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Expertise: Biotech Start-Up, Engineering R&D, Start-Up

David S. (Dave) Alburty and Andrew E. (Andy) Page are the managing partners of InnovaPrep LLC, formed to commercialize the InnovaPrep biological particle concentration process.

Dave led Aerosol Engineering at Midwest Research Institute (MRI) before starting AlburtyLab, Inc. in June  2005. AlburtyLab has grown organically by providing aerosol R&D services to a growing list of clients, and now has a total of 14 full and part-time staff. Total revenues for AlburtyLab since incorporation exceed $1.5 million. AlburtyLab developed, manufactures, and sells a commercial aerosol laboratory instrument, the PITT-3.

InnovaPrep LLC was started as a division of AlburtyLab in April, 2007 and carved out as an LLC on June 1, 2009.

Dave provides corporate leadership, marketing, engineering, and biological expertise. He has authored or co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed technical reports and presentations, and is inventor or co-inventor on six patents. In 1994, Dave was a key investor in Adam's Rib BBQ and Brewpub, Overland Park, Kansas, which was subsequently sold to Nabil's Restaurant Group of Kansas City, MO. Dave is currently CEO of AlburtyLab, Inc., InnovaPrep LLC, and Chairman of both Boards of Directors.


Cameron Alpural

Cameron has been a Logistics Top Executive and an Entrepreneur. In the industry for 26 years, he is experienced in Transportation, 3PL, Postal Logistics, Freight (LTL & TL), Warehousing ,Courier & Delivery operations.

Cameron’s first early career with Arthur Andersen & Company, combined with his transportation industry expertise, gave him the necessary financial and technical background to be a successful turn-around expert throughout his career. He has successfully brought operation & companies from loss to profitability multiple times.

Cameron spent 12 years of his career overseas starting, running, & overseeing companies in Western Europe including Russia, Romania, Ukraine and Turkey. He was the CEO of Aktif Group for 5 years between 2006 and 2011, doubling the size of the Company during that time. He started his own Logistics Company in Turkey in 2011 and sold it before returning to the U.S. in 2015. He is also fluent in Turkish.

Currently, Cameron is engaged in freelance consulting and mentoring at the Regnier Institute at UMKC.


Kevin M. Antes

Enterprise Bank & Trust

Expertise: Commercial Banking, Small Business Banking, Finance and Leadership, Change Management

Kevin M. Antes is Vice President of Commercial Banking for Enterprise Bank & Trust. Kevin is responsible for developing and managing a diverse portfolio of commercial banking relationships ranging from small privately held businesses to publicly traded companies. In addition to traditional relationships, Kevin co-leads the Bank’s private equity/leveraged finance efforts in Kansas City and Minneapolis. He is currently a member of the Kansas City chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth and the Small Business Investor Alliance.

Kevin has 9 years of experience in the financial industry, with 7 years in middle market commercial and small business banking. He began his banking career in a formal commercial banking training development program at Southwest Bank/M&I Bank. Prior to banking, he spent 2 years as a junior equity analyst for a small cap institutional investment firm in St. Louis.

He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Saint Louis University with a double concentration in Finance and Leadership & Change Management. Kevin holds a strong affinity towards Entrepreneurship and is a former advisory board member for The Entrepreneurship Institute. Additionally, he was a contributor to "Entrepreneurial Small Business, 3/e" (a college level textbook on entrepreneurship) and a former collegiate level business plan competition judge.


Michael Apple

J. Walter Thompson advertising agency

Michael Apple is Senior Vice President at J. Walter Thompson advertising agency. Michael is responsible for strategic planning and managing the execution of all marketing and advertising programs. Prior to moving to Kansas City with JWT, Michael was the Account Director for the Ford Southwest Region in Dallas. He is currently working on the Ford Motor account managing the regional marketing business. He has also worked on other accounts at JWT including the United States Marine Corps, Hyatt Hotels, Burger King, Kawasaki Motor Cycles, and others.  His experience at JWT spans over 30 years in twelve markets. Michael has been recognized by JWT for excellence in account management and regional marketing.


Patty Backman

Patty is a top award-winning visionary leader and catalyst for multi-million dollar bottom line impacts for Fortune 500 market leaders, as well as innovative successes in startup environments. She has over 15 years of top caliber senior-level experience as an Operational Leader, implementing best practices while working successfully within tight budget constraints. Patty’s differentiation is an ability to contain or even slash costs while increasing morale, increasing productivity and strategically utilizing resources to create the largest impact while meeting long-term goals. She sees the bigger picture without losing sight of the details and the customer experience.

Additionally, Patty implements sound business principles with intentional structure in every company she has worked with, resulting in wildly successful initiatives and fantastic organizational turnarounds, with an eye on consistent long term growth.

Most recently Patty was Chief of Staff of the Windows Server Division at Microsoft. Prior to Microsoft she served as the Business Services Officer within the IT department of large regional bank in California that was ultimately acquired by Citigroup. She holds both a Bachelor of Science degree and MBA from California State University, Sacramento.

Tim Barron

Citizen's Bank

Expertise: Financial Services, Banking/Funding, Business Plan Development, Finance/Accounting, Obtaining Funding, Strategy/Planning

Tim Barron is the Vice President of Commercial Banking for Citizen's Bank & Trust. Tim brings over 10 years of experience in commercial lending to both start up and existing businesses. Tim has assisted many businesses in the Kansas City market to develop business plans and to create a strategic direction on a business's financial needs. Tim has proven himself a strong asset to all of his clients, from small startups to large multimillion dollar enterprises. He has assisted clients with needs such as providing working capital lines of credit to aid in any shortfalls in the cash flow cycle as well as real estate and equipment acquisitions. Tim prides himself in being able to identify the true needs of a business to ensure long term strategic goal achievement. Tim also prides himself in his work for the Kansas City community. He serves on the board for the Platte County Economic Development Council as well as the Liberty Sertoma Club. Tim serves as a mentor for the global business sector of the Blue Valley School's CAPS program, where he assists Blue Valley students on development of their business ideas. Also, he is an active member of the Overland Park South Rotary, Northland Chamber of Commerce and the Clay County Economic Development Council. Tim is a graduate of the Missouri School of Banking as well as the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Colorado, and he received his undergraduate degree from Rockhurst University.

Jeri Bartunek

Bartunek Group

Expertise: Information Technology, Services, Telecommunications/Wireless, Angel Investment, Start-Up

Jeri Bartunek is the founder of Bartunek Group, a staffing and project implementation company which has supported companies such as AT&T, MasterCard, and Bank of America, and has worked on projects at Microsoft, Princeton University, Plaza Hotel in New York City, and the Departments of Energy and Justice. 

Accomplishments based on growth and contribution to the community, include: 2010 Kansas Women's Business Advocate, 2009 SBA- Kansas Business Person of the Year, 2008 Top Ten Small Business- Kansas City Greater Chamber of Commerce, 100 Fastest Growing Companies in Kansas City, 2007 100 Fastest Growing Companies in Kansas City, 2005 25 Under 25 Award- Thinking Bigger Business Media, and 2004 Women Who Mean Business Award- Kansas City Business Journal.

Chuck Battey

Chuck Battey’s career spans 25 years of business development, marketing and general management experience in the consumer product, media, telecom and financial services sectors. Most recently, he served as SVP of Commercial Banking at Bank of America.

Chuck began his career as an investment banker with Kidder, Peabody & Co. in New York. Subsequent management experience included marketing and business development positions at General Mills and Sprint. More recently, he served as President of National Cinema Network, COO of Premier Retail Networks and Director of InStadium -- three innovative, out-of-home media companies.

Chuck also has been involved in a wide variety of non-profit initiatives in Kansas City and elsewhere, including a two-year assignment in Southeast Asia as manager of a micro-lending organization.

Chuck is a graduate of Dartmouth College and received his MBA from Stanford University.

Terry Bassham

President & Chief Operating Officer, KCP&L

As president and chief operating officer, Terry Bassham focuses KCP&L's operational functions on achieving Tier 1 performance in safety, operations, and customer service. This responsibility includes championing innovation and driving continuous improvement and process efficiency throughout the organization. He also oversees regulatory compliance with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) rules, standards, and requirements, and serves on the Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Company's board of directors and operations committee.

Prior to being named to his current position, Terry served as KCP&L's executive vice president of finance & strategic development and chief financial officer and more recently as executive vice president - utility operations. He was instrumental in leading KCP&L through its comprehensive energy plan. Terry also helped transform KCP&L's business through the sale of Strategic Energy and the acquisition of Aquila, which doubled the company's workforce and significantly increased its service territory.

Active in the Kansas City area community, Terry serves as a board member of the Kansas City Symphony, the Guadalupe Center, and the Urban League of Greater Kansas City. He also is a member of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Bloch School of Management advisory council and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Business Council.

Terry holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting from the University of Texas-Arlington and a Juris Doctor degree from St. Mary's University Law School in San Antonio, Texas.



Expertise: Brand Development, Start-Up, Strategy/Planning, Sales Force Development/Management, Information Technologies, Supply Chain, Manufacturing

Josh is the president of Impact Design, an on-demand merchandise solutions company based in Kansas City, MO.  Impact employs 350 people in a lean manufacturing environment and repeatedly achieves the highest efficiency rates and lowest cost of quality in its industry.

Through vertical supply-chain integration and a proprietary technology platform, Impact has successfully re-engineered the way companies manage many of their merchandise-based efforts, from straightforward eCommerce opportunities to complicated multi-channel product campaigns.

Josh also serves as a member of the board of directors of Fike Corporation, where he worked for 16 years prior to acquiring Impact Design in 2005. Fike is a global manufacturer and is recognized as the leading supplier of products and services that protect people and critical assets from dangers such as fire, explosion and over-pressurization. Fike manufactures solutions for a wide variety of industries and offers products ranging from rupture discs and explosion protection systems to fire suppression and fire alarm systems.

Josh received a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Missouri.  He served as a founding member of the Foundation Board for Catholic Charities Kansas City – St. Joseph and is currently a member of the Finance & Administration Committee of his church.

James G. Baxendale

Jim has worked for over eighteen (18) years in the field of university technology transfer. Jim is currently serving as Director of the Whiteboard 2 Boardroom bi-state commercialization program and assisting the Director’s of the University of Missouri Kansas City Innovation Center and Small Business & Technology Development Center to identify game changing technologies and processes and get them into the hands of big business and talented entrepreneurs, resulting in new products and businesses that stay local and grow. In addition, Jim works to fully integrate university, laboratory and industry research into the existing entrepreneurial ecosystem and manages a central clearinghouse ( to catalog bi-state innovations and startup company management talent.

Previously Jim served as the Executive Director-Medical Innovations for the KU Center for Technology Commercialization (KUCTC) at the KU Medical Center. In this capacity, he assisted the Executive Director of the Bioscience & Technology Business Center to facilitate the formation of KU Medical Center faculty startups. Prior to that Jim served as Executive Director of the KUCTC with the responsibility of managing the intellectual property of the four (4) University of Kansas campuses. In that capacity Jim had oversight for the commercialization of faculty research and the securing of patents, trademarks and copyrights, negotiation of licenses, research agreements, confidentiality agreements and material transfer agreements. Jim also assisted in the formation of spin-off companies based on University of Kansas technologies and facilitated the negotiation of various collaborative agreements with industry and philanthropic partners.

Prior to joining the University of Kansas, Jim was Vice-President of Operations for Regional Media Laboratories. Earlier, he served as their Director of Research & Development and Supervisor of Quality Control. In addition, Jim has held management positions in hospital laboratories and private clinical laboratories throughout the Greater Kansas City Area. Jim holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology, a Master of Science degree in Microbiology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and an MBA from the Rockhurst University Executive Fellows MBA Program. While Serving as President of the Association of Medical Device Manufacturers in Washington, DC Jim was awarded the Food and Drug Administration Commissioner's Special Citation, Herbert W. Wiley Medal.

Jim currently volunteers as a mentor for students in the University of Missouri Kansas City Bloch School of Business Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation (IEI) and the Blue Valley High School Center for Advanced Professional Studies and has held director positions on a number of start-up company and non-profit incubator boards. Jim is a frequent lecturer on technology commercialization at conferences, medical centers, hospitals, and universities.


Michael Begelfer

Mr. Begelfer has spent the last 25 years with his "boots on the ground" as a serial entrepreneur in the area of small business startups. Mr. Begelfer has personally experienced the full spectrum of entrepreneurship, from hard-fought sucesses to epic distasters, and can offer guidance in how to best prepare for the unpredictable nature of a small venture start-up.

Steve Beller

Steve Beller is a seasoned marketing professional with over 20 years of experience. During his career, Steve has served both the advertising agency and client sides of the business with roles in strategy, market management and consulting. Steve spent the last 13 years at Sprint Nextel in marketing and product management. His expertise includes consumer, B2B and wholesale business environments. Other well-known brands within his resume include HR Block, Time Warner, Comcast and JC Penney. Mr. Beller earned both his undergraduate degree (BS in Journalism/Advertising) and MBA from the University of Kansas. Steve is currently an Adjunct Instructor teaching graduate level marketing, strategy and research at the University of Phoenix and the University of St. Mary.

Don Bendetti

Managing Director of Success Solutions LLC

Expertise: Organizational Design & Effectiveness, Executive and Career Coaching, New Leader Integration, Performance Management, Succession Planning, Merger/Acquisition Integration, Change Management

Specializing in both individual and organizational effectiveness, Don works with senior executives to early career high potentials to achieve their professional and organizational goals. He also provides unique methods for increasing profitability and growth through proven leadership, creativity, innovation and problem solving strategies.

As Managing Director for Success Solutions LLC, Don brings a track record for success from over 25 years of executive level, multi-industry, global leadership experience to his clients. After a successful career as a vice president level Human Resources executive, most of which was with the General Electric Company, he now provides his personal services to clients. An open and direct style, coupled with real-world experiences, strong business acumen, passion for results, and an operational mindset provide a competitive edge. Success Solutions is one of only a few companies certified to administer unique individual and organizational assessments centered on Leadership, Creativity, Innovation and Growth. Additionally, essential interpersonal and influence skills have enabled effectiveness with all company sizes, levels and cultures. Credentials also include an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lally School of Management and Technology and General Electric’s prestigious Six Sigma/Lean Master Black Belt Certification for process and productivity improvement, and GE’s Leadership Development Programs. Don is also an adjunct instructor at Rockhurst and Park Universities teaching a variety of graduate and undergraduate courses relating to Human Resource Management and Organizational Effectiveness.

Industries/Services: Manufacturing, Engineering, Construction, Energy, Power, Healthcare, Information Technology, Procurement, Marketing, Sales, Services, Insurance, Financial and Transportation.

Lew Berey

NPI Category Redefinition Consultant

Expertise: Consumer Products, Financial Services, Telecommunications/Wireless
Branding/Communications, Marketing/Sales, Strategy/Planning

Lewis A. Berey began his long-time career in marketing with positions at H. J. Heinz and General Mills. In 1970, he founded and ran NPI's publicly-traded predecessor company, Synergistic Communications Group.

During those years, SCG acquired and manufactured toys in the mass market, ran a retail cosmetic business, and an advertising agency. During the entire 40 years, Lew also led NPI, providing strategic category redefinitions and new product consulting services to Fortune 100 clients in packaged goods, telecommunications, financial services, B2B, and other industries.

Leading successes developed by NPI with their clients include Wells Fargo Strategic Value Propositions for 13 of their Business Units, Payless Shoe Source, and Best Buy repositionings, Johnson and Johnson and Procter and Gamble HBA consumer products, and some 70 other new or redefined business entities.

Most important in all the of these business relationships has been the ability to identify the singular focus of a customer benefit and building a strategic roadmap around that benefit.

Lew is a graduate of the University of Kansas with a Master's Degree in Marketing.

Jeff Blackwood

CEO/President, GreenTree Technology Partners

Jeff Blackwood is the CEO/President of GreenTree Technology Partners, a software development firm that specializes in creating technology solutions for the Bioscience and Healthcare industries. Jeff founded the company in 2009, and has over 20 years of executive, sales, and marketing experience in technology and telecommunications companies, including leading successful nationwide sales teams for Fortune 500 companies.

Jeff is also the CEO/President of ABPathfinder, a company focused on technology to support autism therapy implementation. In this role, Jeff was selected as a Fellow in the PIPELINE Entrepreneurship Program, a prestigious program funded in part by the Kauffman Foundation nurturing a select set of high-growth/high-value entrepreneurs.

Jeff is a EMBA 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri - Kansas City, and was an inaugural student in UMKC's Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.


John Blatz

John Blatz has been with Lead Bank for three years and has over twenty two years of experience in banking. He has been the head of operations, market president and commercial lender. His banking career has taken him to three markets across the Midwest. Prior to banking, Blatz worked in public accounting and the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City. He also owned and operated a specialty contracting firm in Colorado and was the Director of Multifamily Management for a local firm that manages over 100 apartment complexes in over ten states.

John is interested in the development of human potential and, over the years, has been a local board member of Junior Achievement, Boy Scouts of America, and other organization related to the arts and sports.

John came to Kansas City in 1971 when his father, Dr. Paul Blatz, accepted the Chairmanship of the Chemistry Department. Blatz graduated from UMKC in 1978 with a Bachelor degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in accounting.



Co-founder, H&R Block

Retired Chairman of the Board of H&R Block, Inc., Henry received his early education in Kansas City and graduated from Southwest High School. He attended the University of Kansas City (now UMKC), and the University of Michigan, from which he graduated with a degree in mathematics. As a first lieutenant and navigator on a B-17 Flying Fortress with the 8th Air Force, U. S. Army Air Corps, he flew 31 combat missions during WWII and was awarded the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters.
In 1946, he and his brother, Richard, formed United Business Company, offering administrative services such as bookkeeping, management assistance, collection and income tax preparation to local Kansas City businessmen.

At first, the preparation of income tax returns was an added free service to their bookkeeping clients. But their customers began to tell their friends about the Blochs and soon they were being asked to prepare income tax returns by the score ... for a fee. By 1954, income tax returns and United Business Company's regular services had the Bloch brothers working seven days a week and nearly every night since tax season then ended on March 15 instead of April 15. They decided to offer tax preparation to the general public, and in January, 1955, dissolved United Business and formed H&R Block, Inc.

Responding to community needs, Henry Bloch has long been active in civic affairs in Kansas City. He presently is or has been a corporate director of H&R Block, Inc.; CompuServe Inc.; Valentine-Radford Inc.; Commerce Bancshares, Inc.; Southwestern Bell Corporation; Employers Reinsurance Corporation; Commerce Bank of Kansas City; The Vendo Company; Jason Empire; Graphic Technology; Path Management Industries; and National Fidelity Life Insurance Co.

He either is or has been a director of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation; St. Luke's Hospital Foundation; the Jacob L. & Ella C. Loose Foundation; The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; The Henry W. and Marion H. Bloch Foundation; and the H&R Block Foundation.

Henry has been president or chairman of the Civic Council; University of Kansas City Trustees; Chamber of Commerce; and Midwest Research Institute.
He has been honored as Philanthropist of the Year by the Greater Kansas City Council on Corp. Philanthropy; Mainstreeter of the Decade; Entrepreneur of the Year by UMKC; International Franchise Association Hall of Fame Award; Distinguished Missourian by the National Conference of Christians & Jews; Chancellor's Medal, University of Missouri at Kansas City; Yates Medallion at William Jewell College; General Campaign Chairman, United Way; Mr. Kansas City; Spirit Award; American Academy of Achievement; Distinguished Citizen Award by the Boy Scouts of America; Babson College Entrepreneur; Financial World Chief Executive Officer of the Year (Service Industry); and listed in Who's Who in America, among many, many other honors.

Henry has received five honorary doctorate degrees in business administration or laws from Avila College; New Hampshire College; University of Missouri at Kansas City; William Jewell College; and the Kansas City Art Institute.


Tom Bloch

University Academy

Tom Bloch was President and CEO of H&R Block. After a 19-year career with the company, he began a second career in 1995 as a middle school math teacher in the inner city. In 2000, he co-founded University Academy, a college prep public charter school in Kansas City. The Academy has grown from 200 students in grades seven through nine to over 1,000 students in kindergarten through grade twelve. Over the last six years, all but three graduates of the Academy have gone on to attend college, an almost unheard-of success rate for an urban school. Tom's book, Stand for the Best, is a memoir about his journey from CEO to inner-city teacher and school founder.

