Our Team

Founder & President

Pat Dillon, MBA

Pat Dillon is the Founder and President of MNSBIR, Inc., a private, non-profit organization to support startups and small businesses to research, develop and commercialize technologies into novel products and services for domestic and global markets by leveraging federal research and development investments. Dillon has nearly 45 years of experience in government, industry, non-profit and academic organizations. Dillon is a leader in Minnesota’s innovation, investment, and commercialization ecosystem with nearly 30 years of knowledge, experience and relationships in the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

Dillon is a member of the University of Minnesota (U of M), Technology Commercialization, Business Advisory Group; the Chair of the Advisory Board for the U of M, Technological Leadership Institute; a mentor for the Carlson School of Management, STARTUP Course; a frequent contributor to MN-REACH and MIN-CORPS (I-Corps Programs); a former MN-CUP Life Sciences Semi-Finalist Committee Member; a former speaker and moderator at the U of M Medical Devices Conference, Government Funding for Startups; and a frequent speaker at Twin Cities Startup Week, and co-teaches a graduate course at the Mayo Clinic, Office of Entrepreneurship.

A staunch advocate of the SBIR/STTR programs, Dillon has tirelessly led the startup of MNSBIR in 2014 while at MEDA, then transitioning to Minnesota Technology Association (formerly the Minnesota High Technology Association) in 2016. Previously, Dillon served as the Northwest Regional Director for the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Network from 2005-2013, a key initiative under Governor’s Doyle’s Grow Wisconsin plan. From 1992-2004, Dillon served in multiple roles at Minnesota Project Innovation, Inc. that culminated into the role of Executive Director in 2004. MPI, Inc. had a successful track record for 20 years before state budget challenges impacted its funding sources.

Dillon is a 1999 recipient of the prestigious Small Business Administration’s Tibbetts Award: a national award for excellence in the SBIR/STTR Programs. Pat is also a 2001 recipient of the City Business’ 25 Most Innovative Woman Award (now the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal). Pat has served as a commercialization plan reviewer for the National Science Foundation (twice) and the United States Department of Agriculture (multiple times) and was the principal investigator of an Office of Naval Research contract for SBIR outreach in a five-state region for the first-ever SWIFT Tour (SBIR/STTR Where Innovation Focuses on Technology) (now called SBIR Road Tours).

Dillon is a retired United States Navy Commander with 40 years of service both active and reserve, and in both aviation and intelligence communities. Pat is a combat veteran having served 10 months in Kabul, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Dillon is a proud recipient of the Vietnam Era GI Bill earning an MBA and BS in Business Administration from Winona State University, Winona, MN.

Adhoc Expert Consultants

The Accelerator engages with a highly experienced team of consultants who bring invaluable support to promising companies and projects.  Their expertise in marketing, federal cost accounting, grant and contract administration, and commercialization assistance.

Board of Directors

  • Mr. Wright is a founding partner of Intercepting Horizons. As an experienced senior high-technology executive and strategist at scale, he has had the opportunity to pervade most industries and most cultures of the developed world. His experience includes both line and staff and all management levels from product to operational to c-suite, CEO, and boards. He has expertise in leadership, operations, and strategy, as well as in governance and organizational architecture.

    Over the years, he has raised millions for startups and publicly traded entities and has been entrusted with the assets of nascent to large-cap technology companies. He has advised a number of the largest semiconductor equipment and materials companies in the world and led startups from his own (WWK.com) to assisting NASDAQ /Dow Jones level enterprises including GSX, August, and Rudolph Technologies (AUGT/RTEC) along with the formation and IPO of Entegris, Inc. (ENTG).

    His career has been at the intersection of business, government, and academia in multiple venues, from DARPA/SEMATECH to ITRI and Fraunhofer. He enjoys innovating at the leading edges of technology from cleanrooms, filtration, and instrumentation to lithography, test and commercializing cost of ownership and capacity modeling software, and along the way developing new products, new entities, new markets, and new value propositions. He has chaired several industry organizations including: (SEMI Industry Strategy Symposium (ISS)), CONTEX, and Minnesota High Tech Association, and participated in high-level consortia, teaching both master’s degree level academic and industry-specific executive courses.

    He has two patents in micro-fluidics, co-designed and developed industry-changing products, dozens of mergers and acquisitions, written over 40 articles on technology and business, and is the author of ‘The New Business Normal’ and the recently released ‘The Exponential Era’.

  • Patrice is Co-Chair of Fox Rothschild’s national Medical Technology practice group and serves as Administrative Partner for the Corporate Department in Minneapolis.

    She advises medical technology companies, other emerging businesses, and venture capital and strategic investors in a broad range of commercial and financing matters, including: venture capital financings; private placements; mergers and acquisitions; venture debt and credit facilities; and securities compliance.

    Patrice also guides lenders in commercial loan transactions and advises clients on equity financing structures and clinical trial agreements. She frequently counsel’s boards of directors on fiduciary duties and corporate governance obligations. Patrice earned her Juris Doctorate (magna cum laude, 1996) and Bachelors of Art degrees from the University of Minnesota. Patrice also contributes a Board of Director for the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, Board of Directors (2018-present) and Excelen, Center for Bone & Joint Research (2010-present).

  • Phil is currently the founder and principal of Segue IP, LLC, where he applies the best practices of his experience as both in-house and outside counsel to the intellectual property law needs of clients ranging from corporations to entrepreneurs and pro bono clients. Key aspects of his practice have involved the representation of SBIR-funded clients, and the technology transfer skills needed to support both collaboration and effective commercialization efforts.

