Our Board Members are distinguished and experienced professionals who strive to develop the incubation industry:
Sandra Cochrane, President
Assistant Dean of the WMed Innovation Center
Sandra is the director of the WMU Homer Stryker MD School of Medicine Innovation Center (WMedIC), a 68,600 s.f. technology incubator in Kalamazoo. Sandra coordinates entrepreneurial training programs, and assists start-up and early-stage high-tech companies. Services she provides to client companies include business plan development, accessing capital, strategic planning, and general business guidance. She works with pre-seed funds, angel groups, and venture capital firms to connect companies to capital. Sandra previously served six years on the board of directors at the International Business Innovation Association (formerly the National Business Incubation Association). She also serves as a reviewer for the National Science Foundation’s SBIR/STTR Program. Sandra earned a B.A. and an M.B.A. from Michigan State University and holds an InBIA Certificate in Business Incubator Management.
Carmen Wells-Quigg, Vice-President
Project Manager, University of Michigan Economic Growth Institute
Carmen has personal experience in small business management through her background as a partner in both a small manufacturing firm and a start-up real estate investment company. She is a member of the iNBIA and regularly participates in workshops, conferences, and events through the Michigan Economic Developers Association and the Women’s Exchange of Washtenaw, an organization supporting women in business in southeastern Michigan. Carmen received a Certificate of Entrepreneurship and Innovation from Purdue University Calumet in 2004.
Tom Hopper, Treasurer
Associate Director of the Muskegon Innovation Hub
At the Hub, Tom is responsible for general operation and for managing and delivering the business incubator program. In 2016, the Hub opened Muskegon’s first co-working space and Tom helped successfully grow it to a thriving community. Tom is an active member of both MBIA and InBIA, attending and presenting at numerous meetings and conferences. An innovator himself, Tom has served as the co-inventor on several patents, brought millions of dollars in successful new products to market, and developed new business processes that saved millions of dollars. Tom holds his bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics from Alma College and a Master of Science degree in product development from the University of Detroit Mercy.
Cheryl LeClaire, Secretary
Vice-President of Operations at MTEC SmartZone
Cheryl manages the operation of the MTEC SmartZone including accounting, budget and control, audit, compliance, funding and grant disbursement, and information systems. She is also responsible for procurement, risk management, human resource policy, facilities, auxiliary services, safety and security, and payroll. Cheryl worked at Michigan Technological University as well as a local construction company before joining MTEC’s team in 2011. Cheryl and her family decided to move back to the Upper Peninsula after several years in Southeast Michigan and enjoy being able to live, work and play there. In 2017, Cheryl completed the Business Incubation Management Program through the InBIA, and is a certified coach in Wendy Kennedy's "So what, who cares, why you" methodology.
Board of Directors
Vice President of Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) and PROTO Accelerator Vice President
Joe brings experience from the Detroit and Chicago entrepreneurial communities as he assists startups and entrepreneurs, connecting them to resources and expertise from area mentors. Prior, Joe served as a Technology Specialist for the Maker Studios project at the East Lansing Public Library, co-founded multiple startups and served as Production Manager at the first 3D printing retail/service hybrid store in the world. He is also a Startup Weekend winner and TEDx Labs presenter.
Program Manager at Spartan Innovations
As Program Manager, Bonnie is assisting in the collaborative management of the Grand Rapids SmartZone. She is utilizing her 15+ years’ experience with incubators and accelerators to provide operational management of the new incubator within the Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building. Additionally, she oversees the administration of Entrepreneur in Residence program. Bonnie has a wealth of experience using community outreach to fuel educational and entrepreneurial collaboration and is a primary driver of connections throughout the region. She has a passion for engaging ESOs and startups, with an emphasis on inclusivity and providing the tools and environment needed to succeed within the entrepreneurial ecosystem. She previously worked at the West Michigan Science & Technology Initiative Venture Center, the GR Current Incubator, Co-Working and Accelerator program. Bonnie has also spent time as a Program Manager at BBCetc. She is also is very familiar with MBIA, having served as a previous board member as well as the MBIA Operations Manager
Data Analyst for Entrepreneurial Services at Ann Arbor SPARK
Nick has 13 months experience running an incubator; occupying space, attracting tenants, cleanup and events, improvements, license agreements, and accounting. He also spent more than 2 years at Michigan State University in The Center for Community and Economic Development, as well as with Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP). Nick has earned his Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA) designation and was recognized as a Beta Gamma Sigma inductee for outstanding academic achievement and commitment to business excellence. Nick holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of South Florida.
Lawrence Molnar, Immediate Past President
Deputy Director, University of Michigan Economic Growth Institute
Larry Molnar has worked on economic development, business acceleration and incubation and technology transfer and commercialization initiatives at the University of Michigan for over 25 years. He has conducted numerous market and feasibility studies for business incubation programs and research studies of the incubation industry throughout the state of Michigan, nationally and internationally. He was the principal investigator on a recent national study of best practices funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration "Incubating Success: Best Practices that Lead to Successful New Ventures".