NJII's Board of Directors
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Dr. Ken Blank has over 20 years of executive research leadership experience at several institutions including research leadership positions at Temple, Northeastern and Drexel Universities, as well as being the Founding Senior Vice President for Health Sciences at Rowan University. Presently he is the President of University Research Strategies, LLC. and focuses on advising research universities on substantially increasing their research expenditures. He serves on the board for the New Jersey Innovation Institute and the University City Science Center in Philadelphia. Blank is the recipient of a Leukemia Society of America Scholar award, a Fellow of the Philadelphia College of Physicians, and a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. Dr. Blank holds 3 patents, has received numerous grants and contracts from the National Institutes of Health and Department of Defense, and has over 60 publications on molecular and cellular pathology and genetics. His role in academic administration has focused on fostering use-inspired research programs that result in technology development and commercialization to promote regional economic development.
Dr. Bloom began his career as an economist before becoming an educator and administrator for the New York City public schools. He later joined Teachers College, Columbia University as a research director focused on urban education. He became an assistant commissioner at the New Jersey Department of Education in 1983 and has been NJIT's president since 2011. Dr. Bloom holds a master's degree and a doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University and master's and bachelor's degrees from Hunter College of the City University, New York City. He serves on the Governor's Commission on Science, Technology and Innovation as well as several boards and has received numerous honors as an educational and community leader, including the Air Force Public Service Medal, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and several others.
Mr. Cohen has worked in the medical device industry for over thirty-five years. He has focused on innovation that can improve patient outcomes and has managed R&D, manufacturing, regulatory, clinical research, quality, and marketing. Prior to his current position, Mr. Cohen served as the Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for the Joint Replacement division since rejoining Stryker in 2013 as part of the Mako acquisition. Mr. Cohen has over 25 patents and speaks globally at medical education conferences. He also serves on numerous boards and is the Chair of the Board of Trustees of NJIT. Mr. Cohen has been inducted as a Fellow to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and has a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a Master of Science in Engineering Management, all from New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Fadi Deek is a Distinguished Professor of Informatics, and Mathematical Sciences as well as Provost and Senior Executive Vice President at NJIT where he began his academic career as a student in the early 1980s. He received his B.S. Computer Science, 1985; M.S. Computer Science, 1986; and Ph.D. Computer and Information Science, 1997, all from NJIT. He also serves as a member of the Graduate Faculty - Rutgers University Business School. Dr. Deek has published over 150 articles in journals and conference proceedings, ten book chapters, and three books: Open Source – Technology and Policy, (Cambridge University Press, 2007, 369 pages co-authored with J. McHugh), Strategic Software Engineering – An Interdisciplinary Approach (Taylor & Francis Group - Auerbach Publications, 2005, 350 pages co-authored with J. McHugh and O. Eljabiri), Computer-Supported Collaboration with Applications to Software Development (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2003, 265 pages co-authored with J. McHugh). Dr. Deek has also given over 40 invited and professional presentations and has been a Principal Investigator on several large projects, most notably the Computation and Communication: Promoting Research Integration in Science and Mathematics (C2PRISM), $3 million from the National Science Foundation. In addition, Dr. Deek has served as advisor or co-advisor to 14 PhD students.
Nicholas DeNichilo is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Mott MacDonald, North America and responsible for the success and sustainability of the firm’s entire operation in North America. Nick has 45 years of experience in the consulting field, an extensive network of relationships with key industry leaders and regulators. An industry expert, Nick has authored and presented numerous technical papers, and hosted technical discussions at various industry events. He is a licensed professional engineer in many states and the District of Columbia. He is past Chair of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) Industry Leaders Council and is a past Chair of the New Jersey Section of the American Water Works Association (AWWA). Mr. DeNichilo is a member of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Design Professional Coalition (DPC). Mr. DeNichilo is also a member of the National Academy of Construction. Nick has been honored to receive awards throughout his career, including ASCE’s Engineer of the Year Award in 1999. In 2003 New Jersey Section of the American Water Works Association awarded Nick the George Warren Fuller Award for his distinguished professional volunteer service in the water field. Nick received his BSCE from Newark College of Engineering and his MSCE from NJIT.
Theresa Edelstein is Senior Vice President, Center for Partnerships Transforming Health at the New Jersey Hospital Association. She has been part of NJHA for more than 23 years and leads their Partnerships Transforming Health (PaTH) programs which aim to foster collaboration and coordination that improve the health of the people of New Jersey. She also supervises the Association’s insurance and managed care initiatives, helps lead advocacy and education efforts and establishes and maintains relationships with state, regional and national policymakers, regulators, legislators, and associations. Theresa works daily with the more than 300 nursing homes, rehabilitation hospitals, home health agencies and other post-acute and long term care provider members of NJHA.
