Hands-on Coaching

Incubator member companies are assigned professional coaches that meet with them weekly. Coaches mentor, advise, and suggest methods and procedures that help members overcome difficulties and move them forward to commercializing their concept. The high success rate of our members relies on this direct one-to-one coaching process.

Meet our coaches:

Rich Notargiacomo

After five years as director of RIT’s Venture Creations Incubator, Rich Notargiacomo brings a diverse set of leadership and business experiences gained at RIT, in business, and in not-for-profit organizations. Rich’s RIT career started in 2003 as adjunct professor at Saunders College of Business. He joined RIT full time in 2010 working in Venture Creations and the Simone Center for Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He took on the leadership of Venture Creations in 2015. Prior to joining RIT, Rich had a lengthy career at Eastman Kodak Co. where he gained recognition as a seasoned new products and innovation professional with a track record of successfully commercializing new products.  Between Kodak and RIT, Rich was President of Innovation Focus – Rochester, LLC, a consulting and executive coaching business that helped clients grow through innovation and new products.

Jeff Arywitz

Jeff has been coaching entrepreneurs since 2010 when he began volunteering for The Entrepreneurs Network. As a team member at Venture Creations Incubator, Jeff is dedicated to helping new technology companies and clean energy startups build strong businesses. With years of extensive experience working at the intersection of marketing, product development, and customer engagement, Jeff is passionate about delivering success for new technology products and services. Prior to 2010, Jeff held executive roles in technology marketing, sales, product development, and e-commerce management with several multinational companies, most notably the Eastman Kodak Co. Jeff is a graduate of RIT, with an MBA from the Saunders College of Business.

Brad Sparks

Brad started his Venture Creations career in 2014 by leading several early-stage RIT clean technology companies through New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) Nexus-NY program. He coaches teams and helps them conduct extensive customer discovery, develop their lean canvas, write business plans, and raise capital investment. Prior to joining Venture Creations, Brad had a lengthy career in the automotive industry working for General Motors and Delphi Corp. Brad has an MBA from the Harvard Business School with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati.

Katherine O'Brien

Katherine has been coaching startup and small manufacturing businesses for the past five years as owner of ROC City Consultants. Her clients have included startups in clean energy, novel materials for technology advancement and consumer product innovations and services. She has worked with small manufacturing companies in the areas of tool and die, batteries and development of new manufacturing test equipment. Prior to running her own consulting company, Katherine had the opportunity to work at Xerox. She has a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from University of Rochester and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Williams College.