Mentor Roster


Dr. David Albert, CEO, AliveCor

David E. Albert, MD, is a physician, inventor and serial entrepreneur who has developed and commercialized numerous medical and other life-saving technologies and products over the last 30 years, turning a number of those innovations into technology startups. Today, he is a founder of three tech companies including InnovAlarm, Lifetone Technology and AliveCor. His previous startups include Corazonix Corp (sold to Arrhythmia Research Technology and Data Critical (sold to GE). Dr. Albert left GE in 2004 as Chief Scientist of GE Cardiology to disrupt several new markets. His latest invention, the iPhone ECG, became a global sensation via a 4-minute YouTube Video at the the Consumer Electronics Show in 2011 and was featured in local media and national media including ABC, CBS, CNN and Fox News. Dr. Albert has 32 issued US patents, a large number of pending patents and several new “secret inventions” in development. He has authored or co-authored over 50 scientific abstracts and publications, principally in cardiology literature. Dr. Albert has lectured at the entrepreneurship programs at the MIT Sloan School and the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Albert graduated with honors from Harvard College and from Duke University Medical School.  Follow him on Twitter @DrDave01.

Bruce BallengeeBruce Ballengee, CEO, Pariveda Solutions

Parivida SolutionsBruce Ballengee is Chief Executive Officer of Pariveda Solutions, Inc., an information technology design consultancy with 300 employees in nine markets across the United States.  Headquartered in Dallas, Pariveda has consistently been recognized as one of the fastest growing firms and one of the best places to work in the United States.  Bruce also serves as Chairman of sp3 nanotech, a nanomaterials additive manufacturer for high-performance lubricants and resins. Bruce is involved in several local non-profit organizations and is a current member of the Baylor Angel Network.  He is a Texas Master Naturalist, a member of the Texas Native Prairies Association and the Native Plant Society of Texas.  Bruce graduated in 1979 with a BBA in Finance and Economics from Baylor University.  In 1981, he received an MBA specializing in Finance from the University of Chicago.  Follow him on Twitter @BruceVBallengee.


George BarberGeorge Barber, Partner, Traiblazer Capital

Trailblazer_Logo-smallA global business and technology executive, George is currently a Partner at Trailblazer Capital.  Mr. Barber has an impressive track record of leading and growing entrepreneurial companies and Fortune 500 business units.  Mr. Barber was most recently Chairman, CEO and President of Vapro, Inc an innovator of patented two-phase cooling solutions for the electronics industry.  The company has since received strategic funding and, as a result, was relocated to Korea. Prior to Vapro, Mr. Barber was President and CEO of SyChip-Murata, a wholly owned subsidiary of Murat Manufacturing Corporation of Japan.  Murata acquired SyChip, Inc in April 2006.  Prior to the Company’s acquisition, George was recruited to the venture capital-backed start-up (a Bell Labs spinout) in 2001 as President and CEO.  The wireless Plug-N-Play company designed, developed and marketed Radio Frequency Chip Scale modules, Systems In Package solutions, software and integrated circuits for the portable device market.  SyChip was an innovator in the smartphone revolution.  SyChip was recognized for numerous awards including “Start-up to Watch” and Investor’s Choice by VentureWire.  In addition, the company received “Rising Star” and “Fast 50″ net revenue growth awards from Deloitte LLP.  In 2004 Mr. Barber was recognized as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year nominee and 2003 was a Metroplex Technology Business Council Tech Titan Emerging Company CEO finalist.  George led the company in raising nearly $50 million of venture funding.

BaschabJohn Baschab, Founder & Partner, Scout Energy Partners

Scout Energy PartnersJohn Baschab is a founder and Partner at Scout Energy Partners, a private oil and gas investment firm. Scout acquires and directly manages mid‐sized upstream conventional oil and gas properties for institutional investors and is focused on mid‐continent assets with mature, predictable production characteristics and strong operational and production improvement potential. John has authored three books published by John Wiley & Sons, including Outperform: Inside the Investment Strategies of Billion Dollar Endowments (2010). His latest book, Outperform, highlights the investment practices of billion‐dollar academic endowments and relates them to concepts for individual investors. John also serves as adjunct professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Prior to founding Scout Energy, John was the President of Impact Innovations Group, a senior associate at Booz Allen Hamilton and a senior software analyst at Integraph Corporation. John is a graduate of the University of Alabama and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.


Gabe Bass, Managing Partner, Bass Law

Gabe Bass is an entrepreneur and an attorney. He began his career as an early employee of a venture-backed software startup and has founded, helped to develop, and invested in several businesses. Gabe entered the startup scene in 1999 when he joined the team of Handango, a venture-backed mobile computing software publisher. He was one of the company’s first non-founder employees and spent  two years in business development and product management roles at Handango, where he was instrumental in developing the then-nascent third-party software market for handheld computers. After completing his law degree and an MIS degree, Gabe served in the U. S. Marine Corps from 2002 to 2007 on active duty and then returned to Oklahoma to pursue his law practice. Under Gabe’s leadership, Bass Law has developed an innovative business model and implemented recent advances in practice management technology to deliver efficient, effective and affordable legal services to clients throughout the state and the nation.

Bjorn Billhardt - cropped

Bjorn Billhardt, Founder & CEO, Enspire Learning

Enspire Learning logo

Bjorn Billhardt is the CEO of Enspire Learning. Bjorn founded Enspire Learning in 2001 with the vision to change the way people learn. He has worked with Fortune 500 clients and delivered hundreds of successful leadership development programs in more than twenty countries. Bjorn is a recognized thought leader in simulation-based learning and has presented at numerous conferences, including CLO Symposium, Training, ASTD, and ISPI. Bjorn is a Board Member of Phoenix Arising, a non-profit dedicated to inspiring STEM education and an Advisory Board Member for the School for Undergraduate Studies at the University of Texas as Austin. Prior to Enspire, Bjorn worked for BAAN, a Dutch software company, and McKinsey & Company. A native of Hamburg, Germany, Bjorn holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.A. in Plan II / B.B.A. in Business Honors from the University of Texas at Austin.


JonBolenJon Bolen, CTO, Interface Security Systems

InterfaceJon is the Chief Technology Officer of Interface Security Systems ,a Managed Service company that connects and protects some of America’s best known commercial, retail and multi-site organizations. While receiving his MBA with High Honors from Emory University he worked for AT&T GIS (NCR) in product marketing. After graduation, he spent several years leading technology initiatives for a petroleum retailer before joining Radiant Systems. In his eight years with Radiant, he led the Petroleum Industry Group, the Petroleum and Grocery Product Development Group and, finally, was their first General Manager of European Operations. In 2004, Jon joined Trax Retail Solutions as Chief Information Officer. He and his team re-architected a retail-focused business intelligence product in just 18 months resulting in the successful sale of the company to March Networks.  In 2006, Jon joined Westec Intelligent Surveillance as their Chief Technology Officer. In addition to leading the redesign of the entire suite of products, Jon played a key role in the acquisition and integration of both Digital Witness and Vyne Industries (two privately held competitors). As EVP, Business Development and Chief Product Officer, Jon introduced programs that increased gross margins two-fold, increased new product sell-through, velocity to market and established strategic relationships for both hardware and managed service solutions. Most recently, Jon played a critical role in the successful sale of Westec to Interface Security Systems and was subsequently named CTO of the combined company.