Craig Gotsman is a Distinguished Professor and Dean of the Ying Wu College of Computing at New Jersey Institute of Technology. Prior to NJIT, Gotsman was a co-founder of the Cornell Tech campus in New York City in 2012 and Professor and Founding Director of the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute there. Before Cornell Tech, Gotsman held the Hewlett-Packard Chair in Computer Engineering at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. He also served in Associate Dean positions and later as Deputy Senior Vice President of the Technion. A Fellow of the US National Academy of Inventors and a Fellow of the Academy of Europe, Gotsman received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1991. He has been a visiting professor at Harvard University, ETH Zurich (Switzerland) and INRIA Sophia Antipolis (France), and a research scientist at MIT. Straddling academia and industry, Gotsman holds eleven U.S. patents, has two pending, and started three companies. In 2013, he co-founded Perceptiko, a startup that commercialized his academic research and developed real-time video processing technology, acquired by Apple in 2017. In 2000, he co-founded Estimotion Inc., developing technology to generate real-time traffic information from cellphone location data, acquired by ITIS. Commercializing his academic research, he co-founded Virtue 3D Inc. in 1997, whose 3D data compression technology was acquired by NVIDIA. Gotsman has also consulted for numerous Fortune 100 companies including Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Nokia, Samsung, Autodesk, Shell Oil and Disney.
Debbie Hart worked alongside NJ’s biotechnology industry leaders to establish BioNJ in 1994 and has been dedicated to building NJ’s life sciences ecosystem ever since. Debbie was named by Governor Murphy to the New Jersey Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology where she serves as Vice Chair, as co-chair of the New Jersey Higher Education Strategic Plan Research, Innovation and Talent Working Group; and the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education and Business Partnership. Debbie served as chair of the bipartisan, bicameral New Jersey Biotechnology Task Force which was charged with making recommendations to the Legislature for fostering the growth of the biotechnology industry in New Jersey. Debbie was named one of the world’s 100 Most Influential People in Biotechnology by Scientific American Worldview; to ROI-NJ’s 2019 Influencers Power List; to PharmaVOICE‘s 2019 100 Most Inspiring People list; to the NJBIZ Health Care Power 50 for the third year in 2020, to the NJBIZ Manufacturing 50 for the second year in 2020; one of New Jersey’s top CEOs by COMMERCE Magazine and for the eighth time in 2020 to the NJBIZ Power 100, a listing of the 100 most influential people in New Jersey business.
Jose Lozano is President & Chief Executive Officer of Choose New Jersey, New Jersey’s leading nonprofit economic development organization. An accomplished executive in strategy, operations, public relations and communications across multiple sectors, Jose has distinguished himself through a solid record of achievement in state, national and international affairs. Prior to leading Choose New Jersey, Jose served as Chief of Staff and Vice President for Corporate Services and Governance at Hackensack Meridian Health and in the Obama Administration as Deputy Chief of Staff and homeland security advisor at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. His years of experience in these positions and others, including as Executive Director of the 2017 Transition for Governor-elect Phil Murphy, Director of External Affairs for the newly created New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, Director of Operations for New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine, and Transition Staff for Obama/Biden, have given Jose unique expertise in building and managing organizations through times of crisis, transition, merger, and consolidation. Widely recognized as one of New Jersey’s leading young executives, he has been named among NJBiz’s Top 40 Under 40, Becker’s Hospital Review’s 60 National Rising Stars Under 40, ROI-NJ’s Power 100, and listed #2 on their 2019 People of Color Influencer List. Jose currently serves on several boards, including the National Advisory Board of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, NJ Innovation Institute, New Jersey Chapter of NAIOP and New Jersey Future. Jose is a New Jersey native, who received his Bachelor of Arts from Stockton University and a Masters degree from the University of Maryland, College Park.
