Who We Are

Our project managers and staff are some of the most forward-thinking people in engineering and business. They come from a wide range of cultural, educational, and geographic backgrounds. The different points of view they bring enhance the exceptional educational experiences for Rose-Hulman students and the outstanding engineering solutions for our client companies.


Brian Dougherty

Senior Director for Ventures

(812) 244-4009

Brian joined Rose-Hulman Ventures as a project manager in 2000. Prior to that he worked as a control systems engineer for a small consulting company before joining Otis Elevator in 1995 as a test engineer.

Brian specializes in fast-paced early product development, and has spent much of his career taking initial concepts off the white board and creating proof of concept prototypes in the most expedient manner possible. As the Director of Engineering for Rose-Hulman Ventures, Brian typifies the Rose-Hulman Ventures engineering staff by taking pride in maintaining a broad set of skills. Brian has helped build an engineering team at Rose-Hulman Ventures with a wide range of experience and broad knowledge base that is well equipped to generate practical solutions to the problems that face our clients.

In addition to leading the RHV engineering team, Brian also enjoys directly managing a small portfolio of client projects as a way to stay immersed in hands-on engineering. Career highlights include developing, constructing, and maintaining all of the production test equipment for a 750,000 square foot production facility, developing a trade show prototype of a multi-channel parallel synthesis reactor system in 108 days, and developing a clinical prototype of a minimally invasive brain tumor removal tool in 9 months.

In addition to spending his free time collecting new skills, Brian holds two degrees from Rose-Hulman: a BS in Electrical Engineering he obtained in 1993, and an MS in Engineering Management he obtained in 1999.


Mitchell Landess

Director of Business Development and Operations

(812) 244-4027

Mitch serves as the primary point of contact for external organizations that wish to engage Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology through the Rose-Hulman Ventures (RHV) program. Mitch is responsible for the business development function at RHV; initiating new client relationships, negotiating engineering contracts, and directing programs of projects where teams of faculty members, project managers, engineers, technicians and interns develop new products for RHV clients. Mitch earned both his BS and MS degrees in electrical engineering from Rose-Hulman. He has 13 years of industry experience. Mitch's engineering background is alternative fuel gasification, cryogenic air separation, and power generation. His technical areas of expertise include process optimization, automation controls, and data acquisition for industrial process equipment.

Robin Duncan

Staff Accountant


Robin joined the Rose-Hulman Ventures team as the Staff accountant in December 2016. She was Chief Financial Officer for Four Rivers Resource Services, Inc. since January 2001. She was responsible for developing, implementing and supervising agency-wide fiscal procedures and functions; and to assure quality and continuity of services through fiscal compliance with all applicable standards and regulations. Robin is a graduate of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and a Masters of Public Administration from Indiana State University.

Patti Hoffa

Office Manager

(812) 244-4005

Patti began working at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in 2008 and joined the Rose-Hulman Ventures team in 2012. As Office Manager for Ventures, Patti provides operational and administrative management for the department. Prior to joining Ventures, Patti provided support for both the Learning Center and Homework Hotline. Before coming to Rose-Hulman she was employed with the Vigo County School Corporation where she served as treasurer. Patti holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and criminology from Indiana State University.


Jonathan Labayo

Senior Project Manager

(812) 244-4214

Jon is a project engineer at Rose-Hulman Ventures, working with both hardware and software. He earned his BS in computer engineering from Rose-Hulman. He has experience in both application level software development and embedded hardware/software design, ranging from image and audio processing to data acquisition, analysis, and motion control systems.

Zhan Chen

Project Manager

(812) 244-4011

Zhan began his career at Rose-Hulman Ventures in August 2008. Prior to Rose-Hulman Ventures, he spent five years at TRW Automotive as a lead test engineer, responsible for the final functional test of automotive electrical control unit—anti-lock braking, vehicle stability control, hybrid braking control, etc. Zhan received his BS and MS degrees in electrical engineering from Yanshan University, China, in 1995 and 1998. He also earned a MS in applied optics from Rose-Hulman in 2003.

Barry Davignon

Project Manager

(812) 244-4007

Barry received BS and MS degrees in mechanical engineering from Rose-Hulman in 1990 and 1993. He also received an AS degree in mechanical engineering technology from Franklin Institute in 1984. Barry has four years of experience designing ride-on toys and bicycles for Roadmaster Corp. He has also worked previously as a mechanical technician and a model maker. Barry's areas of specialty, include machine design, plastic product design, consumer product design, medical product design, solid modeling, rapid prototyping, stress analysis, finite elements and patents.

Rob Davignon

Project Manager

(812) 244-4008

Rob has been a project manager with Rose-Hulman Ventures since its inception, working on a wide variety of projects both as the project leader and as an engineer/designer. His areas of specialty include solid modeling, product design, and machine design. Prior to joining Rose-Hulman, he worked in the specialty paper industry for twelve years as a Project Engineer. Rob received a BS in manufacturing and product design technology from New England Institute of Technology in 1987.

Sandor Pethes

Manager of Software Engineering

(812) 244-4213

Sandor is currently working as a project engineer for software development teams. His area of expertise is in software engineering. Sandor has an interest in computer graphics, Linux systems, and embedded systems. He earned his BS in computer science at Rose-Hulman in 2002.

Charlie Jones

Mechanical Technician

(812) 244-4034

As a Mechanical Technician, Charlie provides support to the Rose-Hulman Ventures project managers and interns. Charlie developed a mechanic background at an early age and has spent more than 40 years as a mechanic, machinist, welder and operator. Charlie attained an AAS degree in Aircraft Maintenance Technology from Ivy Tech Community College and later taught there for 15 years in the field of Aircraft Maintenance & Industrial Technology. Charlie also pursued a more advanced degree, earning both an AAS and BS degrees in Industrial Technology Education from Indiana State University.

Jay Sotak

Electronics Technician

(812) 244-4028

Jay Sotak is the electronics technician for Rose-Hulman Ventures, providing general construction and maintenance services for electronic equipment and laboratory computers. Jay received his BS in electronics technology from Indiana State University. He has more than 20 years of experience in the electronic industry, including ten years as a test engineer for the Department of Defense contractors. He worked on such programs as F15 radar (APG-63), U.S. Roland, and the Stealth bomber. Jay was previously employed by TRW. He has extensive knowledge in automotive electronics as a production support technician and test engineer.