Katie Boody

Katie Boody believes in empowering community leaders and educators by providing them a platform to reinvent and reimagine how public education can function. A Kansas City native, she founded The Lean Lab, which works as an early stage incubator for innovative education initiatives and start-ups. A graduate of Western Washington University, Katie holds a BA in English, with a concentration in dance, and a M.Ed. from Rockhurst University. She is currently working on her Education Specialist degree in Education Leadership from University of Central Missouri. Katie was a 2008 Teach for America corps member in Kansas City and taught middle school for five years years.

David Brain

Entertainment Properties Trust

Expertise: Financial Services, Media/Entertainment, Real Estate, Angel Investment, Finance/Accounting, Marketing/Sales, Start-Up, Strategy/Planning, Venture Capitalist

David M. Brain is the President, Chief Executive Officer, and Trustee for Entertainment Properties Trust. Mr. Brain acted as a consultant to AMC Entertainment, Inc. in the formation of the Company in 1997. He served as Chief Financial Officer from 1997 to 1999 and as Chief Operating Officer from 1998 to 1999. He received his B.A in Economics with honors, Phi Beta Kappa in 1978 and his MBA in 1979 from Tulane University. He is also a Certified Business Appraiser, certified by both the American Appraisal Association and the Institute of Business Appraisal. He is the Board of Governors, National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts and the Director of Segway Experience, LLC. Formerly he was on the board for the Capital for Entrepreneurs, Inc., a venture capital fund; the Center for Business Innovation, Inc., a not-for-profit small business incubator; and the Council for Entrepreneurship at the University of Missouri – Kansas City.


Mike Bray

XLRight, LLC

Mike Bray is the President of XLRight, LLC, a management consulting firm focused on business development and operations management excellence. XLRight’s mission is to help companies accelerate performance by delivering the right products and services, to the right customers, with the right team, in the right way.

Mike had over 30 years of executive experience at Sprint and led a variety of functions including Finance, Operations Management, Customer Care & Telesales, Credit & Collections, Billing Operations, Process Quality, Marketing – Customer Retention, Network Planning, Merger Integration and Strategy – business plan development.

Mike’s extensive operations management experience has yielded significant improvements revenue, unit costs and customer satisfaction, while reducing process rework. This, combined with his financial acumen, enables him to quickly assess the value and related return on investment when leading change in organizations.

Before joining Sprint, Mike lived in the Silicon Valley with Tymshare/Tymnet. Prior to Tymshare, he was a CPA with Deloitte. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Rockhurst University. Mike is also a member Kansas City Ballet’s Board of Directors.


Tammy Broaddus

Overflow Storytelling Lab, Principal

Expertise: Strategy/Planning, Marketing/Sales, Retail, Consumer Products, Branding/Communications, Training/Development, Business Process Management

Tammy Broaddus believes that a good idea is only as powerful as the “sticky” messages in front of it and the learning agility of the individuals behind it. Tammy is a Principal at Overflow Storytelling Lab dedicated to accelerating the adoption of ideas through story. Her expertise is in strategy, marketing, organizational change and corporate learning. Prior to joining Overflow, Tammy operated her own consulting practice and has twenty years cross-functional experience as an executive at Hallmark Cards. She is a non-profit board member, community volunteer, wife and mother of two. Tammy holds a Masters in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Kansas University and a bachelors from Truman State University in Business Administration: Marketing.


Christopher S. Brown

Van Osdol & Magruder

Christopher Brown practices primarily in the areas of Business Law and Intellectual Property Law and represents clients with various business needs including business formation, business transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and protecting and exploiting intellectual property. While in law school he served as the Technical Editor of the UMKC Law Review and published a comment, Copyleft, the Disguised Copyright for which he earned the Candler S. Rogers Award for the most outstanding work of legal writing submitted to the UMKC Law Review. Christopher received his J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 2010 with an emphasis in Business and Entrepreneurial Law and a Bachelors of Business Administration from Belmont University in 2005, with an emphasis in Music Business and Production.


Chris Cardinal

Welltodo Founder & CEO, Huddle Strategic Partner

Expertise: Organizational Strategy, Communications, Marketing, Governmental Relations, Information Technology, Health Care, Services

Chris Cardinal is an entrepreneur, data strategist, and expert in organizational strategy, development, and communications. He is Co-Founder and CEO of Welltodo mobile health technologies and Co-Founder and Partner at Huddle Strategic Relations. Chris is driven by a belief in the power of doing good, and guided by eight years of experience building successful political, nonprofit, and corporate campaigns.

Chris' strength is in his proven ability to apply creative, data-driven solutions and cutting-edge technologies to the most common problems. Most notably, in 2004 he co-developed a groundbreaking data-driven statewide model of grassroots campaigning, which was later rolled out by a national party to all fifty states and became the standard for running (and winning) electoral campaigns.

Chris has worked with two governors and served as senior strategist for many of the nation's largest nonprofits working on issues like environmental awareness, veteran's advocacy, child poverty eradication, human rights and open government and is a frequent speaker on civic engagement, our environment, data, and entrepreneurship.


Kris Carlgren

Expertise: Strategy/Planning, Category Management, Customer Joint Business Planning, Marketing/Sales, Retail, Consumer Products, Shopper/Consumer Behavior & Research, Brand Licensing

Kris Carlgren’s career includes 15 years of customer and category experience, product development, brand licensing and corporate strategy. She has spent her career focused on developing strategies and solutions to grow retail sales across a range of categories, brands and retailers. Kris’ professional experience spans from an online start-up business to leading, 100+ year-old brands. A significant point of her career was leading the customer and category strategies, and analytics for Hallmark Cards largest and most diverse customer retail team generating over $1 billion in retail sales across 15,000+ stores. While her professional experience is diverse, it was the foundation in a family start-up business that provided her with the work ethic and perseverance to be an effective leader.

She enjoys working with leaders and businesses to influence and build insight-led strategic visions and solutions to deliver desired results. Kris brings an understanding of brand leadership, cross-functional team collaboration, a natural curiosity to experiment and learn, and is driven to meet and exceed financial results that enable sustainable value creation for all invested – shareholders, employees, customers and the broader community.

Kris received a MBA from Indiana University, and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing and Finance from the University of Missouri-Columbia. While attending Indiana University, Kris was awarded the MBA Global Student Leadership Award by the Graduate Business Foundation; single recipient for an initiative at top MBA programs to recognize leadership, innovation, and commitment to the greater graduate business school community. Kris has been active in the United Way of Greater Kansas City Young Leader’s Society as a Hallmark Co-Champion, and volunteers at The Barstow School.


Ed Carhart

Expertise: Consumer products & business to business marketing & sales, strategic planning, team development, financial, operations & manufacturing management, Mergers & Acquisitions, global experience/perspective.

Ed served as president & CEO of divisions of Fujifilm and BP where he directed the Sericol business unit; the leading global supplier of specialty printing inks.  In this role, he managed18 operating units and more than 1300 employees globally.  Partnering with private equity, he successfully led a management buyout from BP and the subsequent sale of the business to Fujifilm.  Prior to moving to Kansas City, Ed was vice president of marketing & sales for Castrol North America and a key team member that took the Castrol GTX brand from a start-up to the #1 DIY lubricant brand in the US.  Ed holds a BA and MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University.


Ellie Callison


I’m a classically trained marketing executive with agency, client, and consulting experience with Fortune 50 industry leaders, as well as private, not-for-profit and online businesses.

I am a native Californian and earned my Bachelors degree at the University of California, Berkeley and began my career at Ford Motor Company after completing a Masters of Public Health at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. It was here I met my husband and life-mate, John Callison.

My break into the marketing world occurred when Leo Burnett Advertising, one of the world’s top advertising agencies, hired me as a “client service trainee.” Over the next 17 years I progressed from trainee to senior Vice President working on Kellogg’s, McDonalds, Kraft Foods and Disney.

I made the transition to the client side when recruited by Hallmark Cards as Vice President of Advertising and Marketing to update the voice of the company.

In 2003 I was recruited by Wynn Resorts, with operations in Las Vegas and Macau, China to become their Chief Marketing Officer. I was chosen by the owner, Mr. Wynn, to design, recommend and launch domestic and international “Wynn Brand Hotels.” In 1:1 collaboration with Mr. Wynn we did a ground up development and strategic brand plan for the company properties.

My entrepreneurial life began after having impacting these diverse businesses, but wanting to pursue an idea for an start-up internet company. This became the DressQuest. The business was launched in two years and I have since expanded it to include traditional retail.

As DressQuest prepares to merge with a new start-up, I’m leveraging my experience to a consulting practice focusing strategic product innovation. The drive is to quickly develop products and services “at the ready” for commercialization that fuel corporate strategic imperatives. So far, I can count assignments from multi-nationals such as Coca-Cola and McDonald’s to budding, funded digital start-ups.

At this point in my career I’ve had a fascinating journey, exposing me to every aspect of business and how to keep innovation integral to brand growth, always preparing to identify and own a position of advantage.


Melanie Coleman


Expertise: accounting, planning and performance management, business acquisition

Melanie Coleman has more than 20 years of experience in all facets of corporate financial management including accounting, planning/ and performance management, and business acquisition/divestitures in startup, turnaround and growth arenas. She has experience leading a highly effective finance organization and providing value-added analytical insight based on analysis of financial and operational data and has demonstrated financial management expertise in highly complex environments. Her seasoned business judgment and passion for increasing shareholder value and improving processes across the enterprise gives her the ability to articulate a strategic vision and rally support behind it, aligning decision making across functional areas and organizational levels. She is a motivator with an eye for recruiting and developing high-performance leaders. She is comfortable working with a strong leadership team and an active Board of Directors.


Charles C. Connely IV

C.C. Connely & Associates LLC

Expertise: Financial Services, Real Estate, Finance/Accounting, Strategy/Planning, Venture Capitalist

Charles ("Chuck") C. Connely, IV, CCIM is the President of C.C. Connely & Associates LLC which has two divisions – Builder Financial Services Group ("BFS") and Corporate Financial Services Group ("CFS"). BFS specializes in commercial build-to-suit for lease developments and financings for manufacturing, warehouse/distribution, retail, office, municipal and entertainment properties.

CFS specializes in strategic planning of acquisitions, disposal, identification of the business to be bought or sold, business appraisal, development of the transaction and negotiating the price and financing small and middle market companies in a variety of different industries.

Charles is also an adjunct professor and teaches strategic management, finance and real estate at the University of Missouri – Kansas City Bloch School of Business and the Lewis White Real Estate Center.

Charles serves on the Board of Directors of the CCIM Kansas City Chapter and is the President. He also serves on the Board of Directors and is the 2011 Treasurer of the CCIM Institute internationally. Charles won the Kansas City CCIM Chapter 2004 Home Run Award for Retail Projects and the CCIM Partner's 2005 Retail Lease Transaction of the Year Award. Charles is a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM). The CCIM Institute is an international commercial real estate organization with approximately 18,000 members.

Charles graduated with an MBA and BBA (with distinction) from the University of Missouri – Kansas City. He is also a graduate of the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Georgetown University.


C.Thomas Cook

Expertise: Strategy/Planning, Financial/Accounting, Information Technology, Operations/Production, Acquisitions, Financial Services, Franchising and Management Consulting.

With over 40 years experience, Tom has a wide background in all aspects of Information Technology, business development, people development, financial and personnel management as well as acquisition planning and executing, outsourcing and management consulting.

Tom has held positions of Chief Information Officer (CIO), Chief Financial Officer, Marketing Director, Bank Operations Manager and President of a bank subsidiary. He has worked for ITT Data Services, Systems Development Corporation, King Resources, First Interstate Systems Corporation, Security Pacific Automation Corporation, Bank One Services Corporation, First Security Information Systems and Commerce BancShares.

Tom holds an MBA and a MS in Information Technology and was selected as one of The Top 100 Best CIO’s in the US by CIO Magazine in 2003. His professional activities include an appointment by the Governor of the State of Washington to the Board of Directors for Information Systems, Board member of the Western States Library System and appointment to the Technical Advisory Board for the development of an online Information Systems degree for students at UMKC.


Brian Corn

COO, GreenTree Technology Partners

Brian Corn is a 20+ veteran of the software development and consulting industry having played roles from developer to architect to executive along the way.  He possesses a strong track record of meeting and exceeding business goals through a combination of proper resource leverage and hands-on commitment.  His ability to understand a business problem and engineer a solution that speaks to front line, management and executive team members alike sets him apart in the software consulting and solutions arena.  Brian has worked in a wide variety of industries including healthcare, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, resource management, financial analysis, clinical research and general technology consulting with such companies and clients as UnitedHealth Group/Ingenix, ATI, DSI, XenoTech, Sprint, St. Luke’s Health System, and Trabon Solutions.  He specializes in due diligence, team building, process development, and the strategic alignment of limited resources with technology to maximize Return on Investment.

Brian received his Executive MBA from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Bloch School of Management and Public Administration in 2004.  He also received his B.S. in Computing and Information Sciences from Trinity University in 1988.


Dan Crumb

Chief Financial Officer, Kansas City Chiefs

Dan Crumb was named Kansas City’s Chief Financial Officer on September 17, 2010. He enters his fourth season in the National Football League, working with Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt and President Mark Donovan in directing the club’s business operations.

Since joining the Chiefs, Crumb has been instrumental in strengthening the club’s business operations by instituting changes that have improved the team’s business efficiency including implementation of new payroll and accounting systems, strengthening business continuity and disaster recovery plans and enhancing ticketing procedures for special events. Along with the club’s finance department, Crumb also oversees the ticket office and information systems department, which serves the technology needs of both the Chiefs and Hunt Midwest Enterprises.

Prior to joining the Chiefs, Crumb, a New Orleans native, worked for the New Orleans Hornets of the National Basketball Association as the team’s Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. During his time with the Hornets, he led the club’s finance, human resources and information technology departments. He oversaw the transition of the finance department from Oklahoma City to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. In addition to financial leadership, Crumb was responsible for compliance with league standards and policies.

Crumb began his professional career at KPMG, an international audit, tax and advisory firm.

The certified public accountant earned his Master of Business Administration from Tulane University’s A. B. Freeman School of Business. He also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from the University of New Orleans.

An active member of the New Orleans community, Crumb served on the Board of Directors for The Salvation Army, Café Hope and Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana. He was also a guest lecturer at the Tulane University Law School Sports Law Program and has authored a number of articles for national and state CPA society journals.

Crumb has brought that same community involvement to the Midwest and is part of numerous philanthropic organizations in Kansas City. He is a member of the Board of Directors and Treasurer of Harvesters Community Food Network. He is also on the Board of Directors and Finance Committee of Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas and a Snow Ball Patron Committee member.

In addition to his community service Crumb is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, serves on the Board of Directors of the Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants and is a member of the Kansas Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Board of Trustees of the Kansas Society of Certified Public Accountants Educational Foundation.


Edward M. Curry

Edward Curry has considerable experience in New Product Development, Strategic Planning, Consumer Retail Marketing, Trade and Consumer Promotions, Market Intelligence and Product Research.  Ed has hands-on expertise in the consumer packaged goods industry where he managed businesses in food, health & beauty aids plus paper & plastic products.  He worked with the grocery, mass merchandise, club store, convenience and military classes of trade.   With his strong analytical and research skills, Ed prides himself in finding the right possible niche for each potential new product, business or service. 

His early career at Nestle, the world’s largest food company, included assignments in sales, distribution, finance and classic brand management.  He advanced through these positions to work with Proctor & Gamble in its oral care business.  Chinet, then part of Van Leer of the Netherlands and now part of Huhtamaki of Finland, recruited Ed to apply high-level consumer marketing to its paper tableware products.  Most recently he was a Director in its DeSota, KS operation.   In addition to his corporate career Ed owned and operated a Hallmark Gold Crown retail business for 25 years.

A graduate of Pace University in New York City, Ed holds a Masters of Business Administration in Marketing and Finance.  He received his undergraduate degree in Economics from Manhattan College, also in New York City.  A native of Brooklyn, NY, Ed and his family live in Kansas City where he is involved in a diverse collection of post-corporate assignments. Among his favorites are skills training for medical students at UMKC and KU Medical Schools, tax specialist projects for the IRS and H&R Block and property risk assessments for major insurance clients.


Douglas D. Danforth, Jr.


Expertise: Consumer Products, Financial Services, Real Estate, Services, Branding/Communications, Finance/Accounting, Marketing/Sales, Operations/Production, Start-Up, Strategy/Planning

Douglas is Founder and CEO of Aha LLC, a firm he established in January 2010 to develop, manufacture and distribute a new, patent-pending device for the companion animal (pet), and other consumer markets. In October 2010, Aha closed its first round of equity financing with third-party investors. Previously, Douglas served as President and CEO of Midland Loan Services, Inc. The second largest servicer of commercial mortgages in the United States, Midland is headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The PNC Financial Services Group (NYSE: PNC). Prior to leading the acquisition of Midland on behalf of PNC, Doug was Executive Vice President of PNC, responsible for Real Estate Capital Markets. Douglas earned a B.A. degree from Duke University, an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University, and an M.S. in Accounting from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He is a member of the Advisory Council of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon.

Cary Daniel

Co-Founder and CEO, Nextaff

Cary Daniel is the CEO of Nextaff; a firm that develops and implements Workforce Strategies for small to mid-sized companies. Mr. Daniel co-founded the company in 2002. With more than 15 years of employment services expertise and a 10 year serial entrepreneurial veteran, Mr. Daniel has been involved in every aspect of running a successful organization. His company's have received local and national awards for both growth and service. Since Mr. Daniel has been involved in over 30 different ventures, he has also worked through many aspects of a struggling business.

Mr. Daniel earned his Bachelor's Degree from Missouri State University. He is a member of the American Staffing Association (ASA) and National Association of Professional Employer Organization (NAPEO). Mr. Daniel is mentor at the UMKC Bloch School of Business and has previously worked with business and entrepreneur students at Missouri State University and Kansas University.

Tim Danker


Tim is a co-founder and CEO of Spring Venture Group, a high-growth sales and direct marketing organization.  Spring Venture Group leverages internet marketing to drive relevant consumer leads to a centralized sales center for the insurance and financial services industry.  Through Tim’s leadership the firm and its subsidiaries have produced multi-million dollar revenue growth and created partnerships and joint ventures with leading insurance carriers, national brokerages and internet technology firms.  Prior to Spring, Tim held several leadership positions in business development, corporate finance, sales management and international business for both Sprint Nextel and Cerner Corporation.  Tim earned a BS degree in Business Administration from the University of Missouri and a MBA from the University of Kansas.Tim is a co-founder and CEO of Spring Venture Group, a high-growth sales and direct marketing organization.  Spring Venture Group leverages internet marketing to drive relevant consumer leads to a centralized sales center for the insurance and financial services industry.  Through Tim’s leadership the firm and its subsidiaries have produced multi-million dollar revenue growth and created partnerships and joint ventures with leading insurance carriers, national brokerages and internet technology firms.  Prior to Spring, Tim held several leadership positions in business development, corporate finance, sales management and international business for both Sprint Nextel and Cerner Corporation.  Tim earned a BS degree in Business Administration from the University of Missouri and a MBA from the University of Kansas.

Darrel T. Davis

Darrel T. Davis attended the United States Air Force Academy where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Management, and was third in command his senior year.  He was a varsity letterman in track, and also ran track while in the United States Air Force.  He was honorably discharged as a Captain in the United States Air Force after leading Logistics and Operations for a Combat Civil Engineering squadron (Red Horse) at Nellis AFB, Nevada.

Darrel has an M.B.A. from California State University at Dominguez Hills in Carson, California obtained while in the Air Force, and he also went on to receive his Juris Doctorate degree in law from the University of Colorado.  Darrel has over 23 years of business experience in the DOD, private sector, consulting, and non-profit arenas.  His specialty areas are finance, operations, process improvement, and supply-chain management.

