Bill, a long-time resident of Spokane, has over thirty-five years of successful business experience and community leadership. After rising quickly through the ranks of Garco Building Systems, Bill became CEO. Following many years of work with Garco, Bill transitioned to an active leadership role at Innovate Washington Foundation/Ignite Northwest. Among other community involvement, he has served as a Board Member and various Board Chairs for Greater Spokane Incorporated.
Jeff Severs, BBA Msc., Board Chair
Jeff brings Ignite Northwest expert knowledge in helping small businesses start up and expand. He began his career in the Air Force, where he exited after managing a $1 billion dollar program. He held a position as CEO of SprayCool, a venture-backed, high growth technology & manufacturing company where he grew its success exponentially. Jeff has previously held a position in the U.S. Senate and has an extensive educational background. He currently serves on eight boards and works as the Field Director for North Idaho Northwestern Mutual.
Michael Atkinson, P.E., Vice Chair
Michael is the current President, North America – of Alstrom Grid, providing customers with reliable products, services and energy management solutions. Prior to this role, Michael gained extensive consulting, management and marketing experience at Aspen Technology in the software engineering field. Michael is a registered Professional Engineer with a Mechanical Engineering degree from Virginia Tech and also holds an MBA from Clemson University.
Roger Woodworth, Secretary
As Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer for Avista Corp., Roger works to identify entrepreneurial growth opportunities for the company including innovative services, emerging technologies and new ventures in line with Avista’s core energy business. He has been and is currently involved on the boards of many organizations concerned with sciences and energy policy, including the Inland TechStart Fund. He received a BS in Wildlife Ecology from Washington State University and a graduate of Columbia University’s SR. Executive Program.
Lisa Brown, PhD
As chancellor of Washington State University Spokane, Lisa Brown leads the development of WSU’s rapidly growing, world-class center for health sciences education and research. Prior to joining WSU in January 2013, Brown served the Washington Legislature for 20 years, first in the House and later in the Senate. In 2005, she became the first Democratic woman in the state to hold the position of Senate majority leader. During her legislative career, Brown has been a passionate advocate for health sciences education and research at WSU Spokane. A native of Robinson, Illinois, Brown studied economics at the University of Illinois, in Champaign- Urbana, and at the University of Colorado, in Boulder, where she earned a PhD.
Patrick Ennis, PhD
Patrick has 25 years of experience as a scientist, engineer, businessman and venture capitalist. He currently invests in innovation and technology at Intellectual Ventures and previously held of the position of Managing Director of ARCH Venture Partners. He has conducted research in Nuclear Physics and has worked in product management, R&D and product marketing and is also the inventor on several patents. He has a wide ranging educational background including a PhD from Yale University and an MBA from the Wharton School.
Lewis is the co-founder of Lee & Hayes, a firm specializing in IP counseling, IP portfolio development and commercialization of IP. Lee & Hayes recently received its fourth consecutive annual ranking by Intellectual Asset Management Magazine (IAM) as the #1 overall law firm for securing the highest quality patents. Lewis was also ranked as one of the top 1000 patent practitioners worldwide and one of the top 300 IP strategists worldwide by IAM. Lewis speaks on IP topics both domestically and abroad and is also the co-founder and CEO of IP Street, Inc., a subscription-based online service to help manage patents and portfolios.
Kim Zentz, P.E.
Kim is Director of the Engineering and Technology Management program at Washington State University. Kim’s track record of senior executive leadership and successful execution spans both the private and public sectors. Kim has extensive entrepreneurial experience as co-founder of Avista Labs (now ReliOn) as well as in her prior roles leading Sirti and Innovate Washington. She served as the CEO of Spokane Transit Authority and in various executive positions over her 20+ years with Avista Utilities. She received her BS in Civil Engineering from University of Idaho and holds a Masters in Engineering Management from Washington State University.
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