Carnegie Mellon University

The Carnegie Mellon University Business Engagement team is here to help build bridges between the CMU community and your company. We're ready to work with you to create inspired and inventive solutions and partnerships.

fortner_dennis_700x764.pngMark Nolan

Associate Vice President, Business Engagement and Strategy

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Or call 412-268-6856

Mark’s work focuses on the development of private sector partnerships in the areas of faculty and student engagement, sponsored research, dramatically increasing the awareness of less-traveled avenues of university-business engagement (i.e., IP, startups, executive/customized education, co-location, etc.) — and leading and collaborating with others to do the same.

Prior to joining CMU in 2016, Mark had extensive experience in university-industry partnerships, government-university-industry programs, tech-based economic development and university-based program design and management. He has worked in corporations and a VC-funded startup and served as a co-founder and/or advisor to university-born businesses and entrepreneurs.

Mark holds a master’s degree from the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a bachelor’s degree in speech communications from West Virginia Wesleyan College. Mark has a passion for gravel cycling, being outdoors, enjoying time with family and friends, storytelling and meeting new people.

harding_mike_700x764.pngMichael Harding

Director, Business Engagement

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Or call 412-268-7761

Mike works to bridge connections into all of Carnegie Mellon’s seven distinct colleges and research centers across the university. Curating new matches between industry and CMU’s talented faculty and students, his role focuses on forging new and expanded partnerships for innovation.

Mike holds a bachelor’s degree in business and sociology from Washington & Jefferson College as well as a master’s degree in business administration from Point Park University, where he also is working on his Ph.D. in community engagement. A proud Pittsburgh native, he’s also well versed on where to grab a bite to eat or spots to check out when you’re in town! He serves as the Board President of a non-profit organization, Beverly’s Birthdays, where he helps to spread birthday cheer 365 days a year. In his free time, he enjoys bike riding, trying new craft beers or spirits and making people laugh.

fortner_dennis_700x764.pngDennis Fortner

Director, Business Engagement

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Or call 412-268-2314

Dennis joined CMU in 2017, and prior to his role within the business engagement team, he spent a career in aerospace and defense partnerships including his most recent work overseeing work at Northrup Grumman. Dennis has extensive industry experience in roles such as business development, intellectual property management and contracting between university/industry.

He holds an undergraduate degree in engineering from the New York Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in technology management from New York University.

fortner_dennis_700x764.pngLauren Panza

Associate Director, Business Engagement

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Or call 412-268-7930

Lauren works to bring in new partnership opportunities that span the university. Her role focuses on curating new industry engagements for each of the seven distinct colleges within CMU and supporting Pittsburgh’s economic development partners in attracting and retaining new employment opportunities for the Pittsburgh region.

Lauren holds a bachelor’s degree in speech communications from Ithaca College and a master’s degree in business administration from the IE Business School in Madrid, Spain. In her free time, she enjoys teaching yoga and meditation and acting in local film and theatre projects.

downstony_retouched.jpgTony Downs

Assistant Director, Strategic Business Partnerships

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Or call 412-268-2020

Tony works to build mutually beneficial partnerships that span the university and partners directly with colleagues in our central team, as well as with embedded subject matter experts in CMU’s seven distinct colleges to identify the right connections. 

Tony holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and Spanish from the University of Richmond and a master’s degree in business administration from University College Dublin.

fortner_dennis_700x764.pngLisa Vento

Director of Operations, Business Engagement

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Or call 412-268-5360

Lisa oversees and manages the operations of business engagement and acts as a liaison for the team in support of interdepartmental collaboration.

Lisa holds a master’s degree in public management from Carnegie Mellon University and holds bachelor’s degrees in accounting and German from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a Certified Research Administrator (CRA) and an active member of the Society of Research Administrators International (SRAI). She serves as a member on the University of Pittsburgh’s Women’s International Club Nationality Room Program and German Room Committee.

ccoleman_350x382_2.pngChris Coleman

Associate Director of Operations, Business Engagement

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Or call 412-268-6685

Chris assists in the management and administrative functions of Business Engagement. Specifically, supporting the Foundation Relations team with processing, reviewing, and accepting awards and ensuring proper stewardship of funds in compliance with sponsor regulations.

Chris has been at Carnegie Mellon University for over a decade and has a background in Grants Administration and Procurement.

fortner_dennis_700x764.pngDave Minicucci

Associate Director, Advancement Research

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Or call 412-268-9101

Dave is responsible for the data and information needs of the business engagement team as well as colleagues across campus. He works to ensure that the business engagement staff have access to the most timely and relevant information to inform their decision-making when engaging with our corporate and foundation partners.

Dave holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Duquesne University.