our team

Science Center  Management Team


Curt Hess

Interim President & CEO

Curt Hess became Interim President & CEO of the University City Science Center on February 1, 2018.

 

In addition to his CEO responsibilities, Curt maintains his role as Senior VP Real Estate and is responsible for the management, and leasing of more than 1.5 million square feet of office and lab space as well as the planned development of 4 million square feet of office, lab, retail and residential space. He has more than 25 years of diversified real estate experience.

 

Before joining the Science Center, Curt served as the Director of Operations for Brandywine Realty Trust, where he was responsible for the management and leasing of 40 properties totaling more than 3.0 million square feet in the Southern Suburban Region. Prior to that, he was Vice President of Asset Management at Lubert-Adler Management, overseeing a portfolio of 24 investments including office, residential, hotel, and retail properties. Before joining Lubert-Adler, Curt spent 14 years at Equitable Real Estate in several different capacities including Vice President of Portfolio Management, responsible for a $1.2 billion equity portfolio of major joint ventures with Japanese partners.

 

Curt received his B.A. from West Chester University in Business Administration, is a Certified Public Accountant, and has his Real Property Administrator designation with BOMA.

 

 

Saul Behar

Vice President and General Counsel

Saul Behar joined the University City Science Center as Vice President and General Counsel in 2009.  He is in charge of all legal and corporate governance matters, as well as government relations at the federal, state and city levels. This work includes advocacy and representation, policy development, and the solicitation and administration of public sector grants.  In addition, Saul oversees the team that conceived and operates FirstHand, the Science Center’s STEAM education initiative; and he is currently assisting with the Science Center’s efforts in workforce development.

 

Saul brings to his position a wealth of experience as an attorney, senior executive and strategic advisor, managing sophisticated corporate, real estate and securities transactions for both early-stage and established companies in diverse fields.  Prior to joining the Science Center, Saul was a Partner at Wolf Block LLP in Philadelphia.  Before that, he held senior officer positions at two highly successful real estate investment trusts in the Philadelphia area that were acquired by the leading companies in their industry sectors.

 

Earlier, Saul served as senior counsel at Pep Boys in Philadelphia. He began his career at Dechert Price & Rhoads (now Dechert LLP) in Philadelphia.

 

Saul received his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and his law degree from The University of Chicago Law School.  He serves on the boards of several nonprofit organizations, including Reinvestment Fund, PolicyMap, , The Village of Arts and Humanities, and the Lower Merion Township Scholarship Fund.

 

Tracy S. Brala

Vice President, Ecosystem Development

Tracy S. Brala joined the Science Center as VP Ecosystem Development in June 2018. In this role, Tracy will lead the expansion of Quorum as a significant and sustainable revenue stream for the Science Center. She will also be responsible for ensuring that Quorum and uCity Square are key participants in the region’s innovation ecosystem. Tracy has overall responsibility for the Science Center’s community engagement strategy and is charged with growing and extending the successful existing Quorum programming and operations, creating and expanding new Quorum programming and operations, and ensuring the successful launch of implementation of Venture Café powered by Quorum programming.

 

Tracy came to the Science Center from Comcast where she served as the Executive Director for Growth & Strategy for Xfinity services. She and her team were responsible for the creation and launch of several new Xfinity products including Xfinity WiFi Hotspots, the nation’s largest, fastest WiFi network. Tracy’s experience also includes a successful career at Campbell’s Soup Company and the founding of her own consulting company to help businesses grow through product and business development, branding, and marketing.

 

She earned a BS, Accounting from Villanova University and an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. 

 

Tracy has served as the President of the Villanova University Alumni Association Board of Directors, on the Villanova University President’s Advisory Council and founded the Villanova University Alumni Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. She currently sits on the Anne Welsh McNulty Women’s Leadership Institute Advisory Board and the Boy Scouts of America Cradle of Liberty Council Board Marketing Committee.

 

LORRAINE G. LOPRESTI

Vice President & Chief Financial Officer

Lorraine G. LoPresti, MBA, CPA joined the University City Science Center as Vice President, Finance & Administration in 2016. She was promoted to Vice President & CFO in 2018.

 

Lorraine is responsible for the overall fiscal and risk management of the organization, providing financial oversight of the corporate, real estate, treasury, programs and budget activities. She also has oversight of the Science Center’s HR and IT functions.

 

Most recently, Lorraine was Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Financial Officer for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. Prior to that, she was a CFO consultant to early-stage life science and technology companies with her own firm, LoPresti Financial Advisory Services. Lorraine was the Science Center’s Director of Financial Services from 2005-2007, before serving as Vice President - Finance & Administration & CFO for BioNano Genomics, Inc. (which originated in the Science Center’s Port business incubator).

 

Lorraine has earned a BS, Accounting from Villanova University, and an MBA from Rutgers University, and holds a CPA in New Jersey.

 

JEANNE MELL

Vice President, Marketing Communications

Jeanne Mell joined the University City Science Center in 2009 as vice president marketing communications. She is responsible for corporate marketing, program development, communications, public and media relations and community engagement. Mell also oversees Quorum, the entrepreneurs’ clubhouse.  Immediately before joining the Science Center, Mell was Senior Vice President, Communications for the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce.

 

Prior to joining the Chamber, Mell had a career in journalism. Most recently she served as Director of Photography and Design at The News Journal in Wilmington, Del. She also worked at the Associated Press in New York and Philadelphia, ABC News, Good Morning America and Popular Photography Magazine. She started her career at Inc. Magazine – back when it was a startup.

 

Mell chairs the board of Campus Philly and is Vice President of the Association of University Research Parks. She serves on the board of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHL CVB) and is a member of its PHL Life Sciences division executive committee. She is also a member of the Arts + Business Council of Greater Philadelphia’s Advisory Board.