He is also the former Board President of the Kansas City, Missouri chapter of Habitat for Humanity (2007-2009), and sits on the Advisory Council board currently at Operation Breakthrough, a non-profit for disadvantaged urban youth in Kansas City, Missouri.  Darrel’s passions are education, construction, and urban agriculture on a grand scale.

Darrel’s current position is with the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Federal Acquisition Service (FAS), as the Director for Small Business Strategic Planning & Support Services for the Heartland Region, with responsibility for directing federal contracting services to vendors in the Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri region.  Darrel and his family live in Lee’s Summit, Missouri and he has four girls and one son.

Christopher Dove

Chris is a commercial litigator experienced at representing plaintiffs and defendants in complex, high-stakes cases. Prior to joining Warden Grier in 2012, Chris practiced in Washington, DC at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft and at the United States Department of Justice Tax Division. He served as a federal law clerk for the Honorable Carlos Murguia of the United States District Court for the District of Kansas.

Chris has prosecuted and defended a wide range of business disputes, including claims for breach of contract, fraud, oppression or expulsion of investors and owners in private companies (partnerships, LLCs, and close corporations), breach of fiduciary duty, director & officer liability, construction, real estate, and commercial finance.

Chris is a member of the patent bar and an experienced intellectual property lawyer, having handled patent, trade secret, copyright, and licensing matters. He has litigated patent infringement actions before federal courts and the U.S. International Trade Commission. With undergraduate and graduate scientific training, Chris quickly comprehends the significance of technical matters in the context of intellectual property. He has experience with pharmaceutical, chemical, cellular phone, medical device, electrical device, and data networking technologies. Chris also has advised artists on copyright and contract matters.

While in law school, Chris was selected as the Editor in Chief of the Kansas Law Review and graduated Order of the Coif.

Darren Dupriest

Validity Screening Solutions

Expertise: Services, Human Resources, Marketing/Sales, Operations/Production, Start-Up, Strategy/Planning
After a stint with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Darren created an employment screening division for a national investigative and security consulting firm.

After a stint with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Darren created an employment screening division for a national investigative and security consulting firm.

During his 12-year career in the security industry, as a former licensed investigator, he directed investigations including workers' compensation fraud, embezzlement, M&A due diligence, sexual harassment, and employee theft, thus bringing unique expertise to the clientele he supports. He has been an affiant in numerous civil actions involving employment-related backgrounds as well as having been requested as an expert witness in the field.

In 2004, he acquired this entity and rebranded it as Validity Screening Solutions, an information technology company specializing in employment screening and drug testing.

Darren and the Validity team help employers look past the commoditization of background checks and appreciate the value of mitigating risk by properly screening applicants. A premium is placed on advanced technology playing an active role in the deployment of reliable and compliant information.

He is a founding member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) for which he formerly served as co-chairman of the Client Education Best Practices subcommittee.

He is a frequent speaker for organizations such as the Kansas Association of School Business Officials, the Heartland Labor Law Conference, the International Public Management Association, the High Technology Crime Investigation Association, the Kansas City Safety and Health Council, the Certified Fraud Examiners, as well as local SHRM Chapters. He has designed and presented human resources training programs varying from Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) compliance to the design and implementation of federally-mandated security clearance background programs and Identity Theft Prevention seminars. Darren has also served as an informational resource for media outlets throughout Kansas and Missouri.

Validity Screening Solutions has been awarded the following: Kansas City Business Journal's "Best Places to Work" (2010), Ingram's Kansas City's "Best Companies to Work For" (2010), Thinking Bigger Media's "25 Under 25" Top Small Business Award (2010), Kansas City Chamber of Commerce's "Small Business Celebration Candidate" (2010), Inc. magazine's "America's Fastest Growing Companies" in 2009 and 2010.

David Ebbrecht

Kansas City Southern

Expertise: Operations, Leadership

Dave Ebbrecht is executive vice president operations of Kansas City Southern (KCS) and its U.S. subsidiaries, closely coordinating with the leadership of KCS' Mexican subsidiary. Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., KCS is a transportation holding company that has railroad investments in the U.S., Mexico and Panama. KCS' North American rail holdings and strategic alliances are primary components of a NAFTA Railway system, linking the commercial and industrial centers of the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

Ebbrecht has 23 years of transportation industry experience. He joined the company in 2001 and has held positions in strategic planning, materials logistics, business development, transportation management and network operations. He has also held transportation positions with CSX and the U.S. Army.

He serves various Association of American Railroad committees, including the board of directors for the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. in Pueblo, Colo. and the executive committee for Safety and Operations Management. He also chairs the Railinc Project Support Working Committee.

Ebbrecht holds a master of business administration from the University of Missouri Kansas City and a bachelor of science in general engineering and psychology from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

E. Frank Ellis

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer,
Swope Community Enterprises

E. Frank Ellis is Founder, Chairman and CEO of Swope Health Services, Swope Community Builders, Applied Urban Research Institute, and Swope Community Enterprises. Founded FirstGuard in 1996 with an investment of $5 million and grew to annual revenue of over $250 million. He sold FirstGuard to Centene Corporation, December 2004 for $123 million. He is a former Chairman of the Board of Brush Creek Community Partners. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a Master of Science degree in Public Health, and has performed postgraduate work at Harvard University School of Business. Frank serves on the boards of the Heart of America Boy Scouts, United Missouri Bank, Rockhurst University, UMKC Trustees, Midwest Research Institute Board of Trustees and is the 1st Vice Chair for Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.

He received local and national recognition for his impact as a social entrepreneur—effectively applying business principles and practices to address the total health and economic wellbeing of the indigent and working poor. He has successfully fostered public-private partnerships resulting in investments in some of Kansas City's most blighted and depressed neighborhoods, transforming them with new housing, office, and retail space; resulting in new jobs, social services, economic growth, and a restored sense of pride.

Brandon Fancher

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney

Expertise: Financial Services, Real Estate, Angel Investment, Branding/Communications, Finance/Accounting, Franchising, Marketing/Sales, Start-Up, Strategy/Planning, Venture Capitalist


Tony Faustino

Tony Faustino brings more than 15 years of commercial experience in the pharmaceutical industry, strategic management, and market strategy. His career includes experiences in sales, business development, client relationship management, corporate strategy, and marketing strategy within Fortune 500 organizations and academia. As a management consultant with Cap Gemini Ernst & Young he served large Fortune 500 organizations in executing and managing large-scale operational strategy engagements. He is also experienced in evaluating strategic alliances and partnerships.

He is passionate in studying disruptive technologies driven by The Internet. His self-published personal blog, Social Media ReInvention Blog, focuses on marketing reinvention for both organizations and individuals via social media, inbound marketing, and technology. In addition, he actively participates in social media networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+.

Tony earned a B.A. in Biology and an M.B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis.


Patrick J. Farrell

Expertise: Consumer Products, Retail, Wholesale, Services, Marketing/Sales, Operations/Production, and Human Resources: Planning, Hiring, Evaluation, Placement, Compensation, Incentive/Bonus Pay, Training and Development, Benefits, Insurance, Organizational, Management, Team and Career Development.

Patrick has served in business, university, and community services organizations employing 5 to 250,000 employees. He enjoys the challenge of both small and large organizations. He currently owns and operates Sibley Orchards and Cider Mill, along with family members. He also serves as Chief Operating Officer, Community Services League in Eastern Jackson County.

He has held positions with PepsiCo, Pizza Hut, Indiana University, Hallmark, Tippins, Cargo Largo, Argosy Gaming, Harrah’s, and his own companies.

A graduate of the University of Missouri, he helps in several university state wide organizations, as well as the Jackson County MU Extension Program.

He holds degrees from University of Missouri, University of Wisconsin, and is ABD, Indiana University. Patrick has taught and been involved with students throughout his career. He enjoys the excitement of developing a business/enterprise to meet a goal or provide a real service.


Alan Felton

President Felton Associates Inc.,
Founder Pulse Needlefree Systems Inc.,
Founder Felton Medical Inc.

Currently Felton Associates Inc. is involved in consulting to US and Danish animal health companies and has just completed a project in Kazakhstan, for a US State Department affiliate.

Alan emigrated with his family 21 yrs ago from Australia to found and operate Felton Medical Inc., which operated as a distributor of animal medical devices and nutraceuticals to 300 distributors nationwide and to the Animal divisions of big pharmaceuticals such as Pfizer, Merial, [formerly Merck] Bayer, Ft. Dodge, Intervet, and others.

He chose Kansas City to locate in the US because of location, lifestyle, the concentration of average firms and related infrastructure, and the schools available to his 3 young sons. Alan exited Felton Medical Inc. recently, through sale to a competitor.

In 1990 Alan founded a spin off entity, Pulse Needlefree Systems Inc., with the basis of the technology being Needlefree [jet] injection purchased from the Russian Military. This involved a complex international tech. transfer, with extended negotiations with Russian and US Governments, W.H.O., FDA, along with the selection of a team to operate the business, capital raising and arrangements for ''in kind'' support from a number of organizations, incl. PATH [an internationally focused NGO] and the Gates Foundation. Alan has an interest in assisting start up organizations, with business planning and raising capital. Alan has supported ventures in many different sectors including domestic and International Agribusiness.

Adam Fichman

Lifted Logic

Adam Fichman has been working with computers since floppy’s were floppy, and computer data was on tapes. Basically, as long as he can remember. In college, his first start-up company, 1Dawg, started in the back of his garage, but was the very first company to push videos from the internet to a cell phone. While in the running to become the platform for Facebook video, 1dawg worked with the people behind the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to facilitate legal video sharing. At that time, 1dawg was the 17th most popular video website on the net with more than 20 million unique hits a month. After multiple buyout offers, Adam realized that maintaining his own vision for the company was more important to him than selling out.

Fast forward to today, where Adam created Lifted Logic, a new media company, which specializes in everything related to graphic design, print, and web. To date, they have designed thousands of websites in the Kansas City area and worked with thousands of clients. Adam has also been interviewed as a web 2.0 expert by the Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine,, and has spoken about his serial entrepreneurship at numerous universities. Adam lives in the Kansas City area and has the nicest garden in the neighborhood, grown all organically, of course.

Adrianne Ford

Adrianne E. Ford, Executive MBA, is a business consultant, university instructor and advocate for social change. She leverages over 20 years of experience as a Senior Manager in the telecommunications and non-profit publishing industries to equip organizations for 21st century transformation. Adrianne provides strategic, motivational, operational, tactical and market planning services to corporations, institutions of higher education, and non-profit organizations. She has received numerous awards for improving customer loyalty standards and for developing, launching and managing several successful products through effective integrated marketing campaigns. She specializes in leveraging technologies, and traditional methods to manage brands to positive ROI, grow margins, launch products and strengthen customer relationships.

Adrianne has launched leading edged products in several industries including, telecommunications, non-profit, hospitality, publishing and multiple healthcare entrepreneurial ventures. She is pursuing Doctoral studies at St. Louis University where she is earning a PhD in Educational Leadership.


Bernard Fried


Expertise: Financial Services, Telecommunications/Wireless, Biometrics, Call Centers, Obtaining Funding, Marketing/Sales, Strategy, Operations/Production, Start-Up, Early Stage

With over 35 years in entrepreneurial, intrapreneurial, enterprise, and educational settings, Bernie has applied his management, business development, operations, strategy, and sales skills to consult with Fortune 1000, start-up, early stage, and international outsourcing companies in the US, India, the Philippines, and Australia. His clients have included such companies as American Electric Power, AT&T, Capital One, Telstra, and Nippon Telephone.

Bernie currently serves as Managing Member of Keylix Capital Group, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in writing business plans and developing proforma financials for start-up and early stage companies, and assisting companies in raising funds through debt and equity markets. Previously, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Flint Telecom Group, Inc., an international telecom, technology, and services organization delivering next-generation IP communications products and services. Previously, he served as Managing Member of FCI Companies, LLC, a successor company to Fried Consulting, Inc.; Vice President and Managing Director of Condado Group, Inc., a Customer Relationship Management and Call Center consulting firm; and President of Fried Consulting, Inc., a call center and telecommunications consulting firm.

Over the years, Bernie has helped companies introduce programs, products, and services for entering new markets and has developed and taught proposal writing courses for corporate and government officials at the State University of New York. He currently teaches management and leadership courses in the School of Professional and Graduate Studies at Baker University and has taught graduate level courses in entrepreneurship at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC). In addition, he has developed undergraduate and graduate level courses for Baker University, is a mentor and entrepreneur-in-residence in UMKC’s Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and teaches workshops in the entrepreneurial finance and innovation.

Bernie received his MBA with honors from Pace University in New York.

Blake Fulton

Principal of MAG Trucks,
Former Business Journalism Intern at The Motley Fool,
Policy Associate at the Cato Institute

Blake is currently the principal of MAG Trucks where he co-heads the organization towards providing transportation solutions to the country's top delivery companies. With his co-partner Brad Carlson he started MAG Trucks out of his college dorm room and has been running and expanding it ever since. Blake's career experience has been spread over a wide swath of industries. From doing non-profit research for The Solar Electric Light Fund to assisting in policy research at the notable Cato Institute in Washington, DC.

Byron Ginsburg

Byron is a marketing, communications, and account management professional who has worked locally in the manufacturing, distribution and creative services industries.  He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from KU and an MBA in Marketing from Avila University.

Byron managed the customer service and credit departments at Fixtures Furniture, a manufacturer of office seating and tables, founded by the late Norman Polsky. Later stops included Mid-America Wholesale (a distributor of promotional apparel) as Director of Client Services, and the Sprint/EMBARQ organizations, where he specialized in marketing communications and consumer advertising campaigns.

Byron has worked with brands including Fruit of the Loom, DISH Network, RadioShack and SONIC Drive-In.  He most recently worked at Overland Park marketing agency Creative Consumer Concepts (C3).

Rob Givens

Mazuma Credit Union

Expertise: Financial Services, Branding/Communications, Finance/Accounting, Information Systems, Marketing/Sales, Start-Up, Strategy/Planning

Rob Givens recently retired as the President/CEO of Mazuma Credit Union, a $421 million Kansas City institution with ten branch offices, over 53,000 Members and 200 employees. Mazuma is the second largest credit union in the Kansas City market and the fifth largest in Missouri. Over the past 24 years Rob has served as AVP of Data Processing, Chief Financial Officer and CEO of seven credit unions varying in size from $75 million to over $2 billion in assets. He was raised in St. Louis and has a BS in Business Administration from the University of Kansas. He also earned an MBA from the University of Utah. Rob served 11½ years in the U.S. Air Force as a Navigator, Accounting & Finance Officer, Fiscal Control Officer, and Education Officer. After leaving the Air Force, he worked for Control Data Corporation, Quinox Corporation and IBM.

In his nine years at Mazuma, Rob helped create and served on the boards of a Marketing CUSO (Credit Union Service Organization – a for-profit subsidiary of a credit union); a mortgage CUSO with origination and servicing capacity as well as a title entity; a payday lending company and a statewide business lending CUSO. He was the sole CU participant in a two-year Collaborative along with 14 other national banking executives to develop a better needs assessment experience for small businesses. He serves on the Business Advisory Board of UMKC SIFE, the Business Advisory Board of Park University Business School, and is the Past President of the Board of Directors of Brush Creek Community Partners (BCCP), a local community redevelopment partnership. Rob is a Herman A. Johnson mentor and serves on the Advisory Board of the Diversity Business Connection, both programs of the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. He is a commissioner for the Local Investment Commission (LINC) which oversees more than $10 million in state funding for underserved communities in the Kansas City, MO area.


Paul Gregory

Five Elms

Expertise: Financial Services, Media/Entertainment, Services, Finance/Accounting, Start-Up, Strategy/Planning, Venture Capitalist

Paul leads Five Elms Capital’s efforts in financial services and media/information sectors.  Five Elms Capital is a late stage venture capital firm that invests in high growth businesses that use technology to improve their value proposition, lower their infrastructure costs, and grow faster than their peers.  Paul currently sits on the board of BuildMyMove, a Kansas City based company offering real time online moving quotes and an affordable moving alternative to van line and full service movers.  Prior to joining Five Elms, Paul worked in the corporate and investment banking unit of Bank of America after beginning his career in asset management with Merrill Lynch.  Paul received an MBA, with Highest Distinction, from the University Of Kansas School Of Business where he also earned a B.S. in Accounting.

George E. Hansen III

TGP Investments

Expertise: Consumer Products, Information Technology, Retail, Services, Angel Investment, Branding/Communications, Finance/Accounting, Franchising, Government, Marketing/Sales, Operations/Production, Strategy/Planning, Venture Capitalist

George E. Hansen III is currently CEO of Zave Networks, a company offering digital commerce solutions to the couponing ecosystem. George has more than 30 years’ experience managing businesses in multiple industries in both North America and Europe. In addition to managing for exceptional growth he has also been principally involved in a variety of transaction types, including acquisitions, demergers and exits in both the public and private markets. Immediately prior to joining Zave, George was a director of TGP Investments, a Kansas City based private equity firm working with mid-sized companies. Preceding that, he was the CEO and President of Corporate Lodging Consultants, Inc., a market leading business process outsourcing company serving Fortune 100 companies and the US government. Rapid growth and performance there lead to an exit for its investors in 2009.

From 1999 to 2004, he was the CEO and President of CARSTAR, Inc. the nation's largest collision repair aggregator. George held senior positions at Thorn EMI, PLC from 1988 to 1998, where as Executive Vice President he helped lead the sale of Thorn Americas, Inc. to a strategic buyer. George began his career in the food service business, holding senior positions at Denny's, Inc. and Wendy's International. A graduate of the University of Maine he also holds a certificate in Management from Columbia University. George has served on a number of charitable boards and currently sits on the Board of Advisors to the Business School at the University of Kansas, where he regularly lectures on strategy. He also recently joined the Council for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Bloch School of Business at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.

Derrek Harter

SocialVolt, Inc.

Derrek Harter is currently the co-founder and chief operating officer at SocialVolt, Inc., a social media technology company in Kansas City. Derrek oversees the business development, marketing, product development and channel development activities of SocialVolt. He has worked for both Fortune 500 companies and startups, providing him with a diverse set of experiences. He has previously held roles at both Sprint and EMBARQ (now CenturyLink), where he developed a passion for technology, sales and marketing. Derrek holds a Master of Business Administration in Finance from Rockhurst University, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Emporia State University.

Kirk Hasenzahl


Kirk is the Co-Founder and CEO of RareWire.  RareWire has created a new, industry-changing SaaS platform for developing native apps for tablets, phones and other mobile devices.  Previously, Kirk was VP of Sales and Business Development at Saepio Technologies, a marketing technology company in KC, for 8 years and was Vice President at Tekno Capital Ventures in Denver, CO, where he managed a team of 15 brokers who raised money for technology start-ups in the dot com boom of the 1990’s for 10 years.  And prior to that, he had the greatest job of all time, as a pitcher in the Minor Leagues for the Cleveland Indians.  


Michael R. Haverty

TGP Investments

A fourth generation railroader, Mike Haverty began his railroad career with Missouri Pacific Railroad Company in 1963 as a brakeman and completed its management-training program in 1967, following his graduation from college. Today, he serves as executive chairman of KCS, chairman of KCSR and Kansas City Southern de Mexico, S.A de C.V. (KCSM), as well as co-chairman of the Panama Canal Railway Company (PCRC).  KCS owns 50 percent of PCRC, which operates across the Isthmus of Panama.

Mike was named Railway Age magazine’s “Railroader of the Year” in 2001, as the architect of the NAFTA Railway.  He was also awarded the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2008 Award in the transportation category in the Central Midwest regional program.  Progressive Railroading has named Mike the 2011 recipient of its Railroad Innovator Award, which recognizes an individual’s outstanding achievement in the rail industry. 

Mike is a member emeritus of the Board of Trustees of the John W. Barriger, III National Railroad Library, which is affiliated with the St. Louis Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and the University of Denver’s Intermodal Transportation Institute.  He is also a member of Midwest Research Institute’s Board of Trustees.

As chairman of the board of directors of Union Station Kansas City, Mike joined other civic leaders in turning the community treasure around financially and helping it thrive with new tenants, attractions and blockbuster exhibits. He also provides leadership on the boards of The River Club and The Civic Council of Greater Kansas City.  He is a member of the Knights of Malta.

