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Brett Westen- W3R Consulting
Brett Westen is the Director of Data Strategy and Analytics with W3R Consulting. Brett will answer questions on ways of growing existing companies or establishing new companies using data and analytics. He's also available to coach on broader growth strategy, cloud/as-a-service offerings, omni-channel customer engagement and has deep expertise in healthcare.
Liang Downey -IBM
Liang works for IBM as a Solution Development Executive for IBM’s New Energy and Environment Global Industry. She promotes emerging solutions that leverage the IOT and analytics to better balance the distributed renewable energy supply and demand, eliminate energy waste via machine learning and reduce Green House Gas emission via cognitive computing. Her professional experience spans over 20 years in consulting, program management and emerging technology development across multiple industries.
Alok Sharma - Sharma Analytics
Sharma Analytics provides technology project management services. We help small organizations Scope, Cost, Plan, and Implement technology projects. Our flexible engagement model offers clients access to experienced IT Executives when they need them.
Salim Mom- KYBBA Accelerator
Salim is an experienced executive with a strong understanding of the global electronics/semiconductor market and ecosystem, combined with a proven track record in P & L/operations management, development of new products and services, strategic marketing and business development. With strong technical knowledge of automotive electronics and Systems Engineering, Salim has a wide global network of industry contacts at all levels—both at the OEM and the suppliers.
John Carney - Delphi
John’s career in the automotive business spans 39 years, with background in finance, sales, marketing and program management. He successfully completed four divestitures as a deal director during Delphi’s 2005 -2009 restructuring effort. John joined the Delphi licensing activity in 2009, where he is currently the director of the worldwide licensing and IP monetization efforts.
Doug Houseman- EnerNex (VP of Technical Innovation)
Doug has over 40 years of energy industry experience, technical, marketing, market analysis, product design, and engineering. His primary work is with electricity. His background spans everything from security to IoT, from generation to buildings, and from planning to operations.
Entrepreneurial Training & Consulting
Kris Bergman, Managing Partner at BBC
Kris is an expert in grant and contract management including budgeting planning, government audit prep, indirect rate development and compliance as well as the government’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, which provide $2.5B in non-dilutive funding annually to small firms working on high-risk technologies. Kris has 30 years of experience in managing schedules, finances and organizations,
Michael Kurek, PhD. , Principal Consultant - BBC Entrepreneurial Training and Consulting
Over his 35-year career, Michael has demonstrated success on an international scale in defining new product opportunities, developing sales and marketing strategies, and recruiting and managing teams to deliver growth. After earning a Ph.D. in Genetics from Florida State and completing six years of postdoctoral research in molecular and cancer biology, and immunology, Michael entered the bioscience industry.
Becky Aistrup, MBA, Managing Partner -BBC Entrepreneurial Training and Consulting
Becky joined BBC Entrepreneurial Training & Consulting as a Principal Consultant in 2012 and became a Managing Partner and co-owner in October 2016. Becky is a well-known SBIR/STTR program expert, conducting SBIR/STTR-related workshops for BBCetc clients throughout the U.S. and regularly speaking at national conferences. Becky also consults one-on-one on proposal development with BBCetc clients, with special expertise in the DoD, NIH, NASA and DHS SBIR/STTR programs.
Lovejeet Sidhu - Corporate Development at Benzinga
Lovejeet has experience in business operations & development, most
recently at Rolls Royce and Benzinga. He has particular experience in building
processes to support growth of new product launches & converting customer
pain points into new product strategies.
Robert VanCleve - Field Sales at FedEx Services
Rob is a local area rep with FedEx and can help you to understand if FedEx has a solution to any problems you are coming across. Rob’s segment is small and growing businesses, which is a perfect fit for any Tech town businesses that are doing any shipping. If you’re already a FedEx customer, he’d love to meet you, and if you’re using anyone else and aren’t satisfied, he’d love to compete for your business.
