Team

Laura Benold
Managing Editor & Communications Director
Laura oversees all editorial and communication details for Smart Cities Connect, building on more than four years as Assistant Marketing Director with the Southwest Region at Whole Foods Market. Prior to Whole Foods, Laura served as Executive Director at CleanTX Foundation in Austin and supported clean tech marketing efforts at Austin Technology Incubator. Now, at Smart Cities Connect, she combines her passion for social impact with her love of societal enrichment at the local level.
Chelsea Collier
Editor-at-Large & Managing Partner
Chelsea facilitates partnerships and encourages collaboration within the Smart Cities Connect community. She is an avid evangelist for uniting technologists, entrepreneurs, government leaders and elected officials for the civic and social good. She is Co-Founder of Impact Hub Austin, Founder of Digi.City, a Principal at Intercambio Group and an Eisenhower Fellow focused on Smart Cities in the US and China. Chelsea brings her experience as a Senior Advisor to Texans for Economic Progress, a statewide technology coalition, to the broader global community.
Rich Erb
Executive Director, City Programs and Events
Richard is the Executive Director of the Smart Cities Innovation Summit global event series. Rich’s career has focused on building partnerships and business development opportunities in the information communications technology (ICT) and robotics industries. In his role as Executive Director, Rich is building content programs, managing partner relationships and establishing a global series of Smart City programs as premier global events for internet of things (IoT) technologies for public applications. Rich has an M.S. in business management from Lesley University, and a B.A. from Colby College.
Regina Ramazzini
Community & Partnership Director
Regina specializes in smart cities, innovation community development and networking programs, with prior experience in venture capital events. Regina’s 15+ years managing conferences provides her with expertise in onsite conference and trade show management, content development, speaker recruitment, and sales. Her experience ranges from private equity and VC investment programs to nanotech, cleantech, and city/island communities. Regina holds a B.A in Political Science and a minor in Spanish from the New York State University at Albany.
Matthew Laudon
CEO, Managing Partner & Co-Founder
Matt has spent his career supporting entrepreneurs, corporates, and federal agencies accelerate innovation into industry and society. Matt has co-founded multiple technology accelerator companies and non-profits ranging from nanotech to cleantech, from start-up advisor to funding vehicle management; vetting thousands of innovations annually. Matt has an engineering Ph.D from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, and has developed a keen interest in supporting cities, islands, and resilient communities through innovation.
Bart Romanowicz
CTO, Managing Partner & Co-Founder
Bart is an expert in matching technology capabilities with industrial needs and has developed all process algorithms behind the TechConnect commercialization partnering programs, matching thousands of emerging technologies with corporate and investment commercialization interests from around the globe. He has served as a visiting scientist at the MIT, and as a technology development lead with numerous start-ups and technology commercialization firms. Bart has an M.S. and Sc.D. from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology of Lausanne, with over 40 publications and patents.
Chris Erb
Vice President, Events
Christopher is Vice President of Events for TechConnect, based out of Cambridge Massachusetts. Christopher manages high-level corporate and investment partnerships and sponsorships, along with strategy development for the TechConnect suite of conferences and showcase programs. Christopher is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and has over 20 years experience in the conference and trade show industry.
Tara Luddy-Cotoia
Creative Designer
Tara supports all creative development for the team, including online and print marketing efforts with web and print design, production and print management. Tara obtained her B.A. from Salem State University in Graphic Design, minoring in Computer Science, and has 20+ years of print and web design experience.
Derek Mayer
Partnership/Sales Manager
Derek is responsible for fostering and prospecting relationships between TechConnect and early stage companies, innovators, and intellectual property providers. Derek has a financial background with a versatile skill set including sales, marketing, market research, back office operations, financial strategic planning and coaching. Derek started his professional career in the clean tech industry while working for local startups near his Alma mater-Union college in Schenectady NY.
Susan Stewart Morgan
Database Management & Analyst
Susan is responsible for market research and database development and management. She has a Master's in Biology from Colorado State University and an M.B.A. in International Economics and Marketing from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Susan has worked in market research, sales management, and as a college instructor. Susan is based in Mexico, where she additionally manages an education support program in Telchac Puerto Yucatan.
Jennifer Rocha
Executive Director - Corporate, Federal & Defense Programs
Jennifer develops strategic partnerships with F1000 companies, Department of Defense components, Federal agencies, and universities for technology prospecting and program development. Her 15+ years of public and private sector experience in the innovation economy provides her unique situational awareness in the areas of research, policy, and technology assessment. She holds a dual B.A. in Political Science and International Relations from Mount Holyoke College.
Sarah Wenning
VP Operations & Co-Founder
Sarah has 25+ years of science administration, meeting management and event planning experience - including directing operations for events ranging from 50 to 10,000 attendees. Sarah has managed technology development personnel from government agencies, national laboratories, universities and biotech start-ups. She has planned meetings and events for non-profits, government agencies, government contractors, associations and corporations. She holds a dual a B.A. in Economics and English from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.