Leadership & Technology Managers

The Office of Technology Management hosts a vibrant commercialization team that is at the forefront of efforts that allow us to travel across the country and around the world, developing relations with industry partners and licensing Illinois technologies.

Lesley Millar-Nicholson, Director

Lesley Millar-Nicholson has served as the Director of the Office of Technology Management (OTM) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 2006; she originally joined the Office in 2002 as an Engineering Technology Manager. As Director, Ms. Millar-Nicholson leads a team of more than 20 professionals responsible for engaging with faculty, staff, corporations, and venture groups to commercialize the intellectual property arising from the more than $500 million in research conducted on campus. She also works with a wide range of campus, corporate, and community partners, furthering the office's mission to encourage innovation, enhance research and facilitate economic development. Prior to joining the OTM, she had an extensive career in government in England where she worked in consulting, contract and small business management, strategic planning, and policy development.

Ms. Millar-Nicholson is a frequent speaker at technology transfer seminars and professional meetings. She is on the Board of Governors of Certified Licensing Professionals Inc.(http://www.licensingcertification.org/), a member of the LES IP100 Advisory Board, on the Editorial Advisory Board of Intellectual Property Marketing Advisor Publication, a member of the Board of Managers of Illinois Ventures LLC (http://www.illinoisventures.com/) and is a regular contributor to articles and webinars for Technology Transfer Tactics. She is a member of both the Licensing Executive Society and Association of University Technology Managers. A native of Scotland, Ms. Millar-Nicholson has a B.Ed. an M.Ed and an MBA. She is also a Certified Licensing Professional (CLP).

millar@illinois.edu; 217-333-6807

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/lesleymillaruillinois4088/



Dr. Lisa Dhar, Senior Associate Director, Strategic Commercialization Issues, & Senior Technology Manager 

Dr. Lisa Dhar contributes more than 15 years of business experience to the Office of Technology and Management.

Prior to joining the OTM, Lisa led a team at Lucent Technologies that developed new classes of polymer recording media for holographic storage. Her work at Lucent led her to become the co-founder and vice president of InPhase Technologies, a company spun out of Lucent. At InPhase, Lisa led a team of chemical engineers, chemists, and optical engineers to commercialize high performance recording media for holographic storage.

Lisa served on the National Academies' Assessment Panel on Materials Science and Engineering at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and served on the Advisory Board for University of Colorado's Women in Engineering.

Lisa holds a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor's Degree with honors in Chemistry from the University of Chicago.

Lisa is a Technology Manager with a focus on life sciences. ldhar10@illinois.edu; 217-333-3715


Nathan Hoffman, Assistant Director, Strategic Commercialization Initiatives and Senior Technology Manager

Prior to joining the Office of Technology Management, Nathan Hoffmann was a training specialist in the Cybersecurity Directorate at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). In that role he developed a unique hands-on training course, aimed at cyber crime investigation experts from the FBI, to teach advanced skills for leading complex, multi-system cyber-investigations. He also helped design an experimental cyber crime first responder software system for local and regional law enforcement agencies.

Nathan is a United States Navy Veteran and served as a Nuclear Submarine Warfare Officer for seven years. As a Naval Science Instructor for the University of Illinois NROTC, he taught naval engineering courses to midshipmen in training. Nathan served for three years aboard the ballistic missile submarine USS NEBRASKA, supervising chemical, nuclear, and electrical engineering divisions. As a certified Nuclear Engineer Officer, he also managed the day to day operations of the nuclear reactor.

Nathan holds an M.S. in Systems and Entrepreneurial Engineering, and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, both from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Nathan is a Senior Technology Manager with a focus on nanotechnology, material science, and agricultural engineering. nhoffma2@illinois.edu; 217-244-4747


Steve Wille
Associate Director & Senior Technology Manager 

 Steven Wille worked in product development and manufacturing in chemical, medical and electronics companies for more than 28 years prior to joining the OTM. He is an inventor on seven patents and has authored several papers published in peer reviewed journals.

In Steven's most recent prior position he was a section manager for hardware engineering at Siemens Medical Solutions, where he directed a staff of more than 50 engineers and managed several multinational projects. Steven has also held management positions with Motorola, Connor-Winfield, and Grayhill.

Steven is the Senior Technology Manager with a focus on bio-imaging, semiconductors, processes, materials, and devices. stvwille@illinois.edu; 217-244-5956



Dr. Svetlana Sowers, Senior Technology Manager

Dr. Svetlana Sowers brings to OTM 15 years of software development and management experience from both Fortune 500 and start-up companies.   While at Yahoo!, Svetlana lead multiple projects and cross-functional teams to define and deliver products in the areas of cloud computing, data mining and data pipeline processing.  While at Motorola Mobile Devices, Svetlana delivered numerous features  for several  Motorola phone platforms, in the areas of USB, Device management, Synchronization, etc., while running a USB lab,  driving interoperability testing with phone carriers, and managing a team of 30+ local and global engineers.

While acting as a Visiting Technology Manager for the OTM, Svetlana also works with the Research Park, University of Illinois, Economic Development Corporation of Champaign County, and a group of engineers to bring in new companies to Champaign, IL.

Svetlana received her Ph.D. and M.S in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland, and her B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Belgrade in Serbia.

Svetlana is a Technology Manager with a focus on software.

svsowers@illinois.edu; 217-265-0778

Jeff Wallace, Senior Technology Manager

Jeff Wallace comes to the Office of Technology Management with over 20 years of experience in Intellectual Property Management and Technical Sales and Marketing. He has held various roles including field engineering, sales management, engineering management, technology planning, new product development and IP management.  

Jeff worked in the industrial gas business where he was focused on developing and bringing new technology solutions to customers within the automotive, chemical, electronics, food and beverage, healthcare, metals and pharmaceutical markets.  

Jeff holds a BS in General Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MBA in Technology Management from the University of Phoenix and is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Illinois.

jrwallac@illinois.edu; 217-265-0548


Brad Edwards, Technology Manager

Brad Edwards joined the OTM in 2007 as a patent coordinator. In August 2012, Brad was appointed to Interim Technology Manager / Patent Coordinator.

Prior to joining the OTM, Brad Edwards served as a senior chemist and patent coordinator at Chemtura Corporation. In that role, Brad streamlined the invention disclosure process within the Fluorine group and was a named inventor on six U.S. patents  and several patent applications .

While acting as an Interim Technology Manager / Patent Coordinator, Brad will maintain his duties as a patent coordinator at the OTM. These duties include acting as a liaison between inventor/management and patent attorney, generating invention disclosure statements, and converting invention disclosure statements into patent applications by working with outside attorneys.

Brad holds a B.S. in Microbiology from Ball State University and a M.S. in Crop Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign He is registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Brad is a Technology Manager with a focus on agricultural, animal and crop sciences, food science and human nutrition, and veterinary medicine.

ebedward@illinois.edu; 217-244-6453


Dr. RK Narayanan, Associate Technology Manager

Dr. RK Narayanan has more than 10 years of experience in life sciences research, with additional expertise in oncology, neuroscience, genomics, and genetics.

Prior to joining OTM, RK did an internship in intellectual property and business development at Partners HealthCare Innovation in Boston, where he reviewed invention disclosures and discussed patent prosecution with inventors, in addition to assisting with a variety of marketing and patentability tasks. RK was also a Research Scientist at Harvard, where he studied chemotherapy resistance mechanisms in glioblastoma. 

RK has postdoctoral training at MIT and holds a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Arizona and a M.S. in Bio-Medical Genetics from the University of Madras in India.

RK is a Technology Manager with a focus on life sciences.