Meet the Board of Directors

Meet the Board of Directors

Cheri Renee, MBA/MSW
Director, President

Cheri Renee is Private Business Consultant and entrepreneur with over 20 years of combined business management and non-profit leadership experience. She has a BA in Psychology, MBA’s in Management and Marketing, and an MSW in Non-profit Organizational Management earned from Washington University St. Louis.

After working in leadership and Director roles in non-profit sectors the first half of her professional career, Cheri took the bold leap to launch her free-standing retail store. Surprisingly profitable after only 2-years in business, she received a number of awards and a proclamation from the United States Senate for her entrepreneurial achievements. This resulted in her being invited to speak at professional venues in addition to a number of aspiring entrepreneurs visiting her store to seek advice about how to successfully launch their businesses. She loved it!  It was at this time that she realized that business consulting was her truest calling and that she became passionate about providing entrepreneurs with their “Own MBA’s” (Many Business Answers) to help start, expand, and maximize the potential of their business ventures, inventions, and/or non-profit organizations.

After closing her retail business many years ago, Cheri has served as a Private Business Consultant providing many comprehensive, on-call professional and emergency services to entrepreneurs and non-profit managers and has developed custom business/program development workshops for community organizations and professional groups. Leveraging her MSW experience, she provides non-profit entities with grant/ RFI/RFP proposal writing, strategic planning, grant research, and new social program development to aid in the increase of their organizational outreach, participation, and funding opportunities. Applying her MBA skills, she offers business development planning, competitive analysis, feasibility examination, competitive research analysis, and emergency restructuring services.

And if that weren’t enough, she is currently putting her own advice and skillsets to the test by finalizing the development of two patent-pending inventions she aims to bring to market in 2020!

Contact Email:

Contact Phone: 314-329-0052


Joan Brennan

Joan Brennan is the parent of 4 sons, middle-school educator, business owner and patented inventor of 2 customizable tools for challenged readers of all ages. Her physical Reading Focus Cards (Patent 7,565,759) and the Reading Focus Cards desktop app (Patent 8,360,779) for Macs and Windows PCs can be especially helpful to children and adults with ADHD, dyslexia, autism and other issues that often impact reading success. Both her low-tech and the digital Reading Focus Cards’ tools have and continue to help thousands of challenged readers here in the U.S. and around the globe each year since 2007.

A graduate of the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) with K-12 teaching certification from the State of Missouri, she has taught grades 6 through 8 for more than 18 years. She is also the founder of Brennan Innovators, LLC, which manufactures and provides her reading tools (made in St. Louis) to parents, teachers and others in the U.S. and around the world. Her company also visits schools and other organizations to provide presentations, consultation and other professional educational services for those interested in addressing the needs of challenged readers.

Mrs. Brennan is an active member of the Illinois Innovators and Inventors networking group for inventors in the Greater St. Louis Area (2003 to the present). She is also a member of the Gifted Association of Missouri (GAM), the St. Louis Association of Gifted Education (SAGE) and the St. Louis Suburban Council of the International Literacy Association (ILA). Since 2008, she has been an instructor in the College for Kids Program (St. Louis Community College-Meramec Campus) for gifted and talented K-8 students in the area.

Tim Corbet

Tim has been working in product development and innovation for over 40 years. He has a varied career in both private and public companies within the manufacturing and service sectors.

Beginning as Product Manager of 8 product lines while at Hallmark, Director of Product Development at Crayola and VPGM of the Buster Brown brand at Brown Shoe, he has a unique understanding of the product development process from inception to end-user.

While at Crayola in the 80’s he helped develop one of the first drawing software programs. He also was Investor/CMO of a startup in the diet and nutrition sector.

With a broad, hands-on background from line management to C-Suite, he has a rare view of the full product development investment/payback cycle. Having headed market research, Tim has overseen new product development research and conducted focus groups and ideation sessions for several companies.

Following graduation at Westminster College with an Army Commission, he served in CONUS, Germany and Vietnam; and later obtained his MBA (Finance) from the University of Missouri. Tim has severed on several boards for both non-profits and companies where he was investor/officer. He recently retired from GrassWorx, LLC (former Monsanto Division) where he was part-owner and VP Sales & Marketing. He has maintained his passion for new business development via his Sextant Consulting business.

