About Us: STI Team

Karen LeVert - Co-founder and President

Karen LeVert is co-founder and President of Southeast TechInventures (STI) and also co-founder of Ag TechInventures (AgTI). Both are accelerators focused on migrating promising technologies from university research labs to the commercial marketplace.

Ms. LeVert's business experience encompasses both corporate and entrepreneurial worlds with leadership experience in entrepreneurial ventures, executive management, finance, and information technology. She began her career with a Fortune-500 company assuming roles from computer programmer, to systems manager, to controller, to general manager of a 500-person business unit. Her first entrepreneurial venture was the launch of a franchise bioremediation company in 1998 that focused on the eradication of grease, sugars, and starches. She sold the business in 2001. Before co-founding STI, Karen co-launched a Silicon Valley venture-funded software company where she served as Executive Vice-President of Business Development. Karen holds an MBA from the University of Dayton and an Information Technology undergraduate degree from Eastern Michigan University.

Along with her professional duties, she serves as a Board member for Southeast TechInventures, Ag TechInventures, North Carolina School of Science and Math, LCBA Life Insurance company, North Carolina Biotech Center, NC IDEA Foundation, and Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. Karen is a former recipient of the Council for Entrepreneurial Development's (CED) North Carolina Entrepreneur of the Year.

Kristina Johnson - STI Co-founder

Dr. Kristina Johnson is the Chancellor of The State University of New York. SUNY is the nation's largest comprehensive system of public higher education. Prior to joining SUNY, Kristina was co-founder and CEO of Cube Hydro Partners, LLC, a clean-energy infrastructure company focused on building and operating hydropower plants in North America. Previously Kristina served as Under Secretary of Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy. As Under Secretary, she was responsible for unifying and managing a broad $10.5 billion Energy and Environment portfolio. Prior to joining the Department of Energy, Kristina served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Johns Hopkins University, the largest research university in the United States. From 1999-2007, Kristina was Dean of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University. In addition to her academic career, Kristina is an inventor and entrepreneur, holding over 45 U.S. patents (129 U.S. and international patents) and co-founder of several successful companies including, ColorLink, Inc. Kristina has received numerous recognitions for her contributions to the field of engineering, entrepreneurship and innovation, including the John Fritz Medal, considered the highest award made in the engineering profession. Other holders of this honor include Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, and Orville Wright. Kristina received her B.S, M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford University. She also holds honorary degrees from Tufts University, Trinity College in Dublin, and the University of Alabama at Huntsville.​ Although not involved in STI's day-to-day activities, Kristina continues to leverage her extensive experience and provide guidance in an as needed capacity on behalf of STI.

Meg Elmore - Director, Business Intelligence

Meg Elmore joined STI after 20+ years in high-growth entrepreneurial environments. Notably fifteen years were spent with Ernst & Young Consulting dealing with business expansions, start-ups and turnarounds. Her clients represented a cross-section of Industries and were some of the firm's premier accounts. Success in these environments required and further honed extensive business development, strategic planning, and process development experience. Among other accomplishments throughout her career she founded a national consulting practice focused on emerging technologies and in six years grew annual revenues to $22M; she created a new business development support team that generated over $250M in new sales to new and existing accounts; she orchestrated the spin-off of a $68M eLearning Company; and she was tapped to establish an Alliances, Acquisitions, and Strategy group. Meg is taking the lead on STI's expansion efforts and will bring these skills and experience to bear in order to ensure STI's and each new venture's success.

Don Brashears

Don is a graduate of Rider University, Lawrenceville, NJ. He earned his BS in Commerce and his MBA in International Economics and Finance. Don is the owner and partner of Atlantic Real Estate, Inc., a full-service sales and rental company on Hilton Head Island. Don is also a franchisee and Area Developer for LIBERTY TAX SERVICE and operates an tax office in Bluffton SC and oversees stores in Augusta GA, Aiken SC, and Boston MA.

Don is one of the founders and current Board President of the Greater Bluffton Chamber of Commerce as well as past President of the Rotary Club of Hilton Head. Don is a current Board Director with AgTechInventures, an accelerator developing technology for agriculture, and a member and Board Director for Ariel Southeast Angel Partners. He also serves on the board of THE LITERACY CENTER, a non-profit, where English is taught to students from 29 countries.

Prior to this, Don had a successful career for 30 years with US STEEL Corporation in Fairless Hills, PA as an Area Manager for Galvanizing, and Sheet and Tin Finishing operations, maintenance and quality control, producing products for Chrysler, General Motors, as well as Del Monte, Campbell Soup and others.

William (BJ) Lawson, MD

William (BJ) Lawson graduated from the Duke University School of Engineering with degrees in Biomedical and Electrical Engineering, and subsequently earned his Doctorate of Medicine from the Duke University School of Medicine. While in surgery residency, he co-founded MercuryMD Inc., a healthcare-focused software company that transformed physician adoption of technology by providing mobile access to patient information. During the startup and evolution of MercuryMD, BJ's experience included fundraising, technical system architecture, management of a growing development and client services organization, and culminated in coordinating the acquisition of MercuryMD by the Thompson Corporation in 2006.

Karen LeVert - Co-founder, President & CEO

Karen LeVert is co-founder of STI and also co-founder of Ag TechInventures. Along with her professional duties, she serves as a Board member for Southeast TechInventures, Ag TechInventures, North Carolina School of Science and Math, LCBA Life Insurance company, North Carolina Biotech Center, NC IDEA Foundation, and Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. 

About Us: STI Board of Directors

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