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Oct 2017 R&T Forum- What’s Next For Your Research: Testing the Entrepreneurial Waters

October 18, 2017 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

How can an innovative idea that begins in a research lab become a success in the marketplace?

Doug Buerkle of Nexus-NY will discuss the unique challenges associated with commercializing university technology and discuss ways which communities can work more effectively to overcome existing hurdles. The presentation will include a brief overview of NEXUS-NY, a seed accelerator chartered with catalyzing the commercialization of clean energy technologies discovered by New York researchers.

Jeongmin Ahn is an Associate Professor at Syracuse University and founder/CEO of FirePower, a technology-based company focused on enabling self-powered residential furnaces, hot water heaters, and boilers. Dr. Ahn and his team at Syracuse University have participated in Nexus-NY.

Gabriel Rodriguez, the co-founder of Ecolectro will present insights into his path from an idea at Cornell University to a burgeoning, clean-energy chemical company.

Bhavin Bhayani of Avatar Sustainable Technolgoies will share his story of developing a company with a patented process for transforming waste fibrous sources into green energy and products.



Doug Buerkle

Founding Executive Director, NEXUS-NY

Doug is a senior business executive who has guided the growth of multiple technology companies. He currently serves as Founding Executive Director of the New Energy Xcelerator in UpState NY (NEXUS-NY), a clean energy seed accelerator administered by High Tech Rochester (HTR). Prior to joining HTR, Doug led efforts to commercialize novel energy storage materials developed in the research labs at Corning, Inc. He previously served as co-founder and CEO of Lumella, Inc., an optical component startup, which he exited through the sale of the company’s silicon photonics IP to a large Japanese firm. Other company affiliations include the Newport Corporation, where he held multiple roles, including General Manager of its diffraction grating business and Pioneer-Standard Electronics where he co-founded a new venture which generated more than $100M of incremental revenue within 2 years of launch. Doug holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Temple University and an MBA from the Simon School at the University of Rochester.

Jeongmin Ahn
Associate Professor, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Syracuse University

Prof. Jeongmin Ahn is a faculty at Syracuse University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science and Founder/CEO of FirePower. He received a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a M.S. degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a Ph.D. degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southern California. Prof. Ahn has extensive research experience in combustion, power generation, propulsion, thermal management, and fuel cells: fabrication, test and characterization of all types of Solid-Oxide-Fuel-Cells (SOFCs) (dual-chamber, single-chamber and no-chamber, which is called as a flame fuel cell).

Gabriel Rodriguez
CEO and Co-founder, Ecolectro

Gabriel obtained his PhD in Chemistry from Cornell University in 2014. He has conducted R&D in material science and energy systems for about ten years. Gabriel has authored 17 peer-reviewed publications, five pending submissions, and is an inventor on two patent applications. During his time at Cornell University, Gabriel took several technology management and entrepreneurship courses. Since founding Ecolectro he has secured approximately $300,000 dollars for the company in a combination of grants and investment.

Bhavin Bhayani
Founder, Avatar Sustainable Technologies

Bhavin Bhayani earned his Doctorate in Bioprocess Engineering from State University of New York-Environmental Science & Forestry (SUNY ESF). Bhavin has made tremendous progress in the field of hydrolysis and separation process (to separate inhibitors from hydrolyzates) to obtain a sugar rich stream that can be fermented to produce ethanol. He has co-authored a book chapter titled “Filtration Based Separations in the Biorefinery”. Bhavin has won various awards including Raymond von Dran Innovation and Disruptive Entrepreneurship Accelerator and “Leaps and Bounds” award at North East Regional Finals organized by CleanTech Open. The efforts of Dr. Bhavin Bhayani resulted in the inclusion of Avatar Sustainable Technologies in the NEXUS Phase I and II (equivalent to NSF I-Corps program). He has been instrumental in securing several federal and state funding for this venture.


October 18, 2017
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Event Category:


727 East Washington Street
727 East Washington Street
Syracuse, NY 13210 United States
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