Mike Semanco - President and Chief Operating Officer, Hitachi Business Finance
Mike has spent over 20 years providing companies with working capital loan solutions to help finance the growth of their business. As president and COO of Hennessey Capital before it was acquired by Hitachi Capital in 2012, Mike understands all facets of managing the operational needs of a business including finance, technology, marketing, and sales. He has helped launch two startups as an investor and partner.
Shayne Gleason-Bank of America (Small Business Banking)
For over 10 years, Shayne has advised clients from Start-up to $5 million in revenues on all aspects of banking that are important to every small business owner. He specializes in preparing clients to become credit ready while helping them improve all areas of cash flow management. Shayne has worked with many of the different TechTown programs/tenants over the past couple of years and can be a great source of advice on all banking needs.
Benjamin Cunningham - Benjamin J. Cunningham CPA PLC
Benjamin J. Cunningham has over 20 years of Accounting, Business, Tax and Financial Services Experience. Ben is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Valuation Analyst, a Certified Financial Planner, an Investment Fiduciary and a Former IRS Agent. This comprehensive blend of expertise has given clients Peace of Mind because they were looking for complete coverage with Business and Personal Affairs.
Doug Nafziger - CEO of Solana
Doug Nafziger has served as Chief Executive Officer of Solana (a national enterprise software, data collection, business services, and analytics firm) since 2011. Prior to this, he was a Vice President at a Chicago financial services firm where he performed various market development activities. He was also a former Vice President and Treasurer at a Detroit firm in the marketing services and specialty finance segment with revenues that exceeded $100MM.
Hardware & Electronics
Ben Lewis & Raymond Hobbs -Arrow Technologies
• Arrow Electronics is a global provider of products, services, and solutions to industrial and commercial users of electronic components and enterprise computing solutions. Arrow has a wide variety of services and solutions to support startups as they scale, from ideation to mass production. Arrow also has a partnership with Indiegogo to certify and fund new projects.
Zain Ismail- Henry Ford Health Systems (Senior Consultant)_
• Zain has unique experience working in various administrative roles within health systems in Canada and the United States, as well experience working in academic institutions. Zain has particular experience in health innovation, stakeholder engagement, project management and performance improvement.
Jared Stasiak- Detroit Venture Partners (vice president)
Michigan-Ross BBA, Cal Berkeley-Haas MBA, current member of MVCA Fellows program. Spent five years as one of “The Bobs“, developing sales and marketing strategies for Fortune 500 clients. Now focused on DVP’s fund management, finances, and administration. Mildly obsessed with skyscrapers and maps.
Brandon Epstein- Detroit Venture Partners (analyst)
MSU graduate in Supply Chain Mgt. with an Environmental studies specialization. Spent two years in New York working in the Merchant Capital division of the Maxim Group, an investment bank. At the Maxim Group he worked with small to medium sized tech companies on fundraising. Currently an Analyst with Detroit Venture Partners specializing in dealflow related matters and portfolio company management.
Adrian Fortino- Mercury Venture Fund (partner)
Adrian is an experienced founder, operator, engineer and investor in the industrial technology sector. He leads the Ann Arbor office and the Intelligent Manufacturing practice at Mercury Fund. Adrian sits on the Board of Directors of Sight Machine, Ambyint and Clean Chemistry. He also co-chairs the Catapult Program powered by the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan that makes grants to emerging & innovative non-profits in the region.
Ken Kousky- Blue Water Angels
Blue Water Angels has been a vital force is assisting early-stage tech companies raise vital seed capital. Over the past three years BWA portfolio companies have had 2 IPOs and an acquisition valued at over half a billion dollars. Ken Kousky, president and a founder of BWA, has taken his own companies through angel and venture funding and led the IPO of a company he founded in 5 years from inception to exit.
Ryan Waddington - Huron Ventures
a Partner with Huron River Ventures, a leading early- stage venture firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, that invests primarily in enterprise and consumer software companies serving the energy, manufacturing, transportation and agriculture sectors. Ryan has over 18 years of experience in investing, operating and consulting roles in energy, environmental and other sectors, and has led over $125 million worth of investments in more than 30 technology companies at seed and venture and growth equity stages.
