Technology Commercialization Team


Nicole Schwerbrock, PhD

Director, SBTDC Technology Development and Commercialization

image of Nicole Schwerbrock

Dr. Nicole Schwerbrock is Director of Technology Development and Commercialization at the SBTDC. She and her team assist with the formation and growth of businesses based on technological innovations, providing strategic and tactical advice to pre-venture entities, university start-ups and small businesses. The Technology Development team works with entrepreneurs, particularly those in the life sciences, to develop opportunities for technology commercialization, identify and leverage strategic resources within community and support student engagement. Nicole has direct experience with technology commercialization processes, university technology transfer and startup company formation, SBIR / STTR programs, and student engagement.

Prior to joining the SBTDC, Dr. Schwerbrock served as the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fellow at the UNC-Chapel Hill Eshelman School of Pharmacy (ESOP), where she engaged in identifying, supporting and promoting viable technology commercialization opportunities originating from the School. During her tenure, the School spun out four companies and submitted several successful SBIR/STTR grant applications. Previously, Dr. Schwerbrock served as an R&D scientist for both early-stage and commercial-stage pharmaceutical corporations. She served as Senior Scientist (and sole employee) for Qualiber, an ESOP spinout company as well as a drug development scientist at Sanofi (formerly, Hoechst AG; Frankfurt, Germany).

Nicole is multi-lingual and -cultural, as she holds undergraduate degrees in Math and Biology (Alexander von Humboldt School, Mexico City), a Master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences (University of Amsterdam), and a PhD from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC-CH. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Kathleen Caron at UNC School of Medicine.

Michael Carnes, MBA

Counselor, SBTDC Technology Development and Commercialization
SBTDC @ NCSU (Raleigh) |


Mike Carnes is a Technology Commercialization Counselor at the North Carolina SBTDC, a business development service of The University of North Carolina. Mike supports the SBTDC’s technology development and commercialization initiatives by providing business counseling, training, grant and equity capital formation support to NC entrepreneurs and small businesses. Mike has regional SBTDC responsibility, representing forty counties from the Research Triangle to the coast. He is known for his passion in helping businesses commercialize science and technology to solve real problems for real people. Mike also enjoys identifying and connecting entrepreneurs to statewide resources, helping them along the path to commercialization.

Mike earned a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology in 2006, a Professional Science Master’s in Microbial Biotechnology in 2012, and a Master’s in Business Administration with an emphasis in technology commercialization and entrepreneurship in 2013 from North Carolina State University. During his graduate education, he worked with a variety of hi-tech startups helping to drive strategic decision making and business planning. Before that time, Mike used his scientific and analytic skills as a bench researcher at a large agricultural biotechnology firm and NCSU’s Department of Plant Pathology.

John Ujvari, MBA

Counselor, SBTDC Technology Development and Commercialization
SBTDC @ UNC-Chapel Hill |

image of John Ujvari

John Ujvari is the SBIR Program Specialist with the North Carolina Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC). His primary responsibilities include counseling clients on the effective use of this federal funding program and supporting and promoting SBIR educational opportunities throughout the state via numerous outreach efforts.

These efforts include the publication of a monthly SBIR-focused newsletter, planning and execution of training events statewide, meeting clients one-on-one and reviewing proposals prior to submission. He also leads the SBTDC’s MBA summer internship program. Since joining the SBTDC in 2001, SBIR and STTR awards in North Carolina have increased 5-fold.

John earned his MBA degree from Wake Forest University’s Babcock Graduate School of Management Prior to returning to graduate school, John held the position of Research Associate at Westat, a contract research firm in Rockville, Maryland. John earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia.

Chris Veal, MBA

Counselor, SBTDC Technology Development and Commercialization
SBTDC @ WSSU (Triad) |

image of chris veal

Chris Veal is a Technology Commercialization Counselor at the North Carolina Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC). Chris supports the SBTDC’s technology development and commercialization initiatives by providing business counseling, training, grant and equity capital formation support to entrepreneurs and small businesses in North Carolina. Chris covers an area in the middle section of the state that stretches from Research Triangle Park west to Statesville (Research Triangle Park to I-77). With nearly 20 years of experience in management in private industry and government, including two entrepreneurial ventures, Chris is well equipped to address the issues facing small businesses. He also spent some time as an engineer, which provides a technical element to his experience. Chris’ experience has been in a variety of industries, including textiles, aviation/airport management, photography, and construction.

Chris earned a Bachelor of Science in Textile Engineering from Georgia Tech in 1994, an Associate Degree in Aviation Management in 1999, and a Masters in Business Administration from Wake Forest University in 2003. The blend of technical and business backgrounds through his education and work experience enhances his ability to assist companies with the commercialization of new technology and the business development to support such commercialization.

Bryan Dennstedt

Counselor, SBTDC Technology Development and Commercialization
SBTDC @ ASU (Western NC) |

Bryan Dennstedt

Bryan Dennstedt is a Technology Commercialization Counselor based at Appalachian State University’s facility in Hickory. He is serving 36 counties in Western NC. Bryan has been a Chief Technology Officer at various software and medical companies for the past 10 years. Prior to that was a software architect and developer with IBM and Xerox. He has assisted startups and accelerating businesses in project management, software architecture, and design and quality assurance systems. As a diverse technology entrepreneur, he has a wide technology skill set; but, his real passion is in helping companies turn new ideas into viable businesses that can scale.

He has over 20 years of direct experience in software, hardware, and networking technologies, and has helped various other companies raise money, and scale up their technology departments.

Rachel Burton

Counselor, SBTDC Technology Development and Commercialization
SBTDC @ UNC-Chapel Hill |

Rachel Burton is a Technology Commercialization Counselor, based at UNC-Chapel Hill and is co-located with UNC KickStart Venture Services. Rachel Burton brings fifteen years of experience building start-up companies and commercializing technologies in the agriculture and energy sectors in addition to five years focused on product innovation and team management at a top-tier global biotechnology firm. Burton’s undergraduate degree is from UNC-CH, combined with professional education in agriculture and automotive-diesel technology. Rachel was a co-founder and owner of Piedmont Biofuels Industrial out of Pittsboro, North Carolina, a premier renewable fuels company in North Carolina. At Piedmont, she authored, won, and administered over 10 state and federal grants, including serving as a principal investigator (PI) for multiple Phase I and Phase II SBIR awards. Previously Burton’s work on biotechnology advancement in renewable fuels was awarded the i2i Innovation award at South by Southwest (SXSW), a United States Biodiesel Researcher of the Year, and was nominated for the Presidential EPA Green Chemistry Award. As an experienced ag-tech entrepreneur, Burton is passionate about helping other small businesses that are investing in the clean energy and sustainable agriculture or impacting climate change with biological solutions.