Carnegie Mellon University Skip to content

Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship

Swartz Center Staff

Portrait of Dave Mawhinney

Dave Mawhinney

Director, Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship; Executive Director, Donald H. Jones Center for Entrepreneurship

Email

Dave Mawhinney is director, Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, and executive director, Donald H. Jones Center for Entrepreneurship. He serves as the managing director, Open Field Entrepreneurs Fund, and director, i6 Agile Innovation System, a collaboration between InnovationWorks and CMU. Dave is also associate teaching professor at the Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business.

Prior to joining Carnegie Mellon, Dave was co-founder, chairman and CEO of mSpoke, an internet content and advertising recommendation engine, that was acquired in 2010 by LinkedIn, the world’s leading professional social networking site. In 2006, Morgan Stanley’s MSCI/Barra business unit acquired mSpoke’s first business line, a quantitative investment recommendation engine.

Before mSpoke, Dave was general partner of PNC Technology Investors. Earlier in his career, he co-founded three successful startup ventures, including Premier Health Exchange (acquired by Medibuy), Hawk Medical (acquired by McKesson), and Industry.Net (merged with AT&T Business Network to form Nets, Inc.). 

Dave is an active board member at MedSage Technologies (now NewCare Solutions LLC), EZ-FLO Injection Systems and the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Alumni Association (ex-officio, past president). He is an Advisory board member to InnovationWork’s AlphaLab, Pittsburgh Equity Partners and Carnegie Mellon University’s Project Olympus. Dave also served as Executive-in-residence at the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse, working with healthcare information technology startups.

Dave holds an MBA with Distinction from Carnegie Mellon University and a B.S. in physics, Summa Cum Laude, from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He lives with his wife Kristan and three sons in Fox Chapel, Pa.

photo of Lenore Blum

Lenore Blum

Co-director, Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship; Founding Director Project Olympus; Distinguished Professor of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University

Email | Website

Lenore Blum (Ph.D., MIT) is Distinguished Career Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon, founding director of Project Olympus and co-director of the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship. Project Olympus is a good example of her determination to make a real difference in the academic community and the world beyond. Olympus has two main aims: to bridge the gap between cutting-edge university research/innovation and economy-promoting commercialization for the benefit of our communities and creating a climate, culture and community to enable talent and ideas to grow in the region. 

Lenore is internationally recognized for her work in increasing the participation of girls and women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. She was a founder of the Association for Women in Mathematics and the Expanding Your Horizons Network. At Carnegie Mellon she founded the Women@SCS program. In 2004 she received the U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. In 2009 she received the Carnegie Science Catalyst Award recognizing her work with Project Olympus targeting high-tech talent to promote economic growth in the Pittsburgh region and for increasing the participation of women in computer science.

Lenore is on the board of hackNY, on the advisory board of WorldQuantU and is faculty advisor to the CMU student organization, ScottyLabs.

Her research, founding a theory of computation and complexity over continuous domains, forms a theoretical basis for scientific computation. On the eve of Alan Turing’s 100th birthday in June 2012, she was plenary speaker at the Turing Centenary Celebration at the University of Cambridge, England.

photo of Jonathan Cagan

Jonathan Cagan

Co-director, Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship; George Tallman and Florence Barrett Ladd Professor, Mechanical Engineering; Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives, College of Engineering; Co-Director, Integrated Innovation Institute; Courtesy Appointment, School of Design

Email

Professor Cagan's research focuses on design methods, theory and practice, including computational synthesis, cognitive-based design and interdisciplinary product development. His computational work on design conceptualization and product layout emphasizes computational representation, generation and exploratory search of the design space. His premise is that computational tools must support a design process modeled by lateral exploration, followed by a focused investigation of one or more good designs. Based on this premise, much of his work has concentrated on stochastic and agent-based search techniques and cognitive mechanisms, and various grammatical representations to model, generate and move within the design space. The result is a merging between design theory, artificial intelligence, cognition and operations research, giving a unique approach to addressing the conceptual design problem.