Jeremy Bisdorf & Justin Hanna- Jaffe Raitt (IP and business law)
Jeremy has over 18 years of experience in advising businesses on legal matters. He has particular experience in the areas of technology-based business processes and contracting, intellectual property (licensing and portfolio management), and day-to- day business legal matters and transactions. Jeremy has been a partner at Jaffe since 2005 and works in both their Southfield and Ann Arbor offices as a member of their Intellectual Property and Business practice groups.
Jo Balakrishnan- Jaffe Raitt (corporate and finance)
Ms. Balakrishnan joined Jaffe's Corporate practice group as an associate attorney in 2012 and focuses her practice in working with and advising businesses and entrepreneurs on all aspects of formation, governance, capital raising, intellectual property issues and complex business transactions including mergers and acquisitions, equity financings, commercial contracts and private placements. She is also a member of Jaffe's Emerging and Growth Business Group and has written a variety of corporate issues.
Matt Bower- Varnum Law Firm (start-ups)
Matt is a partner in the Varnum law firm where he focuses his practice on representing startup and early-stage technology and venture-backed companies. His practice includes, among other things, corporate formation and organization, venture financings, joint ventures, securities law, and intellectual property protection and transactions.
Jeanne Whalen - Dykema Gossett
Jeanne has spent nearly a decade advising technology companies on corporate matters, and companies in other industries on technology contracting matters. She has additional experience in the health care and long term care facility industries.
Michael “Max” Sneyd- Kerr Russell
• Michael “Max” Sneyd has 20 years of experience in the areas of intellectual property, commercial litigation and business law and leads the firm’s Intellectual Property practice group. He appears regularly before state, federal and appellate courts on matters related to all aspects of civil business litigation. In addition, he utilizes alternative dispute resolution methodologies to achieve positive results outside of the courtroom.
Amanda A. Hassan
Amanda A. Hassan is a corporate attorney with Pepper Hamilton LLP and has negotiated agreements across the spectrum of business relationships, both domestic and international, and has developed specific expertise in the areas of software licensing, information technology, consulting services, human resources, benefits, security services and equipment, and facilities management. Data protection and security, healthcare compliance, employment law and general corporate governance.
Jyotsna Balakrishnan - Jaffe Raitt Law Firm
Jyotsna Balakrishnan is a partner in the Firm's Corporate, Franchise and Emerging Growth and Business practice groups. She is also Co-Chair of the Emerging and Growth Business Practice Group. She focuses her practice on general corporate matters and transactional work including mergers and acquisitions, private placements, corporate advisory and franchising. She has extensive experience advising clients on forging a variety of business transactions including acquisition and operation of franchises.
Bill Kerschbaum-InText Writing
Bill has over 12 years of experience in professional writing and digital marketing for small B2B companies. He has experience partnering with SaaS, robotics, medical device, and professional services companies.
Mary Aviles - Insight Consultant & Market Strategist
Mary Aviles is the principal consultant of Connect 4 Insight, an insight-based strategic marketing consultancy. Mary offers marketing subject-matter expertise to include categories like: developing a one-page marketing strategy, social media strategy and tactics, website marketing, email marketing, event marketing, and basic marketing research (DIY surveys, polls, and customer satisfaction).
Eric Weisberg-Global Chief Creative Officer + Naveen Passey- EVP, CFO & COO + Jarrod Corbett EVP, Group Digital Creative Director ---Doner Advertising Agency
President and CEO of MCS Multimedia, a progressive graphic design and printing firm located in Southfield, Michigan. Mays has been featured through a number of print and electronic media platforms such as: Detroit Free Press, Who’s Who in Black Detroit, Michigan Chronicle, WWJ News Radio 950, Detroit Black Pages, The Monitor, Entrepreneur Exchange Group, and more. Mays is a spring 2017 alumni of the Goldman Sach’s 10k Small Business Program.
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