Elana Fine, Managing Director
Elana Fine is Managing Director of the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. Elana's primary focus is leading the Dingman Center in support of its mission to build a community that discovers, equips, connects and celebrate entrepreneurs. Key responsibilities include oversight of our student venture incubator, Fearless Founders; Dingman Center Angels investor network, business competitions, and integration with Smith School entrepreneurship curriculum and research activities. Elana also develops and maintains relationships with donors, board members, EIRs, the Smith School community and other campus and regional partners. Elana is also an adjunct faculty member with the Smith School’s Management & Organization department and part of the national teaching team for NSF’s ICorps program.
Elana started in investment banking at Bear Stearns, but started working with technology startups when she joined Revolution Partners, a boutique investment bank specializing in M&A and private capital advisory for software companies. She joined the company in its infancy and helped the team grow to 40 bankers on both coasts, assisting and leading transactions from $10M-$200M in deal value. Elana left upon the firm’s sale to Morgan Keegan.
Elana earned an MBA in Finance and Accounting from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business in 2002, and earned a BS in Finance, magna cum laude, from the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1997. She started her career as a technology consultant with an Accenture.
Elana was recently named a Tech Titan by Washingtonian Magazine, “Power Women in Tech” by Tech Bisnow and “50 On Fire” by In The Capital.” She is also a contributor to the Washington Post Capital Business.
Elana resides in Potomac, Maryland, with her husband and two children.
Rajshree Agarwal, Academic Director
Rajshree Agarwal was appointed Academic Director in July 2012 and will provide leadership on entrepreneurship research and curriculum development and integration. Rajshree (Ph.D, 1994, Economics, University at Buffalo) is a Chaired Professor in Strategy and Entrepreneurship, joining the Smith School in 2010. Her research interests focus on the implications of entrepreneurship and innovation for industry and firm evolution. Her recent projects examine the micro-foundations of macro phenomena, linking knowledge diffusion among firms, industries, and regions to the underlying mechanisms of employee entrepreneurship and mobility. Rajshree has published articles in journals such as Academy of Management Journal, American Economic Review, International Journal of Industrial Organization, Journal of Industrial Economics, Journal of Law and Economics, Management Science, Strategic Management Journal and Review of Economics and Statistics.
She is an associate editor of the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal and the editor of the SSRN Entrepreneurship and Economics Journal. Rajshree has received research grants from the Kauffman Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the Marketing Science Institute, the National Science Foundation, and the US Department of Agriculture. Rajshree has taught a wide range of courses in strategic management, entrepreneurship, technology and innovation, industrial organization and microeconomics at the undergraduate, MBA, Executive MBA and PhD levels. Consistent with her interests in innovation, she strives to incorporate the latest pedagogical technologies in her teaching, and has won many awards for teaching excellence and a demonstrated increase in teaching productivity. She is passionate, in particular, about providing business education to science and engineering students to enable them to be effective in diffusing the knowledge they create for economic growth and social welfare. Prior to coming to University of Maryland, Rajshree undertook efforts at the University of Illinois towards creating specialized certificate programs and courses to help serve this need. In part as recognition of these efforts, and in part for her scholarly achievements, the University of Illinois bestowed her with the “University Scholar” designation in 2009, the highest honor given to its faculty in recognition of overall excellence.
Holly DeArmond, Assistant Director, Events & Marketing
Holly DeArmond joined the Dingman Center in September 2012 as Assistant Director, Events and Marketing. In this role, Holly oversees the event strategy and planning for the Dingman Center’s annual events on campus, regionally and internationally. She manages Cupid's Cup, the University of Maryland’s national business competition and startup exhibition drawing 600 attendees and 50 exhibitors as well as the China Business Plan Competition and MBA global studies trip to Beijing. Holly is also responsible for developing and executing marketing and communications for all Dingman Center internal and external audiences.
