LEADERSHIP

Led by Harry Bushong, Convergence Ventures has assembled a team of experts in business, finance, and cutting-edge science. Together, they have raised hundreds of millions in private equity, authored hundreds of scientific papers, and dealt with leading institutions and businesses in biotech and related fields.

Leadership

Inspired by his relationship with Dr. Malcolm Gillis, former President of Rice University, Harry Bushong is the founder and CEO of Convergence Ventures. In 2005, he co-founded nanoTox, Inc. with a focus on providing toxicology services for companies using nano-scale technology across a wide range of industries. In 2003, Mr. Bushong joined the Olmsted Group, a New York life sciences merchant bank. The companies in the Olmsted portfolio were based on intellectual property licensed from MIT, Columbia University, University of Wisconsin, Vanderbilt University and Baylor College of Medicine in the fields of pluripotent stem cells, genomics, biotech and hepatocyctes. Some of the companies included Omnimmune Corp, Plurion, Zirius (formerly Avatar) and Amphioxus.

Prior to his work in health sciences, Mr. Bushong was a driving force in multiple startups since 1995 when he began work with Aurora Financial Services, a private NASD broker/dealer in Houston focused on the energy sector. In addition, Mr. Bushong has been an active investor in Advanced Throughput, Inc., a genomics company focused on personalized medicine, which was recently acquired by privately-held Bastra, Ltd.; and Optokey, Inc., a Bay Area company focused on bio-spectroscopic and environmental analysis.

Mr. Blair Duncan, CFO of Convergence Ventures, LLC, has over 25 years’ experience in venture-backed growth companies as well as Fortune 500 firms. His life science and material science operating experience includes serving as CFO/COO of Celling Biosciences, Bennu Institute, CFO of all Emergent Technologies portfolio companies and senior executive at Caisson Biotech and AeonClad Coatings. Mr. Duncan has raised over $200 million in private equity, $200 million in credit facilities, and acquired and/or sold five companies. He held positions at PricewaterhouseCoopers as Manager of Entrepreneurial Advisory Services, where he launched a new division providing fundraising and business planning consulting services to high-tech companies in Texas. As Manager in the Business Assurance practice, he participated in numerous public offerings and private company audits. Mr. Duncan is a certified public accountant (CPA) and holds a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Psychology from Duke University.

Science Advisors

Dr. Wade Adams is a Senior Faculty Fellow in the Materials Science and Nanoengineering Department, and Associate Dean of the George R. Brown School of Engineering at Rice University. He is the Director of the Smalley-Curl nanoCarbon Center and former Director of the Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology at Rice University. After 37.5 years of service in the United States Air Force, Dr. Adams retired in January 2002, as the Chief Scientist of the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory. He was educated at the US Air Force Academy, Vanderbilt, and the University of Massachusetts. Over the past 44 years, Dr. Adams has conducted research in polymer physics and is internationally known for his research in high-performance rigid-rod polymer and carbon nanotube fibers, X-ray scattering studies of fibers and liquid crystalline films, polymer dispersed liquid crystals, and theoretical studies of ultimate polymer properties. He has authored more than 200 publications, including several review articles and three books, has five patents (one licensed), and has given nearly 800 technical presentations. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the Air Force Research Laboratory. Dr. Adams retired from the Air Force Reserve with the rank of Colonel in 1998.
Dr. Richard Mathies is the retired Dean of Chemistry of the University of California at Berkeley and has been a key member of 10 successful product and company launches. His patents have brought over $30 million in royalties to UC Berkeley. His research focuses both on ultrafast resonance Raman spectroscopy of photoactive proteins, and on lab-on-a-chip devices for high performance biomolecule and cell analysis. He is the Co-Founder and an inventor at IntegenX, innovating rapid DNA identification, and Optokey, innovator of photometric test solutions. He has also been active in consulting and working with biotechnology companies including Affymax, Affymetrix, Molecular Dynamics, Aclara Biosciences, Nanostring, Allopartis, and BioRad among others. Dr. Mathies founded The Center for Analytical Biotechnology, and is author of more than 470 publications and 40 patents on biophysical chemistry, photochemistry, photobiology, bioanalytical chemistry and genome analysis technology. Dr. Mathies received a BS in Chemistry from the University of Washington in 1968 and an MS and Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Cornell University. Dr. Mathies completed Postdoctoral Study as a Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale. He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).
Dr. S. John Mendelsohn is the former President of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and an internationally recognized leader in cancer research. Dr. Mendelsohn remains on the faculty as Director of the new Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy. Also, he is a senior fellow in health and technology at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy. Dr. Mendelsohn co-invented Erbitux, a produced monoclonal antibody 225 and was the first undergraduate student of James D. Watson. Dr. Mendelsohn is an advocate of driving scientific innovation into commercial and clinical use and has authored more than 250 scientific papers and articles and been honored with numerous awards recognizing his expertise and service. Dr. Mendelsohn earned a BA in Biochemical Science Magna Cum Laude from Harvard and his MD from Harvard Medical School.

