Senior Fellows


Karl Dakin - Senior Fellow

Karl Dakin - Senior Fellow

 Karl Dakin is a Senior Fellow for the Institute and President of DaVinci Quest. Previously he was the Principal at Karl Dakin LLC, a boutique law firm specializing in angel investment and business incubation. In this capacity he provided legal representation for emerging businesses, educational institutions, trade organizations and professional associations in a variety of legal matters including licensing, contracts, employment, intellectual property, litigation and dispute resolution on state, national and international transactions.

Mr. Dakin is the co-author of book: Technology Transfer: Financing and Commercializing the High Tech Product or Service–From Research to Roll Out.  Published in 1991 by Probus Publishing Ltd., the book became widely adopted as a primer on the subject of technology transfer. From 1995 through 1997, Mr. Dakin wrote the SoftLaw column for the IEEE Journal on Software.

Within the last five years, Mr. Dakin has participated in raising over $15 million in angel funding and grants for several small businesses and non-profit organizations. 


Steve Baker - Senior Fellow

Steve Baker - Senior Fellow

 Steve Baker is a founder of successful businesses, a corporate executive and business advisor. With proven leadership in every phase of business cycle from startup to exit, Steve has the unique ability to generate immediate and sustainable improvements in business. He directs strategic marketing and business development and has taken companies from startup to millions of dollars in revenues in such diverse industries as international travel, financial software, casinos, manufacturing, cosmetic surgery, and ergonomics.

Always the entrepreneur and Startup Junkie, Steve is a well known speaker and author of the award winning book PUSHING WATER UPHILL With A Rake.



Bert Vermeulen - Senior Fellow

Bert Vermeulen - Senior Fellow

Bert Vermeulen is a Senior Fellow at the DaVinci Institute, and the Founder of Corp21. Bert Vermeulen worked twenty years for manufacturing and technology companies including:

Over eight years with Hewlett Packard in Colorado, England and Russia as a senior manager in the marketing and quality functions, primarily for mass-storage technologies. This included managing the product strategy that generated a $150 million/year DDS tape drive business.

Over eight years with Plasco, Inc (a plastic injection molding business that is now part of Trend Technologies) as a business partner, vice president and general manager. Key experience included growing the business to $25 million in revenues, operating at world-class profitability, and selling the business to a strategic buyer. This included work in Colorado, Mexico and Hungary.

Shorter assignments with Incon (development of electrical connectors), Datametrics (development of optical shaft encoders) and the Boston Consulting Group (business strategy).

His academic background includes a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MBA from Stanford University.


Michael Cushman - The Engaging Guru - Senior Fellow

Michael Cushman - The Engaging Guru - Senior Fellow

Michael Cushman is a Senior Fellow at the DaVinci Institute who loves helping others create the future.  Over a 30 year career, as an executive, management consultant and thought leader, Michael has proven results in leading operational excellence. Michael’s expertise is in human development, advanced learning technologies and techniques, as well as business effectiveness. He specializes in creating award-winning products, successfully introducing profitable technology and process improvements at over 50 companies, including Fortune 500 companies such as Verizon, BT, Revlon, and Chevron.  In his role as an executive, Michael served in leadership positions at several startup companies on their way to market success.

Michael is the President of Key Change Institute.  He often speaks on the future of learning, career management, nonverbal communications, and advanced change techniques. He is a sought out expert and has appeared as a spokesperson on local and national TV.


Dave Taylor - Senior Fellow - Social Director

Dave Taylor - Senior Fellow - Social Director

Dave Taylor is a Senior Fellow at the DaVinci Institute and has been involved with the Internet since 1980 and is widely recognized as an expert on both technical and business issues. You can find him online at Ask Dave Taylor, The Attachment Parenting Blog and Dave On Film.







Paul Bauer - Senior Fellow

Dr. Paul Bauer - Senior Fellow

Paul Bauer is a Senior Fellow for the DaVinci Institute as well as a Clinical Professor of Information Technologies at the Daniels College of Business.

Paul Bauer teaches information and network technologies, innovation and social entrepreneurship at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver. Prior to joining DU, Paul was the Director of Corporate Learning and IT with Netbeam, Inc., a startup company providing wireless Internet access in Summit County, Colorado. Before Netbeam, Paul held a faculty position with TRA (Telecommunications Research Associates), a training company providing state-of-the-art technology courses to communications professionals.  Paul was a Program Director with 3Com Corporation, directing development of the ATM-based data access platform and the development and customer testing of the deployment of a CDMA wireless data system. Prior to joining 3Com, Paul founded his own consulting company and held numerous positions with US West Advanced Technologies, Bell Communications Research and Bell Laboratories. Paul was chairman (1991-92) and a founding board member of the Colorado Advanced Software Institute and served on the boards of the Colorado Software and Internet Association and University Hills Rotary Club.   Paul holds a BS in Physics from Saint Louis University and a PhD in solid state physics from the University of Kansas.