Christian Brim, President & Founder, Core Business Services

Christian founded Core Business Services to help small businesses make and keep more of their money by providing a full range of accounting, financial, tax, and payroll services. The company has offices in Oklahoma City, Lawton, and Tulsa, and serves all types and sizes of businesses. Under Christian’s leadership, the company utilizes centralized information technology management and services to dramaticly improve the efficiency and quality of services delivered, while remaining highly competitive in the marketplace. Christian also has a strong interest in helping other companies to establish effecient, effective processes.

camilloChris Camillo, Chief Operating Officer, DealerTrack eCarList

DealerTrack eCarListChris Camillo is the current Chief Operating Officer at DealerTrack eCarList, one of the fastest-growing solution sets in the automotive retail industry.  Chris manages for himself one of the world’s top performing personal stock portfolios, as verified by, the largest portfolio tracking service in the world. His portfolio, ranked Number One in 2010 by among all portfolios valued at over $250k, has averaged triple digit annual returns for two of the past three years. In just over three years, Camillo grew an $85k stock portfolio to over $2 million. Camillo authored a book about his experience entitled Laughing  at Wall Street: How I Beat the Pros at Investing (by Reading Tabloids, Shopping at the Mall, and Connecting on Facebook) and How You Can Too! Prior to taking early retirement at the age of 35 (as a result of his investing profits), Camillo worked as a market research executive at Research Now (formerly e-Rewards Market Research) where he was responsible for building and managing the largest youth research panel in North America. Chris spent 9 years in business leadership positions with e-Rewards, helping to grow the company from a 10-employee start-up to an 800 employee global leader in market research panels.  Follow him on Twitter @ChrisCamillo.

Zac Carman, CEO, Consumer Affairs

Zac is CEO of, a consumer information and advocacy website. Consumer Affairs is a top 2,000 web site in the U.S. Their web site gets 2.5 million visitors each month and they broadcast on 150 radio stations.  Formerly, he was Entrepreneur In Residence at Mainsail Partners where he searched for buyout opportunities in technology-enabled services and other highly scalable business models.  He previously served as a Senior Associate at Mainsail Partners, focused on investments and acquistions.  Zac has also served as a program manager at Hitatchi GST and as an engineer at IBM. Of further note, Zac was a 2011 recipient of the Tulsey Young Entrepreneur award.  He holds a degree in mechanical engineering from Dartmouth and was in the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network and involved in student government. Before Dartmouth, he graduated from the Oklahoma School of Science and Math.  Follow him on Twitter @Zcarman.

carter-smallCalvin Carter, President & Founder, Bottle Rocket Apps

Calvin Carter is the Founder and President of Bottle Rocket, a Dallas-based full-service mobile agency focused on creating custom apps that deliver unparalleled brand experiences and games to the world’s most discriminating brands.  Recently named Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young, Calvin has grown Bottle Rocket to over 180 Rocketeers and completed more than 150 iOS and Android apps since the company’s founding in 2008. The company’s apps have won numerous awards including an unprecedented number of Apple Hall of Fame awards, and frequently appear at the top of their categories on the App Store. In addition, Bottle Rocket has been named Entertainment App Developer of the Year by Variety, listed twice on the Inc. 500, named one of the “Top 100 Places to Work” by The Dallas Morning News and positioned at #61 on the Forbes list of “Most Promising Companies”.

Sean CharnockSean Charnock, Co-Founder, SoftLayer

SoftlayerSean Charnock is the Managing Director for DH Capital.  Sean has over 15 years of experience in various high tech fields including Telecom, Complex Hosting and Internet Infrastructure as a Service. Prior to DH Capital, Sean was Co-Founder and Senior Vice President of Business Development and Alliances at SoftLayer Technologies, Inc. At SoftLayer, Sean spent much of his time building and managing executive relationships with technology partners, technology vendors and many of the financial partners of SoftLayer. Previous to SoftLayer, Sean was part of the executive management team at The Planet Internet Services and spent time in multiple business development roles at Efficient Networks. Sean Holds a BS in Finance and Banking from the University of North Florida and an MBA in Finance from Regis University.

drew clancyDrew Clancy, President & CEO, Publishing Concepts

PCIDrew Clancy is President and CEO of Publishing Concepts, the nation’s leading publisher of printed alumni directories and online alumni communities. PCI is passionate about the power of education to transform lives and the power of business to be a force for good in the world. PCI’s history dates back to 1921 and today works with many of  the nation’s top universities, including Harvard, Georgetown, and Texas A&M. The company also works with a number of large military associations, including the Air Force Association and The Association of the Purple Heart. PCI recently launched a new venture called SuccessFunding, a crowdfunding platform for college tuition. Drew graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College and earned his MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.

Shane ColeShane Cole, EVP & Principal, Covenant Global Investors

Covenant Global InvestorsShane Cole is the EVP of Investor Relations for Covenant Global Investors where he oversees the firm’s institutional marketing efforts and client relationships.  Covenant Global Investors is an investment management firm based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  As a fiduciary for institutions and high net worth individuals, Covenant strives to preserve capital while generating targeted rates of return in a risk-controlled and consistent manner with a high degree of liquidity.  Shane began his career in 1993 with the business markets division at MCI Communications in Dallas, Texas.  After MCI, Shane held several outside sales positions with technology companies including Parametric Technology Corporation, Siebel Systems (now Oracle Corporation), and Microsoft Corporation.  He decided to transition into the financial services industry with Covenant Global Investors in March of 2010.  Shane joined Covenant as the EVP of Investor Relations responsible for marketing the firm’s funds to foundations, endowments, pensions, family offices, fund of funds, and other money management firms seeking sub-advised relationships.  He has also worked very closely with members of the Covenant team to shape the branding and messaging of the firm.  Follow him on Twitter @EShaneCole.

Rusty Cone_Rusty Cone, GM & VP of Business Development, UNICOM Engineering

UNICOMCharles N. (Rusty) Cone III is the General Manager and Vice President of Business Development for UNICOM Engineering (formerly NEI).  Prior at NEI, SVP Sales & Marketing from Aug 2008-Dec 2012.  Previously SVP Engineering & Operations for NEI subsequent to the acquisition of Alliance Systems in October 2007. Rusty was President/COO of Alliance Systems beginning in January 1999 until their acquisition by NEI. With over 30 years of experience in high-tech manufacturing and quality process management, he is responsible for all aspects of UNICOM Engineering including; finance, sales, sales operations, engineering, operations, marketing and customer service. Previously, he served as Vice President of M&S Systems, a nationally recognized consumer electronics manufacturer. In addition, he held management positions at Texas Instruments and Marlow Industries, a winner of the 1991 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. He holds a BS degree in Naval Science from the U.S. Naval Academy.


michael cope

Michael Cope, Founder, Interphase Corporation

Michael Cope is the founder and retired CEO and Chairman of Interphase Corporation, a Dallas computer hardware manufacturer of high speed networking and data movement related products, sold via OEM relationships with major computer systems, telecommunication and networking companies.  After founding Interphase in 1974, Michael established it as the preeminent player in its market niche, lead it through a successful IPO in 1984 and a secondary public offering in 1991, as well as a strategic investment by Motorola in 1988.  During his 20 year tenure,  Interphase grew from a self-funded Dallas startup to a public technology company with over 300 employees and an international presence, and  was named to the INC 500, the INC 200, and the FORBES 200 Best Run Small Companies in America.  Mike was twice honored as an Entrepreneur-of-the-Year finalist.  Today Interphase is still an independent public company.  Since retiring in 1994, Michael has pursued a wide range of business interests and has helped multiple new start-up companies get off the ground, multiple times as a founder and in the role of temporary CEO. Some of these companies were later sold to major corporations, such as Intel and others, as well as Private Equity groups. Combining his technical background with market positioning, corporate infrastructure and financing experience, he often serves as a coach/advisor to CEOs, or a technical advisor to investors.  He has served on Corporate and Advisory Boards for numerous companies, for which in some cases he acts also as an angel investor and advisor.  He is associated with a variety of Angel investment groups based in Texas and elsewhere, as well as Tech Wildcatters, a Dallas based start-up tech accelerator.  As an Angel investor he has enjoyed multiple successful exits.

