Tom Cassel is the director of the Engineering Entrepreneurship Program in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania. Tom joined Penn’s faculty in 1999 following a 20-year career of entrepreneurial business leadership. He received a full professorship appointment in 2002.
Early in his career, Tom spent 3 years with the U.S. Peace Corps Agency building UNICEF-sponsored water supply systems in remote mountain villages of Lesotho, southern Africa. He then relocated to California in the early ‘70s and was employed at Bechtel Corporation, a worldwide leader in the engineering and construction industry. At Bechtel, Tom specialized in research and development of advanced electric power technologies. This led to the launching of his first entrepreneurial venture in 1978, providing advisory services to U.S. governmental agencies and to companies seeking to invest in energy technology ventures.
Over the next 7 years this startup grew to a team of a dozen highly regarded energy specialists. The firm was acquired in 1985 by the publicly held, Philadelphia-based Reading Company (one-time owners of the Reading Railroad). As a division president within the Reading organization, Tom then launched Reading Energy Group, which evolved to become a pioneer in the independent electric power industry. The Group developed large-scale, waste-fueled power plants using cutting-edge combustion and environmental technologies.
Three years later in 1988, with funds from a major European bank, Tom and his management team purchased the Energy Group and its power plant assets from Reading Company in a leveraged buyout. Renamed Reading Energy Holdings, Inc., with Tom as CEO and majority shareholder, the privately held company grew to 65 highly motivated employees in 3 locations. As the company grew they acquired 2 companies, started 6 more, and formed strategic alliances with a number of major technology corporations. By 1998, the company had developed, owned and operated advanced power facilities having capital costs exceeding $600 million.
Tom and his fellow management shareholders “harvested” in the mid-1990s and sold their power plant assets to multinational corporations. Tom earned BSc, MSc (mechanical engineering) and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, and has completed studies in Harvard Business School’s Owner/President Management Program. He has published more than fifty papers, articles and a book, has addressed numerous conferences and hearings, and has appeared in both radio and television media. He has served as an advisor to a number of high-tech startup ventures, and is active with several non-profit organizations. In 2003 Tom received the School’s S. Reid Warren Award for Teaching. In 2005 he received the School's D. Robert Tarnall Distinguished Alumnus Award. In 2007 he received the University's Provost's Award for Distinguished Teaching and the Ford Motor Company Award for Faculty Advising.
Tom and his wife, Chris, reside in Moorestown NJ. They have three sons: Joe, Brad and Tommy.
Jeffrey Babin is Senior Lecturer and Associate Director of the Engineering Entrepreneurship Program. He is also a key faculty participant in the Penn Engineering-hosted National University of Singapore (NUS) Overseas College in Bio Valley, an international exchange and internship program between SEAS and NUS.
Jeffrey has been a lecturer in Entrepreneurship for the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania since 1993. He is the Israel and India country manager for the Wharton Global Consulting Practicum, the advisor for the Wharton Venture Initiation Program, and an entrepreneurial fellow for the Weiss Tech House, and he has served as a judge for the Wharton Business Plan Competition.
Jeffrey also is Managing Director and founder of Antiphony Partners, LLC, a strategic consulting firm that specializes in helping companies create sustainable value through innovation. Jeffrey led the development of the company’s proprietary Relaunch® methodology, through which Antiphony works with senior executives to successfully: develop innovative business models, bring new products and services to market, and build profitable operational infrastructures.
Prior to co-founding Antiphony, Jeffrey was Founder, President and CEO of Corporate Technology Ventures (CTV), a privately held enterprise software and consulting practice. From 1993-2001, CTV delivered solutions for content and knowledge management to blue chip clients in several industries, including Agilent (formerly Hewlett Packard), American College of Physicians, Élan Pharmaceutical Technologies, Harcourt Health Sciences, Intel, Pep Boys, Risk Management Association, Simon & Schuster, University of Pennsylvania Health Systems, and The Wharton School. In addition, CTV provided the foundation technology for MedCases, Inc., a provider of innovative web-based medical education. Jeffrey led product development and professional services for CTV, which maintained average client relationships spanning more than 3 years and 6 projects. Jeffrey built CTV’s profitable business and strong intellectual property portfolio from cash flow. CTV was a natural evolution of Jeffrey’s successful consulting practice from 1991-1993, during which time, he dedicated his skills to the adoption of emerging technologies by corporations to capitalize on market opportunities. Jeffrey believes that solutions must be market-driven and therefore has always combined market research and professional services with any technology development process. Working with both growth companies and Fortune 100 corporations, Jeffrey developed business plans and financing strategies to create new wealth.
Jeffrey served as President of the Board of Directors of Trinity Cooperative Day Nursery and as a member of the Greater Philadelphia Venture Group’s Academic Outreach Committee. He is a Faculty Initiate for Delta Sigma Pi, the national collegiate business fraternity, and was a founding board member of the Pennsylvania Composers Forum. In 2002, Jeffrey was a winner of the Philadelphia Business Journals 40 Under 40 list of the region’s up-and-comers.
Jeffrey earned an MBA from the Wharton School and a BA in Physical Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania. Jeffrey and his wife, Kathy, live in Wallingford, PA with their two children, Drew and Liza, and Grace, their chocolate Labrador.
Elliot Menschik is an Adjunct Associate Professor of the Engineering Entrepreneurship Program in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania. He joined the program in July 2012.
In addition he is the founder and leader of VenturefØrth, a company that provides tech startups and early-stage companies with a physical home in Philadelphia as well as strategic and operational support. VenturefØrth also hosts a range of educational events spanning the subjects of entrepreneurship, technology and design while also serving as a venue for larger-scale events such as Meetups, Startup Weekend and Lean Startup Machine.
Elliot is also the founder and managing director of Acuity Health a strategic consulting practice focused on “healthtech”. He also devotes some time to advising early-stage technology companies including as a mentor at DreamIt Ventures in Philadelphia and NYC. He was previously the founder and CEO of HxTechnologies, a pioneer in health information exchange which he sold to MEDecision in May 2009. Following the acquisition, he served as General Manager at MEDecision with responsibility for commercializing health information exchange (HIE), electronic health record (EHR), personal health record (PHR) and telehealth products and services.
By training Elliot is a physician, neuroscientist and engineer. While he hasn’t coded much in the last few years, he got his start in 4th grade writing a version of the game Pong in BASIC for the then-cutting edge Commodore PET. Some years and many languages and projects later, he is the inventor and author of multiple patents and patents pending.
On the academic side, Elliot has been active in teaching and research. He has been the author of and principal investigator for numerous research grants from the National Institutes of Health that funded HxTechnologies in its earliest days. He has also led research on the economics of fragmented healthcare delivery nationwide. He previously served on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Bioengineering and at annual meetings of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). He has been an oft-invited speaker on the subject of imaging and health information exchange and is the author of numerous peer-reviewed papers ranging from medical informatics to computational neuroscience.
An NIH Fellow in the Medical Scientist Training Program, Elliot received an MD and PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine following his work on memory function and Alzheimer’s disease developing and exploring massively-parallel computer models of the brain. He holds MSE and BSEE degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University following work on microprocessor and chip design.