Five New members Appointed to USTAR Governing Authority

The Utah Science and Technology Research initiative has welcomed five new members to its Governing Authority. 

Rich Lunsford, Derek Miller, Susan Opp and Florian Solzbacher have begun serving their four-year terms. Additionally, Val Hale, the executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), takes the statutorily appointed position as vice chair.

Departing members are Dinesh Patel, Scott Anderson, Jim Dreyfous and Charlie Precourt who have made significant contributions as founding members of the board, setting the case for USTAR. Spencer Eccles also departed as executive director for GOED and the Governing Authority’s vice chair position.  

“I want to thank them for being pioneers. This program would not exist were it not for the efforts of these people. I want to offer my sincere thanks for making a difference and putting us on the map,” said Jeff Edwards, CEO of EDCUtah in bidding the former members farewell.

“USTAR would like to thank the exiting Governing Authority members for their contributions of vision and in establishing USTAR,” said Ivy Estabrooke, executive director for USTAR. “We look forward to working with the new members to ensure that we implement the state legislature’s recommendations in order to fulfill the potential of USTAR.”

Lunsford is the corporate vice president for Cardiac Surgery Systems at Edwards Lifesciences and has been in this role since Jan. 2012. He previously served as vice president and general manager when he joined the company in 2011. Lunsford has more than 25 years of experience in the medical device industry, including extensive experience in global sales and marketing. He has also served as president/CEO of Acorn Cardiovascular, president of commercial operations at ev3 and has held leadership positions at Scimed Life Systems/Boson Scientific, Allergan Medical Optics and Spinetech Inc.

Miller joins the board as president and CEO of the World Trade Center, an organization dedicated to expanding international business for the state of Utah. He previously served as Chief of Staff to Governor Gary Herbert, where he oversaw the Governor’s Office, the Governor’s Cabinet and state operations. He has also served as deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, where he was responsible for recruiting new business to the state and helping existing Utah businesses expand.

Opp joins the USTAR Governing Authority as corporate senior vice president of L-3 Communications Corporation. She began her career as an associate engineer with Sperry Univac and has held positions in engineering, product and business development, and program management at L-3’S CS-West division, and was most recently vice president of strategic development.

Solzbacher is the director of the Microsystems Laboratory at the University of Utah, and the director of the Center for Engineering Innovation. His research focuses on harsh environment microsystems and materials, including implantable, wireless microsystems but also high temperature and harsh environment compatible micro sensors. He is also co-founder of several companies such as First Sensor Technology and holds several board and advisory positions in the Unithed States and the European Union. Solzbacher was previously the chairman of the Association for Sensor Technology AMA until 2009.

Hale, the vice chairman for USTAR, is the current executive director of GOED. He previously served as president and CEO of the Utah Valley Chamber of commerce, as well as the vice president for university relations at Utah Valley University where he oversaw legislative affairs, marketing and community relations. He also worked as vice president for advancement vice at the university and was responsible for fund raising and all external university activities. He played a key role in transitioning Utah Valley State College into Utah Valley University.

“This is an exciting time for USTAR,” said Estabrooke. “It is a year of change, evaluation and expansion. The addition of these highly qualified board members will help us move forward on the solid foundation of those who have served before.”