Melissa K. Dobson
Melissa K. Dobson was in the business of helping people via technology and developments in clinical medicine as an associate general counsel of IP and innovation for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, when she saw the economic downturn caused by COVID-19. With more than 20 years of experience in the field, she recognized another outcome of the pandemic—an entrepreneurial spirit emerging around the world, including competition spanning the globe such as in China and Russia. She knew that people were striking out on their own, starting businesses, and taking on new endeavors, and would need her expertise to compete on a global scale. As someone who once led a biotech startup to $6 million in revenue in just 18 months, and with a doctorate of law degree specializing in intellectual property and national security from Syracuse University, a Master of Science degree in cell, molecular biology and biochemistry from Binghamton University, and a University of Rochester bachelor’s degree focusing on medicine and health policy, Melissa was the right person for the task. In July 2020, she founded the Southeast Innovation Institute (SEII), a not-for-profit 501(c)3 research institute, headquartered in Northeast Georgia. In its inaugural year, SEII has already served 150 clients across the U.S. and situated servicing teams across the globe.
From their Georgia headquarters, as well as offices in New York, Texas, Louisiana and Colorado, SEII operates through four divisions: R&D; the Small Business Innovator (SBI), which aligns the technological development of intellectual property with market opportunity across various technological areas of expertise and builds on the digital development of data that continues to shape our future; the Emerging Challenges Consortium (ECC), which seeks out economic and community needs and works to pair the right tech to those areas to create viable solutions; and the Commercial Capabilities Integration Hubs (CCIH; See https://ccih.tech), which provides technology for the U.S. military. “In a nutshell, we align the tech needs of the Department of Defense and government with solutions from the private sector,” Melissa explains. Efforts also extend in partnering with military services and commands to facilitate the collaborative development of technology from the ground up. In this pursuit, Melissa leads teams of cyber-professionals, project directors, and IT experts to develop innovative solutions for both government and commercial markets, and as senior counsel, advises on business, intellectual property, cyber compliance and risk mitigation. SEII also collaborates on programs for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR), which aligns the technological development of intellectual property with market opportunities.
For Melissa, developing SEII has been a gratifying experience. “I love really cool technology, so to be on the cutting-edge of its application is incredible,” she says. But it’s not just the tech that fascinates her. “I love working with people and my role is fairly demanding, so there’s that element of challenge that drives that momentum to success.” It’s no surprise that so many industries, start-up enterprises and college graduates seek her mentorship on healthcare, energy, transportation, and defense, or that she was published in Launch Network and holds two patents. As well, Melissa provides exemplary leadership, not only amongst peers but also as a model to her college age sons who have aspirations to serve communities spanning healthcare and defense.
Melissa K. Dobson
Founder & CEO — Southeast Innovation Institute (SEII)
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