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 Salt Lake City, Utah. The HQ staff oversees the operation of the USTAR mission and provides marketing and administrative functions.
USTAR SBIR Center
SBIR Program Manager
April Young Bennett
April joined USTAR in 2017. Prior to joining USTAR, she was communications director at Voices for Utah Children, a nonpartisan organization focused on healthcare, taxation, juvenile justice, education and other policy issues that affect children. April worked for the Utah Department of Health for over a decade as an epidemiologist, media liaison and public health professional, addressing health disparities among minorities and other underserved Utahns. She completed internships and fellowships with the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System, the Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy and the U.S. Senate. Her volunteer service has included serving as a Board member, spokesperson, and writer for a variety of organizations concerned with women’s issues. She received her Master of Public Administration from the University of Arizona and her Bachelor in Community Health Education from Utah State University.
Director, Communications and Programs
Linda joined USTAR in 2013, and currently serves as the director of communications and programs. She was previously the associate director of theUSTAR SBIR Center. Linda 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. Linda brings expertise in strategic business planning, project management, technical writing, product development, and recruiting and hiring practices with small businesses to USTAR. She 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.
USTAR SBIR Center
Mary leads the USTAR SBIR Center, 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.
USTAR Innovation Center
Prototype Lab Manager
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.
Senior Systems Strategist
Kristen joined the USTAR team in July 2017 with more than 20 years experience delivering innovative and pragmatic solutions for State and Federal government. Successful projects range from automation of key internal operations to an online cemeteries and burials database. She has worked in many different sectors including digital libraries, environmental compliance, museum collections, and archaeology. She brings expertise in IT strategy, IT project management, business analysis, GIS, database management, product management, grants management, process improvement, and customer relationship management. Kristen earned a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology from Utah State University and a Master’s Certificate in Project Management for IS/IT from Villanova University. Kristen is a certified Project Management Professional and Advanced Salesforce Administrator.
Emerging Technology Development Lead
Andrew Sweeney, Ph.D.
Andrew is is an Emerging Technology Development Lead for USTAR, which focuses on the commercialization of of new technologies and projects. 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.
USTAR SBIR Center
SBIR Program Specialist
Danny joined the USTAR team in February 2018. Prior to USTAR, Danny was at the University of Utah where he served as a Research Administrator and advanced in many administrative roles within the research enterprise. He has extensive experience in research, professional training development, grants and contracts, and administration. Danny holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Utah where he is also a board member on the Young Alumni Board.