Executive Team

Jake Orville

Jake Orville

Jake Orville has 20 years of diagnostic, life science and medical device management experience within both established and emerging markets. Jake is a co-founder, CEO and serves on the board of Cleveland HeartLab, Inc. (CHL). CHL was spun-out of the Cleveland Clinic in 2009 to develop and rapidly commercialize unique diagnostic technologies, with applications in cardiovascular and inflammatory indications. Under Jake’s leadership, CHL has been recognized as Ohio’s Venture of the Year (2012), received an Economic Impact Award by the city of Cleveland for job creation (2013), and been awarded the prestigious NorTech Innovation Award (2013) and was recognized as an Inc. 5000 fastest growing private company in the US (2014).

Prior to co-founding Cleveland HeartLab, Jake was CEO of Prognostix and held Senior Management positions with two publicly traded companies (NextGen Sciences – AIM NGG.L; Third Wave Technologies – Nasdaq TWTI). He is a co-founder of Viridian Medical and Tolera Therapeutics and currently sits on the Board of Directors for Stealth Therapeutics and The Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation.

Jake has raised over $40 Million of capital from multiple sources, including angels, family offices, state funding sources and top tier venture funds. A well recognized entrepreneur, he has given many lectures on commercialization, early stage ventures, technology transfer and intellectual property.

Jake received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and his MBA from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Marc S. Penn

Marc S. Penn

M.D., Ph.D., FACC

Dr. Marc Penn is a cardiologist and Director of Research and the Director of the Cardiovascular Medicine Fellowship at the Summa Cardiovascular Institute, Summa Health System in Akron, Ohio and Professor of Medicine and Integrative Medical Sciences at Northeast Ohio Medical University where he leads the Skirball Laboratory for Cardiovascular Cellular Therapeutics. He serves as the first Director of the Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship at Summa Cardiovascular Institute. Dr. Penn was a staff cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic from 2000-2011 where he served as the Director of the Coronary Intensive Care Unit, Director of the Experimental Animal Laboratory, Director of the Bakken Heart-Brain Institute, and the first Director of the Center for Cardiovascular Cell Therapy. Dr. Penn is a successful serial entrepreneur.

Dr. Penn completed his undergraduate and postgraduate work at Case Western Reserve University completing a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering in 1989 and Doctor of Medicine in 1994. He completed his Internal Medicine training at University Hospitals of Cleveland (1994-97) and his Cardiovascular Medicine Fellowship at Cleveland Clinic (1997-2000). He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Medicine. During his training he received numerous awards including the 2000 Joseph Cash Memorial Prize for Clinical Outcomes Research and the 1999 Irvine H. Page Young Investigator award for Atherosclerosis Research presented by the National American Heart Association. His work led to SDF-1 being chosen as a Top Advanced Therapy to Watch (November 2013, Boston). He has adjunct appointments at Case Western Reserve University in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Bioengineering Center at Cleveland State University.

Dr. Penn’s research has led to several discoveries in the field of cardiovascular medicine. His education and training have helped him develop diagnostics and drug delivery systems for the treatment of cardiovascular disease, including strategies to optimize gene and stem cell therapy for regeneration of myocardial tissue. Dr. Penn has been an organizer and invited lecturer at international symposiums and conferences and is author or co-author of numerous published articles, abstracts, book chapters and books on a wide range of topics, from diabetes and lipoprotein oxidation; the development and role of cardiovascular diagnostics in clinical medicine; and stem cell and gene based therapies for heart disease. He is the Editor or co-Editor of 3 books including Stem Cells and Myocardial Regeneration published by Humana Press.

Dr. Penn is an active inventor, serial entrepreneur and internationally recognized as an expert in translating basic science research to clinical populations that impact patient outcomes. He has generated intellectual property in the fields of diagnostics, biologics and devices that has been licensed by numerous companies, having authored dozens of U.S. and international patent applications. In 2006 he was named Innovator of the Year at the Cleveland Clinic. He is the founder and CMO of Juventas Therapeutics, Inc. (Cleveland, OH) a privately funded clinical stage regenerative medicine company founded on intellectual property developed in his laboratory for cardiovascular disease and cosmetic wound healing. He has designed and participated in executing the Phase II studies STOP-CLI, STOP-HF and RETRO-HF. He also serves on the BOD of Juventas Therapeutics. He is co-founder and CMO of Cleveland Heart Lab, Inc. (Cleveland, OH), a diagnostic company based on biomarkers associated with coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction and other inflammatory diseases that now services >3000 physicians. He was founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Cour Pharma from 2007-2010 (Kalamazoo, MI). He is an advisor and Scientific Advisory Board member of numerous companies and funds. Of note he is the PI of the Athersys MultiStem in AMI Phase I and II trials, serves on the SAB of NeuroTronik, Inc. and served on the Aastrom Biosciences SAB. He is a Venture Partner with Oakwood Medical Investors (St. Louis, MO) and served on the Scientific Advisory Board of Frantz Medical Ventures (2004-08, New York City), and as a Clinical Partner with Foundation Medical Partners (2009-11, New Canaan, CT) representing the interests of the Cleveland Clinic. He served on the BOD of CardioVIP (2012-2014, Houston, TX) and currently serves on the BOD of SnappSkin (Cleveland, OH) and Rhythm Therapeutics (Chicago, IL). From 2008-10 Dr. Penn served as the Senior Medical Director for Emerging Businesses at Cleveland Clinic. He is recognized as one of the top 50 doctors in the history of the Cleveland Clinic (MedCity News, December 2011).

