The Foundry grew out of Fordham University’s effort to provide entrepreneurial students with a beyond-the-classroom support structure for their businesses.
Recognizing that great business ideas don’t emerge only from business schools, the Foundry is open to students, alumni, parents, and friends of all of Fordham University’s nine schools and colleges, especially those from liberal arts backgrounds.
The incubator was launched in 2012 under the leadership of Christine Janssen, PhD, the director of the Gabelli School of Business’ undergraduate entrepreneurship program. It is now managed by the following team members:
Albert J. Bartosic is a serial entrepreneur who has extensive experience with cloud-based applications and their interface with medical devices. He spent the last 12 years of his 30-year management career as CEO of Standing Stone Inc., a medical software company focused on subspecialty clinical decision support, now part of the global medical-device company Alere, Inc. Bartosic has worked across diverse industries, including private equity, financial services, consumer products, technology, entertainment, and public accounting. He advises startups, serves on the boards of Ridgefield Academy and other nonprofits, and is a director of SecLingua, a cybersecurity company serving the medical industry.
A certified public accountant, Bartosic holds an MBA from New York University and a BS from Fordham University.
Director of the Foundry
Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship
Milton J. Sussberg has been a consumer product marketing entrepreneur for over 35 years, having served as the president of the company that launched the food processor, and for the last 30 years has operated his own entrepreneurial sales and marketing consulting firm.
Sussberg & Co. has been involved with many startups, including Sonicare, Thermoscan, and Foodsaver, as well as consulting for Royal Philips, Gillette, and Hamilton Beach. Sussberg has also owned a luxury goods manufacturer and a Class A minor league baseball team.
Sussberg has a BBA in management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MBA in marketing from Columbia University Graduate School of Business.
Shaun Johnson is a technologist, early adopter, and helper of people. He is the co-founder of Startup Institute, an edtech company equipping individuals with the skills, access, and mindset needed to make an immediate and positive impact on the startup venture they join. Previously, Johnson was an associate at TechStars, the premier startup accelerator providing seed-stage investment and mentorship.
Before that, Johnson was a management consultant in Booz Allen Hamilton’s strategic technology and innovation practice. He has advised companies across the emerging technology landscape, including smart grid energy, healthcare IT, broadband infrastructure, and alternative assets. Prior to Booz Allen, Johnson managed metadata and econometrics as a program analyst at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Still a lover of exciting consumer web products, Johnson has also helped numerous startups with product roadmapping, getting off the ground, and taking market share.
Johnson holds a BA in computer science and sociology from Georgetown University and an MS in information systems from The Johns Hopkins University.
Brandon is a co-founder of Brevitē, a direct-to-consumer brand. He received a BA in Philosophy from Fordham University and his Master of Industrial Design from the Rhode Island School of Design.
Mary Lemmer is an entrepreneur, recovering venture capitalist, philanthropist, improv comedian, and writer. She started her first company at age 14, did early-stage VC, was a director at a Silicon Valley unicorn, published a book of advice for entrepreneurs, and started doing improv comedy to help her as an entrepreneurial leader with loads of anxiety. She now applies improv comedy techniques and philosophy to train business leaders at small startups to Fortune 500 companies and universities, including the University of Michigan, SAP, TechStars, CBSi, R/GA, Silicon Valley Bank, and 500 Startups, among others. She remains the founder of Iorio Gelato, a gelato producer and retail cafe she started as a teenager, and is a founding board member of a philanthropic fund that helps entrepreneurs make contributions to good causes they care about.
Lemmer graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s in business administration, minor in environmental science, and Certificate in Entrepreneurship from the College of Engineering. She also studied improv and comedy writing with some of the most talented people (and probably some future SNL cast members) at The Second City and The Annoyance in Chicago, Upright Citizens Brigade in NYC, and EndGames Improv and Bay Area Theatre Sports in San Francisco, among others. She has performed improv and comedy all over the country.
Joseph Battista comes to the Foundry with three years of administrative experience working at Fordham University with the Graduate School of Social Service. Battista served as a student services advisor and worked closely with administration to help support the growth and delivery of Fordham’s fully online master’s in social work program. Battista received his bachelor’s degree from Manhattan College and has worked as a data analyst for an online optical retailer and as a sales professional for a premium beverage distributor in Manhattan. Battista is also no stranger to entrepreneurship having started his own e-commerce business back in 2015. Battista is committed to the success and growth of the Fordham Foundry as it serves a vital role within the Fordham Community.
Marketing and Communications Intern
Alana Normile is currently a senior at Fordham College at Rose Hill pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Culture, and a marketing minor from the Gabelli School of Business. On campus, Normile has worked for WFUV radio and is a member of the Fashion for Philanthropy club. Additionally, Normile previously worked for the public relations firm Left Left Right Consulting, where she not only began her work in the field of communications, but also where she helped to build the startup company AllSwell Creative Notebooks, a brainchild of LLR’s principal. She is very excited about the possibilities that the startup industry holds.
Social Media Intern
Diego Olivero is currently a freshman at Fordham University, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Global Business with a concentration in digital media and technology. His studies continue to fuel his passion for digital media marketing and production. This includes everything from video filming and editing to post-production. As the Foundry’s social media intern, Olivero is responsible for curating the Foundry’s social channels and creating content for them as well. Olivero’s passion for storytelling in the forms of photo, video, and journalism has allowed him to appreciate this world through a new lens.
Marketing and Communications Intern
Julia Rubino is a junior at the Gabelli School of Business at Rose Hill. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a primary concentration in management and a secondary concentration in international business with a minor in law and ethics. She is also on the pre-law track. Aside from interning at the Foundry, she is also a tutor for the Higher Education Opportunity Program at Fordham. On campus, she is on the Mock Trial Team, editor-in-chief for the Rose Hill Society, and secretary for Pre-Law Society. She is passionate about the law and one day hopes to start her own corporate law firm and, in doing so, be able to help entrepreneurs run their businesses.
Development and Alumni Relations Intern
Chirayu Shah is a sophomore at Fordham’s Gabelli School of Business. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Finance. Because of his zest for development and fundraising, he joined the Foundry team to help it grow and build more relationships. In addition to his role at the Foundry, he is a student caller at the Ram Line, interacting with the alumni and friends of Fordham while fundraising. He is also involved with the Finance Society, Investment Banking Society, and Student Philanthropy Committee, serving as its Giving Day chair. He hopes to work in the investment banking industry after college, and then assist Fordham with its development work, but for now he is a student looking to enhance the Foundry and its connections.