With Academic Innovation Partners, Inc. you get to collaborate with a team of experienced entrepreneurs, consultants, MBA’s, scientists, engineers, academics, and business development aficionados all dedicated to using their years of experience to help you succeed.

Core Team


    Chief Executive Officer

    Jason earned an MBA at the Schulich School of Business, York University, Canada specializing in international business & marketing. His undergraduate work was completed at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, where he earned an economics degree. Jason has negotiated and facilitated numerous investment and partnership agreements with large multi-national corporations. Jason has been involved with many technology companies working on operations, business development and marketing strategies. He is also a former professional football player, seasoned investor and has built several successful businesses.

        DONALD KUK

        Chief Transformation Officer

        Donald Kuk is an innovative, multiple industry award winning Global Transformation, Operational Excellence and Quality Management Executive with more than 20 years of delivering record setting top line growth, customer and employee satisfaction, and margin improvement leading rapid Enterprise Transformation and Operational Excellence for the world most highly regarded banking, insurance, technology, healthcare and manufacturing industry leaders.

        Widely published successes include advanced metrics, analytics, strategy, mission, vision, program, milestones, budget and roadmap development, multi-tiered communication, transformation and improvement program management, quality, training, change and performance management, and results verification for AIG, Ca Technologies, JP Morgan Chase Bank, Telaxis Communications, all Divisions of GE, NBC, Lockheed Martin, Nokia and Acer Computer.

        Donald is a frequent invited Keynote Speaker, Session Chairman and Tutorial Presenter at CEO, CFO, CIO, CTO, Operational Excellence and Enterprise Strategy events worldwide.


            Chief Scientific Officer

            Dr. Gruionu is a researcher, entrepreneur and technology development consultant. For the last eight years, he worked at the Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital, most recently as Assistant Professor of Surgery and Director of Innovation. He is founder and executive leader of three US medical product and innovation consulting startup companies. He has a Mathematics and Computer Science Degree from the University of Craiova, Romania. He earned a MS Degree in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Missouri-Columbia, a PhD Degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Arizona and performed six years of post-doctoral studies in the Departments of Surgery at the Indiana University School of Medicine and the Radiation Oncology at Harvard Medical School. He gained an extensive R&D experience as a product specialist in the medical product industry at W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc where he supported seven medical products which are commercialized worldwide.

                MARTY ROWLAND

                Chief Investment Officer

                Marty Rowland graduated from Boston University with honors with a double major in Biology and Psychology. Marty is one of the Nation’s most effective Business Growth Experts and serial entrepreneurs, specializing in small to medium-size firms. He helped four companies he’s worked with to be named to the prestigious INC 500 list of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. Marty has also help get financing for three companies he has worked with as well as six other companies get financing for their start up operation. As an Executive with the Pyxis Corporation, Marty helped grow the company from under million to almost .5 billion, ultimately selling to Cardinal Health. As an Executive with the Pyxis Corporation, Pyxis finished in the number one position on The INC 500 list for two consecutive years. For the past twelve years, Marty has been mentored by some of the world’s top business experts, including Tony Robbins and Chet Holmes. With Business Breakthroughs International Marty has worked with over forty companies in eleven sectors helping the companies to significant revenue growth, as well as helping to bring six of these companies public. Marty has a proven track record of making business growth fun and sustainable in the long term. Marty participates yearly in many athletic events to raise money to support kids with special needs.

                    DONALD REPPERT

                    Chief Marketing Officer

                    A former U.S. Navy pilot, Don started his business career with The Service Bureau Company as a Systems Marketing Exec after leaving military service in 1978. In that role, Don participated in the implementation of some of the early Yield Management Systems at Delta, Northwest and Piedmont Airlines. Subsequent executive and managerial positions at IBM, Control Data and KPMG over the next 23 years afforded Don the opportunity to gain valuable experience with some of the largest and most successful solutions companies in the world.

                    In 2001, Don started Fresh Eyes Consulting with a focus on Sales Effectiveness and Sales Execution. Over the next 15 years, Don has worked directly with technology leaders such as, Netapp, Cisco Systems, Riverbed Technologies and Rockwell Automation to help those organization design and implement processes that would produce predictable and repeatable results.

                    Having remained active in the aviation industry after leaving the Navy, Don accepted a consulting engagement in 2011 with a Part 121 Supplemental Air Carrier as that carrier’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. In that role, Don was able to help reestablish that carrier’s 121 certification and to establish an OEM agreement with an international aircraft manufacturer to sell their new aircraft in the United States.