Charles McCloskey
Director, Treasurer

An Eagle Scout and Army brat, Chuck has lived in St. Louis for over fifteen years. After earning a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering degree from Notre Dame in 1990, Chuck served in Germany with the US Army engineers. Working as an engineer in Kansas City, he earned the professional engineer license in MO and three other states. Drawn east, he graduated from St. Louis University law school in 2001 with a Juris Doctor degree.

Chuck has had a private law practice for over twelve years. The practice includes patents, trademarks and related matters.

Chuck ran for office in 2002, 2010 and has served as treasurer for three political committees. Chuck is also an active Rotarian and past president of the Clayton Ladue Club. Chuck has been a Pachyderm Club member for at least eleven years, club president, and board member. Chuck is treasurer for the local inventors’ association. Chuck holds memberships in the Missouri Venture Forum and Chesterfield Chamber of Commerce. Chuck is married to Ann.

Mike Seper, MBA

Mike Seper is Associate Director of the Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship Washington University in St. Louis. He is an experienced entrepreneur and innovator who possesses an MBA in Management with an emphasis in Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Economic Development and Innovation from the University of Hawaii-Manoa. He also holds an MBA in the field of management with an emphasis in entrepreneurship and innovation from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

He currently operates Eco Adventure Ziplines in New Florence, Missouri; is the founder of Zipline Innovations LLC, and is the creator of Zip 360 technology.

Zipline Innovations has been recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine which named Seper as ‘Trep of the Month' in 2013. He won innovation awards at the 2016 Mid-Missouri Innovation Competition and the 2017 Innovation HUB pitch competition. His former zipline facility was the highest rated zipline facility in Missouri, with over 600 five-star reviews and was the recipient of the 2016 Missouri Governor’s Pathfinder Award for Tourism.

Mike has been an entrepreneur and inventor for nearly twenty years, and he won his first invention competition as an undergraduate at the University of Hawaii in 2003. He has been involved with the University of Missouri Columbia as a guest lecturer for the Entrepreneurship Alliance since 2013; and he enjoys giving back to his alma mater as a Virtual Professional-in-Residence at The Pacific Asian Center of Entrepreneurship since 2014. He is a member of the Mizzou Venture Mentoring Service, and he has presented at Kauffman Foundation 1 Million Cups meetings across the state of Missouri, and he serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for Forward Assist.

Emeritus Members - Board of Directors

Gary Kellmann
Director, President Emeritus

Well known for his innovative style, entrepreneurial thinking and strategic acumen, Gary is the CEO of KDK Technology Ltd leading his company in consumer product development, off shore manufacturing, and multi channel distribution for his clients. A 25-year veteran of the manufacturing and wholesale distribution of consumer products, Gary began his career by developing and selling his first consumer product ideas while in college; which helped finance his expenses throughout the college years.

His first big hit, after graduating at Southeast Missouri State, was an invention in the (Health and Beauty Aids (HBA) category where he landed repeat orders with Wal-Mart Stores and specialty chains.
The next 10 years, Gary established recognition in the novelty and beauty category with the world famous Belly Lights in 2001 (over 2 million sold). And in 2003 with the braidlights (over 1 million sold); before selling his company in 2004.

In fact, it is the sweeping scope of his understanding of the Asian cultures, manufacturing/supply chain processes and his winning experiences in taking new products to the marketplace - that has helped his clients surpass $50 million in sales to date.

Robert Scheinkman
Director, President Emeritus

Harvey Robert "Bob" Scheinkman's distinguished career of service to others spans over six decades.  After 24 faithful years in the US Navy, he retired and continued on as a successful St. Louis-area businessman in fields that included advertising, furniture sales, and collections.

Since 1991, Bob has served as a director on the board of the IASL, and he was president of the association from 1993 through 2014.  He was a major contributor to the organization's legacy website,, whose archive is available here.

In 2014, Bob was bestowed with the title president emeritus by his fellow board members.  His contributions were further recognized in March 2015 when the Association voted to award Bob with a lifetime membership in the Association.

Perhaps Bob's benevolence to the inventor community can best be expressed through the inscription on his Award Plaque.

Jim Mimlitz
Director, Vice President Emeritus

An electrical engineer and entrepreneur, Jim is the president & owner of SCADAmetrics / Navionics Research Inc. – a St. Louis area electronics and software firm. Since 1995, Jim has served the water, wastewater, and building automation industries as a regional control systems designer/integrator – and globally as a developer/manufacturer of flow metering instrumentation.