Directors

An entrepreneur by nature, Leslie Bowlin has been involved in numerous business ventures that took her from the coffee trade to the industrial coatings industry. She has been a major force as a fundraiser for various charities and organizations in Houston, including The Houston Symphony, The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, Hospice at Texas Medical Center, and the UTHealth Science Center.  Ms. Bowlin also shares her talents and time by serving on many non-profit boards including CCFA, The Houston Symphony Society, The Fay School, Northwood University, and the Houston Grand Opera. Today, Ms. Bowlin serves as a board member for UT Health PARTNERS.

In 2002, she founded PR Squared, a full-service PR and marketing agency based in Houston. The company continues to operate today with Ms. Bowlin still overseeing the company. In 2013, Ms. Bowlin joined the team at the Houston Maritime Museum and was appointed the Museum Director. Since joining the museum, she has overseen the growth of the current museum and is planning the expansion of HMM to a new 58,000 sf Maritime complex to be built on the banks of Buffalo Bayou.

Mr. Allen Gelwick started his career in underwriting at Chubb, working in various underwriting capacities in both the field and at home office levels. He worked as a senior executive of public insurance brokerage firms until March of 2001 when he co-founded the Houston office of Lockton Companies, now operating as the Texas Series of Lockton with 700 associates. Throughout his career he has served in a broad spectrum of industries including aviation, automotive, construction, education, energy, environmental, manufacturing, real estate, retail, transportation, technology and healthcare. He has also worked extensively with financial institutions, M&A customers and high growth companies. In addition, Mr. Gelwick is actively involved in the design and development of alternative insurance bespoke products including products that represent the convergence of capital markets and insurance capital markets Mr. Gelwick earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. He has presented at various conferences over the years including National RIMS Conference, Strategic Institute Seminars, Texas General Counsel Forum, National Ethics Conference, EPNanonet and SolarPraxis 4th Annual PV Power Plants conference. He is a Board member and Committee Chairman of the Texas TriCities NACD chapter. In addition to various local charity involvements, Mr. Gelwick is a national associate member of RIMS. Currently, he is a Director at Material Intellect, a material science informatics company.
Ms. Wendy Lewis, CPA, CGMA is the Chief Financial Officer for Jim R. Smith & Company/SmithCo Development, LLC, in Houston, Texas, where she has been employed for approximately sixteen years. The Family Office has vast investments, business, and philanthropic interests, affording Wendy the opportunity to spend time researching a variety of topics and working on unique projects. Her work history includes five years in public accounting, three years in governmental accounting for a state university, and over twenty-five years’ experience in real estate accounting. Her required continuing education is focused on real estate, asset, like-kind exchange, tax, leadership, management, HR and technology, and trusts accounting. Ms. Lewis received a BBA in accounting from the University of Texas San Antonio. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants (TSCPA) - Houston Chapter, and the American Woman’s Society of Certified Public Accountants (AWSCPA) - Houston Affiliate, and the Institute for Management Accountants (IMA). In 2015 she joined The Houston Economics Club, and in 2016, Ms. Lewis began serving on Houston Baptist University’s Engineering Advisory Board.; she joined the Jesse H. Jones School of Business, Business Advisory Council at Texas Southern University. In May 2016, Ms. Lewis
Mr. Gary L. Reese serves as Senior Wealth Strategist for The Northern Trust Company in Houston, Texas. He has over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry including commercial lending, corporate finance, investment banking, and most recently wealth management where he has spent the last 23 years. Mr. Reese serves on the Board of Trustees for the Houston Grand Opera and serves on the Board of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) Houston. He also serves on the Board of the Business Advisory Council for Texas Southern University Jesse H. Jones School of Business. Mr. Reese is a graduate of the University of Houston earning a B.B.A in Finance as well as an M.B.A. Reese has held the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) designation for 25 years. He and his wife Debra have two children and are members of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church.

Mr. Mike Schick formed Stearman Partners in early 2017 to gain greater access to value oriented fund managers and energy focused private equity firms needing capital introductions. Mr. Schick also works with the Paul Gannon Family (Kirby Energy Partners) focusing on investing assets in energy focused private equity funds. While Kirby is no longer active, it continues as an entity handling capital calls and distributions.