Joy Milkowski - Senior Fellow for the Institute and Founder of Access Marketing Company

Joy Milkowski - Senior Fellow for the Institute and Founder of Access Marketing Company

Joy Milkowski is a Senior Fellow for the Institute and Founder of Access Marketing Company. She specializes in bringing search engine marketing and web marketing intelligence to her clients in a way they can understand and measure. She has over a decade of marketing, sales and professional copywriting experience in a variety of areas including tech, industrial, direct to consumer sales, commercial real estate ventures, professional and collegiate athletics and Internet-based marketing.

With a background in Business Communications and News/Editorial Writing from the University of Kansas, Joy consults on overall sales and marketing strategy, tactical marketing programs and results-measurement for a range of companies from start-ups to established businesses. Joy works with companies to develop results-based search engine strategies and other marketing initiatives via the Internet. Through her work at Access Marketing, clients get surgical placement in paid search as well as actionable information from their statistics for marketing measurement and sales lead generation.

In addition, Joy trains small businesses and entrepreneurs who want to leverage the power of search engines as an advertising tool to reach their audiences. Students of her live seminars rave about her enthusiasm and spirit in addition to her knowledge of Google Adwords best practices. She holds the philosophy that “teaching small business owners to fish” instead of “giving them fish” empowers them to create results previously only enjoyed by companies with huge budgets.

Joy is a Certified Google AdWords Professional. 


Senior Fellow and Founder of Samson Design

Jeffery Samson - Senior Fellow - Founder of Samson Design

Jeffrey Samson is a Senior Fellow at the DaVinci Institute and has been involved in product development for 35 years, working on large systems like mass transit vehicles to micro-precise surgical scalpels and instruments.  In 1984, Jeff founded Samson Design, a product design and development firm, specializing in product solutions for the medical, consumer and high tech industries.   His firm’s clients include 3M, Medtronic, Emerson Process, Coleman, Pelco Security Systems, Lund, Gates, Coors, IBM, HP, Agilent, Ingersol-Rand, Sartorius, ADAC Laboratories, Valley Lab and Becton Dickinson. Under Jeff’s direction, his team has launched over 40 medical products including electro-surgical generators, sterilizers, a kidney dialyses machine, infusion pumps, an EKG harness, recyclable medical waste handling equipment, an intra-venous catheter, disposable surgical pencils, a closed chest heart by-pass surgical device, a vessel-clamping ligature, an ostomy pump and nozzle system, an inferred mammography machine and two nucleo-medical imaging machines.  The products have been recognized for design excellence, including the prestigious Medical Design Excellence Award in 1999.

Jeff received his masters’ degree in Industrial Design from Cranbrook Academy of Art and completed post-graduate work in Design Management at Harvard University.  In addition to his corporate and consultant R&D experience, Jeff served on the faculty of RIT, the University of Colorado, and the University of North Carolina.  He serves on several design and corporate advisory boards, has hosted a radio program on Advanced Materials and Technology, and facilitated special product innovation sessions nationally.


Michael Miller - Senior Fellow - VP, COO of Engage Communication Group

Michael Miller - Senior Fellow - VP, COO of Engage Communication Group

Michael W. Miller, a Senior Fellow at the DaVinci Institute, has been an impact player and recognized expert strategist in the Energy, Supply Chain, Sales, Business Coaching, and Operation fields for more than 25 years.  Voted a “Legend in Energy” by the National Association of Energy Engineers (AEE), Michael has worked with more than 30 Fortune 500 Companies, numerous small and large businesses, and more than 100 utilities world-wide.  Over the last 10 years, Michael has proven results of slashing more that $100 MM off operating costs. Currently, Michael is VP, COO of Engage Communication Group.  Prior to this, Michael has held roles as Global Manager responsible for a $250 MM operating budget at 41 worldwide industrial facilities, Founder CEO of a successful consulting firm BLUEnergy, LLC, VP of the country’s largest residential REIT (Responsible for a $250 Million budget), and Energy Director for the one of the world’s largest suppliers of metal and plastic packaging ($100+ Million budget).

