2020 Selection Committee
Elizabeth Lea Dougherty, J.D.
Member, Florida Inventors Hall of Fame Advisory Board
Eastern Regional Outreach Director
United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
Andrés G. Gil, Ph.D.
Vice President for Research and Economic Development
Florida International University
Andrés Gil serves as VP for Research and Economic Development and Dean of the University Graduate School at Florida International University (FIU). After earning a Ph.D. in Medical Sociology from the University of Miami, Gil became the Director of the South Florida Youth Development Project at the University of Miami. In 1992, he joined the Western Consortium for Public Health at the University of California, Berkley where he was a research scientist. Later, he became an Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Relations at the University of Connecticut. He also has served on numerous advisory and review committees to National Institutes of Health. At FIU, Gil has previously served as the Director of Research Development for the School of Social Work, and the former College of Health and Urban Affairs.
Sharon A. Heise, Ph.D.
Chief Research Officer
Institute for Human & Machine Cognition
Sharon Heise is Chief Research Officer at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC), in Pensacola. As a member of IHMC’s Senior Leadership Team, Heise has overseen all aspects of IHMC research initiatives. Heise previously served 20 years in the U.S. Air Force, where she was most recently Director of Mathematics and Information Sciences at the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Heise holds a Ph.D. in Control Engineering from Cambridge University, England. She is a graduate of the Program for Senior Executives in National and International Security at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
David P. Norton, Ph.D.
Vice President for Research
University of Florida
David Norton is vice president for research at the University of Florida (UF). Previously, he served as associate dean for research in the College of Engineering and professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. He has 30 years of experience in science and technology research, having served 11 years as a research scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) prior to joining UF as a faculty member in 2000. Throughout his career at ORNL and UF, he has published over 350 refereed journal articles with more than 11,000 citations. He is an inventor on 10 patents and has presented more than 70 invited presentations at national and international conferences. Norton is a fellow of the American Physical Society, American Vacuum Society, and American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and Charter Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.
Paul R. Sanberg, Ph.D., D.Sc.
Chair, Florida Inventors Hall of Fame Advisory Board
President, National Academy of Inventors
University of South Florida
Trent M. Smith
Manager, Technology Transfer Office
NASA Kennedy Space Center
Trent Smith serves as manager of the Technology Transfer Office at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and leads a team that has extensive experience in intellectual property management, technology licensing, and establishment of public-private partnerships. The Technology Transfer Office at Kennedy ensures that innovations developed for aeronautics and space exploration are made broadly available to the public – boosting the U.S. economy and maximizing the return on the nation’s investment in NASA.
Smith has nearly 20 years of experience at NASA in several fields, including technology development, technology application, launch vehicle processing, payload processing, space biology experiments, space crop production, and space policy. He has more than 10 patents issued, and co-authored several technical scientific peer-reviewed articles and government reports.
Throughout his career as a polymer chemist, vehicle processing engineer, project engineer, and project manager, Smith has collaborated with industry, academia, and other government organizations for the development of technologies to meet NASA’s mission needs and to provide benefit to the nation. Smith is a graduate of Florida Institute of Technology, with a Bachelor of Science and master’s in chemistry.
M.J. Soileau, Ph.D.
University Distinguished Professor
University of Central Florida
From 1998 until 2016, M.J. Soileau led the University of Central Florida’s (UCF) sponsored research activities and management of interdisciplinary centers and institutes as the vice president for research and commercialization. Today, he is a professor of optics and photonics, electrical and computer engineering, and physics at UCF. He is known for leading the development of the internationally recognized Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers (CREOL) at UCF as its founding director. Soileau holds six U.S. patents and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), IEEE Photonics Society Life, Optical Society of America (OSA), International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE), and the National Academy of Inventors. In 2016, Soileau was inducted into the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame and he was elected a Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Science.