LES Member Spotlight: Arpi Siyahian and David J. Powsner
Monday, June 10, 2019
LES Members Can Look Forward To A Content-Rich Annual Meeting With Stellar Speakers And Cross-Sector Programs
Two relatively new LES members—Arpi Siyahian and David J. Powsner—are co-chairing the program committee for the 2019 annual meeting coming up this October in Phoenix. The meeting is expected to attract at least 600—all there to learn, network, and enjoy the beautiful Desert Ridge Resort and Spa.
By Meredith Holmes
Arpi Siyahian, Ph.D. joined LES five years ago. Since 2014, she has been technology manager of the chemistry/biochemistry/chemical engineering portfolios at NUtech Ventures, the IP and technology commercialization unit of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). Of Armenian descent and raised in Iraq, Dr. Siyahian moved with her family to California when she was 14. While doing postdoctoral work on congenital heart disease at Stanford University School of Medicine, she began to consider a career in tech transfer. Dr. Siyahian also completed the Stanford Ignite program at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She moved to Lincoln to work at NUtech, with her husband who works at UNL.
Always ready to conquer new areas of knowledge, Dr. Siyahian is currently working on a film project with a UNL faculty member. She said, “I’ve spent my entire career in the life sciences space, thus the world of IP licensing in the film space is new and exciting for me.” Colleagues at NUtech encouraged her to join LES and to attend the annual meeting to learn about the IP field. “I attended my first LES meeting in 2014 and keep coming back to network and learn more. I love how collegial and welcoming LES members are, and I’m very thankful for the relationships that I’ve built over the years,” she said.
Dr. Siyahian is enthusiastic about the speakers and panelists she is helping to line up for the annual meeting. “We have particularly outstanding keynote speakers—Makan Delrahim, Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice; Shaloo Garg, Managing Director, Microsoft for Startups and a Champion of Innovation at UN Women; and Vin Cerf, one of the fathers of the internet and Chief Evangelist at Google. We have a great set of Spotlight Plenary panels designed for cross-sector appeal, and of course, many excellent workshops of interest to licensing and IP professionals,” she said.
Spending time with her two-year-old daughter and going to law school part-time claim most of Dr. Siyahian’s time outside work, but she enjoys baking and gardening, and has always loved books and literature. She reads widely in Armenian, Arabic, and English.
David J. Powsner is a partner the IP department of the Boston law firm, Nutter, McClennen & Fish. He is sought after for his extensive knowledge of IP law, grasp of technology, and practical understanding of patent, copyright, trade secret, trademark, and licensing issues. Powsner has a B.S. in physics from MIT and a J.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. He has represented many companies and a dizzying array of products: laser eye surgery control systems, lotteries and gaming, machine vision, industrial cleaning services, and geophysical prospecting, to name a few. Powsner coaches start-ups and is active with Boston-area angel investor groups. He also founded the MIT Enterprise Forum’s Software Entrepreneurship SIG.
David Powsner has been an LES member for just three years, but has been very active in several areas. He is involved in the Computing and Cloud Services Subcommittee of LES’s High Tech Sector and helps plan webinars and organize panel sessions on artificial intelligence and the law and on fund-raising for startups.
He is pleased with the progress being made on planning the annual meeting. “It’s shaping up to be another content-rich (and fun!) program,” he says. Powsner and several others are working with Ian DiBernardo and Eleanor Nelson to nail down keynote speakers and to finalize panels. He says, “One thing that we hope members find helpful is the organization of this year’s program along content tracks, some of which have catchy names, like ‘Long Arm of the Law’ for sessions that focus on legal issues; ‘Let Me Count the Ways,’ for those on valuation and ‘Outside Your Wheelhouse,’ for sessions intended to help members expand their overall knowledge base in the licensing realm. These are just a few some examples, of the more than 30 sessions we have planned.”
Powsner’s greatest current interest, outside of work and family, is a podcast he produces called “Failure—the Podcast.” He describes it as “…a series of light, but substantive discussions on the topic of failure and lessons that can be learned from it. The premise of the podcast is that guests who have failed and who can reflect on it are likely to tell more informative stories.” He co-hosts the podcast with a consultant from JD Power, and a prominent Boston-area angel investor. Most guests—though not all—are drawn from entrepreneurial and investing communities. The podcast is on the web (https://failure-thepodcast.com) and in iTunes (https://fail.mobi/itunes).
Leisure activities are not Powsner’s strong suit. He observes, “I wish I could say I relax by climbing mountains, surfing, or saving rain forests, but I don’t do any of those things. When I’m not at work, I’m either with my family or stuck in Boston traffic listening to other peoples’ podcasts.”