Cincinnati Startup CEO Joins UC’s Board of Trustees


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The CEO of a fast-growing Cincinnati startup has been named to the University of Cincinnati’s board of trustees.

Lisnr CEO Rodney Williams was named by Ohio Gov. John Kasich to UC’s board for a term that begins March 10 and ends Jan. 1, 2026.

Williams co-founded Lisnr in 2012. What started out as an app to unlock special content from music has grown into a method of transferring data using sounds inaudible to the human ear that has a large amount of applications from mobile payments to event ticketing to instant replay, obtaining directions or providing special content at live events. And it’s only growing, starting off 2017 as a top product honoree at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Rodney Williams possesses a unique combination of corporate experience and close connections to Cincinnati’s burgeoning startup community,” UC President Neville Pinto said in a statement. “His accomplishments and experience in innovation and entrepreneurship as the co-founder and CEO of LISNR will be tremendous assets to guide our university.”


Williams rounds out the 14-member board. He joins:

Board chair Tom Cassady, president and CEO of USI Midwest, whose term expires in 2019. Vice chair William Portman III, director of sustainability for Pon North America, whose term ends in 2020. Secretary Geraldine Warner, retired attorney, whose term expires in 2021. Ronald Brown, chief operating officer of The Armor Group, whose term expires in 2018. Margaret Valentine, vice president of Valentine Research Inc., whose term expires in 2023. Kim Heiman, president and owner of SK Textile, whose term expires in 2024. Phil Collins, managing director of Orchard Holdings Group, whose term expires in 2025. Thomas Mischell, retired senior vice president of American Financial Group, whose term expires in 2022. Student trustee Kamree Maull, whose term expires in 2017. Student trustee Ryan Mackinson, whose term expires in 2018.

The University of Cincinnati is the largest college in Greater Cincinnati with local enrollment of 44,300 and an endowment of $1.16 billion.

Nathan Dillard