Key Personnel

Michaele Armstrong


As a PhD in human genetics with an MBA emphasizing strategy and operations, Michaele currently works to cultivate growth in the bioscience industry across Oregon, Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. Michaele is a seasoned researcher and project manager with a proven track record of finding solutions for world-class bioscience companies (including Biotronik, McKesson, and Philips), startups, and leading research institutions. She has broad and deep experience in delivering data driven decision making from the perspectives of academic medicine and industry. She enjoys establishing and developing relationships with industry and academia with the end goal of enabling technologies to improve health outcomes.
• Skilled program and project manager
• Easily work in teams or independently to optimize outcomes
• Technology transfer experience including technology evaluation, market analysis and marketing of technologies
• Bioscience consulting experience
• 15 years of experience in bench and clinical oncology research
• 30+ peer reviewed publications

Katrina Rogers


Katrina Rogers is a leadership expert with over 25 years of experience in the discovery, development, and manufacture of medicines and related technology. An expert in laboratory and technical operations, she is also an ASQ certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence and Pharmaceutical GMP Professional. Her professional services firm specializes in dramatically decreasing the cost and time of bringing new therapies to market. Katrina can be reached at or online at

Laurie Donnell

Program Manager

Laurie Donnell is a native of Western Nebraska and began her professional career upon graduation from San Jose State University, with a BA in Advertising and Economics. She began her professional career as a business loan analyst at an SBA Certified Development Company in San Francisco. She then established two successful SBA lending divisions at community banks in northern California and has funded over $500 Million to new and growing companies in the greater western United States during her 20-year banking career. She holds a real estate brokers license and has experience in commercial, agricultural, and residential real estate sales and finance.

Laurie has successfully executed two business turnaround efforts, the first a restaurant in Fair Oaks CA and second, a qualitative market research firm and call center in Minneapolis MN. She holds a Mini-Masters in Leading Growing Companies from the University of Saint Thomas, Minneapolis MN and worked in senior leadership for a multi-state bank holding company, responsible for strategic planning, budgeting, sales training, marketing, and public relations. She secured the Minnesota Better Business Bureau "Business Integrity Award" for the firm.

Laurie was the founding director and manager at the SBA Women's Business Center, INW in Spokane. She managed all aspects of the grant including grant writing, reporting, staffing, technical assistance, business model canvas curriculum development, loan packaging and business coaching from conception to launch. Laurie received the SBA Women Business Advocate of the Year for Washington State in 2015.

Brian Kraft


Brian Kraft is the Assistant Vice President for Innovation and Research Engagement (IREO) within the Office of Research at Washington State University (WSU). In this role, he is focused on building research partnerships with public and private sector interests that serve to translate innovative research at WSU into meaningful societal impacts. Brian has a long track record of building successful collaborations in areas, ranging from research focused on research translation, ranging from the development of student training programs to the implementation of organizational change initiatives. Specific WSU initiatives Kraft is currently leading include: Implementation of the recommendations of the External Review of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, an effort to support and incentivize students and faculty to embrace a culture focused on impacts and outreach; The Entrepreneurial Faculty Ambassadors (EFA) Program, a faculty networking group to disseminate best practices and connect experienced and aspirational faculty focused on public engagement; The WSU I-Corps site, an NSF-funded training focused on helping scientists and engineers evaluate product-market fit; The Small Business Development Center, which represents a statewide network of 30 small business advisors funded by the SBA; The Innovation and Entrepreneurship initiative to better integrate technology focused economic development with undergraduate training in entrepreneurship. He holds undergraduate degrees in Biology and Chemistry, a PhD in Chemistry and has served WSU in roles ranging from technology evaluation to programmatic development over the last sixteen years.

Mark Pond


Since 2006, Mark Pond has been the Business Research Librarian with the Spokane Public Library. From 1998 – 2006, Mark worked in a similar capacity for the Seattle Public Library as well as the University of Washington Libraries.

In the course of his work at the Spokane Public Library, Mark has built a world-class collection of freely available business research tools. Ranging from competitive analysis to sales lead development to retail site selection to demographics research to on-demand workforce education, the Spokane Public Library has amassed a set of business research resources that is unmatched in the public library world. In recognition of this work, Mark was the 2021 recipient of the American Library Association’s BRASS Excellence in Business Librarianship award.

A lot of people are saying that public libraries are destined to save the world. Mark agrees with them.

Mark Pond, MLIS
Business Research Librarian
Spokane Public Library

Jessy Arter

Marketing and Communications Coordinator

Jessy's experience in project management, digital marketing creation, technical communications, and website and social media professionally qualifies her as SP3NW's Communications and Marketing Coordinator. She is earning her graduate degree in Strategic Communication at Washington State University.

