Executive Board



The Executive Board oversees Novim’s long-term strategy, senior staffing, and focus.


Michael Ditmore, Co-founder and Executive Director of Novim, began his business career with IBM as a systems engineer. After receiving an MBA from Stanford in 1970, he relocated to Germany as Director of European Operations for Canberra Industries. Following the sale of his division in 1972, he returned to California, joining a startup–ROLM Corporation, where he served as a regional manager for sales. The company was sold to IBM in 1984. Michael subsequently founded and sold 2 high technology medical device companies.

In 1995 he co-founded and served as Chairman and CEO of the Systems and Software Consortium, a non-profit association of 150 companies whose first project was the creation of the Pacific Technology Center in Goleta, the largest high tech incubator in southern California at the time.

Professional Associations – Michael currently serves on the Director’s Council of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at UCSB, and is a life member of the USAF Academy Association of Graduates, the Stanford Alumni Association and Stanford Associates. He is a past member of the Board of Directors of Junior Achievement of Southern California; the Executive Board of Santa Barbara Partners in Education; and the Stanford Business School Alumni Association Board. He has served on advisory boards for the NASA Ames Incubator and Los Alamos National Laboratory.


Susan Hackwood, is Executive Director of the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST), and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California, Riverside. Dr. Hackwood received a Ph.D. in Solid State Ionics in from DeMontfort University, UK. Before joining academia, she was Department Head of Device Robotics Technology Research at AT&T Bell Labs, where amongst other things, she invented and named the electrowetting effect, now used in many micro devices and continuing to be researched and utilized in an increasing number of applications. In 1984 she joined the University of California, Santa Barbara as Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and was founder and Director of the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Robotic Systems in Microelectronics (CRSM).

In 1990, Dr. Hackwood became the founding Dean of the Bourns College of Engineering at the University of California, Riverside, and the first woman dean of a major research university in the US. She is a Fellow of the IEEE and the AAAS and holds honorary degrees from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (PhD) and DeMontfort University, UK (DSc).

Professional Associations – Susan is the past Chair of the AAAS Committee on Science Engineering and Public Policy and was Chair of the Section on Societal Impacts of Science and Engineering. She has been the AAAS Engineering Delegate and a Member of the AAAS Committee on Nominations. She serves on the Board of Directors and consults on new product development for several technology companies. She co-founded and co- edited the Journal of Robotic Systems from 1984 to 2005.


Elwood “Woody” Howse , is a graduate of Stanford University with a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering. He served in the U.S. Navy nuclear submarine force for seven years and returned to Stanford University Graduate School of Business to earn his MBA in 1970.

Woody co-founded Cable & Howse Ventures in Seattle, an early stage venture capital firm focused on technology and also participated in the founding of Cable, Howse and Ragen, investment banking and stock brokerage firm.

Professional Associations – Woody has served on the board of the National Venture Capital Association and is past President of the Stanford Business School Alumni Association. He currently serves on the boards of directors of beneSol Corporation, Capstone Therapeutics, Inc (CAPS), Formotus, Inc., and not-for-profit Junior Achievement of Washington state.


Jim Knight, Co-founder and Novim’s Executive Vice President, was also a co-founder in the start-up of Amber Engineering, Inc. in December of 1981. Over twelve years the company grew to 200 people and was acquired by Raytheon Company in 1992. He retired as Senior Vice President in 1994.

Jim and three other partners subsequently started Indigo Systems Corporation in March of 1996, which grew to 230 employees before being acquired by FLIR Systems in January 2004.

Professional Associations – Jim served for 5 years as a member of the Board of Directors of the Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce beginning in 1993 and later in a supporting role with the Government Relations Committee.

Jim currently serves on the Director’s Council of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at UCSB, and is co- chair of the Government Relation Committee for the Goleta Chamber of Commerce. He served on the Board of Directors of UCSB’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Engineering Management, and currently serves on the steering committee for the South Coast Business and Technology Awards dinner sponsored by the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara.


Douglas Troxel graduated with a B.S. from Iowa State University with a major in Mathematics and minor in Physics in 1967. He founded SERENA Software in 1980 and still serves as a director on the board. 

Doug and his wife Deborah split their time between Kona Hawaii, Santa Barbara, Whidbey Island, Washington and San Francisco for SERENA functions. He continues to pursue life-long interests in physics, astronomy and politics.

Professional Associations – Doug serves as President of the family foundation, Change Happens, committed to helping highly motivated groups with pioneering programs and forward-thinking projects. He also serves on the Director’s Council of the Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics at the University of California Santa Barbara; and on the board of www.StandardAlcohol.com which is an Intellectual Property (IP) licensing company for the catalyzing of Natural Gas into Mixed Alcohols; and on the board of Caring Together In Hope which is a support group for those suffering with Alzheimer’s Disease and Lewy Body Dementia.