GRA is staffed by a team of professionals with deep experience in technology-based economic development. The organizational model that this team built and manages has been widely copied in other states and regions.
C. Michael Cassidy
President and CEO
Michael Cassidy is President and CEO of the Georgia Research Alliance, a non-profit organization that expands research and commercialization capacity in Georgia’s universities to launch new companies, create high-value jobs and transform lives. Key initiatives of the Alliance include recruitment of top scientific talent, seeding centers of excellence, and commercialization of university research discoveries. He is a co-founder of the GRA Venture Fund, LLC, a private investment fund created to finance promising companies that emerge through the Alliance’s commercialization programs.
Cassidy serves on the Board of Directors of the State Science and Technology Institute, the Health Care Ethics Consortium, Georgia Advanced Technology Ventures, the Global Center for Medical Innovation, Atlanta Emerging Markets Inc., the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, and the Board of Governors of the Lake Lanier Sailing Club. Before joining the Alliance in 1993, Cassidy managed the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), Georgia's technology incubator. Prior to that he worked for the IBM Corporation where he held various staff and management assignments.
Cassidy holds a Master’s degree in Technology and Science Policy from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a BBA degree in Marketing from Georgia State University.
Susan G. Shows
Senior Vice President
Susan Shows manages GRA's investment portfolio including the award-winning Eminent Scholars Program and more than $600 million of strategic research infrastructure at Georgia's eight leading research universities. In 2002, she led the launch of GRA Ventures, the Alliance’s venture development program, and managed its growth until 2008.
Prior to joining GRA in 2001, Shows worked at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she played a leading role in the development and growth of university-industry initiatives in partnership with the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and industry organizations in Georgia. She also managed the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), a technology incubator based at Georgia Tech. She previously worked for Square D Company, and was part of the company's start-up team for a major manufacturing facility in North Carolina. Shows serves as an advisor to a number of regional and national organizations that support translational research, technology-based economic development, and venture development. She holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Xavier University and a BS in Industrial Management from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
H. Lee Herron, DVM
Vice President, Venture Development
Dr. Lee Herron directs the GRA Ventures Program which offers a wide range of services to launch high-growth companies around university discoveries. In this role, Herron oversees the selection of projects eligible for GRA support via commercialization grants, loans, and expert consulting services. Herron also leads the development of potential investment prospects for consideration by the GRA Venture Fund LLC. Under Herron’s leadership, the GRA Ventures Program has launched 150 new companies and created nearly 1,500 jobs. GRA’s portfolio of companies has attracted more than $1 billion in equity investment to date.
Prior to joining the Georgia Research Alliance, Dr. Herron was General Manager, Biosciences, for the Advanced Technology Development Center. In this capacity, Dr. Herron advised start-up and early stage companies regarding the growth and development of their organizations. Through the GRA Ventures program at Georgia Tech, he worked with faculty at Georgia Tech to evaluate commercial opportunities and to pursue new venture formation or licensing opportunities. He also served as CEO EmTech Bio, a collaborative program of Georgia Tech and Emory.Before joining ATDC, Dr. Herron worked with BRAHMS AG, a German manufacturer of in-vitro diagnostic products, to establish its North American operations. Earlier, he was the founder, President and CEO of SeaLite Sciences, Inc., a company focused on the development and commercialization of diagnostic products and molecular biology reagents. Dr. Herron was also a founding team member of three other bioscience companies, Biopool International, Inc., CytRx Corporation and Theragenics Corporation. He earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Georgia.
Ashley F. Cornelison
Operations Director, GRA Ventures
Ashley Cornelison is responsible for all financial and administrative operations of the GRA Ventures Program and the GRA Venture Fund LLC. She oversees GRA’s comprehensive commercialization database as well as all proposals, fiscal records, and preparation of annual reports. She also supports research activities and due diligence investigation for the Fund’s investment opportunities. Prior to joining the GRA, Cornelison worked at an Atlanta real estate law firm providing legal support in the firm’s litigation department. She received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in 2008 from the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia.
Greg Dane retired from the Georgia Research Alliance in 2015 and continues to advise GRA Ventures portfolio companies. Prior to joining GRA, he was Director of Innovation in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University where he was instrumental in commercializing numerous university-based medical technologies through licensing and startup creation. Prior to this role, Dane served for 10 years as President and Chief Executive Officer of three development-stage bioscience companies, and 15 years in various senior management positions with Baxter Healthcare Corporation, including General Manager of Research and Development in Europe.