John Curreri, CFO & COO, Trailblazer CapitalJohn Curreri

Trailblazer_Logo-smallPrior to joining Trailblazer Capital, Mr. Curreri was the CFO for Westec Intelligent Surveillance.  Westec provides real-time interactive video surveillance solutions to over 6,000 businesses across the United States.  Mr. Curreri’s disciplined and metric driven approach to the financial and operational aspects of the organization resulted in the company reporting dramatic improvements in cash flow and becoming EBITDA positive.  Under his leadership the company also successfully consolidated two separate financial systems, implemented a new cost-saving HR/Payroll platform, and integrated an acquired competitor into one seamless organization. For his efforts and results at Westec, Mr. Curreri was nominated for The Dallas Business Journal’s 2010 CFO of the Year competition for small private companies.  He was voted one of the four finalists for 2010. Prior to Westec, Mr. Curreri was a consultant at Virtual CFO, a provider of financial, human resources and systems implementation services.  While consulting for several early-stage to mid-market technology companies, his responsibilities included establishing accounting and operational policies and procedures, creating financial models, managing accounting departments and presenting findings and recommendations to the client CEO and Board of Directors. Prior to VCFO, Mr. Curreri worked with Trailblazer Capital’s Managing Partner, Joel Fontenot, as the CFO for Metreos Corporation (acquired by Cisco Systems, Inc.), and as the VP of Finance of Netrake Corporation (acquired by AudioCodes, Inc.). Additionally, Mr. Curreri served as a Senior Manager in KPMG’s Audit practice and a Manager in Ernst & Young’s mergers and acquisition’s practice.

Sam Curtis, CEO, @Link Services, LLC

Samual Curtis is a professional engineer and co-founder and CEO of @Link Services, LLC.   @Link is a provider of fixed broadband wireless networking solutions with a tower-based broadband Wi-Fi network providing coverage throughout central Oklahoma.  @Link Wi-Fi has been serving Oklahoma City and surrounding rural areas since 2006 and is one of the largest and fastest growing companies in the Oklahoma City metro. His company has recently been in the news for building a new public Cyber Community Center on the Kildare School Campus, near Ponca City, Oklahoma. Per the company’s information, the newly built Cyber Community Center will offer free high-speed Internet service, 10 computer stations and proctors to help new users of the internet.  Sam is a graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma.

Randy Eisenman, Managing Partner, Satori Capital

Randy Eisenman is a founding partner of Satori Capital, a private equity firm that invests in profitable, growing, sustainable businesses. Prior to co-founding Satori Capital, Mr. Eisenman spent ten years at Q Investments, a multi-billion dollar private investment firm founded by two former investment advisors to the Bass Family. Mr. Eisenman launched the firm’s private equity business and served as a Partner for seven years. He was the youngest ever to be named Partner at age 25.  While at Q Investments, Mr. Eisenman founded Handango to capitalize on the emerging mobile content market. Stepping into an operating role as President and Chief Executive Officer, he drove the company’s strategy and built a world-class team, positioning Handango as the global leader in the smartphone content market.  Before joining Q Investments, Mr. Eisenman worked as a financial analyst for Goldman Sachs and Bear Sterns.  Currently, Randy is a member of several non-profits and serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Stagen and Investors’ Circle, a community of for-profit social entrepreneurs and investors.  Mr. Eisenman holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Texas.

KLE_Portrait_Edit3-160x160Kraettli L. Epperson, Black Mesa Consulting & VentureSpur

Kraettli is CEO and founder of Black Mesa Consulting and its affiliated companies, including R7 Solutions, publisher of the online service. Kraettli spent 18 years in Houston and London, building and investing in technology and financial services companies serving the energy, right-of-way, manufacturing and shipping industries. In 1998, Epperson co-founded Questia Media, which raised $160MM and built the world’s largest digital library before being acquired by Gale Publishing. He founded and served as the first CEO of ManorNet, London, which provided encrypted communications to the shipping industry and members of Parliament. He has also served as chief investor, chairman, CEO or CTO of several early and mid-stage companies and holds patents in emergency digital communications. He has served on the board of the Houston Angel Network and created and taught the first undergraduate entrepreneurship course at Rice University. He has also judged both the Southwest Business Plan Competition at Rice University and the Governor’s Cup Business Plan Competition in Oklahoma.

Ray EstepRay Estep, CEO, Executive Leadership

Ray is a leader for navigating development of disruptive solutions and creation of new markets that leverage emerging mobile technologies.  Currently holding board advisory roles and consulting to high growth companies, he brings several years of extensive competencies in business development, strategy and finance from the mobile ecosystem.  With valuable experiences in both early stage companies and global industry leaders, he focuses on assisting companies and teams bring relevant and compelling mobile initiatives to market and expand existing positions across a variety of verticals such as healthcare (mHealth), telematics, industrial, entertainment and consumer. During his career, Ray has been successful with CEOs, Boards and management teams to grow and position three companies for sale.  He has also assisted companies obtain significant funding for growth initiatives around the world through traditional fundraising activities and M&A.  Ray has held positions of broad and critical responsibility including C level, Board seats and VP positions with leading global brands, Fortune 50 and emerging growth organizations.  His efforts have resulted in increased market share capture, leadership within their respective industry sector and strong returns for investors. As a previous co-founder of a successful startup and leader for new business inside major global brands, Ray has a deep passion for building businesses and achieving success.  With a distinctive industry track record encompassing wireless and mobile solutions (Nokia), enterprise technology solutions (Fortune 500 company), digital media and content (Sony / BMG), supply chain and value added logistics services (ATC Logistics & Electronics), and international M&A (PwC Consulting), he has demonstrated a clear understanding of how to lead and grow businesses in these sectors. 

Fagan_ChrisChris Fagan, Founder & CEO, KeyRing

KeyRingChris Fagan is the founder and CEO of KeyRing, a mobile wallet for loyalty card and coupons.  The company was acquired in Sept  2012 by Gannett (GCI), a major media company that owns and operates 80 newspapers and television stations across the US including the USA today.  Chris and his team continue to operate the Key Ring business in Dallas TX under the Gannett Digital Marketing Services umbrella.  Chris raised a series A investment from Austin Ventures and is a 2010 graduate from the Tech Wildcatters accelerator program.  Chris is on the board of NITICA, a nonprofit truck insurance company and helps advise various startups in Dallas area. Prior to starting Key Ring, Chris was a technology consultant for Accenture, a global management consulting firm.  Prior to Accenture, Chris was enlisted in Army as an artillery sergeant.  Chris has a bachelors in Finance from Oklahoma State University.

Greg FasulloGreg Fasullo, CEO, EnTouch Controls

En Touch ControlsGreg is the CEO of EnTouch Controls, an energy management company.  Greg is an experienced executive and entrepreneur with a history of building and leading high performance teams, his passion is aligning emerging technologies with underserved market needs. Greg was a co-founder, officer, and director at Valere Power (now Eltek-Valere), General Manager of the Energy Systems business unit at Lineage Power (now GE Energy), and began his career with AT&T’s Bell Laboratories.  Greg has 12 US patents and degrees from Lehigh (BSEE), UC Berkeley (MSEE), and SMU (EMBA).

Peggy FernauPeggy R. Fernau, Founder, Lanierthinking, Inc.

LanierThinkingWebLogoPeggy Fernau, founder of consulting firm LanierThinking, Inc. located in Chandler, OK, is a successful marketing and sales executive with over 30 years of experience in creating and implementing effective strategic business, marketing communications, product management and sales plans for education for-profit companies and non-profit organizations. Through her consulting services, she has helped over 40 startups and other companies excel in the K-12 marketplace. Peggy has a proven record of successfully developing and executing new, innovative strategies for driving growth in the K-12, consumer and commercial education products and software segments.  Her primary strength is working with founding management teams to develop go-to-market business and marketing/sales plans and budgets for new divisions of existing organizations and startup environments.  Her focus is on creating new business opportunities to insure immediate ROI and sustainable, long-term profitability. Peggy has experience spanning all key aspects of marketing and sales and has held senior management positions with IBM as the Vice President of Marketing  for K-12, with Teacher Universe as the Vice President of Marketing, and with ACT Aspire as the VP of Sales.

