Our Team

Meet the FirstLink Team

Robert Meeder
President, Pittsburgh Gateways Corp.
Bill Miller
Vice President, Pittsburgh Gateways Corp.
John Bozic
Vice President, Pittsburgh Gateways Corp.
Kimberly Thomas, MBA
FirstLink Program Manager
William Bies, Ph.D.
Technology Transfer Consultant
Brittany McCracken
Projects Director
Kathleen Conlogue
Bookkeeper/Contract Administration/Contract Compliance

Biographies

Kimberly Thomas
FirstLink Program Manager
kthomas@dodfirstlink.com
Tel: (724) 933-3520

Kimberly Thomas

Ms. Kimberly Thomas is responsible for the program management of the FirstLink Program, including interfacing with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) on contract management and reporting on the progress of the program, among other tasks. In addition, Ms. Thomas assists Pittsburgh Gateways in the business development matters of its arts and education ventures.

Kimberly joined Gateways in 2010 with over 10 years of experience in sales and marketing. Previously, she worked for a Pittsburgh area business in business development and marketing. Her responsibilities included relationship management with local businesses and planning and executing marketing campaigns. Prior to this she spent 7 years in specialized sales for the pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson in the Philadelphia area. Ms. Thomas holds an MBA from DeVry University and a BS in Sports Science with a minor in Business from Ohio University.

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Dr. William Bies
Technology Consultant
wbies@dodfirstlink.com
Tel: (724) 933-3520

Dr. William Bies

Dr. Bies (Bill) is responsible for the technical analysis of FirstLink’s projects and works with the other consultants to identify promising new technologies. His work involves interviewing the inventors and validating the commercial potential of their patents. His first experience with the FirstLink team was as an intern in 2006 during the program’s previous contract with the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence (IEE).

Before beginning his business studies, Bill spent three years as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, where he performed research on quantum chaos theory with Eric J. Heller and on thermoelectric effects in anisotropic semiconductor materials with Henry Ehrenreich. The research was relevant for applications involving refrigeration and infrared night-vision devices.

Bill holds a B.A. in Physics from Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, Ph.D. in Physics from Harvard University and an M.B.A. in Finance from the Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.

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Brittany McCracken
Projects Director
bmccracken@dodfirstlink.com
Tel: (724) 933-3520

Brittany McCracken

Brittany is responsible for market research on new technologies. Her work includes identifying markets for each use of a new technology; including, R&D entities, fabricators or manufacturers, suppliers and potential users.

While pursuing her graduate degree, Brittany worked as a co-op for GE Transportation. As an undergraduate, she was awarded the Walker Award for Academic Excellence which is presented to the graduating senior in business who receives the highest evaluation for all phases of Business Policy & Strategy.

Brittany holds an M.B.A. from Penn State University (MBA - August 2009) and a B.A. in Business with concentrations in both Marketing and Chemistry from Mercyhurst College.

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Mr. Robert Meeder, Ph.D.
President, Pittsburgh Gateways Corp.
Tel: (412) 802-0988

Mr. Robert Meeder, Ph.D.

Bob is responsible for developing and managing all program activity at Pittsburgh Gateways Corp. He first founded Gateways in 1998 with over 31 years of experience in institutional administration and economic development, including substantial fund raising, strategic planning and partnering experience. He has developed and managed business incubation programs and university-based Centers of Technology for research, training and commercial development initiatives in the U.S. and internationally, including Japan, Australia, Northern Ireland, Slovenia, Hungary and Canada.

Through the course of his activities, Bob has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for university and community targeted economic development and research commercialization programs. He has authored and contributed more than a dozen books and manuals on business incubation, new venture development, and cluster-based strategies for economic development. Bob holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, a M.A. from Duquesne University, and a B.A. from Westminster College.

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Mr. Bill Miller
Vice President, Pittsburgh Gateways Corp.
bmiller@pghgateways.org
Tel: (412) 802-0752

Mr. Bill Miller

Bill is the primary liaison within Pittsburgh Gateways Corp. for FirstLink’s consulting activities. Bill is also responsible at Gateways for providing Centers of Technology and regional businesses with manufacturing-related assistance, project management and staff oversight. Bill joined Gateways in 1999 with over 24 years of experience as an entrepreneur, founding and managing private companies (MMS, Business Concepts, Vesta Designs and Prism Fiber Optics) within the Pittsburgh region; previously had eight years of experience serving as a field supervisor and coordinator of the technical training facility for Dravo Corporation’s Engineering Works Division.

While at Gateways, Bill has assisted with business incubator facility assessments, commercial development, installation and management of the Gateways program at various Centers of Technology; management of technology exchange and business matching activities with the Japanese government, serving as interim president and general manager for start-up companies; and managing Gateways’ Advanced Manufacturing Initiative activity.

Bill holds a degree in Business Management from Robert Morris University.

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Mr. John Bozic, CPA
Vice President, Pittsburgh Gateways Corp.
jbozic@pghgateways.org
Tel: (412) 802-0753

Mr. John Bozic, CPA

John is responsible for developing Gateways’ Advanced Manufacturing Initiative, assisting with new venture start-up initiatives, and maintaining relationships with Gateways’ external mentoring and advisory partners. John joined Gateways in 1998 with over 30 years of business and management experience, and focused primarily in financial and human resources endeavors within a wide variety of industries. Prior to joining Gateways, he worked for 20 years with Ernst & Young, an international professional services firm; has worked for Mellon Bank and a regional financial management recruiting firm.

Along the way, John has assisted a variety of start-up and development-stage entrepreneurial ventures with all aspects of business growth and development, including corporate formation and capital structuring, business plan development, comprehensive pro-forma projections, marketing and pricing strategies, capital raises, facilities acquisition and personnel recruiting.

John holds a B.S. degree from Penn State University and is a Certified Public Accountant.

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Ms. Kathleen Conlogue
Bookkeeper
Contract Administration
Contract Compliance
kconlogue@dodfirstlink.com
Tel: (724) 933-3520

Ms. Kathleen Conlogue

Kathleen Conlogue is FirstLink’s bookkeeper and office administrator. Kathleen worked with the FirstLink program for several years in its previous contract with the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence (IEE). While there, she also supported other IEE programs including several of which provided counseling services to small businesses and entrepreneurs in the region of Southwestern Pennsylvania. Prior to that, Kathleen worked for over 20 years with Raphael House, a shelter for homeless families in San Francisco, CA. She held administrative positions there, as well as worked with the agency’s children’s program. Kathleen holds an Associate’s Degree from the University of Maine.

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FirstLink Main Office

  • E-mail: info@dodfirstlink.com
  • Phone: (888) 802-0380
    (724) 933-3520
  • Fax: (724) 933-3903
  • Address: 2000 Corporate Drive, Suite 300
    Wexford, PA 15090