Dane is a Director of MedShape, Inc. and GRA start-up company NovAb. He previously was a Director of Somatocor, VitaGen, Inc., Neocrin Company, and Sensys Medical, Inc. He also served on the Boards of Directors of the Georgia Biomedical Partnership, the Life Sciences Industry Council in Orange County, CA, and numerous university-affiliated life science research and commercialization organizations. Mr. Dane received both a Bachelor of Science degree and a Masters in Engineering from Cornell University.
With more than 25 years of administrative experience, Bernadette Kight serves as the Executive Assistant for Georgia Research Alliance. She supports the GRA team and Board of Trustees by handling executive-level administrative duties including arrangements for meeting and events and managing correspondence. Prior to joining the Georgia Research Alliance in 2002, she was an Administrative Supervisor for AT&T.
Amy C. Moore, Ph.D
Director, Research Programs
Dr. Amy Moore oversees GRA’s research initiatives, providing scientific expertise to advance the role of the GRA Academy and to increase Georgia’s visibility and reputation as a leader in science and technology. Dr. Moore also works closely with the GRA Eminent Scholars, with a particular focus on program evaluation and outcomes reporting. Prior to joining the GRA, Dr. Moore was the Director of Research Programs for the Georgia Cancer Coalition. Dr. Moore is a trained virologist and holds a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from Wake Forest University School of Medicine and a B.S. in biology from Furman University. She was an American Cancer Society-funded postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where she researched molecular mechanisms of acute leukemia development. In addition to her background as a research scientist, Dr. Moore holds a certificate in research administration from Georgia State University. Dr. Moore is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Biology at Georgia State University and regularly teaches in the Honors College.
Amanda A. Schroeder
Director, Public Relations
Amanda Schroeder oversees all media, industry and constituent relations for GRA. She is responsible for creating brand and message strategy, developing press and social media presence and managing the execution of all communication activities.Prior to joining GRA, Schroeder served as vice president of marketing for BLiNQ Media. While there, she was a member of the senior management team that led BLiNQ to become acquired by The Gannett Company. With more than 15 years of marketing experience in the private sector and technology start-ups, Schroeder has also served as senior marketing manager for Cox Enterprises’ AutoTrader.com and director of global marketing for EyeWonder, LLC, an interactive digital advertising company. Schroeder earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing from Georgia State University and a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis on strategy, marketing and business development from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.
Director, Investments and Venture Acceleration
Connor Seabrook guides GRA Ventures companies in achieving business and technical milestones and implementing sustainable development plans. He manages the GRA Ventures Loan Program and serves as GRA’s board observer to selected portfolio companies. In this role, he also provides due diligence and financial management services to companies receiving investment from the GRA Venture Fund, LLC.
Seabrook brings nearly 30 years of experience in venture capital and company formation. He was previously a Partner with Alliance Technology Ventures (ATV), a $250 million early stage venture capital partnership. In that capacity, he was on the senior management team of several portfolio companies including publicly-traded AtheroGenics and Inhibitex. Before joining ATV, he was CFO for Aspen Venture Partners, a $150 million venture capital fund, and an Associate with 3i Ventures, part of 3i Group, a publicly-traded private equity firm based in London. He also worked at Goldman Sachs & Company and the United States Trust Company of New York. Seabrook earned a Master of Business Administration degree from The Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College and a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies and Economics from Trinity College.
Amy L. Todd
Amy Todd is responsible for the financial and administrative management of the Georgia Research Alliance including budget forecasting and control, accounting, human resources, audits, and ensuring compliance with corporate policies. In addition to general business functions, she also handles special projects and serves as Assistant Secretary to the Board of Trustees. Todd has been with the Georgia Research Alliance since its founding in 1990. Prior to joining GRA, she worked for the Woodruff Health Sciences Center at Emory University.
Kitty Forbes Vogt
Director, Community Engagement
Kitty Vogt has more than 25 years' experience in nonprofit management. In her current role as Director, Community Engagement, she is responsible for planning and managing GRA's efforts to engage stakeholders in its activities. From 1997 – 2011, she managed many of GRA’s life sciences initiatives. Prior to that, she managed the administration and operations of the Georgia Center for Advanced Telecommunications Technology at Georgia Tech. She began her career in fundraising for the arts, most notably with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Vogt earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Emory University and a Master of Public Administration degree from Georgia State University.