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USTAR’s dedicated staff is located in various key locations throughout the state of Utah, ensuring their services are easily accessible.

The USTAR headquarters office is located in the World Trade Center at City Creek, and is shared with USTAR’s partner government agencies. The Governor’s Office of Economic Development, World Trade of Utah and the Office of Energy Development are co-located to help enhance the ability to build a stronger economy for Utah. The HQ staff oversees the operation of the USTAR mission and provides marketing and administrative functions.

  • Ivy Estabrooke


    Executive Director

    Ivy Estabrooke, Ph.D.

    Ivy was appointed as the USTAR Executive Director in May 2014.  Prior to joining USTAR she served as the program officer (GS-15) for basic research in the Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare & Combating Terrorism Department at the Office of Naval Research (ONR). While at the ONR, she managed a high risk/high payoff research portfolio including innovative neuroscience programs and cutting edge social and computational science programs. She has also developed and implemented a strategy for examining emerging technology areas globally. Additionally, Ivy led the department’s efforts in support of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics Education efforts (STEM), and managed a multi-million dollar yearly investment in the Sciences Addressing Asymmetric Explosive Threats (cIED) basic research efforts for the ONR.

    Ivy is a cognitive neuroscientist by training, with technical expertise in psycholinguistics, pharmacological interventions, and statistical modeling. She earned her doctorate in neuroscience from Georgetown University, an MS in National Security Strategy and Resource Management from the Eisenhower School of the National Defense University (formerly ICAF) and a BA in Biological Sciences from Smith College.

  • Headquarters

    Managing Director

    Brian Somers

    Brian joined USTAR as managing director in May 2017.  Brian came to USTAR from the Utah Department of Heritage & Arts (DHA), where he served as the deputy director. At DHA, he oversaw management, operations, policy, and legislative issues for the department and its six divisions.

    In prior positions, Brian was the director of communications for Congresswoman Mia Love’s first campaign, and served in the Office of Governor Gary R. Herbert as a member of his communications team and as his speechwriter. Previously, Brian worked as a contract consultant and provided strategic marketing, branding, and communications planning for public- and private-sector clients. He holds a degree in business management from George Mason University with a minor in history, and also spent a year as a visiting student at the University of Oxford where he completed intensive studies in strategy, marketing, and history.

  • Headquarters

    Program Manager for Technology Commercialization

    Barbara Araneo, Ph.D.

    Barbara recently joined the team at USTAR as Program Manager for Technology Commercialization. Barbara most recently served Novo Nordisk, Inc as a Director of External Innovation Sourcing for the company’s Global Research Unit. Barbara served on the faculty of the University of Utah’s Department of Pathology as Associate Professor.  In addition to her academic career, she was Vice President of Development at StemCells Inc., where she was responsible for directing the effort to bring the company’s neural cell-based product candidate from the exploratory and preclinical proof of principle stages into clinical development under the FDA regulatory process. Prior to joining StemCells,Barbara was a scientific co-founder and Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Pharmadigm, a privately held biopharmaceutical company with several products discovered at the company and developed for various stages of clinical development for inflammatory conditions.Barbara obtained her doctorate in Cellular Immunology from the University of Rochester and completed postdoctoral training at Washington University School of Medicine and the Department of Microbiology at UCLA.  In addition to a doctorate degree, Araneo holds certification in US Regulatory Affairs.

  • Justin Berry


    Public Affairs Officer

    Justin Berry

    Justin has more than 15 years experience working in communications, marketing and public relations. A large portion of his career has been spent in the theatre industry working in marketing and PR. While working for various theatres, he managed their brands, print and online marketing, social media and all aspects of engagement. He was responsible for creating marketing plans, producing collateral and advertisements and conducting audience surveys. He has also done freelance work for other businesses ranging from public relations to graphic design.  Justin began he communications career as a journalist. He is a graduate of Utah State University with a Bachelor of Science in communications (PR and journalism). He is also active in the Salt Lake theatre community as a performer.

  • Linda Cabrales


    Director of Strategic Communications

    Linda Cabrales

    Linda Cabrales joined USTAR in 2013, and currently serves as the Director of Strategic Communications.  She was previously the associate director of the SBIR-STTR Assistance Center (SSAC). Ms. Cabrales has worked in communications and marketing, management consulting, and investment banking, as well as co-founding a successful small business. She has government experience that includes working in the U.S. Congress for Representative Dan Marriott and the Federal Reserve Bank. Ms. Cabrales brings expertise in strategic business planning, project management, technical writing, product development, and recruiting and hiring practices with small businesses to USTAR. Ms. Cabrales holds a Bachelor’s degree in communication, with an emphasis in public relations and organizational communication from Brigham Young University and a Master’s degree in organizational management from University of Phoenix.

  • Mary Cardon

    SBIR-STTR Assistance Center


    Mary Cardon

    Mary Cardon leads the USTAR SBIR/STTR Assistance Center (SSAC), located at and operating in partnership with the Salt Lake Community College Miller Resource Center in Sandy, Utah. The center works with Utah’s technology companies exclusively on SBIR/STTR grants and currently has a better than 25% success rate for grants they assist with. Mary brings three decades of management experience to the center, coming most recently from GE Money, where she led the proposal writer team. While there, GE Money won the GSA travel and procurement award in 2007 as well as many multi-million dollar state and private sector programs. Prior to joining GE, Mary worked in management and communications, with more than 20 years in newspapers and small business in Idaho, California and Utah. Her experience includes project management, training, writing, marketing and sales. She is active in the community, volunteering with organizations improving the lives of women, children and the under-represented.