Deborah H. Sun

Deborah H. Sun


Dr. Deborah Sun serves the role of the Vice President of Laboratory Operations and Medical Director at Cleveland HeartLab. She provides strategic and technical leadership for the clinical laboratory and is responsible for laboratory operations at Cleveland HeartLab.

Dr. Sun has over 20 years of lab management experience. Prior to joining CHL in June of 2012, Dr. Sun was the scientific director of clinical pathology at South Bend Medical Foundation, Sound Bend, IN, a regional clinical laboratory serving physicians and patients in five states. As scientific director, she oversaw the research department, led the development of new tests and testing technologies, directed the quality assurance unit, and provided technical leadership and consultation to a variety of functions within the organization.

Dr. Sun earned her Ph.D. in clinical chemistry from Cleveland State University and is certified by the American Board of Clinical Chemistry.

Darren Hudach

Darren Hudach

Darren Hudach has broad experience across several health care markets where he has led both medical device businesses and clinical service laboratories.  Darren brings extensive international experience to his role as Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Cleveland HeartLab, where he is responsible for strategy development and operational excellence across functions. In addition to serving as COO he also serves as the Chief Compliance Officer for CHL.

Darren joined Cleveland HeartLab from PerkinElmer, where he served as Vice President for three divisions: Neonatal Screening, Informatics, and Next Generation Sequencing Services.  The Neonatal Screening division was comprised of both a clinical service laboratory and an in vitro diagnostics (IVD) business consisting of reagents and several instrument platforms. Under Darren’s leadership the Neonatal Screening business realized accelerated growth and profitability and in 2014 sold products to 91 countries. Darren also led global businesses for Informatics across several Diagnostics end markets along with a CLIA certified next generation sequencing service lab.

Darren is a voting member of the CLSI standing subcommittee on Newborn Screening, an Executive Committee Member of the Center for IT and e-Business at the University of Akron, has served the last three years as Chair of the Akron March for Babies supporting the March of Dimes, and is a member of the Newborn Screening workgroup for Translational Research Network,  HIT-Workgroup for the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), and the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL).  Darren has also spoken to several groups on topics ranging from leadership to newborn screening.

Darren received his Bachelor of Science from Youngstown State University, and his MBA from The University of Findlay.

Pam Gornall

Pam Gornall

Pam Gornall is Chief Financial Officer for Cleveland HeartLab. In her role she is responsible for the organizations’ overall financial planning and fiscal health.

Pam joined CHL from Magellan Bioscience where she served the role of CFO. Previous to Magellan, Pam served the roles of CFO and Vice President of Operations at TREK Diagnostics and Picker International (now Phillips Medical). Her contributions to early stage companies include international mergers, acquisitions and operational integrations.  Pam has also assisted in raising significant capital for early stage companies where she has consistently grown investor value.

Pam has an undergraduate in Business Administration and Accounting from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Cory Bystrom

Cory Bystrom


Dr. Cory Bystrom serves as Vice President of Research and Development at Cleveland HeartLab where he is responsible for novel biomarker identification, validation and commercialization. Dr. Bystrom has over a decade of experience as a laboratory leader and chemist.

Prior to joining CHL, he was at Quest Diagnostics Nichols Institute as associate director of research and development with responsibilities for development of tests and identification of analytical strategies for commercialization of new biomarkers. He also has held research and development roles at Oregon Health Science University, Fonterra, and Pharmacia and Upjohn.

Dr. Bystrom earned his PhD in chemistry from the University of Oregon and his MS and BS degrees from the University of Wisconsin.

Paul Haber

Paul Haber

Paul Haber is the Vice President of Information Technology at Cleveland HeartLab.  He is responsible for all software development, data management and information systems within the organization.

Paul has more than 17 years of IT systems development and implementation experience across the Health and Wellness sectors in various environments including for profit, non-profit and government agencies.

