Our Team

Oregon BEST Staff

David Kenney

President & Executive Director, Oregon BEST
Email: david.kenney(at)oregonbest.org
Phone: 503-780-8736 

David Kenney has led Oregon BEST since 2008. Prior to joining Oregon BEST, David held a wide range of roles during a 12-year tenure at Intel Corporation, including finance, project management, and business/organizational operations. He helped build Intel Solution Services — a technical consulting organization — to an organization operating in more than ten countries worldwide. He also co-founded and led the Intel Employee Sustainability Network. Before joining Intel, he was a Senior Consultant with Deloitte & Touche Consulting Group in Portland, working with federal and local government clients. He holds an MBA and Certificate of Public Management from Stanford University's Graduate School of Business. David Kenney was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce in 2014 and 2016 to serve on the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE)

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Johanna Brickman

Director of Collaborative Innovation, Oregon BEST 
Email: jo.brickman(at)oregonbest.org
Phone: 503-313-4507

As a small organization with a big mission, Oregon BEST is able to be effective as a result of strong partnerships with aligned organizations as well as strong events and tools for effective networking and connection. Johanna expands Oregon BEST’s offerings to cleantech startups by building collaborative relationships with a diverse set of external partners. Through those relationships, partners such as OMEP, OTBC, and the Portland Development Commission continue to add high-value programs to Oregon BEST’s toolbox. Johanna manages Oregon BEST programs that support our startups’ success, including: funded internships for startups, mentorship from entrepreneurs in residence, investor-readiness training, the Cascadia CleanTech Accelerator, showcasing, and manufacturing scale-up projects. Johanna also leads the Oregon BEST outreach team, which is responsible for events, marketing, communications, website, and public relations.

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Ken Vaughn    

Director of Commercialization Programs, Oregon BEST
Email: ken.vaughn(at)oregonbest.org
Phone: 503-430-4529

As Director of Commercialization Programs for Oregon BEST, Ken Vaughn manages the programs that provide grants to researchers at Oregon’s state universities and make investments in Oregon startup companies. These programs are designed to accelerate research and technology development to remove the barriers to customer adoption and follow-on investments by private investors. He collaborates with innovators, investors, mentors, support organizations, and senior management talent to help assemble the elements necessary for launching a successful business in the cleantech sector in Oregon.  Before joining Oregon BEST, he held senior management positions in engineering, product management and marketing in a wide range of industries. He has experience in managing innovation, starting companies, advising early-stage companies, and investing in early-stage ventures.

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Daniel Lee

Finance and Operations Manager, Oregon BEST
Email: daniel.lee(at)oregonbest.org
Phone: 971-770-2378

Daniel brings a broad skill set of nonprofit management expertise to Oregon BEST. In previous positions, Daniel managed finances, information systems integration, website customization, CRM development, events management, and day-to-day administrative duties. Daniel is quick to stay up to date with new policies that affect his financial profession and enjoys enhancing his skill sets through continuing education. He holds a bachelor's degree in business administration with a double concentration in accounting and finance.

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Vanessa Margolis

Portfolio Director, Oregon BEST
Email: vanessa.margolis(at)oregonbest.org
Phone: 503-298-6005

With more than a decade of experience helping large and small companies and individuals adopt sustainable manufacturing practices, programs, and products, Vanessa Margolis works as a Portfolio Director at Oregon BEST, where she helps coordinate the Commercialization Program and interfaces with Oregon BEST Companies. Prior to joining the Oregon BEST team, Vanessa was a senior project manager at Nike, the U.S. Environmental Manger at Tong Hong Leather, and a senior consultant for WSP Environment and Energy. She has worked with national and international companies producing products ranging from footwear and apparel, to electronics and health care.  

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Margaret Lydecker

Marketing Manager, Oregon BEST
Email: margaret.lydecker(at)oregonbest.org
Phone: 917-992-5816

Margaret develops the overall marketing strategy for Oregon Best. With over 20 years of experience in the sustainability industry, she understands the needs for companies to communicate their value through compelling storytelling, social engagement and community building. Prior to Oregon BEST, she has worked as a marketer and sustainability professional at Viacom/ VH1, Sundance Channel, boutique hotels and more. In 2002, she launched Green Drinks NYC, which she grew into the largest environmental networking group in the USA. Her love of Oregon came after a 4500 cross country bike trip, ending in Portland. She holds a Masters in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School.

