Staff

Staff

Sujatha Ramanujan, PhD Managing DirectorSujatha Ramanujan is serial entrepreneur and seasoned executive with 25 years of experience in Clinical Devices and in Consumer Electronics. Sujatha has started, built and grown three startup businesses in cardiac surgical equipment, optical communications and nano materials. In addition, as CTO and Product Line Manager of Mammography CAD and Pediatric Businesses within Kodak and Carestream, her team developed and launched clinical equipment and Clinical IT on every continent. Sujatha has held scientific, technical leadership, and laboratory head positions in Chrysler Corporation, GE, Kodak, Carestream, and Intrinsiq Materials. She holds 28 issued US patents. As a corporate investor for Kodak, then later working with regional investment councils she provides guidance to start-ups, M

Sujatha Ramanujan, PhD Managing Director

Sujatha Ramanujan is serial entrepreneur and seasoned executive with 25 years of experience in Clinical Devices and in Consumer Electronics. Sujatha has started, built and grown three startup businesses in cardiac surgical equipment, optical communications and nano materials. In addition, as CTO and Product Line Manager of Mammography CAD and Pediatric Businesses within Kodak and Carestream, her team developed and launched clinical equipment and Clinical IT on every continent. Sujatha has held scientific, technical leadership, and laboratory head positions in Chrysler Corporation, GE, Kodak, Carestream, and Intrinsiq Materials. She holds 28 issued US patents. As a corporate investor for Kodak, then later working with regional investment councils she provides guidance to start-ups, M& A strategies for growing businesses and vetting of technologies to investors. She has served on investment advisories in US, Canada, and Israel. Dr. Ramanujan holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan and is an Executive Board Member of the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
Andrew Simon, Operations DirectorAs Operations Director, Andrew Simon has a dual role overseeing both the Luminate NY Accelerator and Incubation programs at NextCorps, identifying new clients for both and ensuring their success in the programs. Prior to joining NextCorps, Andy has an extensive background in startups and the digital space, including: founder of Dogways Inc., a venture-backed mobile app startup; President of Toontrack Music USA, launching the Swedish music software firm in the U.S. and leading it to #1 in the world in sales; XLN Audio of Sweden, leading them to 15x sales growth; Brixy Inc., a 150  baby store store association, launching their digital platform; Brannland Cider of Sweden, launching the brand in the U.S. in 2017, and Andrea Arden, celebrity pet trainer, on numerous digital and and business projects. Andy is also an accomplished musician, having written and produced songs for major label artists worldwide, including a #1 single in 2013 for Hey! Say! JUMP of Japan.

Andrew Simon, Operations Director

As Operations Director, Andrew Simon has a dual role overseeing both the Luminate NY Accelerator and Incubation programs at NextCorps, identifying new clients for both and ensuring their success in the programs. Prior to joining NextCorps, Andy has an extensive background in startups and the digital space, including: founder of Dogways Inc., a venture-backed mobile app startup; President of Toontrack Music USA, launching the Swedish music software firm in the U.S. and leading it to #1 in the world in sales; XLN Audio of Sweden, leading them to 15x sales growth; Brixy Inc., a 150+ baby store store association, launching their digital platform; Brannland Cider of Sweden, launching the brand in the U.S. in 2017, and Andrea Arden, celebrity pet trainer, on numerous digital and and business projects. Andy is also an accomplished musician, having written and produced songs for major label artists worldwide, including a #1 single in 2013 for Hey! Say! JUMP of Japan.
Damon Diehl, PhD Technology Program ManagerAs Technology Program Manager, Damon Diehl works to ensure that the cohort teams establish deep, enduring roots in the Rochester community. Damon has been active in the optics industry since he moved from Chicago to Rochester to begin graduate studies at The Institute of Optics. Damon’s career crisscrossed with Nextcorps for over a decade. Damon worked for the metrology company Lumetrics when it was still located at the original Nextcorps (then High Tech Rochester) facility, and while the chief scientist at ASE Optics, Damon’s lab was located in Nextcorps until Rochester Precision Optics acquired ASE in 2010. Damon was at the helm of the Optical Systems Technology program at Monroe Community College during its “reboot” in 2012 (during which the program exploded from only 6 active students to running over-enrolled day and evening sections of every first-year class). After a stint in the technology-centric marketing company Launch Team, Damon maneuvered back into optics as a pitch coach for the first Luminate cohort, and he joined the staff full-time in July 2019. Damon earned his Ph.D. in optical engineering at the University of Rochester Institute of Optics, and he holds a B.A. in physics and mathematics from the University of Chicago.