Professor Cagan's other area of focus is in user-centered design and integrated product development practice. He works closely with colleagues in industrial design and business in creating new methods for product design that emphasize product identification, strategy, emotion and user-driven realization. He also works closely with psychologists in the area of cognitive-based engineering design, seeking to understand and improve the ways that engineers create new innovations. His work has evolved from a synergistic relationship with industry, having worked with a variety of small and large companies including Navistar/International Truck, Apple, HP, Procter & Gamble, MSA, Respironics, Alcoa, General Motors, Whirlpool, RedZone Robotics, Bayer Material Science, DesignAdvance Systems and Lubrizol, among others. Professor Cagan has also served as an expert witness for intellectual property litigation.

photo of Rob MyerRobb Myer

Entrepreneur-in-Residence

Email

Robb Meyer, CMU alumnus, founder and former president of the highly successful startup NoWait, is expanding his entrepreneurial ties in Pittsburgh as an entrepreneur-in-residence (EIR) with the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship. Robb is a seasoned product and program management executive with years of experience in business to business, technology-focused companies. As EIR, Robb will help budding CMU entrepreneurs create successful commercial ventures.

photo of Kit NeedhamKit Needham

Entrepreneur-in-Residence & Associate Director, Project Olympus

Email

Kit is entrepreneur-in-residence and associate director at Project Olympus, providing students with startup advice, business strategy planning and connections to industry experts, advisors and the business community. She is a member of BlueTree Allied Angels and serves on their Screening Committee. She is an advisory board member of Chatham University's Center for Women's Entrepreneurship and teaches in their MBA program. In addition, she provides consulting services to promote economic growth to Chambers of Commerce, individual entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations. Kit manages the Olympus Incubator Space on Henry Street, where student entrepreneurs spend considerable time on their new ventures.

photo of Craig MarkovitzCraig S. Markovitz

Entrepreneur-in-Residence 

Email

Craig S. Markovitz,is a co-founder of Blue Belt Technologies, Inc., a spinoff from the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.  He served as the company’s Chief Executive Officer for over 7 years and, in this capacity, launched the company, raised capital, managed operations, and led a January 2011 merger with HealthpointCapital (private equity).  He then transitioned to Chief Operating Officer, helped to lead substantial growth of the company and was a key member of the deal team that led to an acquisition by Smith and Nephew, plc in January 2016 for $275,000,000.  He was the recipient of the 2016 Carnegie Science Center Entrepreneur and the 2016 Pittsburgh Venture Capital Association Outstanding Entrepreneur Awards.  Markovitz graduated with distinction from the MBA program at the Charles H. Kellstadt Graduate School of Business at DePaul University in Chicago with a degree in Entrepreneurship, and graduated cum laude from Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, PA, with a BA in Management. 

photo of Allyson HinceAllyson Hince

Program Manager

Email

Allyson is the program manager at the Don Jones Center, coordinating many of Swartz's events and managing communications. Allyson graduated from Duquesne University with a bachelor of arts in communication studies and a minor in interactive media, and she has been a member of our campus community since December 2010.

photo of Sonya FordSonya Ford

Special Projects Manager

Email

Sonya is manager of the Director's Office & Special Programs at the Don Jones Center for Entrepreneurship. Prior to this appointment, Sonya was the executive administrator at Urban Design Associates, an architecture/urban design firm in Pittsburgh, and has held many other administrative roles in the banking and hospital industries. Sonya earned her bachelor of science degree in business administration from Robert Morris University and earned her certified administrative professionals (CAP) certification in 2007. She is an active member of the International Association for Administrative Professionals (IAAP), where she has chaired many committees and served on the board for two terms. Sonya is also a mentor and volunteer in her community.

photo of Cleah SchlueterCleah Schlueter

Project Coordinator

Email

Cleah coordinates events and special projects for Project Olympus and the Swartz Center. Since 1987 she has worked in Carnegie Mellon's Computer Science Department, where she is also project coordinator for a number of other endeavors, including the ALICE Project. She joined Project Olympus at its inception in 2007.

Melanie Simko photoMelanie Simko

Program Manager, NSF I-Corps & Innovation Fellows

Email

Melanie is program manager for the NSF I-Corps and Innovation Fellows programs at the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship.
Prior to joining Carnegie Mellon University, Melanie was clinical research coordinator for the Seton Hill University Personal Empowerment Program in collaboration with the Integrative Cardiac Health Project at Walter Reed Medical Center. This study used an innovative personalized text-based app, wearable technology and data analytics to help college students set and meet individual nutrition and fitness goals. In previous roles, she worked in healthcare administration and nonprofit and governmental accounting.  
Melanie earned a B.S. in Accounting from Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA and a B.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics from Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA. 

Erin O'Toole photoErin O'Toole

Program Manager, Project Olympus

Email

Erin is the program manager for Project Olympus, the startup incubator program for Carnegie Mellon University.
Prior to joining CMU, Erin worked as an in-patient hospital Pharmacy Technician Specialist for 11 years, specializing in Hematology/Oncology and Pediatrics. Additionally, she worked as a teaching assistant and Head Computer Science Tutor for California State University in San Marcos, CA. She started the Women in Sciences Club on campus to empower women to collaborate and learn together. In her spare time, she volunteers for animal care organizations and historical preservation societies.
Erin earned a B.S. in Computer Science from California State University in San Marcos, CA.