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Gregg Kleiner | Cloudburst Creative

Marketing, Communications, & Media Relations Contractor
Email: kleinerg(at)comcast.net
Phone: 541-740-9654 

Gregg Kleiner cofounded the technical communications and language translation/localization firm Terra Pacific Writing Corporation (now part of Translations.com), helping companies around the Pacific Rim communicate their technologies globally. He has served as Director of Marketing and Communications at Oregon State University's College of Engineering and as Interim Director of OSU's Environmental Humanities Institute. He now works with clients to create compelling content ranging from newsletters and press releases to journalism articles, website copy, reports, and strategic plans.

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Tricia Clemans

Senior Program Specialist, Oregon BEST
Email: tricia.clemans(at)oregonbest.org
Phone: 971-226-3024

As Oregon BEST's Senior Program Specialist, Tricia has a vital role in executing various program and project initiatives by performing the necessary research, management, outreach and logistical coordination to sustain our continual momentum in bringing high impact clean technology opportunities to the Pacific Northwest. She engages in several Oregon BEST-led collaborations to include: the Icubatenergy Network, Mass Timber/CLT Market & Technology Acceleration, Internships for Startups with Business Education Compact (BEC), NW Energy Experience Prize (NWXP) with Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), and the Cascadia Cleantech Accelerator. Tricia’s diverse skillset and tenacity also has her assisting with website updates, coordinating events outreach, and tracking our performance and impact metrics.

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Board of Directors


Michael Baker, Baker Group, LLP

Chair, Oregon BEST Board of Directors

Mr. Michael Baker, Managing Partner for the Baker Group, LLP (BG), with over 30 years of executive experience with Philips Medical Systems, Inc., Lockheed Martin, Lockheed Martin Medical Systems and GE Medical Systems.  Through this executive management experience, Mr. Baker has launch new technologies in medicine to market, managed research and FDA process and successfully exited technologies into the market.   

Additionally, Michael and the team at BG have invented, developed and successfully launch several companies/technologies in the medical and energy markets.  Currently, BG manages and has an equity proposition in Otoharmonics Corporation, and is on contract to assist Cedar Sinai in commercializing their intellectual property portfolio and manage their research vision for successful minimization.  Michael and the team at BG also work closely with the national labs, universities and industry to develop their intellectual property assets.

Michael has served on the Board of Directors for many companies and has served as the Chairman of Board for HD+, currently Director for Otoharmonics, Chairperson for Qview Health, Inc., CORI2 Inc., and Partner at Due North Innovations.

David Conover, University of Oregon

Member, Oregon BEST Board of Directors

David O. Conover is the Vice President for Research and Innovation at the University of Oregon (UO). He directs the office of research and innovation and oversees the university’s entire research enterprise. He is committed to enhancing research excellence and strengthening the role of research, scholarship and creative activity across the university. As the chief research officer, Conover oversees the majority of UO’s multidisciplinary research centers and institutes, strategic research initiatives and partnerships, research infrastructure and administration, compliance and regulatory environment, innovation and commercialization efforts. He collaborates with deans, faculty, and colleagues in areas that support the research mission of the university and works with the UO donor community to support research initiatives. 

Carol Dillin, Portland General Electric

Member, Oregon BEST Board of Directors

Carol Dillin leads PGE's Customer Strategies & Business Development division, where she is responsible for customer growth opportunities, leveraging emerging technologies, innovative customer solutions and other potential ventures related to PGE's core energy business. Her division includes PGE's Retail Strategy & Development, Business & Economic Development, Customer Program Management, Customer Program Support, and the Business Customer Group.

From 2004 to 2009, Dillin served as vice president of Public Policy, leading the effort to restore PGE's reputation, surpassing the historically high levels of trust and customer satisfaction the company enjoyed prior to 2001. She joined the company in 1987 as a public information specialist. During her 30 years at PGE, she has served in a variety of capacities, including director of Corporate Communications & Community Affairs and president of the PGE Foundation, the company's corporate foundation.

Dillin is a graduate of the University of Oregon with bachelor's degrees in journalism and Spanish. She is actively engaged in the community. Dillin serves on the board of the BEST Foundation, as well as the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry. She also serves on the Business Advisory Committee at Portland State University and is a board member of the PGE Foundation. Previously, she has served on the board of the American Heart Association and Oregon Mentors and as president of the SOLV board of directors. In 2002, Dillin received the prestigious William Marsh Lifetime Achievement Award for public relations leadership and expertise by the Public Relations Society of America – Columbia-Willamette Chapter.

