Who We Are
Richard (Erik) M. Gordon is the director of the ZEAL Program and a Professor from Practice. He teaches Entrepreneurial Exits and Venture Finance Law and Business. Prior to joining the Law School, he was on the faculty at U-M's Ross School of Business, where he continues as managing director of the Wolverine Venture Fund and as an adjunct professor of entrepreneurial studies.
Prof. Gordon has sat on both sides of the table: as an attorney and as a businessperson. His background includes starting companies, venture capital, and advising early-stage and fast-growth companies, venture capital, and private equity firms and investors. His law practice included representing companies and investors in early-stage matters, strategic and financial acquisitions, IPOs, and corporate finance. His areas of interest include entrepreneurship, venture capital, private equity, mergers and acquisitions, and the biomedical, IT, and digital marketing industries. He also previously served on the faculty and as associate dean and director of the Graduate Division of Business & Management (now Carey Business School) at Johns Hopkins University, where he taught in the business and medical schools, and at the University of Florida, where he also served as director of the Center for Technology & Science Commercialization Studies.
He is frequently quoted in BusinessWeek, The New York Times, Bloomberg, and other outlets on entrepreneurship, venture finance, private equity, IPOs, the biomedical industry, and the IT and digital marketing industries. At U-M, he also serves on the advisory board of the Medical Innovation Center and on the portfolio advisory committee of the North Campus Research Complex. His degrees are in economics and law.
Barrie Loeks, '79, is an inaugural instructor of the ZEAL courses. She received her JD, magna cum laude, from Michigan Law, where she served as an editor of the Michigan Law Review, was a member of the Order of the Coif, and received the Henry M. Bates Memorial Scholarship Award and the Maurice Weigle Award. Loeks received an AB with high distinction from the University of Michigan in 1975 with a major in French.
After clerking on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and working as an associate at Warner, Norcross & Judd, Loeks and her husband, Jim Loeks, founded Michigan-based Star Theatres, a movie theatre chain that ultimately grew to 120 screens. In 1992, Loeks became co-CEO of Sony's Loews Theatres, a company with over 250 locations and 10,000 employees, becoming the highest-ranking woman in the Sony Corporation worldwide. As co-CEO of Loews, she oversaw the development of more than 500 new theatre screens over a six-year period.
In 1997, she became the first woman to be honored as Showester of the Year, the industry's highest award. In 1998, Loeks and her husband were jointly named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneurs of the Year for the State of Michigan in recognition of the positive impact of their Star Theatres and related developments in the state.
From 1998 to 2000, she served as chair of the National Association of Theatre Owners and worked with President Clinton to develop and implement a joint plan for voluntary industry enforcement of the movie ratings system, staving off threatened ratings enforcement legislation by Congress. In November 2001, she was awarded the Theatre Industry's Humanitarian of the Year Award.
Loeks and her husband sold their Star Theatres chain and left the theatre business in 2002, and have since devoted their time to a diverse variety of businesses and charities, including serving as executive producers of a Tony-nominated Broadway play, developing a commercial palm tree plantation in Florida, and developing resort-related real estate in the Bahamas. In addition to serving as an adjunct professor at Michigan Law, she serves as a faculty affiliate at the Center for Entrepreneurship at Michigan Engineering.
Loeks served for many years on the board of directors of Meijer, Inc., as well as on the boards of the National Association of Theatre Owners and the Motion Picture Pioneers. She is a member of the University of Michigan President's Advisory Group and serves on the Dean's Advisory Council at Michigan Law.
Alyssa R. Martina is teaching the Negotiating Entrepreneurial Issues course in the Fall 2012 term. She created Metro Parent Magazine in 1986 after serving for five years as legal counsel for Wayne County Circuit Court, one of the nation's largest state judicial circuits. She established the family magazine to fill a void for parents. Several years later, Martina added Windsor Parent Magazine and Ann Arbor Parent Magazine (now the Metro Parent Washtenaw Edition), although the former publication was sold to a Canadian publishing company in February 2001. Today, more than 250,000 readers rely on Metro Parent as their "parenting bible."
Celebrating 25 years of serving parents in southeast Michigan, Metro Parent has created an award-winning website that recently won "Best Parenting Website in the U.S." for a third year in a row. Thousands of parents turn to metroparent.com on daily basis for parenting advice and resources.
To offer support and resources to African-American families, in 1999, Martina launched another company and began publishing African American Family Magazine, which was subsequently recast as a lifestyle magazine and renamed B.L.A.C. (Black Life Arts and Culture). This publication explores and celebrates special aspects of African-American life in Southeast Michigan, under the guidance of African-American community leaders and educators.