Joel FontenotJoel Fontenot, Managing Partner, Trailblazer Capital

Trailblazer_Logo-smallJoel is a Managing Partner of Trailblazer Capital in Dallas, Texas. Prior to joining Trailblazer Capital, Mr. Fontenot worked for Cisco Systems.  Joel was a Director of Business Development in the Voice Technology Group and managed the partnerships and strategic alliances involving the Cisco Unified Application Environment and related application offerings from Cisco’s Voice Technology Group.  In  2002, Joel assisted Metreos Corporation as a founder in establishing itself as the first enterprise voice-over-IP applications platform for the development and deployment of innovative, media-rich IP communications applications. Previously, Joel co-founded Netrake Corporation in 2000 and served as the Company’s President from founding through 2002. He was responsible for all areas of the Company which created a unique, patented IP network processing system capable of recognizing, remembering and responding in real-time to network traffic on a session basis.  Prior to founding Netrake, Joel incubated the company through his activities as a Founding Partner and Managing Director of Arkoma Venture Partners. Beginning in 1997, Joel made and managed seed stage and early round investments in technology companies focused upon telecommunications, Internet infrastructure, and enterprise software.  Joel holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from The University of Texas at Austin and a Masters of Business Administration from Southern Methodist University.

Todd FosterTodd Foster, Founder & Managing Partner, Sabine Capital Partners

Todd is Founder and Managing Partner of Sabine Capital Partners, a Dallas-based private investment firm that provides growth capital to successful entrepreneurs and direct PE and VC opportunities to high-net-worth investors and family offices. He is also a Special General Partner with Santa Fe-based Cottonwood Capital Partners, sponsors of the Cottonwood Technology Fund II, a seed and early-stage technology commercialization fund. As an investor, Todd has a particular interest in disruptive technologies impacting P16 education, financial services, social networking and healthcare.  Prior to founding Sabine Capital Partners, Mr. Foster was the founding CFO of Educate Texas (formerly the Texas High School Project), a $375 million public-private partnership sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Communities Foundation of Texas and the Texas Education Agency, working to prepare students for college and career success in the global workplace.  In that role, he managed investments in the areas of campus learning systems, teacher effectiveness, education leadership, performance management and online learning. Mr. Foster co-founded  and currently serves on the board Industry + Education Texas, a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting students’ classroom learning with real-world careers in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

Blair GarrouBlair Garrou, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Mercury Fund

Mercury FundSince the late 1990’s, Blair Garrou has focused on funding, operating and incubating startup software companies.  He is a co-founder of  MercuryFund, a seed and startup venture capital firm based in Houston, Texas. Prior to co-founding Mercury Fund, Blair was the CEO of Intermat (acquired by IHS), a leader in product information management software; a Principal with Genesis Park, a Houston-based private equity firm where he led investments in FuelQuest (acq. by Saracen Energy), Intermat and SAT Corporation (acq. by Invensys); helped launch and was the Director of Operations for the Houston Technology Center, the largest tech incubator in the Southwest, where he led the formation of the Houston Angel Network, one of the largest angel investment organizations in the U.S. Blair is also a co-founder and Board Member of SURGE Accelerator, a mentor-driven seed accelerator focused on entrepreneurs seeking to solve the world’s energy problems using software. Mercury Fund’s sole focus is seed and start-up investing. Mercury Fund initially invests between $100,000 and $1.5 million into an opportunity and will build syndicates for investments needing larger amounts of capital.  They typically lead the first round of investment, and expect to invest between $2 million and $5 million over the life of an investment.  Follow him on Twitter @BGarrou.


Roy Georgia, Chief Information Officer, Surgical Care Affiliates

Surgical Care Affiliates logo_roy georgiaRoy Georgia is the Chief Information Officer of Surgical Care Affiliates. With an MBA in Organizational Behavior and MIS from the University of Oklahoma and a BS in Business Marketing and Management from Oklahoma State University, Roy specializes in building high-value products and finding the right people.  Roy entered the startup scene in 2002 when he founded MEDIBIS, which gained a national presence in the medical software industry. After MEDIBIS was sold to PMG Partners and Bertram Capital in 2008, Roy continued building the company as the CIO. During this time, Roy continued to have a presence in the startup community by co-founding BuzzVoice, a mobile startup text-to-voice application, in 2007. Roy followed this successful startup by co-founding RaiseMore – a graduate from the 2012 premier of the VentureSpur Accelerator program. Follow him on Twitter @roygeorgia.

Gabriel P GoncalvesGabriel Goncalves, Founder & CEO, PeopleAnswers

PeopleAnswersGabriel is the founder, and President & CEO of PeopleAnswers, a “Software as a Service” company with solutions in the talent sciences space.  PeopleAnswers helps enterprise and mid-market companies decrease employee turnover and increase employee performance. Its patented software solution combines behavioral and performance data to create highly predictive job-specific hiring benchmarks.  Ten million people last year were evaluated across the globe by its software. Prior to PeopleAnswers, Gabriel co-founded HomeTracker, a successful asset management software company administering tens of thousands of properties in real estate portfolios. Goncalves also founded, built, and sold Erapmus, Inc., a professional services firm that provided outsourced network services to telecommunication companies across the United States. Born in São Paulo, Brazil in 1967, Gabriel immigrated to the United States in 1985 to study computer science at The University of Texas at Austin. Gabriel joined YEO in 1996 and was actively involved in its local leadership roles until 2008 when he switched to YPO. He is currently Membership Chair for the Dallas YPO chapter.

Kelby HagarKelby Hagar, President & CEO, Westec Intelligent Surveillance

WestecKelby Hagar is a Harvard-educated attorney and certified public accountant with extensive experience in running technology and software development companies.  In 2001, Hagar formed Digital Witness, LLC, a company dedicated to the development of software applications that enable businesses to utilize video surveillance technology to improve their management efficiencies. When Westec InterActive, Inc acquired Digital Witness in November 2007, Hagar was made President of the combined companies. In 1998, Hagar founded, Inc and served as the company’s President. During his tenure, GroceryWorks developed its initial e-commerce website, initiated operations in Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston, and generated annualized revenues of $25M. After leading GroceryWorks through a merger with Safeway, Inc in 2001, Hagar founded Digital Witness. Additionally, Hagar has held positions with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP, a national law firm, and with Hunt Investment Group, a Dallas-based private equity firm.

Bob HeardBob Heard, CEO & Founder, CREDANT Technologies, Inc.

Credant technologies logoBob founded CREDANT in September 2001 (6 days after 9/11) and continues to lead the company post merger with Dell, Inc in December 2012.  He is a proven leader in building high growth organizations in technology and software.  He has over 35 years of experience from starting his career at IBM to leadership positions at various mid-sized and start-up companies. Bob was recognized as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2005 and has received multiple awards during his career.  CREDANT was recognized as an INC 500 Fastest Growing company in 2006, 2007 and 2008, and the company was also recognized as a Deloitte “Fast 50” winner. He successfully secured equity and debt funding for CREDANT with leading VC firms including Austin Ventures, Crescendo Ventures, Menlo Ventures and Silicon Valley Bank. Bob is a graduate of Texas Tech University with a degree in Business Administration.   He resides in Las Colinas (suburb of Dallas), TX.

albert hooverAlbert Hoover, Managing Director, Leadout Advisors LLC

Albert (Al) Hoover is Managing Director of Leadout Advisors, which provides executive leadership and hands-on execution to companies seeking strategic planning and corporate development expertise, including companies contemplating mergers and acquisitions, strategic partnerships, financings or other significant transactions and strategic initiatives. Previously, he was Managing Director—Corporate Development at AT&T where he oversaw mergers and acquisitions and strategic alliances and investments primarily related to value added services and technology. Prior to AT&T, Al was Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Sterling Commerce, a NYSE listed software and services company, where he oversaw all corporate development (M&A and strategic alliances and investments), corporate governance and legal matters and was a key participant in corporate strategy, acquisition integration planning, investor relations and significant business decisions and activities. Al also previously served as Vice President and Assistant General Counsel at Sterling Software and as a corporate law associate at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Hughes & Luce.  Al holds a J.D. (Cum Laude) from Harvard Law School and a B.A. in Economics (Highest Distinction) from Northwestern University.  He is a member of the Texas Bar.

