Bret Anderson is a sales and marketing leader with a successful track record developing new business and designing and managing organizational marketing processes. He is an expert in market research and persona development; designing sales systems and strategies including go-to-market initiatives and sales funnel management; trade show and event creation, execution, and follow up processes; and advanced marketing strategies. He has excelled in bootstrapping sales and marketing innovations leading to exponential growth.
A graduate of the University of Missouri where he studied marketing, sociology, and writing, Bret brings decades of diverse experiences applicable to today's entrepreneur. His experience includes working in 10 employee companies to Fortune 100 companies; from the frontline "cold calling" trenches with monthly quotas to the executive boardroom with P&L responsibilities; and either working for or with a wide variety of industries including technology, finance/banking, healthcare, manufacturing, professional services, media, advertising, automotive, restaurant, grocery and consumer packaged goods, and retail.
High energy, passionate, and positive, Bret's innovative thinking and creativity makes collaborating with him fun, exciting, and fruitful. If you need to better understand your target market, establish or improve your sales and marketing strategy, and super charge the growth of your business, Bret Anderson may be the mentor for you.
Joey Bargo is a radiologist for Baptist Health with a strong interest in healthcare informatics and technology. Dr. Bargo received his medical degree from the University of Kentucky, College of Medicine. He then completed a residency at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Bargo is board certified by the American Board of Radiology. Dr. Bargo is a co-founder of new medical software which has the potential to significantly improve un-structured medical data analysis that will have quality and financial implications across healthcare organizations.
Kevin Bazner is a partner in A Great American Brand, LLC which acquired A&W Restaurants, Inc. from YUM! Brands on December 19, 2011. Kevin currently serves as the President and CEO of A&W Restaurants, Inc. and is a 40 year veteran of the food service and franchising industries. He had previously served as President and COO of A&W for 5 years prior to its acquisition by Yum Brands in 2002 and the Managing Director of its international business for 9 years. Mr. Bazner served as President and COO of Smoothie King Franchising, Inc., a 600 store franchise system based in Covington, LA, for two years prior to re-joining A&W in December of 2011.
Stacey Hoskins Beeler
Stacey Hoskins Beeler is founder and CEO of SnapDolls in Liberty, Kentucky. SnapDolls was created from Stacey’s idea to design wearable, playable outfits that enable little girls to be creative and use their own imaginations in the same way they do for paper dolls. She received two patents for her designs and today SnapDolls are available online and in 65 stores across the country. Stacey has always loved entrepreneurship. She taught entrepreneurship for Casey County students. In 2009, she won the Whirlpool Mother of Invention Award for a fever-monitoring device for babies. Stacey also served as senior executive officer of the Monticello Banking Company’s Liberty branch.
Matt Bellis is co-founder and President of Seikowave, a 3D imaging and analysis spinoff from the University of Kentucky’s Center for Visualization & Virtual Environments. Mr. Bellis has a BSEE and BA in Physics from Northwestern University; he has a MSEE from the University of California at Santa Barbara where his studies were focused on semiconductor lasers and optics. Mr. Bellis has extensive experience managing in large corporate environments as well as in early stage start-ups. He has developed and executed product line and division strategies and is experienced in securing funds both within a corporate environment as well as from the venture capital and investment community. Mr. Bellis has held positions in corporate strategy, marketing, sales and engineering as a manager and as an individual contributor. He has worked with most of the major consumer electronics manufacturers and numerous semiconductor fabs in implementing new technologies and new processes. He has worked and lived extensively in Asia, managed multi-lingual and cross-cultural teams, and is competent in both spoken and written Japanese.
David Biagi is Director of UK’s School of Architecture. He received a Bachelor of Architecture from UK and a Master of Architecture from The Ohio State University. David is a registered architect with a NCARB certificate. Prior to UK he worked in New York City for Peter Eisenman and Charles Gwathmey. In 1996, he was named to the once every ten-year list of, 40 under 40. His work has been published around the world, most recently in the May 2011 issue of Architectural Record titled Houses of Sagaponac. He was selected a Guest Architect for the Centrepointe project in Lexington by the Chicago office of Studio Gang.
Equus Run Vineyards
Cynthia Bohn is owner of Equus Run Vineyards in Midway, KY. Ms. Bohn, a native Kentuckian, grew up on a tobacco farm in Central Kentucky and retired after 30+ years with IBM Corp. She served in numerous roles within IBM, ranging from electrical engineering, international marketing, executive management and teaching at the IBM Harvard Business Institute. She pioneered the rebirth of the Kentucky wine industry by starting the KY Grape and Wine Council in the early 1990's. She launched an agri-tourism business with the start of a vineyard and winery in 1998 in Midway, KY - thus her pre-planning for retirement back to Kentucky farmland! Ms. Bohn is an academic at heart, having three degrees in the sciences and arts and her doctorate in education from University of Kentucky. She is passionate about lifelong learning. Equus Run Vineyards is her full-time job after her IBM Corp. retirement. The winery is open year round as a full-service winery and agri-tourism destination.
Dinsmore & Shohl LLP
Tony is a member of the Intellectual Property Department. He represents Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and individual investors with respect to patent prosecution, trademark prosecution, copyright registration, patent opinions and related litigation.
He has unique experience in intellectual property prosecution and litigation in the electrical, computer and mechanical engineering fields. In the electrical and computer fields, Tony's experience includes DSL technologies, microelectronics, GPS technologies, integrated circuits, networking, communications, semiconductor, computer architecture, Internet technologies, personal communication services, software, and digital logic. In the mechanical engineering field, he has experience in manufacturing and medical devices.
A. Taylor Bright
Co-Founder and COO
Novoron Bioscience, Inc.
A. Taylor Bright, PhD, is co-founder and COO of Novoron Bioscience, Inc., which is developing novel therapeutics for diseases of the central nervous system. Dr. Bright is also a partner at ScholarNexus, LLC, which helps companies spin-out of academic settings through the use of non-dilutive federal grant funding. He has over 10 years of experience in academic and industrial biomedical research, operations, and finance. Dr. Bright was selected to participate in the inaugural ICorps@NIH where he learned how to adapt the business model canvas and lean startup methods to the biological sciences. Dr. Bright received his PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of California, San Diego. He also holds an AB in Molecular Biology from Princeton University.
Wells Bullard is Vice President at Bullard, responsible for Marketing and Product Development. She is the fifth generation of this family-owned safety equipment manufacturer headquartered in Cynthiana, Kentucky. Bullard designs, manufactures, and markets hard hats, respiratory protection, fire helmets, and thermal imagers that are sold around the world. Wells is a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Business School. She lives in downtown Lexington with her architect husband, Harding Dowell. She is passionate about literacy and community development and loves to travel.
Tendai Charasika is CEO of SuperFanU, Inc, the leading fan loyalty and engagement company in college sports today. Prior to joining the SuperFanU team, Tendai was the Executive Director of Greater Louisville Inc’s (GLI) EnterpriseCorp, the entrepreneurship arm of the region’s leading economic development agency. He also was the first person hired to help scale the sustainability division of the fast-growing, entrepreneurial firm, Summit Energy, which was acquired by Schneider Electric in 2011 for $268 million. Tendai has most recently been named to the board of directors for the Louisville Sports Commission and holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and an Entrepreneurial M.B.A both from the University of Louisville.
Bingham Greenebaum Doll
Brian Chellgren is an attorney in the Lexington office of Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP, and is a member of the firm's Corporate and Transactional Practice Group. A registered patent attorney with degrees in molecular biology (B.S.) and biochemistry (Ph.D.), Brian is a published author in the biological sciences field. His practice includes U.S. and international patent and trademark prosecution, as well as copyright law. Brian advises and assists clients with their trademark portfolios, including reviewing potential marks and selecting marks, protecting marks in the U.S. and around the world, and enforcing marks. Brian has prepared and prosecuted patents in a wide range of fields, including surfactants, biomarkers, nanoparticles, medical devices, sports equipment and computer systems. Brian also assists companies in the life sciences and other fields with licensing intellectual property and negotiating relationships with their contractual partners.
