Leadership Team

John Carlisle

John Carlisle, Director Chain Reaction Innovations

John is a physicist and entrepreneur with a strong passion for translating fundamental discoveries into disruptive products.

As director of Chain Reaction Innovations, John’s focus is on supporting the next generation of innovators to move hardware-based energy technologies into applications with high societal and economic impact. CRI enables the innovator and their innovation to leverage the extensive resources within Argonne National Laboratory for two years. The long term vision is to more effectively translate high-risk technologies into the market while also enabling a new generation of entrepreneurs to create new businesses that will keep the US at the forefront of energy innovation.

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Deena Wright, Senior Program Specialist

Deena joined the Chain Reaction Innovations (CRI) team as the Strategic Operations Lead in October 2018 after eight years at Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source (APS) as the Argonne User Agreement Specialist. In 2021, she was promoted to Senior Program Specialist for CRI. Deena draws on her knowledge of Argonne to assure the startups in the program are engaged and supported both within Argonne and in the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Deena is passionate about the research that Argonne conducts and supports.  She sincerely believes in the CRI mission to enable innovators to launch new technologies into the market by accessing the unique and powerful resources of a National Laboratory. She leads the department’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts as well, providing vision and leadership.

While at the APS, Deena was responsible for maintaining over 1,300 of Argonne’s legal user agreements, having replaced over 500 legacy agreements with updated version in the course of one year.  Deena played key roles in multiple special projects including coordinating efforts to create an APS User emergency notification process, analyzing systems and cross-referencing process with various DOE National Laboratories, updating and implementing procedures as needed, and developing an internal audit process to ensure legal agreements were managed correctly.  Deena also served as the liaison for the APS User Organization and Partner User Council prior to leaving the APS.

Deena earned her Master of Business Administration from Lewis University.

Janelle Richmond, Communications Lead

Janelle Richmond joined Chain Reaction Innovations in March 2020. She brings a wealth of communications, marketing and PR experience to her role as Communications Lead. Janelle is a dynamic professional with demonstrated achievements in the public relations and communications industries. A gifted storyteller and content strategist, she has experience in nonprofit organizations, crisis communications, media relations, healthcare, and higher education.

A part of the CRI team, Janelle provides communications and marketing support for the department’s broad-based internal and external initiatives. That includes conveying the value of science and technology entrepreneurship to a variety of key audiences. Her other responsibilities include communication support for departmental and Argonne initiatives to showcase the impact of energy and science-based tech. She also manages the department’s website and social media platforms to increase awareness and engagement and plans departmental special events.

Before joining CRI, Janelle worked as a consultant, advising clients how to position themselves within competitive industries. She developed and executed communication, marketing, and fundraising plans.

Janelle holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Wenora Johnson

Wenora Johnson, Administrative Support

Wenora Johnson joined the Chain Reaction Innovations Team as Administrative Support in 2018. In this position, she provides administrative support for the CRI Director and Leadership Team.

Wenora has a diverse back ground with over 20 plus years of administrative experience that includes working for the federal and local municipal government. Her diligence and professionalism has earned her recognition by Joliet Job Corps for establishing a Mentoring curriculum for youths enrolled in their student program. In her spare time, she also serves as a Healthcare Advocate and Peer Reviewer for DOD Healthcare Projects.

Wenora earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from the University of Phoenix, while serving in the United States Navy as a Reservist for 8 years.

Peter Slawniak, Senior Counsel-Intellectual Property

Peter Slawniak is an experienced attorney who advises on intellectual property, strategic partnerships, data privacy, corporate governance and regulatory compliance. At Argonne, he is a proponent of entrepreneurship and innovation, and has advised CRI since its creation.

Peter specializes in providing legal advice for advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence, high performance computing, internet of things, quantum computing,  pharmaceutical development and energy storage.

In addition to supporting CRI, Peter is an adjunct law professor at Northern Illinois University School of Law where he teaches intellectual property. Peter is a frequent guest lecturer at Northwestern Kellogg School of Management and the University of Chicago, covering issues from intellectual property to entrepreneurship.

Prior to joining Argonne, Peter was an attorney at Winston & Strawn, LLP, where he focused on intellectual property matters.

Peter holds a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Northwestern University, where he was an Evans Scholar. Peter earned a J.D. from Washington University’s School of Law.

Roland Garton

Roland Garton, Proposal Consultant

Roland Garton focuses on helping high-tech startups obtain and manage Government contracts. He assists with proposal preparation and also provides business management support –planning, strategy, payroll, bookkeeping, finances. He is a specialist in the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program.

Anna Lisa Somera

Anna Lisa Somera, Proposal Consultant

Anna Lisa Somera is an experienced life science start up consultant, venture capitalist, intellectual property analyst, technology transfer specialist, biomedical researcher, and entrepreneur specialized in early-stage, cutting edge technology businesses. She has been a part of the entrepreneurial community for 16 years.

 

Latest News

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  • Semi-finalists Chosen for Cohort 6

    Thirty-two individuals comprising 28 startups were chosen to advance to the semi-finals and compete to join Chain Reaction Innovations’ Cohort 6. A broad range of energy innovations are represented in this year’s applicants, including energy storage and generation, water, decarbonization, circular economy, quantum, manufacturing, and … Read More

  • Chain Reaction Innovations Team Recognized by UChicago Board of Governors

    Chain Reaction Innovations’ (CRI) leadership team was recently recognized by the UChicago Argonne Board of Governors with a Distinguished Performance Award. The Award is given annually to honor lab achievements and celebrate their impact, thereby strengthening the core values of Argonne National Laboratory. The Distinguished … Read More

  • Chain Reaction Innovations Startup Raises $17 Million

    ClearFlame Engine Technologies, a Chain Reaction Innovations (CRI) startup dedicated to development of net-zero engine technology, recently secured $17 million in Series A financing to support commercialization of the company’s innovative engine technology for the long-haul trucking, agriculture and power generation sectors. The … Read More

  • CRI Startup Super.tech Releases SuperstaQ

    Chain Reaction Innovations Cohort 4 startup Super.tech releases first product aimed at enabling the adoption of quantum computing years sooner than otherwise possible There’s a lot of hype around quantum. The technology is still very new yet there is enormous potential for … Read More

  • Super.tech Announces Quantum Software Platform SuperstaQ

    SuperstaQ aims to make quantum computing commercially viable years sooner than otherwise possible CHICAGO, IL, AUGUST 16TH, 2021 – Today, SUPER.TECH LABS INC. announced SuperstaQ, a hardware-agnostic software platform that connects applications to quantum computers from IBM Quantum, IonQ, and Rigetti. SuperstaQ delivers performance gains via optimizations that … Read More