TRICIATricia Hosek, Chief Operating Officer, Netsocket

Netsocket_Logo_smallTricia Hosek is the Chief Operating Officer at Netsocket, a technology company delivering software-defined networking solutions.  Tricia is responsible for managing the company’s overall operations as well as leading its product and marketing strategy.  Throughout her career, she has produced high growth and increased profit margins  for companies ranging from early stage start-ups to multi-billion-dollar operations. Concurrent to her work at NetSocket, Tricia serves as president to VectorPoint, a company she founded in 2006. VectorPoint is a growth consulting company specializing in transitional/turnaround management, new initiative development, and operations.  Previously, as President/GM of Switching Solutions at Tekelec, Tricia drove the integration of three start-up companies to form a single market-leading business unit.   Earlier at Siemens, Tricia held P&L responsibility for the North American wireline access market, with revenue in excess of $450M/year, and served on the global strategy board for softswitching.  Prior to Siemens, Tricia led product strategy and operations from early stage through successful initial public offering at Efficient Networks. The company achieved #1 market share in DSL modems, and its dramatic growth drove the acquisition by Siemens for $1.5 Billion.

Brad Hunstable1Brad Hunstable, Founder & CEO, Ustream

USTREAMBrad Hunstable founded Ustream more than six years ago with a vision to bring live broadcasting technology to the entire world; Ustream was originally created to connect military service members to family and friends across the world. Since then, the company has established itself as a socially-fueled communications platform for businesses, non-profit organizations, and individuals of any size to easily reach an infinite audience and share experiences in real-time. Brad serves as Ustream’s CEO and has grown the company to more than 250 employees and 80 million users globally. He has been ranked among 50 “Digital Power Players” by the Hollywood Reporter and on Variety’s Producers Guild of America’s Digital 25: Visionaries, Innovators and Producers for his work at Ustream. Brad is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and holds an MBA from The Ohio State University.

rexRex Kurzius, Founder & President, Timberhorn

TimberhornRex Kurzius is a serial entrepreneur. Since the age of 23 he has started and sold numerous companies. Rex’s expertise is in staffing services and software. His vision has resulted in tremendous growth and recognition for his companies, including: Deloitte Technology Fast 500, Texas Crescent Technology Fast 50, Dallas 100 Fastest-Growing Private Companies, MTBC Tech Titans, Inc. 500/500, and Hire Power Inc Magazine  Rex is also the former President of the Dallas Chapter of Entrepreneurs Organization and former Chairman of the North Texas Young Presidents Organization.  Today, Rex focuses his time working as an investor in LRK Partners, a holding company that makes investments and operates several businesses. Rex currently serves as Founder and President of Timberhorn staffing companies as well as a SAAS software company called Asset Panda.

Jason Ledlow, Owner, uTphone

Jason Ledlow is CEO and owner of uTphone, a telecommunications company based in Oklahoma City providing both wired and wireless communications services.  He is also a past and incoming 2012-2013 officer on the Board of Directors of the Entrepreneurs Organization of Oklahoma.  Mr. Ledlow has a wide range of business and life experience, including having served as an Oklahoma City firefighter, an auctioneer, and owner of a telecommunications equipment company, prior to starting his latest venture.

David Matthews, Managing Partner, Trailblazer Capital

Trailblazer_Logo-smallDavid Matthews is a Managing Partner with Trailblazer Capital.  David brings a wealth of relevant experience through his background as an entrepreneur, lead investor in emerging funds, venture capitalist, and venture philanthropist. As an entrepreneur, David launched several successful start-ups including Intelecon, Green Mountain Dallas, and Toyscapes. Intelecon was a audio-visual services company that he and two co-founders grew from $0 to $22 million of annual revenue between 1991 and 1998. He  cultivated customer relationships with companies including Sterling Software, Dell, AMD, First USA, and Nortel. David also developed a marketing strategy for Green Mountain Dallas that targeted high-credit, high-usage, low-churn home owners in North Texas. After reducing the customer acquisition cost from $1,000 to under $300 and growing the acquisition rate from 10 to over 600 homes monthly between 2004 and 2005, he successfully integrated the business into the parent company. David also serves as a lead investor in alternative investment funds, including Red River Ventures, INCAP Financial Grup, Green Bull Fund, Elm Creek Partners and Trailblazer Capital. David has invested in a number of early-stage ventures including PeopleAnswers, Urban Labs, Coquest Structured Products, Avvantica, Zaadz, SensorLogic, Jumpstart Innovations, Variview Technology, SE2 Labs, and Noofangle Media.

Jon McNaught, President & CEO, Jon P. McNaught Consulting

Jon McNaught is an Attorney & Entrepreneur.  In 2011, Jon opened JPM Consulting Solutions.  His firm currently serves dozens of clients in multiple states by providing results-oriented business and legal solutions to business and individuals. Prior to JPM Consulting Solutions, McNaught worked for the Moore Family of Oklahoma City in their private family office, providing consultation and oversight on a wide array of legal, business and risk management matters. During this time, McNaught also served as the CEO and President of SourceCheck Ltd., a Moore Family Company, and COO of Public Supply Company.  Previously, McNaught held the position of CEO and President of Davacord Inc., a technology company that produces proprietary software and hardware for voice recording and voice and data analysis and identification for use in many different business and governmental applications.  Mr. McNaught also founded HRAnswers, and served as the organization’s CEO and President. HRAnswers provided legal and business consulting services designed to assist small-to-medium-sized businesses with day-to-day legal, risk management, HR, business and employee development issues.  McNaught has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Oklahoma College of Law.

Cory Miller, CEO & Founder, iThemes

Cory Miller is a former newspaper journalist and public relations/communications practitioner, turned freelance web designer and then full-time entrepreneur. In January 2008, he founded iThemes in his home, fulfilling a lifelong dream of running his own company. Now, he has and among several other projects, a staff of 25, and his company was named the 7th fastest growing in Oklahoma City in the Metro50 for 2011. As the leader of a high-tech web company based in Edmond, Oklahoma, but selling globally, Cory has had to master worldwide digital marketing and e-commerce while keeping his products and services competitive in a worldwide marketplace.  Follow him on Twitter @CoryMiller303.

MillsBrendon Mills, Managing Director, Vspeed Capital

VspeedFor over 23 years, Mr. Mills has served as a serial entrepreneur, investor and CEO in the communications and web-based technology market.   Mr. Mills has been involved in multiple venture-backed technology start-ups, Fortune 500 companies, and private equity investment and portfolio companies during his career. Mr. Mills founded venture-backed GENBAND (General Bandwidth) in 1999 and led the company as CEO, President until 2005. During his tenure at GENBAND, Mr. Mills secured financing venture capital funding from Sevin Rosen, Sequoia Capital, Venrock, and Thomas Weisel Capital Partners and, through a successful partnership with Alcatel, won a significant part of the SBC Communications APON, VOIP (Project Lightspeed) contract in 2004.  In 2006, Mr. Mills founded RipCode, Inc., a video technology company based in Dallas and Austin, Texas that focused on the deployment of mobile, three-screen video transcoding and delivery. In 2010, RipCode merged with RGB Networks, a Kleiner Perkins and Accel backed video technology company based in Sunnyvale, California. Mr. Mills has held previous positions with ATEME, S.A., RGB Networks, Cisco Systems through its acquisition of NetSpeed in 1998, Dell Computers and NetWorth, Inc. Mr. Mills currently serves as Managing Partner of Vspeed Capital and as CEO, President of Fortress Solutions. Mr. Mills has earned four US technology patents with five patents pending and holds a B.A. degree from Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri.

Jeff Moore, Executive Director, CCEW

Prior to joining the University of Oklahoma, Moore addressed growth and entrepreneurship in a variety of roles and institutions, across a spectrum of industries.  As President of Superior Silica Sands, an early-stage mining company, he oversaw a capital expansion that doubled capacity and introduced new products for the oil services, golf course, and industrial sand industries.  As an Associate Principal with McKinsey & Co., a global management consulting firm,  Moore provided senior leadership counsel to a wide variety of manufacturing, financial, and energy businesses in capital project evaluation and execution, transaction due diligence, and strategic planning.  Jeff was McKinsey Pittsburgh’s liaison to the Pittsburgh Technology Council, and business plan screener for the city of Pittsburgh “Enterprize” business plan competition.  A Navy veteran, Moore is a graduate of the Naval Nuclear Power School, a graduate level program in nuclear reactor plant theory and operations.  Moore is also a graduate of Rice University, with degrees in Electrical Engineering (solid state electronics focus) and Economics. He holds a masters degree in Applied Physics from the University of Washington (with a focus on nano-engineering), and an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University with majors in Finance, Accounting, and Strategy.

