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Cornell Entrepreneur Spotlight

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Dr. Alejandro Badia '85
Dr. Alejandro Badia, is the founder of OrthoNOW® - a franchise paving the way in orthopedic healthcare delivery. After years of a successful medical career, a renowned international speaking legacy and the founding of Badia Hand to Shoulder Center, Dr. Badia saw a need for specialized orthopedic urgent care centers to immediately assess and treat of a range of orthopedic issues. Each facility is fully equipped with digital imaging equipment and offers the latest techniques and treatments by a team of physicians and surgeons which allows for emergency treatment within 90 minutes. Alejandro is proud to have launched a revolutionary mobile app which allows patients to notify the center that they are coming and what time they expect to arrive. With the addition of Chief Financial Officer, Justin Irizarry ’02, the company was recognized as a 2014 “Top Ten Franchise Opportunity” in healthcare by Entrepreneur magazine and has been nationally recognized by the sector and media, worldwide including features in Franchise Times, Orthopedics This Week, South Florida Business Journal, Franchise USA Magazine and the Miami Herald. OrthoNOW®’s flagship center is in Doral Florida, with additional centers slated to open in Florida, Georgia and other locations.
Sridhar Tayur MS '88, PhD '90
Sridhar Tayur received his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Madras in 1986, and PhD in Operations Research from Cornell in 1990. He is the Ford Distinguished Research Chair and Professor of Operations Management at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. Tayur founded SmartOps Corporation in 2000 (acquired by SAP AG in 2013), and served as its CEO for 12 years. Tayur also founded OrganJet and GuardianWings – for-profit and non-profit social enterprises to make organ transplantation more efficient through the use of time-shared aircraft. SmartOps and OrganJet are both subjects of Harvard MBA teaching cases. He splits his time between Pittsburgh and Boston, where he holds a courtesy appointment at MIT.
Debra Wein '90
After earning her BS in Nutritional Sciences from Cornell (‘90) as well as a Masters of Science in Applied Physiology and Nutrition from Teachers College, Columbia University (‘93), Debra set out to differentiate herself as a leader in worksite wellness and an advocate for health by completing the rigorous requirements to become a Registered Dietitian as well as a Certified Wellness Program Director (CWPD) and a WELCOA (Wellness Council of America) Faculty member. In 2008, Debra opened the doors to Massachusetts-based Wellness Workdays ( in order to design and deliver worksite wellness programs to organizations that improve employee health and productivity and lower health care costs. As CEO of Wellness Workdays, Debra spearheads a fast-paced, growing business that has worked to improve employee health while providing strategic direction, innovative programs and measureable outcomes for her client partners. She creates custom-tailored programs that have won awards and recognition from several press and industry organizations, including the Boston Business Journal Champions in Healthcare Awards (2011, 2012 and 2013). To learn more, visit
Susan Sarich '91
SusieCakes' Founder, Susan Sarich, grew up in Chicago, where she was called Susie by her two beloved grandmothers, Mildred and Madeline.Every day Susie would come home from school to enjoy her grandmothers' company over a glass of milk and a fresh baked treat. This daily baking ritual and special time together in the kitchen left a lasting impression. When Susie grew up to become Susan and moved to the West Coast, she brought along her grandmothers' carefully recorded recipes on handwritten 4x6 cards. The pure and simple connection those recipes fostered helped Susan form SusieCakes bakeries to share her experience with others.Through SusieCakes, Susan honors Mildred and Madeline: both in her dedication to their baking traditions, and her commitment to providing women with progressive careers in the food & hospitality industry."You most likely recall a cake as part of your life's milestone celebrations. Cake has the unique ability to connect us with the people and events of our past. However, cake should not be reserved only for these special occasions. A delicious slice of cake can immediately bring a bit of celebration to an ordinary day. I hope you enjoy SusieCakes on your special occasions, as well as all the days in between."
Brian Distelburger '01
Brian Distelburger is the President and Co-Founder of Yext. He has extensive experience with startups and publicly traded companies in the online media and database marketing space. Brian believes Yext will revolutionize the way consumers connect with local businesses and looks forward to the continued challenge of building a great company. Brian is a graduate of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University.
Dr. Frank Douglas MS '68, PhD '73, MD '77
Frank Douglas, President and CEO of Austen BioInnovation Institute of Akron. Douglas, a former founder and executive director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center of Biomedical Innovation, is an award-winning industry veteran, with more than twenty-four years of experience in health care, pharmaceutical research, and biotechnology. He was highlighted in Cornell University’s Ezra Magazine online. He’s an extraordinary man with amazing accomplishments.
Kurt Holstein '82
Kurt Holstein started Azoic Ventures in July 2011. He evaluates and manages all investments. Kurt cofounded Rosetta in 1998 and helped Rosetta grow into a top 10 U.S. digital agency. Rosetta was then sold to Publicis for $575 Million in July, 2011. Kurt frequently speaks at industry events as well as guest lectures at both the Engineering School and Johnson School of Management at Cornell University. He received his BS in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering from Cornell University in 1982.
Howard Morgan PhD '68
Howard Morgan is a partner at First Round Capital. Howard was Professor of Decision Sciences at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Professor of Computer Science at the Moore School at the University of Pennsylvania from 1972 through 1985. He received a Ph.D. in Operations Research from Cornell University in 1968, and a B.S. in physics from City College of the City University of New York in 1965.