The Impactful Innovators Podcast series was produced from the Fall 2020 Impactful Innovators course at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship. Throughout this podcast series, we’ll hear from RPI alumni as they tell the story of their entrepreneurial journeys and share the valuable lessons that they’ve learned along the way. We hope this series will help inspire the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, and intrapreneurs at RPI and beyond.
Each episode will feature a different guest speaker and will dive deep into their background and story. Our speakers come from many different industries and have very diverse backgrounds and experiences. You’ll hear from entrepreneurs involved in biotech, software, and automation, just to name a few.
Episode 1 features Brent Solina ‘12, the founder and CTO of MICROrganic Technologies. Brent studied biochemistry and biophysics at RPI where he learned about microbial fuel cells, microscopic bacteria that digest waste and produce energy while doing so. He founded MICROrganic Technologies to harness the power of microbial fuel cells in the wastewater industry, an industry which has not seen innovation in decades.
Episode 2 features John Haller ‘86, the co-founder and former CTO of MapInfo, the pioneers of street mapping on PCs. The company started as a class assignment at RPI and went on to IPO in 1994. Among many accomplishments, MapInfo introduced mapping to Microsoft so they could create an add-on in their Office 97 and Office 2000 product releases. John stayed with the company for 13 years and is responsible for the technology platform that the system was built on. After the company was acquired in 2007, John continued to create software and launch other ventures like SportsSignup which was acquired by Time Inc./Sports Illustrated.
Episode 3 features Bill Fosnight ‘92, the co-founder and chief development officer at Alert Innovation. He is responsible for the design and development of manufacturing automation and software systems worldwide. From 2010 to 2016, he was the Senior Director of Manufacturing Technology at GlobalFoundries. Prior to joining GlobalFoundries in 2010, Bill was Senior Vice President of Engineering at Brooks Automation. In this position he led the development and commercialization of factory automation and semiconductor process equipment. Prior to Brooks, Bill worked with ASYST Technologies where he managed product development and IBM where he conducted semiconductor manufacturing research. Bill has been awarded over 46 patents in manufacturing automation over the course of his 28 year career.
Episode 4 features Dr. Patrice Milos ‘82, the co-founder of Medley Genomics which delivers novel data analytics for individualizing treatment of complex diseases with an initial focus in oncology. She worked in the field for several years, and was ready to make an impact by charting her own path after becoming inspired as the CEO of a Boston Children's Hospital spinout, Claritas Genomics.
Episode 5 features Jeffrey Stewart ‘91, a serial entrepreneur that has started over a half-dozen technology companies that span across four continents and employ over 1,000 people. These companies include Mimeo, Lenddo, Urgent Group, Urgent Ventures, Urgent Career, and SquareEarth which merged with Proxicom in a successful IPO. Jeff has been called a risk-taker and an expert in developing and then using internet technology to successfully employ business models.
Episode 6 features Eben Bayer ‘07, the co-founder and CEO of Ecovative Design. Eben got his start in a design studio course taught by the late Professor Burt Swersey. Swersey convinced Eben that he had something special and needed to build the company. Eben and his co-founders took a little known structure called mycelium and introduced it to the world in multiple new forms including packaging material, skin care, and most recently, plant-based meat.
Episode 7 features Chris Wysopal ‘87, the co-founder and CTO of Veracode which provides SaaS application security that integrates application analysis into development pipelines. Chris is a computer security expert and was a member of the high-profile hacker think tank, the L0pht, where he was a vulnerability researcher once called to testify before congress about how he could take down the internet in less than 30 minutes.
Episode 8 features Selcuk Atli ‘09, the founder and CEO of Bunch, a group video chat app designed for live mobile games. Selcuk is a graduate of YCombinator (W14), an Endeavor entrepreneur, and a Fulbright Scholar. In the 10 years since graduating RPI, he has built four companies and had three successful exits.
Episode 9 features Timmy Oh, the co-founder and CEO of Vara Safety, a firearm safety company. Timmy attended Rensselaer for several semesters while he developed and honed his product idea for improving gun safety in the home. He grew up in a family of gun owners and is passionate about preventing deaths from accidental gun discharge.