Mike Moradi, CEO, Century Venture Partners

Mike is the CEO of Century Venture Partners and a successful entrepreneur, having founded or been a principal in several Nanotech and BioPharma startups. Mike was a founder and CEO of an ocular pharma company, Charlesson, the #264 fastest growing private company in the 2009 Inc. 500. He co-founded Southwest Nanotechnologies (“SWeNT”), a manufacturer of carbon nanotubes based in Norman, OK. He was also a principal in NanoSource, which was acquired by DuPont (NYSE:DD) in 2002 – widely considered the first liquidity event in nanotech. Mr. Moradi is a member of The Future Trends Forum, a Madrid-based think tank. In 2003, Mike was awarded a community service commendation by Congress. He is the author of The Impact of Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery. Mike is Vice Chairman of Prevent Blindness of Oklahoma, Vice Chairman of the BioScience Roundtable, a member of the National Science Foundation’s (Directorate for Engineering) Committee of Visitors, a Director of the Oklahoma City University Meinders School of Business, a Director of Creative Oklahoma, Inc. (host of the 2010 World Creativity Forum), a TEDxOKC committee member, and a former director of OKBio. Mr. Moradi earned a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from the University of Oklahoma.  Follow him on Twitter @MikeMoradi.

KatNelson-7_smallerKat Nelson, Founder & President, RedKatalyst


Katherine “Kat” Nelson is RedKatalyst’s President and Founder. She is truly the Kat-of-all-trades who drives the strategy and growth of many of her clients. Kat has consulted with hundreds of organization over the course of her career and has specialized expertise in marketing, finance, customer and product development, and process management.  Previously, she was part of the senior leadership team at Obtiva, one of the hottest independent software development shops in the country when it was acquired by Groupon in 2011. She’s a frequent speaker at industry events like the Web 2.0 conference in New York and TechWeek in Chicago, and is called upon to speak on topics like finding your inner passion, how to develop your sales strategy, to getting your business unstuck. She loves to meet new people, mentor, speak, support start-up initiatives, and stay nimble.

Wade NicolasWade Nicolas, Co-Founder & President, Enkitec

EnkitecWade is the Co-Founder & President of Enkitec.  Enkitec is an IT services firm specializing in the Oracle platform. As a leading Oracle Platinum Partner, Enkitec employs experts in database technologies such as Oracle Exadata and Big Data. Enkitec was established in 2004 and is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, including established locations throughout North America and Europe.  Enkitec has been recognized as one of Dallas’ 100 Fastest Growing Companies, Enkitec was also ranked #1,127 on Inc Magazine’s list of Fastest Growing Companies and recognized as one of the  ”Best Places to Work” by Dallas Business Journal.  Previously, Wade was Vice President of Sales for Oracle.  Wade spent over 11 years with Oracle before Co-Founding Enkitec.  Mr. Nicolas was also an early employee at the beginning of Netscape.

Ken Novotny, President, CSI Oklahoma

Ken is the president of CSI Oklahoma, a $30 million IT and engineering services company based in Oklahoma City.   The company has won many awards, and was named the 2011 #1 Fastest Growing Native American company on the INC 500, the 2011 #42 Government Services fastest growing company on the INC 500 and the 2011 #333 Fastest Growing company in the US on the INC 500.  Consulting Services Inc. (CSI), was founded by Novotny in 2002.  Novotny, an Oklahoma State University graduate with a degree in Management Information Systems, founded CSI while working as a government contractor at Tinker Air Force Base. In 2005, CSI acquired a subcontract with Northrop Grumman on the Blue Strike as the small business concern to run the servers and networks within the network operations center.  In 2007 Northrop Grumman awarded CSI the Socio-Economic Small Business Supplier of the Year award out of 13,000+ subcontractors.  Now, CSI manages over 23 contracts, boasting over 1600 and 900% growth respectively the last two years with 285+ employees in 17 states and sales in excess of $26M for 2011.   When Novotny isn’t busy running CSI he’s helping the future stars of the government services contracting business.  Ken is currently assisting many companies in business but his focus is using the SBA’s Mentor-Protégé program to assist these companies to grow and prosper, similar to the CSI success story.

Ken OvertonKenneth Overton, Founder & President, Vistas Unlimited

Vistas Unlimited Inc.Kenneth Overton began his career in industry with over 10 years in the corporate research labs at DEC and GE.  This work was followed by more than 20 years of senior executive experience leading and managing large technology development and commercialization efforts at companies such as E-Systems (now part of Raytheon) and General Electric. In 1999, Dr. Overton formed a team to develop his concept for real-time virtual insertion. The company, Mirage Systems, had substantial expertise not only in the core technologies employed in the MVP but also in television sports production, distribution, and advertising. Mirage Systems was superseded in 2002 by Vistas Unlimited. Vistas Unlimited was successfully aquired by ESPN in early 2012.  Following the aquisition of Vistas Unlimited, Overton held a VP-level position with ESPN as Chief Technologist responsible for strategic planning and execution relating to the development and application of new and emerging technologies to enhance ESPN content.  Dr. Overton holds 12 U.S. and international patents, has authored 20 papers, and was co-winner of the 2007 George Wensel Technical Achievement Emmy.  Dr. Overton holds a Bachelor’s degree in Physics and Computer Science from Indiana University, and MS and Ph.D. degrees in Computer and Information Science from the University of Massachusetts with postgraduate work focused on robotic sensing systems.

William Paiva, Partner, Sevin Rosen Funds

William D. Paiva, a partner, joined Sevin Rosen Funds in 2006. He brings more than 20 years of venture capital, biomedical industry and management consulting experience to the firm. William specializes in identifying early-stage venture opportunities at the intersection of traditional technology sectors and healthcare. He also uses his healthcare expertise and network to assist Sevin Rosen portfolio companies in developing applications and services for the healthcare market. Prior to Sevin Rosen, William was a partner at Chisholm Private Capital Partners and manager at the Oklahoma Life Science Fund.  Previously, William served as a management consultant for the Life Sciences Industry Group at Pittiglio Rabin Todd & McGrath where he consulted with the top five pharmaceutical companies on product development and technology management projects.  William also served as an investment banking associate at JP Morgan in New York, providing strategic and investment banking advisory services to Fortune 100 healthcare companies. William holds a Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Oklahoma, an MBA from Dartmouth College’s Amos Tuck School of Business, a master’s degree in microbiology and immunology from the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center and a BS in microbiology from the University of Oklahoma.

KenParkerKen Parker, Co-Founder & CEO, NextThought

NextThoughtKen Parker co-founded NextThought in 2011, an education technology startup focused on connecting people to learn together. A lifelong learner and optimist, Parker developed software for Martin Marietta Aerospace and JPMorgan. In 1998, Parker co-founded RiskMetrics Group, a global financial technology company. Its mantra was unique on Wall Street: “Change the World, Have Fun and Make Money – In That Order.” After RiskMetrics sold in 2011 for $1.5B, Parker left to pursue the same mantra. NextThought is creating technology to help change the world through education. Parker serves on a number of boards at Oklahoma Christian University and University of Oklahoma. He earned a Computer Science BS from Oklahoma Christian University and an MS from the University of Colorado at Boulder.  Follow him on Twitter @NextThoughter.

Piyush Patel, CEO & Founder, Digital-Tutors, PL Studios, Inc

PLStudiosPatel founded Digital-Tutors, a division of PL Studios, Inc. and leading innovator of interactive learning solutions in 2003. Today, PL Studios, Inc. and Digital-Tutors maintains a client list which includes top companies, government agencies, academic institutions, and studios from across the globe. Over the past decade, Patel has had the opportunity to teach artists at Electronic Arts, assist in product visualization at Motorola, develop educational curriculum for the University of Michigan, and work with software developers such as Autodesk, Pixar, Next Limit, Skymatter, Pixologic, Softimage, and Adobe. Today, the award-winning training solutions first developed by Patel are aiding artists and creative professionals in the creation of next generation Feature Films, Commercials, Video Games, and Visual Effects.