Mike is a native Kansan, born in Atchison.  He is a graduate of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette and received a master of business administration from the University of Chicago


Sindie Henson-Pugsley

Sinergy Consulting Services

Sindie Henson-Pugsley's career spans 25 years of technology and management experience in the consumer products, technology, financial services retail, manufacturing and R&D sectors. Most recently, she is serving as Principal Consultant with Sinergy Consulting Services where she provides strategy, technology and social media consulting to small businesses.

Sindie began her career as researcher with Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio, where she worked on natural language interfaces to traditional computer systems. She gained additional technology and financial experience while working with the various insurance products at Nationwide Insurance. In 1996, Sindie was recruited to the development team at PeopleSoft in California where she lead teams in quality, release management, and data center operations. Sindie also led the IT team at before relocating back to Kansas City to join Hallmark Cards in 2001. At Hallmark Sindie led teams responsible for big data initiatives, retail, wholesale, and business-to-business and business-to-consumer web applications. Sindie left Hallmark in 2012 to start her own business.

Sindie also has been involved in a wide variety of non-profit initiatives in Kansas City including Girl Scouts of NE Kansas and NW Missouri. Sindie and her husband have coached youth competitive robotics teams in Kansas City for the last seven years with teams making to the FIRST World Championships the last two years. She is now forming a company, N2Robotics, LLC, to expand their ability to share robotics and technology education with kids, beyond their competitive teams.

Sindie is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia and received her Executive MBA from the Bloch School of Management at UMKC.

Karen Hittle

Manager, Technology Development and Commercialization Office (TDCO), Midwest Research Institute (MRI)

Expertise: Consumer Products, Petroleum/Energy, Services, Branding/Communications, Marketing/Sales, Patenting, Start-Up, Strategy/Planning

Karen managed the intellectual property and internal research and development funding processes at MRI for  7 years. MRI is a leading not-for-profit contract research institute that focuses on the areas of national security and defense, life sciences, energy and the environment, agriculture and food safety, and engineering and infrastructure. As the head of the TDCO, Karen supported the development of IP from its conceptual stage through to its commercialization and developed MRI's proprietary IP Management Process. While in charge of MRI's patenting activities and the marketing of intellectual property, she led MRI's efforts in executing licensing agreements, the creation of new ventures, and the growth of contract research through the differentiation of MRI's technologies. In addition to her intellectual property responsibilities, Karen managed the funding of internal projects to encourage innovation throughout the institute, facilitate peer reviews, develop concepts into realized inventions, and help MRI meet client contract research needs. Outside her TDCO responsibilities, Karen was the lead on MRI's Change Management efforts and is a member of MRI's Sustainability Committee.

Ralph Hodge

Ralph Hodge enjoyed twenty five years of service for Sprint Corporation, serving in all financial areas of accounting, treasury, forecasting, budgeting and operations analysis. Additionally, he served as President of several of Sprint's business units with responsibility for marketing, sales, customer service, product development and business planning. During his career he participated in numerous merger and acquisition and business integration activities.

Ralph holds BS, BBA and MBA degrees and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Blake Hodges

Glynn Devins Advertising & Marketing

Expertise: Media/Entertainment, Services, Branding/Communications, Marketing/Sales, Strategy/Planning

Blake Hodges is the Digital Media Strategist for GlynnDevins Advertising & Marketing in Overland Park. At GlynnDevins, Blake established the agency's digital media services (search, email, online display) that enable senior living communities to efficiently generate and retain qualified leads online. He also has experience in website development and web analytics. Prior to GlynnDevins, Blake spent eight years at KMBC-TV where he led advertising sales for He has also held positions in market research and sales promotion.

Jene' Hong

Expertise: Media/Entertainment, Services, Branding/Communications, Marketing/Sales, Strategy/Planning

Jene' Hong received her degree in accounting from Texas Christian University later earning designation as a Certified Public Accountant. In addition she held Series 6 & 63 Securities licenses, as well as a Health Life and Annuities license. She began her career in public accounting gaining experience in audits, tax, general accounting, and business valuations for both public and privately held companies, unions, nonprofits, trust and individuals. After 10 years she left public accounting to join a client as general manager and lead its organic growth from two healthcare related companies to a group of five companies. She led finance, accounting, IT, HR and operations growing revenue from $2 million to $15 million in three years. Jene' has worked to identify unprofitable segments of the business, restructure, cut cost, obtain financing, sell companies and segments of business, acquire companies and wind down operations.



Jeff Hutsell is a seasoned business executive with CEO experience in a public corporation and founder/CEO of his own company with a passion for creativity and leadership.

With more than 14,000 members around the world, Vistage International is the world’s leading chief executive organization, providing unparalleled access to new ideas and fresh thinking through CEO peer groups, one-on-one business coaching, expert speaker workshops and online access to best practices, industry articles and white papers. In the past he has been the CEO of two other successful companies: Enesco Group and Levels of Discovery. He has his Bachelor of General Studies from the University of Kansas and his MBA from Harvard Graduate School of Business. He is on the board of the McCormick School of Theology, Chicago, Illinois and Willitts Corporation.


Lydia Istomina

Expertise: Nonprofit, Negotiations, Communications and Branding, Board Development, Cross-cultural Team Management, Ethics and Compliance, Employees Evaluation, Conflict Resolution

After a career in electrochemistry, and nine years as Executive Branch Manager of the Russian non-profit association Znanie (Knowledge), Lydia became the very first woman pastor in Russia after she founded a church in Ekaterinburg, a city of 1.4 million people on the eastern side of the Ural Mountain, a few miles from the Europe-Asia border.

In America, Lydia graduated from St. Paul School of Theology and served several United Methodist congregations in Kansas City, KS and in Raytown, MO.

Now on sabbatical from the church, Lydia is serving on the Strength for Service Board of Directors while completing her doctoral degree at St. Paul School of Theology. A public speaker, Lydia holds multiple speaking arrangements throughout the year.

Her book "Bringing Hidden Things to Light" (Abingdon Press) describes her journey during the dramatic changes in Russia. Another book “From Misery to Mystery” is a collection of stories about the life of an immigrant woman. Her new book “Why Are We Always Afraid of the Truth” is about spiritual stagnation of the last Soviet generation. Her articles and stories are published in magazines and newspapers around the world.

In 1992, Lydia received the SOJOUNER OF TRUTH AWARD for courage and justice and in 2001, the ARLON O. EBRIGHT AWARD for leadership.


Steve Johns


Steve has been involved in building organizations, in turnaround consulting and in mergers and acquisitions of businesses for over 25 years.  As President of Heartland Business Exchange, LLC, Steve serves business owners in a professional and confidential manner to enhance the value, to grow the business and to capture the optimal reward for the effort.

At Heartland Business Exchange Steve helps business owners build value and get the most out of their business upon transfer. 

  • CEO Consulting

  • Peer Group Facilitation

  • Exit planning

  • Mergers and Acquisitions

For fun, not for profit, Steve hosts a radio show focused on economic development in Kansas City.  Many of Kansas City’s entrepreneurs, politicians, community leaders, book authors and professional advisors have told their stories on The Heartland Business Exchange on KXTR, 1660 am.

Steve received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration, a Master's Degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in finance and a Law Degree from the University of Kansas.


Jim Johnson

Expertise: Financial Services, Non-profit, Start-Up, Finance/Accounting, Financial Analysis, Cash Flow Planning, Profit Planning, Strategy/Planning, tax

Jim recently retired from Sprint and is currently the Controller for two non-profit organizations that operate around the world. During his career at Sprint Jim developed a broad range of accounting and financial experience including internal audit, merger and acquisition financial analysis (business valuation, financial projections), new business development and implementation, operational management, budget development and management, process improvement and pricing analysis. In his current role Jim is responsible for cash flow management, financial reporting and accounting operations. Jim started his career working in a local CPA firm coaching small businesses.

In addition to his work as Controller, Jim teaches accounting, personal finance and business finance and mentors/tutors students. As a part of teaching personal finance Jim has consulted with many families to develop financial plans to get finances in order or plan for retirement.

Jim holds BBA and MBA degrees from the University of Missouri-Kansas City with an emphasis in Accounting and Control. He also is a Certified Public Accountant.

Becky Johnston

Expertise: Marketing Strategy, Marketing Analytics, Product Development, Product Management, Finance, Entrepreneurship, Research

Becky brings over 20 years of experience working in the technology and healthcare industries. Her unique combination of marketing, product, finance, research and entrepreneurial skills has been instrumental in helping businesses recognize and benefit from the complexity of emerging trends and shifts in the marketplace. Most recently Becky served as VP of Operations at an early-stage start-up company, working with the founder to launch an evidenced-based solution for increasing patient outcomes while reducing provider costs. Prior to this role, Becky spent eighteen years in the rapidly-changing, highly-competitive telecom industry where she spearheaded efforts to identify new growth opportunities, launch new products and services, and stimulate business growth through new marketing approaches. Additionally, Becky has taught Marketing Strategy and International Marketing to both undergraduate and MBA students and has recently worked with a local not-for-profit organization to generate earned income through a new product venture.

Becky holds an MBA in Finance from the University of Missouri, Kansas City and a bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from the University of Kansas. She has also completed Executive Marketing and Value-Based Management programs at Stanford University and Northwestern University.

Diana Kander

President/CEO, Kander Rigby, LLC

Expertise: Idea Validation, Sales, Customer Interviews, Experimentation.

As refugees of the Soviet Union, Diana Kander's family escaped to the US when she was 8-years-old. By the time she was an American citizen, she had perfected her skills as a capitalist – selling flea market goods to grade school classmates at a markup.

Today, Diana is a successful entrepreneur, having founded and sold a number of ventures, a Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Missouri and a Senior Fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the largest non-profit in the world dedicated to entrepreneurship and education. A Georgetown-educated attorney who left a successful practice to launch her first company, Diana draws on her experience as a founder, investor, and academic to design and implement curriculum in educational institutions and the private sector.

Diana is the author of All In Startup, a New York Times Best selling novel outlining lessons for launching successful products through a story of a struggling entrepreneur making his way through the World Series of Poker.

A sought-out public speaker, consultant and writer, Diana has advised startup founders and Fortune 500 executives on her methodology for launching customer-focused products and services.

Diana lives in Columbia, Missouri with her high school sweetheart/best friend/husband, Jason, and their awesome son, True.

William Kay

Owner of W. Kay & Associates LLC

Expertise: Strategic Planning, Leadership, Team Building, Finance & Accounting, Budgeting & Planning, Project Management

William Kay is dedicated to helping organizations enhance their competitiveness, productivity, and performance.

William Kay’s professional background includes 20 years of experience as CEO, CFO, and owner of a major apparel manufacturing company and, for the past 23 years, he has helped major organizations improve their performance and bottom line business results.

Mr. Kay is the owner of W. Kay & Associates LLC specializing in organizational development systems to help organizations improve performance in Strategic Planning, Leadership, Finance and Accounting, Budgeting, Team Building, Business Literacy, and Project Management.

Mr. Kay has an MBA in Finance and Marketing from the University of Missouri, Columbia and a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Arizona, Tucson. He received a CAIA (Certified Attributes Index Analyst) through Target Training International.

Mr. Kay is a member of the University of Missouri Kansas City, Bloch School of Management Executive Education Associated Faculty and teaches Corporate Finance in their EMBA Program.



Expertise:  Strategic Planning, Law, Business Management, Production, Print Production, Retail, Marketing and Certified Mediator

Glen is an experienced professional with a unique blend of diverse business skills: retail sales, farming, Assistant United States Attorney, trial attorney, sales management, marketing, production manager, CEO, and certified mediator.  He directed strategic planning team orchestrating turnaround of operations, demonstrated exceptional interpersonal skills and effective communications in a variety of business settings and has proven to be a team leader and mentor, working cohesively with others to accomplish common objectives and maintain a harmonious work environment.

He graduated from Kansas State University, Washburn University School of Law and took graduate courses from Michigan State University – The Eli Broad Graduate School of Management.


David J. Kim

Van Osdol & Magruder

David Kim concentrates his practice in the areas of business transactions and general corporate law. He represents clients in a wide variety of transactions including mergers, acquisitions, restructurings, and joint ventures. With respect to general corporate matters, David advises clients about issues such as entity formation, financing, intellectual property protection, board governance and stockholder affairs, and tax law matters. David also routinely provides general counsel advice to family-owned businesses by assisting them in day-to-day legal matters such as contract or lease review, risk management, and dispute resolution. David received a J.D. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 2002, a M.A. from Harvard University in 1995, and a B.A. from Cornell University in 1992.


Jim Klanke

Global Project Management Group

Expertise: Financial Services, Information Technology, Services, Telecommunications/Wireless, Operations/Production, Strategy/Planning, Creative Problem Solving/ Brian Storming

Jim began his career as a project engineer for AT&T Microelectronics leading small to large technology projects and developing new production processes and product lines. Jim’s entrepreneurial spirit got the best of him as he started 3 businesses while working at AT&T; 2 home accessory businesses and an electronics product business before he ultimately found his calling by starting his own management consulting firm, the Global Project Management Group, Ltd (GPMG). 

Jim has spent the last 17 years providing management solutions to small and large businesses for a variety of clients including, most recently, the Department of Defense, Sprint, Wal-Mart, AT&T, the City of Kansas City, USAA, Hawker-Beechcraft, and Strategic Net Applications. Services include business process design and optimization, management of large projects, disaster recovery/business continuity, and change management. Jim efforts resulted in GPMG’s selection as the sixth fastest growing company in Kansas City by Ingram’s Magazine.

Jim is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP®) from the Project Management Institute.  In addition to his certification, James has been very supportive of his profession.

Jim founded the local Project Management Institute’s (PMI) KC Mid-America Chapter and was elected President for 3 years. In addition, James served nationally as PMI’s Certification Committee Chairman for 2 years before being appointed as PMI’s Director of Certification responsible for certification of Project Management Professionals (PMP®s). He paved the way to change the PMP® certification program to improve its credibility and gain worldwide acceptance. James received PMI®’s coveted “Distinguished Contribution” award for his efforts and the PMP® certification has grown from 5,600 PMP®s to over 400,000 PMP®s currently.

Jim possesses a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at Kansas State University and an Executive Masters in Business Administration from the University of Missouri – Kansas City.


Morten Klinte

Thinking Bigger Business Media, Inc.

International communication graduate with extensive and diverse management and marketing experience. Creative problem solver with ability to pilot and execute marketing programs, resolve conflict, improve morale, and consistently exceed goals.

MANAGEMENT- Solid background in planning and executing marketing plans. Hands-on manager with highly developed negotiation skills and experience cultivating strategic business partnerships.

MARKETING- Proven ability to capitalize on market trends and execute creative and effective marketing plans for unique purposes. Broad knowledge of marketing disciplines including research, telemarketing, merchandising, event planning, and advertising.

COMMUNICATION-Persuasive communicator with well-developed presentation and negotiation skills. Able to develop solid relationships with colleagues, customers, and staff at all levels.


Russ koca

President, Accounting & Advisory Services, P.A.

Russell S. Koca CPA, MBA opened Accounting & Advisory Services, P.A. after spending over 19 years working for two national accounting firms and, most recently, as a Partner with a long established local CPA firm. Russ is responsible for all facets of client service and management of the Firm. He focuses on advising closely-held businesses and individuals with a variety of accounting and non-accounting issues. Prior to entering public accounting, Russ spent four years in operations management. Russ has the breadth and depth of experience to help clients with their accounting and consulting needs.

Russ has been involved with a number of civic and charitable causes. He currently serves on the Board of Directors at Boys Hope Girls Hope, and a Mentor at UMKC's Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He is past Treasurer for the University of Missouri Kansas City Alumni Association, alumni advisory board Vice President for the Henry W. Bloch School of Management. He has also been involved Junior Achievement, the Kansas City Chorale performing arts group, and with other civic activities. He has a B.S.B.A., from the University of Kansas,1983 and a M.B.A. in accounting & controls from the University of Missouri Kansas City, 1988.


Philip Krause

Philip krause pc.

Philip received his law degree from Vanderbilt University in 1983 and his bachelor's degree summa cum laude in English and business administration from William Jewell College in 1980. Philip Krause has practiced business, corporate and securities law in the Kansas City area for his entire professional career, spanning nearly thirty years, focusing primarily on serving entrepreneurs and high-growth technology and life sciences ventures. He has been affiliated with prominent Kansas City-based law firms for most of his career, but Philip is an entrepreneur in his own right and currently has his own private law practice seeking to transform how lawyers interact with entrepreneurial clients and deliver the distinctive range of legal services they require through innovative service delivery models. Philip's broad-based experience encompasses the entire "life cycle" of high growth ventures, including structuring and organizing the enterprise, establishing relationships with key constituencies, acquiring, protecting and licensing intellectual property assets, securing capital resources through financing transactions, and realizing wealth through exit transactions. The UMKC School of Law faculty approved his one week course, "Legal Life-Cycle of Technology and Life Sciences Ventures," for the Spring 2011 semester.

As a transactional lawyer, Philip has handled a full range of complex business transactions. Philip has also been a frequent author and lecturer throughout his career, including publications in the Missouri Bar and lectures for the Kansas City Entrepreneurs Club. Philip's current civic and community activities include: Harriman Council and Board of Advisors to the Harriman-Jewell Series of William Jewell College and the Board of Directors for Kansas City Chamber Orchestra.

Philip is highly energized by students of all levels and ages who are seeking to establish their knowledge-base for pursuing their own dreams and ambitions. He mentors recent law school graduates as they develop their own law practices, and also law school and other graduate and undergraduate students as they develop their post-education career and business plans. As an Entrepreneur-In-Residence, Philip interacts directly with students in the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation who are already working to establish their own entrepreneurial ventures, helping them to identify and address their own specific legal challenges, while at the same time contributing to their educational experience in the classrooms and also developing practical, solutions-based reference materials to address start-up company challenges.

Additional information about Philip is available at


Frank Koranda

Frank Koranda is an attorney with SNR Denton.  He practices in corporate and finance transactional matters, principally in mergers and acquisitions. He represents both financial and strategic buyers and sellers of businesses and product lines, primarily in the private middle market. His practice also includes complex debt financings, including senior and mezzanine financing, joint ventures, private placements and the representation of start-up companies and entrepreneurs.

Frank is part of a team of SNR Denton lawyers that operates as general counsel for a number of private equity funds and their subsidiaries, affiliates and portfolio companies with regard to their merger and acquisition activity as well as the day-to-day management of legal affairs.  He has provided representation to over $6 billion in completed mergers and acquisitions and capital market transactions.

Frank has extensive experience in the acquisition, divestiture, investment, financing and daily counseling of companies in a broad range of industries, including telecommunications, heavy industrial manufacturing, specialized motors, clinical research organizations, dental laboratories and orthodontics, healthcare products, photography studios, water treatment facilities, recycling services, aftermarket automotive parts, statement processing, specialty plastics, data centers, environmental testing and sensor products.

Frank received his J.D. from the University of Missouri - Columbia, where he was Note and Comment Editor to the Journal of Dispute Resolution, and received a B.S. from Miami University (OH).


Frank Kruse

Frank Kruse has spent his career commercializing novel, high-growth Life Sciences technologies within larger corporate entities or for venture-backed start-ups.  A farm boy from Central Missouri, Frank went on to the University of Missouri for degrees in Agricultural Economics and Russian Studies before attending advanced language training at Leningrad State University with Duke University and further training at Cornell.  He finished his education with an MS Ag Econ at North Carolina State University. 

His professional career started with leading new product introductions into Russia and the Far East for FMC Ag Chemicals.  He moved on to run international sales a marketing for a variety of life sciences companies including 7 years as manager of international accounts for Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica.  Frank has formed 2 start-ups and been part of 2 more.  Prior to joining the Bioscience & Technology Business Center as its VP & Executive Director, he was responsible for Global Business Development for DeLaval Corp. a Stockholm Sweden based dairy equipment and technology company. 


Lynn Kuluva

Expertise: Retail, Information Systems, Finance

Lynn Kuluva served as an information systems consultant for 20 years with Booz Allen & Hamilton, Computer Sciences Corporation and with Arthur Andersen & Company.

