Innovation Summit Speakers

Speaker Bios

Wayne Barz

In June 2019, Wayne was named Chief Investment Officer at Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeast PA. In that role, he oversees a team of seven who deliver mentoring, connections, and funding to a portfolio of 175 companies in the 21 counties of northeast PA. This portfolio has received nearly $25 million in funding from Ben Franklin and more than $225 million in outside private capital and federal grants. From 2000 until 2019, he managed the Ben Franklin TechVentures incubator program on Lehigh University’s Mountaintop Campus. (In 2001 and 2012, TechVentures was selected as the International Business Innovation Association’s incubator of the year.) In that role, Wayne helped more than 120 client startups launch. He has been a Board Observer for a dozen companies.

Outside of Ben Franklin, Wayne is the immediate past President of the Board for Community Action Lehigh Valley (CALV), the region’s most influential anti-poverty agency. He is a past President of the Board of the Rising Tide Community Loan Fund. In 2017, he was selected as a Startup Development Officer for the National Council on Entrepreneurial Technology Transfer. Between 2010 and 2018, he also was an adjunct faculty member at Lafayette College, creating and teaching a course called “Building the High-Tech Startup.”

Prior to joining Ben Franklin, Wayne spent 13 years in other economic development, incubator management and consulting roles in the Lehigh Valley and elsewhere in Pennsylvania. He has a B.S. in Economics and MBA from Lehigh University.

Chad Bouton

Chad Bouton is vice president of advanced engineering at Northwell Health and director of the Neural Bypass and Brain-Computer Interface Laboratory at The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research in New York. In 2014, Professor Bouton and his team pioneered the first “artificial neural bypass,” which restored movement in a paralyzed person using a brain implant that decoded movement-related brain activity to modulate muscle contractions directly.

His work has been featured by numerous media outlets, including 60 Minutes, BBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic and Wired. Professor Bouton holds more than 70 patents worldwide, and his technologies have been awarded three R&D 100 Awards. He has been recognized by the U.S. Congress for his contributions to the medical device technology field.

Professor Bouton has also been named Inventor of the Year (2010), Distinguished Inventor (2011) and Innovator of the Year (2017) and was selected by the National Academy of Engineering (2011) as one of the top 100 engineering innovators in the world.

Mitchell Burman

Mitchell Burman is an executive fellow at RoAI Institute. A former senior advisor to McKinsey on analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), Mitchell developed and delivered analytics executive education for consultants and clients at McKinsey, as well as BCG.

He taught analytics and operations research courses at MIT and Wharton, and was the founding industry liaison director for MIT’s Master’s of business analytics program. Mitchell has consulted for more than 400 clients in manufacturing, retail, mining and distribution. He has a MS and PhD in O.R. from MIT.

Brian Harris

Brian Harris is the co-founder and CEO of MedRhythms, a company that is building next-generation neurotherapeutics that leverage the power of music and technology. Brian is a board-certified music therapist and one of 350 Neurologic Music Therapist Fellows in the world. Brian’s clinical work was focused at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston. There, he created and implemented Spaulding’s first inpatient full-time Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) program, specializing in neurologic injury and disease. It became the most comprehensive NMT program in the country.

Brian also is co-founder of the Arts & Neuroscience group at the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine. He has been an invited speaker at venues throughout the world, including Harvard Medical School, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Stanford University, the Neurology Foundation of India and Google. Brian is an author on multiple patents and publications related to music and rehabilitation, and his work has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Huffington Post and Rolling Stone.

Chris Kauzmann

Chris Kauzmann teaches entrepreneurship and design thinking at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. Chris’s main focus is to assist and encourage students at any and every point in their entrepreneurial journey, in and out of the classroom.

Chris graduated from Lehigh University in 2013 with a mechanical engineering degree and entrepreneurship minor, followed by a Master’s of engineering in technical entrepreneurship in 2014.

Rhonda J. Manns

Recognized as one of LinkedIn’s Leaders in Nursing, Rhonda Manns is a highly respected mentor, innovation coach and health-care speaker. She is a registered nurse, certified case manager and nurse innovator, who brings awareness of empathy and design thinking to the corporate sector.

She is a clinical startup advisor at Northeastern University and has been featured on a variety of platforms and publications, such as the 2020 award-winning anthropology, “The Rebel Nurse Handbook: Inspirational Stories for Shift Disruptors,” the Band-Aid Brand nursing campaign, Johnson and Johnson Nursing, Penn Nursing’s Amplify Nursing Podcast, The Empathy Edge and Outcomes Rocket. As a hackathon organizer, facilitator and workshop designer for organizations such as the American Cancer Society and MIT Hacks Racism in Medicine, she guides diverse groups of people to generate innovative solutions to pressing healthcare problems.

Her career background includes acute inpatient rehabilitation, ER nursing, rare diseases, oncology research, health IT and product management. She is also a founding member, former board member and chair of the Society of Nurse Scientists, Innovators, Entrepreneurs and Leaders (SONSIEL).

