Our Team

WSU Ventures is a team of multi-disciplinary professionals dedicated to the business of industry-university collaborations, commercialization of intellectual property and entrepreneurship at Wichita State University. Our goal is to create new products, businesses and jobs that improve the quality of life for Kansas and beyond.  

Lauren Beastall, CRA
Commercialization Coordinator

Lauren advises and assists applicants for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants and assists Phase 1 SBIR awardees on navigating the complexities of the SBIR proposal process. She is also the Experiential Engineering Building point of contact and facility resource manager. She comes to Wichita from the University of North Caroline at Charlotte where she served as the director of the office of contracts and grants for the William State Lee College of Engineering. She has a bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is a Certified Research Administrator. She has more than 18 years experience in sponsored research grants and contracts.

Phone: (316) 978-5362      Email   


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Debra Franklin, M.B.A.
Director of Strategic University Initiatives

Debbie coordinates, prioritizes, and pursues resources for the regional advanced manufacturing strategic plan initiatives, collaborates with partner institutions to provide technical assistance to existing businesses and startup firms for technology transfer and transition/migration, and develops university-level proposals for government grants and contracts. She is committed to advancing an innovation ecosystem with industry that promotes technology-based economic development.

Phone: (316) 978-5209     Email      LinkedIn Profile

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Tracee Friess
Director of Communication

Tracee leads communication and publicity initiatives for WSU Ventures, and is the Director of Communication and Special Programs for Wichita State University’s Office of Research and Technology Transfer and National Institute for Aviation Research. She has more than ten years of experience in communications; specializing in public relations, news and copywriting, event planning, advertising and social media. She is adept at grasping complex technical details and communicating them to a broad audience. Her industry experience and knowledge of university resources allow her to skillfully navigate both arenas.

Phone: (316) 978-5597     Email     LinkedIn Profile

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Sherry Gegen
Business Development and Innovation Manager

Sherry facilitates interactions with external inventors, entrepreneurs and small/medium size businesses to facilitate collaboration with community and industry partners. Her extensive knowledge of state and federal-funded training programs, economic development and workforce development strategies and resources allows her to successfully connect Kansas business with Wichita State University resources, government resources and the local workforce system. She specializes in workforce development, recruitment and retention strategies and customized training programs.

Phone: (316) 978-6359     Email     LinkedIn Profile

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Alan Goodnight, M.B.A.
Director of Strategic Investments

Alan is the Director of Strategic Investments for WSU Ventures. He is a highly accomplished, entrepreneurial executive with 20 plus years of success in creating value, financial best practices and revenue growth within the technology and manufacturing industries. For the past five years Alan has worked as an independent consultant, providing turnaround, financial and business development solutions to leading companies both large and small. Alan is viewed as an expert with early-stage companies and managing turnarounds with full P&L responsibility.

Phone: (316) 285-3456      Email

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Becky Hundley, M.B.A.
Director of Intellectual Property and Research Compliance

Becky leads technology transfer for WSU Ventures and Wichita State University. With a technical background and experience with contracts, marketing and account management, she manages the patent portfolio for the University, as well as related copyrights and trademarks. She works with faculty members to identify new inventions, pursues patent protection when appropriate, and markets WSU intellectual property to industry. She is also deeply knowledgeable of Wichita State University facilities and capabilities, and an important resource for potential collaborators

Phone: (316) 978-5199     Email      LinkedIn Profile


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Deb Wagner-Kirmer
Administrative Accounting Specialist
Deb has than 15 years of experience in manufacturing working with customer service, document control, accounts receivables, supplies and shipping. Deb provides general office, clerical and administrative support duties for WSU Ventures including documentation control, grant and project support.
Phone: (316) 978-6358     Email



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Peter J. Perna, Ph.D.
Consultant, Industry and Government Engagement

Peter leads enterprise development and corporate engagement efforts for WSU Ventures. He is also an experienced entrepreneur and has held key leadership positions in several early stage tech startups, and promotes the development of Wichita State University’s startups. In addition, he is the founder and managing director of Alpine Strategy Group, a tech consulting firm, and previously led Science and Technology Corporation, the intellectual property management and commercialization arm of the University of New Mexico.

Email     LinkedIn Profile

Gael Tisack, M.S.E., J.D.
Director of Technology Evaluation and Industry Engagement

Gael evaluates and pursues technological innovations created by the University and its partners and fosters licensing and start-up opportunities.  She has 17 years of experience in the medical device industry, most recently as senior vice president and general counsel for a global medical device company based in Tokyo. Prior to her legal career, she was a manager at Ford Motor Company for 11 years, working in both engineering and manufacturing.  Gael has a B.S. and M.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan and a J.D. also from the University of Michigan.  She is a registered patent attorney before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Phone: (316) 978-6980     Email     LinkedIn Profile

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Mark Torline, M.B.A.
Director

Mark serves as director of both WSU Ventures and Wichita State’s Center for Entrepreneurship. He is an investment management firm executive with demonstrated success in both start-up entrepreneurial and large corporate settings. He founded and served as CEO of Allegiance Capital. After selling that firm, he served as an officer of the successor company, Macquarie Allegiance Capital, and of Trilinc Global. Torline has a B.A. in marketing from Wichita State and an MBA in finance from Northwestern University.

Phone: (316) 978-7607      Email     LinkedIn Profile



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Jenny Stauffer, M.A.
Assistant, WSU Ventures Projects / WSU Strategic Planning

Jenny's career in program management and higher education administration positions her well to manage projects and activities and to serve as planning aide for innovation ecosystem initiatives. Jenny coordinates operational processes and participates in team development. She brings to WSU Ventures broad experience interacting with diverse customers and community constituencies.

Phone: (316) 978-5362
Email: jenny.stauffer@wichita.edu
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Jenny Stauffer, M.A.
Assistant, WSU Ventures Projects / WSU Strategic Planning

Jenny's career in program management and higher education administration positions her well to manage projects and activities and to serve as planning aide for innovation ecosystem initiatives. Jenny coordinates operational processes and participates in team development. She brings to WSU Ventures broad experience interacting with diverse customers and community constituencies.

Phone: (316) 978-5362
Email: jenny.stauffer@wichita.edu
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Jenny Stauffer, M.A.
Assistant, WSU Ventures Projects / WSU Strategic Planning

Jenny's career in program management and higher education administration positions her well to manage projects and activities and to serve as planning aide for innovation ecosystem initiatives. Jenny coordinates operational processes and participates in team development. She brings to WSU Ventures broad experience interacting with diverse customers and community constituencies.

Phone: (316) 978-5362
Email: jenny.stauffer@wichita.edu
jenny photo
Jenny Stauffer, M.A.
Assistant, WSU Ventures Projects / WSU Strategic Planning

Jenny's career in program management and higher education administration positions her well to manage projects and activities and to serve as planning aide for innovation ecosystem initiatives. Jenny coordinates operational processes and participates in team development. She brings to WSU Ventures broad experience interacting with diverse customers and community constituencies.

Phone: (316) 978-5362
Email: jenny.stauffer@wichita.edu

Phone: (316) 978-5362     Email
Phone: (316) 978-5362     Email