meet the team
PIUS team members have successfully facilitated more than $40 billion in technology and intellectual property transactions.
Joe A. Agiato
Founder and CEO
Joe Agiato is the Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of PIUS. Joe oversees the structuring and pricing of deals, all due diligence functions, and developing and maintaining deal sourcing, patent, trademark and trade name valuations.
Joe holds a MBA with a concentration in Finance, a MS in Valuation Sciences, and a BS in Accounting and Economics.
Catherine L. Smith
Catherine Smith is the Chief Administrative Officer for PIUS, managing the day-to-day administrative needs of the company. She oversees the planning, management and direction of activities between the departments and outside the company. She is also responsible for budgeting, executive reporting, and HR administration.
Director of Operations
Julie Markoski has over two decades of experience as an entrepreneur and in technology analysis and commercialization. As a Director at PIUS, Julie employs her experience in technology assessment, intellectual property strategy and review, start-up culture, market analysis, and other factors to analyze current company operations and future prospects.
Julie co-founded INI Power Systems and founded TRIDEC Services, both engineering and product development companies focusing on energy and power innovations for the Department of Defense and its prime contractors. In her previous role at Fuentek, she performed technology and market analysis to form strategy and make commercialization recommendations for universities, government research facilities, international companies, and nonprofit research organizations.
Julie holds a BS in Biology from The College of William and Mary. She earned an MS and Ph.D. in Chemistry, and an MBA in Technology Commercialization and Entrepreneurship from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
As a Director at PIUS, Eric Berlin produces custom credit solutions for clients in various sectors and geographies. Eric has more than a decade of experience structuring loans, with an emphasis on technology lending, and managing credit portfolios at large commercial banks, including Silicon Valley Bank, East West Bank, and First Interstate Bank. During his banking career he made a two-year pit stop to work as a research analyst at No Street Capital, a long/short hedge fund in San Francisco where he covered the technology, consumer, and business services sectors. Eric’s experience developing credit solutions across a diverse portfolio of industries allows him to provide the right solution based on the client’s unique needs.
Eric has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Irvine with a specialization in combustion and energy systems.
Brett Buske is an Associate at PIUS, where he supports the evaluation, structuring, and underwriting of credit for technology companies, as well as assisting with portfolio management functions.
Prior to joining PIUS, Brett worked as an Analyst and Associate in the Technology, Media, and Telecommunications practice at Texas Capital Bank, focusing on growth-stage software and technology. Brett also served as an intern with ORIX USA on the Growth Capital team, where he aided in monitoring a portfolio of investments in high growth businesses, primarily in the technology, software, and healthcare industries.Brett holds a BS in finance and economics, and an MS in finance with a concentration in financial engineering from the University of Alabama. He is an alumni member of Alpha Kappa Psi professional business fraternity.
John Elmore brings over 15 years of experience as an expert in the valuation of technology-based businesses and intangible assets, with particular emphasis on the valuation of patents and trade secrets. He has served in managerial roles with leading multinational financial advisory firms including Duff & Phelps and EY, and he led the IP Valuation Services practice of a boutique valuation firm founded by business valuation icon Dr. Shannon Pratt. In his valuation career, John has valued thousands of patents, IP assets, and business interests in variety of industries. He also has provided deposition and trial testimony as a valuation expert, a damages expert, and a computer technology expert in state and federal courts. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV), as well as an Accredited Senior Appraiser (ASA).
In addition to his valuation work, John has been a patent examiner with the US Patent and Trademark Office, a software engineer, and an inventor on six issued patents. John graduated first in his class with a B.S. in computer engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and he earned four graduate degrees from Georgia Tech in electrical engineering, computer science, economics, and an MBA. He further holds a law degree, with honors, from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in IT management from Harvard University.
Amelia Erickson is a Director at PIUS, leading business development and serving as a liaison for strategic relationships. In her role, Amelia facilitates the new client process, from initial introduction through due diligence. Since joining PIUS in 2017, Amelia has been instrumental in delivering custom financing solutions to growing technology companies. In her previous roles with PIUS, Amelia evaluated potential clients’ intellectual property and technology, as well as competitive position, funding history, business model, and market share. Her diverse experience and skill set enables her to bring a unique perspective to relationships with strategic partners and clients. Born and raised in Silicon Valley, Amelia has worked for both start-ups and major corporations, including Apple, in various client-facing and analytical roles.
Over the past decade, Erwin has spent his career investing in debt and equity securities, with a focus on senior and junior credit and equity in the lower/middle markets and technology sectors.
Prior to joining PIUS, Erwin served as Vice President and Relationship Manager within the Technology Banking group at City National Bank, where he was focused on business development, structuring, underwriting, and portfolio management. Prior to that, Erwin worked for ORIX USA, a financial services provider based in Dallas, in its venture debt and private equity groups.
Sharmila brings over 15 years of lending experience across sales, underwriting, and portfolio management to the team.
Harry W. Rodgers
Harry has responsibility for product distribution through the insurance broker channel and for insurance carrier relationships. He also assists with the design and development of PIUS’s insurance programs.
Harry is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and is accredited as a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC). Harry is proud to serve on the board of the Divers Alert Network (DAN), which provides worldwide medical assistance, medical research, and scuba-diving insurance products for over 250,000 members.
Laura Schoppe has over 35 years in technology development, management, and commercialization. In addition to supporting PIUS, she also founded Fuentek in 2001, and under her leadership, the company has become one of the world’s leading technology transfer companies for university, government, corporate, and nonprofit research organizations.
Recognized as a leading expert in technology commercialization, Laura has a record of success in helping clients manage their technology proactively, efficiently, and effectively. Her expertise includes restructuring/establishing technology management organizations; IP portfolio management; open innovation; collaborative R&D partnerships, sponsored research agreements (SRAs). Laura serves on advisory panels at the state and national level, including multiple White House panels.
Passionate about encouraging women and minorities to pursue careers in STEM fields, Laura served on the board of FIRST North Carolina for five years and is still a sponsor and a judge during robotics competitions. She currently serves as the chair of the AUTM Foundation that runs an international fellows program to train young people in technology commercialization skills.
Laura holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University and Princeton, and she earned her MBA at the University of North Carolina.