Team Members

Executive Team

Brent Nowak, Ph.D., Executive Director


Office: (616) 331-6843


Dr. Nowak is the founding Executive Director of applied Medical Device Institute (aMDI). aMDI is a non-academic unit of Padnos College of Engineering and Computing that provides doctoral-level, multi-disciplinary engineering analysis, design, fabrication, and testing of emerging medical devices and science at the pace of industry, while serving a broad range of clients from the healthcare to medical device manufacturing industries. His current research focus is in sensing and control of adaptive systems as applied to medical devices.

His work in medical devices has led to over a dozen patent/patent pending, as well as copy-written code in heuristic, adaptive control algorithms. Several of these developments are in active licensing negotiations, resulting in the incubation of a new medical device company, SynOsteo, Inc (OrthoForge). Dr. Nowak is the founder and a technical consultant of OrthoForge. His career has been a balance between academia and industry, as Dr. Nowak proudly works in the “applied” research domain where nearly 90% of his work today is in industrial, military, or commercial use.

John Hall, Principal Engineer and Project Manager

John Hall, Principal Engineer and Project Manager

Office:  (616) 331-5751


John Hall is a principal engineer and project manager at the applied Medical Device Institute (aMDI) within the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing at Grand Valley State University.  John has developed creative solutions in a wide variety of clinical areas throughout his career.  His efforts have resulted in 18 issued US patents and more pending patents.  With his previous R&D experience in medical devices companies and at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, he has developed a strong talent to translate clinical needs into technical design requirements and innovative design solutions.  Developing simple solutions to complex problems is an underlying theme for his innovative process.  John’s career has included successful medical device development and product launches within startup companies to large multinational corporations.

John is active in his church, plays hockey several times a week and enjoys hiking, camping, and fishing.

“I’m excited to join Grand Valley State University and mentor students in medical device innovation, design and product development.  aMDI provides a great opportunity for companies and inventors push their technology forward with the talent and resources available at GVSU.”

Bonnie Dawdy,Operations Manager


Office: (616) 331-5798


Bonnie Dawdy is the Operations Manager for aMDI and oversees the day-to-day operations of the institute and manages the accelerator services, marketing and outreach. She is also responsible for coordinating the activities of aMDI by working collaboratively with clients, industry professionals, national, state and local grant funding agencies and community entrepreneurial support organizations. She also works with community organizations and entrepreneurial support organizations (ESOs) in collaborating and connecting clients and industry associates.

She came out of retirement after working 23 years for Grand Valley State University to join aMDI in May 2018. Within her various roles at GVSU, she was the Operations Director for both the West Michigan Science and Technology Initiative (WMSTI), a life-science incubator and GR Current, which was a spinoff of WMSTI with expanded emerging technology incubator services. During her temporary break from GVSU, she worked as a Program Manager of the Michigan SBIR/STTR Assistance Program at BBC Entrepreneurial Training and Consulting and as Operations Manager for the Michigan Business Innovation Association. Bonnie is also the Founder and CEO (Chief Environmental Officer) of E3-Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Environments - creating an environment to support entrepreneurial innovation across the state of Michigan.

Her educational background includes business management, graphic design and civil and community engagement from GVSU and Davenport University.  She has 15 years experience operating a life science and technology incubator and accelerator, 25 years experience working in a university environment, expertise in outreach, educational and entrepreneurial event coordination and collaboration and expertise in establishing entrepreneurial resource networks. 

She is a member of the Women of MichBio Committee, Vice Chair for the Health Sciences Early College Academy Committee (Kent Career Technical Center), a member of the planning committee for the Great Lakes International Innovation Summit (GLIn2), a member of the Michigan Business Innovation Association (MBIA) and a member of the International Innovation Business Association (InBIA) with a certification in incubator management.  

Her passion is engaging with ESOs and "startups"  with an emphasis on inclusivity and providing them the tools and environment they need in order to succeed within the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Cody Rash, Project Administrator


Office: (616) 331-5864


Cody Rash graduated with a Biomedical Sciences major from Grand Valley State University, with the hope of one day becoming a Physician's Assistant that specializes in Pediatrics. Cody grew up in White Lake, Michigan and was always fascinated by the medical field, and what it had to offer. His final goal in life would be to open up a practice of his own in order to help people live a better day-to-day life.

Cody's current responsibilities at aMDI include researching, testing, creating graphs or charts from data and assisting with general office work. His background in the sciences makes his research skills valuable in looking for critical new areas of growth in the industry.

Featured Team Member of August 2018

Faculty Associates

John Farris, Ph.D., Product Design & Manufacturing Engineering



Dr. Farris focuses on medical device design. He works in an ongoing collaboration with the Lincoln Developmental Center, a Grand Rapids public school serving approximately 120 severely impaired students, and Mobility Opportunities Via Education/Experience (MOVE). Through this collaboration, they have developed the prototype for a lean-activated wheelchair that responds to the user’s upper-body deflection as it improves trunk strength. Full-time graduate students in GVSU’s Biomedical Engineering program are playing a key part in getting this wheelchair to production as they work with Dr. Farris to improve its design as they participate in translational research.

