Executive Committee

Harold Strong, President & CEO

Mr. Harold Strong served as Director of the University of North Discovery Park and Technology Transfer and was Executive Director at the Texas A&M University Research Park where he oversaw the design and development of strategies to stimulate and manage multidisciplinary research, education, and training that benefit students, faculty, researchers, and the business community. He worked to provide assistance to innovators, entrepreneurs, and researchers to launch new ventures, commercialize new technologies, and secure access to capital resources, while supporting regional economic development.

Harold is a nationally recognized leader in research park development with vast experience in developing partnerships between institutions of higher education and industries, defining and executing economic development plans, and developing and managing business incubators. He is a current Board member and past President of the Association of University Research Parks (AURP), an organization whose missions is “Fostering innovation, commercialization and economic growth in a global economy through university, industry and government partnerships.”

Jorge Varela, Board Chair

Jorge’s passion is launching and growing companies, and helping others do the same. He is a serial entrepreneur, startup evangelist, speaker, and business startup coach. Jorge’s primary focus is taking companies to scale. He has started and/or been a part of, the executive team, at numerous companies most notably in telecommunications, software, and information technology, with financially successful exits in each market segment. Jorge was formerly Director of TECH Fort Worth, a non-profit organization focused on helping entrepreneurs launch and grow emerging technology companies. Efforts of TECH Fort Worth are largely recognized through programs such as Cowtown Angels, an angel investors network in Fort Worth previously managed by Jorge Varela. During his almost 5 years at TECH Forth Worth he and his team contributed to the financial success of clients totaling over $4 Billion. From 2012 to 2017 he was Associate Director of Entrepreneurship at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. In addition, he serves as a reviewer for the National Science Foundation on Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR and STTR) grants. He serves on the boards of the International Business Innovation Association, and the Alliance of Texas Angel Networks.

Frank Grassler, JD, Vice Chair

Mr. Grassler comes to UT Southwestern after working as a consultant for Genentech Inc. From 2008 to 2011, he was Vice President for Intellectual Property at Gilead Sciences. Prior to that, he was Vice President of U.S. Intellectual Property for GlaxoSmithKline for 12 years. Earlier in his career, he was in private practice as an attorney and worked in patent law for Merck.

At GlaxoSmithKline, Mr. Grassler conceived the intellectual property structure of The SNP Consortium, originally comprising 10 pharmaceutical companies, a British philanthropic organization, and four academic research centers. Members of the consortium consented to share data and intellectual property rights for DNA sequence variations called single nucleotide polymorphisms, an agreement that lifted institutional and legal barriers and unleashed important work in drug discovery. He earned degrees in pharmacy and law from the University of Colorado, and did additional coursework in mechanical engineering, materials science, and immunology at the University of Colorado, Denver.

Kay Tieman, Co-Founder COO

Kay Tieman is the Vice President of Sales & Marketing at AmeriPac, Inc., a contract packaging, fulfillment, kitting and distribution company serving the pharmaceutical, dietary supplement, animal health, medical device and consumer goods industries.  Kay is a career life sciences professional beginning with American Hospital Supply selling lab supplies and equipment to leading companies such as Genzyme, Genetics Institute and Biogen.  Her career in sales for AHS/Baxter was followed by sales leadership in the home infusion therapy industry and then to the Massachusetts’s Biotechnology Council where she and the executive director grew the organization from 75 to over 300 companies in 3 years.  At MassBio, Kay created the first ever Group Purchasing Organization (GPO) for the life sciences.  Kay then joined the Biotechnology Innovation Organization in Washington, DC, where launched a national GPO for companies across the country.  Upon her arrival in Texas in early 2002, Kay was a Senior Director of Technology Business Development and helped launch BioDFW with the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce, and had roles in executive recruiting and commercial insurance prior to founding bionorthTX.

