Driving Jobs through Innovation: Fostering Science Entrepreneurship

Congressional Briefing brought to you by
ACS Science & the Congress Project
Honorary Co-Host: Technology Transfer Caucus,
Co-Chairs: Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) and
Rep. Ben Ray LujÁn (D-NM)


Science and technology start-ups transform discovery and innovation to create jobs and foster long-term economic development with globally competitive products. However such start-ups require resource-intensive R&D: $100,000 for a family restaurant goes further than for a laboratory developing a new medicine or a novel material. With higher associated risks, it is imperative to implement savvy incentives so that tech transfer entrepreneurs, investors and highly-skilled workers can generate a net economic gain and transform their ventures into new industries. This panel will stoke discussion on what policy measures could create a domestic environment in which successful U.S. science and technology start-ups thrive and fuel nationwide job creation, retention, and global economic dominance.

Video Presentations from February 3, 2012
(including Rep. LujÁn)



Speaker Bios & Presentations

Michael Lefenfeld, President & CEO of SiGNa Chemistry, has dedicated his career to cutting-edge scientific research and developing innovative technologies that make people/industries safer, products greener and societies more sustainable. At age 19, Mr. Lefenfeld created a medical sensor that became the basis for most pulse oximeters in use today. His next discovery—a process to stabilize reactive metals—led to the formation of SiGNa to advance the technology. SiGNa has since created products that improved the safety, efficiency, and sustainability of many industries and is now commercializing its revolutionary hydrogen generation technology, which will make affordable and sustainable energy a reality for all. Mr. Lefenfeld’s many awards and recognitions include the Presidential Green Chemistry Award, the World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer Award, and being named both a Top Chemical Player toWatch and a Top 25 Entrepreneur Under 35. He is an adjunct faculty member at Michigan State University and a member of the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation’s Board of Overseers. Mr. Lefenfeld holds an M.Phil.in Chemistry from Columbia University and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis.

Patrick McCarthy, Ph.D. has worked within chemicals, high technologies and research sectors for the past 20 years. His various roles have covered general and executive management, corporate strategy, new product development and entrepreneur. His experience includes P&L management, R&D leadership, new business & product development and board of director’s service. Dr. McCarthy has previously worked at Dionex Corporation (a Silicon Valley-based analytical instrument company), Los Alamos National Laboratories (the largest government research center in the United States) and most recently, founded ATRP Solutions Inc., (a specialty polymer company). Since 2006, ATRP Solutions has grown substantially and has been recognized as one of the top 50 technology companies in Pittsburgh by the Pittsburgh Technology Council, with two consecutive TECH 50 finalist awards in the rising star (2009) and advanced manufacturing (2010) categories. Dr. McCarthy has been successful in creating jobs by taking new businesses and new products from conception to commercialization within $500 million in revenue corporations and within new ventures. He holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Rhode Island and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business.

Judith J. Albers, Ph.D. is one of the co-founders of the Pre-Seed Workshop (PSW) and of Neworks, the umbrella organization for the PSW. The PSW is a 2 ½ day “build-a-company” event which has been instrumental in launching over 130 high-tech start-up companies to date. Until recently, she was the Chief Operating Officer at Excell Partners where she co-managed a NY state-supported Seed Fund, negotiating equity-based investments and providing oversight for a portfolio of 21 companies. Prior to Excell, Dr. Albers was a Vice President and Fund Manager at Trillium Group, another Upstate NY Venture Capital firm. She is a frequent speaker and panelist at entrepreneurship conferences, business plan competitions, and venture forums, and has authored several studies related to entrepreneurship. Dr. Albers is a member of the Board of Directors of the Western New York Venture Association. In previous careers, Dr. Albers has served as a chemistry professor at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, a research chemist at 3M Company in St. Paul, Minnesota and a defense analyst for the U.S. Sixth Fleet in Naples, Italy. She holds a B.S. in Chemistry with Distinction from Duke University, a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from Brandeis University, and completed her post-doctoral work in Chemistry at Princeton University.

Craig Bandes is President & CEO Pixelligent Technologies. Mr. Bandes has over 20 years of combined experience as an entrepreneur, CEO, and an angel investor, building companies in the technology, defense and professional services industries. Since joining Pixelligent in early 2008, he has restructured the company enabling it to successfully emerge from a reorganization process with a refocused product strategy, and raising nearly $9M in equity funding. Additionally the company has been awarded over $11M in federal grant programs and has entered into numerous product development partnerships with both technology leaders and Fortune 100 companies. Prior to Pixelligent, Mr. Bandes was the President & CEO of Global Secure Corp, a high-tech homeland security company, which in just over 4 years grew from a start-up to over 250 employees, achieved revenues of over $40M, completed 3 acquisitions, raised over $25M, and filed for an IPO. Prior to Global Secure he was a co-founder of Focus Technology Consulting, which ranked #14 on the 2008 WashTech Fast 50. Mr. Bandes has negotiated over $300 million in financial and strategic transactions in the U.S., Asia and Europe and he sits on numerous company boards. He is a graduate of Babson College.

Scott P. Lockledge, Ph.D. is a scientist and entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience in both global companies and start-up enterprises. He is the CEO and co-founder of two nanotechnology start-up companies: The first company, Lutek, LLC, was venture-backed and the founders successfully exited in 2009; the second, Tiptek, LLC is currently in operation. As a venture partner, Dr. Lockledge also advises Fairbridge Venture Partners on prospective portfolio companies and chairs the Advisory Board of the National Science Foundation Center for Nano-structured Electronic Materials.Dr. Lockledge has had the privilege of serving as a Science and Engineering Fellow in the Executive Office of the President. While working in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, he coordinated a $4 billion dollar public-private partnership to develop hybrid electric automobiles called the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV). He also served as an advisor to the vice-chair of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science.Dr. Lockledge has authored more than 15 U.S. and foreign patents and numerous technical papers, reports, and conference presentations on topics including materials engineering and clean technology.He holds a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a B.S. in chemistry from The Pennsylvania State University.

Related Information

American Chemical Society Report on Innovation, Chemistry, and Jobs (2011)

  • www.acs.org/CreatingJobs

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

National Venture Capital Association

Chemical & Engineering News (a publication of the American Chemical Society; links below are free)