Kyra Wills-Umdenstock

Center of Excellence Administrator and Industry Liaison

David was born and raised in Little Falls.  He is a third generation Little Falls resident.  He married his high school sweetheart, Lori Shepardson, also from a multi-generation Little Falls family. He attended Hamilton College where he was captain of the football team.  He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Math and Computer Science.  He later received an MBA from RPI in Troy.

David is the author of Leading the High-Energy Culture: What the Best CEOs Do to Create an Atmosphere Where Employees Flourish (McGraw Hill). Within weeks of its release in March 2012, the book became a bestselling book in Human Resources and Leadership on

David has traveled the world for his career in business where he has met and worked with leaders at all levels including top executives in Fortune 500 organizations. His experience as a successful business leader and entrepreneur gives him credibility with executive leaders in the C-suite as well as with emerging leaders in key roles throughout organizations.  He has had the opportunity to meet people from a variety of cultures and regions, and through those experiences, has come to realize that leaders that are most effective and, often most admired  all share a common goal – to discover and harness their our own personal purpose and to activate their innate ability to do something about it.

Now, David applies these principles to his work here.  In 2017, he left Boston and brought his knowledge, experiences, and practice back to his hometown.  As CEO of two startups – Daneli Partners, LLC dedicated to leader development, and Rock City Development, LLC dedicated to real estate development David and his partners have built and operate 10 businesses within these two entities, with 70 employees locally.  These companies have lead efforts to drive economic and social value to the region.

He considers himself a “steward and an up-builder” for this region, and the community of Little Falls.  All this being said, David’s primary focus is his wife Lori of 37 years, his three children, their spouses, and his five grandchildren.

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Attendee Request Form: 2023 Hardware Prototyping Workshop
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