Rich Notargiacomo »
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 the Saunders College where he taught courses in strategy and business consulting, as well as mentoring Capstone teams in Saunders’ Online Executive MBA program. He joined RIT full time in 2010 working in Venture Creations and the Simone Center for Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship where he was one of the architects and first managers of the Saunders Summer Startup Program. During that time he also created the Saunders Student Consulting program which deploys Saunders graduate students on a fee-for-service basis to provide consulting services to companies in the Rochester area. Following a brief stint as Director of Student Innovation at the Simone Center, he took on the leadership of Venture Creations in 2015 where he is working to drive increased deal flow from student and faculty led businesses as well as continuing to serve other companies that are aligned with RIT’s scholarly and research missions and objectives.
Prior to joining RIT Rich had a lengthy career at Eastman Kodak Company where gained recognition as a seasoned new products and innovation professional with a track record of successfully commercializing new products. At Kodak he held managerial and executive-level roles in a variety of business/product units as well as a broad range of functional areas, giving him the ability to look at business opportunities and problems from multiple perspectives. 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.
Rich is a past Chairman and President of the Product Development and Management Association, a professional organization for people engaged in innovation and new product development where he drove the internationalization of the organization. He is also a Member of the Board of Governors of the Hillside
Cindy Papaleo »
Senior Staff Assistant
As Senior Staff Assistant at Venture Creations, Cindy works to ensure that the incubator’s day to day operations proceed smoothly and effectively so that our client companies can focus on their work. She supports the Director and the team, overseeing administrative and facility operations, as well as coordinating marketing, events, sponsorships, and other related projects. She leverages her strong financial background, developed in the accounting industry, to manage billings and other financial matters pertaining to the building and our clients.
Cindy also is Venture Creations’ primary liaison with its clients on data collection and reporting, as well as on marketing related activities. She maintains a close relationship with other RIT departments essential to Venture Creations’ successful operation.
Prior to joining Venture Creations in early 2015, Cindy had a lengthy career at KPMG LLP as an engagement management coordinator working closely with partners and managers assisting them with monitoring and managing their projects for the upstate area offices of Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse and Albany.
Cindy’s passion for entrepreneurship in the Rochester community has evolved through her assistance and management of the RocGrowth Candids and RocGrowth Coffee events. RocGrowth is a grass-roots community effort working to nurture and grow the emerging entrepreneurial community in the Rochester area.
Jeff Arywitz »
Jeff Arywitz has been coaching entrepreneurs since 2010 when he began volunteering for The Entrepreneurs Network. Through this experience, Jeff found a new passion in helping companies develop successful, investable business plans and creating effective, executable growth strategies.
Now, 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 Company.
In addition to his work at Venture Creations, Jeff coaches student and faculty entrepreneur teams at RIT’s Simone Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and teaches innovation in RIT’s School of Individualized Studies.
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 Corporation. He held managerial and executive-level roles that were well balanced, with expertise in product line management, strategic planning, project management, engineering, manufacturing, and business development. Brad held multiple positions with global responsibility in addition to expatriate assignments in Singapore and Portugal.
Brad is a consensus builder with a sense of urgency. He has a passion for working with energetic start-ups to help them define their value propositions and successfully deliver new technology products and services.
Brad has an MBA from the Harvard Business School with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati.