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Meet The Judges

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Rhode Island Judge

Christian Cowan

Executive Director; 401 Tech Bridge 

Christian Cowan is a senior executive with more than 20 years of experience in technical manufacturing operations and marketing in the IT networking, energy and textile industries. He brings both domestic and overseas hands-on manufacturing experience to the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation (URIRF), Polaris MEP’s parent organization. He most recently served as the Center Director of Polaris MEP. Christian earned his BSEE degree from Villanova University and his MBA from the University of Rhode Island. He is the Executive Director at 401 Tech Bridge.

Rhode Island Judge

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Molly Magee

Executive Director; SENEDIA & UTIC 

Molly Donohue Magee is the Executive Director of the Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance and the Undersea Technology Innovation Consortium. Prior to these positions, she completed a 30-year civilian career in the government, where her last assignment was as the Chief Financial Officer for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, RI. 

Rhode Island Judge

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Jay Coogan

President; IYRS School of Technology & Trades

Jay Coogan has been president of IYRS School of Technology and Trades for 3.5 years. Prior to coming to IYRS Jay was president of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and provost of Rhode Island School of Design. IYRS has five programs of study encompassing the marine trades and modern manufacturing. Just this past week IYRS was just named one of the best maker schools worldwide by Newsweek magazine. 

Israeli Judge

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Shani Rahamim

Full Stack Engineer at Windward

Shani, Software engineer, In her military service she was trained at Mamram Programming course and served in unit 8200. Today, a software engineer at Windward, The leading Maritime AI platform in the world.

Was one of the Judges of SAFE@HOME - the hackathon in the honor of Michal Sela

Israeli Judge

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Ran Sasson

Program Director of CLP Israel

Leading the Israeli Climate Launchpad program and directing acceleration programs – governmental (ministry of energy), municipal and non-profit. More than a decade developing solutions for quality education and development in rural areas. In the last couple of years, directed six regional governmental accelerators among the Israeli deprived populations. This program followed a national network of co-working spaces in the rural areas.

Career has spanned more than 20 years, covering digital transformation, business process management, project management, product development and business development.

Israeli Judge

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Ben Benny

CEO; Dankor


Trained at the Israeli Naval Academy and served as an officer in the Israeli Navy for about a decade, ranked as Captain.  Today, CEO of DANCHOR, the leading maritime and offshore services company in Israel, and a home for innovation within the maritime domain. In addition, he was a judge at PortXL selection day 2021 to select the startups that will enter PortXL's accelerator. 

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