Marnie LaVigne, Ph.D.
President & CEO
Dr. Marnie LaVigne has spent more than 30 years in both the private and public sectors creating new products and start-up businesses, driving innovation and economic growth in high-tech industries, such as life sciences, informatics, and advanced manufacturing. Her passion for working with start-ups took root from her experience launching health informatics businesses with colleagues in the 1990’s as she finished her doctoral work at the University of Rochester, which resulted in growing two health informatics companies with more than 100 employees and two initial public offerings (IPOs).
In July 2014, she became the President and CEO of Launch NY, a 27-county venture development organization that she co-founded with other Buffalo boosters and whose mission is to identify, support and invest in high-growth, high-impact companies and catalyze the entrepreneurial culture of Upstate New York. Previously, she led economic development efforts involving work with hundreds of businesses at UB as Associate Vice President for Economic Development from 2012 to 2014 and Director of Business Development from 2005 until 2012 at the NYS Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics & Life Sciences and the UB Center for Advanced Biomedical and Bioengineering Technology yielding economic impact with more than a 60:1 return-on-investment. In addition to her for prfit start-up experience prior to UB, Dr. LaVigne also spearheaded product development initiatives for larger corporations in managed care (e.g., Aetna), pharmaceuticals (Bristol-Myers Squibb), medical devices (Welch Allyn), and medical informatics (Medscape/MedicaLogic, now GE and WebMD).
Dr. LaVigne has a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience and a doctorate in clinical psychology, both from the University of Rochester. She is chair of the New York State Economic Development Council (NYSEDC) and a member of the Board of Directors for Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, the State Science and Technology Institute (SSTI), Upstate Venture Connect, Western New York Venture Association, and numerous advisory boards. As lifelong residents of Buffalo, Marnie and her husband, Rob Fohl, are avid downhill skiers and sailors who are blessed with two adult children, a son-in-law, and three grandchildren.