Paul Hartgen, Vice President, Member Programs

Paul Hartgen serves as the Executive Director of the Innovation Research Interchange (IRI) and the Vice President of Member Programs at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). With a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of New Hampshire, Paul’s career spans leadership roles in state associations like the Restaurant Association of Maryland and the Nevada Restaurant Association. At IRI, he spearheads initiatives to position the organization at the forefront of the innovation community, recalibrating its agenda to address emerging challenges. At NAM, he enhances member value, notably through initiatives like the Manufacturers Retirement 401(k) & Savings Plan, supporting small and medium-sized enterprises. Paul’s adept leadership extends from overseeing strategic direction to navigating diverse interests. Beyond his professional endeavors, he enjoys outdoor pursuits like sailing, skiing, and kayaking. While fatherhood has somewhat tempered his adventures, he eagerly anticipates sharing these experiences with his family. Based outside Annapolis, Maryland, Paul balances his passion for industry advancement with family adventures and personal growth.

Lee Green, AVP, Research and Strategy

Lee Green serves as Assistant Vice President of Content and Strategy at the Innovation Research Interchange, a division of the National Association of Manufacturers. With over 15 years of expertise, she specializes in addressing industry needs in innovation, sustainability, and digitalization, including AI. Lee is passionate about foresighting trends to anticipate future developments and prepare industry for the unknown. She holds an MA in international studies from the University of Reading (UK) and a BA in political science and international relations from the University of Toledo. Lee resides in northern VA with her husband, twins, and dog.

Meetal Desai, Research Assistant

Meetal Desai has serves as a Research Team Associate at the Innovation Research Interchange (IRI) for 5.5years.   In this role, she conducts comprehensive data and trend analysis, spearheads the development of new research content, and offers invaluable support to the Assistant Vice President of Strategic Communities.   Meetal has recently authored research content around knowledge management, strategic road mapping, uses of generative AI, and how to scale new technology across different functions.   Prior to joining IRI Meetal worked at Phoenix Houses of the Mid-Atlantic for 10 years as a healthcare administrator and aided clients seeking substance abuse rehabilitation through Medicaid guidance and ensuring compliance with state regulations.

Meetal holds a master’s degree in public administration from New York University, and she is also a recipient of a Health Economics Certificate from Harvard University Business School and Leadership Certification from the University of Virginia.

Sabrina Zarifi, Manager Innovation Programs

Sabrina Zarifi currently serves as a Manager of Innovation Programs at the Innovation Research Institute, a Division of the NAM, In this role, I collaborate with members, oversee conference logistics, and lead marketing efforts to support innovation initiatives.  Previously with the IRI, I actively contribute to innovative initiatives and support program development, collaborating with cross-functional teams to drive effective and efficient operations. My dedication to results-oriented approaches and a collaborative work environment ensures successful project outcomes. Beyond my professional pursuits, I am deeply committed to my Afghan community. The last 2 years I  volunteered with the Afghan American Community Organization (AACO), where I empowered and supported the community through various initiatives.

Sabrina holds a Master of Studies in Law with a concentration in Business Law and a second concentration in Compliance from USC Gould School of Law. She received her BA in Legal Studies with a minor in Sociology from UC Santa Cruz.

Victoria Kanevsky, AVP, Learning Programs

Victoria Kanevsky serves as Assistant Vice President of Learning Programs at Innovation Research Interchange a division of the NAM. She leads training initiatives, including practical master classes, a partnership with Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, and the IRI Research Technology Management (RTM) innovation business journal. Victoria is passionate about adult learning across diverse innovation domains. She holds a Master’s in Public Administration from American University, DC, and a graduate certificate in Instructional Design from UW-Stout. Beyond the professional realm, her passion for continuous growth extends through world traveling with her family, experimental culinary adventures without recipes, and creative expression through painting.

Rancier Gragirene, Coordinator

Rancier Gragirene joined IRI May 2024 where he serves as the Thought Leadership Coordinator where he leads the organization of virtual events, manages member content libraries, and maintains records of member engagement to support community-building efforts. Prior to starting at IRI, Gragirene served 5 years in the Army. He enlisted in the United States Army in 2018 as a Multichannel Transmission Systems Operator-Maintainer. He was stationed at Fort Drum, NY in 2019 in an S-6 shop. He deployed in 2020 to Afghanistan where he was the Foreign Military Advisor working with many NATO allies such as Romania, Bulgaria, and Australia on communications. He deployed again in 2022 where he was the head of the Network Operations office. Gragirene was honorably discharged at the rank of Sergeant in 2023. After the military, he began working with the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) as a Veteran Services Assistant at American University where he aided Veterans and other military-connected students to optimize the usage of their VA education benefits to fund their tuition and fees.

Rancier is from Miami, Florida and a recent graduate from American University with a degree in Political Science. He is expected to receive his Masters in Public Administration with a Specialization in Policy Analysis in May 2025.

Colin DeFelice, Associate Director, Thought Leadership Program Development

Colin De Felice serves as the Associate Director of Program Development for the National Association of Manufacturers. He focuses on continuous improvement activities to drive efficiencies between membership and programming for the IRI group. Colin is an IASSC Certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt (ICGB) and is a practitioner of DMAIC solution solving. Prior to coming into role, Colin worked for Gartner, Inc. supporting manufacturers on Information Technology, Industry 4.0 and Emerging Tech Trends. In this role, he advised CIO/CTO’s and IT leaders undergoing digital transformations while leveraging best-in-class practices. He studied Operations, Supply Chain, and Finance at the Darla Moore School of Business where he completed a Capstone Consulting engagement with Schneider Electric, assessing and improving manufacturing plant operations. He looks forward to working with your team to drive impactful innovation.

Kensie Yeates, Associate Director, Member Engagement

Kensie Yeates serves as the Associate Director for Member Engagement at the IRI, where she nurtures relationships with key innovation leaders to ensure they are connected to valuable resources and are supported in their work. Prior to her current role, Kensie worked in public policy fundraising where she fostered relationships with charitable foundations to help streamline their giving plans and match their charitable interests to giving opportunities. A native of Louisiana, Kensie graduated from Louisiana State University, where she studied political communication.  A self-proclaimed serial hobbyist, Kensie has been known to switch interests regularly, but she’s always enjoyed cooking for her family and friends, getting outside, and trying her hand at creative writing. However, at this writing, she is mostly into playing tennis.

Yat Ming Ooi, Editor-in-Chief, Research Technology Management Journal

Yat Ming Ooi serves as the Editor in Chief at Research-Technology Management and editorial review board member at Technology Innovation Management Review, where he reviews submissions to the journal, providing direct, constructive and developmental feedback to the authors. He is a lecturer of innovation management and a core member of the Circular Economy in Business Research Beacon at the University of Auckland, where he researches, teaches and consults on innovation management, technology strategy and digital transformation.

Tammy McCausland, Managing Editor, Research Technology Management Journal

Tammy McCausland serves as the managing editor of Research-Technology Management since 2019. She’s also a freelance writer and editor, specializing in the nonprofit, higher education, and healthcare sectors. She has a graduate degree in journalism from Carleton University and a bachelor’s degree in English literature from the University of Waterloo.

About IRI

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