Brittany Merkle

Brittany (“Britt”) Merkle, Principal Service Designer with UnitedHealthcare and Registered Nurse, is a leader who strongly believes in the power of designing with, rather than for. In her previous roles prior to UHC, she worked as a Senior Experience Strategist at Mad*Pow and in-house as a Lead Innovation Strategist for University Hospitals Ventures.

Prior to transitioning to a career in design, Britt practiced as a nurse in her home state of Virginia with an emphasis on end-of-life care and hospice management. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Service Design from Savannah College of Art & Design, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Virginia, and is in the process of receiving her certification as a Death Doula.

She has extensive knowledge of collaborating with stakeholders across large scale organizations and making a systemic impact through strategic initiatives. Her main goal is to bring real human experiences to the forefront of change and encourage others to pursue creative careers.

Raine Osborne

Raine Osborne, PT, DPT, EdD, FAAOMPT is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of North Florida, Research Faculty for the Brooks Institute of Higher Learning (IHL), and a member of the Brooks IHL Residency and Fellowship Program faculty.

Dr. Osborne has practiced as a physical therapist for over 16 years, specializing in orthopaedics with a particular interest in spine and chronic pain. He has also been a physical therapist educator for over 12 years, providing instruction and mentorship across the physical therapist education continuum (DPT, residency, and fellowship). Dr. Osborne currently serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Physical Therapy Education and is the chair of the APTA Academy of Education Residency and Fellowship Research Collaborative.

As a researcher, Dr. Osborne’s primary interest is in understanding the complex mix of personal characteristics and environmental factors that drive innovation and excellence in rehabilitation practice. Areas of focus within this research agenda include professional engagement, physical therapist residency and fellowship education, teaching and assessment of clinical reasoning, and interprofessional education.

Michael Spigel

Michael Spigel leads Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and serves as Chair, Board of Directors, for Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a joint venture between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine. Michael, who assumed the President & CEO role in August 2020, is committed to furthering Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network’s mission as well as its world-renowned reputation for innovation and compassionate, quality post-acute care.

A physical therapist by trade, Michael has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in health-care administration, focused almost exclusively in rehabilitation. Prior to joining Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network, Michael served as President & Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Brooks Rehabilitation in Jacksonville, Florida. He joined Brooks Rehabilitation in 2004 as President of the Outpatient Division and earned roles of increasing responsibility, including Chief Operating Officer, Senior Vice President, Executive Vice President and President.

From 2000 to 2004, he worked for The RehabCare Group in St. Louis, Missouri, in roles of increasing responsibility, including Executive Director; Vice President, Outpatient Operations; and Senior Vice President, Group Operations. Prior to that, Michael worked for Sutter Health in Sacramento, California. He began his career as a practicing physical therapist at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Michael earned his master’s degree in health administration from Chapman University in Orange County, California, and his bachelor’s degree in physical therapy from the University of Maryland. He is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and serves on the American Hospital Association (AHA) Post-Acute Care Advisory Committee.

A recognized expert in post-acute care, Michael often is asked to speak at national conferences regarding leadership and the future of the industry. He recently served as a board member for the Jacksonville Sports Medicine Program, University of North Florida Health Care Administration Advisory Committee, Leadership Jacksonville and 360 Physical Therapy in Phoenix, Arizona.

Laks Srinivasan

Laks Srinivasanis co-founder and managing director of RoAI Institute and a senior fellow for leadership development at the Enterprise Systems Center at Lehigh University

He has advised more than 50 clients on maximizing economic and social value from data, analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare, retail, banking and capital markets, media and telecommunications, travel and government (CMS) sectors.

Previously, Laks was COO of Opera Solutions, an applied AI and ML solutions company (Winner of Netflix prize, KDD Cup and Kaggle competitions), senior director of Innovation at FICO (NYSE:FICO), CEO of Expense Advisor and an associate at Booz Allen and Hamilton. Laks has a BS in electrical engineering and an MBA from Wharton.

Anna Young

MakerHealth CEO Anna Young works from a fundamental belief that, with the right tools, everyday people can use their ingenuity to create devices that heal. Applying years of global experience with the Maker Movement, Anna brings prototyping tools and makerspaces into hospitals to enhance the natural problem solving abilities of clinicians and patients. Anna is the Co-Founder of MakerNurse, an RWJF-sponsored program to support inventive, frontline nurses.

Since 2008, Anna has worked with frontline healthcare workers in Ecuador and coffee farm clinics in Nicaragua, in sleepless hospitals of London and New York City, and in healthcare systems in Texas and Iowa. Anna’s roots come from MIT as a researcher in the Little Devices Lab and lecturer in the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science. In 2015, Anna was recognized by LinkedIn as a top Health Innovator under 35 and in 2016 received Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business.