Holly first joined the University of Maryland in 2007 as the Associate Director of University Marketing. Her primary responsibility was management of the University’s largest annual event, Maryland Day. The event is hosted by 8,000 University volunteers and is attended by more than 75,000 people. In this role, Holly helped coordinate the planning and implementation of more than 400 events and managed such items as the marketing materials, event budget and planning committees of more than 60 people.
In addition to Maryland Day, Holly assisted in a variety of strategically targeted marketing initiatives including the university’s branding campaign, “Fear the Turtle.” While she was involved in most aspects of the campaign from brainstorming to implementation, Holly’s main role was to manage and execute the campaign media buy.
Previously, Holly worked for Cohn & Wolfe, a New York City-based strategic marketing public relations firm with offices worldwide. She served on multiple pharmaceutical accounts including GlaxoSmithKline's Paxil CR, Avandia and the Vaccines Franchise. On these accounts, Holly assisted in the planning and implementation of a number of public relations and government affairs campaigns, including the PR campaigns for the U.S. Food & Drug Administration approvals of two new pharmaceuticals.
Holly received a Bachelor of Science degree in communications from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. While her roots are deep in East Tennessee, she currently lives in Annapolis, MD with her husband, Davy and their Portuguese Water Dog, Crockett.
Joel Marquis, Assistant Director, Venture Programs
Joel Marquis joined the Dingman Center in October 2012. As the Assistant Director of Venture Programs, Joel is focused on managing the daily operations and growth of the Dingman Center Angels, an investor network connecting regional startups seeking seed and early-stage funding with accredited angel investors. In addition, Joel supports the University’s technology commercialization efforts in partnership with Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC), Mtech and external partners in order to explore various business applications for these new technologies.
Prior to joining the Dingman team, Joel held a wide variety of roles in finance, operation and strategy. This experience spans across firms of all sizes, from start-up to large enterprise. Joel started his career in investment banking with First Union Securities where he advised corporate clients on a variety of transactions including mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings (IPO) and follow-on equity offerings. After five years of investment banking, Joel joined the financial planning and analysis group of a publicly traded wireless provider. Desiring to get more involved with a startup company, Joel then joined a venture backed communications company based out of Chicago. In this role Joel worked alongside the CEO and CFO to provide strategic and financial analysis in addition to supporting all mergers and acquisitions activity. After the company merged with its largest competitor, Joel continued his focus on early stage companies. This is included working at an incubator in Cambridge, MA and helping to run a technology focused angel investment group in the Boston area. While in business school, Joel completed a number of consulting assignments including evaluating business opportunities for Daymond John, the creator of FUBU, and working in the corporate development group of a large enterprise software company.
Joel earned an MBA in from Babson College and earned a BBA in Finance from the College of William & Mary.
Rebecca Thorman, Programs & Project Manager
Rebecca joined the Dingman Center in October 2013, and manages the student entrepreneurial programs including Fearless Founders, a program guiding student ventures from idea to launch; Pitch Dingman, a bi-annual competition awarding seed funding to student entrepreneurs; and Innovation Fridays, a weekly opportunity for students to pitch business ideas to Entrepreneurs-in-Residence.
Prior to joining the Dingman team, Rebecca led PR and marketing at the e-commerce startup Alice.com, where she built trust and enthusiasm for an unknown brand, and led customer development to gain the company’s first 100,000 users to more than 1 million. She also served as Vice President of Marketing for Speek.com, an early-stage startup in the 500 Startups family and winner of Distilled Intelligence 2.0. In 2013, Washingtonian Magazine named her a Tech Titan.
Outside of work, Rebecca organizes the DC Lean Startup Circle, one of the largest, most active lean startup meet-ups in the U.S., where she helps early-stage companies identify key customers and iterate products quickly. On the side, she writes the blog Kontrary.com, a different take on work and life. Her ideas have been featured in the New York Times, Forbes, Los Angeles Times, Lifehacker, the Washingtonian, the Wall Street Journal, and she pens a regular column for U.S. News & World Report.
