Celebration of Innovation

Honorees

Inaugural Innovator of the Year

The Innovator of the Year award honors an individual that embodies innovation and has made a global impact in the 21st century. This recipient uses their talents and creativity to better society and improve lives, while inspiring others along the way.

Mauro Porcini

Mauro Porcini
Senior Vice President and Chief Design Officer
PepsiCo

Mauro Porcini joined PepsiCo in 2012 as its first Chief Design Officer. In this newly created position, he is infusing design thinking into the company’s culture and leading a new approach to innovation by design. His brand-design efforts encompass products, packaging, events, advertising, fashion and art collaborations, architecture, and digital media.

Mr. Porcini began his career at Philips Design. He then created his own design firm, Wisemad Srl, in Italy. His work on wearable technologies has been showcased at the Louvre. Prior to joining PepsiCo, he served as Chief Design Officer at 3M.

He is host of the video podcast “In Your Shoes with Mauro Porcini,” where he interviews personalities from the world’s creative community. He is also a presenter and judge on “New York by Design” and “America by Design,” which air on CBS and Amazon Prime Video.

In 2021 his first book was published, in Italian: “L’età dell’eccellenza – Come innovazione e creatività possono costruire un mondo migliore”, published by Il Saggiatore.

Mr. Porcini has been singled out with numerous honors, which include top spots on lists of the world’s most-influential, most-creative, best-dressed, and hottest-rising-star. He sits on the board of directors of the Design Management Institute, the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce, and the La Scuola d’Italia in New York, and serves on advisory councils for many design and art institutions.

Leaders of Innovation

The Leader of Innovation Medal is presented to front-runners who make significant or trendsetting contributions to education, industry, or other professional fields that exemplify Thomas Jefferson University’s mission and innovative spirit.

Mary Lynne Bercik, BS, ’90, PMP, PMI-RMP

Mary Lynne Bercik, BS, ’90, PMP, PMI-RMP
Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce
Appointed, Executive Director Global Operations Sourcing
Organon & Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc.

Mary Lynne Bercik is an expert in new-product launch, supply chain management, and overall innovation. She has more than 30 years of global experience in sourcing and procurement across multiple industries and commodities, and more than 20 years of experience in biopharmaceutical manufacturing. Currently, she is Executive Director of Global Operations Sourcing, Organon & Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc. Prior to that, she was the Executive Director, Direct Materials Procurement responsible for Chemicals & Sterile Components supporting Merck & Co.’s Pharmaceutical, Vaccine and Biologics businesses.

She has extensive experience leading strategy development and execution supporting pharmaceutical, biologics, and vaccine manufacturing. Prior to working at Merck, Ms. Bercik was Co-Founder and CEO of GenZinnovation, LLC where she founded the Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing. Before that, she was innovation lead for the enterprise supply chain and global procurement manager at the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson and Johnson.

Ms. Bercik serves on the Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing Industry Advisory Board as Idea Founder and on the Kanbar College Advancement Council. She is the proud wife of Bernard John Bercik, Esq., PMP (Retired U.S. Army Colonel) and grateful mother of two sons: Bernie, age 13, and John Paul, age 10. She earned a BS in Design from Thomas Jefferson University, and MA Government from Lehigh University.

Tracy-Gene G. Durkin, Esq., BS, ’83

Tracy-Gene G. Durkin, Esq., BS, ’83
Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce
Director, Sterne, Kessler Goldstein & Fox

Tracy-Gene G. Durkin is the practice leader of the Mechanical & Design Practice Group and a member of the Trademark & Brand Protection Practice at Sterne Kessler, an intellectual property specialty law firm. She was the first woman elected equity director to the firm and the first woman to serve on its executive committee.

With more than 30 years of experience obtaining and enforcing intellectual property rights, Ms. Durkin is sought out by top consumer-product companies around the world for her deep understanding of patent, trademark, and copyright law.

She has received numerous distinctions from leading intellectual property publications. Financial Times named her one of the Top Ten Legal Innovators in North America, noting she is “a leading authority on design patents.” Ms. Durkin is on the board of directors of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia and is currently serving a three-year term as a member of the United States Patent and Trademark Office Patent Public Advisory Committee. She is also a member of the Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce Advancement Council at Thomas Jefferson University, where she earned a BS in textile manufacturing and marketing.

Francisco J. Morales, BS, ’98

Francisco J. Morales, BS, ’98
Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce 
Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, 5.11 Tactical

Francisco Morales is the CEO and cofounder of 5.11, the leading global supplier of purpose-built apparel, footwear, and gear for first responders and military personnel. Many of the patents held by 5.11 Tactical have been awarded to Mr. Morales.

Prior to the founding of 5.11 Tactical, Mr. Morales was president of Royal Robbins and held several positions at Dick’s Sporting Goods as well as L.L. Bean. He has a passion for business and is involved in various business ventures. At the age of 30, he became a member of YPO, the global leadership community of extraordinary chief executives, and he is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, the International Business Honor Society.

Mr. Morales earned an executive MBA at the Thunderbird School of Global Management, where he graduated with honors. He earned a BS in fashion apparel management from Thomas Jefferson University, where he graduated cum laude. He has been happily married for 20 years to Jessica Martin Morales, his college sweetheart. They have two kids, ages 14 and 12.

Fredric Rieders, PhD ’52

Fredric Rieders, PhD ’52 (awarded posthumously)
Jefferson College of Life Sciences

Fredric Rieders, PhD, was a path-blazing and world-renowned forensic toxicologist. He served as Philadelphia’s Chief Toxicologist and was professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Thomas Jefferson University. He is the founder of National Medical Services, now NMS Labs, which serves public health systems, clinicians, medical researchers, coroners and medical examiners, and the criminal justice system.

Eric Rieders, PhD

Eric Rieders, PhD
President  & Chief Operating Officer, NMS Labs
Chairman, Fredric Rieders Family Foundation

Eric Rieders, PhD, serves on the Board of Directors of NMS Labs and is Founder and Managing Director of Evanostics LLC and a Director of the Fredric Rieders Family Foundation, which

offers programs to educate and train current and future forensic-science professionals at all stages of their careers. He has a doctorate in mathematics and serves as an adjunct professor of forensic science at Arcadia University. Dr. Rieders is a member of the advisory of the SKCC at Jefferson.

M. Fredric Rieders, PhD ’85

M. Fredric Rieders, PhD ’85
Jefferson College of Life Sciences
Treasurer and Director, NMS Labs
Board Member, Fredric Rieders Family Foundation

M. Fredric Rieders, PhD, is Corporate Treasurer and a Lab Director at NMS Labs. From 1988 to 2008, he served as CEO. Dr. Rieders is a member of the American Public Health Association, the Society of Forensic Toxicologists, the International Association of Forensic Toxicologists, a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, and a Board member of the National Association of Medical Examiners. He is an expert in forensic toxicology and has testified in numerous criminal and civil proceedings.