Founder and Chief Investment Officer
Banyan Investment Group
A founding principal of Banyan Investment Group, Mr. Chopra functions as the Chief Investment Officer. Though involved in many aspects of the management and investment company, Andy primarily leads sourcing and dispositions of hotel assets. This includes originations, dispositions, negotiations, capital and deal structuring.
As the son of a hotelier, Andy was raised in the hotel industry and brings extensive professional training and an intimate knowledge of hotel management and development to Banyan Investment Group. Andy’s professional and academic background developed his keen sense of select service hotel investments and finance; his knowledge of hotel operations further sharpened his underwriting and deal origination expertise. His hands-on experience with the development of hotel properties ranges from feasibility to brand selection, design and value engineering. He has also led hotel investment analysis for potential acquisitions and development for co-investments in select service hotels with many institutional capital partners, totaling over $200MM in volume over the last real estate cycle.
Mr. Chopra graduated from the University of Kentucky and went on to gain corporate experience in sales and origination at Johnson & Johnson, a Fortune 50 company. While there, he was awarded a company scholarship to pursue an MBA at Oglethorpe University. He continued his education in real estate investments and finance with a Master of Science in Real Estate from Georgia State University as well as a Certificate in Hotel Real Estate Investment and Asset Management from Cornell University.
Andy calls Atlanta, GA home, where is lives with his wife Arinn and young son Virran. Andy serves on the boards of the Atlanta chapter of Entrepreneurs Organization and the Georgia State University Real Estate Alumni. In his spare time, Andy and his wife enjoy cheering on their alma mater, the University of Kentucky Wildcats in both basketball and football. He and his family are avid travelers and enjoy discovering new places, people, and cultures. They obtained a passport for their son when he was 6 weeks old and have traveled to over 60 countries on 5 different continents. The goal is eventually make it to every country on the planet.
Chief Operation Officer
Jim Clifton is Chief Operating Officer of Bluegrass Vascular Technologies (BVT). Jim joined BVT as Founder and Chief Executive Officer in February 2011, when the company was spun out of Therix Medical Development, a private incubator established to commercialize technologies from the University of Kentucky. In 2009, Jim helped found and served as CEO of Therix Medical. He held both CEO positions simultaneously while spending the majority of his time launching BVT. BVT was seed funded by Therix and Jim raised additional funds in 2012 to complete the first-in-human study in South America and the Series A in 2014. For the past 20 plus years, Jim has been in and around early stage technology development, working with founders and managing early stage investments.
Speech-Language Pathologist and Rehabilitation Services Manager
Lauren is a Speech-Language Pathologist and Rehabilitation Services Manager at a local facility providing both long term care and short term rehabilitation services and also sees patients at an inpatient rehabilitation center. She graduated with her Master’s in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Kentucky in 2013. Lauren partners with UK to assist in off campus clinical training of graduate students. Prior to becoming a Speech-Language Pathologist, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of the Cumberlands in 2005.
Founder and President
GxP Pinch Hitting, LLC
Ms. Aimee Cousoulis is the founder and president of the independent consulting company GxP Pinch Hitting, LLC since 2009. Her experience in pharmaceutical product development and commercialization comprises varied and diverse business platforms including start-ups, universities, mid-sized and Fortune 500 companies.
Ms. Cousoulis’ and GxP Pinch Hitting partner with FDA regulated pharmaceutical organizations to provide technical, project management and compliance leadership and support for projects in early R&D, preclinical, clinical, and commercial phases. Projects types include NDA/ANDA project management for small volume parenteral, topicals and drug substances; quality assurance advisement for toxicology studies; sterile and solid oral dosage facility and supplier audits; quality system and procedure development; Warning Letter remediation, and process analysis of distribution systems. Experience in dosage form development includes lyophilized, intranasal, transdermal, and sublingual delivery systems.
Before founding GxP Pinch Hitting, Ms. Cousoulis held positions in operations and manufacturing, quality assurance, and business development with several large and small pharmaceutical companies. She holds B.A. degrees in Biology and English from the North Central College, a Master’s of Science in Biology from the State University of New York at Brockport and a graduate certificate in Validation and Regulatory Affairs from Stevens Institute of Technology. Ms. Cousoulis is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and professional educator and trainer. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Matt Craft has over twenty-four years business experience with a specialization in new business startups, financing, business strategy and planning, including over nine years of experience in the legal and financial industries and fifteen years supporting and guiding numerous entrepreneurial ventures through the various stages of growth and acquisition. His consulting firm, Craft Consulting, LLC provides entrepreneurial and small business advisory services, including drafting business plans, developing financial models, planning short-term and long-term business strategy, identifying market opportunities, evaluating acquisition opportunities, and providing access to capital resources. Mr. Craft has started several companies, including TranSecurity Systems, Inc., Gulfstream Publishing, LLC, and Digital Freight Exchange, Inc. which was acquired by a NASDAQ traded company.
Cheryll E. Crowe
Chair of the Mathematics Department
Cheryll E. Crowe is the Chair of the Mathematics Department at Asbury University. She received her Ph.D. in Education Sciences (Mathematics) from the University of Kentucky. Dr. Crowe has received two national fellowships in mathematics and been an invited guest panelist on KET’s Education Matters. Her research focuses on TPACK, the integration of technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge. Dr. Crowe currently serves as the Vice-President Colleges for the Kentucky Council of Teachers of Mathematics and President-Elect of the Kentucky Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators. She is also the American Mathematics Competition State Coordinator and Vice-Chair of the Kentucky Mathematics Association of America.
Montague Law, PLLC
Laurie Daugherty is well versed in the issues and challenges faced by entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses. Laurie has in depth knowledge of contracts and agreements, startup funding deal terms, lean launchpad methodology and entrepreneurial ecosystems in general. She is passionate about helping your company succeed.
For over eight years Laurie implemented and managed economic development initiatives in the state of Kentucky focused on early stage and growth stage technology companies. She was involved at a decision-making level on a number of state funded programs including the Kentucky Enterprise Fund, the Rural Innovation Fund, the Kentucky Innovation Network, and the SBIR/STTR Matching Grant Program. Most notably she was the founding director of the Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs.
A licensed attorney, currently she is of counsel with Montague Law, PLLC. She focuses her practice on the needs of entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses. Laurie has been practicing law for over 25 years. She began her career as a judicial law clerk then worked in big firms in the Washington D.C. area, including Venable, a 600+ member firm, where she represented Marriott International as well as a number of small and mid-size businesses. Laurie graduated with Distinction from the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University. She holds a Bachelors of Business Administration from The College of William and Mary.
Assistant Professor of Business Administration
Adam Evans bounces around a lot. Whether it’s growing up as a military kid and moving 18 times before graduating high school, or being involved on Transylvania University’s campus as an Assistant Professor of Management and Business Technologies, advisor for Phi Kappa Tau fraternity and founder of the Transylvania Volleyball Club—he’s always on the run.
What began as a hobby has carried over into his academic work. He is helping his business students stay current with the rise of virtual reality, getting them hands-on experience with the exciting new medium. He has turned his office into a VR lab, allowing students to create and test games and applications for local developers.
Entrepreneur and Inventor
Bob Farinelli is an entrepreneur and inventor holding 22 patents in the field of automation, monitoring and controls. He started his engineering career in Sothern California working for Hughes Aircraft Company, then moved to a small defense subcontractor to manage engineering and manufacturing operations. Bob relocated to Lexington and joined Square D Company as a project manager in a new business development group. 5 years later he lead a management buyout to create Elan Home Systems which became a leader in home automation over the next 15 years. With a successful sale of that business, Bob pivoted that experience to start Smart Farm Systems Inc, which provide precision irrigation monitoring and control systems for the agricultural community. Bob holds a BSEE from RIT, Rochester NY and MS in Technology Managementfrom National University, San Diego CA.