Wael A. Mokhtar, Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering



Dr. Mokhtar’s research is in the areas of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). He worked in several experimental and numerical projects in cardiovascular system. He worked in developing biomedical training tools such as blood flow phantoms. His research in the area of Bio-Fluid Mechanics focuses on using CFD tools to simulation blood flow. He studied several cardiovascular diseases such as carotid artery stenosis.

Samhita Rhodes, Ph.D., Electrical & Biomedical Engineering



Dr. Rhodes’ expertise is in biomedical signal modeling and advanced image processing techniques, and she is currently working with neurosurgeons at Spectrum Health to accurately model epileptogenesis. Her collaborative work includes quantifying the benefits of power mobility training in children with multiple developmental disorders. As a past recipient of an American Heart Association Scientist Development Grant, she has investigated advanced signal processing techniques to characterize cardiac dysrhythmias.

Trevor Ekin, Electrical & Computer Engineering



Trevor Ekin is currently a Visiting Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering, teaching freshmen and sophomore level introductory engineering courses. He is instructing labs for EGR 214: Circuit Analysis 1 and EGR 226: Microcontroller Programming and Applications in Winter 2019. Trevor is also a graduate student at Grand Valley State University, currently pursuing the GVSU Articulated M.S.E/ B.S.E program with an emphasis on Electrical and Computer Engineering.

He expects to complete his program in Spring 2019. His goal after graduation is to utilize this degree in finding employment within the field of embedded systems, specifically, working with microcontrollers to create various types of devices for customers.

In his free time, Trevor enjoys spending time with family, participating in men's-league hockey, and playing video games with friends.

Featured Team Member of October 2018

Lab Engineers

Aldo Fanelli, Mechanical Engineer



Aldo Fanelli is a graduate student at Grand Valley State University, currently pursuing the GVSU Articulated M.S.E/ B.S.E program with an emphasis in Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering. He expects to graduate in the spring of 2019. His duties at the applied Medical Device Institute (aMDI) include general assistance with device research and development (R&D), and implementation. He recently completed an engineering internship with MedPlast, a contract medical device manufacturer in the area.

Outside of school and work, he enjoys working out and digital photography, and he formerly played intramural football, basketball, and soccer.

Featured Team Member of November 2018

Noah Keefer, Engineering Intern



Noah Keefer is an undergraduate student at Grand Valley State University. He is currently pursuing his Bachelor's Degree in Product Design and Manufacturing Engineering. He hopes that one day he can work in the Biomedical Engineering field specializing in prosthetics. Noah specializes in machining. From working at the Grand Valley School of Engineering, he has learned how to use manual mills, bench mills, lathes, and various other machining techniques.

In his free time, Noah enjoys backpacking and camping. His responsibilities at aMDI include designing prototypes with CAD and machining these designs for testing.

Featured Team Member of February 2019


Genevieve Wisby, Engineering Intern



Genevieve Wisby is an undergraduate student at Grand Valley State University. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering with the hopes of obtaining a Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering. Genevieve aspires to use her education to help those with disabilities. Her main responsibilities at aMDI include assisting and designing in various parts for biomedical equipment and devices.

In her free time, Genevieve enjoys competitive swimming, playing board games with family, and swing dancing. 

Recodeo Rekod, Computer Engineer



Recodeo Rekod is a graduate student at Grand Valley State University, currently pursuing a Master of Science in Computer Information Systems with specialization in distributed systems. He expects to graduate in April 2020. Prior to beginning his graduate program, Reco completed his undergraduate studies in computer science from GVSU and worked at Adtegrity, a digital advertising agency based in Grand Rapids. At aMDI, he works with machine learning algorithms.

Reco is originally from Congo. His hobbies include reading and digital drawing.

John Doneth, Software Engineer



John C. Doneth is an undergraduate student at Grand Valley State University. He is currently pursuing his Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and has been studying programming since he was a kid. He currently works as a Software Developer at aMDI.

John has worked on many open source projects. He has spent extensive time developing applications written in native programming languages such as C, C++11, C++14, and Rust. As well as developing mobile applications on Android with Java. He also has experience working as a full stack developer for web applications and websites with technologies such as Node.js. Finally, he also has experience using various other languages such as, C#, Python, Typescript, Lua, etc, where needed.

Spencer Adamczyk, Undergraduate Assistant



Spencer Adamczyk is a undergraduate student at Grand Valley State University in his second year, studying Biology with an emphasis in Education. Spencer's main responsibilities include 3-D modeling in SolidWorks for design concepts, researching, and time management.

At aMDI, Spencer has done multiple research projects and aided in the development of testing fixtures for a variety of projects, using his growing education in biology to document and develop new testing procedures. Additionally, this allowed for Spencer to assist in research for new areas of development in each project, aiding in time management and project ideation.