His professional expertise ranges from computer circuit design to software development to complete system design & integration. Firmly rooted in the St. Louis community, Jim was educated at Chaminade Middle School, Saint Louis University High, Meramec Community College, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from The Missouri School of Mines & Metallurgy (Rolla, MO). He is fluent in 9 computer programming languages, and speaks English, Spanish, and some Russian. He is a licensed Missouri professional engineer and holds a US patent. His business philosophy is uncomplicated: Follow the Golden Rule!

Elected to the IASL board of directors in the Spring of 2014, Jim was subsequently chosen to serve as board secretary and later as vice-president. He especially enjoys the opportunities the IASL affords its members to support, mentor, and network with other inventors – especially those pursuing high-tech ventures.

Marc Bowers
Director Emeritus

Marc is the founder of St Louis Makes and ProductCamp St Louis, both nonprofits focused on best practices learning in sales and product management for inventors, makers and middle market manufacturing companies. Marc has over 20 years of business development and product management experience.

Previously, Marc held positions at Finn Corporation, The Toro Company and Colgate-Palmolive. While at Finn, Marc worked directly with the private equity firm that was the company’s financial sponsor. He has managed numerous product launches and created several new distribution and dealer networks for various product lines in diverse industry segments. Marc received a BA from the University of California, Los Angeles, and his MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University in the City of New York. Marc is fluent in German.

Marc was elected to the IASL board of directors in the spring of 2015. He also serves as a founding board member of the St. Louis Product Management Group, and serves on the advisory board of Venture Café St Louis.

Bruce Burdick
Director Emeritus

Now semi-retired, Bruce is the Owner and Managing Attorney at The Burdick Law Firm.  An intellectual property attorney, investor, venture capitalist and entrepreneur, Bruce has run an intellectual property law practice for over 40 years. Bruce is also a Metro East real estate investor.

Since 1974, Bruce has served the inventor community. He was for 20 years a corporate intellectual property lawyer, most famously the head IP lawyer worldwide for 12 years for Olin/Winchester (guns & ammo), and prior to that for 8 years with Olin pool chemicals. Since 1993 he has been in private practice in the St. Louis area. His professional expertise encompasses all areas of intellectual property law including litigation. He is one of the top contributors in the world in intellectual property law on the top attorney answer website,, having answered over 8,000 legal questions. Bruce has been webmaster for a number of sites, some for over 20 years. His website,, is one of the most comprehensive intellectual property portals on the web.

Bruce was raised near Houston, Texas and is a graduate of the Univ. of Texas Law School in Austin, TX, but has resided in the St. Louis area for the past 35 years. Bruce also has a degree in Engineering from Stevens Inst. of Technology, one of the top engineering schools in the Northeast. He is an inventor and holds several patents. His business motto is "Work Hard, Be Honest, and Be Tenacious".

Elected to the IASL board of directors in the Summer of 2014, Bruce especially enjoys the opportunities the IASL affords its members to support, mentor, and network with other inventors – especially those pursuing high-tech ventures. Bruce is also a Past President of the Illinois Innovators & Inventors, and is well known nationally for assisting inventors and startups.

Fred Kemp III
Director Emeritus

Mr. Kemp graduated St. Louis University with a business degree in marketing. He then served as an U.S. Air Force pilot.

Upon leaving the military, Mr. Kemp was a homebuilder and land developer in the St. Louis area. As an avid fisherman, Mr. Kemp saw an opportunity to make improvements to fishing reels. To that end, he prototyped, developed and brought these improvements to the market.

The Inventors Association of St. Louis helped in a number of ways as this project required thorough study and application of intellectual property, CAD design, prototyping (including machining, gear hobbing, molds, etc), raising money and sourcing both domestically and overseas.

Currently, Mr. Kemp is developing a fully hydraulic, video-assisted thoracic surgical (VATS) simulator and an affordable wheelchair lifting device for manual wheelchair users.

He also is President and Chairman of the Kemp Foundation. Under Mr. Kemp’s leadership, the foundation developed and operated the Kemp Auto Museum in Chesterfield for over ten years. The foundation is now dedicated to promoting education through grants in many diverse areas.

Mr. Kemp is a director on the IASL because of their past help. He also mentors to IDEALabs at Washington University, an idea-development group for undergraduate and graduate engineering, medical and students in other majors.

Kevin Klug
Director Emeritus

Kevin is a U.S. registered patent attorney, and a Missouri registered professional engineer. Mr. Klug holds a Bachelors and Masters degree in Electrical Engineering (Univ. Mo. at Rolla & Washington Univ. respectively), and a Juris Doctorate (St. Louis University). His background provides a perspective of product development from conception through prototypes and preproduction units to product sales and marketing from retail through wholesale.

