Teaching Team


All the members of the teaching team have been selected for their subject matter expertise, their personal experiences and proven teaching ability.  The team blends award winning professional instructors with experienced entrepreneurs with proven expertise in the practical skills necessary to develop and expand a technology product company. The program’s faculty members collectively have proven experience in product development, product management, sales and marketing, law, venture and angel capital, organizational development, training and compensation, culture, public relations and strategy.

The program is led by Jonathan Aberman. Aberman is well-known in the Greater Washington region's technology business community and is a regular commentator on its development and growth. He is also an experienced technology business founder and owner, having helped to start 16 technology product businesses since 2004 through his investment company, Amplifier Management. He is also a top-rated Lecturer at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. Since 2006, he has taught more than 2,000 students corporate finance, business strategy, market discovery, product development, organizational change and cultural development. The Tandem Product Academy’s educational approach grows out of Aberman’s experience helping entrepreneurs grow technology product businesses and his classroom skills.

The initial teaching team for the Tandem Product Academy is provided below.


Jonathan Aberman

Teaching Focus: Organizational development, growth strategies, corporate governance, leadership and finance.

Jonathan is the founder and managing director of Amplifier Ventures and a Lecturer at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. He has taught over 2,000 students since 2006 in courses on entrepreneurship, strategy, organizational development, corporate finance and business growth. He has frequently been a top-ranked instructor. Through Amplifier Ventures, Jonathan has guided 16 technology startups since 2005 and has provided innovation and organizational change guidance to a diverse range of clients, including governmental entities (federal and local), for-profit businesses and not for profit enterprises. He is a recognized thought leader of the Greater Washington region's innovation community, and his work on innovation and economic development has been utilized by regional groups including the 2030 Group, Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation, the Greater Washington Partnership, the Virginia Center for Innovative Technologies and many others. His federal clients have included the Department of Defense, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. He serves on many corporate boards and is a frequent keynote speaker and panelist for regional and national programs on innovation and entrepreneurship. His media activities include writing a column first for Washington Post and now for Washington Business Journal and hosting  “What’s Working in Washington” on WFED radio. 


Erich Baumgartner

Teaching Focus: Sales and marketing, and product design.

Erich is a highly successful sales and marketing executive who has been part of many successful technology product companies. He has used his experience to bring new technologies to market through startups that were subsequently bought as well as to help larger companies achieve significant sales growth. Companies he has helped grow include Phantom, Q1 Labs, Ingrian, Sourcefire, Cisco and Sun Microsystems.


Ed Bersoff

Teaching Focus: Organizational change, corporate governance and leadership.

Ed is a business founder with a long history of growing government-focused businesses. He has assisted many emerging business founders to develop strategies to successfully commercialize technology products and reach new markets. He has founded or worked with BTG, ICF International, ATS Corporation, BFF and Eagle Ray, among others. He is also an active angel investor and has extensive experience as a member of public company boards, as well as non-profit boards.


Jim Cheng

Teaching Focus: Organizational change, corporate governance, technology product implementation, government relations and customer discovery.

Jim is a technology business founder and policy maker. He is an Executive Lecturer of Entrepreneurship at the University of Virginia School of Engineering. His prior experience includes serving as Secretary of Commerce and Trade for the Commonwealth of Virginia and growing and successfully exiting a closely held technology business that grew though proprietary expertise for product evaluation and implementation. Jim is an active angel investor and a practicing attorney.


Fran Craig

Teaching Focus: Organizational development, business models and leadership.

Fran is a software entrepreneur who has managed the delivery of software product technologies as President or CEO of various businesses. She is the founder of Unanet, and she previously had leadership roles at various companies, including Computer Strategies, DHL/NetExpress, GTE/Telenet, and at Carnegie Mellon University. Fran has successfully managed the process of converting businesses from consulting services to product design and delivery.


Ben Foster

Teaching Focus: Product vision and strategy, development prioritization, and user experience design.

Ben is one of the foremost experts in product management and design in the Greater Washington region. He has been a formal advisor over 40 startups, including several noteworthy companies such as Contactually, FiscalNote, and Aquicore. Ben is the Chief Product Officer at GoCanvas, and also advisor to companies that are focused on delivering the best products to their customers. Previously, Ben was VP Product and UX at Opower during its rise from a 40-person underdog to a $1B publicly traded company, and was the mastermind behind major product innovations in eBay's earlier days, which contributed to his portfolio of 15 patents and counting.


Jeff Kudisch

Teaching Focus: Organizational development, leadership and talent development.