Following that, Lynn owned and operated a pair of retail furniture and appliance stores. For the past 25 years, he has co-owned and operated Rental City, a Rent-to-Own furniture, appliance and home electronics business. He has considerable experience in start-up, operation and growth of small business.

Lynn received a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Management from the University of Missouri and a Master of Science in Computer Science from University of California, Berkeley.


Corinne Lakey

Rodrock Homes, LLC

Corinne Lakey is a graduate of Webster University with a Masters of Arts in Marketing. She also has a BA in Business Management from Ottawa University, an AAS in Interior Design from Johnson County Community College and an Accounting degree from Dickinson Business College. Corinne is currently the Design Center Manager for Rodrock Homes, LLC. Prior to that she founded and managed her own Interior Design firm for eight years. She has held various positions in marketing, management, sales and event planning working with large fortune 500 hundred companies within the Kansas City area. Corinne is also an adjunct faculty member at Ottawa University where she teaches various marketing classes.


Benny Lee

DuraComm Corporation Inc.

Expertise: Consumer Products, Telecommunications/Wireless, Marketing/Sales, Operations/Production, Start-Up

Benny is Chairman & CEO of the DuraComm Corporation, based in Kansas City, Missouri, a leading manufacturer and distributor of AC to DC switching power supplies, LED and Induction lighting solutions and other green power and energy conservation products.

Born and raised in Taiwan, Benny graduated from the Tatung Institute of Technology with a major in electrical engineering. In 1972, he went to work for the Taipei office of Midland International, another Kansas City company.

In 1979, he started Mitco, a Taipei-based trading company. Mitco sourced several high-profile products, Including the Ginsu Knife of the 1980s that sold millions of units on American television infomercials. Mitco played a major role in introducing the Handy Stitch sewing machine to Singer, which sold some four million units during the 1990s.

Mitco served Western Auto and Payless Cashways companies by establishing and maintaining import programs, including Western Auto’s Western Flyer bicycle program. This helped Western Auto to remain in the bicycle business and compete for many years against giant retailers that dominated the retail business at that time.

In 1987, Benny started Trans World in Kansas City, an importing and sales company that worked with Northern Automotive and Peterson Manufacturing.  Benny sold the company in 1990.

In 1995, Benny moved his family to the Unlted States, where he expanded another of his companies, Top Innovations. He launched an affordable line of SteamFast steamers, including a SteamFast fabric steamer that retailed for less than $75. On QVC TV, he sold 16,000 SteamFast fabric steamers in one day alone.

Before selling Top Innovations in 2008, his company had sold lines of SteamFast and McCulloch steam products, including irons steam presses, vacuum cleaners and other innovative merchandise. It was during this run of swift growth that Top Innovations was named a “Top 10 Small Company” by the Greater Kansas City Area Chamber of Commerce in 2003.

Affirming his belief that the United States is the most philanthropic country in the world, Benny lives the practice of giving back to the community. One example is his formation of a club to bring music of the world to the local community.

Benny’s activities include service in many organizations, and his accomplishments have resulted in numerous civic and business awards.


Vicki Lehr

Hallmark Cards

Expertise: Category Management/Assortment Planning, Demand and Inventory Management, Consumer Products, Business Model and Supply Chain, Financial/CPA background

Vicki’s passion is to drive profitable revenue growth by making sure the business model delivers value to both the company and the consumer across the cycle, drawing on the full range of her end-to-end experience to ensure that outcome.

She currently leads the Space and Assortment Planning group at Hallmark Cards, directing the retail assortment development to drive retail growth at ~30,000 retail locations. With over 25 years of diverse experience at Hallmark, she has served in over 10 positions spanning multiple functional areas including tax/finance, demand and inventory planning, and category management/assortment planning. She has worked with a variety of product categories, including greeting cards, gift presentation, partyware, and new/startup innovation efforts.

Before joining Hallmark, Vicki worked as a CPA with Price Waterhouse. She holds a BS in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Michael Litscher

Michael is an entrepreneur and multi-faceted leader with proven skills in biotech & medical device operations, quality and regulatory compliance, research and development of new medical devices.

He has extensive senior management experience, complemented by more than 30 years of medical device experience in operations, quality systems and regulatory compliance. Most recently Michael was the co-founder and CEO of KCBioMedix in 2006, now Innara Health.

Michael has held a number of leadership positions including:

  • General Manager Serologicals Corporation, where he was responsible for the startup of its bio-processing operation in Lawrence, Kansas

  • Chief Operating Officer and board member for LaserSight, a surgical laser business

  • General Manager and Vice President of Operations for Frantz Medical

  • Member of the management team responsible for the startup of the Computerized Tomography and Magnetic Resonance Imaging businesses for General Electric Medical Systems

Michael received his bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Arizona before completing his MBA at the University of Wisconsin.

Kevin Lindsey

Founder-Managing Partner, The DVS Group

Expertise: Consumer Products, Engineering Research and Development, Financial Services, Mergers and Acquisitions, Services, Angel Investment, Finance/Accounting, Franchising, Legal, Marketing/Sales, Patenting, Start-Up, Strategy/Planning

Kevin Lindsey founded The DVS Group in 2004, and has managed private business transactions and entrepreneurial development for more than 10 years. The DVS Group was named as one of 2008's Top 25 Businesses Under 25 Employees in Kansas City.

Kevin is an Entrepreneurship and Business Acquisition subject matter expert providing educational services to organizations nationally, such as: Right Management, Execunet and The Kauffman Foundation. As well as a regularly appearing guest on various media channels, he is a host for two weekly radio shows that deal with business acquisitions: The Entrepreneur Machine and Inside Private Equity Radio. Kevin routinely teaches as an instructor for professional associations such as the International Business Brokers Association, Business Enterprise Institute, and The Kansas CPA Society. Kevin is a classic serial entrepreneur, including being an inventor and patent holder of the Firefly Safety Lighter, a device that safely ignites fireworks without using flames or fuel. As an inventor, Kevin has experience in development and over-seas manufacturing, raising private capital, licensing, and marketing.

A University of Missouri graduate with a degree in Food Science, Kevin's career has included corporations such as RJ Reynolds, M&M Mars as a food scientist, Merrill Lynch, The Equitable, BMA and Berthel Fisher as a private wealth advisor. Kevin's expertise is in guiding complicated transactions for The DVS Group. He deals with the former C-suite level executive buyers guiding their acquisition processes as well as dealing with transactions involving private equity.


Jim Lloyd

Lloyd & MacLaughlin LLC

Jim Lloyd began providing financial advisory support to entrepreneurial businesses in 1987 when he started his own firm in Kansas City after a nine-year career in New York as a commercial lender and merchant banker. His representative client engagements include arranging acquisition and expansion financing from a variety of lenders and venture capital funds, providing due diligence support for acquisitions and providing ongoing financial management support as contract CFO. This contract CFO practice is one that Lloyd helped pioneer in the Kansas City area beginning in 1990.

He has experience with many industries. These include transportation, manufacturing, retail and technology, including extensive involvement in the rail, commercial printing, restaurant and microbrewing industries. Clients have ranged in size from startups to $80 million in sales.

Between 2000 and 2011, Lloyd held a senior management position with a former client company as CFO and General Manager. This business was a large commercial printer formed from the merger of a number of leading businesses in the industry. During this period, he was elected Executive of the Year by the Print Industry Association.

Lloyd is a Chartered Financial Analyst. He earned an MBA from New York University with an emphasis in Accounting and his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth in Economics. Lloyd has been a resident of Kansas City since moving from New York in 1987.


Jim MacLaughlin

James Maclaughlin LLC

Jim MacLaughlin has over 23 years’ experience in advising businesses on their financial management and strategic decision-making and helping to execute related transactions. In that time, he has been involved in a wide variety of activities related to the formation, development, management and financing of growing companies. He has particular experience in the developmental requirements of businesses operating in the life sciences and food production and processing industries. These are regulated industries with unique development and operating characteristics.

Jim has worked with businesses of many types, including the following: medical device companies operating in both human and animal health, companies with pharmaceutical and biological products in clinical development, animal pharmaceuticals and biologicals, diagnostics, livestock production, food safety, and food processing companies. He is experienced in mergers and acquisitions, planning, and capital formation. He has also served in market planning, business valuation, litigation support, and the negotiation of contracts and strategic relationships. He has held roles including advisor, consulting chief financial officer, chief financial officer, and chief operating officer.

Jim is a graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (B.S. Economics).


Gary Mallory

Gary is the owner of Governmental Professional Services Management, LLC(GPSM) which was founded to provide assistance to those working with governmental entities at  the county and municipal levels.  Assistance is provided in areas of Zoning, Annexation, Transportation Development Districts, Community Improvement Districts, and areas associated with economic development.  Prior to founding GPSM Gary served in various elected positions (Alderman, Mayor, Election Authority and County Commissioner) for  31 years. Also, Gary has 25 years of experience in the area of engineering and manufacturing of electronic components with (Western Electric/AT&T/Lucent Technologies).Gary has served as Chairman of the Boards of the Mid America Regional Council and the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority.



Andrew McGhie

Venture Legal

Andrew is an attorney at Venture Legal, and offers an array of transactional legal services for the entrepreneurial community in Kansas City. His practice is devoted to helping KC entrepreneurs with the legal tools essential to establishing and running their businesses.

Andrew enjoys working with innovators and creative minds to actualize their unique goals as business owners. He is a firm believer of the philosophy that legal services should be tools used to do what needs to be done, not obstacles on the road to success.

Laura McKnight

President and CEO, Greater Kansas City Community Foundation

Laura McKnight is president and CEO of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. With more than 3,000 individual funds under its umbrella—ranging in size from a few thousand dollars to tens of millions of dollars—the Foundation helps its donors organize their generosity, offering tools and services for a better way to give. The Foundation values integrity, respect, passion for serving its donors, and innovation, recognizing that every gift, whether $25 or $25 million, makes a difference in the lives of others. The Greater Kansas City Community Foundation serves donors throughout the entire Kansas City area and beyond. The Foundation ranks in the top ten among the more than 650 community foundations in the country, a position it has held since 1999.

Laura is a lifelong resident of the Kansas City region, but for her time spent earning a degree in philosophy from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, where she graduated a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Laura earned her law degree with honors from the University of Kansas, following in the footsteps of a long line of family Jayhawks. In 2001, after spending more than six years as a tax and estate planning attorney at the Kansas City law firm of Spencer Fane Britt & Browne, Laura joined the staff of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. Laura served in a variety of roles at the Foundation, including senior vice president of development and executive director of the Community Foundation of Johnson County, one of the Foundation’s regional affiliates, before assuming the role of president and CEO in 2006.

Laura enjoys contributing to Kansas City’s quality of life beyond her role at the Foundation, including serving on the boards of directors of the Heartland Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors, Children’s Mercy Hospital Foundation, and the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute. Laura is the grateful recipient of several local honors including the Kansas City Tomorrow Distinguished Alumni Award.

Nicholas McLean

Four Pillars Investors

Nicholas McLean has a broad background in finance and operations management having held roles in consulting, investment banking, and on the frontlines of operating companies. His experience encompasses industries including consumer electronics, chemicals, automotive, and industrial goods. He has worked for or consulted startups, mature private companies, and Fortune 500 firms such as 3M and Intel among others. He recently founded Four Pillars Investors, an investment company that buys and operates middle-market businesses.

Nicholas has a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Missouri and a Master in Business Administration from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

Duncan McQueen

Van Osdol & Magruder

As a former systems engineer, Mr. McQueen focuses his business and intellectual practice on advising businesses on all areas regarding the intersection of law and technology including intellectual property. Additionally, with his Masters degree in taxation he counsels a wide variety of clients on strategic tax planning. He is the author of the current "Taxation of Exempt Organizations," The Missouri Bar, Taxation Law & Practice Deskbook. Mr. McQueen received his LL.M. in Taxation from the University of Missouri – Kansas City in 2008, his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Minnesota in 2004, and his Bachelors of Science from Drake University in 1997.

Sean Murphy

Expertise: Financial services, professional speaker and communications sales trainer

Sean has served families and business owners in the United States for more than 20 years since graduating from the University of Texas in Austin.

He began selling at the age of 10. By the age of 16 he ran his first business with employees. During the summer of 1981, while still in high school, his business grossed over $35,000 and profited $14,000 in three short months.

While still full time at the University of Texas he built a business of over 50 sales professionals. Upon graduation from the business school he then ran his financial operation full time. Sean has never had a resume, an interview, a job or a boss since college. His business now serves clientele coast to coast.

Sean was one of 50 brokers selected out of 20,000 to go to New York for special training at the Waldorf Astoria. He was then honored as 1 of 4 to present and coach the remaining 46 selected.

During his career he has spoken to well over 100,000 people from California to New York with crowds ranging from an intimate few to well over 10,000.

Sean currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Inventors Center of Kansas City.

He was recognized locally by KC Magazine and the KC population as one of the ‘Best of the Best’ wealth managers in Kansas City 3 years in a row.  

He is an expert in coaching and evaluating oral communication.

“It has been shown that mastering oral communications is one of the most significant factors for individual financial success in almost every career field. It doesn’t matter how brilliant you are. If you are incapable of verbally conveying your thoughts and influencing others to join in your vision you will not be successful.” Sean Murphy Twitter: #seanmurphyUT


Clint Myers

Vice President, Nueterra Capital

Clint Myers joined Nueterra Capital in 2015 as Vice President. In this role, Clint focuses on transaction structuring, investment analysis and raising capital. Prior to joining Nueterra Capital, Clint served as the Manager of Finance and Acquisitions at KC Venture Group. In this role, Clint was responsible for investment analysis, transaction execution and market research. Prior to KC Venture Group, Clint gained broad finance experience working in corporate finance and public accounting. He received a BS and an MBA from Fort Hays State University and a Master of Science in Accounting from the University of Missouri – Kansas City. Clint also holds a CPA license in the state of Missouri.


Jeffrey Nelson

Jeffrey Nelson is President and COO of Cobalt Ventures, LLC, a wholly-owned holding company for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City that oversees six health care and employee benefits / HR management –related companies doing business across the country.  From 2011 to 2012, he served as Chief Marketing Officer for Cobalt Ventures.   Jeff began his career in health plans and health plan networks with a former Kansas City-based health plan network, in 1991.   He moved to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City in 1995, serving as Marketing Communications Manager and later as Marketing Director, overseeing marketing efforts in all market segments.  Prior to Cobalt Ventures, Jeff  worked as Vice President, Marketing, Communications, and Product Development for a $3+ billion health plan with more than 1.5 million members located in the northeast U.S.  In that role he was a member of the company's Senior Leadership team, reporting to the President and CEO.  He oversaw marketing, communications and product development in all market segments, leading a team of more than 100 professionals.  He was involved in all aspects of strategic development for the organization, and spoke regularly throughout the region and in Washington, D.C. on health plan-related issues.

Jeff attended the State University of New York (SUNY) College at Buffalo and Washburn University in Topeka, KS.  He has previous experience in the news media and in politics prior to his career in health plans and health insurance.


Jerry Nevins

Snow & Co.

Jerry and two other Bloch School alumni started Snow & Co., an artful frozen cocktail bar and restaurant, 2011. As Head of Strategery And Customer Happiness (no, that's not a typo), he and his partners have lead Snow & Co. to two locations in under three years and were recently named Paste Magazine's #1 Frozen Cocktail bar in the US. He's also worked for 15 years in insurance and marketing and holds his CPCU, CLU and ChFC designations.


Clay Nickel, CPM

Clay serves as a Fixed Income Portfolio Manager for private and institutional clients of Arvest Asset Management (AAM). Additionally, Clay is the Lead Manager for the AAM Investment Management Group (IMG) Adaptive Portfolio Strategy and Co-Lead Manager of the IMG Strategic Model Portfolios. Prior to joining Arvest in 2010, Clay was a portfolio manager for at a large community bank and managed a $300 million investment portfolio for high net worth individuals and institutions. Clay is a graduate of Wichita State University. Additionally, he has completed University of Columbia's Academy of Certified Portfolio Management. Clay is also a member of the CFA Institute and the Kansas City Society of Chartered Financial Analysts.

David Nicol

Mr. Nicol has focused on setting strategic direction and driving profitable growth for technology-based enterprises for over twenty-five years. A seasoned executive with a track record of success in both Fortune 500 and early-stage environments, he currently serves on one public and two private company boards, and is board advisor and consultant to several others.  From 2006 through 2008, he served as EVP/CFO for Solutionary, a provider of outsourced, managed IT security services. During 2004-5, he helped launch a venture-backed startup to develop security software for Unified Communications infrastructure (sold to Avaya in 2011). Until 2004, Mr. Nicol was SVP Product Management and Development for VeriSign, following its $1.2 billion acquisition of Illuminet in 2001. At Illuminet, which he had helped create by merger in 1995, he was part of the team that in 1999 took the company public (Nasdaq). Illuminet (now TNS) provides outsourced intelligent network and related IT services to communication service providers. Prior to Illuminet, Mr. Nicol held key executive positions with three other early stage companies, all of which were subsequently merged or sold: ITN (1994-95), International Micronet (1992-93), and iLAN, Inc (1990-92). During 1984 through 1990, Mr. Nicol held various officer positions with Sprint Corporation (and its predecessor United Telecom), lastly serving as Corporate Vice President, Planning. Mr. Nicol holds a PhD and M.A. in corporate finance and economics from Case Western Reserve University, and a B. Sc. in aeronautical engineering from The Ohio State University.


John Nohe

JNA Advertising

Expertise: Advertising/Marketing, Consumer Products, Media/Entertainment, Branding/Communications, Franchising, Marketing/Sales, Start-Up, Strategy/Planning

John Nohe is a seasoned veteran in the communications and marketing arena. As an advertising agency professional, he has supported the strategic marketing efforts for the AMC Theatre Chain, Blockbuster Video, Citgo Petrolium, Cerner Medical Technologies, Carstar Collision Repair, Houlihan’s Restaurants, McDonald’s, Missouri Tourism, The Missouri Lottery, Pizza Hut, RentWay, and Sprint. He has also created numerous partnership marketing programs that have included Disney Studios, Universal Studios, and the Make A Wish Foundation.

The majority of John’s career (16 years) was spent at Bernstein-Rein Advertising, among the largest independent advertising agencies in the country, as Sr. Vice President, Director of Strategic Development. Before he opened his own firm, he spent two years at Barkley Evergreen & Partners, the 2nd largest agency in the area as Executive Vice President, Director of Client Services.

January of 2004, John opened his own marketing and communications firm, j·n·a advertising. With consumer and b2b clients, his company is pleased to be working with The Kansas Lottery, Baskins, a chain of retail stores; MB Sports Boats; Sterling, a chain collision services stores (owned by Allstate); Bombardier Lear Jet; New Directions; Universal UClick; and

Over the years, John Nohe has been very active with the Parks and Recreation Program in his community and has served as the President of the Johnson County Parks and Recreation Foundation as well as Chairman on the Blue Valley Parks and Recreation District. Currently, John is on the counsel of the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at UMKC.


Steve O'Connor

Steve has been leading technology startups since 1992 in a number of sectors, including diagnostics, drug discovery, water treatment, etc. He brings to ImpeDx Diagnostics significant experience in technology development, intellectual property, fundraising, business partnering, and company building.