                        Dr. DONALD THOMAS III

                        Chief Medical Officer

                        Dr. Thomas graduated from Howard University College of Medicine with an M.D. in Medicine and earned his A.B. in Physical Science and Genetics at Harvard University. He also created and reshaped clinical care delivery systems in 30+ healthcare organizations in the northern hemisphere, including healthcare systems, hospitals, clinics, group practices and an insurance provider medical bureau, while delivering increased quality, patient satisfaction and metrics, in addition to significant new dollars to the organizational bottom lines. He is a relentless problem solver and is especially suited to working in situations that are not functioning at their peak. He is also CMO for L.A. County Health Dept (.8B budget, 22,000 employees,3,500 MDs, 6 hospitals, 6 urgent care centers and 126 clinics)

                        -U.S. Dept of Heath COGME councillor from 1998-2003
                        -Led clinical design teams for 2 hospitals and 2 emergency centers
                        -Restructured medicaid medical division for a major health insurer

                            DR. SONNY RAI

                            Biotechnology Strategist

                            After completing a bachelor’s degree from Pacific University, Oregon, Sonny earned his MD from the American program at Karol Marcinkowski Medical School, Poland. He brings over a decade of broad therapeutic pharmaceutical & medical device strategy consulting and advisory experience as well as executive director level roles in the start-up space. Sonny’s passion for innovation and his engineering spirit lead him into robotics, neuroscience and A.I. while at Cyberworks Robotics Inc. Sonny is a conscious futurist and desires to see humans advance with higher quality of life and a more patient-centric and personalized medicine approach. He believes that technologies used in a smart collective way will help in building the right infrastructure as we move through the 4th industrial revolution to better serve and evolve us as a human race.

                                DR. ANGIE PURVIS

                                Chief Quality and Regulatory Officer

                                Angie completed her PhD (Biochemistry) and post-doctoral training at Washington University at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in the field of Hematology/Oncology. Since leaving academia, she has held several executive positions with medical device and diagnostics companies. Dr. Purvis is a board-certified CLIA Laboratory Director for high-complexity testing across the USA and through the New York State Department of Health. She has experience building and optimizing lean-based, CLIA laboratories and establishing and maintaining a high level of Quality within all laboratory processes. She has a track record of success in Product Development for both the diagnostic and the medical device industries. Dr. Purvis has led diagnostic and medical device companies as the head of Regulatory Affairs to develop successful regulatory strategies for the USA, the EU, and the developing world. Most recently, she is a Founder of CoramiR Diagnosti

                                    CRAIG TAGGART

                                    Investor Relations

                                    Craig Taggart provides almost a decade of experience in the fields of Mergers & Acquisitions and Business Financing. Craig works with each client at the highest level to achieve the highest value for their business within the capital markets. Craig’s experience with BCC Capital Partners in the M&A Industry has greatly contributed to his understanding of transaction structure, strategic placement of buyers, and the attainment of maximum market value for his clients. Craig has represented and sold many businesses in a number of different industries and has significant experience working with companies in: Exclusive focus on select subsectors of life sciences, immunooncology, hemophilia, genomics, respiratory, Pharmaceutical services, Diagnostic products and services in biotechnology and commercial real estate.

                                        YAN CAMPOS

                                        Engineering and Product Development

                                        Yan studied Biophysics at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro where he worked as an assistant researcher at the Laboratory of Conjunctive Tissue. Yan also studied Mechanical Engineering and Computer Aided Design Technology at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. After graduating, he Co-Founded NewPro3D, a start-up in the field of additive manufacturing, where he acted as Director of Research and Development.

                                        Yan is a researcher and entrepreneur at heart, who is trained in mechanical engineering and biophysics. He brings experience from the private start-up world through the development and management of multiphase projects, and the creation of intellectual property and know-how. Currently, Yan dedicates his time and knowledge to growing passionate teams to bring meaningful technologies to the market.

                                            DAVID S. MURAYAMA

                                            Strategy & Planning

                                            David obtained his MBET degree at the University of Waterloo, Canada specializing in new ventures and innovation management, and his BSc in Economics at Suffolk University, US. David has extensive experience as an early-stage business consultant with proven ability in evaluating trends, business models and strategies for a variety of industries. Previously he worked in business development and operations with an M&A firm; consulted for a number of early-stage technology companies in the life science space, collaborated with a non-profit organization in publishing an industry report about the state of vertical farming, and worked with the Mexican Mission to the United Nations in the green economy space.

                                                MACKENZIE KIM

                                                Business Analyst

                                                Mackenzie joined Academic Technology Ventures in 2018 from Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), where he structured financial derivative products for the investment banks’ clients and worked on developing strategic initiatives across film, entertainment, technology, and real estate. Prior to MUFG, Mackenzie worked as an Analyst at Harvey & Company, an M&A advisory firm in Newport Beach, California where he evaluated new investment opportunities and supported existing portfolio companies within the distribution and manufacturing space.