Rebecca received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She resides in Washington, DC with her fiancé Ryan.
Danielle Bennings, Events & Marketing Coordinator
Danielle joined the Dingman Center team in August 2011 as the Operations and Events Coordinator and has since been promoted to Events and Marketing Coordinator. She is responsible for coordinating all Center events including Dingman Center Angels’ investor meetings, Pitch Dingman Competitions, Entrepreneurship Research Series, Global Entrepreneurship Week, and her favorite, Cupid’s Cup. Danielle also supports the marketing and outreach efforts of the center by contributing to the Center’s bi-weekly digest, The Pitch, monthly newsletter, Dingman Newslink and the Dingman Center blog. Additionally, she manages the social media strategy.
Danielle is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Public Relations and Corporate Communications at Georgetown University. She received a B.A. in Political Science from the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh in 2011. During her undergraduate career she completed internships with Evergreen Information Technology, Inc. at the United States Department of Agriculture Network Operations Center and with Events Management, LLC.
Alyse Carter, Coordinator
Alyse joined the Dingman Center in August 2013. As Coordinator for the Center, she is responsible for daily operational tasks including the overall organization of the office. She manages the Center’s travel and finances, including donor giving and new Dingman Center Angel memberships, and assists with managing student workers and graduate assistants. Alyse works closely with Dingman Center staff to act as support for Innovation Fridays and Fearless Founders. While working in the Dingman Center, she is also supporting the Management and Organization department with the Smith Entrepreneurship Research Conference (SERC). Alyse provides high level support for the Managing and Academic Directors of the Center.
Alyse graduated from the University of Maryland in May 2011 with a B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy with a focus on Society and Environmental Issues. While a student, Alyse served as the president of the university’s Royal Scottish Country Dance club and has continued to be active in the dance community.
Adam VanWagner, Community & Venture Programs Coordinator
Adam joined the Dingman Center in August 2013 as the Community and Venture Programs Coordinator. Adam is responsible for coordinating advisor and workshop scheduling for student programs including Innovation Fridays, Fearless Founders, and Pitch Dingman Competitions. He is also in charge of the development and implementation the new Salesforce.com database that is utilized to track involvement of all members of our community. Additionally, he is responsible for aggregating information regarding regional events, company updates, workshops, job opportunities, and other relevant community information to compile for distribution through the Dingman Center’s bi-weekly digest, The Pitch.
Adam VanWagner graduated from the Robert H. Smith School of Business in 2011 receiving a B.S. in Operations Management. As an undergraduate, Adam was accepted to the Hinman CEOs program at the University of Maryland, the nation’s first living and learning entrepreneurship program. With his twin brother Eric, Adam also founded MyFridgeRental.com, a dorm-sized refrigerator rental service. During their junior year, the brothers won the Grand Prize in the 2011 Cupid’s Cup Business Competition. MyFridgeRental.com continues to grow and is running full force with part-time involvement from Adam and his twin brother operating the business full-time.
Dr. Rudolph P. Lamone, Founder
Dr. Rudolph P. Lamone is the Founder and member of the Board of Advisors of the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship and a Professor Emeritus at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, College Park.
From 1973 to 1992, Dr. Lamone served as Dean of the Robert H. Smith School of Business and as the first chair of the Program in Entrepreneurship. He is co-founder of the National Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers and a founding member of the National Consortium for Life Science Entrepreneurship Programs.
In 1996, Dr. Lamone was named "Entrepreneur of the Year" by Ernst & Young for his work in support of entrepreneurship. In 1998, Dr. Lamone was selected to receive the President's Medal at the University of Maryland. In 1999, Dr. Lamone co-founded DirectGene, a biotechnology company that has developed gene therapies directed toward the treatment of metastatic prostate and breast cancer.
Dr. Lamone serves as Director on the board of several companies, public and private. He also serves as a venture partner with Gabriel Venture Partners, Annapolis, MD, and Redwood Shores, CA. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Dr. Lamone received his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the business school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.