Faculty & Staff Bios


Julie Lenzer Kirk

CEO and Chief Muse
Path Forward International, LLC

Julie Lenzer Kirk is CEO and Chief Muse of Path Forward International, LLC which is dedicated to igniting results-oriented sustainable innovation cultures and programs within companies and among entrepreneurs worldwide. As a sought-after international speaker, Ms. Kirk has educated and empowered audiences on four continents around topics of entrepreneurship, business management and leadership, and balancing work and family. She is also the author of “The ParentPreneur Edge: What Parenting Teaches About Building a Successful Business” (John Wiley & Sons) and is a facilitator for the Women Presidents' Organization.

Ms. Kirk has been an instructor with the NSF-funded ACTiVATE® program at the University of Maryland Baltimore County since its first year. Through this program, which was named “Best Specialty Entrepreneurship Program” by the US Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, she helps experienced women start businesses by licensing technologies from universities and government labs. She is also an adjunct professor of Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship at UMBC.

An award winning serial entrepreneur, Ms. Kirk founded her first company, Applied Creative Technologies, Inc. (ACT), in 1995 as an IT solutions firm focusing on manufacturing operations and inventory control. With Fortune 500 clients, she grew the company to multi-millions in revenues, winning several national awards for workplace excellence. Through her 10-year leadership, ACT developed and commercialized ACTrax, a leading-edge production and warehouse management system, for which she negotiated the sale in 2005.

Ms. Kirk received the Athena Award in 2004 as recognition for her contributions to other business women and the community and was named to Maryland 's Top 100 Women 2005 and 2008 sponsored by The Daily Record. She is a member of the National Center for Women and Information Technology's Entrepreneurial Alliance and a mentor for Count Me In's Make Mine a $Million Business program. Frequently quoted in the media – from Entrepreneur to Redbook and Family Circle Magazines – and having appeared in numerous broadcast interviews, she also writes a column for Enterprising Women Magazine.

Renee Lewis

Pensare Group

Renee Lewis has over 20 years of experience helping emerging companies succeed and grow. Ms. Lewis is the President and CEO of the Pensare Group dedicated to helping entrepreneurs outperform their expectations getting the right results at the right time. She has hands-on expertise in the technology, pharmaceutical technology, telecommunications, banking, eLearning, pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. She has held the position of CEO, COO, CTO, CIO and Director role for several technology-based start-ups developing skills in all areas of the business. She has also held senior positions directing large systems integration projects in organizations such as Cerner, Bell Atlantic, Citi-Street (previously Wellspring Resources), and Booz, Allen and Hamilton. She has experience raising money, selling companies and implementing successful mergers and acquisitions.

Ms. Lewis is a requested speaker at industry conferences including FOSE, Extreme Markup Languages, and E-Gov authoring papers and presentations on a wide range of topics from delivering on budget/on time to exploring the implications of semantic web technology adoption.

Ms. Lewis holds a BS from the Pennsylvania State University and an MS from George Washington University. She sits on the Advisory Board for the Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD) at George Washington University focusing on the infusion of technology in education, supports several organizations as an advisor to the board, and is very active in the local community through her civic and PTA endeavors. She is certified by Achievement Seminars International (ASI) as a Facilitator and the Total Quality Institute (TQI) as a Quality Process Advisor.


Vivian Armor

Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship

Vivian Armor is the director of the Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship and an adjunct faculty member at UMBC. She was actively involved in creating the Alex. Brown Center in 2000 and has worked closely with the Baltimore business community and UMBC faculty and staff to develop innovative educational programs and services to foster entrepreneurism in the region. She also teaches undergraduate management classes in the Department of Information Technology at UMBC. Prior to joining UMBC, Armor was an executive at the Northrop Grumman Corporation in Baltimore. She has a Bachelor of Arts from UMBC, a Master of Science from Johns Hopkins University and has completed an intensive executive management program at Harvard.