Digital Change Management Lead
Hannah Farley is an Organizational Development and Change Management Professional with diverse industry experience in large-and small-scale transformation, including technology implementation, strategic organizational design, leadership development, and business process management. She is dedicated to developing change competency and helping organizations achieve the full intent of their most important initiatives.
Hannah has a M.S. in HR and Organizational Development from the University of Louisville and a B.S. in Psychology from Eastern Kentucky University. She also studied Manufacturing Engineering at Western Kentucky University and is a Lean Practitioner.
Richard Gersony is CEO of Medmovie, a Lexington, KY company founded in 2000 by Rick and his wife Kim. Medmovie helps people understand complex medical ideas by creating illustration, animation and Apps. Medmovie's custom project audience is both healthcare professionals and patients. Clients include Life Science Corporations, Attorneys, Medical Trade Associations, Government Agencies and other organizations. Medmovie products include: Cardiovascular Video Library (CVL) and the Cardiosmart Explorer iPad App used for teaching patients at the point of care. Rick is also is an environmentalist, artist and father of twins.
Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs (GSE)
Mac Glidewell currently works as the Director of the Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs (GSE). He comes from an entrepreneurial background and has been involved in the Kentucky startup scene for more than 6 years. During his senior year at the University of Kentucky, Mac helped co-found a startup called TagaPet. After a year and a half of running the company out of Awesome Inc. in downtown Lexington, KY, TagaPet was accepted into the international startup accelerator called StartupBootcamp based in the Netherlands. During this program Mac received instruction from world-class coaches on the Business Model Canvas, customer discovery, Lean Startup ideology, pitch creation, brand development, and fundraising. He is passionate about entrepreneurship and enabling others to identify opportunities and act upon them.
Retired Lexmark VP
David Goodnight is a member of the Blue Grass Angels and manager of the Bluegrass Angel Venture Fund. He was Director of Operations and on the Board of Directors of Jacob's Automation, an early stage company sold to Rockwell Automation in 2013. David was an Executive in Residence for KSTC were he consulted with over a dozen early stage companies, one of which he assisted in the negotiation of a successful exit. He worked at Lexmark as CFO, Network Printer Division, VP and Corporate Controller, and as VP of Asia Pacific and Latin America. At Lexmark, he led the implementation of global systems, supported the Initial Public Offering, and led significant growth in Emerging Market Sales. David also worked for Unisys, Calcomp, and the University of Texas Medical Branch. He has an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin where he studied entrepreneurship and finance.
UK Venture Studio
Mariam Gorjian is a Commercialization Specialist in the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship. She attended the University of Kentucky and graduated with her B.S. in Electrical Engineering. She later attended graduate school at Eastern Kentucky University, where she obtained a M.S. in Industrial Technology. Ms. Gorjian worked as a military contractor for 7 years and has a combination of managerial, production, design, prototype testing, and legal contracts experience. Her background lends extremely well to technologies developed out of the many programs within the University of Kentucky where she assists faculty with commercialization projects and potential tech start-up companies.
University of Kentucky Department of Communication
Dr. Kristen Guth is a postdoctoral scholar in organizational communication and risk at the University of Kentucky Department of Communication. Her dissertation centered on a Silicon Valley start-up and she researches processes around innovation in start-ups, including change management, team collaboration, expertise negotiation, technology design, and knowledge management. Kristen led several training workshops at the USC Marshall School of Business for three years in the Experiential Learning Center. She worked as a journalist for FOX and NBC, a public relations professional at Edelman, a legislative assistant for UPS Corporate Public Affairs, and a researcher for Harvard Law School’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. Kristen’s research has been published in Journal of Communication and Communication Monographs, as well as the Encyclopedia of Corporate Reputation. She has presented her research at various conferences, including the Academy of Management, the National Communication Association, the International Communication Association, and the Association of Internet Researchers. Kristen also mentors entrepreneurs and small businesses on strategy, leadership, product design, and workflow processes with the SCORE Association. Learn more at www.kristenguth.com
Founder & President
Tim Guthrie is founder and President of OnTrack Management Group, LLC. OnTrack is a professional service firm that address key challenges for small and mid-sized business owners in the areas of finance, accounting and human resources. Prior to founding OnTrack, he founded CFO Services, Inc., selling and delivering interim Chief Financial Officer Services to companies through a network of financial and accounting professionals. Tim has extensive experience in planning and development of startup companies, turnaround and workout services for troubled companies, and the analysis of acquisition and investment opportunities for corporate clients and private investors. He has served as a board member for several business and community organizations that currently include: The Nest-Center for Women Children and Families, Inc., Members Heritage Federal Credit Union, and the Friends of Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden, Inc.
Shane is a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Finance and Quantitative Methods. He is the founder of Float Money, a Lexington based company that is pioneering the interest-free line of credit as a safer borrowing alternative for consumers. Before turning his attention to consumer credit, Shane developed innovative financing solutions for banks, insurance companies and large corporations. His experience includes over ten years on Wall Street as a structured finance specialist, including seven years at Credit Suisse where he structured and executed over $20 billion of innovative financial transactions as a Director in the Global Structuring Group. Shane has advised banks on regulatory capital and risk transfer issues in roles with Promontory Financial Group, Auriemma Consulting Group, Bank Street Group, E&Y and PwC. Shane is a Chartered Financial Analyst and Member of the New York Bar. He received a JD/MBA from Georgetown University and a BA in Economics and International Studies from Miami University.
Founder & CEO
LaShana Harris is founder and CEO of Babylocity, LLC. Babylocity is a company dedicated to developing innovative products for babies on the go. The company’s first product, Mix & Go, is a multi-compartment, baby-feeding bottle that stores and mixes water and baby formula powder whenever and wherever it is needed. Born and raised in Danville, Kentucky, LaShana Harris graduated from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia and the University of Kentucky College of Law. Whether she was in Africa teaching or in Kentucky advocating to protect children from abuse, LaShana has dedicated her life to causes for children. In 2011, LaShana gave birth to new baby, Babylocity. She is the recipient of the prestigious 2013 Vogt Award for her patented baby bottle invention and has won numerous other entrepreneurial awards. LaShana is committed to making the company a lifestyle brand for babies on the go!
Michael Hartman is the President and CEO of Frogdice, Inc., a developer of free-to-play online games and casual downloadable titles for PC and mobile. Founded in 1996, Frogdice is one of the oldest game studios in the industry. Before founding Frogdice, Mr. Hartman worked as an attorney and as a researcher and speech writer for United States Senator Strom Thurmond. Mr. Hartman is a graduate of Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and the University of Georgia School of Law.
VP & Creative Designer
Wanwisa "Pang" Hartman is the Vice President and Creative Designer at Frogdice, Inc., a developer of free-to-play online games and creative puzzle titles for PC and mobile. Founded in 1996, Frogdice has been through multiple evolutions of the video game industry. Before becoming a part of Frogdice, Pang grew up in Campbellsville, Kentucky and continued her education Centre College. After a brief stint in Vermont for law school and some time spent in Georgia and Washington, DC, Pang brought Frogdice back to her home state. In addition to developing games, Pang volunteers for local schools, is a mother of two daughters, enjoys reading, and follows the development of esports across the global stage.
Former Executive Director
UK Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship
Dean Harvey was the Executive Director of the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship in the Gatton College of Business and Economics. Prior to joining UK, he was Vice President of Business Development and Advanced Technologies for Octave Communications, a New Hampshire startup company. He was General Manager and a founding member of Lucent Technologies’ video conferencing unit. He has been instrumental in establishing links between university researchers and private investors. The Von Allmen Center was the catalyst behind the formation of the Bluegrass Angels, a group of over 60 accredited investors in the Bluegrass Region. The Von Allmen Center joined with Commerce Lexington to found the Lexington Venture Club, a bi-monthly networking event for scientists, entrepreneurs, investors, and service providers.