Luke Norris

Expertise: Mobile/Social Media. Software as a Service (SaaS). Insurance Programs. Market Research and Consumer Insights. Product Development. Marketing and Sales

Luke attended Rockhurst University where he graduated with a degree in Finance and Economics.  Luke started his career as a financial consultant for a boutique consulting firm where he participated in business valuations, mergers and acquisitions, and helping with some post-acquisition integration.  While in his role, Luke simultaneously advanced his education and graduated with his MBA in International Business.  His consulting work parlayed him into a sales role for an entrepreneurial software development firm, on the East coast, where he managed a 13 state sales territory and helped grow sales in a previously un-marketed territory.   After being a road warrior for three years, Luke made a switch in his career and joined H&R Block, where he managed business development for the organizations commercial markets and a virtual tax group. Luke also helped lead business development for the Client Innovation Lab at H&R Block.  In this role, Luke was responsible for prospecting, developing and negotiating strategic partnerships that could help H&R Block better serve, or attract new clients, as well as provide H&R Block opportunities to leverage disruptive technology in the marketplace specifically through partnering with early-stage, entrepreneurial firms.  Luke helped structure a nationwide partnership between H&R Block and Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, the nation’s largest health insurance provider, to help educated and support millions of taxpayers impacted by healthcare reform.  Luke also structured a partnership with Pageonce, the largest personal finance management mobile application which provided H&R Block unique marketing opportunities and access to over 4 million Pageonce users. Luke has worked with Infegy, Inc. a fast-growing start-up firm in Kansas City that developed industry leading social analytic software as a service (Saas) platform, Social Radar.  While working with Infegy, Luke helped increase sales at the firm over 250% through prospecting and developing key client relationships and strategic partnerships with industry-leading market research and digital advertising agencies. 

Luke recently accepted a position as Innovation Leader for Hallmark Cards where he will help create new products and opportunities with a focus on enhancing digital and social capabilities. 

Outside of work, Luke dedicates a significant amount of time to non-profit organizations. In 2010, Luke was named a Rising Star of Philanthropy, by NonProfit Connect and in 2005 was honored as a Distinguished Citizen in Kansas City for his commitment to Harmony/NCCJ, a local nonprofit and the community at large.  Today, Luke is the Vice Chair of Harmony’s Board of Directors and the Resident Services Chair for the Housing Authority of Kansas City’s Board of Commissioners.  Luke previously served on the UMKC Women’s Center Board of Advisors.  Luke participated as a judge for the IEI Regnier Venture Creation Challenge at the Bloch School in 2011.



Executive Consultant
Integrity Resource Center

Cindy Olson began her career at Koch Industries and then went on to be an auditor with Pizza Hut. She was hired by Inter North in Omaha, Nebraska, which later became Enron, in the late 80’s. Olson lived both the creation and the demise of Enron. While at the Fortune 7 company, she was used as a re engineering expert across the organization as the company grew both organically and through acquisitions. She held positions that included Vice President of Finance for Transwestern Pipeline, Vice President of Gas Accounting and Measurement for all of Enron’s pipelines and Sr. Vice President of Enron Capital and Trade back office. Ultimately, she served on the company’s 20 person Executive Committee and was the Executive Vice President of Global Human Resources when the company filed for bankruptcy in 2001. Olson was responsible for helping Enron become Fortune’s 22nd best company to work for and Fortune’s most Innovative company 6 years in a row. She prides herself in understanding corporate culture and what makes a healthy company great.

After the Enron demise Olson co founded the creation of an Index used to predict sustainable corporate performance and formed a company that consults on Corporate Culture issues. She has authored a book that describes the “real Enron” from an Insiders point of view and gives a very different but accurate account of both the rise and fall of Enron. “There are many lessons that can be learned from a company that was so great and fell so quickly” she explains.

Currently Olson resides in Kansas City where she is an Executive Consultant for the Integrity Resource Center who helps companies understand that “Integrity” is non- negotiable.


Robert Palan

Bob was Chairman and CEO of King Louie International, owner-operator of a national apparel manufacturing firm, recreational centers, and related activities and facilities.

His areas of expertise include strategic planning, financial management and analysis, international sourcing, fact-based decision making, and business valuation analysis.

He has experience developing, operating, and exiting start-up businesses and also as an investor with Mid-America Angels.

Bob is involved in numerous community and philanthropic activities and serves on several non-profit boards and committees. These include: the Jewish Community Foundation, the Jewish Federation of Kansas City and the Beth Shalom Foundation.

He has an MBA from Washington University and a BSIM from Purdue University.


Dave Patrick

Founder & Chief Marketing Officer, High Performance Retail Marketing Group
Adjunct Professor, University of Missouri-Kansas City, MBA Marketing Strategy, MBA Business Strategy

Based in Kansas City, Dave has been in marketing and advertising for 30 years and held leadership positions at Procter & Gamble, J. Walter Thompson, and Leo Burnett. He's been a guest lecturer in the MBA programs at Notre Dame and KU on high performance retail marketing.

Dave is a retail marketing thought leader and has a hands-on track record across restaurant, beverage, fashion, beauty, automotive, packaged goods, golf, and home improvement categories.

Throughout his career, Dave has led marketing teams on blue chip brands including McDonalds, General Motors, Kraft, Burger King, Toys R Us, Miller Lite, Kroger, Citgo, Payless, Kellogg, and Procter & Gamble.

In Kansas City, Dave has been the senior marketing officer for multi-unit retailers Beauty Brands and Westlake Ace Hardware. In 2009, Dave founded the High Performance Retail Marketing Group dedicated to helping retailers improve the impact of their marketing initiatives.

Dave serves on the board of the Global Retail Marketing Association, completed his MBA-Marketing from UMKC, completed the Kellogg Management Institute program at Northwestern's Kellogg Graduate School of Management, and the Advanced Advertising Studies program at Northwestern University.


Brad Pemberton

Polsinelli Shughart PC

Expertise: Legal, Start-Up

Bradley P. Pemberton concentrates his legal practice in the areas of business law, tax, securities, real estate and corporate and partnership matters.  Advising clients in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, professional service, transportation and retail, Brad has represented firms ranging in size from Fortune 100 corporations to family owned companies and tax-exempt entities.  He also assists clients in a capacity similar to an in-house general counsel, advising them on issues that confront them on a daily basis.

Brad has successfully planned and supervised the implementation of complex corporate reorganizations and business transactions.  He has participated in numerous securities offerings and franchise transactions.  Through his successful negotiation, he completed the sale of a local food company to a major international corporation. Brad has also provided tax and planning advice for some of the largest bankruptcies in the Midwest.

Brad’s memberships and affiliations include The Missouri Bar, The Kansas Bar, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Volunteer Attorney Program, UMKC Bloch School council on Entrepreneurship Board Member, March of Dimes Kansas/Western Missouri Chapter (former Board Member).

Brad is listed in both Missouri and Kansas as one of its Super Lawyers and is AV rated in Martindale Hubbell.


Lori Pemberton


Expertise: Retail, Start-Up

Lori has a passion for helping other entrepreneurs. She has been involved with the FastTrac program since 1996 as both a facilitator and business coach at the Kauffman Foundation and the Kansas Women’s Business Center She was a judge at the THINK entrepreneurial camp for the Missouri Women’s Business Center. She has served as a facilitator for the Listening to Your Business Workshop and a business coach for Visa Startup 2000, a national business competition and entrepreneurial training event sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation. In addition Lori is a retail expert and has delivered the FastTrac entrepreneurial curriculum designed specifically for retailers. Lori also has begun work with YEK, Youth Entrepreneurs of Kansas.

After graduating from the University of Kansas with a degree in Journalism, Lori’s career took off and spans both the retail and advertising field. Early in her career she was a Retail Advertising Manager and then moved on to Lee Jeans and worked in the advertising/marketing area where her responsibilities included working with retailers, merchandising departments and sales force. At Lee Jeans is where Lori saw an opportunity to start her own retail business.

Lori developed H. Scott Petites a successful business based on an original retail apparel concept in the Kansas City market. Lori managed the entire inventory and buying process. In a short period of time a client base was created of over 4,000 customers. Lori created and executed all marketing and advertising plans and directed all sales efforts. Gross profit margins and sales per square foot were consistently higher than retail industry averages, starting the first year of operation.

Lori currently owns Square Foot, a retail consulting company. Some of her clients include developers, property managers, and existing and start up retailers. She works with the financial, purchasing, supplier relations, customer service, and marketing components with strong emphasis on profitability.

Lori is currently working on a Masters of Entrepreneurship degree at Oklahoma State University and will graduate in 2016.


Marvin Petty

Expertise: Strategy, Retailing, Marketing, Supply Chain

Marvin has over 30 years of diverse expertise primarily in the retail, service, and consumer goods sectors encompassing operations management, workforce training, and management development including leadership roles in process and quality improvement, sales and marketing, and new business development. He has overseen retail management teams in multiple new store openings, managed regional training and development activities as a corporate trainer, and led a team comprised of 26 stores within his territory providing retail promotions and services for a leading big-box retailer. Marvin is an independent business consultant and management coach and trainer as well as partner in a local marketing and graphic design firm. His background includes serving as Executive Board Member and Vice President/CFO for the Kansas City Chapter of American Society for Training and Development.

Marvin earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Emporia State University, an M.B.A. from Baker University, and is a Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. He teaches business and management courses in the Kansas City Metro Area for two universities.

Areas of expertise include: Operations/P&L Management, Multi-Unit Management, Retail, Service, Wholesale, Distribution, New Product Marketing and Sales, Food Industry, Continuous Improvement-Process/Quality Improvement, Small Business Expansion/Growth, Customer and Employee Engagement, Workforce Training, Leadership and Management Development, Broker/Vendor Supply Chain Management.


Justin Poplin

Expertise: Legal services, transactional patent law and patent litigation

Justin Poplin is a registered patent attorney and spends the majority of his time assisting clients with patent issues. Mr. Poplin also has experience managing intellectual property portfolios and counseling clients regarding trademark, copyright, trade secret, licensing, and confidentiality issues.

In addition to being responsible for more standard patent prosecution, Mr. Poplin has prepared and conducted inter partes and ex parte reexaminations, prepared and conducted broadening and narrowing reissues, and has been involved with interferences. In litigated matters, Mr. Poplin's practice is often directed to technical aspects of patent rights. He has served as the only registered patent attorney actively involved in various patent infringement cases and has been part of large teams of registered patent attorneys in other cases.

Mr. Poplin has aided clients with obtaining patents, enforcing patents, licensing patents, and avoiding patent infringement in a wide range of technologies, and he is currently responsible for prosecuting and maintaining over three hundred patent matters in various countries.

Mr. Poplin is a graduate of the University of Kansas with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering.  He earned his law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law, graduating cum laude.  He has served as President of the Kansas Bar Association’s Intellectual Property Section and currently serves on its executive committee.



Expertise: Executive Management, Consulting, Mergers and Acquisitions, Due Diligence, Strategic Business Planning

Larry has been involved in corporate turnarounds and company reengineering. He is proficient in Lean Manufacturing and Just in Time practices eliminating non-value added operations while streamlining operations. Larry excels at productivity improvement, reducing cycle time, creative problem solving, continuous improvement, optimizing asset utilization and improving customer service. He is intimately knowledgeable in human resources strategies, organizational development, employee handbooks and compensation analysis that include multi-plant union and nonunion management as well as union prevention, strategies and labor negotiations. He has been successful in purchasing strategies, management and vendor negotiations.

Larry provided crisis management and reorganization for a $70M a year manufacturing company. He has served as the Owner’s Representative in a site selection project including negotiating with the city, county and state for a $7.5M relocation incentive package. He was responsible for $6.8M design build construction project and later for the design, negotiation, purchase and installation of a state of the art $1.5M powder coat paint line. He was contracted to conduct an operations review of a $75M a year sales and manufacturing company. His consulting career includes computer systems design, education and implementation. Companies consulted with include: JP Morgan Chase Investment Group, Republic Windows and Doors, Auth Florence, Phillips & Brooks, Ingersoll Rand, Warner Swasey, Disston Manufacturing and ITT Grinnell.

Larry served as President and CEO for the Acoustics Development Co, a $30 million a year manufacturer of enclosures for the telecommunications industry, interactive kiosks; field services and airport millwork over a ten year period. Prior to that he was Vice President Operations for the Paul Mueller Company an $85 million a year manufacturer of complex high quality stainless steel equipment with facilities in Missouri, Iowa, and Holland. His ten year career at Mueller began as Manager of Information Technology. His international experience includes sales and engineering in Mexico, Canada, England, France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Hungary, Romania, Morocco, Chile, Costa Rica, Germany, The Netherlands, Norway, Greece, Venezuela, Uruguay and Argentina.

Larry has a BS in Business Admin from Southern Illinois Univ. Major: Management Science, Associate Degree in Engineering - Kansas City Kansas Junior College and CPIM certification - American Production & Inventory Control Society. His Professional associations include past member of APICS. Founder and President Greater Ozarks Chapter, Executive VP Kansas City Chapter. Larry’s professional associations include past member of APICS. Founder and President Greater Ozarks Chapter, Executive VP Kansas City Chapter, and Senior member Society of Manufacturing Engineers. Larry has been very active in community activities which include President of the BOD of a gated community with 1,299 homes on 547 acres with 27 holes of golf and $1B in assets and President of the BOD responsible for building a baseball complex and overseeing 5 competitive teams ranging in age from 13 to 18.



President and Chief Executive Officer, Triple-I

A former United States Marine, Perry A. Puccetti is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Triple-I Corporation, a privately held Management Consulting and Technology Solutions company headquartered in Kansas. A graduate of the United States Naval Academy, with a Masters degree from the Johns Hopkins University, he has served around the world as a Marine Corps attack helicopter pilot.

An avid proponent of technology, Perry has always believed that technology itself is only as powerful and innovative as the people it enables, the creativity it unleashes, the experiences created, and the possibilities made real.

Perry is a senior executive with more than 30 years of military and executive leadership experience with privately held and publicly traded companies – Fortune 100 and startup – in the government and commercial sectors. His focus is on achieving the mission at hand.

He has served as project lead and subject matter expert (SME) for advanced modeling and simulation based acquisition in support of the U. S. Marine Corps’ Joint Advanced Weapon System program, as executive lead/SME for the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Research and Development Activity, Chief Engineer, Information Support Plan Lean Six Sigma project, and, led the creation and implementation of an Enterprise Project Management Organization.

Perry is Chairman of the KCnext Board of Directors, an advocacy group serving Kansas’ technology community.


David Raden

Capitus Group

Expertise: Consumer Products, Financial Services, Services, Angel Investment, Legal, Manufacturing Distribution, Marketing/Sales, Operations/Production, Patenting, Start-Up, Strategy/Planning, Venture Capitalist

David Raden has had extensive experience in the management and nurturing of rapidly expanding businesses. Included are organizations from startups to multi-billion dollar revenue companies. His experience ranges from working in sales with American Hospital Supply, consulting with Arthur Andersen, the ownership and expansion over a twenty-year period of a flexible packaging manufacturing company, Plastic Packaging Corporation and starting up several other entrepreneurial ventures. He has further experience consulting with companies ranging from large Fortune 100 entities to a very small electrical component manufacturer.

David is currently a Principal of Capitus Group (a business development and growth/transitions practice), President of the Bi-State Investment Group I (an angel venture capital fund), co-owner of Heartland Airplanes LLC (a dealer/broker of private/corporate aircraft), and Owner of Tucker Arms LLC (dealer/broker of specialty firearms).

His education includes a BS in accounting with engineering coursework, (Kansas State University), and an MBA with both finance and marketing specialization, (Univ. of Michigan/ Univ. of Missouri). He has been an active investor and board member in several entrepreneurial ventures. Some examples of community involvement include board and leadership positions with organizations such as UMB Bank N.A., the KC, KS Chamber of Commerce, the KS State Chamber of Commerce, the KC, KS Business/Education Coalition, the Blue Valley Education Foundation and Community LINC. Under his leadership, Plastic Packaging Corporation earned many accolades including state, county and city awards for commitment to family, and outstanding civic contribution.

Scott Revare

Founder and CEO of the Center for Fiduciary Management (CFFM)

Expertise: Lean, self funded startups, Financial Services for retirement plan advisors, Software as a Servic sales, marketing and business operations, project management, Franchise Investing

Scott is Founder and CEO of the Center for Fiduciary Management (CFFM), a leading nationwide software provider of independent monitoring and analysis of over 38,000 Retirement Plans for Retirement Plan Advisors. Scott is also Co-Founder of Smart401k, LLC, an online advice service for people’s 401(k) investments.

Prior to Starting CFFM and Smart401k, Scott spent 20 years at Accenture, the international management and technology consulting firm. At Accenture, Scott served as a Partner, specializing in making financial technology services usable to every day customers and employees of Fortune 200 companies. Scott also helped form a partnership to invest in and manage 5 Mutual Fund Store Franchises.

Scott has a B.S. in Finance from the University of Colorado. He has lived in Kansas City for most of his life. Scott is actively involved with the Carpenter’s Kids organization, a charity that provides food and necessities to Tanzanian school children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. Scott is also a tennis devotee.

Steven Revare

inConcert, LLC

Expertise: Interactive and Social Media, E-Business Marketing, Intranet Solutions

Steve serves as President and Co-Founder of inConcert, LLC, a company that creates fan engagement apps for music and sports events. For most of his career, Steven Revare has worked on the creative and strategic sides of interactive media for businesses across the country. He founded Slugworth, Incorporated, which creates apps and content for online and social media entertainment. Previously, Steve served as E-Business Marketing Director for Compuware Corporation. Compuware acquired BlairLake, a company co-founded by Revare. BlairLake developed creative Web and intranet solutions for major brands and organizations like Lee Apparel, Hostess, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, and American Century. Immediately prior to co-founding BlairLake, Steve created interfaces, wrote copy, and produced interactive projects, including two with comedian Dennis Miller. His experience also includes several years as an award-winning writer/producer/editor for network-affiliated television stations. Steve earned a BA in English from Indiana University, and an MA in English, Creative Writing, at The University of Missouri Kansas City. Steve had his first novel, Raw, published in September of 2010.

James Roberts

James Roberts is one of the most respected young fundraisers and political operatives in the Midwest, and has a track record of building organizations from the ground up, quickly.

His passion is building community through ideas. He thrives on creating innovative ways to engage your members and build fundraising models that tell your story and help you grow. Roberts' experience spans media relations, event planning, national fundraising networks, legislative initiatives, and building relationships across the non-profit, public, and private sectors. Before starting Huddle, he served as senior staff in organizations and campaigns at the local, statewide, and federal level. Roberts is a dynamic communicator, and has had reporting and opinion pieces published in local and national publications.

Michael Robinson

CEO – Leadergy Catalyst®

Michael Robinson is a successful executive with a powerful passion for leadership and execution excellence. He’s acquired thirty-eight years of intensive leadership experience in product development, sales, international business, engineering, and operations, serving both the private and public sectors of industry.

Mr. Robinson is the founder/CEO of Leadergy Catalyst®, an executive advisory firm focused on leadership effectiveness across diverse industries. Leadergy Catalyst® is powered by experienced, seasoned leaders and experts, all having led businesses through transformation, challenges, and accelerated growth opportunities. “We help leaders discover and nurture the latent under-utilized potential within themselves and their teams, unleashing the discretionary energy of a company’s most powerful attribute – the human capacity for creative problem solving.” Michael has served in several senior executive positions in the technology sector, including:

  • President of Telecom Services Division at TNS, a Reston, VA transaction enablement and management company, leading a $300M+ business while integrating a $236M acquisition.

  • President & COO of Motricity Corp., a Bellevue, WA company delivering mobile content globally. He led its rapid maturation of becoming a “carrier grade” solution to marquis clients in the mobile industry, including AT&T, Alltel, BET, MTV, Universal Music, Warner Music, Sony Ericsson, and many others. He led Motricity to win the 3GSM award in Barcelona, Spain as the best mobile content delivery platform worldwide.

  • As Senior Vice President – Sprint Corp. he led development and execution of their 3rd Generation “Vision” wireless data strategy, seizing industry leadership, increasing subscriber revenue 22%, and reducing churn to 1.1%. He streamlined their product capital plan from $850M annually to $250M in less than 18 months.

  • As COO for Pegaso PCS, a wireless telecom company headquartered in Mexico City, Mexico, he gained recognition by Cofetel, the national regulatory body, as the best quality wireless provider in Mexico. His hallmark of success was Execution Excellence™ in a nation just recently focusing on operational success.

  • Vice President – International Network Engineering, Sprint Corp., Michael worked abroad building business partnerships worldwide, including Ireland, U.K., Latin America, China, Indonesia, Japan, Hong Kong, Germany, France, Canada, and Mexico. He expanded Sprint’s network to 159 countries, via submarine fiber optic and geosynchronous satellite systems spanning all oceans globally. He was the first US carrier to offer direct dial service to the Russia Republics (previously USSR) immediately after the fall of the Berlin wall, as well as with Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, re-connecting millions of dispersed families. His leadership in these projects is one of the most impressive accomplishments in global telecommunications.

