Meet the Advisory Board: Pat Dillon

If you're a TLI student or alumni you've met some of our amazing faculty and staff, but there is another important group of people working behind the scenes to ensure our programs offer the most relevant and high-caliber leadership and industry education possible. The Technological Leadership Institute Advisory Board does this by reviewing curricula, suggesting new programming opportunities, supporting TLI’s public engagement activities and sharing their technology industry expertise.

We wanted to introduce you to some of our esteemed members through our Meet the Advisory Board series.

This month, we introduce you to TLI Advisory Board Chair Pat Dillon, MBA. Pat currently serves as the director of the Minnesota Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Accelerator. In that role, she helps to facilitate the commercialization of deep tech ideas, concepts, and projects by leveraging federal research and development investments. Over her 30 years career with Minnesota SBIR/STTR, she has helped hundreds of small businesses secure millions of dollars. Her work in technology leadership made her a natural fit for TLI's advisory board.

"As someone who works closely with scientists, engineers, innovators, and entrepreneurs, I recognized that leading a technology-based company requires a CEO to possess many different skills sets to be successful.  In today’s global environment, startups and small businesses need a full understanding and appreciation of the dynamic forces that impact their businesses," she says. "As a board member, and now as the Chair, I believe my contribution to the Board is to advocate for any size company to leverage the TLI experts and resources to help them be more successful companies that impact job growth, cutting-edge research and development leading to commercialization of new products and services, and to support US technological competitiveness." 

In addition to her work with the TLI advisory board, Pat also collaborates closely with the University of Minnesota's Technology Commercialization Office, the Mayo Clinic, Office of Entrepreneurship, to support their startups. In 2021, she launched the first-ever graduate course called Accelerating SBIR/STTR Funding for Healthcare Innovations with the Mayo Clinic, Office of Entrepreneurship.

Pat is a recipient of the prestigious Small Business Administration (SBA) Tibbetts Award, and a recipient of the City Business’ 25 Most Innovative Woman Award (now the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal).  Pat has also served as a commercialization plan reviewer for three federal agencies on multiple times (National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Agriculture).  Pat is a retired United States Navy Commander combat veteran with 40 years of service. 

Visit the Advisory Board page to see the full list of members and learn more about each of them.