The Team

CEO-in-Residence | Steve Tokarz, MBA

Steve Tokarz, CEO-In-Residence, is an experienced C-level entrepreneur, fundraiser and business developer. Steve is currently Executive-in-Residence at Michigan Tech and assists university spin outs. In 2015, he exited from a startup that raised $14 million and was acquired by an industry leading partner. Previously, Steve spent over 20 years managing product and business development activities, most recently as Sr. Director, Product Development/Engineering for Masco, a Fortune 200 company. With Masco, Steve served as an intrapreneur launching several internal businesses within Masco.

He holds a BSE in Engineering Physics/Mechanical Engineering from University of Michigan as well as an MBA from Indiana University.  Steve is leading the company through its early growth phase and responsible for fundraising and bringing additional talent to the team.

Steve Tokarz | CEO-In-Residence

President, Chief Technical Officer | Dr. Yoke Khin Yap, Ph.D., Physicist/Electrical Engineer

Dr. Yap is the founder of NovoLux. He has extensive expertise in NovoLuxs foundational technology and is supervising our research and development activity towards a commercially successful product launch. 

Dr. Yap is currently managing NovoLux and will step away from the management when we move into product commercialization. He will focus on the NovoLux Research Institute and serve for our Scientific Advisory Board. 

Dr. Yoke Khin Yap | President

VP of Operations | Jonathan Leinonen, MBA

Jon leads our Business Development and also assists in fundraising.  He has over 20 years’ experience working in the start-up community including the Michigan Tech SmartZone and with an internal start-up at EDS Corp. 

Jon is also active in the MI start-up space having close relationships with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

Jon Leinonen | VP of Operations

Principal Scientist | Dr. Nazmiye Yapici, Ph.D., Organic Chemist

Dr. Yapici is the lead scientist of our product research and development team. She has extensive experience in synthetic organic chemistry and cellular biology. In addition to her strong technical background, Nazmiye was trained with entrepreneurial skills through multiple business development programs including the NSF I-Corps team project. 

Dr. Nazmiye Yapici | Principal Scientist