As EVPAA, Dr. Moghe will report to President Holloway and forge strategies and develop initiatives to strengthen the academic enterprise at Rutgers. He will serve as the President’s chief adviser on academic matters, lead all university-wide faculty support programs, and coordinate academic priorities across the central administrative offices and chancellor-led units. In this role, he works closely with both the chancellors and their provosts and will give voice to a collective vision that will propel Rutgers among our finest peer institutions. Among other key university-wide functions, the EVPAA manages our tenure and promotion process and has oversight for the Libraries, Rutgers Global, Continuing Studies, Enrollment Management, Student Veterans Services, Institutional Research, and Rutgers University Press. The EVPAA will also have oversight for the Office of Research, which combines various key functions of research, intellectual property, and grants administration. Since joining Rutgers in 1995, Dr. Moghe was named a Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, in 2013. He has made many contributions to interdisciplinary graduate education, biomedical and health sciences, and nanomedicine. His research has led to innovations in cancer detection and potential nanotechnology therapies for brain degenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease. The Moghe research has secured nearly $20M funding, and generated over 25 PhDs, over 100 peer-reviewed journal publications and over 300 podium and plenary talks. He has directed two National Science Foundation-sponsored graduate training programs spanning 12 years—in biologic interfaces and in stem cell science and engineering. In addition to his School of Engineering appointment, he has also served as an adjunct professor of surgery at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School since 2008 and is Full Member of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. He has been named a fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society, the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, and the International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering. In July 2019, he was appointed as provost and executive vice chancellor for research and academic affairs for Rutgers–New Brunswick. In his work to date, Dr. Moghe has championed academic excellence, strongly supported undergraduate and graduate education, and strengthened faculty recruitment and development. As provost, he has been an advocate for elevating cross-disciplinary research at Rutgers in the humanities and the arts, information and computing sciences, and environmental, life, and health sciences. He has also launched programs to promote the advancement of women in STEM fields, and programs to foster a more vibrant, innovative, and creative mindset among Rutgers students. A recipient of the university’s Leadership in Diversity Award, Dr. Moghe is actively leading programs to broaden the participation of minority students in STEM disciplines. Appointed as the first Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation for Rutgers-New Brunswick in January 2018, Dr. Moghe established a number of institutional initiatives and partnerships to nurture and expand research across a broad spectrum of fields, including the humanities, data sciences, life and health sciences, and advanced manufacturing.
Dean J. Paranicas has been the president and chief executive officer of the HealthCare Institute of New Jersey (HINJ) since March 2011. Prior to joining HINJ, Mr. Paranicas was Vice President, Corporate Secretary and Public Policy for BD. He previously served in various legal roles, and as Director, Corporate Development and Strategic Investments, as Director, Investor Relations, and as Vice President, Investor Relations and Public Affairs. Mr. Paranicas is a Co-Chair of We Work for Health–New Jersey, is a member of the Board of Directors of the New Jersey Innovation Institute and serves on the Advisory Board of the Biotechnology High School in Freehold, New Jersey.
Jen is a Global, Finance/Accounting leader with multi-industry experience across audit, operations, and risk/compliance. She has years of experience in professional services, at all levels, including partner, as well as Accounting and Finance roles in private industry (retail, consumer products, media). She has done work in over 50 countries and speaks intermediate to fluent Spanish. She is currently the CFO for Girls With Impact. Jennifer serves/has served on the boards of Girls With Impact, The All Stars Project of New Jersey and the Chatham Education Foundation, and is a member of the Chief Women’s network, The Executive Forum and FENG. Jennifer graduated from the University of Delaware with a B.S. in Accounting, and a minor in Spanish, and is a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Management Accountant. She is a member of the AICPA, NJSSCPA, and the IMA.
Michele N. Siekerka leads the nation’s largest, most influential employers’ organization, advocating on behalf of New Jersey’s large and small businesses for policies that will make New Jersey more affordable and regionally competitive. Being known as a collaborative leader, Siekerka is leading an NJBIA established coalition (New Jersey Business Coalition) comprised of more than 100 business and nonprofit associations across the state to tackle the tough economic and business challenges our state is facing during COVID 19. Well versed on the ‘boots on the ground” issues affecting our state’s business community, Michele is often the “go to” resource for media and is sought after to share her expertise in public forums across the state.
Dhiraj Shah is an entrepreneur, transformation leader, and founder of Avaap, an industry-focused, customer-centric technology and management consulting firm that is consistently recognized as a best place to work.
Dhiraj served as Avaap President & CEO from 2006 to 2021, leading the organization to year-over year growth driven by strong culture, exceptional consultants, high performance, and customer success. The growth and recognition are testament to the vision and genuine desire to improve customer business practices through strategic partnerships and exceptional software services while providing employees with a great place to work.
Today Dhiraj serves as executive chairman on the Avaap board, board chair for the YPO New Jersey Chapter, and is on the board of trustees at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). In addition to professional responsibilities, Dhiraj spends time pursuing passions that prioritize sharing knowledge and making an impact on individuals, communities, and businesses around the world. Living with purpose and driving positive change are complementary to the philosophy Avaap was founded upon, which is to love what you do, and your work becomes meaningful.
Prior to founding Avaap, Dhiraj held several positions at Lawson Software and was instrumental in developing the company’s oshore strategy by helping establish a global center of excellence in Chennai. He has spoken at numerous industry conferences including CHIME Fall Forum, Inforum, INC. 500 conference, and at the Kaplan Institute.
Tom is a Managing Partner at Newark Venture Partners (NVP), based in downtown Newark, NJ. NVP is backed by Amazon, RWJBarnabas, Prudential and several other notable investors, entrepreneurs, and politicians. Prior to NVP, Tom managed his family office RosePaul Ventures with investments in 30+ tech start-ups and 12 Seed/Series-A venture capital funds. Tom has an MBA from Dartmouth and a BA in Physics and Philosophy from Clark University.