As a Business Coach, Michael assists business professionals with their products and services to produce uncommon results by evaluating each major phase (Designing, crafting, effectively speak the narrative, fulfilling a specific market need, and satisfying customers).

Michael’s unique combination of professional accomplishments include a BS in Nuclear Science and Engineering (Virginia Tech), MBA (Summa Cum Laude), Six Sigma Black Belt, and five years of Advanced Business Training through The Aji Network (The Aji Network helps Business Professionals accumulate uncommon knowledge and superior capacity to think and act effectively with offers and practices to produce competitive advantage, superior value, and top 1% income results).  His professional certifications from the AEE include Certified Energy Manager (CEM), Certified Energy Procurement Professional (CEP), Carbon Reduction Manager (CRM), and Business Energy Professional (BEP).  He is lauded by his peers as an accomplished Speaker, Instructor, Leader, Thinker, and Business Strategist.


Daryl Oster - Senior Fellow

Daryl Oster - Sustainable Transportation Expert, Speaker, Designer, Author, Efficiency Expert, CEO ET3

Daryl Oster is founder and CEO of Inc.  He studied Mechanical Engineering at WWU in Washington. His experience includes:  marine, aeronautical, and mechanical design and, certification. He was a stockbroker and held a NASD principal license.  He served a term on Crystal River City Council, and represented municipal interests for his county on a five county regional planning board.

The company Oster founded in 1999 has grown to include over 110 experts, companies, and institutions in 9 countries.  The varied skills and technologies represented in this open and, growing consortium have resulted in an environmentally responsible plan and technology to solve the global dilemmas of oil based transportation.



Christie Ward - Principal of The Impact Institute

Christie Ward - Principal of The Impact Institute

Christie Ward coached and managed more than 200 of the best professional trainers around the world for CareerTrack , Inc., where she was director of training. in the ’90′s.  Since 1999, as an entrepreneur and principal in The Impact Institute, she has facilitated Communication topics that make the difference for performance, productive Teams, and effective Leadership. In 2004 she won the ASTD-RMC Best Practices award for a program that lowered union grievances at AT&T in Denver 66%.   She earned her CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) designation in 2009.  This certification is held by fewer than 10% of the professional speakers in the global speaker’s federation.

The programs created by The Impact Institute get at the heart of Diversity issues, and help people have authentic conversations to deal with Performance Management, Supervision and Leadership at all levels of the organization, public or private sector.


Cheryl Hennesey - Manager, Technical Training Team at Level 3 Communications and Senior Fellow at the DaVinci Institute

Cheryl Hennesey is a Senior Fellow at the DaVinci Institute. A leader in telecommunications field, Cheryl’s 20-plus years of industry experience encompass everything from end-to-end product development to operational strategy and senior leadership development.  

Known as an influencer, Cheryl’s professional experience allows her to see creative solutions and opportunities. In her current role managing a team of Technical Training Consultants and Trainers at Level 3 Communications and in prior telecom positions, she has filled roles from engineering, product development, testing and troubleshooting to training and strategic development. Most recently, she has taken on projects to develop award-winning corporate training curricula, improve customer experience, and save costs. 

Cheryl received her Master’s Degree in Applied Mathematics from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her experience includes consulting, simulation modeling, decision analysis, financial analysis, network planning, data collection and analysis, team leadership, and change management. An avid music enthusiast, Cheryl enjoys the many connections of mathematics and science that can be found in music and art. She believes that cultivating a continuing curiosity in fields like mathematics and science can uplift and empower others in yet unseen ways. 


Senior Fellow at the DaVinci Institute, business writer, nonprofit executive and consultant

Cara Russell, a Senior Fellow at the DaVinci Institute, is a business writer, nonprofit executive and consultant with a heartfelt belief in the power of one person to make a difference. For more than 20 years, Cara has worked for nonprofits in the areas of education, health, the arts, animal welfare and historic preservation. She served on the steering committee of her region’s Rural Philanthropy Days and became a nonprofit consultant as a way to share her energy, enthusiasm and experience to improve the sustainability of nonprofits of all sizes and stages. She’s also worked in a prison and as mayor of a small town, and she’ll be glad to share how those experiences changed her life! Cara holds a BBA in management from Texas Christian University and a master’s degree in Library Science from the University of North Texas.






The DaVinci Institute
Thomas J. Frey, Executive Director
PO Box 270315
Louisville, CO 80027
(303) 666-4133