Mr. Schick has extensive experience in working with money managers in emerging markets, producing quantitative analysis of emerging market equities, researching companies, developing and analyzing supply and demand models and making investor recommendations. He also worked extensively in the natural gas sector at Koch Energy Trading, Shell Energy North America (Coral Energy), Energy Analytics, Fortis Bank and Vinmar International (Goradia Family). While working in natural gas, Mr. Schick had many duties including providing financial trading and hedging strategies to Shell, initiating and building relationships with natural gas producers and end use customers, developing and analyzing trades in the natural gas financial markets.

Mr. Schick received his Bachelor of Business Administration from The University of Texas at Austin in 1987.

Fund Advisors

Mr. Robert Erwin is a founding principal and Director of Aeicon Corporation Limited, an international consultancy and investment banking firm based in Bermuda. He has 25 years of worldwide advisory and project finance experience encompassing over $15 billion in transactions for energy, infrastructure and investment-grade real estate assets in Asia, Australia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Mexico, and the US. He is also founder of Aeicon Finanzas SA de CV, Aeicon MaxEn Management Services Trust (GP for a US-based private equity partnership), the Emerging China Strategies Fund; EPIC Clean Technologies Corporation (“EPIC”), MaxEn Asia Holdings Limited, and MaxWest Environmental Systems, Inc. (now PHG Energy, LLC.)

For several years, Aeicon principals were members of the US-China Energy Cooperation Program (“ECP”) and the China Greentech Initiative.  Mr. Erwin served on the ECP Clean Coal Working Group and Energy Finance and Investment Working Group and is an advisor to the China Water Investment Company, Ltd (an affiliate of the Ministry of Water of the PRC). He is an advisory director of RUILIN Holdings Ltd. Foundation, a member of the Board of Directors of EPIC, a member of the Explorers Club (NY) and Vice Chairman of the Board Directors of the United States Rugby Football Foundation.

Mr. Mark Germain is a merchant banker with Aentib Group (Montreal) primarily serving the biotech and life sciences industries. He has been involved as a co-founder, director, Chairman of the Board and/or investor in over twenty companies in the biotech field where he has assisted many of them in arranging corporate partnerships, acquiring technology, entering into mergers and acquisitions, and executing financings, and going-public transactions. Those companies have an aggregate multi-billion market capitalization today and include Alexion (ALXN; $24.0B), Ariad (ARIA; $848M), Incyte (INCY; $7.5B), Neurocrine (NBIX; $645M), Pluristem (PSTI; $194M), Cell Therapeutics (CTIC; $212M), ChromaDex ($125M), and others. He was also a senior advisor to a private enterprise in China recently sold to a major pharmaceutical company. Mr. Germain graduated New York University School of Law in 1975, Order of the Coif (top 5%), and was a partner in a New York law firm practicing corporate and securities law before leaving for the private sector in 1986. Since then, and until he entered the biotech field in 1991, he served in senior executive capacities, including as president of a public company sold in 1991.
Mr. David Swatzell is the founder of and Managing Partner for /Knowtional, a business strategy and management consultancy, headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Prior to /Knowtional, Mr. Swatzell held numerous leadership roles during his nine-year career at Hewlett-Packard (HP). He led the program office for a mission-critical turnaround and transformation initiative sponsored by HP’s CEO Meg Whitman including a business strategy for HP’s offshore professional services team (with over 50,000 personnel in 14 countries). He ran portfolio strategy for HP Services, as well as HP’s $500M Microsoft Consulting Services group. At Electronic Data Systems (EDS), David launched its applications modernization initiative, working significantly with Intel, Microsoft, and Oracle. He was a key member of EDS’ Global Alliances organization and co-founder of the industry-recognized ‘EDS Agility Alliance.’ During the early 2000s, Mr. Swatzell occupied senior positions at an array of technology companies including Vignette, Epicentric, Selectica, and Compaq Computer Corporation.Science Advisor.
Dr. Steve Winston is the former Senior Vice President of Lockheed Martin and former chief scientist of the Idaho National Laboratory. He is currently a leading proponent of exploring the intersection of nanotechnology and nuclear sciences. This includes the instigation of research in nanoscale methods for accelerator production of medical isotopes, nanostructured prodrugs for targeted alpha therapy, and brachytherapy, the use of novel nanostructures and a broad array of nanomaterials applications as potential responses to long-standing challenges in the safe and efficient production of nuclear energy. Dr. Winston is an advocate of converting these technologies to profitable civilian use. Dr. Winston is an experienced advisor to C-suite executives and is networked heavily into the aerospace and military technology community. He is adept at bringing institutions, researchers, and enterprises together to make useful things happen. Dr. Winston is especially well positioned to predict what sorts of approaches and engagements will and will not attract large companies to get involved in an enterprise.