Founder & President
MEP Equine Solutions
Eric Hauck has been an entrepreneur of over 25 years leading various types of start-ups from bio-tech to consumer electronics with successful outcomes for investors. He currently serves as Founder and President of MEP Equine Solutions commercializing a medical device for the on-site detection of parasitic infection in animals using a smartphone. Eric is an angel investor and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Bluegrass Angels located in Lexington KY. Currently Eric serves on several Board of Directors for several companies and is working with start-up and turnaround companies in the local KY area. Eric holds a BA in Biochemistry from the University of Arizona and a MBA and MS in Science and Technology Commercialization from Northeastern University located in Boston MA.
Retired UK VP
Len Heller, Ph.D. is retired Vice President, Commercialization and Economic Development, at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Heller has extensive experience in academic, private industry and government. He has held administrative and faculty positions in three academic health science centers—Baylor College of Medicine, the University of Michigan, and the University of Kentucky, where he was Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs at the UK Albert B. Chandler Medical Center. He served as Secretary for the Kentucky’s Cabinet of Human Resources and Chairman of the Governor’s Task Force on Health Reform. In 1986, Dr. Heller left the academic environment and moved to Chicago where he joined with private business in a state government-private sector initiative to convert a mental health campus into an industrial park, creating new manufacturing jobs in a disadvantaged area. In 1990, Dr. Heller raised capital to purchase a business from the University of Kentucky and sold it two years later to Neogen Corporation. Dr. Heller has served on several corporate boards, including Neogen Corporation, the Board of Health Kentucky, Inc., and The Better Business Bureau of Central and Southeastern Kentucky.
Lexington’s Real Estate Co.
Phil Holoubek is president and CEO of Lexington’s Real Estate Company (LRC). His real estate company is actively involved in the transformation of downtown Lexington. Two of LRC’s projects, the Nunn Building lofts, and Main & Rose, have added well over 100 loft condo units to downtown Lexington, adding life and vibrancy to this long neglected urban core. Additionally, his Main & Rose mixed use project has added more than 25,000 square feet of convenience oriented retail, and over 100 retail parking spaces. Since moving to Lexington in 2000, Phil has been actively involved in a variety of civic organizations and ventures aimed at improving quality of life for Lexington’s existing young professionals, as well as recruiting knowledge based young professionals from other cities. Phil is the founder of a civic organization known as LYPA (Lexington Young Professional’s Association), and has served on the boards of the Lexington Center, Urban League, Bluegrass Community Foundation, Knight Foundation, Downtown Lexington Corporation, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and other local organizations.
UK Gluck Equine Center
David Horohov is Interim Director, Gluck Equine Research Center, at the University of Kentucky. He received his PhD in Immunology from the University of Tennessee. His research program focuses on the identification and characterization of equine cytokines and their role in protective and pathologic immune responses. Dr. Horohov’s research group has cloned, sequenced and expressed a number of cytokine genes from the horse and developed assays for their detection. These assays have been used to better characterize the protective immune responses of horses to bacterial, viral and parasitic infections, as well as the pathologic response in autoimmune and allergic diseases.
Director of Innovation
Heather Howell is Director of Innovation at Brown-Forman Corp. Prior to joining Brown-Forman, Heather was CTO (Chief Tea Officer) at Rooibee Red Tea. She has more than 15 years of experience in Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies. A graduate of Eastern Kentucky University, she received her MBA from Bellarmine University and has become a nationally recognized leader in the areas of workforce development, talent attraction and branding. Heather has been recognized numerous times on both a local, regional and national scale including the 2013 Ernst & Young E.D.G.E. award. Progressive Grocer magazine named her Female Executive of the Year in 2012. Howell often details her entrepreneurial endeavors as a guest writer for different publications including The Wall Street Journal’s The Accelerators blog. A passionate advocate for the role of women in business and inspiring future leaders, she serves as Chairwoman of the Board of the National Association of Women MBAs.
UK International Center
Sandee Huang, CPA, MPP, is currently the Budget Officer of UK International Center. Sandee holds bachelor’s and master’s degree in Accounting, and is a Certified Public Accountant in Canada. She earned her Master’s in Public Policy (MPP) from the UK Martin School of Public Policy & Administration, further extending her abilities in the areas of nonprofit financial management. Sandee has strong interest at internationalization and non-profit management. She firstly worked in the corporate world—while in China, she worked for the global accounting firm KPMG as an auditor. She then worked as an accounting specialist in one of KPMG’s clients, the non-profit Boao Forum for Asia in Beijing, before coming to the US. Here in Lexington, she acquired further non-profit familiarity by working for the US-based International nonprofit, Save the Children Foundation, before she joined UK.
Dinsmore & Shohl LLP
A member of the Corporate Department, Kerry counsels clients in a wide variety of industries on corporate matters, including governance, mergers and acquisitions, financing, and other transactions. She also works with for-profit and non-profit organizations, as well as several trade organizations, tailoring her approach to meet each client’s unique corporate needs.
Kerry’s practice includes a focus on the mining and natural resources sectors. She regularly works with mining companies and investors on acquisitions and dispositions of mineral reserves, mining projects, permits and mining companies, as well as project development and matters related to mine operations. Additionally, she counsels clients in the natural resources industry on all manners of contracts and agreements, including financing agreements, sales and lease agreements, joint venture agreements and operating agreements.
A lifelong horsewoman, Kerry grew up fox hunting and was a Jefferson and Echols scholar at the University of Virginia. After college, Kerry taught riding at Chatham Hall, a boarding school in Virginia, before attending Law School at the University of Kentucky, where she focused her studies on equine and transactional law. A member of Dinsmore’s Equine Law Group, Kerry has translated her passion for horses into her practice, where she counsels clients on equine law matters related to both the Thoroughbred and sport horse industries. Prior to joining the firm, she worked as a staff attorney for the Honorable Thomas D. Wingate in Franklin Circuit Court, where she gained experience in handling regulatory matters, including administrative appeals from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. She also has extensive experience in drafting equine contracts, specifically sale and lease contracts, as well as Thoroughbred and sporthorse syndication agreements.
Understanding the ties between the equine and gaming worlds, she also is adept at advising clients on internet gaming matters, including compliance with constantly-evolving rules and regulations. She has helped clients secure internet wagering licenses, and her gaming work also extends into the world of pari-mutuel wagering, charitable gaming, and sweepstakes and giveaways.
Joshua Konowe is a 4x entrepreneur with a history of building businesses from the ground up over the last 15+ years. He has consistently driven value not just for the constituency his businesses have served but the investors who have backed them. Joshua has bootstrapped and raised Angel, State Funds, and Venture capital multiple times both domestically and internationally, with 3 positive exits and 1 that is still to be determined. He has been recognized by his peers and is regularly in the press for his work while racking up many prestigious awards including the center for innovative technology’s GAP 50, highlighting the 50 most influential entrepreneur’s in the Washington D.C. region. Joshua was a judge at Georgetown University’s entrepreneurial MBA program from 2012-2014, a mentor at the Founder Institute since 2009, is currently an advisor to several companies including the children's science center in Washington D.C. and a member of the board at Great Monday a branding agency in San Francisco. Mr. Konowe graduated with a BA in 1996 from the University of Kentucky. Josh will travel to the edges of the earth for good adventure, food or great company, enjoys being a parent of a very precious 10-year-old and has developed a recent burgeoning love affair for swimming.
Joe Kratzat is an experienced software engineer and entrepreneur. He has over 15 years experience in software and computer technology. He is a passionate software developer and a partner at Foxio, a software company working with startups to take an idea to launch.
