Ms. Pat Dillon is the director of MN-SBIR, a federal and state funded program to foster a more innovative Minnesota economy focused on turning new ideas and inventions into products and technologies that spur job growth and competitiveness while promoting economic development. In this position, Dillon is responsible for the strategic direction and leadership of MN-SBIR and its services to seed, startup and small businesses in Minnesota. Dillon has consulted with hundreds of businesses to support technology innovation and commercialization in science and technology sectors important to state and national economies.
Dillon is actively involved in national and state initiatives under the umbrella of innovation and entrepreneurship. Dillon is a member of the Small Business Administration (SBA), State Integrated Service Provider Task Force, Washington, DC; a member of the University of Minnesota (U of M), Office of Technology Commercialization Business Advisory Group; an advisory board member of the U of M, Technological Leadership Institute; a mentor for the Carlson School of Management, STARTUP Course; a frequent contributor to MN-REACH and MIN-CORPS (I-Corps Programs); a MN-CUP Life Sciences Semi-Finalist Committee Member; a speaker and organizer at the U of M Medical Devices Conference, Government Funding for Startups; an Advisory Board Member for VentureLake; and a member of the Advancing Science in America, Minnesota Chapter dedicated to supporting the best and brightest United States graduate and undergraduate scholars by providing financial awards in science, engineering and medical research.
From 2005-2014, Dillon served as one of four regional directors to launch the newly created and legislatively funded Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Network; a key initiative of Governor Doyle’s Grow Wisconsin Plan. Dillon provided business development and technology commercialization assistance to technology entrepreneurs, and was the Co- Project Director on two Small Business Administration cooperative agreements leading to the creation and execution of the first-ever Innovation 25; an initiative resulting in 9 small businesses winning more than $4M in SBIR/STTR funding. Dillon also led Wisconsin’s bid to host the Spring 2011 National SBIR/STTR Conference in Madison, Wisconsin.
From 1994-2004, Dillon was the director of the Minnesota’s SBIR/STTR Office at Minnesota Project Innovation (MPI), Minneapolis, a private, non-profit organization. MPI’s 20-year impact led to high paying jobs, outside investments, and new products and services. Dillon was one of several co-founders of the Minnesota Seed Capital Network; an initiative to prepare entrepreneurs to present to investors that led to $40 million in equity investments. Partners included the University of St. Thomas with corporate sponsorships from LaBrecheMurray Public Relations; Lindquist and Vennum; Pricewaterhouse Coopers; Silicon Valley Bank; Vezone and PR Newswire.
Dillon is a 1999 recipient of the prestigious SBA Tibbetts Award; a national award for excellence in the SBIR/STTR Programs. Dillon is a 2001 recipient of the City Business’ 25 Most Innovative Woman Award (now the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal). Dillon has served on commercialization review committees at the National Science Foundation (twice) and the United States Department of Agriculture (multiple times), and was the principal investigator of an Office of Naval Research contract for SBIR outreach in a five state region for the first-ever SWIFT Tour (SBIR/STTR Where Innovation Focuses on Technology).
Dillon is a Commander in the United States Navy Reserve with more than 38 years of service (active and reserve) and is currently assigned to the United States Pacific Command, Joint Intelligence Operations Center, Honolulu, Hawaii. Dillon is a combat veteran having served 10 months in Kabul, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Dillon earned a MBA and BS in Business Administration from Winona State University, Winona, MN.