Enterprise Innovation Institute

Team

Nakia Melecio

Director of The Center
for MedTech Excellence

Dean Hettenbach

GAMEP Project Manager

Saylan Lukas

Design & Development Engineering GCMI

Mike Stonecipher

Group Manager for Strategy
and Leadership Development

Nakia Melecio

Director of The Center
for MedTech Excellence

Nakia’s Hours:
Tuesday – Thursday 10:00am – 11:30pm

Nakia helps researchers commercialize their biotechnology, energy, defense, military technology, education, government technology, and aerospace. He also helps them secure investments from a network of federally funded laboratories, universities, and corporations. He has worked with industry, academia, and government throughout his career. As a result, Nakia has a unique and deep understanding of the early-stage innovation ecosystem and technology transfer, proven scientific and technical expertise, and decades of operational experience in technology-driven, high-growth companies. He has successfully helped startups and developed businesses worldwide in the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, Nigeria, and Ghana.

Nakia’s passion as a business advisor, deep-tech, deep-science mentor, and startup coach inspires and helps entrepreneurs and startups spin out of university research. A seasoned entrepreneur, Nakia allows entrepreneurs to execute their ideas while guiding them in the total startup journey — from product development and selling to the government, to their go-to-market strategy and customer discovery, to scaling a company and getting capital. He has worked with more than 700 startups worldwide, with more than 15,000 hours of classroom time working with entrepreneurs.

Nakia is an active member and mentor of the technology community and a frequent contributor to numerous business organizations, including the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). He is a longtime technology startup mentor, having served in that role at the:

    • Advanced Technology Development Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology
    • The National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (NSF I-Corps) National Instructor
    • The Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM)
    • Georgia Tech Create-X mentor
    • MIT Hack Medicine
    • Department of Defense lab mentor
    • NSF I-Corps Faculty Instructor at Georgia Tech
    • Hack for Defense Instructor (H4D)
    • Defense Innovation Accelerator Mentor (DIA)
    • StartMe at Emory University


He also has a deep understanding of SBIR-STTR. He has been intimately involved with many new emerging growth technologies, including government, universities, and corporate innovation. He is a board member for several startups and is involved in two health-tech medical device startups, which are being actively funded by SBIR Phase I NIH and SBIR Phase I NSF grants.

Nakia has a master’s degree in education, teaching, learning, and educational technology; a bachelor’s degree in psychology; and a bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Science. He also has a doctorate degree in psychology, educational psychology, and educational leadership.

Dean Hettenbach

GAMEP Project Manager

Nakia’s Hours:
ATDC Headquarters
Tuesday – Thursday 10:00am – 11:30pm

Dean Hettenbach helps clients turn technology, supply chain, and manufacturing strategies into deliverables that impact how clients operate, scale, and compete.

Expertise includes manufacturing technology and supply chain, MedTech, manufacturing process, strategy development, and project management. Experience delivering solutions across a diverse customer base that provides for start-ups, emerging growth companies, Fortune 500, and manufacturers of all types and in many verticals, including traditional manufacturers and medical/pharmaceuticals. Dean Hettenbach holds an M.S. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from GeorgiaTech, a Certificate in Computer Integrated Manufacturing from Georgia Tech, and a B.S. in industrial engineering from the University of Missouri.

Saylan Lukas

Director of Design and
Development Engineering GCMI

Nakia’s Hours:
ATDC Headquarters
Tuesday – Thursday 10:00am – 11:30pm

Saylan Lukas is the Director of Design and Development Engineering at the Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI) and a research faculty member of Georgia Institute of Technology. Saylan has 18 years of medical device design and development experience.

From startup companies to large international corporations, he has led project teams from initial feasibility through global commercialization in areas of patient specific craniomaxillofacial implants and instruments, transcatheter heart-valve stent grafts and delivery systems, cranial stabilization systems, cancer treatment devices, and laparoscopic instruments. Saylan has extensive experience in new technology development, computer aided design, 3D printing and prototype fabrication, design verification and validation testing, human factors and usability, risk analysis, manufacturing scale-up, sustaining engineering, and root cause analysis. He has developed and launched multiple products, obtained successful FDA approval on several 510(k) applications, has been awarded multiple patents, and published several technical papers in peer-reviewed journals. Saylan earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Terre Haute, IN) and a Master’s in Business Administration from Butler University (Indianapolis, IN).

Mike Stonecipher

Group Manager for Strategy
and Leadership Development

Nakia’s Hours:
ATDC Headquarters
Tuesday – Thursday 10:00am – 11:30pm

Mike Stonecipher is the Group Manager for Strategy and Leadership Development at the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (www.gamep.org), Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute unit.

His team provides services for Strategic Planning and Deployment, Scaling Up, Leadership Development, Advanced Manufacturing, Cybersecurity, Industry 4.0, and Supply Chain Development. Before joining Georgia Tech, Mike served 15 years in the automotive industry with Honeywell International, where he held the position of Director of Operations for the North American Automotive Friction Materials Division. He also worked in the energy and sustainability industry and has served on the Board of Directors for PowerPartners, Inc. (formerly a division of ABB). He has international experience leading product and process development, six sigma and lean implementation, factory start-ups, new product launches, and managing operations with a global OEM customer base. He was awarded Allied Signal’s CEO Technology Achievement Award and received a joint patent for abrasive coating technology for friction materials. Mike holds a B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering from Tennessee Technological University and an M.B.A. from Brenau University. He has completed Lean Enterprise training through the LeanDesign Institute at UT Knoxville and the Financial for Executives Certificate at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

Amy Leiter

Executive Director – Strategic
Partnerships, GCMI

Nakia’s Hours:
ATDC Headquarters
Tuesday – Thursday 10:00am – 11:30pm

Ms. Leiter brings to GCMI over 25 years of experience in Strategic Partnerships and Customer Relations specializing in highly regulated industries (airline, automotive and healthcare). She brings deep relationships in MedTech innovation and startups, early-stage partnerships and financial exits, which are all enhanced by her knowledge of government involvement in highly regulated industries as well as relationships with over 500 IDN (Healthcare Systems) and over 2500 corporate relationships with healthcare suppliers and manufacturers. Ms. Leiter is an expert in Healthcare Supply Chain Technology, Value Analysis, and Go-To-Market (GTM) strategies in healthcare. She’s passionate about improving healthcare and healthcare outcomes for all individuals.
During COVID-19, Ms. Leiter worked with public and private sectors to distribute PPE to frontline healthcare workers. She held a steward role for a $2M gift GCMI received from Aflac, Inc to expedite PPE into the hands of frontline healthcare workers during Covid. To date, this gift has helped facilitate over 2M units of PPE to frontline healthcare workers and nursing homes throughout the US. Ms. Leiter is embedded in the Atlanta Fund Raising Community and liaisons with GA Bio, TiE Atlanta and Atlanta Ventures seeking funding opportunities for startups and early-stage companies. Ms. Leiter holds an MBA from Mercer University, Atlanta GA and a BBA from Stetson University, DeLand FL.