If you have any questions, please check out our application FAQs here.

Area Reps

The Midwest Region of the United States is a vast area of potential teams and Cleantech Open Ambassadors. To assist in providing connections to our program, below is an ongoing list of the Midwest Area Representatives:

Illinois, Chicago Area:

Diego Fazi | State Representative

Diego is the Technology Innovation Strategist and Innovation Program Coordinator at Argonne National Laboratory. His role is to support the creation and sustainment of laboratory partnerships and programs that promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship among laboratory staff and foster collaboration within the regional startup community. He works closely with several partners in the Chicago area as well as in the Midwest to develop a commercialization pipeline for new ventures leveraging Argonne technologies. Diego is a Member of the Advisory Board for the Cleantech Open Midwest and he serves as Chicago Metro Director. 



(As we are working to fill this position, please contact Steve Webster for any further information.)


Joe Hrdlicka | State Representative

Joe is a graduate of the University of Missouri - Columbia School of Journalism. Hrdlicka grew up in St. Louis, but has lived in West Des Moines since 1995 with his wife and two sons. Since 2014, Joe has been the executive director of the Iowa Biotechnology Association. He setves as chief executive of this 100-member organization of biotech companies where he is responsible for annual budgeting and direction of all operations including strategic planning, member communication, events and advocacy.


 (As we are working to fill this position, please contact Steve Webster for any further information.)


Kelsey Underwood | State Representative

Kelsey is the CEO of Re-Module and an independent business consultant. She specializes in growing sustainable/cleantech companies domestically and internationally by transforming marketing, business development, and organizational management from expenses into successful strategies. Like the companies with whom she works, Re-Module focuses on scalable, sustainable solutions to global challenges (by re-purposing and incorporating plastic pollution into high-quality green building materials). Kelsey was a CTO 2016-2017 participant and national finalist. She now serves as the Marketing Chair of the Cleantech Open Midwest Board of Advisors.

kelseylunderwood@gmail.com | www.re-module.com


Dave Anderson | State Representative

Dave Anderson is Director, Venture Services at NextEnergy. In this role, he provides venture support services to early-stage and established small businesses, and manages NextEnergy's Participation in the National Incubator Initiative for Clean Energy (NIICE), a national network of leading clean tech incubators. 

Dr. John P. Verboncoeur | MSU Engineering

Patrick G. Morand | Rural Investment

Pat is the President of Open Prairie and Managing Director of the Southwest Michigan First Life Science Fund. His expertise is in complex regulated industries, with special strength in turnaround management, investor relations, and accountability standards and performance.



Dr. Rama Prasad | UMN Engineering

Ken Brown | MN Department of Commerce

Ken is currently the Clean Energy Commercialization Program Manager at the Minnesota State Energy Office; Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources. In his role with the state, he works with individual companies in a neutral and confidential setting so that entrepreneurs are best prepared for the questions that come from funders, interest groups and additional stakeholders. Ken has extensive experience in funding decision-making processes. He has also developed, executed and managed scores of complex grant contracts. Funding efforts are all designed to best assure that expected outcomes for the innovation and investment are realized.


Thad Simons | The Yield Lab



(As we are working to fill this position, please contact Steve Webster for any further information.)

North Dakota:

(As we are working to fill this position, please contact Steve Webster for any further information.)


Courtney Gras | State Representative

Courtney Gras is an engineer by training and an entrepreneur by nature. After leaving her job as a power systems engineer at NASA, Courtney has focused her career on supporting startup companies and small businesses. She has served as co-founder and Chief Operations Officer for clean tech startup, Design Flux Technologies (DTF) for the past 7 years and also serves as Executive Director for Launch League, a community of startup founders in NE ohio.

Tremaine Phillips | State Representative, Southern Ohio

South Dakota: 

(As we are working to fill this position, please contact Steve Webster for any further information.)


Michael Doucas | State Representative