Grace Fishel
Director and Officer Emeritus

Grace is a registered patent attorney in the U.S. and Canada. Since 1970 she has devoted her practice exclusively to intellectual property law and for nearly as long been a member of the IASL. Her philosophy is that IP is valuable but only if (1) the development will sell and (2) it is doable. She helps to focus a product developer on the above and serves as a guide in the step-by-step process of securing IP protection. She has world-wide associates and has secured patents and trademarks in Europe, North and South America and the Pacific Rim including China and India.

She has a BA from the University of Kansas, a MS from Northwestern University and a JD from the University of Michigan. She is listed in the Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers and 2016 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.


Spruce Fraser
Director Emeritus

Spruce Fraser is a Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC) Librarian with the Saint Louis Public Library (SLPL), who trains inventors on how to search for patents and trademarks using both the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) web site ( and their advanced search tools of PubWest and PubEast. She offers free workshops on patents, trademarks, PubEast searching, Cooperative Patent Classification, Provisional Patents, and African-American Youth Inventors. In addition, she fields’ science and technology questions and teaches entrepreneurs how to write a business plan.

Spruce has assisted college and university administrators, faculty, and students at McGill University, Providence College, and the Stevens Institute of Business and Arts. She also provided reference services at the Etobicoke Public Library (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), Providence Public Library (Providence, RI), and currently serves the Saint Louis Public Library in this capacity. During her school years, Spruce volunteered in school libraries as well as worked in the Ladue School District elementary school libraries.

Spruce has worked for Canadian Pacific Limited as a pioneer systems analyst, introducing virtual offices throughout their international offices. She helped design and install a corporate online filing system that created virtual offices across Canada. She was also a team member of the Canadian Pacific Railways’ Customer Action Team for Service (CATS) where she created the first corporate Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI), focusing on improving the top 300 Customer expectations, for those Customers located in Quebec and Ontario. Before moving to the United States, Spruce worked three years in the Canadian Pacific Railway’s Marketing Automotive Department, where she streamlined the management of automotive facilities located across eastern Canada and the United States. She was responsible for justifying and implementing facility renovations working closely with Automotive Customers, Corporate attorneys, profit analysis staff, property management, engineers, and transportation staff.

Spruce is a strong believer in helping people help themselves. Besides teaching free workshops, she does outreach to schools, business groups, and inventor organizations with a range from elementary school children, to inventors in the IASL community. Upon requests she also teaches individuals when her schedule permits. Many of her customers are grass roots and trying to decide if they should invest in an attorney to apply for a patent or trademark.

Spruce has studied in Canada, Finland, and Germany. Her ability to speak in Finnish and French has made these great opportunities, wonderful experiences of learning. She has published articles in the field of botany and geography.

She is a past-president of the Patent and Trademark Resource Center Association (PTRCA), after holding several positions on their Executive Board. She has served as the Founding President of the Montreal Chapter of the Canadian Friends of Finland (CFF), Vice-President of the business organization, The Toronto Railway Club, and Vice-President and President of the Providence Public Library Staff Association. Spruce looks forward to being a Director of the Inventors Association of Saint Louis (IASL). She received university degrees in Geography, Environmental Studies, and Library Science (DEC, BA Hons Minor Environmental Studies, MA, MLIS). You may follow her on her blog at . She can be reached at the St. Louis Public Library at (314) 539-0390 or email at,

Rich Freese
Director Emeritus


Ryan Linkul
Director and Officer Emeritus

Ryan Linkul is an investment analyst at ACR Alpine Capital Research working with the Equity Quality Return strategy and the ACR Multi-Strategy Quality Return (MQR) Fund. His responsibilities include supporting the Chief Investment Officer and other Portfolio Managers in the analysis, selection, and monitoring of investment securities across the firm’s strategies.

Prior to joining ACR, Ryan founded Linkul Value Management LLC, a value-oriented investment management firm.

Ryan earned a BBA from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School with concentrations in Finance, Accounting, and Information Systems & Operations Management. Prior to attending Emory, Ryan founded a technology consulting firm focused on assisting clients leverage cloud computing technologies.

In 2008, Ryan was awarded a McKelvey Foundation Entrepreneurship Scholarship for his entrepreneurial pursuits prior to college. Ryan is a native of Saint Louis and attended Saint Louis Priory School.

