Innovation Fellow Cohorts

FALL '22
Amanda Laird
Amanda Laird

Amanda was awarded the Waste360 "40 Under 40 Award" (awards are presented by Waste360 to recognize and reward the rising stars and young professionals within the waste and recycling industry). She is a successful serial entrepreneur building companies in unexpected, large, total addressable markets. Most recently, she founded and scaled a commercial equipment startup that provided nationwide service to more than a dozen fortune 50 companies within the first two years. She graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural leadership and development. As a Fellow, she is excited to collaborate with industry partners and research leaders to identify critical challenges in the agri-food industry and discover potential solutions to address those challenges. Also, the opportunity to innovate at an accelerated rate through the venture studio model in one of the fastest growing technology segments.

Fun Fact:

Amanda enjoys listening to business podcasts, traveling to new places, and spending time with her husband and their three sons.

Charles Petrini-Poli
Charles Petrini-Poli

Charles conceptualized, bootstrapped, developed, and launched the first “rep-free” program in the U.S. to help hospitals remove sales bias from their clinical areas. He also achieved ranking as the top distributor for Biomet Spine in the world. He attended the University of Dubuque and graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science degree in business. As a Fellow, he is excited about immersing himself in the DIAL Ventures program, learning through all of the varied experiences and travel opportunities.

Fun Fact:

Charles lived in Europe and speaks French.

Cilas Lee
Cilas Lee

Cilas helped his team at Blueridge Development Group hit top 1% in sales competing with all of North America. He also raised $100,000 in funding for a DOD project for Mosaic Labs. Cilas has a Bachelor of Science degree in management information systems from Colorado State University. As a Fellow, he looks forward to the opportunity for proving grounds and mentorship.

Fun Fact:

He enjoys musical arts from Broadway, a capella, and musicals.

Kerrigan Hodnett
Kerrigan Hodnett

Kerrigan led the Customer Service and Web/eCommerce divisions of a large company and generated $3 billion in revenue within 5 years. At PCH International, he led a product development organization in Shenzhen, China where he more than doubled their revenue and helped bridge the gap between the San Francisco and Shenzhen offices. He graduated from the U.S. Navy Storekeeper A School. He is excited about being a Fellow because of the opportunity to learn from industry experts and ultimately the possibility of having a positive impact in the agri-food sector.

Fun Fact:

Kerrigan’s daughter and son were born on the same day, two years and one hour apart. "I'd like to take credit for the planning, but it was pure luck."

Raad Khan
Raad Khan

As a Fellow, Raad is most excited about having the opportunity to research and develop a digital solution that will not only improve our current food and agricultural systems but also will promote global health. He obtained a Master of Science in nanotechnology for medicine and health care from the University of Oxford, a Master of Business Administration from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, and a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in chemistry from Howard University. He also is currently working toward a Master of Science in information technology from the University of the People to help him with his work at DIAL.

Fun Fact:

He enjoys Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and playing online chess during his free time.

Shashi Raghunandan
Shashi Raghunandan

Shashi launched the P2P interoperability network in Thailand enabling 100 million people to send money to each other. He also was featured in the New Economy Forum for his work in Inclusive ID that eventually scaled to three countries. Shashi has a degree in management from the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, and a degree in metallurgical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras. As a Fellow, he is excited about learning more about the industry, its unique challenges and using his experience to build a business to solve those challenges.

Fun Fact:

Shashi won a prize awarded by Plein Air Magazine for his watercolor titled “Shelter from the Storm.” It was awarded the best (watercolor) landscape among more than 800+ entries nationwide.

Spring '22
Shane Steinl
Shane Steinl

Steinl is a recent industrial engineering graduate from Purdue. Last summer, he worked for Walmart’s automation engineering team as an intern, and in 2020, he founded the university’s first blockchain-focused student group, educating and connecting students to blockchain projects. He also led Purdue’s student consulting association, providing services to internal departments and external corporate clientele.

Travis Douce
Travis Douce

Douce has an agricultural background and has helped companies of various sizes, in both leadership and individual roles, deliver complex software solutions. He received a master’s degree in sustainable resource management from the Technical University of Munich in Germany where he utilized geospatial modeling (GIS) to model and predict deforestation, soil loss, and disaster risk in Nicaragua.