2017 ReinventEd Grand Finale


The judges are:

Dr. Seung Bach, Director, Center for Entrepreneurship, Sacramento State University
The Center for Entrepreneurship, directed by Dr. Bach, gives budding business owners a place from which to work, as well as professional help and student assistance. The center hosts its own competition for new business concepts during Global Entrepreneurship Week. Dr. Bach is an Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management in the College of Business Administration. His expertise is in the areas of new venture creation, small business management, entrepreneurial transitions, innovation and corporate entrepreneurship, and global management and strategy.

Dr. Fred Baldini, Dean, College of Health and Human Services
Dr. Baldini is a former recipient of the college’s Outstanding Teaching Award and Outstanding Service Award. He serves on the Sacramento Regional Family Justice Center Foundation Board of Directors, and, being a Sac State alumnus, on the board of the Sacramento State Alumni Association. He is the director of the Center for Health Professions, Policy, and Practice.

Dr. Pierre Balthazard, Dean, College of Business and Administration
Dr. Balthazard, a native of Quebec, Canada, is recognized as an expert in the development and deployment of psychometric and neurometric instruments that assess individual, team, and organizational phenomena, particularly in the nascent field of leader and organizational neuroscience. His techniques for scanning a person’s brain has been used to identify strong leaders and to help persons train their brains to develop their leadership abilities. He has been involved in funded projects earning close to $6 million in expenditures from such sources as the National Science Foundation, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Department of Education, the Center for Creative Leadership, the Army Research Institute, and the Army Research Laboratory.

Ms. Shannan Brown, Executive Director, San Juan Teachers’ Association
Ms. Brown is a former San Juan Unified Teacher of the Year, Sacramento County and California Teacher of the Year. She has helped create and lead professional development for schools and district-wide. She was appointed by State Superintendent Tom Torlakson to the Superintendent’s Accountability Taskforce and served on the team that created the California Teacher’s Association’s Strategic plan. She currently serves Chair of CTA’s Transforming the Profession focus area.

Dr. Ken Futernick, Director, CSU EduCorps
For 20 years Dr. Futernick was a Sacramento State faculty member whose research focused on teacher retention, educational policy, and pre-service teacher education programs. He helped found and direct the School Turnaround Center at WestEd and is a life-long educator, writer, and educational consultant to schools, school districts, and policy makers across the United States.

Mr. Nicholas Haystings, Co-Founder, Square Root Academy
Mr. Haystings calls himself a “tinkerer, maker, and all around gearhead.” He’s a Sacramento native and proud Sac State alumnus with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. He and two of his engineering colleagues started the nonprofit Square Root Academy to educate under-represented youth the fundamentals of S.T.E.M. while emphasizing collaborative learning, innovation, and academic excellence.

Ms. Sarah Kirby-Gonzales, Teacher, Folsom Cordova Unified School District, and Board Member, Washington Unified School District
Ms. Kirby-Gonzalez is a former Teacher of the Year for both the Folsom Cordova school district and Sacramento County History Day. She teaches a summer writing course to fourth and fifth grade students through the Academic Talent Search program at Sacramento State, and she earned her bachelor’s and a master’s degrees in Curriculum and Instruction here, making her Made at Sac State. She is an elected school board member in the Washington Unified School District in West Sacramento.

Mr. Andy Kotko, Teacher, Mather Heights Elementary School
Mr.  Kotko holds a degree in Physics and works to instill a foundation of problem-solving and critical thinking in his students. He was named by President Obama as a 2016 national winner of the President’s Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching and serves as chair of the California Teacher Advisory Council, where he teams with industry professionals and state policy leaders to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics education in the public schools.  

Ms. Gina Lujan, Founder/Director/CEO, Hacker Lab, Sacramento
Ms. Lujan is a social entrepreneur focusing on community, business, regional, and economic development at Hacker Lab, which has quickly grown to be a grassroots technology hub for the Sacramento region. In addition to her entrepreneurial projects, Gina works to solve community problems such as bringing affordable ultra high-speed broadband to the region, filling the gaps in education, and she contributes to workforce development efforts alongside local government and organizations. She also worked on a stealth project at Northrup Grumman AS an Innovation Consultant. Ms. Lujan was recognized as one of Sacramento Business Journal’s 25 Business Leaders of 2012 and 2013.

Dr. Julie Maxwell-Jolly, Senior Researcher for Policy and Programs, California School Boards Association
Dr. Maxwell-Jolly is an education professional with practical, policy, and research experience. Her specialty is working to improve education outcomes for underserved and underperforming students, particularly English language learners. She manages and works with CSBA Policy and Program Officers to provide policy analysis, research and recommendations focused on critical education issues that impact California’s students, families and communities.

Dr. Robert Nelsen, President, California State University, Sacramento
Dr. Nelsen is a writer, an educator, and the eighth President of the Sacramento State University.

Mr. Scott Paterson, IT Executive Focused on Innovation, Efficiency & Transparency, California Department of Technology
Mr. Paterson provides strategic direction for efficient, cost effective, and innovative delivery of enterprise services to the state, local government, and higher education.

Ms. Mellissa Paul, Community Liaison, Sac & Co Host, ABC 10
Ms. Paul is an Emmy Award-winning television broadcaster and was recognized as one of Idaho's 'Accomplished and Under Forty' by the Idaho Business Review, an award based not only on professional achievements, but community service. In addition to serving as the host of Sac & co, Ms. Paul is also the Community Liaison Director for News10, coordinating station events like News10’s Coats for Kids, News10’s Teacher of the Year, and many other community projects.

Ms. Tina Roberts, Co-founder, Roberts Family Development Center
Ms. Roberts and her husband Derrell are respected community leaders who have proven track records of success administering community-based organizations. Their involvement in such community projects as Nia “the Birthing Project,” St. Hope Academy, Healthy Start and the Salvation Army’s Oak Park Community Center has received national, state and local recognition. Their professional lives have been committed to improving the living situations of children and families they come in contact with. The Roberts’ received the Director’s Community Leadership Award from FBI Director James Comey in 2016.

Dr. Lorenzo Smith, Dean, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Sacramento State
Dr. Smith is a mechanical engineer whose main research has been in the field of sheet metal experimental mechanics. He has contributed to 57 publications and secured millions in funding from such companies as Pacific Northwest National Labs, Ford Motor Company and Chrysler Group LLC. As director of the Chrysler Learning and Innovation Center, he raised the funds to develop a highly successful work-ready program for undergraduate engineering students. He holds the patent for a sheet metal stretch-bend-draw simulator, which allows auto manufacturers to use lower-cost yet higher-quality metal panels to hug your car's graceful curves.

Dr. Amy Tong, Chief Information Officer, California Department of Technology
Ms. Tong is responsible for advising Gov. Jerry Brown on the strategic management and direction of the state’s Information Technology resources, and has over 22 years of business, technology, and management experience in the public sector. She is an active community volunteer, having served at the national level with the Asian Pacific Islander Public Affairs Association, and currently serves on the Planning Commission for the City of Elk Grove. She is “Made at Sac State,” having received both her Bachelor of Science and MBA here.

Ms. Rachel Zillner, AVP Community Banking, SAFE Credit Union
With 17 years in the banking industry and a small business owner, Ms. Zillner has a passion for helping businesses and people understand finance and how they can utilize their credit union to help achieve their dreams. She received a 40-Under-40 award from the Sacramento Business Journal, and was recently elected Chair of Metro EDGE, a dynamic young professionals group formed by the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce. She is a Sac State alumna.