Michelle Hunt, Oregon Ice Cream

Member, Oregon BEST Board of Directors

Michelle P. Hunt is a veteran brand leader recognized for scaling innovative and disruptive brands to national prominence. Michelle is the Vice President of Marketing at Oregon Ice Cream, and former VP of Marketing at Dave’s Killer Bread. She has led brand renovation and national expansion. Prior to Dave’s, Michelle was the Vice President of Marketing at Kettle Foods—the makers of Kettle Brand Potato Chips—where she broadened the innovative portfolio of products, establishing Kettle Brand as a disruptive force in the national salty snack category. Michelle graduated from the University of Michigan and lives in Camas, Washington, with her family. 


Joseph Janda, Portland State University

Member, Oregon BEST Board of Directors

Joseph Janda has over a decade of experience in early stage technology evaluation, IP development and licensing, and university technology start-up companies. He has worked in university technology transfer offices at Stony Brook University in New York, George Mason University in Virginia, and for a brief time at Oregon Health and Science University focusing on the Knight Cancer Institute. He has been the Director of Innovation & Intellectual Property at Portland State University since 2011. 

In these roles he has facilitated the movement of technologies and knowledge from university labs to commercial entities across a broad range of disciplines, and assisted in the formation of several university startup companies in the fields of cancer and heart disease diagnostics, drug screening, early stage pharma, and remote sensors. As a board observer he has also coached and participated in half a dozen startup companies though their first years of operation.

Kirk Washington

Member, Oregon BEST Board of Directors

Kirk Washington is Group Vice President of Sacre-Davey, Vice President Corporate Development a SDE3 Engineering (a Sacre-Davey Company), Principal of Washington Associates, and an advisor to W-Fund and CoMotion Innovation Fund at the University of Washington, Element 8 Angels in Seattle, and OregonBEST. He was a co-founder and spent 15 years as General Partner of Yaletown Venture Partners, and spent 13 years at energy technology pioneer Ballard Power Systems (NASDAQ:BLDP) where he led the development of stationary powerplants and advanced vehicle propulsion systems, before going on to lead corporate development. 

Cynthia Sagers, Oregon State University

Member, Oregon BEST Board of Directors

Cynthia Sagers has served as the Vice President for Research since August 31, 2015. She previously served as the Vice Provost for Research and Economic Development at the University of Arkansas. As Vice President, Sagers will provide leadership to OSU’s vast research enterprise, which last year brought in $285 million in research grants and contracts in areas including agriculture, forestry, marine sciences, public health, and engineering. Sagers also will work with academic leaders and the University community to expand OSU’s entrepreneurial and economic development activities with industry and other public and private partners.

Dr. Sagers is a dynamic leader who understands the needs of a comprehensive international research university. Her experience as a program officer for the National Science Foundation in international science and engineering will be an important asset in growing OSU’s research impact in Oregon. In 2012, Dr. Sagers was named Associate Vice Provost for Research and Economic Development at the University of Arkansas. In just two years, she helped the university increase research awards by 30 percent. Beginning in 2005, Dr. Sagers worked in Corvallis for two years as senior research associate with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Research Council. In 2007, when she returned to Arkansas, she served as state commissioner for the governor’s Global Warming Commission, and in 2010, she was named program officer for the National Science Foundation’s Office of International Science and Engineering. A biological scientist by training, Dr. Sagers earned two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Iowa and a Ph.D. from the University of Utah. 

Laura McKinney, Oregon Tech 

Member, Oregon BEST Board of Directors

Laura McKinney is Vice President the Wilsonville Campus. McKinney joined Oregon Tech from the Oregon University System, where she served at Assistant Vice Chancellor for Industry Partnerships and Executive Director of the Engineering and Technology Industry Council (ETIC). McKinney serves as the executive in residence at the Oregon Tech Wilsonville Campus, with overall responsibility for daily operations and administration of the campus and for meeting strategic and operational objectives. 

Ms. McKinney was previously the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Industry Partnerships with the Oregon University System and Executive Director of the ETIC between 2013-2015. Prior to that she was President and CEO at Galois, a computer science research firm where she also held the positions of Vice President of Engineering and Manager/Member of Engineering Technical Staff between 2001-2012. McKinney was a software engineer at Context, Inc. and NBI Inc. between 1982-1986. She has been a full time faculty member and an adjunct at both the undergraduate and graduate level at the Oregon Graduate Institute, Portland State University, and at Portland Community College.