These accomplishments and others are the result of Michael’s diverse and impressive strengths, particularly:

  • Maniacally focuses on customers and financial bottom line to determine waypoints for navigational success.

  • Excels at developing strategic insight within evolving patterns of market changing dynamics.
    Creates ‘execution excellence’ momentum whereby mediocrity is no longer acceptable or tolerated.

  • He exposes hidden agenda’s, instead elicits transparency, and trades on a currency of trust.

  • Nurtures an “individual respect-based” culture and builds world-class teams centered on collaboration.

  • Motivates and energizes teams to differentiate, enabling quantum leap advances competitively.

  • He is gifted in translating vision into reality, resulting in world-class achievement and financial success.

Joseph Roetheli

lil' red foundation

Dr. Joseph Roetheli has held leadership positions in the private sector, a charitable foundation, the government, and academia over his career of nearly 40 years. He is considered a passionate and persistent visionary, a creative thinker, and a hard worker who loves humor. He is also a Vietnam Era veteran.

Dr. Roetheli has led a number of private companies in the past decade and a half. His most successful endeavor to date was as founder (with his wife, Judy) and CEO of S&M NuTec, the maker of Greenies® dog treats. A decade after starting, S&M NuTec had become the eighth largest pet food/treat company in the world. The product, company, and founders were honored with more than four dozen major awards including the American Business Association's Stevie Award as the "Best Company in America with Under 100 employees", the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce's "Mr. K Award as the Best Small Business in Kansas City", the National District Export Council's "Exporter of the Year", and induction into the Ernst & Young "Entrepreneurs Hall of Fame". When the Mars Company acquired S&M NuTec in 2006, S&M NuTec was exporting to over 60 countries.Dr. Roetheli now serves as co-founder and CEO several startup companies, ranging from SM Products (a tool company) to The Café at Briarcliff Village. Dr.Roetheli also serves as CEO of The Roetheli Lil' Red Foundation which has built its fourth village for homeless people in Guyana, is supporting a number of entrepreneurial endeavors at universities, has funded pet therapy projects, and is involved in producing inspirational documentary films and books.

Dr. Roetheli served on the faculties of the Agricultural Economics Departments at the University of Missouri and the University of Idaho earlier in his career. Dr. Roetheli earned his B.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Missouri and his M.S. from the University of Florida.

Judy Roetheli

lil' red foundation


Davyeon Ross

An innovative technology leader and widely recognized entrepreneur, Davyeon Ross has more than 12 years of experience in the technology space. In his current role, Ross serves as Chief Information Officer of Accelerated Vision Group, which focuses on delivering medical software and intelligence solutions to a global ophthalmic market. Ross also advises several start-ups and organizations in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

In Oct. 2011, Digital Sports Ventures, founded by Ross, was acquired by Digital Broadcasting Group, a top 5 Video Ad Network headquartered in New York, NY, with offices in Los Angeles, Calif., Chicago, Ill., and now Overland Park, Kan. As part of the acquisition, DBG named Ross, Executive Vice President, Publisher Solutions. Ross' responsibilities included overseeing product development around the company's Content Library Platform (CLiP), content acquisition and the syndication and distribution of DBG's six content verticals within CLiP.

As CEO of Digital Sports Ventures, Ross negotiated the rights to Division I college sports video across seven major conferences, and set the strategy for the company's portfolio of content and interactive technologies. His vision of uniting college sports and digital media into affordable, turnkey solutions opened new doors for publishers, advertisers and agencies seeking to engage sports fans in a targeted manner.

Prior to launching Digital Sports Ventures, Ross served as lead technical and management consultant for eVergance Partners, managing projects across the United States, Europe and Canada for clients including Research in Motion (BlackBerry), T-Online, Business Objects, Sasktel, Mattel, Siemens Medical Systems, Nortel Networks and others. Prior to eVergance, Ross began his technology career as a software engineer for Sprint, playing critical roles in the development of the company's Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Knowledge Management applications.

A native of Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies, Ross was a four-year letterman for Benedictine College's basketball team while earning a bachelor of science in Computer Science and later earned his MBA from Mid-America Nazarene University.


Ron Rutkowski

Expertise: Manufacturing Management, Operations, Engineering, Sales, Staffing, Purchasing and Contract Manufacturing.  He is familiar with prototypes and taking a product to market.

Industries served include Heavy Manufacturing, High-Tech Electronics, Water-Wastewater, Aerial Devices, Chemicals, Distribution and Staffing.

He has started up several companies and assisted others’ with a variety of products taking them to market. Lifelong Kansas City resident.


Michael J. Sanders

Expertise: Internet and General Marketing; Communication, Sales and Marketing Models; Technology Use for Business Value Improvement; Process Development for Efficiency, Quality and Revenue Enhancement; Strategic Business Development and Value Optimization for Entrepreneurs. 

Michael J. Sanders began his diverse career in 1971 with Bell Labs designing computers.   After 5 years, based on his strong interest in building new businesses and learning all aspects of business operations he joined United Computing Services (Sprint subsidiary offering cloud computing on very large computers) and assumed duties in computer and network operations, strategic planning, product marketing, industry marketing and director of marketing.   He also led the functional unit that evaluated, proposed and integrated 16 acquisition companies over 9 years.  Additionally he ran a self-contained business unit (except for HR) for 2 years and managed sale organizations for over 6 years.

In 1981 Sanders began the first of 17 years of leading computer service departments.  In this role he served the needs of all functional departments internal to a company by helping them use technology and process to improve their costs and add value to their client offerings.  During this time he was the Chief Information Officer for Kansas City Life, Commerce Bank and finally the Fortune 500 Company, Transamerica Life.   During his tenure at Commerce Bank, it was chosen by Dean Witter Investment Group as the top bank in the U.S. for its use of technology to add business value.   As CIO he was a key member of the due diligence team for 14 company acquisitions over 6 years.

In 1999 Sanders started the first of several companies that he owned.  The focus of these companies ranged from the use of technology to streamline and add value to business, to highly sophisticated communication and marketing models, to a digital art company offering digital paintings. 

Sanders attended the United States Military Academy at West Point for 2 years, and has a BS and MS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Missouri at Columbia.  Additionally he has an MBA from the University of Chicago and a significant number of Continuing Education Credits in Marketing and Strategic Planning.  Sanders has 3 U.S. Patents to his credit for technology supported business value and process systems.


Tom Sanders

Business Development Advisors Inc (BDA)

Expertise: Finance/Accounting, Health Care, Hospitality

As a Kansas City native, Tom Sanders has been involved in entrepreneurial quests with several local companies. Tom graduated from Kansas University and began his career in sales leadership at Motorola, Sprint, and Sprint PCS. 

While with Sprint PCS, Tom developed sales strategies for an emerging technology market.  Discovering his spirit as an a entrepreneur, Tom later became Director of the National Advisory Services for Ernst  & Young, where he was a founding member of the management leadership team that created and launched this new practice both Internationally and in the US.   Tom was also a strategic leader for Ernst & Young’s E- commerce solution team.  Tom used his leadership and entrepreneurial skills once again as partner of Avascend Healthcare Hospitality.  During his partnership with Avascend Tom launched and enhanced several service lines that were key in the successful acquisition of Avascend by Towne Park Ltd in 2009.

Tom’s leadership, sales strategy and marketing skills have made him a point person and founder of several start-up companies.  As founding partner of Planet Salvage Tom helped the company rapidly go-to-market and raise $8M. Working in partnership with SRI International, Tom worked to incubate companies in the wireless location base services sector and a homeland security offering.  Tom recently advised, an online e-gift card retailer, on their sales and marketing strategies, as well as preparation to raise capital.

Currently, Tom’s efforts are focused on his company Business Development Advisors Inc (BDA).  This consulting company provides sales and marketing strategy, and business-to-business focused technology consulting to help support clients with sales and marketing automation and business intelligence. BDA’s client list includes KMPG, H&R Block, TMNG, and many national mid-market companies.


Rebecca M. Sandring

Corridor Energy

Expertise: Financial Services, Petroleum/Energy, Restaurant, Finance/Accounting, Public Company Requirements, Process-Improvement, Strategy/Planning

Rebecca M. Sandring has over 20 years of experience in the energy industry. As a Vice President with the Calvin Group, LLC she has created strategic business plans resulting in third party investments and provided financial leadership to a wind development company. Prior to joining the Calvin Group she was a Director of Finance for Aquila Inc. Aquila, formerly UtiliCorp United, was a $2 billion regulated utility serving a multi-state region. Rebecca has a strong background in operational finance which includes business valuations, project and corporate finance, process efficiency, implementation of complex GAAP accounting policies and internal accounting and risk system designs. As Director of Finance she was responsible for leading the internal finance team which worked with external advisors regarding the strategic alternatives for Aquila, Inc., as well as creating and developing quarterly reporting for the Audit Committee. As a Six Sigma Deployment Champion, she represented the finance discipline as the process improvement initiative was implemented across the company. In addition she was responsible for Board reporting related to the implementation of process improvement and the achievement of cost savings. In her role as Director of Finance for the unregulated power generation division, which had over 4,000 MW of generation capacity, she was responsible for building the accounting, strategic planning and forecasting team and process. Ultimately, this body of work passed the review of a forensic audit. Rebecca earned her Bachelor of Science in Accounting at William Jewell College and her Executive Masters in Business Administration at the University of Missouri – Kansas City.

Mike Saxton

CEO, Business Transition Specialists LLC

Mike is the Chief Executive Officer and managing partner in Business Transition Specialists LLC (BTS) (, the only full-lifecycle merger and acquisition firm in the region helping buy, grow and sell businesses.  He’s also a founding partner and the Executive Vice President for IntelliThink LLC (, an award winning strategic consulting firm that helps leaders assess, define and drive execution of business strategy.  Between his firms there are 27 professional in three locations in Kansas City and St Louis.

Mike earned his MBA from Duke University and his Bachelor of Science in industrial & systems engineering (ISE) from the University of Southern California (Magna Cum Laude).  In an earlier life, Mike was nuclear engineer and officer on ships where he was decorated with both the Navy Commendation and Navy Achievement Medals. 

His firm’s principals have closed more than 300 transactions with value exceeding $600 million.  He and his teams have also guided design, development and turnaround efforts across a variety of commercial industries as well as government, education and non-profit organizations.  Example clients of his firms include: Boehringer Ingelheim, HNTB, Cerner, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Sprint, Missouri Department of Transportation, KCK Chief of Police, Clark County School District, Harrah’s Entertainment, Embarq, Walsworth, USC LLC and many more.  IntelliThink has been recognized in Kansas City’s “25 Under 25” class of outstanding businesses for 2010.

Mike’s other involvements include: President, USC’s Alumni Club of KC; Board, Unity Temple on the Plaza & Camellot Academy; CEO Coach, SBTDC “CEO Coaching & More Program”, private pilot, actor and musician.  He also recently graduated from the FBI’s Citizen’s Academy.

Mike’s current and past involvements include: President of USC’s Alumni Club of Kansas City (recognized as the alumni association’s Outstanding 2009 Volunteer Organization of the Year”), director on the board at Unity Temple on the Plaza, CEO Coach for the SBTDC’s “CEO Coaching & More Program” and other community roles. Mike is also a private pilot, an accomplished actor and musician, has run the Marine Corp Marathon (seven weeks after returning from a six-month cruise) and has interesting stories of apprehending thieves overseas (even testifying in a Roman court of law).


Jon Schuley

Jon Schuley, President of PayTime, Inc., founded his payroll and time and attendance company in 1997. PayTime grew from one to ten employees, while processing 20,000 checks a month.  Schuley has been responsible for providing cost- effective business solutions for companies ranging from three to 2,000 employees.  He specializes in providing exceptional customer service, and in maintaining a loyal client base.

In 2011, Schuley guided PayTime to change direction, focusing solely on time and attendance products. This change has allowed him to fulfill his goal of becoming a volunteer to better serve the community.

Schuley served in the United States Army Reserves from 1985-1994, as SGT, Military Police six years, then as Logistics Support Planner in the Army Transport Company for three years.  From 1989-1993, he was with Jefferson Smurfit Inventory Control, and from 1993-1997, with Sales and Marketing ACT of Kansas City.

He is the fall 2012 Volunteer Coordinator for COPP, (Care of Poor People), for the Thanksgiving dinner and clothing drive and is an instructor for UMKC Communiversity class on Goal Setting and Achievement.

Schuley received a bachelor’s in Marketing from Rockhurst University in 1991 and is active in continuing education classes within the community.


William Schultz

William Schultz has been involved in the commercial real estate field in the Midwest since 1975. He has been involved in all aspects of commercial real estate to include successfully founding Equity Real Estate and building brokerage operations at Cohen-Esrey Real Estate Services and RED Brokerage. Most recently he lead development activities on The Legends Developments in Kansas City and Reno NV. His expertise has covered all aspects of real estate brokerage and development including sales management, administration, marketing , financing , public entitlements and construction involving commercial real estate sales, leasing and development.

He graduated from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and is licensed in MO, KS and NE to conduct real estate business.  


Patrick Shore

IntelliThink LLC

Expertise: Innovation Engineering, Strategic Planning and Management, Business Process Improvement

Patrick Shore has successfully applied his creative intellectual capital and high-energy work ethic in leading a wide variety of successful business solutions spanning telecommunications, health care, entertainment, financial services, government, consulting, manufacturing, and technology organizations. He brings real world practical experience in providing leadership strategies, organization alignment, financial management, talent development, technology evolution, and business process re-engineering to achieve exceptional business results. Bottom line – deliver high value projects / results on-time, within budget.

Patrick gained his experience by leading a diverse set of organizations from 25 to 328 people in multiple cities and states with a customer base in excess of 12,000. His experience includes technology development, strategic planning, international joint venture development, decision support and business intelligence, innovation systems, sales and marketing services and customer relationship management.

Patrick’s leadership credo is “To make a difference (positive impact) on those I come in contact with influencing their behaviors through my words and actions.” He brings a strong work ethic and belief that any problem (business or personal) can be solved by applying the right thought process, focused energy and committed resources.

Robert E. Simon

Bob has had a varied career including 7 years as a commercial banker and 10 years as head of a Savings and Loan. In addition Bob also had a long career in commercial construction and national construction management.

Bob's construction management work included retail facilities around the country for Weight Watchers, Pennsylvania Fashions, Sprint and LasikPlus Vision Centers. Bob has been active as a volunteer in various community organizations including the Kansas City Savings and Loan League, Neighborhood Housing Services, Rehabilitation Loan Corp, Jewish Community Center of Greater KC and Jewish Community Campus.

Bob graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Industrial Engineering and an MBA.

Gordon Smith

Lee Hecht Harrison

Expertise: Management Consulting, Start-Up, Strategy/Planning, Team Building, Venture Capitalist

A business executive with a 'triple crown" of professional experience, Gordon brings over 20 years of diverse Human Resources and Operations Management experience to his role as coach and consultant to senior business executives. As a partner in charge of executive development for a management consulting and venture capital firm he coached and mentored a variety of executives and business owners to maximize their personal potential while meeting their business and career goals. He has had full P&L responsibly in several executive operation roles including COO of a mid-size company.

He has led the Performance Management and Executive Development functions for major companies like Avon and Sprint. For over 8 years Gordon headed the Human Resources operations for Olsten's $2 billion healthcare services business.
He has a strong background in all types of organization change strategies including mergers, acquisitions, business integrations and reorganizations. Gordon has designed and implemented successful executive coaching and leadership development strategies that improve employee retention and support performance management objectives.

Gordon's extensive business background provides a platform for understanding organization needs. He is passionate about driving the conversion of people investments into a powerful source of improved performance.

Gordon is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and SHRM of Johnson County where he is the immediate Past President. He is active in the community and is a member of the Urban League of Kansas City's Business and Industry Task Force; and a volunteer career coach with the Center for Spirit at Work. Gordon is a locally recognize speaker and contributor to articles in the Kansas City Star. He has also appeared on NPR's the "Walt Bodine Show" and he has been a featured presenter at events such as the Non-Profit Connect Job Club and the annual meeting of the Kansas Society of Professional Engineers.

John D. Starr

UltraSource LLC

Mr. Starr is the Owner and Chairman of UltraSource LLC, in Kansas City, Missouri. UltraSource is the largest and, at 130-years-old, the oldest domestic manufacturer of vacuum chamber packaging equipment. In addition, UltraSource is a converter of flexible oxygen-barrier packaging materials and sells a full range of meat processing, packaging and labeling technology and consumables (knifes, boots, gloves, aprons, totes, etc.) used in industrial meat/food processing plants and are sold primarily through direct mail catalog, internet and telephone. Mr. Starr's other business ventures have included building meat plants in the former Soviet Union in the 1990s and being a semi-professional magician. He holds a B.A. in Chemistry from Pomona College, an MBA from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a YPO “Executive Degree” from Harvard Business School. He is 5th generation Kansas City.


Evan Stewart


Expertise: Information Technology, Manufacturing, Information Systems, Operations/Production, Strategy/Planning

Evan Stewart has devoted his time and energy to the computing industry since his graduation from KSU in 1965 with a BS in Mathematics.  His early work focused on developing solutions in the scientific arena that built on his degree from KSU.  In mid-career he completed an MBA from UMKC and became more involved in the leadership of the application of computing toward making enterprises more competitive.  This included work with global law firms to manage the massive documents for tobacco litigation and the litigation for the savings and loan failure.  As the CIO for a large medical device manufacturer and most recently he has been involved in the aerospace industry as the Vice-President and Chief Information Officer of the world’s largest provider of interiors and fasteners for commercial and business jets as they have grown through acquisition and organic growth over 200%. Evan continues to be involved with many areas of the technology community.

Evan has served on the board of TLC for approximately 10 years and as the board President for 3 years.  He has been active in his church, United Way, UMKC Advisory Board and other community efforts.


Allen Strain

Kauffman Foundation

Expertise: Financial Services, Information Technology, Services, Finance/Accounting, Marketing/Sales, Operations/Production, Strategy/Planning

Allen Strain is a director at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. He is involved in high school science and engineering programs, leads a program for post 9/11 veteran entrepreneurship and provides internal business consulting at the foundation. Prior to working at Kauffman Al was an instructor in the Bloch School at UMKC teaching in the areas of financial and managerial accounting, financial statement analysis and effective business presentations. Al also served as the advisor to the master’s degree students in accounting. In 1982 he joined a newly formed trust company subsidiary of DST Systems Inc. and played a founding role in building that business into a $100 million company. Al remained with the company after it was acquired in 1995 by State Street Corporation, serving as head of operations, later as chief information officer and ultimately as managing director overseeing all client operations, business and staff functions for the 1500 employees which comprised the Kansas City and Princeton, New Jersey business units. Al has BS and MA degrees in Accounting, is a CPA and began his professional career with Ernst&Ernst. Al served on the Downtown Council, Civic Council of Kansas City and various other civic and charitable organizations. Al is a United States Army veteran.

Rebecca S. Stroder

Rebecca Stroder is a member of SNR Denton's Intellectual Property and Technology practice.  Rebecca has represented both corporate and individual clients in a wide variety of copyright related matters. Rebecca actively participates on the Education Committee for the Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association ("LIMA"), an international trade association whose members range from Disney and Mary Engelbreit Studios to Sara Lee and Ford Motor Company

As a member of the firm's Intellectual Property and Technology practice, Rebecca manages extensive trademark portfolios for a number of companies, large and small. In that capacity, she has handled all aspects of both foreign and domestic trademark prosecution and maintenance, including counseling clients on trademark selection and evaluation, supervising the filing of trademark applications both in the United States and abroad (including under the Madrid Protocol), strategic planning to maximize the value and ROI of a trademark portfolio, trademark appeals, opposition and cancellation proceedings, and international as well as US infringement litigation. In particular, Rebecca manages the domestic and international trademark portfolio of one of the world's largest cookware manufacturers, based in Japan, as well as the international and domestic trademark portfolio of a major producer of outdoor sporting and military equipment.

