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About
Technology
Innovators
Students
Industry

Our Leadership

Understanding
Industry & Innovation

The CURF team has a broad background and depth of experience guiding new technologies from concept to commercialization. We are strong advocates for innovation at Clemson University, leveraging our expertise to advance scientific discovery and support university researchers.

Our Leadership

Leadership

Executive Team

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Chase Kasper, MBA

Senior Deputy Director

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Andy Bluvas, JD, MBA

Assistant Director of IP Management

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Clarissa Austin, MS

Assistant Director of Marketing, Business Development, & Branding

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Mark Roth, Ed.D., Ed.S., MBA

Associate Director of Business Development

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Brittany Souto

Executive Assistant/ Office Manager

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Cindy Sauer, JD

Contract Manager

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Melissa Ioannidis, MPA

Technology Commercialization Associate

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Pamela West, MBA

Business Officer

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Eden Wallace

Marketing Fellow

Chase Kasper, MBA

Senior Deputy Director


Chase manages the day-to-day business activities of technology transfer operations for CURF. He works closely with the Executive Director, supporting the leadership, guidance, and decision-making across all CURF initiatives, including the management of technology transfer, intellectual property, commercialization, corporate relationship development, communications, and economic development.
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Andy Bluvas

Andy Bluvas, JD, MBA

Assistant Director of IP Management


Andy manages university technology disclosures and intellectual property (“IP”) capture and prosecution and is the primary contact for university stakeholders regarding intellectual property matters. He provides contractual support on non-financial terms and conditions in CURF agreements.
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Clarissa Autin

Clarissa Austin, MS

Assistant Director of Marketing, Business Development, & Branding


Clarissa oversees the development and implementation of the CURF marketing strategy, including but not limited to the marketing of university intellectual property (IP) for licensing and commercialization and the marketing of university research expertise to increase the profile of Clemson University's research enterprise.
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Mark Roth

Mark Roth, Ed.D., Ed.S., MBA

Associate Director of Business Development


As Associate Director of Business Development, Mark works to identify, evaluate, market, and license new technologies from Clemson’s research enterprise to the marketplace by coordinating with internal and external innovation stakeholders to develop and execute commercialization plans. In addition, Mark collaborates with faculty inventors and external partners to develop and implement strategies to market broader research enterprise resources and capabilities to maximize the commercial success of research being conducted at Clemson.
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Brittany Souto

Brittany Souto

Executive Assistant/ Office Manager


Brittany supports the CURF Executive Director and is the recording secretary for the CURF Board. As CURF Office Manager, Brittany also manages day-to-day administrative duties related to personnel, space management, foundation operations, and serves a critical role as initial contact with CURF internal/external constituents.
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Cindy Sauer

Cindy Sauer, JD

Contract Manager


As the CURF Contracts Manager, Cindy is responsible for the administration and coordination of all non-financial post-transaction terms and conditions where CURF is a named party. Cindy also advises and provides support in both the pre- and post- transaction phases of contract development related to technology commercialization, sponsored research, and business development activities, specifically in contract compliance.
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Melissa Ioannidis

Melissa Ioannidis, MPA

Technology Commercialization Associate


Melissa supports the management of cases and ensures timely evaluation of new inventions.  She handles the docket of cases so that inventions go smoothly down the path to be patented.  She completes all the Federal reporting to ensure that Clemson University is in compliance.
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Pamela West, MBA

Business Officer


As the Business Officer, Pam is responsible for the general accounting, payroll, procurement activities, and budget development & maintenance of the foundation, and is the CURF liaison to University and affiliated organization business offices.
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Eden Wallace

Marketing Fellow


Eden supports the Assistant Director of Marketing, Business Development, and Branding with branding and marketing CURF and Clemson's intellectual property.
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Board of Directors

The next Board of Directors Meeting will be held on Thursday, September 29th, at 8:30am. The meeting will take place at the Clemson University Madren Center, and will be streamed live on Zoom. For more information, contact Brittany Souto at bsouto@clemson.edu.
Andrew B. Cajka, Class III director, has served as a director of the Clemson University Research Foundation. since 1999. Mr. Cajka is the founder and president of Southern Hospitality Group, LLC, a hotel management and development company in Greenville, South Carolina. Prior to starting his own business, Mr. Cajka was a managing member of Hyatt Hotels Corporation from 1986 until 1998. He is a 1982 graduate of Bowling Green State University. He serves as a board member for the Metropolitan Arts Council, and as treasurer of the Visit Greenville SC Convention and Visitors Bureau. He is a past chairman of the Greenville County Research and Technology Development board, past chairman of the Greenville Convention and Visitors Bureau, past chairman of the Greenville Tech Hospitality Board, and as past vice chairman of the board for St. Joseph’s High School. He is a previous member of the BMW Nationwide Tournament advisory board. Mr. Cajka has served as a board member of the Urban League, Upstate Red Cross, and Thornblade Board of Governors. Mr. Cajka served on the board of directors for the Greenville Chamber of Commerce and is past president of the downtown area council, as well as past chairman of Greenville Hospital Foundation Board and past chairman of the Children’s Hospital. He has substantial development and management experience in the hospitality industry and is extensively involved in the local community, both of which enhance his ability to serve as a director.