• Member of The National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS)
• Member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society
• First place: Greater Northwest Student Journalism Award
• Awarded College Success Foundation: Achievers Scholarship
• Awarded College of Music Tuition Scholarship

External Advisory Board

Bradley Rits

Bradley Ritts possesses deep experience in industry and academia as a scientist, explorer, manager, and leader. He is an excellent communicator with strong influence, partnership, and relationship-building skills. A seasoned leader and manager of technical groups and cross-disciplinary project teams with strong business acumen, Bradley has managed new ventures teams that have successfully executed new entry into multiple basins and new countries in the Asia-Pacific and Eurasia regions.

Gary Ballew

He is the Vice President of Economic Development for Greater Spokane Incorporated where he leads the economic development team at GSI and works with economic development partners throughout the region to grow and diversify the Spokane regional economy.

Gary has been an economic developer since 1996, both private and public. He is a Certified Economic Developer through the International Economic Development Council and is currently the Chair Elect of the Washington Economic Development Association.

His immediate past position was the Director of Economic Development and Marketing for the Port of Pasco. His projects included real estate development of the Port’s mixed use and industrial properties, carrying out the region’s economic development vision, Somos Pasco, promoting economic development legislation and marketing the Tri-Cities Airport.

He served as the Executive Director to the Wine Science Center Development Authority, which was instrumental in building the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates WSU Wine Science Center and previously he was the Economic Development Manager for the City of Richland where his work included special projects, such as creating the Revitalization Area for Industry, Science and Education and Broadband Initiative, as well as managing economic development and redevelopment programs within the City.

Gary received a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering, a Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering and a Bachelor of Arts in Hotel and Restaurant Administration, all from Washington State University. He is a former Governor’s Executive Fellow for the Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development and a Research Assistant for Battelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Washington State Universities Laboratory for Atmospheric Research.

Gary and his wife Karen (Wine Business WSU 2018) have a daughter Emma (Psychology WSU 2020), a son Sean (soon to be a Coug), and the three dogs Shadow, Cooper and Moose.

Kris Aalto

Kris Aalto is a biotech startup CEO, consultant and subject matter expert with over 25 years of experience across several industry sectors. She currently serves as CEO of Orlance, Inc., a Seattle-based company dedicated to delivering rapid response vaccines via the proprietary MACH-1 needle-free, dose sparing and shelf stable vaccine formulation and delivery system. Kris is a biomedical engineer by training and held various product, business and regulatory development roles at CR Bard, Pfizer/Howmedica and Stryker before transitioning to early stage technology and company growth. She has held technology development, EIR and leadership positions at Inion Oy, the University of Michigan, Henry Ford Health System, Accord Biosciences, Aursos, Premier Clinical Research, and several consultancies including UW, WSU and other clients. Kris has been active in Inland Northwest life sciences sector development since 2017 and looks forward to assisting FIRE and its clients with entrepreneurial, funding and operational goals.

Ryan Buckmaster

Passionate technology transfer professional with deep expertise in moving a wide variety of technologies towards commercialization by working with innovators and utilizing a variety of resources from intellectual property protection, targeted funding to team building to enable licensing and spinout of new innovations.

Stacia Rasmussen

Scott Whittenburg

Will Little

Brett Adkins

Allison Glasunow

Sharon Peterson

Montana BioScience Alliance

Paul Gladen

Ryan Arnold

Glenn Prestwich


Glenn D. Prestwich is currently the President’s Distinguished Professor at Washington State University, based at the WSU Health Sciences Spokane campus, and founding director of WSU’s Entrepreneurial Faculty Ambassador program. He is also Presidential Professor of Medicinal Chemistry (Emeritus) and Presidential Special Assistant for Faculty Entrepreneurism (Emeritus) at the University of Utah, where he created and led the Entrepreneurial Faculty Scholars program. In 2016, he led the External Review of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at WSU, and is now implementing the recommendations of that review. He also serves as the Chief Science Officer of the preclinical company GlycoMira Therapeutics. His research includes phospholipids in cell signaling, synthetic matrices for regenerative medicine, and anti-inflammatory glycosaminoglycans. He co-founded nine companies, including Echelon Biosciences, Glycosan BioSystems, Sentrx Animal Care, GlycoMira Therapeutics, and Deuteria Biomaterials. He is a 2018 Fellow of the AAAS, a 2013 Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, recipient of the 2006 Utah Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology, the 2008 Volwiler Research Award of the AACP, the 2010 University of Utah Distinguished Scholarly and Creative Research Award, and the 2014 U of Utah Distinguished Innovation and Impact Award. During 42 years as a faculty member, he has over 650 publications (H-index 94) and over 40 issued patents and has trained over 125 postgraduate scientists. He is a pilot and an advocate for chamber music.

Scott Maloney

Shane Needham

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