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News Briefs People on the Move

People on the Move: May 20

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People on the Move is a rundown of recent hirings, promotions, appointments and other notable movements by professionals in the state. If you’re interested in submitting an entry, please contact news@delawarebusinesstimes.com. 

UD President Dennis Assanis | PHOTO COURTESY OF UD

University of Delaware President Dennis Assanis has been named by President Joe Biden to serve on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, a select group of the nation’s most distinguished leaders in these areas. The council is the sole body of external advisors charged with making science, technology and innovation policy recommendations to the president and the White House to provide informed perspectives on issues affecting the economy, worker empowerment, education, energy, the environment, public health, national and homeland security, racial equity and more.

Assanis, who has served as president of the University of Delaware (UD) since 2016, is a highly regarded expert in clean energy and power systems. In 2008, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, which cited his “scientific contributions to improving fuel economy and reducing emissions of internal combustion engines, and for promoting automotive engineering education.” In 2019, he was named to the new National Commission on Innovation and Competitiveness Frontiers, an initiative of the nonprofit and nonpartisan Council on Competitiveness.


Laura Carlson, an administrator, educator and researcher with more than 20 years of higher education experience at the University of Notre Dame, has been named the 12th provost at the University of Delaware. A member of Notre Dame’s psychology faculty since 1994, she has served as vice president, associate provost and dean of the Graduate School there since 2013.

Effective June 8, she succeeds UD Provost Robin Morgan, who announced her plans to retire last summer.

As the University of Delaware’s chief academic officer, Carlson will be responsible for the administration and continuous enhancement of all programs of instruction, research and service supporting the academic mission of the University, and for facilitating the success of UD faculty and students.

The National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL) is pleased to announce that Alok Patel has recently joined the Institute as assistant director of business development and strategic initiatives. In this role Mr. Patel will strengthen NIIMBL’s emphasis on regional economic and workforce development.  

Patel brings over 15 years of experience in the life science industry. Most recently, Patel was the associate director of external relations for the Delaware Biotechnology Institute and prior to that role, he was the director of operations for the Delaware BioScience Association. 

Arden Trust Company, a limited purpose trust company under the ownership of Kestra Holdings, announced the appointment of Theresa de Leon as national director of sales.

De Leon hasd over 20 years of experience in trust services and wealth management. In this role, she will build a team of sales executives focused on deepening relationships with RIA firms, brokerage houses, centers of influence, and Kestra Holdings-associated partners. De Leon will report directly to President Doug Sherry.

Previously, de Leon served as national director of private wealth at Comerica Bank. She grew new client acquisitions 22% year-over-year and trust sales 37% year-over-year. De Leon also spent 13 years at PNC Financial Services Group, rising from senior relationship manager to SVP and regional director of wealth management in the Eastern Corridor.

Fiduciary Trust International, a global wealth manager and wholly-owned subsidiary of Franklin Templeton, announces that M. Lisa Parry Howard has joined the firm as trust counsel based in its Delaware office.

Howard has more than 20 years of financial services and wealth management experience, focusing on trust account administration, fiduciary legal issues, risk assessment, trust account and corporate governance, and account compliance. She joins Fiduciary Trust International from the Wilmington Trust arm of M&T Bank, where she served as a trust administration contract attorney, fiduciary administrator, and risk and corporate governance analyst. Earlier in her career, Ms. Howard was a trust compliance advisor for fiduciary and Delaware-directed accounts at PNC Bank and Vanguard Private Trust Co. She also served as trust counsel and compliance manager at Christiana Trust Co. of Delaware.

Ms. Howard is the most recent addition to Fiduciary Trust International’s office in Delaware, with Anthony Smedley having joined as senior trust officer and trust counsel in February 2022 to support the continued growth of the firm’s Delaware office.

Wilmington Trust announced it has added three new vice presidents to its rapidly growing CLO and Loan Administration Division – Michael Mooneyham, Ryan Murray and Madhura Swadi – highlighting the firm’s commitment to adding top talent to service a growing marketplace.

All three will support the growth of client relationships and assist with training and development of staff, process improvement, innovation, automation initiatives, and workflow management. In addition, they will all help the division continue to scale in response to an increase in CLO Trustee and Loan Administration mandates and expand Wilmington Trust’s ongoing commitment to providing its clients with top-of-class service.

Mooneyham and Murray will report to Richard Britt, head of CLO & Loan Administration, and Swadi will report to Jin Lee, head of CLO Analytics.

Mooneyham and Murray bring a combined 25 years of experience in the structured finance and CLO industry. They will be responsible for managing client relationships, including onboarding and ongoing servicing. Mooneyham most recently was at Barings, where he served as an associate director and senior CLO portfolio analyst. Prior to that, he served on the reporting, operations, and relationship management teams at US Bank. Murray most recently served as an associate vice president and CLO client service specialist on the Structured Finance team at Deutsche Bank.

Swadi joins Wilmington as lead quantitative risk analyst and will assist the firm’s analytics team in building out compliance models – utilizing her 16 years of experience developing statistical financial models focused on analyzing asset performance and risk exposure for structured finance products. Previously, she served as a senior analyst in data management and quantitative analysis at BNY Mellon.


NAI Emory Hill Real Estate Services is pleased to welcome Grace Mudrick to the team. She will manage residential property, both single and multi-family for individual and portfolio owners, as well as transact using her Delaware and Pennsylvania real estate licenses.

Mudrick has over 16 years of experience in real estate brokerage and property management. Prior to joining Emory Hill, she worked with a local property management firm as an executive property manager. Mudrick is an investor herself with a portfolio of over 16 single-family properties.

Secretary Shawn M. Garvin announced changes to the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s leadership structure, selecting Steven Smailer as new director of DNREC’s Division of Water and naming Kim Siegel as chief of staff within DNREC’s Office of the Secretary. 

Smailer succeeds environmental scientist and wetland and stream restoration expert Virgil Holmes, who retired from DNREC after two stints with the department totaling 15 years. Smailer, a hydrogeologist, worked as an environmental program administrator in the division.

As chief of staff, Siegel succeeds Gregory Patterson who earlier this year moved to the Office of the Governor as the state’s infrastructure implementation coordinator to manage funding received by the state of Delaware through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Siegel arrives at DNREC with 20 years of experience in state government and nonprofits. She most recently was the assistant director of government relations and advocacy at Mental Health Partnerships in Philadelphia, overseeing workforce development and individual advocacy programs and monitoring state legislative activity. Prior to that, she was the FOIA coordinator and legislative affairs manager at the Delaware Department of Justice and the research director to then-Lt. Gov. Matt Denn.


Cool Nerds Marketing has announced that Lena Thayer has been promoted to director of sales & operations. After joining the Cool Nerds team in early 2021, Thayer has actively engaged in all aspects of company development which have prepared her to step into this role to both build and strengthen partnerships within the Delaware community and beyond.

Managing Intellectual Property’s 2022 edition of IP Stars names Richards, Layton & Finger directors Fred Cottrell and Kelly Farnan as Patent Stars.


Chair of Richards Layton’s Intellectual Property Group, Fred Cottrell handles complex IP litigation in Delaware’s state and federal courts, representing industry giants such as Google, Gilead, Micron Technology, Apple, Advanced Micro Devices, and Caterpillar. His practice encompasses several other areas of litigation, including antitrust, products liability, and commercial law.


Kelly Farnan, vice chair of the firm’s Litigation Department, represents national and international manufacturing, telecommunications, technology, and pharmaceutical companies in high-stakes patent disputes. Her practice also includes complex commercial litigation in all of Delaware’s courts.

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