About Us

401 Tech Bridge, a non-profit economic development organization, serves as a super-connector for companies that are developing leading-edge advanced materials, technologies, and products, enabling business growth, and speeding the process of finding commercial and dual-use applications for technologies.

401 Tech Bridge facilitates collaboration across industry, government and academia and leverages the resources and expertise of the region’s vibrant advanced materials and technology ecosystem, which spans industries and activities ranging from infrastructure development and naval research to oceanographic and offshore wind enterprises. We create bridges between innovators and major corporations, governmental, and defense organizations with funded projects and into research divisions at the University of Rhode Island and other universities and institutions across the region that offer facilities for research, prototyping, testing and validation of concepts alongside faculty researchers and students. 401 Tech Bridge acts as a one-stop resource to help companies accelerate the journey from concept to prototype to commercialization while making the transfer of technology faster, easier, and more collaborative.

401 Tech Bridge was the first entity to partner with the NavalX Tech Bridge initiative, and our collaboration is now a national model. We are the hub for  NavalX North East Tech Bridge activities, building partnerships to innovate in the Navy’s focus areas: maritime composites and textiles, undersea vehicles, sensors, and technologies. It serves as a model for our relationships with other defense agencies, the federal labs and large companies innovating national defense, infrastructure, and healthcare.

The 401 Tech Bridge
Advanced Materials & Technology Center

Scheduled to open in 2021, The 401 Tech Bridge Advanced Materials & Technology Center offers meeting, training, lab and equipment space for industry, government, and academic partners to collaboratively problem-solve, develop concepts, build and test prototypes, and present solutions.

The Team

Christian Cowan

Christian Cowan

Chief Operating Officer, University of Rhode Island Research Foundation
Executive Director, 401 Tech Bridge

Christian Cowan is a senior executive with more than 20 years of experience in technical manufacturing operations and marketing in the IT networking, energy and textile industries. He brings both domestic and overseas hands-on manufacturing experience to the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation (URIRF), Polaris MEP’s parent organization. He most recently served as the Center Director of Polaris MEP. Christian earned his BSEE degree from Villanova University and his MBA from the University of Rhode Island.

Mary Johnson

Mary Johnson

Manager

Mary Johnson builds relationships to help small businesses and mission-driven not-for-profit organizations maximize growth. She most recently served as the Manager of Growth and Strategy at Polaris MEP while concurrently leading the Rhode Island Textile Innovation Network. Mary has substantial experience in organizational development, marketing management and community outreach. Mary earned a BGS in Theatre from Roger Williams University.

Jackie Mazza

Jackie Mazza

Director of Finance

Jackie Mazza has been a finance professional in industry and non-profit organizations for more than 25 years. She has expertise in accounting, auditing, strategic planning and managerial financial reporting. Jackie earned a BS in Nutrition from the University of Vermont, a BS in Accounting from Roger Williams University, and an MS in Management from Lesley University. She is a registered Certified Public Accountant in Rhode Island.

Lee Silvestre

Lee Silvestre

Naval X Northeast Tech Bridge Coordinator

Lee Silvestre has been helping commercial and Defense companies transform corporate vision to business operations, bring concepts to solutions, and forge talented people into high performing teams for more than 30 years. Lee most recently served as the manager of the Undersea Technology Innovation Consortium (UTIC) and as a Senior Analyst for the Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance (SENEDIA). Lee earned a BS in Applied Mathematics at the University of Rhode Island and an MS in Industrial Engineering/Operations Research at UMASS/Amherst.

Susan Daly

Susan Daly

VP of Strategy, Rhode Island Marine Trades Association
Strategic Advisor, 401 Tech Bridge

Susan Daly is a senior executive and strategic thinker who specializes in harnessing the creative energies of start-ups and high-growth organizations to bring products and programs to market. She has thirty-plus years of leadership and marketing expertise with high-tech startups, groundbreaking sports teams, educational programs for nontraditional learners, consumer goods and services, and workforce development programs. Susan earned a BA in the History of Art from Yale, and a MBA, Marketing, from Boston University.

Miguel Crisostomo-Vargas

Marketing Coordinator 

Miguel Crisostomo-Vargas has been helping organizations communicate their mission through their marketing platforms and at events for four years. He previously served as an event planner and developed new marketing and exposure strategies for Rhode Island Virtual Reality (RIVR) and TD Garden. He holds a BS in Sports, Entertainment, & Event Management from Johnson & Wales University.

Partners

The 401 Tech Bridge is a business unit of The University of Rhode Island Research Foundation, and receives support from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP), the Office of Naval Research, the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, The Rhode Island Foundation, and the Van Beuren Charitable Foundation.