Born and raised in Akron, Ohio, Dr. J. Chris Ford is an experienced researcher and expert in building inclusive innovation ecosystems and programs for technology transfer and commercialization for universities, Federal agencies, corporations, and investors. From 2012-2017, Dr. Ford was an expert consultant and contractor to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) with special emphasis on inclusion, technology transfer, and economic development. In this role, Dr. Ford served as a change agent to catalyze the DOE technology commercialization ecosystem while assisting minority and small businesses, impacting underserved communities, and including minority serving institutions. At DOE, Dr. Ford developed a novel Lab-embedded accelerator programs, a four-point inclusive innovation ecosystem development plan, and strategies for intellectual property monetization. Prior to his role at DOE, Dr. Ford was a researcher and entrepreneur in the technical consulting and healthcare sectors. Dr. Ford has more than ten years of alternative energy research experience specializing in battery and fuel cell technologies, and thermodynamic optimization algorithms for energy systems at Georgia Tech, DOE, and the Department of Defense. Dr. Ford received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech and a B.S. in mathematics and dual degree engineering from Morehouse College. While at Georgia Tech, Dr. Ford completed a special two year technology commercialization and entrepreneurship training program called the TI:GER (Technological Innovation Generating Economic Results).