Chair, Advisory Board
CEO, Paradies Law P.A.
Christopher Paradies, Ph.D. is the CEO of Paradies Law P.A.. Mr. Paradies is Florida Bar Board Certified in intellectual property law which includes patents, trademarks, trade secrets and copyrights and is a registered patent attorney with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Mr. Paradies' practice is focused on assisting clients with management of all of their intellectual property, including acquisition, licensing, enforcement in the courts and defense against claims of infringement. He has extensive experience as both a researcher in industry and a patent attorney. Technical areas of expertise include nanotechnology, materials science, semiconductor processing, chemistry, aerospace, medical treatments, medical devices and drug delivery. He received his B.S. in physics from the United States Military Academy, West Point, his Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and his J.D., summa cum laude, from Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center.
Suzie Boland specializes in strategic public relations to drive sales inquiries, build client brands and handle crisis communications, working with national, regional and local clients in the technology, professional services, healthcare, senior services, manufacturing and consumer products/services fields. She has more than 20 years experience in marketing, communications and public relations, both as a marketing executive and an agency principal. A graduate of Leadership Tampa, she was founding advisory council chairman of STAR TEC (now Tampa Bay Innovation Center), where she is now a board member and chairman of the marketing committee; and was a founding board member of the Tampa Bay Technology Forum and Tech Village Tampa Bay incubator. She is a board member and marketing vice chairman of the CEO Council of Tampa Bay, a member of the board and communications chairman of the Association for Corporate Growth and board member of Trinity Café. She was named “2007 CEO of the Year for Marketing” by Tampa Bay CEO Magazine and “2004 Tech Leader of the Year” by the Tampa Bay Technology Forum.
CEO/Design Director, ROBRADY design
Robert Brady began his design career 20 years ago with the Cigarette Racing Team in Miami.
Today he is responsible for product design, strategy, implementation and business development at Sarasota, Florida-based ROBRADY design, which he founded in 1990 to serve the transportation, consumer/electronics, industrial, medical and marine markets.
He also serves as co-founder and Executive Director of ARMORIT- a product design, development and delivery group of companies focused on Military and Government markets.
Brady’s expertise and vision have helped shape ground breaking and award-winning products such as the Vectrix electric Superbike and VX-1 maxi-scooter, the Segway Human Transporter, the GMP LifeSync wireless electro-cardiogram system and personal watercraft and jet boats for both Yamaha and Polaris.
He also has designed motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, digital instruments, lightweight composite tools, surgical devices, exercise equipment, fuel cell devices, jet and recreational boats, and off-shore high performance powerboats.
In addition to innovative design, his studio offers its multinational client base—including Parker Hannifin, General Electric, Mercedes-Benz, Dell Computers, AT&T and Volvo Penta—total product development: market research, retail development, industrial design, mechanical design and engineering, graphics /packaging / GUI / web and eCommerce design; product branding; rapid prototyping and complete program management.
Brady is a graduate of the prestigious Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, California.
Executive Director, Florida Venture Forum
Kevin Burgoyne is the Executive Director of the Florida Venture Forum. Mr. Burgoyne has more than 20 years of corporate and private investment industry experience, including senior level sales, marketing and corporate communications roles with the Walt Disney Company, PanAmSat and Global Crossing. Most recently he has worked in staff and consulting roles for several start-ups and private investment groups with holding in real estate and technology. Mr. Burgoyne holds a BS from the University of Florida and an MBA from the University of Chicago.
General Manager, DRS Technologies, Inc.
John Churchman has 25 years of experience in the Defense Industry. Currently, he is the General Manager of DRS IMS in Largo, FL. DRS IMS conducts System Testing and Integration for Radar, Border Security and Communications Products. He holds an Engineering degree from University of Central Florida and an MBA from Nova Southeastern University. He is a member of Florida Federal Contractors Association and Bay Area Manufacturers Association.
Dr. Fountain serves as the Director of the University of South Florida’s Interdisciplinary, cross-campus Center for Entrepreneurship where he directs the university-wide, under-graduate and graduate programs in entrepreneurship. He specializes in technology venturing with an emphasis in biotechnology and life sciences. He has over 30 years of experience as a leader in business and finance having founded 7 companies, three of which became publically traded biotechnology companies. As a pioneer in the field of micro and nano-drug encapsulation, he has successfully developed and marketed products for use in the treatment of diseases in oncology, infectious disease and dermatology. Under his leadership the USF Entrepreneurship Program has become internationally recognized for its excellence in interdisciplinary entrepreneurship education and training and nationally ranked among the top 20 graduate business entrepreneurship programs since 2005 by Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine.
Managing Director, Pragati-Path
Shri Goyal received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University. He served as Dean of the College of Technology & Management at St. Petersburg College, Florida 2002-10. Previously, as the Director of the Technology Programs in Operations Systems Technologies of Verizon Laboratories, Dr. Goyal developed and deployed intelligent operation support systems.
An IEEE Fellow, Dr. Goyal has been active in many ComSoc professional and leadership roles. He is serving on the Board of IEEE, ComSoc and the Science Center of Pinellas County. Dr. Goyal is the recipient of IEEE Communications Society Donald W. McClellan Meritorious Service Award and GTE’s Warner award and holds two patents.
Chair, Vetting Committee
Managing Partner, Quintic Capital
Brian Graham is the Managing Partner of Quintic Capital, a small Private Equity and Advisory firm focusing on medium size product based companies. Quintic Capital is the sponsor of the Suncoast Advisory Alliance a group of professionals who focus on successfully building transition plans for Boomers who are ready to take the next step toward their future outside of their business. At Quintic and Suncoast the advisory service often builds on the strength of a client’s business to execute a grow to go strategy.
