TechTown Detroit names new board members

Date:        July 6, 2016
Contact:   Kristin Palm
Phone:     (313) 483-1326

TechTown Detroit names new board members

TechTown, Detroit’s most established business incubator and accelerator, has named seven new members to its Board of Directors. Diane Dunaskiss and Rodrick Miller were approved at the Board’s June 6 meeting. Robert Forsythe, Christopher Graunstadt, Jacalyn Goforth, Dr. Tonya M. Matthews and Fred Molnar were approved at the December 14, 2015 board meeting.

The board members bring decades of experience in business and entrepreneurship, economic development, corporate finance, life sciences, technology commercialization, education and institutional leadership.

“Our new board members are recognized widely both for their professional expertise and accomplishments, and their community leadership. In the last eight years, TechTown has served nearly 1600 companies that created more than 1200 jobs. Our new board members, and their returning colleagues, will ensure we continue to make a meaningful impact on Detroit and Southeast Michigan,” said M. Roy Wilson, Wayne State University president and chair of the TechTown Board.

“I look forward to working with our talented board members, new and returning, as we expand our support for both tech and neighborhood businesses, create jobs and opportunity, and help revitalize our city and region,” said Ned Staebler, TechTown’s president and CEO.

Diane Dunaskiss is the retired principal of Pine Tree Elementary School in Lake Orion. She is serving her third term on the Wayne State University Board of Governors. She is also a member and trustee of the Alpha Delta Kappa Education Sorority, and past trustee and current secretary for the Lake Orion Education Foundation.

Rodrick Miller is president and CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, a private, nonprofit corporation devoted exclusively to supporting Detroit’s economic development. Previously, Miller served as the founding president and CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance, the official economic development organization responsible for ensuring the long-term economic vitality and driving job growth for the City of New Orleans.  As the chief economist and thought leader on economic recovery, Miller focused the organization’s efforts on lowering barriers to entry in the marketplace, increasing transparency, and developing strategies for urban economic growth. Miller has also served as the executive vice president of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber and as vice president of international economic development for the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.

Robert Forsythe has served as dean of the Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business since July 2014. Prior to his arrival at WSU, Forsythe was on the faculty of the College of Business at the University of South Florida and prior to that, on the economics faculty at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa, where he served as the Cedar Rapids Professor of Business and later as the senior associate dean and Hadley Professor of Leadership. While in Iowa, he cofounded the Iowa Electronics Market, a futures market for online trading in contracts on political and economic events.

Christopher Graunstadt is Director of Treasury Services and Project Management Office for Henry Ford Health System, where he has served for the last 10 years. Prior to joining Henry Ford, Chris held several roles in banking and corporate finance, with a focus on financial operations.

Jacalyn Goforth is a partner with PWC’s Assurance Services, and possesses over 34 years of experience serving high-growth companies. Her experience encompasses structuring accounting systems for both existing corporations and those in the development stage, obtaining the requisite financing to support corporate growth strategies, and assisting clients with reviews of internal control systems.

A thought leader in museum engagement and open-classroom, hands-on STEM education, Dr. Tonya M. Matthews serves as the Michigan Science Center’s chief executive officer and president. Her diverse background includes academic and professional work as a Ph.D. scientist, educator, community volunteer and award winning writer/poet, and she currently serves on the Boards of Directors for the American Alliance of Museums and Chatfield College. Prior to the Michigan Science Center, Matthews served as the Vice President of Museums for Cincinnati Museum Center.

Fredrick Molnar has 30 years of experience working in the private sector with life science companies and currently serves as vice president of entrepreneurism and innovation for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Prior to joining MEDC in 2014, he served as director of the Michigan Life Science and Innovation Center in Plymouth Township, an incubator managed by the MEDC. Previously, Molnar was COO of iCyt Mission Technology, a spinoff from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that was sold to Sony Corp. He also served as director of North American sales and marketing for Beckman Coulter Inc., a global medical device company based in Brea, Calif., and served on the oversight committee for a Beckman Coulter program at the University of Michigan’s Biomedical Engineering School.

All new members were appointed to three-year terms.


TechTown is Detroit’s most established business accelerator and incubator, offering a full suite of entrepreneurial services for both tech and neighborhood enterprises. We help startup and established businesses develop, launch and grow, while strengthening and diversifying the local economy. TechTown is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, founded in partnership with Wayne State University, Henry Ford Health System and General Motors Corporation.