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Ann Arbor SPARK Co-Hosts Michigan Day at SXSW’s Midwest House with Panel on Strategic Partnerships and Groundbreaking R&D

February 22, 2023 Press Releases
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Ann Arbor SPARK is proud to announce it will co-host Michigan Day on March 13 at Midwest House during SXSW (South by Southwest), the world’s largest gathering of creatives and innovation leaders. As part of this event, Ann Arbor SPARK will lead a panel discussion titled, Changing the Game: Transforming the Landscape of Innovation with Strategic Partnerships and Groundbreaking R&D.

Panelists will include Mike Psarouthakis, director of ventures and Accelerate Blue managing director for Innovation Partnerships at the University of Michigan; Kim Brown, senior director of marketing at Blumira; Tom Duensing, head of product development, LPS Division for Sartorius; and Roger Peene, vice president of product and business development at MemryX. Moderating the panel is Margarita Hernandez, Ph.D., vice president of entrepreneurial services for Ann Arbor SPARK. The panel will be held on Monday, March 13 at 1:30pm CST at Midwest House (hosted at the Half Step on Rainey, 75 1/2 Rainey St, Austin, Texas) and will be available for viewing online shortly after.

The panel will explore the role of public-private funding initiatives in supporting innovation, research and development, commercialization, and manufacturing activities for diverse technology companies. The discussion will delve into the importance of partnerships with academic institutions, private corporations, and economic development hubs in creating an environment where startups, venture capitalists, and a range of talent can thrive. The panelists will also address key resources currently in place to support R&D developments and discuss challenges in creating a sustainable innovation ecosystem.

“SPARK continues to see Midwest House at SXSW as an important platform to communicate to a national and international audience about our sustainable innovation ecosystem,” said Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK. “This is a great opportunity to showcase the incredible work being done in the Ann Arbor region to support innovation and technology companies, and to explore new ways to collaborate and drive economic growth in the region.”

Attendees will gain a deeper understanding of the initiatives and partnerships that are helping to drive economic growth and job creation in the region, and will have the opportunity to network with innovators, investors, and thought leaders from across the Midwest.

“Ann Arbor SPARK’s participation in Midwest House is a testament to the organization’s commitment to driving innovation and economic growth in their region. Their panel will bring valuable insights and best practices to the conversation, and we’re thrilled to have them as a key player in this year’s event,” said Ted Velie, co-founder of Middle West LLC, which organizes Midwest House at SXSW.

In addition to SPARK’s planned programming, Krutko will participate in the SmartCity & Transportation Round Table on Tuesday, March 14th, an invite-only networking event for key players in the transportation and smart city industries. The event will feature several other notable table hosts, including the Michigan Office of Mobility and Electrification, Detroit Regional Partnership, Newlab, TechNexus, Cruise, and others.

To learn more about Ann Arbor SPARK’s participation at Midwest House, visit