Damon Diehl, PhD Technology Program Manager

As Technology Program Manager, Damon Diehl works to ensure that the cohort teams establish deep, enduring roots in the Rochester community. Damon has been active in the optics industry since he moved from Chicago to Rochester to begin graduate studies at The Institute of Optics. Damon’s career crisscrossed with Nextcorps for over a decade. Damon worked for the metrology company Lumetrics when it was still located at the original Nextcorps (then High Tech Rochester) facility, and while the chief scientist at ASE Optics, Damon’s lab was located in Nextcorps until Rochester Precision Optics acquired ASE in 2010. Damon was at the helm of the Optical Systems Technology program at Monroe Community College during its “reboot” in 2012 (during which the program exploded from only 6 active students to running over-enrolled day and evening sections of every first-year class). After a stint in the technology-centric marketing company Launch Team, Damon maneuvered back into optics as a pitch coach for the first Luminate cohort, and he joined the staff full-time in July 2019. Damon earned his Ph.D. in optical engineering at the University of Rochester Institute of Optics, and he holds a B.A. in physics and mathematics from the University of Chicago.
Holly Barrett, Marketing DirectorAs Marketing Director, Holly Barrett focuses on inbound and outbound marketing for Luminate as well as branding and marketing activities for NextCorps. She is a senior-level marketing and PR professional who has worked at small and large agencies, including Brand Cool, Brand Integrity, Text 100, and Young

Holly Barrett, Marketing Director

As Marketing Director, Holly Barrett focuses on inbound and outbound marketing for Luminate as well as branding and marketing activities for NextCorps. She is a senior-level marketing and PR professional who has worked at small and large agencies, including Brand Cool, Brand Integrity, Text 100, and Young & Rubicam. Holly has been a branding and marketing instructor at The Entrepreneurs Network for the last four years and she teaches executive communication at St. John Fisher through the Center for Community Engagement. She is excited to be a part of Rochester’s vibrant entrepreneurial community.
Gary Nothhard, Optical Metrology TechnicianAs the Optical Metrology Technician, Gary Nothhard helps all Luminate teams with their optical metrology needs and maintains the Luminate lab. Gary graduated from the Optical Technology program at Monroe Community College, and spent much of his career at Kodak. At Kodak, he worked on the development of a cinema digital laser projector. IMAX bought the rights to that technology, and Gary worked at IMAX in support of commercializing the projectors prior to coming to NextCorps. He also is the co-inventor of 9 granted patents.

Gary Nothhard, Optical Metrology Technician

As the Optical Metrology Technician, Gary Nothhard helps all Luminate teams with their optical metrology needs and maintains the Luminate lab. Gary graduated from the Optical Technology program at Monroe Community College, and spent much of his career at Kodak. At Kodak, he worked on the development of a cinema digital laser projector. IMAX bought the rights to that technology, and Gary worked at IMAX in support of commercializing the projectors prior to coming to NextCorps. He also is the co-inventor of 9 granted patents.
Kate Leonard, Digital Marketing ManagerAs the Digital Marketing Manager, Kate Leonard develops and implements NextCorps’ digital content strategy, including content creation and curation for social media, email campaigns, the blog, and our website. Kate has a B.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications from Ithaca College, where she also minored in Psychology. She got her start in PR and gained experience as a copywriter and inbound marketing specialist at agencies large and small prior to joining NextCorps.

Kate Leonard, Digital Marketing Manager

As the Digital Marketing Manager, Kate Leonard develops and implements NextCorps’ digital content strategy, including content creation and curation for social media, email campaigns, the blog, and our website. Kate has a B.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications from Ithaca College, where she also minored in Psychology. She got her start in PR and gained experience as a copywriter and inbound marketing specialist at agencies large and small prior to joining NextCorps.
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