.

Stephen Ezell, Director of Global Innovation Policy, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF)

Stephen Ezell is Vice President, Global Innovation Policy at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), a Washington-DC based technology and economic policy think tank, where he focuses on science, technology, and innovation policy as well as international competitiveness, trade, and manufacturing policy issues. He is the co-author with Dr. Robert Atkinson of Innovation Economics: The Race for Global Advantage (Yale, September 2012) and a co-author of Innovating in a Service-Driven Economy: Insights, Application, and Practice (Palgrave McMillan, November 2015). Mr. Ezell has testified on topics including U.S. competitiveness, innovation, manufacturing, and trade policy before the U.S. Congress and the U.S. International Trade Commission. His articles have appeared in Forbes, The Hill, Roll Call, The Futurist, and The International Economy, among others. Mr. Ezell came to ITIF from Peer Insight, an innovation research and consulting firm he co-founded in 2003. He previously worked in the new product development group at NASDAQ. Mr. Ezell holds a B.S. from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, with an Honors Certificate from Georgetown’s Landegger International Business Diplomacy (IBD) program.

Dr. James Gillespie, Director of Scientific Strategies, Sterling Bay

Dr. James Gillespie is Director of Scientific Strategies at Sterling Bay. James is also a Senior Advisor at Stanford School of Medicine and a Research Affiliate at Yale School of Medicine. His education includes Northwestern University, MA, PhD; Harvard University, JD; Princeton University School, MPA; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, BS, and Carnegie Mellon University.

Patricia Larrabee, President, Facility Logix, LLC

Pat Larrabee is the Founder and President of Facility Logix, an owner’s representative and management consulting firm for biotechnology and life sciences companies. With more than 30 years of experience in the biotechnology industry, Pat applies biotech and facility management expertise to address the facility-related needs of biotechnology companies, public and private institutions, economic development organizations and commercial real estate firms and developers. She advises clients across the country as both an owner’s rep and project manager for major biotech and life sciences facility expansions.

Many growing life science clusters trust Facility Logix to help plan and develop communities of innovation and biotech ecosystems that attract industry and develop the workforce. Facility Logix offers facility project management, feasibility studies, and market positioning/strategic operational analyses as core services, while facilitating collaboration with industry partners and providing value-add to brokers and commercial real estate firms. The firm serves clients such as Johns Hopkins University, United Therapeutics, bluebird bio, George Mason University, Integrated Biotherapeutics, Eisai, MaxCyte, the Mayo Clinic and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

Kelvin Lee, Director, National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL)

Kelvin H. Lee is Director of the Manufacturing USA National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL) and he is the Gore Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware. He previously served as Director of the Delaware Biotechnology Institute. He received a BSE in Chemical Engineering from Princeton and PhD in Chemical Engineering from Caltech. He spent several years in the Biotechnology Institute at the ETH in Zurich, Switzerland and also completed a postdoc in Caltech's Biology Division. Prior to his current appointment, he was on the faculty at Cornell University where he held the titles of: Samuel C. and Nancy M. Fleming Chair Professor, Professor in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Director of the Cornell Institute for Biotechnology, and Director of the New York State Center for Life Science Enterprise.

Dean Marks, JD, Managing Principal, Sterling Bay

Dean Marks oversees all strategic aspects of Sterling Bay’s business, including acquisitions, dispositions, lease negotiations and debt and equity transactions. Dean has been integral to the vision and execution of Sterling Bay’s most notable accomplishments over the last ten years, including the assemblage and execution of the transformational Lincoln Yards project and the acquisition and development of more than 20 properties in Fulton Market between 2013-2014, before the neighborhood emerged as the fastest growing submarket in Chicago. Prior to joining Sterling Bay in 2009, Dean worked in private practice as a commercial real estate attorney at Greenberg Traurig LLP and Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP (now Dentons US LLP). Dean earned a bachelor of arts from Dartmouth College and a juris doctorate from Emory University School of Law. Dean is a member of the Chicago Bar Association and the Hellenic Bar Association and is a licensed real estate broker in Illinois, Georgia, Utah and Florida.

Dr. Tyler Martin, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, Adjuvance Technologies

Dr. Tyler Martin is the Chairman and CEO of Adjuvance Technologies, a vaccine adjuvant company, with headquarters in Lincoln, NE, based on intellectual property from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, NY. Prior to Adjuvance, he held senior leadership positions in a number of biotech companies including Chiron, Sangamo, and Dynavax. He has led teams that filed more than 100 Investigational New Drug (IND) Applications including two adjuvanted vaccines approved by major regulatory authorities, Fluad and Heplisav-B. In addition to other targets, Adjuvance is currently evaluating the utility of their lead adjuvant with COVID-19 vaccines.