Today, Martina is launching another startup. A social network website and application, memloom is focused on sharing media safely in a robust media context. memloom is expected to launch in early 2013.
Martina sits on several boards including the Michigan Women's Foundation, Children's Leadership Council, WSU's Center for the Study of Citizenship, Children's Hospital of Michigan, Detroit Regional Chamber, New Detroit, The Parade Company, City Connect Detroit, and Youthville. She has received many awards, accolades, and honors for her contribution to parenting, journalism, and entrepreneurship.
Martina has mentored throughout her career many women who wish to start a company of their own as well as mentored students at various universities in the region. Martina received her MBA with highest distinction from the University of Michigan's Stephen M. Ross School of Business and her juris doctorate from Wayne State University. Her undergraduate degree is also from the University of Michigan.
Martina is an adjunct professor at Fordham University in New York City, where she teaches a course in the business school on innovation. In the past, she has taught business law to MBA students at Walsh College. She recently coauthored a business law textbook with prominent national experts in the field of business law and has coauthored an article on universal design in higher learning with Dr. John Branch, a marketing professor at U-M's Ross School of Business. She guest lectures on entrepreneurship, media, and business management, strategic innovation and negotiation, as well as corporate social relevance (CSR) at various universities and colleges, symposia, and conferences. She also advises clients on legal issues relating to startups, governance, and other entrepreneurial matters.
David N. Parsigian is an adjunct clinical assistant professor of law in the Entreneurship Clinic. He is also the managing partner of the Ann Arbor office of Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP, where he specializes in venture-capital financing and representation of technology-based companies. He has extensive experience in advising technology businesses with respect to locating sources of capital and structuring financings ranging from seed capital to initial public offerings. His legal expertise includes general corporate, finance, mergers and acquisitions, strategic alliances, and technology licensing.
Prof. Parsigian is a lecturer on matters relating to private equity finance and venture capital at U-M's Stephen M. Ross School of Business, Michigan State University, Wayne State University, and Walsh College. He also has been a frequent presenter at meetings of the Association of University Technology Managers.
Prof. Parsigian received his law degree, with honors, from the University of Texas, and a BSME, magna cum laude, from the University of Michigan.
Bryce C. Pilz, '00, is a clinical assistant professor in the Entrepreneurship Clinic. He represents student entrepreneurs and start-ups concerning intellectual property and corporate legal matters. Prof. Pilz's expertise is in intellectual property and transactional law.
Prior to joining the Law School, he practiced at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in the firm's intellectual property practice and clerked for Judge Amy J. St. Eve in the Northern District of Illinois. Most recently, Prof. Pilz served as associate general counsel in the University of Michigan's Office of General Counsel where he worked on intellectual property transactional matters primarily involving software, medical devices, and engineering technologies. He counseled the University's Office of Technology Transfer on intellectual property and licensing matters and advised the College of Engineering and Center for Entrepreneurship on student intellectual property and entrepreneurship issues.
Prof. Pilz received his JD from Michigan Law in 2000 and his BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan College of Engineering in 1997. He is registered to practice before the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.
Dana A. Thompson, '99, is a clinical assistant professor of law and directs and teaches in the Entrepreneurship Clinic, where she represents University of Michigan student entrepreneurs. Prior to the Entrepreneurship Clinic, she taught in the Urban Communities Clinic, where she represented small businesses and community-based organizations. Prior to joining Michigan Law, Prof. Thompson founded and taught Wayne State University Law School's Small Business Enterprises and Nonprofit Corporations Clinic. She has particular expertise in corporate, nonprofit, and commercial real estate law. She is a contributing author to Building Healthy Communities: A Guide to Community Economic Development for Advocates, Lawyers and Policymakers, published by the ABA's Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law.
Prior to entering academia, Prof. Thompson practiced at Morrison and Foerster, LLP in San Francisco, then at Miller, Starr and Regalia, where she specialized in commercial real estate and corporate law. She then practiced with the Nature Conservancy, where she represented the organization on land conservation transactions.
Prof. Thompson is the chair of the Community Economic Development Committee of the ABA's Business Law Section and is the co-chair of the Legal Educator's Committee of the ABA's Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law. She also serves on the AALS Clinical Law Section's Awards Committee, sits on the board of directors of Community Legal Resources, and is a member of the Detroit Regional Chamber's Small Business Advisory Council. She also served on former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm's emerging Small Business Leaders and Entrepreneurial Council. Prof. Thompson received her JD from Michigan Law, where she was an editor of the Michigan Law Review, and her AB from Bryn Mawr College.