Yashica McKinney
Director Emeritus

Yashica McKinney is the owner of J.J. Sing Catering Company, a Midwest-based food business fresh out of metropolitan St. Louis, Missouri.  Yashica's company, whose signature product is "Desserts Out The Jar", places an emphasize on individually-crafted, home style gourmet desserts, conveniently packaged in authentic, traditional-style Mason jars, to lock in freshness and flavor of Grandma’s best kept recipes.

Yashica’s uplifting success story began as a paid hobby for a second income that grew into a wildly popular product and profitable business. Launched out of her home in November of 2014, the business grew and in 2016 moved into a commercial and kitchen and office. She has been featured locally on numerous television and radio shows, displaying and selling her delicious desserts in the local malls, including Saint Louis Galleria and Saint Clair Square.

Yashica earned a BS in Health Education from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, Il. She also serves as a mentor in the Saint Louis Public Schools and encourages students to follow their dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Yashica has also partnered with SLATE, a local employment agency with whom she mentors and provides on-the-job training to 19-24 year old first-time employees.

Ron Miller
Director Emeritus


Michel Paille
Director Emeritus

Michel Paille, a machinist by trade, has worked his natural ability to understand “how things work” and his desire to help people into 4 patents and numerous other inventions that are still in development. He holds patents for 3 garden supports, which are now growing into internationally-sold products, and 1 disability aid, the Self Wipe toilet aid, which is sold all over the world. Michel has worked for 28 years in the engineering department at GlaxoSmithKline, where he designs and builds packaging equipment for the manufacturing of Tums.


Laura Wiley
Director and Officer Emeritus

1973-2016. Before tragically passing away in 2016, Laura Wiley served as a director and vice-president of the Inventors Association during the years 2014 through 2016.  During that time, her drive and energy left an indelible mark on the Inventors Association.

Laura was a strategic marketing and advertising industry leader who thrived on helping organizations develop innovative, efficient and effective campaigns that drive positive ROI to improve the bottom line.

Throughout her career, she has served as Serial Entrepreneur, CMO, Strategist, Principal, Partner, Teacher, Mentor, Consultant — acquiring agency and corporate-side expertise in 30+ industries with local-to-local to global businesses.


Dennis Donahue
Director Emeritus

Dennis is a registered patent attorney who founded CreatiVenture Law and has also launched Patent Revolution, an automation tool for patent searches, search reports, records of invention, and provisional applications. Dennis started his career with McDonnell Douglas Corporation (MDC) in 1989 as an engineer in research & development and moved onto production aircraft programs. He continued at MDC in litigation support while attending law school, and in 1996 Dennis entered MDC’s law department as an attorney in the patent law group. After the merger with Boeing, Dennis took on a business role as a Licensing Portfolio & Marketing Manager and then entered private practice in 1999 where he ultimately became the co-chair of the intellectual property department at a firm with nearly 700 attorneys. Dennis left the large firm in 2009 with a mission to serve entrepreneurs.

Dennis has also served as an adjunct professor at St. Louis University School of Law, where he taught a self-created class entitled "Anatomy of a Patent." Dennis has been an active volunteer in several entrepreneur support organizations, including Gateway VMS, ITEN, Capital Innovators, VLAA, and the USPTO Patent Pro Bono Committee.

“Quod Felix Faustumque Sit” (“May it be happy and blessed”)

Debbi Corrie
Director Emeritus

Debi Corrie is a business owner and partner at B2B CFO®. Debi has been a financial professional for over 30 years. She specializes in helping businesses buy and sell, develop key operating metrics, strategic planning, financial planning and forecasts. Debi has set up over 13 new branch offices in the US and one international office in Macedonia. She has been on the acquisition transfer team for 6 companies. Debi’s diverse back office experience includes finance, accounting, legal, human resources, employee benefits, IT, and logistics. She has managed teams as large as 120 employees. She is an avid listener, team builder and coach.

She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a major in accounting from the University of Missouri-St Louis while working full time. She is a CPA, CGMA and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the National Association of Tax Professionals (NAPT). She is a Vistage Trusted Advisor, mentor for Parkway Spark, and board member of the Professional Women’s Alliance in St Louis.

She has taught classes on financing startups for the Veteren’s Business Resource Center In St Louis and SBDC in Illinois. She served as president and treasurer on the board of the Junior Service Club of Collinsville. She served board member and treasurer of the non-profit Books 4 Kids which donated 10,000 books to low income children in her local community.