2020 Tibbetts Award Winner for Excellence in the SBIR/STTR Programs

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Tom Wavering, Executive Director

Mr. Wavering joined the University of Oklahoma in September 2016 as the founding Executive Director of the I-Hub with the mission to increase innovation and entrepreneurship across Oklahoma through a mix of resources, programs, services, and collaborations. As a national expert in the federal SBIR program, Mr. Wavering founded and leads the I-Hub’s OK Catalyst program which provides statewide SBIR-related networking, training, and mentoring efforts. In 2019, Wavering joined the faculty of the Price College of Business, creating and teaching the course “Entrepreneurship for Science and Technology.” Prior to OU, Mr. Wavering had 18 years of experience in the research, development, and commercialization of innovative technologies through various technical and executive leadership roles with Intelligent Automation, Inc. (IAI) in Rockville, MD and Luna Innovations in Blacksburg, VA and Charlottesville, VA.

Daniel Moses, Founding Director

Daniel is the founding Director of OK Catalyst and is responsible for the planning and execution of all programs and activities. Prior to this role, Daniel was a Program Manager for the internationally recognized Tom Love Center for Entrepreneurship at OU. In this role, Daniel designed and launched the Sooner Innovation Fund: an endowed $1,250,000 early-stage proof-of-concept program that gives OU students up to $5,000 and provides mentorship and training on market validation. Daniel comes from a family of entrepreneurs and co-founded/managed a small business in college that became profitable within two years of opening. Daniel graduated from the OU College of International Studies with a Master of Arts in International Studies with an emphasis in economic development. Daniel is a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe and was able to access higher education thanks to the Gates-Millennium Scholarship.

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Sarah Hamby, Director

In May, Sarah was selected as the new Director for OK Catalyst, replacing founding Director Daniel Moses, who will be leaving to attend Harvard Law School in the fall. Since joining the team in 2019, Sarah led the 2020 rebrand of OK Catalyst, brought together hundreds of entrepreneurs at events such as SBIR Week and Tinker Innovation Day, created and led our NASA SBIR Accelerator that resulted in a historic improvement in NASA SBIR awards, and has been integrally involved in every other OK Catalyst effort. Prior to joining OK Catalyst, Sarah served for ten years on active duty with the U.S. Air Force and three additional years with the New York Air National Guard. As a Command and Control Battle Manager, Sarah deployed in support of various contingency operations to include, IRAQI FREEDOM, NEW DAWN, and ENDURING FREEDOM. Sarah’s active-duty career culminated at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma where she served as Flight Chief of Operations Training for the 552d Air Control Group. During this time, Sarah worked directly for Air Combat Command’s Higher Headquarters to oversee mission qualification requirements of 250 personnel. Sarah graduated from the State University of New York with a BS in Business Management and Economics and earned an MBA with a focus on Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises from The Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, New York. 

Maya Nkouka, Mentorship Lead

Maya leads the SBIR training and outreach efforts in Tulsa and the surrounding areas. Most recently, Maya led the development and execution of the first all-virtual SBIR Accelerator in the nation. Before joining the OK Catalyst team, Maya supported the US Department of Veterans Affairs by helping veteran entrepreneurs become qualified for the Vets First Verification Program. Once part of this program, veterans had a unique opportunity to bid on VA set-aside contracts. Maya graduated with a J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law.

Jenae Goodin, Program Lead

Jenae leads our summer Roadmap program and supports the DoD Accelerators. She brings with her 10 years of hands-on experience as a business owner and certified PMP. Prior to joining the OK Catalyst team, Jenae worked with OU IT’s office of the Chief Innovation Officer as a project coordinator. She attended the University of Tulsa and the University of Oklahoma.

Paige Holzer, Design Lead and Marketing Communications

Paige is a junior at the University of Oklahoma majoring in Visual Communication. Paige is responsible for the design and publication of social media posts and various print and digital design materials. She has a strong history in studio art, and is also the treasurer of the OU Graphic Design Association. Upon graduation in 2022, Paige plans to pursue a career in graphic design.

Khady Ndoye, Business Analyst

Khady is a junior at the University of Oklahoma majoring in Management Information Systems. She is also doing an accelerated MS MIT with a focus on data analytics. She is responsible for researching potential markets and creating written reports for OK Catalyst clients. Upon graduation in 2022, Khady wants to pursue a career in data science.

Our Funding Partners

OK Catalyst is a 100% grant-funded organization. Primary sponsors include the US Small Business Administration, the Economic Development Agency, the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology, and the Oklahoma Business Roundtable.