Tanya Conrath, Board Chair

Tanya Conrath

Board Chair

Tanya Conrath joined the Innovation Center in November 2016 as the Associate Director.  At the Innovation Center, Ms. Conrath oversees the staff, makes connections for clients, and manages facilities management, fundraising efforts, budget analysis, grant writing and other Innovation Center operations.

In her previous role with TechGROWTH OHIO, part of Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership & Public Affairs, she facilitated regional outreach and educational/training opportunities for entrepreneurs, directed the mentorship service and strengthened partner connectivity within the 20-county region. Her career has focused on supporting regional economic development in Southeast Ohio and creating professional development opportunities for its leaders and businesses.

Ms. Conrath is an attorney, trained mediator, and certified facilitator for ... Read More

Brent M. Hartman, Vice Chair

Brent M. Hartman

Vice Chair

Brent M. Hartman is the President & Owner of O’Nail-Hartman Insurance Agency, Inc. and received his Bachelors of Science degree in Political Science from Ohio University. He was a founding board member of the Ohio Valley Museum of Discovery and served on the board for Athens Professionals for Philanthropy. Mr. Hartman lives with his wife, Dr. Sara Hartman and their two daughters Emma and Elizabeth.

Stacy Strauss, Secretary

Stacy Strauss


Stacy Strauss joined the Innovation Center as the Associate Director in August 2014 and was promoted to Director in October 2016. At the Innovation Center, Ms. Strauss oversees the staff, makes connections for clients, oversees facilities management, fundraising efforts, budget analysis, grant writing, and all other Innovation Center operations.

Ms. Strauss joined the Innovation Center from Hocking College, where she has served in a dual role as a Student Affairs Coordinator and Career Services Director since April 2013.  Prior to that position, she was Ohio University’s Head Soccer Coach for 13 years. During her tenure, the Bobcats won two Mid-American Championships, maintained a 3.4 cumulative GPA, and boasted a 97 percent graduation rate. ... Read More

Ric Wasserman, Treasurer

Ric Wasserman


Ric Wasserman began his Athens business career with the founding of World’s Best Bagels in 1991. As an independent businessman, he has interests in the food, beverage & entertainment industries as well as real estate management and construction.

As the owner of the 20 year-old Pigskin Bar and Grill, he was a founding member of the Athens Independent Restaurant Association and has worked actively to encourage the proliferation and growth of locally-owned food establishments. Mr. Wasserman was also a founding member of the Boogie on the Bricks festival in uptown Athens. His business portfolio also includes the Bella Vino wine and craft beer store.

Mr. Wasserman holds a Bachelor’s degree from Ohio University’s ... Read More

Aaron Thomas, owner of Class “A” Sounds, moved to Athens from East Cleveland, Ohio. As a graduate of Ohio University, Mr. Thomas is one of the first of his family to attend college. After college, he realized that Athens could support a car stereo and home theater business and he launched Class “A” Sounds in 2003.

In addition to running his own business, Mr. Thomas is very involved with the community. He served on the Athens Chamber of Commerce Board for six years and was an initial planner and business participant in the Athens County Business Education Partnership which was established in partnership with Ohio University and the Ohio University Credit ... Read More

Andrea Lewis brings an extensive background in grant writing, event planning, and community building and donor cultivation. Ms. Lewis works as the Events and Marketing Coordinator for APG Media of Ohio at the The Athens Messenger. Ms. Lewis has worked as a tax preparation consultant for the Ohio University Credit Union and most recently as the former Business Development Officer for Citizen Bank Logan.

Ms. Lewis was the Executive Director of The Dairy Barn Arts Center from January 2005 to March 1, 2012. Ms. Lewis has served on the Athens Municipal Art Commission and is a passionate advocate for the arts and education.

Ms. Lewis graduated from Ohio University in 1997 with a Bachelors in ... Read More

Phil Meyer currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Ohio University Credit Union. He has held this position since 1999. Prior to his current position, he was a vice president at Purdue University Federal Credit Union for four years and at Industrial Federal Credit Union for nine years.

During his tenure at Ohio University Credit Union, the Credit Union has grown from $100M in assets to $300M in assets. Mr. Meyer has been instrumental in the formation of the Credit Union’s subsidiary, Ohio University Credit Union Financial Services. This subsidiary manages over $100M in assets and provides tax, payroll, and accounting services.

Mr. Meyer currently serves on the Ohio Credit Union Foundation Board. ... Read More

Chef Kathryn McGushin, CEC, CHE, grew up in Lancaster, OH though originally from Lexington, KY,. After high school, she attended Bowling Green State University and received a bachelor of science in Interior Design. Chef Katie then moved to Savannah, GA where she attended Savannah College of Art and Design to study Historic Preservation. While attending SCAD, she started working in the hospitality industry, prompting a switch in careers and, eventually, encouraging her to attend Hocking College to receive her Associate of Applied Business in Culinary Arts. After graduating from Hocking, she worked at several local restaurants and catering operations. In 2011, Chef McGushin began teaching at Hocking College, eventually becoming ... Read More

Scott Zielinski is currently the Executive Director of the Athens County Department of Job and Family Services, an agency devoted to assisting low-income Athens County residents through a variety of programs and services.

Mr. Zielinski was previously the Director of the Area 14 Workforce Development Board, an organization charged with the responsibility to procure workforce services, develop policies, and oversee Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funding for a three-county area (Athens, Meigs and Perry).

Previously he spent 15 years with the Athens County Department of Job and Family Services in multiple roles, including the supervision of the Ohio Means Jobs – Athens County center (The Work Station), Special Projects Coordinator, and Coordinator ... Read More

Catherine Allgood currently serves as a Director of Development for University Advancement at Ohio University. She has worked with the University since 2008. During her time at OU, she served as the Assistant Director of Annual Giving as well as the Director of Development for Student Affairs. Prior to her return to Athens, Ms. Allgood served as the Assistant Director for Annual Giving at Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio.

Ms. Allgood holds two degrees from Ohio University. She received her bachelor’s in Psychology in 2006 and completed her Master’s in Organizational Communication in 2014. She resides in Athens with her husband Gabe Giordano and their dog, Kevin Lynn.