Get Involved
Advising Founders & Sponsors Advisory Board Student Startups Awards & Scholarships Staff

Staff Members

  Stewart Thornhill, Ph.D.
Executive Director

Phone: 734-615-4421

Stewart Thornhill, Executive Director of the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, serves as the Eugene Applebaum Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies and the Managing Director of the Zell Lurie Commercialization Fund. He joins Ross from Ivey Business School at Western University in London, Ontario, where he served as the executive director of the Pierre L. Morrissette Institute for Entrepreneurship and a member of the faculty, focused on strategy and entrepreneurship. At Ivey, he championed a number of new initiatives and has sizable experience helping entrepreneurs through his involvement in QuantumShift, an Executive Development program for high-growth entrepreneurs. Thornhill's extensive background also includes global experience, having held the Karel Steur chair in entrepreneurship at the Universidad de San Andreas, Buenos Aires and various professorial roles at Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany, the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris in France and the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto. Dr. Thornhill's research interests include strategic execution, leadership, competitive strategy, innovation and corporate entrepreneurship. His work has appeared in several top management journals and he has published more than 20 teaching cases. He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Business Venturing, the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, the International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, and the Journal of Global Entrepreneurship Research. He received his Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia and also holds a B.Sc. (Eng.) in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA with a concentration in Finance. Prior to pursuing a career in academia, he worked as a manufacturing engineering and a radio journalist.

  David J. Brophy, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Venture Capital & Private Equity Finance

Phone: 734-764-7587

David Brophy joined the finance faculty at U-M in 1968 and has served since 1992 as director of the Center for Venture Capital and Private Equity Finance, where he assists emerging and mid-size companies. He is a founding member of the editorial board of the Journal of Private Equity and the International Journal of Venture Capital. Dr. Brophy’s consulting activities in the public and private sectors include his advisory work with funds such as Compass Technology Partners, Plymouth Ventures and Bio-Star Ventures, as well as with various government agencies in the United States, Australia and France. He holds an MBA from University of Detroit and a Ph.D. from Ohio State University.

  professor gordon Richard (Erik) Gordon
Associate Director and Clinical Assistant Professor

Phone: 734-764-5274

Erik Gordon's interests focus on entrepreneurship and technology commercialization, including strategy, marketing, mergers and acquisitions, private equity, and venture finance. His expertise also includes alliances and joint ventures, intellectual-property strategy and licensing, and the roles and operations of boards of directors, particularly in the biomedical, energy and green-technology fields. Mr. Gordon is the managing director of the Wolverine Venture Fund and teaches a foundation course on how to prepare business plans for new ventures in the life sciences, biotechnology and other industries and another course on how to market start-up businesses to potential funders, customers and other key influencers. Previously, Mr. Gordon was the Shulman Family Chair in Technology and Business Innovation and associate dean at Stevens Institute of Technology. He also served on the faculty and as associate dean/director of the graduate division of business and management (Carey Business School) at Johns Hopkins University. During his career, Mr. Gordon has co-founded or advised numerous companies. Gordon holds a B.A. in economics from Bucknell University and a J.D. from The Albany Law School of Union University.

  professor adriaens Peter Adriaens, Ph.D. P.E.
Professor of Entrepreneurship

Phone: 734-763-8032

Dr. Adriaens is Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy in the Ross School of Business, where he is affiliated with the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. In this capacity, he advises two funds on CleanTech investments. He is past-President of the Association of Environmental Science and Engineering Professors, and a member-by-eminence of the American Academy of Environmental Engineering. Following a 20-year career focused on validating laboratory-based bioremediation, environmental sensing and green building technologies in the field, his current work focuses on CleanTech innovation and entrepreneurship. He teaches courses on Business Models, Entrepreneurial Business Fundamentals, CleanTech Venture Assessment, and Sustainability Finance. He is co-developer of the KeyStone Compact™, a data-driven analytical and strategic positioning tool for entrepreneurial ventures that has used by more than 500 global early and later stage companies in a wide range of investment domains (CleanTech, BioTech, ITC, space sciences). He founded Global CleanTech LLC, an executive education firm, and is Director of Asian Operations at LimnoTech, focused on value-added services in energy, water and emissions management in the US and China. He is Director at CleanTech Acceleration Partners, a business services firm built on the KeyStone Compact™ platform, and Head Judge of the Global CleanTech Custer Association (GCCA), focused on open innovation and economic development by screening, repositioning and connecting best in class Cleantech clusters and companies. Peter holds a B.Sc. (eng) from Ghent University (Belgium), an M.S. from Ghent University, and a Ph.D. from University of California.