UK Dietetics & Nutrition
Janet Kurzynske is a Professor in the Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, School of Human Environmental Sciences, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment at the University of Kentucky. She is also a Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Specialist for Nutrition. As the Director for the Research Center for Families and Children, her interests are cross cutting. She teaches DHN 784 Special Problems Financial Management which uses a current approach to the financial decisions making process in nutrition and food systems. The course prepares advanced students in nutrition and food systems to analyze and make sound financial management decisions in settings relevant to the nutrition profession. Dr. Kurzynske has a Ph.D. in nutrition from the University of Tennessee and a B.S. from Hood College, Frederick, Maryland.
Founder & Owner
Tim Lambert is the founder and owner of Lakeshore Software, and the co-inventor of the Image Vault Digital Recorder. Lakeshore Software was founded in 1987, and provides custom software solutions for Central Kentucky businesses. At Lakeshore Software, Tim has watched the hardware and software industries go through huge changes, and has adapted as technologies evolved. Image Vault LLC was founded in 1996, and Mr. Lambert was an owner until 2004. The Image Vault Digital Recorder is used for security in thousands of retail, corporate and industrial sites around the world. Image Vault LLC won the Fast 50 award for the fastest growing company in the Louisville metro area two years in row. As a result of that rapid growth, Tim has extensive knowledge of startups. Mr. Lambert has a BSEE from the University of Kentucky.
UK Electrical & Computer Engineering
Daniel Lau, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Kentucky. His research interests include 3-D imaging sensors and 3-D photogrammetry. Dr. Lau received his B.Sc. degree (with highest distinction) in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Delaware. Previously, he was a DSP engineer at Aware, Inc., and an Image and signal processing engineer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Aside from his teaching and research interests, Dr. Lau is also the Chief Technology Officer for Seikowave Inc. and a founding member of FlashScan 3D, a company focused on developing non-contact, 3-D biometric scanning systems.
Founder, President and CEO
Biological Prospects LLC
Patrick Lawless is the Founder, President and CEO of Biological Prospects LLC, a manufacturer of nutraceutical products for companion animals (Petthrive) and horses (Equithrive®). Pat received a PhD in biology from the University of Kentucky and a BS in biology and chemistry from Western Kentucky University. Prior to founding Biological Prospects, Pat was employed as a chemist and as a biopharmaceutical research scientist for Chattem Chemicals Inc. and Naprogenix Inc., respectively.
Founder & President
American Farm Investors
Brian Luftman is the Founder and President of American Farm Investors, a firm that specializes in locating and managing grain-producing farmland. AFI invests individual and institutional capital into profitable grain land in the Midwestern Corn Belt. Mr. Luftman’s background is in commodity trading. He spent 10 years trading livestock and grain options on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, where he founded and operated his own proprietary trading firm, Luftrade LLC. He attended Miami University in Oxford, OH, and graduated with a degree in Finance from the Farmer School of Business in 2001. He sits on the Board of Directors for the Bluegrass Angels Venture Fund and he is an active angel investor.
Incentive Marketing, Insignia Promotions, Renew Merchandise
Built 3 other companies from $0-$50 million in sales over the last 26 years. Secured and managed license agreements with NFL, USOC, NASCAR, NHL, MLB, MLS, NCAA and FIFA. Secured promotional contracts withe The Coca-Cola Company, Turner Time Warner, Chick-Fil-A, Glaxo Smith Kline and Syntex Labs. Secured uniform contracts with Delta Airlines and the Atlanta Braves.
Ben is currently the Operations Manager at Belcan Engineering in Lexington KY. He specializes in the design, fabrication, and structural validation of various aircraft types. He has been working in the aircraft/aerospace industry since 2002. Ben Marsico is originally from Grass Valley, CA and has a degree in Mechanical engineering from the University of Nevada. He moved to Kentucky in 2005 to work as a DoD contractor at Bluegrass Army Depot.
Vicki Martin has had a project and/or assignment-oriented career for over 40+ years and held posts as a senior executive, strategy/business consultant, and entrepreneur. Providing professional management/leadership for early stage ventures is a special area of interest. Her industry and category experience include technology, data analytics, healthcare, non-profits, cause marketing, telecom, venture capital, professional services, energy (oil & gas and power utilities), furniture and interior design, travel and tourism, and online B2B & B2C business models. She specializes in rapid growth models, early stage ventures, turnarounds, and new product/service introduction. Most recently, Martin served as Special Assistant to Dean Blackwell of the Gatton College of Business at the University of Kentucky doing special projects and acting as an internal business consultant. Prior to that, Martin served as the CEO for mBeWell, a Software as A Service firm and before that was part of the team to divest 87 restaurants from a private firm in Lexington, KY. She did her undergraduate work in Biology at Rutgers College and holds an MBA and an MA in Economics (ABT) from the University of South Carolina. She also holds an MS in Psychology from the University of Kentucky.
John Meister is co-founder of Super Soul, an award-winning digital arts studio with a diverse portfolio that includes PC, console, and mobile video games. With over fifteen years of software development experience, he has held a variety of roles including: software architect, project leader, and technical director. John is also founder and president of RunJumpDev, a non-profit organization that supports the growth of the game industry in Kentucky. John has a passion for teaching, leading teams, and making ideas become a reality.
Jonathan Melman is the VP, Product for Lumenari, which he co-founded in Silicon Valley before moving the company to Lexington in 2015. Lumenari is developing novel down-converting phosphor materials for the LED industry. Dr. Melman has more than 10 years of experience in scientific research and semiconductor (LED) industry applications engineering, including leading multidisciplinary teams, and developing novel remote phosphor lighting products. He has also worked in a variety of areas involving rare earth chemistry for direct use and as materials precursors, catalyst and photocatalyst development, hydrogen storage, biocompatible metal oxide nanoparticles, biodiesel processes, and biomedical polymers. Dr. Melman has seven issued and eight pending patents. In addition to experience at two prior start-up companies, he received his BA in Chemistry from Northwestern University and his PhD in Inorganic Chemistry from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.
Will Montague is a solo practitioner in Lexington with a long history representing businesses and individuals in virtually all areas of intellectual property law, computer and internet law, privacy and data security, and general business and contract matters. Before forming Montague Law PLLC at the beginning of 2011, Will was a partner in the Lexington offices of Dinsmore & Shohl (2005-2010) and Stoll, Keenon & Park (1993-2005), where he chaired the firm’s seven-lawyer Intellectual Property & Technology Department. Will is rated “AV Preeminent” by Martindale-Hubbell's Peer Review Ratings, the highest possible rating for a lawyer regarding legal ability and ethical standards. He is also a Fellow in the Litigation Counsel of American, which is an invitation-only honorary society limited to less than one-half of one percent of U.S. lawyers.
Founder, Chairman and CEO
In 2014, Morris was named to Fortune Magazine's 40 under 40, a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, and to the Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame. In 2013, Morris was also honored by the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce as Outstanding Young American. He is a member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) Bluegrass Chapter and the Council on Foreign Relations. Additionally, he created the Morris Industries Foundation which works to improve the lives of Kentuckians through strategic giving.
Co-founder & CEO
Gregg Morton is Co-Founder and CEO at WeStyle, a style advice, discovery, and inspiration mobile app. Gregg is responsible for the overall direction and product strategy. Gregg also serves as Founder and CEO at Fooji, a patent pending emoji-ordering service where customers can order food delivery by simply messaging a food emoji. Fooji is partnered with GrubHub/Seamless and currently serves New York, San Francisco, and Chicago. His passion for entrepreneurship began at an early age, founding retail and commercial computer and network systems solutions provider, MoVita Technologies, in 2002 at age 15. Gregg operated MoVita Technologies until its sale in 2006. While pursuing a BBA in Finance and BS in Business Economics through the dual degree program at the University of Kentucky’s Gatton College of Business, Gregg co-founded Investimonials.com - a web platform which enables retail investors to educate themselves on major financial topics, companies, and services based on the unbiased opinions and reviews of others. Investimonials.com was sold in 2010 to Timothy Sykes, celebrated investor and entrepreneur.