    Since he no longer represents clients before the US Patent and Trademark Office, he can instead focus his efforts on working with clients to address the various aspects of IP law that surround and support their IP portfolios. This includes helping to build an appropriate IP culture, developing strategies for cost-effective IP protection, and providing counsel on transactional matters – all in a manner designed to survive scrutiny in the course of eventual due diligence by potential licensees.

    While working as a patent attorney for 3M Company, as their first attorney with a background in the biological sciences, he was responsible for all aspects of intellectual property law and client counseling for nearly a dozen different business units having a particular focus on “bio” related activities. It was at 3M that Phil first became involved in the IP aspects of Government contracting – building a foundation that he would later build on while in private practice, working with SBIR-funded clients, beginning with Minnesota’s then leader in that regard – Surmodics (then Bio-Metric Systems, and in turn, BSI).

    Phil has been involved in an array of professional activities and affiliations over the years, including having served as President and current Board member of the Minnesota Intellectual Property Law Association, as well as a founding Board member of the Joint Degree Program at the University of Minnesota Law School. He has been a frequent speaker and teacher on related subjects, including to have created and taught a course on Technology Transfer at Hamline University School of Law, and teaching the IP fundamentals involved in the SBIR process to members of Pat Dillon’s SBIR cohort companies over the years.

    He has also been active in pro bono efforts throughout his career, including having served as 3M’s Pro Bono Coordinator working with the Southern Minnesota Legal Services (SMRLS), then as a member of Fredrikson & Byron’s Pro Bono Committee, and currently for LegalCorps in Minneapolis, where he has served on the Inventors’ Assistance Program since its inception.

    Phil earned his JD degree at William Mitchell College of Law, in St. Paul, Minnesota, attending evening school while working full time in 3M’s Office of Intellectual Property Counsel – bringing to bear his MS degree in Microbiology from Colorado State University, and in turn, his BS degree in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, as well as his intervening years at the research bench, including at the Wisconsin Regional Primate Center, the University of Wisconsin Medical School, and the Minneapolis VA Medical Center.

  • Mr. Hobday is the CEO and Founder of HealthCare Interactive, an edtech company headquartered in Minneapolis and dedicated to providing the highest quality caregiver training for Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other brain disorders. Mr. Hobday is an educational and instructional design expert, software developer, and dementia researcher.

    He is the creator and developer of the CARES® online training, certification, and credentialing programs, all of which incorporate the trademarked CARES 5-step method to dementia care.

    CARES programs are award winning, widely published in academic literature, and recognized by organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Association, American Health Care Association, National Center for Assisted Living, and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In addition, Mr. Hobday has collaborated directly with nationally known Alzheimer’s and dementia researchers at the Alzheimer’s Association, Duke University, Emory University, Michigan State University, NYU School of Medicine, University of Iowa, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, University of South Florida, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and National Institutes of Health.

    Since founding HCI in 1997, Mr. Hobday has also felt the impact of dementia personally. Both of his grandmothers and his aunt have passed away with complications from Alzheimer’s disease. This has resulted in a personal commitment to improve the quality of dementia care for both familes and professional caregivers around the U.S. and Canada.

    Mr. Hobday earned a B.A. Quantitative Methods/Computer Science, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN (1988), a B.A. Spanish, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN (1988), M.A. Education, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN (1988), and a Ph.D. Business Management, Capella University, Minneapolis, MN (all coursework compete).

  • Ms. MacCarthy is a strategic and execution-oriented leader building business via thoughtful, creative strategy and marketing. She manages business development programs for startups-based University of Minnesota intellectual property in Technology Commercialization’s Venture Center. She also manages the University’s seed fund program Discovery Capital and the Business Advisory Group.

    Mary previously launched and bootstrapped product and service startups. In industry, she commercialized a dozen new multi-million-dollar revenue products and has P&L management experience. She has managed large teams up to 32 people. Prior to joining the Venture Center in 2018, Mary worked in the medical device and high-tech industries at Medtronic, Cardiovascular Systems Inc, Imation and 3M. As a consultant, client companies have included Medtronic, 3M, Neurologica, and Smith’s Medical.

    Mary is active in the community serving on for profit, non-profit and local government boards including founding Chair of the Board of RoundtableRx and UMN Board of Directors observer for Anatomic Inc. She earned an M.B.A. from the University of St. Thomas and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire.

  • Dr. Johnson has spent the last 20 years in cardiovascular, orthopedic, and diagnostic medical device settings, serving in senior leadership positions. Her vision for the AUM Cardiovascular noninvasive, fast and affordable diagnostic device, CADence, landed her on the “Most Creative People in Business” list by Fast Company magazine in 2015 as well, as the TEDx talk “Listening to her Heart.”

    Before becoming CEO of AUM, Dr. Johnson designed and launched the University of Minnesota Medical Devices Innovation Post-doctoral Fellowship program for M.D., Ph.D., J.D., and MBAs, modeled after the Stanford Biodesign program where Johnson was a fellow. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from General Motors Institute, M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Minnesota. She completed three post-doctoral fellowships: 3M Company, Politecnico in Turin, Italy, and Stanford University. She is from Preble County, Ohio, and, for 12 years and like three family generations before, worked for General Motors. She holds patents and has patents pending in cardiology, orthopedics, obstetrics, apparel, pulmonology, food science, and stroke. She serves on the board of TYLT Labs and several non-profit and social enterprises in the Twin Cities. She holds an adjunct professorship in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Minnesota. In 2020, she was awarded the “Lifetime Engineering Achievement Award” from Kettering University. She is a passionate global evangelist for proactive and engaged health.

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