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Meet Our Team

  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.

  Shannon Beeman
Marketing & Communications Manager

Phone: 734-936-3528

Shannon joins us from Ann Arbor SPARK where she served as the marketing and talent manager. Prior to SPARK, Shannon served as the digital engagement manager at the Whole Brain Group, an entrepreneurial marketing firm that works with high-growth businesses. She has also served as the regional marketing consultant and intake counselor at the Michigan Small Business Development Center and previously led her own firm for a number of years, Apis Designs. Throughout her career she has worked in various capacities with entrepreneurs, startups, nonprofits and the greater Michigan business community. In addition, Shannon teaches evening courses for the eMarketing certificate program at Washtenaw Community College. She is the recipient of several marketing excellence awards from the International Economic Development Council and from the Michigan Economic Developers Association. Shannon is a graduate of the Kendall College of Art & Design, and received her MBA from Walsh College.

  Josh Botkin
Entrepreneur in Residence

Phone: 734-717-5559

As an Entrepreneur in Residence, Josh mentors students and faculty from across the University of Michigan who are interested in starting for-profit companies and social ventures. He also serves as a strategic innovation consultant, working with Global 500 companies, venture- and angel-backed startups, and nonprofit organizations to identify significant unmet needs and create new-to-the-world products, services and business models. Josh previously served as a Partner and Vice President at The Inovo Group, served as the VP of Product & Business Development at Better Rehab, and helped launch and manage an 'internal startup' within a Fortune 500 corporation. He regularly guest lectures at Caltech and the University of Michigan, where he also trains surgeons and biomedical engineers as the Innovator in Residence at the Michigan Pediatric Device Consortium. Josh holds an MBA from Michigan's Ross School of Business and a BA from Columbia University.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  image Sarika Gupta
Managing Director

Phone: 734-615-4422

Sarika leads the development and execution of the Zell Lurie Institute's student-oriented programs. In this role she also advises U-M student teams to help them 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 Mike Johnson M.D.
Entrepreneur in Residence


Mike is an entrepreneur in residence at the Zell Lurie Institute, a mentor in residence at the Office of Technology Transfer Venture Center and teaches at the University of Michigan. He most recently served as an Associate at Flagship Ventures where he focused on investments in healthcare and sustainability in the Midwest. Prior to joining Flagship, Mike was a Fellow at the Medical Innovation Center at the University of Michigan where he co-founded a medical device company to develop a novel brain monitoring technology. While earning his degree at the University of Michigan he was a Student Managing Director at The Wolverine Venture Fund, L.P. of the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, Endowment Arm. He was awarded the David T. Shelby Award for Outstanding Leadership to the Fund by the Zell Lurie Institute of Entrepreneurial Studies. Prior to medical school, Mike worked on a large clinical research study on lung cancer screening in New York, and started his career in sales and internet marketing at Random House. Mike received an M.D. from the University of Michigan Medical School and M.B.A. with Distinction from the Ross School of Business. He holds a B.A. in English from Duke University.

  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 Mary Nickson
Associate Director

Phone: 734-615-4424

Mary is the Associate Director for the Zell Lurie Institute and its Center for Venture Capital & Private Equity Finance where she focuses her time on program initiatives in the venture capital and private equity space. These initiatives 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, the Michigan Private Equity Conference and the Women Who Fund Forum. In her previous role at the Institute, she managed and executed the Institute's marketing and communications program consistently securing a top spot in the Entrepreneur Magazine and Princeton Review rankings report. After successfully employing her creative approach to her own conference management and event business in the Ann Arbor and Detroit areas that she co-founded, 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 the Executive Education program at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

  image Anne Perigo
Associate Director

Phone: 734-615-4425

At the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, Anne manages the development and execution of a wide range of student programs, including the Michigan Business Challenge, the Dare to Dream Grant Program for Student Startups, the Marcel Gani internship program, and arranges for student participation in intercollegiate competitions, entrepreneurial conferences, and consultations with experienced entrepreneurs. Additionally, she holds individual office hours with students to discuss business concepts, program issues, and entrepreneurial concerns. Prior to joining the Zell Lurie Institute, she held positions in education with Ann Arbor Public Schools, and in commercial lending with NBD Bank (now JPMorgan Chase). Anne has also accrued experience through volunteer work, including grant writing and coordinating special arts collaborations between Ann Arbor Public Schools, University of Michigan faculty, and local arts organizations. She holds a BBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

  image Jim Price
Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies;
Entrepreneur in Residence

Phone: 734-764-1387

Jim Price is a serial entrepreneur and business professor. For over two decades, he's launched and led several tech-enabled businesses, and delivered superior returns for his shareholders through multiple M&A sales and an IPO. For the past dozen years, Jim has also held a faculty post at Michigan Ross, where he teaches the startup craft to MBAs and mentors student entrepreneurs. His thought leadership is reflected in his frequent public speaking and his popular blogs on Business Insider and Huffington Post. Jim continues to actively advise startups, consult to corporate new-business initiatives and serve on company boards.

  image Andrea 'Drea' Shipp-Caldwell
Program Coordinator

Phone: 734-615-4427

Drea comes to the Institute via Eastern Michigan University, where she served as Program Communications Coordinator at the Center for Entrepreneurship in the College of Business. Drea served two elected terms on the EMU Alumni Association Board of Directors, where she was Chair of the Legacy Scholarship Committee and the Communications, Media and Theatre Arts Alumni Chapter. With a diverse professional background, Drea has extensive experience coordinating events and programs in corporate and non-profit organizations as well as within higher education institutions. She held a grant-funded position as Outreach & Development Coordinator for the independent 8th Wonder Theatre, LLC, and co-led the launch of the Spunky Monkey Arts Association, a 501c3 organization. These entrepreneurial endeavors provided performing and visual arts education and enrichment to students in the Southeast Michigan community.

Drea holds a B.A. in Communications from University of Michigan-Dearborn and an M.A. in Arts Management from Eastern Michigan University. In addition, Drea is earning her Graduate Certificate in Academic Advising from the Eastern Michigan University College of Education, in the Higher Education Student Affairs program.

  Michele Thomas
Student Administrative Assistant

Phone: 734-615-4419

Michele joins the Zell Lurie Team as the new student administrative assistant. Prior to coming to the Institute, Michele was with Ross Development and Alumni Relations and worked primarily with the Director of Corporate Relations and was responsible for managing incoming gifts to the Business School. While at the Erb Institute, she coordinated and facilitated the Institutes various events and worked closely with students. Michele has enjoyed assisting students with the admissions process in both the School of Public Health and Washtenaw Community College where she held the position as Admissions Recruiter. Michele has served as the Co-President of the United States Naval Academy Michigan Parent's Club, has lived in Portugal, and enjoys life and learning!

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