Kayla has been in the marketing and advertising industry for more than 10 years, having co-founded her own marketing agency in 2009 after working with one of the region’s top advertising agencies for 5 years. She is a long-time sports fan, and after seeing the need for sports fans to connect with one another, Kayla co-founded SuperFan in 2011. Kayla is a graduate of the University of Kentucky ’05 - the winningest basketball program in the country!
Retired President & COO
Archer Daniels Midland
Paul Mulhollem is past President and COO of Archer Daniels Midland. He has extensive experience in global agribusiness holding executive positions with Cargill, Continental Grain and ADM with assignments in the U.S., Switzerland, Argentina, and England. Paul is Managing Partner of Blue Ridge Cattle LLC, a registered Angus cattle breeding and marketing group with operations in Kentucky and Illinois. He is Executive Chairman of Arisdyne Systems in Cleveland, a start-up group providing technical innovations and solutions to the bio-fuels industry. Paul is a board member of Plaxica, London England, and an advisor to Noble Group in Hong Kong. He earned his BA degree from the University of Minnesota.
UK Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship
Warren Nash is Executive Director of the UK Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship. He has worked with the Innovation Network program for several years as Deputy Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Commercialization and Innovation, where he helped lead the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development’s efforts to recruit and support high-tech and knowledge-based companies. He previously served as the Cabinet’s Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Financial Incentives where he was involved in making grants to help new economy companies and other businesses locate and expand operations within the Commonwealth. Mr. Nash has prior experience in academia at Georgetown College, where he developed and implemented the college’s $96 million capital campaign as Director of Planned Giving and Senior Assistant to the President.
Associate Vice President
Kentucky Science & Technology Corp.
Sean O’Leary is Associate Vice President, Kentucky Enterprise Fund, at the Kentucky Science & Technology Corporation (KSTC). Sean joined KSTC in February 2008. Previously, Sean was an Associate with MASA Life Science Ventures Fund (MLSV), where he specialized in investments in new biotechnologies, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices. Sean currently serves as an Advisor the MLSV. Sean joined MLSV from the U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation , where he developed and managed a grants program to provide funding to Russian technology start-ups and to support the development of strategic partnerships for these companies in the U.S. He holds an M.A. in International Relations and Economics from the Patterson School of Diplomacy at the University of Kentucky and he received a B.A. in History from Centre College in Kentucky.
Athenian Grill was founded by Ilias Pappas, a Greek native and hospitality management major at the University of Kentucky. Ilias grew up in a small town near Athens watching his mom cook lamb on the open fire and his grandmother bake homemade pita bread in the family's clay oven. Today, Ilias' vision of partnering with local farms and businesses to bring fresh, authentic Greek food to Lexington is supported by a dedicated, hardworking and growing team. Together they serve up quality food that hungry Lexingtonians can truly enjoy and feel good about!
Assistant VP for Commercialization & Economic Development
University of Kentucky
Taunya Phillips is the Assistant VP for Commercialization & Economic Development at the University of Kentucky, where she is focused on the commercialization of intellectual property . She has been a UK employee for 17 years. Previous positions at UK include CFO for Kentucky Technology, Inc., a for-profit subsidiary of the UK Research Foundation; College of Engineering Lecturer; and Minority Engineering Program Director. Prior to UK, Taunya worked at Milliken & Company, a chemical and textile manufacturer. Positions there included production manager, process engineer, technical salesperson and marketing analyst & planner. Taunya is the 2014-2015 Board Chair of for Opportunity for Work and Learning, Inc. and the University of Kentucky Alumni Association. She is the past President and a current member of the UK College of Engineering Alumni Association Board. She is the current Vice Chair for the Lexington Downtown Development District. Taunya has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and an MBA from the University of Kentucky. She is a native of Danville, Kentucky.
Julia Truitt Poynter
Associate Professor and Owner
Translyvania university / Julia Truitt Poynter Consulting
Julia Truitt Poynter has more than 30 years of academic experience teaching graduate and undergraduate students at both private and public institutions. Currently she teaches courses in Transylvania University’s business administration major reflective of her background in marketing, management and the hospitality industry. To keeping her courses up to date, she has had ownership or administration responsibilities in several businesses including President of a pediatric oncology nonprofit and VP of Accounting and Finance for a country rock band. Her consulting company has completed projects in consumer attitudes and beliefs for a large equine tourist attraction, business plan development for a restaurant, retail and music venue and operational improvements for a bed and breakfast inn.
Jon Prescott is a serial entrepreneur with experience in software and IT services, advanced space rated electronics, and multiple industrial products and services. Currently he is CEO of Lexington based Scante.net, offering a rapidly deployed, affordable Customer Experience and Internet of Things (IoT) app platform. Jon brings a diverse technical background to sales and business development, along with strengths in product development, fundraising and start-up management. Jon is a passionate ocean sailor.
Tina M. Reed
User Experience Research and Design
Tina Reed is a User Experience professional for Lexmark International, conducting multiple activities including user research, persona development, product design, heuristic evaluation and user testing. In her role, Ms. Reed provides key information about Lexmark’s target users to inform sales, marketing and development efforts. Ms. Reed has a BS in Marketing from California State University, Northridge and a MSW from the Brown School at Washington University, with a concentration in behavioral psychology. Whenever possible, she enjoys participating in opportunities to innovate and collaborate on new ventures. She and Ms. Kelly Wright are very excited to bring their startup idea, the Perfume Kiosk, to UK’s first Venture Studio Bootcamp!
Center for Long Term Care Innovation
John Reinhart, CPA, MBA, CAN is the Founder and CEO of the International Center for Long Term Care Innovation (InnovateLTC). InnovateLTC is a for-profit talent management and market development firm. It commercializes disruptive products, services models and technologies that transforms both the quality of life and care for the global aging population. Previously, John served as Chief Innovation Officer for Signature Healthcare. He is a serial entrepreneur. He was the President and COO of Advanced Imaging Concepts, Inc., an ambulatory sector healthcare software company that was subsequently acquired by Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, Inc. where he then served as Executive Vice President, Clinical Solutions Group from 2003-2006. He is a licensed Certified Nursing Assistant and completed his Health Sector Policy and Management MBA from the University of Miami in Florida.
Mechanical Engineer & Entrepreneur
Kevin Richardson is a mechanical engineer at Ergo Mechanical Industrial and entrepreneur. He has nearly 4 years of experience in mechanical and industrial equipment design, and is pursuing his MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Kentucky. He is currently working to establish HandPrint, his startup company that will produce wearable medical devices for athletic and rehabilitation purposes.
With his best friend Reinaldo Gonzalez, Lesme worked as cooks for some of the best Italian restaurants in the Cleveland, OH area. One of these places was always packed with lines at the door at dinner time, even during winter. Their secret? They cook with fresh pasta. Since the summer of 2009, Reinaldo and Lesme have been making fresh pasta to satisfy the need of a town that had nothing like it before. In 2015, Lexington Pasta has grown to include the Lexington Pasta Shop, The Lexington Pasta Company, and the Lexington Pasta Garage Italian Cafe. Their delicious pasta products can be found as vital ingredients in the recipe books for a number of restaurants through central Kentucky and can be found on the shelves of grocery stores so you can enjoy the pleasure of pasta at home, too.
Stoll Keenon Ogden
Ken Sagan is an attorney at Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC. Ken practices business and corporate law, focusing primarily on mergers and acquisitions, finance, securities, and entrepreneurial services. His experience includes handling mergers and acquisitions in the manufacturing, healthcare, construction and technology industries, among others. Ken frequently assists technology and early-stage companies in financing transactions, including debt and equity private placements, strategic partnerships, and licensing. Ken is listed among The Best Lawyers in America®, Corporate Law and Kentucky Super Lawyers®. He was named the Lexington Area Corporate Law Lawyer of the Year in 2013. He has a long record of community involvement including service on the Executive Board of Commerce Lexington (Chair, 2014 and General Counsel, 2011-12), the board of Lexington Strides Ahead Foundation Inc., and many other organizations.