Tanju Karanfil was appointed vice president for research at Clemson University in February 2016 to steer the university’s research strategy, working closely with faculty and staff at Clemson and with collaborators in industry and the community. Clemson joined the list of the nation’s top research universities as a Carnegie R1 university in 2016, a reflection of its growth in research expenditures across disciplines and increases to the number of doctorate degrees awarded and postdoctoral and non-faculty researchers on staff. Clemson’s performance across all of Carnegie’s metrics have improved under Dr. Karanfil’s leadership since receiving the R1 designation. Total research and development expenditures, for example, are at their highest levels of at least the past seven years at $219 million in 2019. In addition to serving as Vice President for Research, Dr. Karanfil serves and represents Clemson University on several boards and committees, including SC Smart-State, SC EPSCoR, SCRA, Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA), and Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU). A licensed Professional Engineer and Fellow of the International Water Association, Dr. Karanfil currently maintains an active research portfolio, focusing on water quality and improvements to water, wastewater and hazardous waste treatment systems, and serves as a consultant to water and wastewater utilities. He is also the Associate Editor of Water Research, one of the leading international journals on water science and technology. Before becoming Vice President for Research, Dr. Karanfil served as chair of the environmental engineering and Earth sciences department and later as associate dean for research and graduate studies. 

James P. Clements became Clemson University’s 15th president on Dec. 31, 2013. Since his arrival, the value of the Tiger Paw has never been higher, thanks to an increasing academic reputation and the national exposure from our recent success in athletics. Under Clements’ leadership, Clemson has raised the bar in admissions, enrollment, research, athletics, graduation and retention rates, and fundraising, including the successful completion of the $1 billion Will to Lead capital campaign. In addition, the campus is currently undergoing the largest construction boom in the history of the university.
Christie Corbett is a Senior Managing Director in FTI Consulting’s Transaction Services practice. She has experience advising corporate and financial buyers on buy and sell-side transactions. In this role, she has provided a broad range of services to her clients, including financial due diligence, forecast and valuation analysis, merger integration and carve-out support, business process improvement and interim management. She has also served as the financial advisor to lender groups on liquidity management and strategic option analysis.
Eric Weissmann is the new Executive Director of NEXT, an entrepreneur support organization in Greenville, SC that provides mentoring, capital, and facility resources for entrepreneurs across the region. Prior to this role, Weissmann was part of the founding team at Cintrifuse, a similar ecosystem catalyst, in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he serves as Vice President of External Relations. Weissmann launched “StartupCincy,” an initiative that started as a simple social media hashtag and bloomed into a full-fledged, connected community.
Cliff Holekamp is the Cofounder & Managing Director of Cultivation Capital, one of the most active early-stage venture capital firms in the United States. Previously, Cliff was the Professor of Practice & Academic Director for Entrepreneurship at Washington University in St. Louis where he was named one of the top 100 entrepreneurship professors in the world and where he led the entrepreneurship program to a #1 world ranking.
Dennis Kekas is Associate Vice Chancellor for NC State’s Partnership Office who earlier, at IBM, developed the first NYSE floor trading system, point-of-sale, UPC scanners, keyboards and networking products. At State he led deals with NSA, IBM, Red Hat, etc. More recent he launched the Power America Institute, a Smart Cities Initiative and the IBM/NC State Q Hub. His BSEE is from Clemson with studies at Syracuse, NC State and UCLA. A registered PE with 8 Patents he is past president of the Clemson Alumni Association receiving the DS Award in 1999, Association of University Research Parks Leadership Award in 2016 and awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine by NC Governor Cooper in 2019. He is Chair of ImagineOptix Corp., and a board member for CURF and MCNC.

Angie Leidinger is a senior executive at Clemson University, serving in two key roles.  As Vice President for External Affairs, she is responsible for Clemson’s state and federal governmental relations programs and coordinates Clemson’s work with industry to strengthen the university’s economic and industry engagement. As Senior Advisor to the Board of Trustees, she supports the work of the board and facilitates relationships and information sharing with administrators, faculty, staff and students. Leidinger earned a bachelor’s degree in graphics communication from Clemson in 1990 and joined the University in 2002 as Executive Director of Governmental Affairs. She previously worked in government relations at the S.C. Department of Commerce and in the private sector.

Dr. Keith L. Belli was named dean of Clemson University’s College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences (CAFLS) Sept. 1, 2018. As dean, Belli works to create a culture where CAFLS' academic and research components effectively prepare students to excel as leaders in their chosen careers. In addition to his work as dean, Belli serves as Associate Vice-President of Clemson University Public Service and Agriculture.
Anthony “Tony” Wagner is Clemson University’s executive vice president for finance and operations, overseeing a large administrative organization that includes Clemson’s finance, human resources, and facilities-related operations. Tony earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Penn State University and his master’s degree in educational leadership and policy from Temple. He also served as a deep-sea diver in the US Navy for four years. Prior to joining the Clemson family, Tony served as executive vice president for finance at Augusta University and the affiliated Augusta University Health System.
Dr. Srikanth Pilla is the Jenkins Endowed Professor of Automotive Engineering in the College of Engineering, Computing, and Applied Sciences. Pilla joined the department of automotive engineering in August 2013. Prior to coming to Clemson, he was an Assistant Scientist at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Pilla is the Faculty Rep for the Clemson University Research Foundation Board of Directors.
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View the CURF Form 990 here.

View the CURF FY22 Audit here.