Alez Philippidis, Senior News Editor, GEN

Alex Philippidis specializes in biopharma business news and industry issues as Senior News Editor for GEN / Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, sister publication Clinical OMICs, and the parent company for both publications, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. GEN covers the entire bioproduct life cycle, including drug discovery, early-stage R&D, applied research (e.g., omics, biomarkers, and diagnostics), bioprocessing, and commercialization. Alex joined GEN in 2011 after four years at GenomeWeb L.L.C., where he covered research institutes and spent three years following biotech economic development as editor of the weekly newsletter BioRegion News.

Clinical OMICs covers the application of OMICs technologies in molecular and precision medicine for patients. The publication was launched in 2014 by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., for which Alex also edits newsletters focused on CRISPR and gene editing. Previously, Alex worked more than 20 years for various newspapers covering business, science, Navy, and general-interest news, including the Westchester County Business Journal, where he served as Editor-in-Chief and held reporting positions from 1994 to 2007. Alex reported for Soundings, an independent newspaper covering the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps in Norfolk, VA, from 1992-1993; and reported for Gannett Suburban Newspapers (now The Journal News) in White Plains, NY, from 1987-1992.

He has been interviewed and quoted by news outlets that include The New York Times, the BBC, WCBS-TV (CBS2 New York), Triad Business Journal, and WHYY-FM, the NPR station serving the Philadelphia region. In his spare time, Alex enjoys solving crossword puzzles, watching classic TV game shows, and traveling with his family.

Leslie Prewitt, Executive Director, BioTechnical Institute

BTI’ s Executive Director Leslie Prewitt is an accomplished executive with over two decades of leadership in nonprofit management, development, marketing, and communications. Ms. Prewitt has a long history of leading nonprofits in rebranding and innovative fundraising initiatives. She has a deep understanding of workforce development and the importance of building strong relationships with local business and science communities.

At BTI, Ms. Prewitt works closely with the staff and board of directors to increase the organization’s impact on the local economy and to engage and develop new stakeholders while maintaining strong ties to existing supporters. Under Ms. Prewitt’s guidance, BTI has increased community engagement and has developed strong, new business partnerships. She has injected new life into fundraising initiatives and is committed to the continued growth and professional development of an all-star staff. She has also undertaken a significant rebranding effort, redesigning the organization’s website and creating a suite of new marketing material that will position the organization to meet the emerging needs of the 21st century life sciences community.

Ms. Prewitt is a graduate of Leadership Maryland and has been actively involved in many community organizations. Prior to joining BTI, she was part of the leadership teams with New Horizons Supported Services and Opportunity Builders, Inc., both nonprofits supporting adults with developmental disabilities. She also headed her own fundraising and marketing consulting firm working with nonprofit and for-profit clients. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology from the University of Maryland.

Mark Romney, CIAO, UC Davis, Aggie Square, Sacramento, California

Mark Romney joined the University of California, Davis in 1991 and currently serves as the Director of Research Development & Industry Alliances for UC Davis Health (comprised of the Medical Center, School of Medicine and School of Nursing and Practice Management Board). Mark has over 27 years of leadership experience in higher education master planning, with an emphasis in research and industry planning and development initiatives.

Mark is a highly sought after thought leader in the field of public, private and university partnerships. He is invited to share his expertise around the globe presenting at conferences. Mark also served as host and closing speaker at the U.S. Department of Commerce SelectUSA Advance Tour Event (2017) hosting scientific collaboration discussions and providing the keynote presentation of the proposed UC Davis Aggie Square to the U.S. Embassy, Beijing Commercial Services officers and a delegation of senior representatives from over 25 Chinese life sciences, real estate development and real estate investment companies. The SelectUSA Investment Summit is the highest-profile event dedicated to promoting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the United States, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Commercial Services Division.

Mark has successfully attracted significant resources to key initiatives of UC Davis. Most recently, Mark has coauthored multiple State and Federal construction grants (NIH-C06 and CIRM) providing the University with over $30,000,000 in extramural funding for the renovation of existing buildings and development of new state of the art research facilities.

Mark’s passion and proficiency in facilitating collaborations between industry and academia resulted in the adsorption of all eligible industry partner space on the Sacramento Campus (over 50,000 square feet). His efforts motivated UC Davis Health Leadership to launch the new research park planning and development effort, known as Aggie Square, which has already garnered national attention for the University and Sacramento. What began as a UC Davis Health initiative was transformed into a UC Davis wide initiative through the vision of the then new UC Davis Chancellor, Gary May, who envisioned creating a similar environment to Georgia Tech’s Technology Square in Atlanta of which he was involved with while Dean of the Engineering School. Chancellor May encouraged Mark to engage with leadership throughout the University in the effort to identify colleges and schools on the Davis Campus that would benefit from joining Aggie Square. Through Mark’s efforts, Aggie Square has grown to over 2,500,000 square feet, has garnered endorsement and collocation interests by the other schools and colleges on the Davis Campus, many midsize and Fortune 500 companies (both domestic and international), as well as endorsement and $2,800,000 in financial support from the Mayor and City Council of Sacramento, the State of California Legislature, and the US Congressional Representatives.