  • Lincoln Clark


    Finance Manager

    Lincoln Clark

    Lincoln joined USTAR as finance manager in 2015. Prior to joining USTAR, he held the position of divisional controller for Potash Ridge Corporation. He has extensive experience in fiscal management, financial management systems, internal controls, economic analysis, and financial audits. Clark holds  a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Business, minor in Finance, with Distinction from the Virginia Military Institute.

  • USTAR Innovation Center

    Lab/Makerspace Manager

    Ken Evans

    Ken has a diverse range of experience in aerospace and manufacturing including: CNC programmer, machine tool sales engineer, instructor, prototype machinist, and tool, die and mold maker. A published author of two CNC programming books and one geometric dimensioning and tolerancing text, Ken continues to write operation guides for use in the USTAR Innovation Center. A veteran of 20 years dedicated service to the Davis Applied Technology College as a machine tool technology instructor, Ken was recognized for building a world-class partnership between business, industry and the school. For six years in the 80’s he taught evening machining courses at a technical center in Colorado, while working full-time days as a CNC machinist and quality control inspector for a local aerospace job shop. Ken’s career originated at Cessna Aircraft in Wichita, Kansas where he completed their in-house “OJT” machinist training in 1976.

    He loves the outdoors. He also enjoys gardening, hiking, mountain biking and golf.

  • Elenor Heyborne


    Special Programs Manager

    Elenor Gomberg

    Elenor is Special Programs Manager for USTAR, and oversees the various programs such as TAP as well as overseeing the guidelines for the organization and its programs. Elenor earned her  degree in strategic communication from the University of Utah, and has more than eight years of experience in journalism and communications. Before coming to USTAR, Elenor worked at the Enterprise Business Newspaper for six years as production manager and copy editor.

  • Jared Goodspeed

    St. George Satellite Office

    Associate Director

    Jared Goodspeed

    Jared has been part of the USTAR team since 2013. HIs broad experience in entrepreneurship, industry and academics blend perfectly to support his role as associate director of USTAR’s South outreach team. A lifetime resident of southern Utah, Jared has scaled and successfully exited two local startups and earned his Bachelors of Science in finance from Dixie State University. He continues to participate as a technology project mentor for DSU’s Experiential Learning  and Leadership Institute. An outdoor enthusiast, you’ll find him in the off hour taking full advantage of Utah’s unrivaled backcountry.

  • Jillian Hunt


    Executive Assist

    Jillian Hunt

    Jillian serves as the executive assistant for Ivy Estabrooke, and as a secretary to USTAR’s Governing Authority Board. Jillian has extensive experience in administration, human resources, and communication. She came to USTAR from Intermountain Healthcare, where she worked for five years as she advanced in many administration roles. She holds an associate of science and plans to continue furthering her education in business administration. She enjoys spending time with her family, doing outdoor activities, painting and dancing.

  • USTAR BioInnovations Gateway

    Life Science Program Manager

    Marytheresa Ifediba Ph.D.

    Marytheresa joined USTAR as Program Manager for the BioInnovations Gateway in 2017.  She has years of medical research experience in fields ranging from imaging, drug delivery and cancer.  She also has a strong interest in entrepreneurship and was a New Venture Development Program Associate of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the University of Utah. Marytheresa earned her Bachelors and Masters of Science degrees in Bioengineering from the University of Utah and her doctorate in Medical Engineering and Medical Physics from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST).

  • SBIR-STTR Assistance Center

    Program Support Specialist

    Ashley King

    Ashley is the Program Support Specialist for USTAR’S SBIR-STTR Assistance Center (SSAC). In her role, Ashley coordinates the statewide work of the SSAC to include in-person workshops and seminars as well as webinars on the services the SSAC provides and the SBIR-STTR program overall. Prior to joining USTAR, Ashley worked at a Utah residential treatment center as a youth counselor and as a pharmaceutical technician. Ashley was also an intern at the Utah County Health Department where she taught community classes and planned events for local mayors, legislators, and other local leaders.

    Ashley earned her Bachelor of Science in Public Health from Brigham Young University in 2016.

  • Teresa McKnight

    USTAR Incubation Enterprises


    Teresa McKnight

    Prior to coming to Utah, Teresa was executive director of the Montana State University Innovation Campus, CEO of the South Dakota State University Growth Partnership, executive director of the South Dakota State University Innovation Campus, and director of the Utah State University Innovation Campus. During Teresa’s 24-year tenure developing university-related research parks, she raised more than $39 million in federal grants, state grants and private funding, developed three research parks totaling more than 360 acres, and recruited more than 90 high-tech companies to Utah, South Dakota and Montana. Teresa serves on the national board of University Research Parks (AURP). She has held various positions on city economic development councils, Chamber of Commerce boards, advisory boards, and science and technology councils. She is a graduate of Utah State University with a degree in business and administration and a minor in organizational communication.

  • Donna Milakovic

    Orem Satellite Office


    Donna Milakovic

    Before joining the USTAR team, Donna was executive vice president at the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce and worked more than 5 years in non-profit management and government advocacy. Her chamber role included assisting community and government leaders to further the goals of economic and community development for Utah County.

    Donna has a BA in English with a minor in Korean from Brigham Young University and is IOM certified through the US Chamber of Commerce Institute of Organizational Management.  Her professional career has run the gamut from government affairs and journalism to executive management.

  • Andrew Sweeney

    Energy/Cleantech Office


    Andrew Sweeney, Ph.D.

    Andrew is the director of USTAR’s Energy and Cleantech efforts, which focuses on the commercialization of conventional, unconventional, and renewable energy products, and energy efficiency technologies. Andrew is also the director of the Utah Energy Research Triangle (ERT), a competitive grant program aimed at fostering coordination among Utah’s top research universities in order to advance energy innovation and development in Utah. He holds a B.S. in chemistry from Virginia Tech and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Utah.

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