Paul PeckPaul Peck, Senior Advisor, C-Level Advisors

C-Level AdvisorsPaul is a Senior Advisor at C-Level Advisors LLC., a boutique strategy consulting and investment advisory firm providing strategic planning, growth strategy, competitive positioning, go-to-market strategy, channel strategy, strategic alliance development, M&A services and exit strategy to emerging, mid-market and large technology companies.  In 2007, Mr. Peck founded End of Restrictions, a consulting firm specializing in the areas of manufacturing, outsourcing/insourcing and the related supply chain management strategies with a special focus on PLM, CRM, and ERP systens, as well as multi-entity and international transactions models. In previous years, Paul has served as Vice President of Operations at Monterey Networks and Vice President of Operations at Navini Networks, both of which were acquired by Cisco.  In 2003, Paul was Vice President of Operations at Covaro Networks, a telecommunications firm  later acquired by ADVA Optical in 2006.  Among his many accomplishments, Mr. Peck specializes in multi-national manufacturing and materials management with both in-house and out-sourced scenarios, especially with regard to entity and transaction structuring.  Paul has a wealth of experience with modern information technology (ERP, CRM, PDM) solutions including Oracle, SAP, Net Suite, Salesforce, Agile and Arena. Mr. Peck continues to serve as a consultant for several Dallas-based start-ups and is a board member with the Metroplex Technology Business Council.

TJ PersonTJ Person, CEO & Founder, Koupon Media

Koupon MediaTJ Person is the CEO and founder of Koupon Media, the industries first one-time-use mobile coupon platform built for brands and agencies.  Koupon Media provides a digital campaign management platform for progressive retailers and brands to unify the creation, distribution, redemption, and analysis of digital coupons and loyalty programs.  The company works with global brands including 7 Eleven, Pepsi, Michaels, just to name a few. Having started Koupon Media in 2011, Person is notably one of two entrepreneur advisors for Startup America in Texas and was awarded Dallas 40 under 40 in 2012. Person is a seasoned entrepreneur with 15+ years of mobile experience, notably as co-founder and president of Mango Mobile. In 2005, Mango Mobile raised $1.5 million and after 2 years as the fastest growing mobile marketing company, Omnicom Group acquired it in February, 2007. TJ spent several years with Omnicon where Mango continues as a leader in the mobile space.

Jay Ridley, CEO, American Intellectual

Ridley is the co-founder of American Intellectual : Invention Development Company (AI). Jay and his father Clay Ridley has a unique background in intellectual property development and ownership which they bring to their inventor clients through partnerships and joint ventures.  From concept to product launch and IP licensing, the Ridleys have a broad experience in a variety of industries including Transportation, Fashion, Energy, Material Handing, Construction, and Agriculture. Previously, the father-son team founded Ridley® Motorcycle Company in 1997 which produced several thousand vehicles most notably known for their innovative automatic transmission.  A first for on-road motorcycles.  Follow him on Twitter @JayRidley.

Ryan Samples, President & Co-Founder of BankOnIT

Ryan Samples co-founded and is president of BankOnIt, a company providing complete IT solutions for community banks. Since a young age Samples has always been able to express complicated technology concepts in simple words and he implements complicated solutions in ways that are easy to understand. He emphasizes the importance of this to all employees. Under his direction, the company works to provide IT solutions that are “better; faster; cheaper.” Before he formed BankOnIT, Samples founded the DCN network, one of the first providers of Internet access in Oklahoma, and served as vice president of a regional internet service provider. Samples is a graduate of Oklahoma State University and holds numerous industry certifications. He is also a commercial pilot.

Michael_SegrestMichael Segrest, General Partner, Silver Creek Ventures

SCVlogoMichael Segrest joined Silver Creek Ventures in 1991 and has helped the firm manage five venture funds, with over seventy-five portfolio company investments spread over those 20+ years.  Michael has actively worked with over twenty-five of those portfolio companies, helping them realize their goals of becoming successful startup companies. As a general partner for the Firm, Mr. Segrest has focused his investment activities on information technologies, particularly in the areas of security, networking, and services.  Prior to Silver Creek, Mr. Segrest served as a principal for a merchant banking firm specializing in the communications industries. Mr. Segrest received his undergraduate degree from The University of Texas at Austin in the ERB program (Electrical Engineering option) and his MBA in Finance from The University of Texas at Austin.


John Sims, Executive Vice President, Foundations in Learning

Foundations in LearningJohn is Executive Vice President of Foundations in Learning, a cloud-based literacy solution for the K-12 marketplace.  With over 17 million children who struggle to read in the US, Foundations in Learning has developed a new approach to reading and literacy.  The unique software solution combines 30 years of literacy research with a cognitive science-based approach to learning.  John started his career with Breakthrough to Literacy bringing one of the early software-based reading products to the K-12 classroom.  Prior to Foundations in Learning, John joined Navigator Systems, a management and technology professional services firm that provided Business Intelligence to Fortune 1000 customers.  Navigator Systems sold to Hitachi Consulting where John developed the Business Intelligence group into a $50 million business. John received an MBA from the University of Iowa in 1992.

Michael SitarzewskiMichael Sitarzewski, Co-Founder & CEO, Epic Playground, Inc.

EpicPlaygroundMichael Sitarzewski is co-founder, and CEO of Epic Playground, Inc., makers of MediaGauge, a real-time video Call-to-Action network. He is a veteran entrepreneur (and a TechStars Cloud alum) with a specific focus on Web-based software and services. Sitarzewski has been a part of the internet startup culture since 1994 and has had two exits along the way. For the last several years, Michael has been a leader in the Boulder, Colorado startup community – hosting the Boulder and Denver Open Coffee Clubs. Sitarzewski considers helping people understand and leverage technology his life’s work.


Jeff SmithJeffrey O. Smith, Ph.D, CTO, Numerex

NumerexDr. Smith is currently Chief Technical Officer of Numerex (NASDAQ: NMRX).  Numerex offers the broadest choice of secure machine- to-machine (M2M) network services and solutions. Previously a scientist for Motorola, The Robotics Institute, and the 
Super conducting Super Collider (SSC), Dr. Smith has worked on wireless
 sensor and control systems developed for the FBI, CIA, DOD, DOE,
 NASA, and USPS – from autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles to 
particle accelerators. In 1993, he co-founded and served as President 
and CEO of OnRamp Technologies, a pioneer internet service provider,
 subsequently acquired by Verio, which is now a wholly-owned subsidiary
 of NTT communications. During Jeff’s tenure at Verio as Regional President and Board member, the company grew to one of the largest web-hosting companies in the world and a principal international ISP. In 2000, Verio was sold to NTT for $5.5B. In 2002, Dr. Smith founded SensorLogic, now one of the industry’s leading telemetry service providers. Recently he founded Ublip, a provider of Web 2.0 applications for remote asset management. Jeff currently serves on Numerex’s board of directors. He has also served on the boards of technology companies including Winning Habits, CreditAnswers, Vericenter, and Verio.

Renzi Stone, Chairman & CEO, Saxum

SaxumC. Renzi Stone is chairman and CEO of Saxum, a marketing communications agency offering expertise in public relations, advertising, marketing and social media. Stone has grown his business from a one-person start-up in 2003 to a team of more than 25 full-time professionals headquartered in Oklahoma City with a satellite office in Tulsa. Stone is the architect of the Saxum Experience, which takes strategic thinking and creates demand and awareness for brands, people and causes.  He is active in national media, business and political circles and is a frequent contributor to news organizations on a number of topics. Also, he is currently president of the Americas for IPREX, one of the world’s largest global public relations networks. He is on the leadership team of the Oklahoma City chapter of Young President’s Organization (YPO). Stone serves as a close advisor to a number of elected officials and C-level executives. Stone leads the agency’s management team, specializes in high-level crisis management and provides guidance on strategic initiatives for the agency and its clients.  Follow him on Twitter @RenziStone33.