Stoll Keenon Ogden
Terry Samuel is presently assisting Space Tango, a Lexington based start-up as Interim COO. In this role, Samuel is working with the team to establish core business processes and functions, negotiate key enterprise contracts and mentor the team.
Prior to Space Tango, Samuel spent 30+ years at Lexmark, his final assignment as Vice President in the Global Service Operations group where he was responsible for guiding the company’s operational practices in delivering its award-winning services to customers throughout the world.
Across his career, Samuel succeeded in a broad cross section of roles including: General Management, Sales (both international and domestic), Finance & Strategy, Supply Chain and Manufacturing Operations, Product Development, and Services Operations.
From 2001 to 2012, Samuel was the VP and GM of Lexmark’s Global OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) & Alliances business unit, including customers in Asia, Europe and North America. As part of this role, Samuel spent 2½ years on assignment in Singapore.
Samuel holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Massachusetts and a master’s in business administration from Xavier University. At Lexmark, he served as Executive Sponsor of Lexmark’s Asian Diversity Network Group and is the former chair of Lexmark’s Diversity Council. He currently serves on the executive committee of the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation and the board of the Idea Festival. In the past, he has served on the boards of the Urban League of Lexington, Kentucky Science Center, Opportunity for Work & Living, the Good Shepherd Day School, the Co-op Education Foundation and in various leadership roles within the Boy Scouts.
Samuel lives in Lexington with his wife Jane and their three daughters.
UK Center for Applied Energy Research
Eduardo Santillan-Jimenez is Principal Research Scientist at the UK Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER). Originally from Mexico, he joined UK first as an undergraduate research intern in UK’s chemistry department, working on the removal of mercury from water. After graduation, he joined UK’s chemistry graduate program, performing his doctoral research on the selective catalytic reduction of nitrogen oxides at the UK Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) and at the University of Alicante (Spain). After obtaining his Ph.D. in 2008, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Utrecht University (The Netherlands), where part of his work centered on the study of propane dehydrogenation catalysts via operando spectroscopy. In 2010, he returned to the UK-CAER, where his current research focuses on the application of heterogeneous catalysis to the production of renewable fuels and chemicals, with emphasis on the upgrading of algae oil to drop-in hydrocarbon fuels. His synergistic activities include participating in a number of K-20 educational initiatives designed to increase and broaden participation in STEM fields.
Fausto Sarmiento is the Senior Management Consultant with the Kentucky Small Business Development Center’s Lexington area office, the Bluegrass SBDC. Fausto assists entrepreneurs and established business owners alike make informed decisions. He is a member of the KSBDC’s Million Dollar Loan Club for his ability to help his clients obtain funding. Fausto’s experience revolves around the themes of leadership, negotiation, and business development. His specializes in the areas of risk and performance management, sales and negotiations. Fausto has been Vice President and President of the Lexington Young Professionals Association and currently sits on the Board of the North Limestone (NoLi) CDC. Fausto earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Georgia and a Master’s degree in Diplomacy and International Commerce from the Patterson School at the University of Kentucky.
Lumy Sawaki is Associate Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Kentucky. She received her medical degree from Federal University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. She received her doctor of philosophy in clinical neurophysiology from Kobe University in Japan. She then completed a fellowship at National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md. Dr. Sawaki has received grant awards from the American Heart Association, the Dana Foundation, and the NIH for research towards stroke and spinal cord rehabilitation. She has a special interest in neuroplasticity and in the development of novel rehabilitative strategies to enhance functional motor recovery after stroke, brain injury, and spinal cord injury. Using techniques such as transcranial magnetic stimulation, magnetoencephalography, and functional magnetic resonance imaging, her goal is to explore and refine pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions to be applied in the clinical setting.
West Sixth Brewing
Ben Self is one of the founders of West Sixth Brewing and the Bread Box in Lexington. Ben is a specialist in building successful online engagements between organizations and their customers or constituents. In 2004, with four other veterans of Howard Dean’s Internet team, he founded Blue State Digital, a consulting firm that specializes in creating new media strategy and technology for political candidates, non-profits, and companies. Blue State Digital’s software and strategy powers the online presence of the largest and most prominent Democratic candidates and progressive organizations, including the presidential campaign of Barack Obama. Ben has both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Mark D. Settles
Educator, Executive Coach
Mark is a social studies teacher and the varsity girls basketball coach at The Weber School in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition, Mark is an executive coach for senior managers based in Washington D.C. and New York City. He also works as a visiting professor from time to time facilitating courses on leadership, human capital management, and trading in the financial markets.
Prior to these activities, Mark worked for JPMorgan Chase bank for over 20 years. His highest profile role at the firm was reporting directly to the CEO, Jamie Dimon, as the firm’s senior diversity recruiting executive. In that role, Mark helped the firm find and develop women and ethnic minorities for senior positions at the bank. Earlier in his career, Mark was head of various bond market product teams and is a specialist in central bank and sovereign reserves management. Mark also spent five years trading dollar and euro-denominated bond market products on the New York and London trading desks. Prior to joining JPMorgan Chase, Mark taught at the Paideia School in Atlanta, Georgia.
Mark currently serves on the board of directors at Egan-Jones. Prior board service included governance roles at Howard University and The Association for Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting. Mark’s academic achievements include a B.A. in economics from Columbia University and an M.B.A. from Northwestern University.
Inventors Network KY
Don Skaggs is an inventor, entrepreneur, speaker, and President of the Inventors Network KY. His experience includes taking bootstrapped startup companies from initial idea to successful exit, developing products and marketing strategies, orchestrating product launches, and successfully introducing products into new markets. He created and continues to lead InventorCon, the largest event of its kind in the Midwest that draws inventors and entrepreneurs from all over the US. Don has been the key person in negotiations for securing product licensing as well as exit strategies of company acquisitions, and holds multiple patents and patents pending. He has presented and won numerous pitch competitions, including a national audience at Engadget’s Expand NY Expo.
UK Food Systems Innovation Center
Leeann Slaughter is the Program Coordinator for the Food Systems Innovation Center (FSIC), housed within the Animal and Food Science Department in the College of Agriculture at the University of Kentucky. Working primarily with small and/or beginning food producers, she provides resources to help producers identify regulatory, safety and processing needs. Leeann specializes in Food Safety, Meat Science and Acidified foods, and conducts product development research in a variety of areas with the FSIC. Leeann is also an Academic Coordinator with the Animal and Food Science Department, guiding undergraduate Food Science students in course scheduling and academic enrichment opportunities.
ArchVision, Mersive, Punndit
Randall Stevens is a serial entrepreneur with more than 20 years of software development, sales and management experience. Randall founded ArchVision in 1991, co-founded Mersive Technologies in 2004, and Punndit in 2010. Randall offers a unique combination of expertise in software and graphics technology, coupled with a background and degree in architecture. Randall is the sole owner of ArchVision, a software development firm specializing in 3D graphics and content management technology for the design industry. Randall led Mersive Technologies from its infancy through two venture finance rounds totaling over $6M and helped established Mersive as a leading provider of software-based multi-projector displays. He currently teaches entrepreneurship at the University of Kentucky College of Business. Randall serves on the Board of Directors for the University of Kentucky Innovation Network for Entrepreneurial Thinking (iNET) as well as the Kentucky Governor's Scholars Program. Randall owns and operates Base163, an office space housing small tech and creative companies in downtown Lexington.
