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DIC Staff

Jake WardJake Ward
Vice President of Innovation and Economic Development
(207) 581-2201

Jake actively supports economic development projects at the University of Maine and in partnerships with many state and non-profit programs.  Originally from Saco, Maine, he holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and an M.S. in Ocean Engineering from the University of New Hampshire.   Prior to his current position at the University of Maine, Jake worked at the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and in private industry both in software and manufacturing.  Click for full Bio.

Renee KellyRenee Kelly
Director of Economic Development Initiatives
(207) 581-1401

Renee  serves as a liaison to the state’s economic development community.  She works directly with innovation-driven businesses to help them reach their potential in the State of Maine.  Kelly also co-directs the University’s Foster Center for Student Innovation, which gives students the tools, knowledge and inspiration to become innovators and entrepreneurs.  Prior to joining the University, she developed and administered training programs for Manpower of Connecticut’s employees and clients and served as an aide to then U.S. Representative Olympia J. Snowe.  She received her A.B. from Smith College and has worked at UMaine since 1997.

Jonnie pic 8-22-13Jonnie Johnson
Fiscal & Administrative Officer
(207) 581-2201

Jonnie oversees and supervises all departmental bookkeeping and accounting of over 300 project accounts with annual revenues exceeding $4.1 million.  She also manages office staff personnel and is the contact person for the department.

KrisKris Burton
Director, Technology Commercialization
(207) 581-1488

Kris focuses on transferring knowledge and technology from the university to organizations and companies that can put it to profitable use.  Contact her if your company has an interest in commercializing university technology, using university facilities, or collaborating with the university to complete a research project.  Kris is the point of contact for faculty and staff who are working with industry or who have developed intellectual property with commercial applications.  Kris received a B.S. from Texas Tech University and an M.S. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  She has prior professional experience in academia, government, small business and fortune 50 companies.

Karen Lidral
Grant Manager & Fiscal Officer
(207) 581-2228

Karen is responsible for reviewing industrial contracts, purchasing materials for all DIC projects, and managing grants received in the department.  Raised in Saco, Maine, Karen is a 2005 UMaine graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Music.  She has worked at UMaine since 2006, and currently works remotely from Boise, Idaho.



Celeste Cota
Administrative Specialist
(207) 581-2228

Celeste is responsible for administrative tasks that include processing orders, accounts payable,  travel,  expense reimbursements,  event coordinator  and website management. Raised in Biddeford, Maine, Celeste attended the University of Maine at Farmington and Southern Maine and has worked in both for profit and non profit organizations gaining business experience in grant management, marketing, graphic design, and accounting.