David J. Fink, Ph.D.

Director of Entrepreneurial Services
UMBC Research and Technology Park

David Fink's career in biotechnology and biomedical product development spans over 30 years as a researcher, research manager, consultant, entrepreneur and officer of several start-up biotech companies. Dr. Fink was trained in chemical engineering at the Universities of Cincinnati and Michigan, and he was a post-doctoral fellow in biochemistry at Purdue University. He then joined Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio where he conducted and managed research on more than 100 projects over a 12-year period. In 1986 he founded his own biomedical consulting business, Bio-Integration Inc., which was active until 1997. In 1988, he founded and served as President of CollaTek, Inc., in collaboration with Gattefossé SA of Lyon, France, to develop and commercialize technology licensed from Battelle for manufacturing collagen-based medical implants. Dr. Fink became the second employee of Osiris Therapeutics at the time it was founded in 1993. Osiris is a Baltimore tissue regeneration company with a platform technology based on adult stem cells.  Dr. Fink joined Chondros, Inc., a start-up cell therapy company in Baltimore, as its first employee in 2001, and continued as its President and COO until November 2003. From 2005-2008, Dr. Fink served as Vice President for R&D of Cell Targeting, Inc., a cell therapy start-up in Cleveland, Ohio.  He has authored 40 scientific papers and book chapters, and he has been awarded 22 US patents.

As Director of Entrepreneurial Services for bwtech@UMBC, Dr. Fink advises early-stage incubator companies.  He is the Program Manager for UMBC's ACTiVATE® program and a co-principal investigator and lead instructor for the INNoVATE™ program.

Ellen J. Hemmerly

President & Executive Director
UMBC Research and Technology Park

Ms. Hemmerly is Executive Director and President of the UMBC Research Park Corporation and Special Assistant to the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). She is responsible for managing the development of a 515,000 SF high technology research and technology park (bwtech@UMBC) which includes an incubator, accelerator and research park and is a co-principal investigator of the ACTiVATE® and INNoVATE™ programs. bwtech@UMBC currently houses 50 companies including 24 incubator companies and 9 emerging technology companies. These technology and biotechnology companies have access to faculty research collaborations, student workers, specialized technology training programs, and a full range of business services including access to experienced entrepreneurs and funding.

Ms. Hemmerly sits on the boards of the Greater Baltimore Technology Council, Greater Catonsville Chamber of Commerce, Baltimore County Loan Board, New Markets Venture Fund, Maryland Business Incubator Association and Research Parks Maryland. Ms. Hemmerly is Past President of AURP, the Association of University Research Parks, and is a 2006 graduate of Leadership Maryland. In 2007, she was elected by The Daily Record as one of the Fifty Most Influential Marylanders and chosen by the Greater Catonsville Chamber of Commerce as 2007 Business Person of the Year. For three consecutive years (2007-2009), Ms. Hemmerly served as a judge for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of The Year Awards. In 2008, bwtech@UMBC Incubator and Accelerator was honored with the County Executive's New Direction Award given to an organization exemplifying the quality of Baltimore County Businesses in the future. In 2009, Ms. Hemmerly was elected by The Daily Record as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women.

Prior to joining UMBC, Ms. Hemmerly was a Vice President at the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) serving as its Senior Lender and Director of the Enterprise Development Fund, the City's venture capital fund. While at BDC, Ms. Hemmerly successfully started up the city's first business incubator and spent two years as a business development officer marketing Baltimore to high technology businesses. Prior to joining BDC, Ms. Hemmerly was an Associate with K.S. Sweet Associates, a real estate advisory and development firm, and TDH, a venture capital firm. In addition, after graduating from Cornell University's Johnson School of Management with an M.B.A., Ms. Hemmerly spent six years as a banker with Mellon Bank (formerly Girard Bank). Ms. Hemmerly has a B.S. (magna cum laude) in Mathematics from Moravian College.