Prior to joining Cleveland Heartlab he was a Director of Information Technology at Quest Diagnostics (Formally Athena Diagnostics) where he was responsible for every aspect of IT including the LIS, financial systems, electronic interfaces and end user support.  For 5 years Paul owned his own consulting company providing IT and management services to Boston area hospitals and healthcare organizations including The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Partners Healthcare.  Paul has also held positions at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and the National Institutes of Health.

Paul received his Master of Science in Information and Telecommunication Systems from The Johns Hopkins University.

Steve Massaro

Steve Massaro

Steve Massaro is Vice President of Sales for Cleveland HeartLab where he is responsible building and leading a team which creates and delivers exceptional value for our clients. His experience in leading successful customer-focused sales teams has covered more than 20 years in both the hospital and physician-office markets with several global healthcare companies.

Before joining Cleveland HeartLab, Steve was with Smiths Medical where, for more than ten year’s he advanced his career from field management to divisional sales leadership to leading a $200 million commercial area while achieving record growth. His accomplishments during that time included both organic growth and successful acquisition integration through various high-growth phases while focused on clinical solutions in critical care, safety, and medication delivery.

Steve began his healthcare sales career in surgical sales with Davis & Geck, (now Covidien). While holding several positions in sales, sales training, and management with a company that would transform into Sherwood, Kendall, and U.S. Surgical, during this nearly ten year period, his teams were recognized consistently for outstanding accomplishments, receiving the company’s highest performance awards.

Steve attended Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania where he earned his BBA in marketing.

Marne Ruf, Esq

Marne Ruf, Esq

Marne Ruf is currently Senior Counsel and Secretary for Cleveland HeartLab where she oversees legal, regulatory and human resources. She comes to CHL from Jones Day, where she spent several years working on complex commercial litigation matters and large regulatory compliance audits. Prior to Jones Day, she ran her own firm focused in the area of employment law and human resource consulting counseling small businesses and non-profits on the full range of workplace matters.

Ms. Ruf began her career litigating employment law cases in all forums, from the administrative level through federal court. Marne is currently working towards an LL.M in Health Care Law. She recently received a scholarship from the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Health Care Law Section for her academic achievement in the area of health care law. This degree will combine her previous experience in employment law and regulatory compliance with an in-depth knowledge of current federal and state health and employment laws.

Marne earned her B.A. in History from Case Western Reserve University and her J.D. from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. She is a member of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association and the American Health Lawyers Association. She is a volunteer at the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland and donates time to various other organizations around the Cleveland area.

Board of Directors

Les Vinney

Les Vinney

Les C. Vinney has served as non-executive chairman of Cleveland HeartLab since the Company’s founding. He is the former President, Chief Executive Officer and a director of STERIS Corporation, a leading provider of infection prevention and surgical products and services for the healthcare, pharmaceutical and research markets. Mr. Vinney served as President and Chief Executive Officer of STERIS Corporation from 2000 to 2007, after which time he served as Senior Advisor to STERIS Corporation until his retirement in 2009. Prior to becoming President and Chief Executive Officer, he was such company’s Senior Vice President, Finance and Operations. He previously held various senior operating and financial management positions with Goodrich Corporation (formerly B.F. Goodrich), including Chief Financial Officer, and Engelhard Corporation (now part of BASF). Mr. Vinney also serves as a director of Campbell Soup Company; Patterson Companies; University Hospitals Health System (Cleveland, Ohio); NDI Healthcare Fund; and SPR Therapeutics. Mr. Vinney served on the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland from 2005 through 2010, and on the board of AdvaMed (Advanced Medical Device Association) from 2001 through 2007. Mr. Vinney holds a BA in economics and political science, and an MBA with distinction, both from Cornell University.

Tommy G. Thompson

Tommy G. Thompson

Honorable Tommy G. Thompson is a former Health and Human Services Secretary and four-term Governor of Wisconsin.

Following his term in public office, he built on his efforts as HHS Secretary and Governor to develop innovative solutions to the health care challenges facing American families, businesses, communities, states and the nation as a whole. These efforts focus on improving the use of information technology in hospitals, clinics and doctors offices; promoting healthier lifestyles; strengthening and modernizing Medicare and Medicaid; and expanding the use of medical diplomacy around the world.

Secretary Thompson served as HHS Secretary from 2001 to 2005 and is one of the nation’s leading advocates for the health and welfare of all Americans. Secretary Thompson has dedicated his professional life to public service and served as Governor of Wisconsin from 1987 to 2001. Secretary Thompson made state history when he was re-elected to office for a third term in 1994 and a fourth term in 1998.

Secretary Thompson began his career in public service in 1966 as a representative in Wisconsin’s state Assembly. He was elected assistant Assembly minority leader in 1973 and Assembly minority leader in 1981. Secretary Thompson has received numerous awards for his public service, including the Anti-Defamation League’s Distinguished Public Service Award and the Friend of Zion Award In 1997, the Secretary received Governing Magazine’s Public Official of the Year Award, and the Horatio Alger Award in 1998. The Secretary has also served as chairman of the National Governors’Association, the Education Commission of the States and the Midwestern Governors’ Conference. Secretary Thompson also served in the Wisconsin National Guard and the Army Reserve.