Ben Streepey is vice president and general manager of business development for Lexmark International. He is responsible for sales, operations, P&L and general management of the OEM Business. Streepey has been with Lexmark since the company’s inception in 1991. Prior to being named to his current role in August 2012, Streepey was vice president and general manager of business products responsible for worldwide laser and IJ research and development. He has also served as vice president and general manager of business supplies, vice president and general manager of Lexmark Electronics, and vice president and general manager of laser printers. He began his career with IBM. Streepey holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Louisville.
Drew Sutton has spent over a decade leading the business innovation cycle. As an Aerospace Engineer, he has earned over 9 US patents, trade secrets, and has had signature authority over multi-year, multi-discipline projects worth over $40 million. Through his expertise in technical and leadership skills, he has mastered the art of Commercialization and Business Strategy.
UK Electrical & Computer Engineering
Bruce Walcott, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Kentucky. He served as Associate Dean from 1998-2013. Dr. Walcott is the founder of the UK Center for Visualization and Virtual Environments which is leader of innovative engineering having launched Mersive Technologies and other award-winning high-tech start-ups as well as leading the College of Engineering in licensing revenue. He worked with local and state economic development professionals on several projects including a $77M project that brought the Aerospace Industry to central Kentucky and the WIRED-65 $5M project which focused on advancing manufacturing along the I-65 corridor in Kentucky. He has 19 patents or pending patents and has been PI or Co-PI on over $26M of external grants and contracts. Dr. Walcott is the recipient of over thirty professional and teaching awards including the IEEE Joseph M. Biedenbach Award, the Eta Kappa Nu C. Holmes MacDonald Award, the Society of Automotive Engineers Ralph Teetor Award and the National Tau Beta Pi Advisor of the Year Award.
Chief Operation Officer
Jeff Waldal is Chief Operating Officer for Seikowave, a 3D imaging technology company based on research from the Visualization Center at the University of Kentucky. Prior to joining Seikowave, he was Vice President of Ceradyne Inc. Mr. Waldal managed a facility that manufactured lightweight ceramic body armor. Under his leadership, the facility grew to more than $250 million in sales and employed more than 300 people. Ceradyne was acquired by 3M in 2012. Mr. Waldal started his career at United Technologies-Pratt & Whitney as an NDE Technician. Mr. Waldal served on the board of directors for Kentucky Manufacturing Assistance Center (2004-2009) and was a member of the University of Kentucky College of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Council during 2004-2012. He obtained a degree in Non-Destructive Testing from Hutchinson Area Vocational Technical Institute, a B.A. in Business Management from the University of Kentucky, and an M.B.A from Eastern Kentucky University.
UK Coldstream Research Campus
George Ward serves in several roles at the University of Kentucky including the Executive Director of the Coldstream Research Campus, the President of Kentucky Technology, Inc., and an adjunct professor in the Hospitality Management and Tourism program. He has 35 years of executive experience including technology based economic development, hotel and real estate development, finance and business operations, and government relations. Ward is a co-founder of H&W Management Co. Inc., a regional hotel development and real estate company and served as its President for 18 years. He was appointed Kentucky State Parks Commissioner in 2004 and later served as Kentucky's Commerce Cabinet Secretary for 2 years. He currently serves on the board of the Lexington Transit Authority and the North YMCA, is a member of the Bluegrass Regional Public Policy Council, and is an active participant in Lexington’s high-tech entrepreneurial community.
Bruce Webb, Ph.D. is co-founder of ParaTechs Corporation, a privately held biotechnology company formed in 2004 based on intellectual property from the University of Kentucky. Dr. Webb is a professor in the Department of Entomology and was the Director of the Agricultural Biotechnology Program at the University of Kentucky from 2005-2009. Prior to this he was with the Department of Entomology, Rutgers University and Texas A&M University. He received his PhD in Zoology from the University of Washington. He is author or co-author of 65 publications and has received the Thomas Poe Cooper Distinguished Research Award and the University of Kentucky Distinguished Research Professor Award. Dr. Webb is Chair of the Intellectual Property Committee of the University of Kentucky. His diverse research, teaching and practical contributions were recognized by the University of Kentucky in 2011 when he became a Provost’s Distinguished Service Professor.
CEO and Co-Founder
Rick West is the CEO and Co-Founder of Field Agent and is a self-proclaimed mobile technology evangelist. He is currently President of the Mobile Marketing Research Association (MMRA).
Prior to starting Field Agent, Rick worked 16 years with Procter & Gamble in various assignments in the United States, Hong Kong and Bangkok Thailand. Since leaving P&G, he has been a start-up Entrepreneur for over 16 years.
Rick has co-founded multiple start-ups, including the Northstar Partnering Group, CORE4 Research, JOYN and most recently Field Agent.
Angel Investor and Von Allmen Center Advisory Board Member
Rod Wolford has over 40 years of wide-ranging experience in the health care industry, having served in leadership roles with health care providers, suppliers, consulting firms, associations and insurers. Wolford began his career as a CPA with Ernst and Ernst, started his healthcare career as CFO of a multi-hospital system, served as CEO of three large hospital systems: Legacy Healthcare System in Portland, Ore.; Norton Healthcare System in Louisville, Ky.; and California Healthcare System in San Francisco, Chairman and CEO of Sterling Diagnostic Imaging, a worldwide manufacturer of X-ray film and medical imaging systems, interim CFO of Coram Healthcare (NYSE) to execute a restructuring, Executive Chairman of Provation Medical, a medical software developer in Minneapolis, Chairman and CEO of ForHealth Technologies, a venture backed startup developing a robot for automating the preparation of small volume injectable medications, and CEO of Gordian Health Solutions (now OnLife Health) a wellness company based in Nashville, TN and Executive Vice President of Blue Cross Tennessee.
Kelly Wright is an analytical chemist at Lexmark International. She currently specializes in Gas Chromatography. Kelly graduated from Transylvania University with degrees in Chemistry and German. She has a penchant for innovation and aims to aid Lexmark with new solutions. Kelly's entrepreneurial drive began with Lexmark's company wide Entrepreneurial Challenges. She has lead two teams through this competition and one of her concepts won the event. In addition to her role at Lexmark, Kelly is a Christian, a mother, and a volunteer in the community.
Chris Young has been active as an entrepreneur and investor in technology related startup companies for over 10 years. He started his career in Atlanta, GA working as a sales engineer for Security First Technologies, an online banking technology company. He then moved to San Francisco to join the startup technology consulting firm, Scient, working on projects for First Union and Sephora.com, among others. Shortly after Scient went public, he was the founder of two technology related startups, raising over $60 million in venture capital from Sequoia Capital, Freeman Spogli & Co., Capital Research & Management, HarbourVest, Pivotal Partners, Aesop Capital, and Oracle Venture Fund. He returned to Kentucky in 2004 and currently serves on the Board of Managers of the Blue Grass Angel Venture Fund II and Transposagen Biopharmaceuticals. He received a BS in Electrical and Biomedical Engineering from Duke University.
Brad Zapp is the founder of Connetic Ventures, prior to he co-Founded Legacy Financial which he successfully exited in 2014. His passion for Angel investing begin with a small investment in Choremonster which turned his home into a joyful place. His investment strategy of binge watching startup pitches was derived from years of binge watching Dexter and Madmen on Netflix. Strategy worked for them!
UK Department of Surgery
Joseph Zwischenberger is Chair, Department of Surgery and Director, Transplant Center for UK HealthCare. Dr. Zwischenberger received his medical degree from the University of Kentucky, College of Medicine. He then completed a fellowship at the University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, Mich. Dr. Zwischenberger is board certified by the American Board of Surgery in Surgical Critical Care and the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. Dr. Zwischenberger is co-inventor of new device which greatly improves the oxygenation of blood for patients who suffer from severe lung failure. The device, a two-channel catheter expands the potential application of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or ECMO in treatment for the 425,000 people in the U.S. affected annually with acute respiratory distress syndrome and end stage chronic lung disease.