Leadership Team Biographies

"If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself." - Henry Ford

Griffiss Institute Executive Leadership Team

HEATHER HAGEAs President & CEO of the Griffiss Institute (GI), Heather led the strategy and support operations for the standup of the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate’s innovative “beyond the fence” R&D and incubator facilities at Innovare Advancement Center in Rome, NY.  

A deep believer in the power of public education and research to transform lives, Heather served the State University of New York for 17 years before assuming leadership of the GI in 2021. At SUNY Research Foundation, Heather oversaw innovation and partnerships for the SUNY System’s 64-campus enterprise, with management responsibility to empower SUNY faculty, staff, and students to engage industry in the SUNY mission to learn, to search, and to serve.  

A graduate of Hamilton College and Albany Law School, where she was Managing Editor of the Journal of Science and Technology, Heather’s professional background includes high-value technology transfer transactions, intellectual property policy, strategic planning, venture development, and the practice of law before New York State and federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. Heather is the recipient of various honors and awards, including SUNY’s 2015 Woman of Excellence award for outstanding service, exemplary support of women in leadership, and a distinguished career.  

Most recently, Heather received the Mohawk Valley YWCA’s 2023 Salute to Outstanding Women for community leadership in STEAM and accepted two Business of the Year awards for the GI from the Mohawk Valley and Rome Area Chambers of Commerce in 2022. Heather has served on the board of directors of various nonprofit technology startup incubators and economic development organizations across New York State and is a currently a sitting board member for SUNY Polytechnic Institute Foundation and the New York Center for Research, Economic Advancement, Technology, Engineering, and Science (NY-CREATES).  

A devoted mother of three children, when Heather is not working, you can find her watching middle school sports and wandering the woods and waters of the Adirondacks with her family. 

TRACY DIMEO – Tracy DiMeo serves as the Executive Office Manager at the Griffiss Institute (GI). She initially joined the organization in March 2014 with the role of Operations Coordinator.  Throughout her tenure, Tracy has demonstrated versatility and leadership, progressing through various roles within the institute. She has been instrumental in the development and implementation of organizational policies and procedures, contributing to the efficient functioning of the institute’s operations. 

She has led several key projects, including the oversight of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Information Directorate’s Internship Program, AFRL’s Local STEM Program, and the Air Force STEM Program. Her advancement to the Executive Leadership level has led her to discover opportunities, such as, the role of Assistant Secretary to the Griffiss Institute Board of Directors, where she continues to make significant contributions to the institute’s strategic direction and governance.

Tracy holds a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Business Administration with a concentration of Management and a minor in Communications from Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York. She is also a graduate of the Leadership Mohawk Valley (LMV) program through MVCC (Mohawk Valley Community College), which emphasizes leadership in the local community. She has continued her professional development with programs through the Disney Institute which have provided her certificates in Leadership, Employee Engagement and Quality Service.

Outside of the office, Tracy enjoys spending quality time with family. She also loves to travel, take pictures, host family and friends and enjoy the fresh air of being outdoors.

SETH MULLIGAN – Seth Mulligan specializes in developing innovation, growth and management disciplines and developing business systems, to grow organizations. In his career, Seth has been a partner to innovators as a startup incubator director, an agribusiness business development consultant, and technology transfer seed-fund operator. 

Additionally, Mulligan has been an adjunct professor of Entrepreneurship and a professional trainer of entrepreneurship for transitioning US Military service women and men. When not being supporting partner dav for innovators and entrepreneurs, Seth has been an executive in two venture-capital backed startups: TCGplayer.com and StorySlab, Inc. contributing to overall corporate strategy and launching customer success, business development, and e-commerce services.  

Seth’s education background is focused on public systems where he has two Masters degrees in Administration and a Bachelor degree in Political Science and Philosophy. Seth enjoys live music, travel, and following professional sports. When not at work, Seth spends time with his family and hails from Syracuse, NY. 

MELISSA TALLMAN – Melissa Tallman, serving as the Chief Brand Officer, is a seasoned executive with a notable career characterized by strategic foresight, brand leadership, and community engagement. With a proven track record in fostering collaborative work environments, Melissa stands as a humble catalyst for positive change and impact in the realm of brand development & integrity.  Her leadership style, anchored in a commitment to delivering tangible results, has earned her recognition for her ability to inspire teams and cultivate meaningful connections within and beyond the organization.

In her role at the Griffiss Institute, Melissa anchors the purpose and manages the internal and external company image. With a primary focus on brand improvement for all audiences, she interacts and engages with internal and external stakeholders to foster brand alignment and advocacy.

With a background in health and wellness entrepreneurship, she brings over 13 years of experience successfully operating a business in the Mohawk Valley. Following the sale of her business, she transitioned to a role as Marketing and Communications Director for a national domestic policy advocacy non-profit organization, where she honed her skills in marketing, communications, and strategic planning.

Melissa holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Southern New Hampshire University, complementing her practical experience with a strong foundation in marketing principles. Outside of work, Melissa is a dedicated mom to two teenage boys and enjoys traveling around the state to enjoy live music with her husband.

TODD HUMISTON – Todd Humiston is the Chief Talent Officer for the Griffiss Institute. He began his career through an internship at the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Information Directorate that resulted in a rewarding career of over 36 years. 

His career culminated in the launch and operations of the New Employee Training and Evaluation Branch (AFRL/RITC) which provided new employees, both civilian and military, a two-year onboarding experience that matched their skillsets with senior researchers throughout the lab.  He was the directorate’s Branch Chief of the year twice and AFRL’s Branch Chief of the year when he led AFRL/RITC.   

Retiring from the lab in 2019 he then took employment with BlueHalo (formerly Intelligent Automation, Inc.) before coming to the Griffiss Institute in January of 2023.  

He holds an Associate Degree in Engineering Science from Mohawk Valley Community College, a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Western New England College, and a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Syracuse University. 

MIKE WESSING – Mike Wessing is the Chief Engineer at the Griffiss Institute and is a subject matter expert on Data Fusion and Analysis, Information Exploitation, and Information Understating.  Prior to joining the Griffiss Institute, he occupied the position of Deputy Division Chief in the Information and Intelligence Systems Analysis Division at the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate.  

Mike continues to be responsible for the development of an Open Innovation Environment to facilitate basic research at AFRL/RI and enhance technology transfer activities within the directorate.  

He holds a BA in Computer Science from the State University of New York at Potsdam and an MS in Information Systems Management from the State University of New York at Binghamton. 

David Semadeni – David Semadeni is a licensed CPA who has worked in the accounting field for over 17 years. He has worked with organizations across many industries, with a particular focus on organizations who work for the Federal government.  

David is comfortable across accounting systems with multiple certifications.  He prides himself on gaining deep understandings of his organizations and building partnerships across divisions.

David holds a Master of Accountancy from the University of Denver as well as Bachelor degrees in Business and International Studies from American University. He enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, running and sports. A Colorado native, David now resides in Arlington, VA.

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