  image image Sarika Gupta
Managing Director

Phone: 734-615-4422

Sarika leads the development and execution of the Zell Lurie Institute’s student-oriented programs including the Dare to Dream Start-Up and Mayleben Venture Shaping Grants, Michigan Business Challenge, Marcel Gani Internship program, and Mingle 'n' Match networking events. In this role she also coaches and mentors U-M student teams to help students advance their businesses. Sarika has extensive start-up experience as a manager, mentor, and coach. She served as President & CEO of Dance Telephone - a group party game, COO of V-teractive - an online gaming start-up, and Associate at - a site that delivers exclusive digital access to music fans. Additionally, she was a Senior Quantitative Research Associate at Cambridge Associates for 3 years. Sarika serves on the Board of Directors of the New Enterprise Forum. She holds a BSE in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan College of Engineering and an MBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

  image image Kelly LaPierre
Managing Director, Desai Family Accelerator

Phone: 734-707-1889

Kelly is the Managing Director for the Desai Family Accelerator being launched in partnership by the Zell Lurie Institute and the College of Engineering's Center for Entrepreneurship. Kelly has progressive experience working on start-ups, mentoring and coaching. She most recently served as the Director of Marketing and Operations at Detroit's Start-up Grand Circus, a training institute that elevates the region's tech community and is funded by Dan Gilbert's venture capital firm, Detroit Venture Partners. Over the past few years, Kelly has worked with a variety of startup companies at the Boston-based investment fund TechStars and at the Detroit-based entrepreneurship accelerator Bizdom. Kelly has a BA from the University of Michigan and MBA from Harvard Business School.

  image image Mary Nickson
Marketing Program Manager

Phone: 734-615-4424

Mary is the Marketing Program Manager for the Zell Lurie Institute and its Center for Venture Capital & Private Equity Finance where she drives and executes the marketing vision and manages program initiatives in the venture capital and private equity space. These initaitives build networks among and engage leading members of the global entrepreneurial, venture capital and private equity investment community. Among these initiatives are the annual Michigan Growth Capital Symposium and the Michigan Private Equity Conference. After successfully employing her creative approach to her own conference management and event business in the Ann Arbor and Detroit areas, Mary came to the Business School in 2000. Prior to this, she gained several years' worth of rewarding experience driving national regatta sponsorship sales and managing national boat show exhibits at Yachting Magazine in New York. She received her bachelor's degree from Michigan State University's Eli Broad College of Business and earned her Certificate in Management Development through th Executive Education program at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

  Marybeth Davis
Program Assistant

Phone: 734-615-4428

Marybeth serves as program assistant for event management activities at the Institute. Before joining the Institute, Marybeth coordinated the Annual Business Conference for the Business School's Alumni Relations office. Previously, she led her own public relations firm, worked as a product development specialist for Lovejoy Tiffany's Incentive Division and served as a volunteer manager for the St. Joseph Mercy Health System. Marybeth has also served as the managing editor of two weekly Chicago newspapers owned by Time, Inc. She received her bachelor's degree in journalism form the University of Missouri.

  Carolyn M. Maguire

Phone: 734-615-4419

Carolyn has more than 22 years of experience at the Ross School of Business. Prior to joining the Institute she was academic support for 12 faculty members across five departments and for the CEMP program which has grown to become the ERB Institute. Carolyn is responsible for all primary correspondence and communication and for all University reporting and financial functions. Carolyn has an Associates Degree from Washtenaw Community College and has taken several courses in business at Eastern Michigan University.

Michigan Business School