Neil Cohen

Neil Cohen is the Founder and Chairman of Emerald Development Managers, LP, a venture capital firm focused on developing early stage companies across enterprise software, healthtech and industrial tech. Deals are sourced from decades-long relationships with academic research institutions, operating managers, incubators, and like-minded VCs. Emerald’s expertise was developed over more than 25 years by founding, building, and running an industrial company with a current market value over $1 billion while simultaneously funding venture capital investments and commercializing university research. Cohen sits on the Board of Directors of Proscia, TBT Pharma and Sustained Nano Systems, and is a Board Observer for LifeSprout and WATT Fuel Cell.

At The Johns Hopkins University, Cohen is a member of the advisory boards of the Whiting School of Engineering, the Institute of NanoBio Technology, and the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics. He is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Advisors of the Columbia University Irving Medical Center and a member of the Advisory Board of Columbia’s Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center. Cohen is actively involved with university researchers, technology transfer offices, incubators, and key opinion leaders to support VC/University collaborations, especially within the deep tech and biotech sectors.

Cohen is also a Co-Founder, Co-CEO, and a Member of the Executive Committee of American Rock Salt Company LLC, the largest salt mine in America. He is an entrepreneur at heart and is passionate about sharing his operating experience with others.


AJ Donelson

AJ Donelson is a Johns Hopkins alumnus who has been mentoring JHU start-ups and researchers since 2015. Donelson also serves on the review committee for the Cohen Translational Engineering Fund. As a Mentor-in-Residence, Donelson helps faculty and staff think about commercialization not only from a traditional customer discovery and marketplace focus but also developing awareness and support for a product from a broader range of stakeholders, including government policy makers and nontraditional funding sources. Currently, he is mentoring faculty from both the Whiting School of Engineering and Krieger School of Arts and Sciences on cutting-edge technologies in material sciences, engineering, renewable energy, chemistry and bioengineering.

Donelson’s unique approach as a Mentor-in-Residence is shaped by his background as an attorney, public affairs professional and entrepreneur. His career spans 35-plus years advising private sector clients on opportunities and challenges at the intersection of business and government. Along the way, he helped build and sell two public affairs companies to publicly traded global marketing communications firms. He headed 3M’s Washington office, advising the Fortune 500 company’s CEO and senior management on public policy issues before Congress and the federal government.

As an independent consultant, he brings to clients a business development approach that incorporates strategies focused on building relationships and communicating effectively with customers, regulators, elected officials, third party stakeholders, and marketplace influencers.


Claire Broido Johnson

Claire Broido Johnson is a senior operations executive, entrepreneur, and investor with a proven 25-year track record in creating, managing, and executing successful businesses and products, particularly in the clean energy and climate tech space. Broido Johnson is a founder of Sunrock Distributed Generation, which enables access to clean energy solutions for local communities and organizations of all sizes through its network of trusted partners and installers. She is also the President of CBJ Energy, where she works with financers, contractors, developers, integrators, and building and land owners to create solutions to our climate change problems. Her clients have included: Baltimore City Public Schools, Katerra, Power52 Energy Solutions, Next Step Living and more. She recently left the Managing Director of the Momentum Fund.


Dan Kammen

Dan Kammen is the Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy at the University of California, Berkeley, with parallel appointments in the Energy and Resources Group, the Goldman School of Public Policy, and the department of Nuclear Engineering. He was appointed the first Environment and Climate Partnership for the Americas (ECPA) Fellow by Secretary of State Hilary R. Clinton in April 2010.

Kammen is the founding director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL), Co-Director of the Berkeley Institute of the Environment, and Director of the Transportation Sustainability Research Center. He has founded or is on the board of over 10 companies, and has served the State of California and US federal government in expert and advisory capacities.

He was Assistant Professor and Chair of the Science, Technology and Environmental Policy Program at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University before moving to the University of California, Berkeley. Kammen has served as a contributing or coordinating lead author on various reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change since 1999. The IPCC shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He serves on the Advisory Committee for Energy & Environment for the X-Prize Foundation.


Bill McNamara

Bill McNamara is President of EcoEnergy LLC, a renewable energy consulting and project development company in Old Lyme, Ct. EcoEnergy serves utility and commercial clients, and develops privately financed solar and energy storage projects in the North East US. Bill was a international executive with GE Power in China, and managed other GE international operations during his career with the company. Bill is a 1976 Johns Hopkins grad (BA Political Science), and has an MBA from RPI. Bill serves on the advisory board of the Cohen Translational Fund, and is acting as a Mentor in Residence for multiple projects.