She gives seminars and workshops on legal issues facing the advertising industry, including ownership and licensing problems, rights of publicity and privacy, trademark protection, and false advertising.

Rebecca is well-versed in technology issues related to licensing and copyright, and devotes a significant part of her practice to advising on transactions and litigation involving software, websites and open source issues. Rebecca has also handled issues related to the Business Software Alliance, including full BSA audits and negotiated settlements, for more than a dozen clients.

Rebecca is deeply committed to the arts community both in Kansas City and throughout the country, and she volunteers with the Kansas City Artists' Coalition, the Kansas City Ad Club, and ACID, an advocacy group for artists. Rebecca serves as president and co-founder of Kansas City Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts, a non-profit organization that provides free legal and accounting services to low-income artists and arts organizations. In her capacity with the arts community, Rebecca regularly speaks on artists' legal issues, such as commission and gallery representation, consignment and bailment issues, authentication and forgery, and copyrights. Rebecca is adjunct professor of intellectual property and copyright law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City School of Law, and she also writes a monthly column on issues facing the art licensing community for the Licensing Journal.  

James Stuppy

Stuppy Inc.

Expertise: Custom Manufacturing, Consumer Products, Finance/Accounting, Strategy/Planning

James C (Jim) Stuppy was born and raised in St. Joseph, Missouri.  He received a BSBA in Economics and Accounting from Creighton University in 1967 and a MS in Economics from Oklahoma State University in 1971.  He served as a Naval Officer working for the Army on an Air Force Base at what is now called Central Com in Tampa FL.

Following his military tour he joined the family business which was originally established in 1873.  Business activities have generally centered on floriculture and horticulture.  After time in operations and finance he assumed the role of CEO.  During his tenure the business expanded its wholesale operations to several cities in the Midwest, increased its activities in greenhouse manufacturing, closed its own growing operations and sold its retail business.

Jim believes a family owned business must be entrepreneurial and ready at all times to redeploy capital.  He currently serves as the CFO of Stuppy, Inc. which Designs, Manufactures and Builds Commercial and Institutional Greenhouses.


Michael Strohm

Michael D. Strohm retired from Waddell & Reed Financial, Inc. in May 2015. He was Senior Vice President since January 1999 and Chief Operations Officer since March 2001. In addition, he served as President of Waddell & Reed Services Company, a transfer agent subsidiary of the Company, since June 1999 and President of Waddell & Reed, Inc., a broker dealer, since March 2005. He joined the Company in June 1972.


Adrian Toader

Expertise: Media and Technology based Start-ups, Marketing, Business and Operational Strategy.

Adrian Toader is currently a business consultant (Digital Network Associates) and a partner in, an entertainment start-up where he contributed the IP (patent pending) that allows Social Networks initiated demand to drive content to underutilized Movie screens.

He moved to Kansas City in 1986 working for United Telecom/Sprint, where he conceptualized, started and managed their Sprint TeleMedia business unit. He followed that with his own company start-up, Interactive Media Works, which was named KC’s Fastest Growing company in 1998 by Ingram’s magazine. Upon the sale of the business, he became the operational executive in charge of turning around National Cinema Network (and AMC subsidiary) and was instrumental in introducing the digital delivery infrastructure to movie theaters around the country. As the first US CMO for Hong Kong based Black Cat fireworks, he re-established this iconic consumer brand to its no. 1 position in the US market.

He holds BS in Electrical Engineering and MA in Marketing degrees, served on the boards of 3 industry associations, 4 private companies and 2 non-profits. He was also awarded 4 US Patents with another one pending.


Tiffany Tran

Tiffany Tran is a market research professional focused on helping companies find strategic advantages by better understanding consumer motivations. She is the lead market researcher at Infegy, a software firm that helps major brands like JetBlue and Sonic better understand their customers through deep analysis of social media.

Growing up in a highly entrepreneurial household, Tiffany has had business on her mind since the time she began to talk. From selling magnets, chips and soda out of her mom's shop to hustling ramen noodles out of her locker, to designing customized bows, she somehow always found a way to make extra income.

Today, she applies her entrepreneurial mindset to researching, branding and marketing new products online through Amazon. With more than 7+ years of experience with local start-ups, Tiffany has deep knowledge of market research, digital marketing, customer service, strategic planning, B2C marketing and B2B marketing.


Lee Urban

Lee Everett Urban, a western Kansas native, graduated from Rockhurst University with his B.A. in Political Science, studied abroad at Oxford University, and earned his Juris Doctorate from Creighton University School of Law. Lee started his career at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where he worked as a law clerk, and a research and policy intern in the areas of entrepreneurship and education under one of the world’s leading economists. Lee is currently in-house counsel at Commerce Bank in Kansas City. Prior to joining Commerce Bank, Lee was in private practice at the law firm of Martin Pringle in Overland Park -- practicing in the areas of oil and gas, banking, real estate, and general civil litigation. Lee also served two years as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Kansas, where he litigated civil rights and consumer protection cases, drafted legislation, and testified before legislative committees.

Throughout his life, Lee has been an active volunteer and civically engaged. During high school, Lee was an intern for the Johnson County Board of Commissioners and was elected as a Boys Nation Senator. Lee worked as an intern on Capitol Hill during college, and ran for the Kansas House of Representatives in 2006. More recently, Lee served on the 2010 Education Commission, a Kansas legislative commission focused on school finance, and the Johnson County Citizens Visioning Committee, a committee aimed at providing a comprehensive long-term vision for Johnson County, Kansas. In 2012, Lee was recognized as a "Rising Star" by Kansas City Business Magazine and was selected as a Group Study Exchange (GSE) team member for Kansas Rotary District 5710. As a GSE team member, Lee spent four weeks in Finland experiencing the culture, educational system, and entrepreneurial dynamics of the Finnish people.


Rick Usher

Rick Usher is Assistant City Manager for Entrepreneurship & Small Business in the City of Kansas City, Missouri. In this role, he is the City Manager's liaison to the City Council's Special Committee on Small Business. He is working with City Departments and private sector partners to establish a business-friendly customer service culture in City Hall through the Business Process Management Team.

In March 2010, Mr. Usher facilitated the public-private GoogleKC coalition's response to Google's Fiber for Communities RFI. With Councilwoman Cindy Circo, he led the City's negotiations with Google and in May 2011, Kansas City, Missouri joined our sister city, Kansas City, Kansas, as the first Google Fiber Communities. He is now the City's Single Point of Contact managing the technical committee and participating in collaborative community efforts to ensure the successful deployment, implementation and use of the network. As a Fiber to the Home (FTTH) initiative, the City is looking for significant expansion and success for home-based businesses and work from home opportunities for our citizens. To this end, Mr. Usher is engaged with the LaunchKC initiative, the KC Startup Village, and Connecting for Good. He is also the City Manager's liaison to the Code for America project.

Mr. Usher has been employed by the City of Kansas City, Missouri for over 28 years and is a graduate of Louisiana Tech University.

Kevin Vanderweide

UMB Bank

Expertise: Financial Services, Finance/Accounting

Rob Vann
Constance S. Ward

Associate Vice President and Director of Global Relations, Black & Veatch

Constance S. Ward, Associate Vice President and Director of Global Relations, reports to the President and CEO of Black & Veatch's global water business. She has international communications experience working for large and small multi-national companies that include Black & Veatch, GE Insurance Solutions and Zurich Financial Services.

She also has previous experience in strategic marketing as global head of competitive intelligence for Roche Pharmaceuticals in Switzerland. As a management consultant specializing in marketing and communications, she worked in the pharmaceutical, chemical and oil industries.

A former journalist, she has conducted marketing and opinion research for Radio Free Europe in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and has written for Time magazine, The Times and the Sunday Times of London, among other U.S. and international publications.

As one of the first recipients of a Fulbright Fellowship to teach in Bulgaria before the Iron Curtain fell, she witnessed history in the making with a front-row seat on the bleachers of reform. While living in Bulgaria, she later worked as an educational consultant for the Open Society Fund, a George Soros foundation.

She received her Masters degree in rhetorical theory from the University of Missouri in Columbia and spent several years teaching in high school, community colleges and the English department at the University of Missouri in Kansas City.

After 15 years of working abroad, she returned to the Kansas City area, where she now lives with her British husband, David.


James J. Wadella


Expertise: Management consulting, internal controls, communication networks and operations, electrical engineering, consulting and professional services, information security, finance and budget management, communications and utility industry strengths along with business process improvement.  

Jim has over 20 years of technical and operational experience in several industries with a major focus in utilities and telecommunications. He currently is employed with Core Catalysts, LLC, a management consulting firm he founded several years ago.  He was previously employed at Experis Finance (formerly Jefferson Wells International) where he opened the Kansas City office in 2005.  Previously he was a partner with Ernst & Young LLP in their National Advisory Services group. He spent many of his eight years at Ernst & Young servicing clients in the telecommunications industry in various business improvement endeavors. Jim started his career with Electronic Data Systems (EDS) where he had many roles over a 13 year period including regional account management, business development and communications engineering.

Jim’s formal education includes a B.S. Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Cincinnati where he also interned for Dayton Power & Light (an Ohio-based, regional electric and gas generation, transmission and distribution company) over several years. His internship included many engineering assignments across multiple parts of the business including design engineer, transmission planning, distribution planning, and power plant engineering.

He also has an M.B.A. from the University of Texas at Dallas where he concentrated on international management.

Jim attended the Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management where he attended an executive management training program over several years specially created and sponsored by Jefferson Wells International.

Jim currently belongs to the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) – Heartland Chapter.


Richard Ward


Expertise: Financial Services, Health Care, Information Technology, Media/Entertainment, Real Estate, Telecommunications/Wireless, Angel Investment, Branding/Communications, Finance/Accounting, Franchising, Information Systems, Marketing/Sales, Operations/Production, Start-Up

Richard Ward has been active in many roles at the University of Missouri-Kansas City's Bloch School as a guest lecturer, competition judge, and lead mentor in the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the eScholars program. He is a SCORE volunteer in the SBA’s Kansas City chapter.

Ward currently serves as Interlocutor at, a mostly volunteer organization focused on innovative thinking, research and leveraging personal and business relationships accumulated across many decades of civic service, business and product development.

His prior business experience includes successful executive careers at Fidelity National Financial, Microsoft, (a pioneer dot-com acquired by Lending Tree) and GeoTel Corporation. Ward has pursued a diversified career as an entrepreneur. He has served on governance and advisory boards for several companies and civic groups.

Government: As a principal member of FutureLaw's Digital Services Group in Richmond, VA, he helped create electronic notary solutions for the State of Delaware and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Ward was instrumental in the deployment of Missouri’s ombudsman program for the state’s Lt. Governor and has managed multiple political campaigns.

Media: He is a former newspaper and magazine editor and was an award-winning Navy journalist during the Vietnam era. As founding chairman at GeoTel Corporation, Ward created NISCO (now NewzGroup), which owns and operates newspaper data services for many state press associations. Ward founded and funded CentraMart Services, which explored and tested eCommerce services for the National Newspaper Association. He is the founding publisher of Wyandotte Publishing in Kansas City, KS.

Education: Former University President Gary Forsee twice named him to panels to select the University's faculty and student entrepreneurs of the year from nominees representing the system's four campuses. Ward has been a consultant to the American Careers magazine group and led the creation of

Real Estate: A licensed real estate broker since the 1970s, Ward has served in numerous Realtor leadership roles including more than a decade as a National Director of the National Association of Realtors® and as a Realtor® political action committee chairman and trustee.

Cancer Research: A prostate cancer survivor since 1998, Ward is a former trustee for the Urological Research Foundation, a national prostate cancer research organization based at Northwestern University.

Veterans: Ward co-founded VETS®, a national veteran information service provider and reunion coordinator which was launched in the 1990s with the support of columnist Ann Landers.

Heather & Ben Warner

Shine Athletica

Heather and Ben Warner are the owners of Shine Athletica, an empowering women’s fitness apparel and accessories business. Shine Athletica is an e-commerce apparel brand that strives to help women gain confidence through inspirational athletic apparel.

Ben and Heather both had the idea to start a women’s fitness apparel business in 2014. Shine Athletica’s activewear allows women to be motivated to get fit by incorporating inspirational words and phrases on their gear.

Ben’s background is in accounting, having completed his CPA license in 2009 and working for primarily oil and gas firms in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Heather has a background in Social Work, completing her Master’s Degree in 2010 and working for a non-profit in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex as well.

Both Heather and Ben have a passion for Shine Athletica as well as helping other entrepreneurs grow and reach their personal and professional potential.

Phil Watlington

General Electric

Expertise: Consumer Products, Financial Services, Information Technology, Media/Entertainment, Petroleum/Energy, Services, Finance/Accounting, Information Systems, Operations/Production, Start-Up, Strategy/Planning

Phil recently retired from the General Electric Company after a 20 year career in Finance and Global Business. His primary responsibilities included financial project leadership for complex international customer transactions and business planning for global operations. Throughout his career—in addition to leading accounting and finance organizations as a Controller, Chief Financial Officer, or Vice-President—Phil led or participated in the acquisition of more than 25 companies and the integration of their operations into other organizations.

Phil's current focus is on teaching, consulting, and writing. He teaches Finance, Managerial Accounting, Economics, Global Business, and Strategic Planning to students in graduate and undergraduate college programs. His consulting practice includes work with manufacturing, services, and high-tech systems development firms serving domestic and global markets.

Phil writes and speaks extensively on financial matters and global trends. He is the author of The World Is at Your Door–Understanding & Leveraging Globalization and Innovation and The Rise of Powerful, Influential, and Caring Women. Many of his articles have appeared in publications around the world. His current research and writing efforts are focused on information security and the advanced technologies of "voice recognition" and "thinking machines." Expected release dates for books on these subjects are 2011 and 2012.

Phil holds a BBA and MBA Degree from the University Of Missouri–Kansas City, where he first began researching and writing about global population, business, and economic trends. He also holds a Green Belt Certification in Six Sigma problem-solving methodologies. He is a 20 year member of Financial Executives International and is an inaugural recipient of the Certificate in Director Education from the National Association of Corporate Directors–Washington, D.C. He participates regularly in mentoring and entrepreneurial programs for existing and new business start-ups.

Paul Weber

EAG (Entrepreneur Advertising Group)

Paul Weber is President of Entrepreneur Advertising Group (EAG), an advertising and marketing agency that focuses on the needs of smaller and mid-market companies. EAG serves as an extended marketing department for over 50 Kansas City companies and serves another 50 recurring clients with advertising, direct marketing, online, brand and creative strategies.

Paul is a Business Coach and Certified Facilitator for the Kauffman Foundation's Fastrac Program, a marketing consultant to the UMKC Small Business Development Center, a teacher of entrepreneurial marketing at the University of Kansas and speaks frequently on topics related to marketing and small business growth.

Paul Weber is a recognized expert, speaker, teacher and mentor on subjects related to the marketing and advertising of small business. An adjunct university instructor and writer, Paul speaks around the nation, teaching small business owners how to leverage Big Brand Strategies for their small business.

Under Paul's leadership EAG has become Kansas City's small business advertising agency providing direct marketing and online marketing services to more than 150 growth businesses.  Selected as one of the 25 Top Small Businesses in 2007, EAG was also chosen as a “Best Company to Work For” by Ingrams Magazine in 2010.


Scott Wesley


Scott Wesley is a senior wealth consultant for Mariner Wealth Advisors who specializes in creating financial planning solutions for high-net-worth individuals, families and foundations.

Prior to joining the firm, Scott was a vice president of wealth management and a financial advisor for The Plaza Group at Smith Barney. He earned the designation of financial planning specialist and served as the financial planning coordinator for Smith Barney's Kansas City branch. While at Smith Barney, Scott was awarded both the Rainmaker Award and the Blue Chip Award each year from 2004 to 2008. Scott has a bachelor's degree from Baker University and is on the board of directors of the Central Exchange. He has served on the board of Angel Flight, an organization that provides long-distance transportation in times of need, and was a member of the Centurions Leadership Group within the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. He has also served as the chair of the TLC for Children's Motorcycle Event, as a member of the American Royal Governorship Committee, and as a member of the advisory board of the Bloch School of Business at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.


David Wilson

PreveyCare Clinics and Innovative Health Media, LLC (IHM)

David (Dave) Wilson is the CEO of Pilot Project PreveyCare Clinics and Innovative Health Media LLC, formed to digitize and promote healthcare prevention and wellness products for the medical community.

Dave has worked in a variety of start-ups and cottage businesses. Previously Dave worked as chief strategist for Community Revitalization, LLC and CityLights Real Estate, community development organizations designed to increase access to homeownership with urban Kansas City families. Dave has also worked in education for a variety of youth ages and recently worked with the state of Missouri to minimize the readmission of foster youth to residential facilities.

Innovative Health Media, LLC was started in 2010 as an educational program to reduce emergency room visits and rapid readmissions in hospitals. In 2011, IHM created the e-AWV system which became the first Health Risk Assessment and Annual Wellness Visit tool for the Medicare population.

PreveyCare Clinics is a pilot program designed to show the medical community how to implement wellness and prevention programs in a profitable way.

Dave provides strategic support, marketing, age related competencies training, grant writing and health related education expertise. Dave has been involved in numerous community based organizations including neighborhood associations, school/education related boards, charity organizations and other programs that require strategic planning for better access to the community.


Mike Wilson

Wavelength Media

Mike, as Chief Executive Officer of Wavelength Media, is an avid entrepreneur who leveraged technology and ingenuity to start his first business at the age of 16.
Lefty’s Auto, an aftermarket auto accessories company, became a regional hit after Mike developed a web-based catalog for his growing automotive product lines. After seeing the viral growth of his online catalog, Mike quickly developed a niche for leveraging technology to grow his business. 11 years later, Mike’s technological drive and entrepreneur interests evolved into what is today, Wavelength Media – a technology driven digital sales & marketing agency.

After completing his undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas in just two years (2005) and his MBA from the University of Missouri – Kansas City in just one year (2006), Mike went on to publish a book about his college experience titled “Thru In 2″ which aimed at helping future college students save money during college through creative planning. Thru In 2 became nationally distributed via, Barnes & Noble, and Apple’s iBook store.


Richard Wood

Eagle Datagistics

Expertise: Marketing, Branding/Communications, Business Development, Franchising

Richard Wood is Chief Operating Office of Eagle Datagistics. He plays an essential role in Eagle’s business development, strategic marketing, and public relations. Most of Richard’s time is spent on the frontlines of networking events cultivating strategic relationships and fortifying Eagle’s brand identity. He has a penchant for connecting with people and fostering long-term business relationships.

Before on-boarding with Eagle, Richard held many distinguished positions with well-known companies throughout the country. He served as President/CEO of Beauty First, VP of Business Development of State Beauty, a division of Beauty Alliance/L’Oreal, Vice President of Marketing and President/Executive Director for Pizza Hut Franchisees Association, and was Director U.S. Business marketing for Holiday Inns. In his early career, Richard was the head of three independent schools in the Midwest.

Richard holds an assortment of noteworthy positions within the local community. He is Chair of the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance, Organizer of a start-up group called One Million Cups (1MC) in St. Petersburg, and a Member of the St. Petersburg Sports Alliance. Richard earned his BA degree in Economics from Muskingum College and a Doctorate of Educational Leadership from the University of Cincinnati.


Kyle Yancik

United Country Real Estate

Expertise: Marketing/Sales, Retail, Consumer Products, Branding/Communications, Digital Marketing and Real Estate

Kyle Yancik is a Project Coordinator for United Country Real Estate. He works with affiliates by running marketing campaigns for their properties for upcoming auctions. Kyle is also an Entrepreneur with multiple small businesses that he runs when he is not working at United Country Real Estate. Kyle also works on Branding campaigns for small Businesses in Kansas City. Kyle has also been around the Real Estate industry his entire life from commercial property to residential he has a lifetime of understanding Real Estate.

Kyle focuses each day towards bringing an innovative thought process to all projects he works on and to guide others to perform at their highest ability. Kyle is always ready to help the next startup company grow. As a young Entrepreneur himself Kyle continues to learn, grow and become more involved in the community to better himself and his clients. Kyle has a Bachelor’s of Business Administration with a Marketing emphasis from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.