                                                Mackenzie has always had a passion for start-ups and technology innovation, founding his own mobile app and serving as an advisor for a successful Los Angeles based internet marketing start-up. He has also been a guest speaker including most recently presenting a TEDx Talk on the importance of face-to-face communication in a world of technology and social media. After playing soccer semi-professionally for Toronto FC’s Academy team, Mackenzie graduated with honors from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where he earned his BBA in Finance with a focus in Entrepreneurship.

                                                    LIZ AVELAR

                                                    Marketing & Special Projects

                                                    Liz is highly experienced as a marketing & sales consultant focusing on brand identity development, psychology of consumer buying habits, sales process architecture & implementation, and has specialized training in product launch techniques from the top consultancy firms in the USA. She has been named and awarded “The Visionary” from Ford Motor Co. and named by Univision Communications “The Best of Our Community” for creative community initiatives. She has developed numerous corporate brand identities, merchandise package designs, sales systems, and launched new products & brands within various industries: aviation, restaurant, automotive & motorcycle, cosmetics & numerous others. She earned a bachelor of science degree (w/honors) from the University of Texas San Antonio and is a licensed FAA private pilot. In her spare time she trains & participates in triathlons and produces video documentaries on social causes.

                                                        MARIE L. FRANKO

                                                        Medical Technology Associate

                                                        Marie, RN, BSN, has over 15 years experience within the healthcare industry. She has a unique combination of medical industry work experiences to understand clinical information workflows & interdepartmental nursing procedures with advanced business operations experiences, training, and education that provided leadership & consultation on large scale projects for medical companies offering software application solutions. Most recently, she conducted high impact consultation with executive level staff to develop an account list which included software systems management for over 50 hospitals; providing over 50,000 beds. Franko has professional leadership & communication experienced gained from serving honorably in the US ARMY (Op. Joint Endeavor) and has earned various healthcare degrees; Nursing (BS), Univ. of Phoenix, Nursing (AAS), Clark College.

                                                        She’s currently pursing an MBA, Walden University, and has recently drawn upon her business managment experiences to author a work titled, “Change Management 101: Benefit Realization”focusing on Risk & Project Management. Marie enjoys serving her community through hospice volunteer work, children’s programs, and disaster & humanitarian relief.

                                                            SANDY FOX

                                                            Public Relations/Copywriter

                                                            Sandy brings 25 years of professional writing and skills as a direct response copywriter with a focus in the financial field. Her writing helps clients understand the benefits of a product and want to take action. She is skilled in web content, articles, and business to business writing, including brochures, case studies, white papers and ghost book writing. Sandy graduated from the University of California at Davis with a BA (with honors.) She has studied entrepreneurship and the Product Launch Formula. She’s an investor and owner of a real estate business. She and her husband spent 18 months in Kenya helping local non-profit group leaders learn ethics, leadership and organizational skills. Sandy is creative, innovative, and solution oriented.

                                                                ROBERT LONG

                                                                Business Development

                                                                Robert has a passion for business development. This has been demonstrated with his success-driven results across lean manufacturing, finance, marketing, and retail industries.

                                                                He has over 20 years of experience streamlining processes within the business world. His communication and account development skills have allowed him to cultivate life-long business relationships. The methodical, outside-the-box thinking that he brings to innovation has delivered continuous positive results.

                                                                He attended Middle Georgia college where he studied criminal justice and later focused on business development.

                                                                He enjoys hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities in his spare time.

                                                                    NAEEM TARIQ

                                                                    Website and Graphic Design Manager

                                                                    Naeem is a Senior Web Developer & Graphic Designer with over 5 Years of experience in the I.T. Industry. He earned a BS-Hons (I.T) from the University of the Punjab.

                                                                    He has worked on different projects which include personal websites and e-commerce store to corporate websites. He is passionate about obtaining the latest knowledge to be ahead of the game in his profession.

                                                                    His mission is to focus on building trust and provide reliable services and build long-term business relationships with his clients.

                                                                        STEPHANIE KHOELER

                                                                        Business Administrative Assistant

                                                                        Business Administrative Assistant, Stephanie has a passion for business as demonstrated from her experiences attending the C.T. Bauer College of Business where she earned a degree in Business Foundations and a Corporate Entrepreneurship certificate. She is currently continuing her studies at the University of Houston. She enjoys teaching children as a counselor at kid’s camps.

                                                                            AMANDA BLEVINS

                                                                            Business Administrative Assistant

                                                                            Amanda has over 15 years in Management and Customer Service.

                                                                            She attended Everest University where she obtained her BA in Business Management and later her AS in Criminal Justice from the University of Phoenix.

                                                                            Owning and operating her own businesses has allowed Amanda to gain additional experience in business management. She specializes in communicating our value proposition and company brand to prospective members of our “On Ramp” program. Her congenial and amiable personality ensures a credible exchange of information. As a result, they get factual information to gain absolute confidence in our business solutions.

                                                                            Amanda has a passion to help children with developmental handicaps and is currently planning to pursue further studies in Social Services.