Kevin Trottier

Kevin Trottier, Founder & CEO, Twist Solutions

TwistKevin Trottier is the founder and CEO of Twist Solutions, an IT services provider for small to mid-sized businesses.  Twist uses a proprietary IT management “Software as a Service” platform combined with their professional services staff to augment or create a complete IT department for it’s customer.  Twist was recognized twice in the Dallas 100 Fastest-Growing Private Companies.  Kevin was previously a board member of the Dallas chapter of  the Entrepreneurs Organization.  Prior to founding Twist, Kevin was the Director of product development in the e-Business group at Verizon (NYSE:VZ) focusing on telecom enabled software products and enterprise software development. He started his career in software engineering at Nortel Networks (NYSE:NT).  Kevin has authored 2 US patents and has a BSEE from the University of Alberta.  Follow him on Twitter @kevintrottier.

David TuckerDavid Tucker, Vice President & General Manager, Cisco SBBU

CiscoDavid Tucker is the Vice President & General Manager of Cisco’s Small Businesses Business Unit.  Prior to Cisco, Tucker was a co-founder, President & CEO of Selsius Systems, a telecommunications company in Dallas, Texas that developed and marketed some of the first IP telephony gear. David helped pioneer voice and data network convergence before it’s aquisition by Cisco Systems in 1998 for $145 million.  Currently, Tucker is responsible for Cisco Connect division, which links together business switching, routing, and cloud storage. The connect division, which is targeted at small business owners, delivers a diverse product portfolio of voice systems, phones, video, and UCC. Cisco Connect is also designed to work with other Cisco products ensuring smooth scalability and continued brand loyalty. Prior to his current role, Mr. Tucker was the Vice President of the Connected Office Business Organization (COBO) for Cisco’s Linksys division. David was recently a keynote speaker at ITEXPO West, the world’s largest communications conference in 2012.

DirkDirk Wakeham, Managing Director, Westlake Ventures

Dirk is Managing Director of Westlake Ventures in Dallas TX.  Prior to forming Westlake Ventures, Dirk was President of RealPage, Inc., a leading provider of enterprise SaaS solutions for the real estate industry. RealPage completed an IPO in 2010 and was later named as the #2 best 2010 IPO performer for a US-based company according to The Wall Street Journal’s Global Initial Public Offerings of Stock.  Dirk also founded and was CEO of LeasingDesk a company focused on delivering web-based risk mitigation solutions for the landlords and property managers which sold to RealPage in 2007.   He also is an active investor and advisor in several early stage companies and the current Membership Chair for the North Texas Chapter of YPO.


Mike Whitaker, CEO, Idea Gateway

With more than 20 years of experience moving businesses from start-ups to marketable positions, Mike is the founder of Idea Gateway, an entrepreneurial development platform that creates innovative business models for entrepreneurs and investors. Idea Gateway is currently launching a photo technology software company, Memory Pix Technologies – currently operating at Seattle’s Space Needle.   Mike also owns a growing Oklahoma City manufacturing company, Lucas Color Card, which he started in his garage in 1995. With only $480 in start up cash, Mike went on to develop Lucas into a $12 million enterprise. By 2008, Mike and partners had grown the multi-factory company beyond $100 million in annual sales. In 2010, Mike found an opportunity to repurchase the Lucas division, which he continues to grow. Mike is also an investor and advisor to Invision Capital Group of Chicago, a private equity fund with holdings in many diversified industries within the lower-middle market. He actively pursues additional business acquisitions.   Mike attended the University of Kansas where he received his B.S. in Cognitive Psychology. He earned his MBA from the Price College of Business at the University of Oklahoma.

Rod Whitson, President, Bank2

Rod is the president of Bank2, a Chickasaw Nation-owned community bank.  Bank2 has received state and national recognition for its success and has become the #1 source of Native American home loans in the state of Oklahoma.  During the founding days of Bank2, Whitson served as a critical advisor to the Chickasaw Nation.  Rod was integral to the development of the company through facilitating and leading strategic planning and product development.  An expert in the areas of banking, business growth strategies and branding, Rod’s contributions have played a key role in the success of several companies. Formerly, Whitson served as Chief Operating Officer of the Townsend Agency in San Diego- a marketing-communications firm specializing in business-to-business marketing.  He served Townsend as President and Chief Brand Strategist. Rod has personally led recent branding engagements with Intel, BAE Systems, Merck, DowPharma, Marsh & McLennan, the University of California system, National University and Siemens. Previously, Rod has taught at the University of California in San Diego. He has also worked with a host of successful early-stage technology and life sciences companies.  Rod holds a degree from Oklahoma State University.

Sunny Vanderbeck, Managing Partner, Satori Capital, Data Return

Sunny Vanderbeck has a track record of high achievement in all of his endeavors, including as an entrepreneur, CEO, investor, board member, and military leader. Prior to co-founding Satori Capital, Mr. Vanderbeck co-founded and served as Chief Executive Officer of Data Return, a leading provider of managed services and utility computing. As CEO for eleven years, Mr. Vanderbeck led the company through all phases of growth and transformation. After a successful IPO, the company achieved a market capitalization in excess of $3 billion, and Mr. Vanderbeck was one of the youngest CEOs ever to lead a NASDAQ company. In recognition of Data Return’s industry leadership, Microsoft named Data Return Global Hosting Partner of the Year, while Mr. Vanderbeck received numerous individual honors including being named “Top 25 Technology Executives” and Entrepreneur of the Year finalist by Ernst and Young.  Mr. Vanderbeck is actively engaged with several private businesses as an investor, advisor, and board member. Additionally, Mr. Vanderbeck is a member of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) where he serves as the North American Co-Chair of the organization’s Corporate Social Responsibility Network.  Follow him on Twitter @SunnyVanderbeck.

Kevin VelaKevin Vela, Founding Partner, Vela | Keller P.C.

logo[1]Kevin Vela is a founding partner at Vela | Keller P.C., and focuses his practice in the areas of startups, corporate law, capital raises, and commercial real estate. Kevin represents a number of small and mid-sized businesses as their general counsel, and provides day-to-day guidance on legal and operational issues. Before attending law school, Kevin spent seven years in Dallas working in finance and marketing. Starting his career with Fortune 500 companies, an entrepreneurial spirit led Kevin to roles in several start-up companies and later to developing his own test preparation company. Kevin scored in the top 5% on the GMAT, LSAT, and GRE, and has used his expertise to help hundreds of students increase their test scores to gain admission to graduate school. Kevin is an entrepreneur himself with a few “learning experiences” under his belt and is currently working on as a way to make sure that college fanaticism starts from day one. Kevin is a graduate of the University of Texas where he earned his Bachelor degree in Business Administration and Juris Doctorate degree with honors.


Mike YonkerMike Yonker, President, SVI

SVIMike Yonker is President of the Learner Mobile division at SVI, a learning development company.  Mike has more than 21 years experience in mobile technology strategy and marketing, leadership, systems architecture, software management and development.  He has successfully founded and built profitable businesses at both startups and Fortune 500 companies alike.  In early 2012, Mike Co-Founded TangoTab, an online social enterprise business that offers diners discounts at participating restaurants, and donates 20% of its gross revenues to the fight against hunger.  Previously with Rockfish, Michael led the Mobile practice, building the mobile strategy, creative and solutions for clients, building business and managing the P&L to triple revenue in less than 1 year, with projections to grow revenues over 9x by the end of 2012. Prior to Rockfish, Mike led an engineering group at The Nielsen Company to build the system to measure what people do on their mobile phones, to feed data for audience measurement and for product planning purposes. Mike co-founded TI’s successful OMAP™ applications processor business, which grew greater than $500M in revenues per year, and led team of 70 people worldwide through formation before becoming CTO of OMAP. Mike is a proven technical and strategic leader with excellent communication, innovation, leadership, analysis and team skills, experienced in interfacing with executive staffs internally and externally.  He has extensive knowledge of worldwide mobile phone market, manufacturers, operators, investors, trade associations, and third parties.  Follow him on Twitter @TheYonks.