Steve Gullans, PhD

Steve Gullans


Dr. Steve Gullans is an experienced investor, entrepreneur and scientist. At Excel, he focuses on life science technology companies with a particular interest in disruptive platforms that can impact multiple industries. Steve is currently a Director at Tetraphase Pharmaceuticals, Pathogenetix, nanoMR, Cleveland HeartLab, and RxGen. He was a board member of BioTrove until it was acquired by Life Technologies (LIFE) in 2009 and Biocius Life Sciences until it was acquired by Agilent Technologies (A) in 2011.

Prior to Excel, Dr. Gullans co-founded RxGen, Inc., a pharma services company where he served as CEO from 2004-2008. In 2002, Steve stepped in as a senior executive at U.S. Genomics to direct operations, recruit a new CEO, and assist with fundraising. In the 1990s, he co-developed the technology that launched CellAct Pharma GmbH, a drug development company. Steve’s experience with venture investing began in the late 1980s when he became an active advisor to small biotechs and venture investors, including being a Senior Advisor to CB Health Ventures for 10 years.

Dr. Gullans is an expert in advanced life science technologies and was a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital for nearly 20 years. He has published more than 130 scientific papers in many leading journals, lectured internationally, and co-authored numerous patents. He recently co-authored with Juan Enriquez an eBook entitled, Homo evolutis: A Short Tour of Our New Species, which describes a world where humans increasingly shape their environment, themselves, and other species. He received his B.S. at Union College, Ph.D. at Duke University, and postdoctoral training at the Yale School of Medicine.

Bill Cadogan

Bill Cadogan

With a career-long passion for technology investments, Bill Cadogan focuses primarily on emerging opportunities in the communications sector, with an emphasis on optical technology. Prior to joining Vesbridge Partners in April 2001, Bill was Chairman and CEO of Minnesota-based ADC, Inc., a Fortune 500 company.

Bill joined ADC in 1987 as Vice President, Private Network Marketing. He was promoted to Vice President, Product Development and subsequently was named Senior Vice President, Telecom Group. In May of 1990, he was appointed President and Chief Operating Officer of ADC, and was elected President and CEO in July of 1991. In February of 1994, Bill was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors. Under his leadership, ADC grew from $263 million in revenue in 1990 to approximately $3.2 billion in 2000.

Bill joined ADC from the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (Intelsat) in Washington, D.C., where he was General Manager of Business Development. His extensive background in the telecommunications industry includes 15 years with AT&T, where he held a variety of sales and marketing positions.

Bill holds a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He is a member of the Telecommunications Industry Association and served as the association’s chairman in 2000.

Gus Lawlor

Gus Lawlor has been a managing director of HealthCare Ventures since 2000.  He was previously Chief Operating Officer of LeukoSite, Inc., a HealthCare Ventures III, IV, and V company.  Before joining LeukoSite, he was Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Corporate Development for Alpha-Beta Technology.  He held similar positions at BioSurface Technology and Armstrong Pharmaceuticals.  He was previously a management consultant with KPMG Peat Marwick.  Mr. Lawlor is a member of the board of directors of the Slater Center in Providence, Rhode Island.  He received a master’s degree in public and private management from Yale University.

Matthew Embrescia

F. Matthew Embrescia

As President of Second Generation, Matthew serves as one of the primary contacts with the entrepreneurs and management teams among his portfolio companies. He is responsible for driving growth and building value for all of Second Gen’s various investments. In addition, he is responsible for identifying new investment opportunities and evaluating acquisition and divestiture opportunities.

Second Generation, Ltd. is an Embrescia family investment firm that actively works with talented management teams to develop businesses that have potential for significant growth and long-term value.

Since 1999, Second Gen and its subsidiaries have invested heavily in the Top-Level-Domain (TLD) Industry. In 2003, they were early pioneers in the industry when they applied for and were awarded the .JOBS TLD. At that time, .JOBS was one of only 14 TLDs in the world.

Second Gen began working with the National Association or Realtors® (NAR) in 2007 to secure a TLD in the real estate space and launched .REALTOR in the fall of 2014. Today, Second Gen is the Registry Operator for the .Jobs, .Career, .REALTOR, .RealEstate, and .MED TLDs. Matthew is an expert in the Domain Name System (DNS) and Internet policy.

A graduate of Georgetown University with a B.S.B.A in Marketing, Matthew became fluent in Spanish while studying during a college year abroad at the Universidad Autónoma in Madrid, Spain.

When he’s not traveling the world for his work, he enjoys spending time with his wife and three young kids at their home in Shaker Heights, OH.