Director, USF MBA Programs
Irene Hurst became the Director of the USF MBA Programs in January 2008, after a long career at USF – Small Business Development Center. She served as the Director of the Center for over 11 years.
Ms. Hurst serves in numerous small business related committees for the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. She is also on the Board of Directors of the Minority Economic Development of Tampa Bay Corporation; the Advisory Board for the Tampa Bay Innovation Center and the Board of Director for the USF Federal Credit Union. She was small business columnist for the Maddux Business Report for three years. Ms. Hurst has won several professional awards throughout her career and earned her MBA from the University of South Florida.
Robin A. Lester is the Managing Director of Florida Growth Partners. Spanning a professional career of more than 20 years, Robin (Kovaleski) Lester has a diverse and successful career with several prominent firms in finance, investor relations and corporate communications. As the former Director of the Florida Venture Forum, she lead Florida’s premier support group for venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. Lester earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Environmental Politics, graduating cum laude, with highest honors, from Appalachian State University and a Masters degree in English from the University of North Carolina. She has also served as the Chair, TEC Florida, President’s Forum since 2004 and is a graduate of the Executive Speaker’s Institute
Managing Consultant, Miller Martin Capital Partners, LLC
Doug Martin is currently a managing consultant for Miller Martin Capital Partners, LLC. Previously, Doug was the CFO and acting COO of Imagine International Corporation, a Tampa-based consumer electronics company; as well as, the Managing Partner of Business Consulting Group, a local management consulting firm Doug founded in 2002. Before that Doug was a Managing Director for PriceWaterhouseCoopers, where for over 23 years he managed large projects, designed unique strategic IT applications, became an interim CEO, COO and CIO, and consulted on many business acquisitions. His experience ranges from small, privately-held to Global 10 manufacturing, distribution, and service corporations; as well as Federal Government Departments and Agencies; and the United Nations. Doug served as Chair of the Tampa Bay Innovation Center’s Advisory Board for three years, is a current member of the vetting committee and serves as a mentor on two client boards. In addition, Doug serves as a member of the Tampa Bay Innovation Center’s Board of Directors.
Director, Pinellas County Economic Development
Mr. Meidel is a cum laude graduate of Florida State University (1981). He is also a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma (1991) and of the Institute for Organization Management at the University of Georgia (2003). He is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) with the International Economic Development Council. Mike has been active in many different aspects of economic development since 1982, including research, marketing, business recruitment, community visioning, business assistance, and lobbying. In the course of his career, he has worked for the Florida Department of Commerce and Florida Power Corporation, and was the President & CEO of the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce. Mike serves on the executive committee of the Florida Economic Development Council and on the board of directors of the Tampa Bay Partnership and WorkNet Pinellas.
Richard B. Nicholas is the Vice President and Chief Operations Officer of E Solutions Corporation, a data center firm with operations in Downtown Tampa. He and his firm are well connected into Tampa’s technology market. Mr. Nicholas is a member of the CEO Council, is the current Co-Chair of Philanthropy and was recently honored as a “30 under 30” by the Tampa Bay Business Journal.
Executive Director, University of Central Florida Technology Incubator
Dr. Tom O’Neal has been an integral part of the UCF Office of Research & Commercialization team working to grow UCF into a leading metropolitan research university. O’Neal’s areas of responsibility include the Sponsored Programs Office, the Research Foundation, the Technology Transfer Office, Compliance, and Commercialization which includes Business creation and incubation at UCF. Tom also serves as a core team member of the Florida High Tech Corridor Council and is President of the Florida Business Incubator Association. Tom has a long history as an entrepreneur and has helped form several spin-off companies based on technologies developed at UCF. In 1999, he was a key member of a collaborative effort that resulted in the establishment of the UCF Technology Incubator in the Central Florida Research Park. The Incubator was named the Incubator of the Year at the 2004 Annual International Conference held by the National Business Incubator Association. Today Business Incubation at UCF has expanded into five incubation sites supported by multiple collaborative initiatives with public and private organizations. O’Neal received a Ph.D in Industrial Engineering, a Master of Science in Engineering Management, a Master of Business Administration, and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering.
Director, Office of Technology Management and Commercialization & Associate General Counsel
H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Inc.
Mr. Rieger oversees the Office of Technology Management and Commercialization (“OTMC”) at Moffitt Cancer Center. His department is charged with commercializing the cancer related discoveries made at Moffitt Cancer Center ranging from protecting the intellectual property to forging licensing alliances with established companies and startups. In addition, OTMC negotiates on behalf of the Moffitt Cancer Center a wide variety of research and intellectual property agreements. His tenure began at Moffitt Cancer Center in 2004, and he was promoted to Director of OTMC in 2006. Prior to joining Moffitt, Mr. Rieger practiced as a patent attorney at Breed Technologies in Lakeland, Florida.
Mr. Rieger received both his Juris Doctor and Master of Business Administration degrees from Stetson University College of Law in Saint Petersburg, Florida; he received his Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. He is admitted to the Florida Bar and is a registered Patent Attorney.
Mr. Rieger sits on the board of the Florida Research Consortium and graduated from Leadership Hillsborough in 2010.
Director of Real Estate Management, Pinellas County Government
Paul Sacco is the Director of Real Estate Management Department for Pinellas County Government. He is responsible to direct and administer operations, projects and programs relating to real estate, lease management, building design & construction, facility operations and fleet management. Paul is also the Director of the Young – