The next step in your life science, technology, or engineering venture is yours. The Innovation Center is ready to help you on that journey.
Sandra A. Cochrane, MBA
Assistant Dean for the Innovation Center
Sandra joined the medical school in January 2017 as its new assistant dean for the WMed Innovation Center. In her role, Sandra coordinates and oversees all activities at the Innovation Center in support of life science, technology, and engineering ventures, from the earliest start-ups to maturing companies. Sandra came to the medical school following a nine-year stint as a technology business consultant with the Michigan Small Business Development Center. In that role, she worked closely with small businesses to grow and bring about economic impact. Over the past three years, she counseled and coached high-tech entrepreneurs at 421 companies who went on to raise more than $100 million in capital for their new ventures. Sandra boasts a 15-year track record of business incubation and technology startup commercialization for life science firms and her work at WMed will focus on growing the Innovation Center into a hub for burgeoning life science, technology and engineering companies. Sandra’s role at WMed was a return to a facility she knows well. Prior to her work with the SBDC, she was charged by former Southwest Michigan First CEO Barry Broome with getting the 69,000-square-foot center off the ground and by 2003, she was the acting CEO of what was then known as the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center. Later, she served as the facility’s chief operating officer, a position she held until 2008 when she departed for the SBDC. Sandra and her family call Van Buren County home and she is a native of Ann Arbor. She is a graduate of Michigan State University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English Education in 1988 and a master’s degree in Business Administration in 2001.
Business Services Manager
Madelyn has been with the Innovation Center since 2004. As Business Services Manager for the the Innovation Center, Madelyn Pinder serves as the first point of contact for the client company employees. Madelyn manages the day-to-day business activities of the Innovation Center, receives guests and solicitors for client companies, and serves as the face of the Innovation Center for visitors who come to the facility, working to ensure that the Innovation Center is a positive experience for all. Madelyn previously served as Community and Investor Relations Specialist at Southwest Michigan First and participated in the planning and build-out of the Innovation Center. She also gained development experience at Kalamazoo College and as Program Manager for a private foundation.
Herbert C. Boyer
Herb joined the Innovation Center Team in July 2005 to assist in financial planning, budgeting, analysis, and general operational support. Much experience has been gained in the unique financial challenges associated with the operation of a life sciences incubator as well as the financial analysis guidance for resident start-up companies. Previous work experience was in the pharmaceutical industry working for Upjohn, Pharmacia & Upjohn and finally Pharmacia (Pfizer) for nearly 29 years in varying financial work capacities. The vast majority of the work years were concentrated in the R&D financial area ranging from Discovery, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Clinical Development functions.
Herb earned a BA from Alma College and a MBA from Western Michigan University majoring in Financial Management.
Greg S. Cavey
Launch MI Lab Manager
Greg manages Launch MI Lab. He is a biochemist and experienced research investigator. Greg founded the lab at the Innovation Center after more than 20 years in proteomics, mass spectrometry and lab management for pharmaceutical companies and the Van Andel Research Institute. He also provides mass spectrometry services and counsel for clients at the Innovation Center as well as for local, regional and national research companies and universities and colleges. Greg holds a B.S. from Michigan State University.
Rob Vander Weele
Rob’s primary focus is to ensure that the building is operating in a safe and efficient manner. He handles all aspects of facility management from planning to hands-on “wrench turning”. Rob also interacts with the clients to help them plan their laboratory casework, HVAC, electrical and mechanical needs. His experience and broad skill set support the success and cost effective use of both the Innovation Center and client funds.
Dwight assists Rob Vander Weele with all facility related issues on a part-time basis. He has 25 years of HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) experience. Dwight’s education includes an Associate’s Degree from Kalamazoo Valley Community College, a Bachelor’s degree from Siena Heights University, and a Master’s degree from Spring Arbor University.