Jeff is an award winning Clinical Full Professor in the Management and Organizational Department at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. He is also the principal of Personnel Assessment Systems, a human resource consulting firm specializing in leadership development, executive assessment and talent acquisition. He has worked with many nationally known businesses, including Under Armour, Lockheed Martin and Black & Decker.


Tracey Madigan

Teaching Focus: Public speaking and communication.

Tracey is director at 15 Minutes Group. She is a news producer and journalist who has worked in television, radio and online news. She has produced live television and radio, and has booked hundreds of guests over her two decades of experience. She currently produces three different podcast featuring one-on-one interviews out of Washington, DC. She preps both the guests and on-air talent, books guests and edits all segments for broadcast. Previously, she produced a weekly talk show on SiriusXM and was Executive Producer at Washington Business Report on ABC7. Tracey studied journalism in her native Canada and worked at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for ten years, where she was a news producer, reporter and evening news anchor. With 15 Minutes Group, she trains professionals who make media appearances or speak on panels.


James Quigley

Teaching Focus: Organizational development, business models, leadership, corporate finance and government relations.

James is a mobile software innovator and business founder, with a focus on organizational construction and leadership. He is Chief Executive Officer of GoCanvas and the founder of the Refraction Co-working community. He has led business units at prominent mobile and web technology companies including Verisign, Aether Systems and InCode. James is also a Commissioner and Board Member for the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.


Gene Riechers

Teaching Focus: Capital formation, Sales and Marketing skills.

Gene has a broad range of successful operating and investment experience. This has spanned a career in both information technology companies and venture capital. He spent 16 years in the venture capital industry where he co-founded 2 firms and raised a total of $660million, while serving on a number of boards. Before and after his venture capital career, he has been Vice-Chairman, COO, General Manager, and CFO in several successful high growth technology companies. Gene has been involved in more than a dozen IPOs as an operating executive and as a director.


Oliver Schlake

Teaching Focus: Strategy and revenue growth

Oliver is a Full Clinical Professor and Senior Executive Teaching Fellow at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park; a senior business consultant, entrepreneur and researcher. Oliver is a multi-award winning professor, teaching classes at the Undergraduate and Graduate level as well as for the Executive MBA program in Innovation Management, Industry and Competitor Analysis, Business Strategy, Corporate Venturing, Entrepreneurship and Creativity for Business Leaders. At the Robert H. Smith School of Business, he directs the Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Fellows program. He is an inaugural fellow of the University of Maryland’s Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.


Elizabeth Shea

Teaching Focus: Marketing, public relations and presentation skills.

Elizabeth is a public relations entrepreneur who has grown and sold businesses that provide public relations and branding assistance to technology companies. She is CEO of Speakerbox Communications, and she has prior experience as a director of marketing for technology product companies. She serves on the leadership of many regional organizations engaged in innovation, including MindShare and The Marketing Alliance.


Pat Sheridan

Teaching Focus: product design, customer support, strategy and leadership.

Pat is a national expert on product development and commercial delivery. He is currently CEO of Modus Create, an international software product design consultancy. He is a highly in-demand expert on product design and creation methodologies and how to match customer needs with technology capabilities. Before joining Modus Create, he was part of the leadership of Three Pillar Global and Clover Leaf.


Lisa Throckmorton

Teaching Focus: Marketing, social media and web.

Lisa is an expert on social media and web-based marketing. She is the Chief Operating Officer of SpeakerBox Communications. She was part of the founding team of StartupDC, and has been a board member and advisor for many regional innovation support activities. Before joining SpeakerBox, she was a director of marketing for Knowledge Workers and Career Rewards.


Mark Walsh

Teaching Focus: Business models, leadership, government relations and strategy.

Mark is an expert on technology business growth and leadership. He is the CEO of FactSqured. His prior executive leadership experience includes senior roles at Vertical Net, AOL and General Electric. He has served as a Board member for many technology product companies, public companies and not for profits. He has also worked as both a venture capital and active angel investor. In addition to his work as a business founder, he has been involved in politics as the first CTO for the Democratic Party.


Tien Wong

Teaching Focus: Sales and marketing, organizational development and leadership.

Tien is widely acknowledged as the best networked entrepreneur in the Greater Washington region and an expert on technology product sales. He is the CEO of Opus8, which takes an operational role in technology companies. He was the founder of CyberRep, a teleservices company. Tien is a founder or board member of many regional groups that support innovation, including Connectpreneur, Dingman Angels and FounderCorps. He is also an active angel investor.