David Foster, PhD, JD, Co-Founder and Secretary

Dr. Foster is a co-founder of FPRT Bio and serves as Interim CEO. He has more than 15 years legal experience working as patent counsel in international law firms as well as in-house at Medarex, a biopharmaceutical company acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb. David has developed and implemented international IP strategies that protect and complement business initiatives. In addition he has identified foundational and complementary IP and coordinated licensing programs to supplement IP strategies.
David currently serves as partner of Roberts Foster LLP, focusing on emerging technology companies.
David received his Ph.D. from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law.

Dave Carlson, Treasurer

Dave Carlson has over 20 years of financ­­e and accounting experience in the phar­m­aceutical and life sciences industries­. ­Working at various private and public­ co­mpanies, his experience includes sta­rt-u­ps, public offerings, mergers, prod­uct a­nd company acquisitions, along wit­h dive­stitures and liquidation. Dave is­ curren­tly the Chief Accounting Officer­ at Cari­s Life Sciences, Ltd. an innova­tive biot­echnology company focused on p­recision m­edicine helping patients with­ cancer. Hi­s responsibilities include w­orldwide tax­ and financial reporting as­ well as trea­sury functions. Prior to j­oining Caris, ­Dave was the V.P. of Fina­nce and Treasur­er for MiddleBrook Pharm­aceuticals, a sp­ecialty pharmaceutical ­company focused o­n anti-infective medic­ations. He also sp­ent seven years with ­Adams Respiratory T­herapeutics starting­ as Finance Manager ­and eventually beco­ming the V.P. of Fina­nce responsible fo­r global supply chain ­finance. Dave ear­ned his B.S. in Finance­ from The Univer­sity of Utah and his M.B­.A. with honors­ from The University of T­exas at Dallas­.

 Terry L. Foster, Ph.D., Executive In Residence

Terry L. Foster, Ph.D., is retired from a history of education, research, entrepreneurship, clinical trials, and improvement of patient care. During these endeavors, he has always promoted the wealth of medical and scientific talent in Texas. While a biology professor at Hardin-Simmons University, he co-founded the HSU Science Research Center based upon his research with NASA’s Planetary Quarantine Program in addition to research funded by pharmaceutical and medical device companies. This research led to his co-founding a microbiological and immunological diagnostic company in Abilene, TX. The remainder of Terry’s career was spent in the development, testing, and market-introduction of numerous pharmaceutical drugs. He retired as a Medical Science Liaison with Amgen, supporting nephrology and cardiology in North Texas. Terry earned his Bachelors and Masters Degrees from North Texas State University and his Ph.D. in Microbiology from Texas A&M. Terry and his wife, Vickey, a retired Petroleum Landman, live in North Richland Hills where they enjoy traveling as well as spending time with their two sons and their families.

Staff

Harold Strong, President & CEO

Mr. Harold Strong served as Director of the University of North Discovery Park and Technology Transfer and was Executive Director at the Texas A&M University Research Park where he oversaw the design and development of strategies to stimulate and manage multidisciplinary research, education, and training that benefit students, faculty, researchers, and the business community. He worked to provide assistance to innovators, entrepreneurs, and researchers to launch new ventures, commercialize new technologies, and secure access to capital resources, while supporting regional economic development.

Harold is a nationally recognized leader in research park development with vast experience in developing partnerships between institutions of higher education and industries, defining and executing economic development plans, and developing and managing business incubators. He is a current Board member and past President of the Association of University Research Parks (AURP), an organization whose missions is “Fostering innovation, commercialization and economic growth in a global economy through university, industry and government partnerships.”

Miriam D’Souza, Administrator

Miriam D’Souza, a Chicago area native, comes to bionorthTX with 10 years of non-profit management experience, and over 10 years of combined experiences in customer relations and project management. Miriam enjoys working on a team that fosters ideas to spur innovation and collaboration. She currently resides in Flower Mound and spends her time exploring the DFW Metroplex and surrounding areas.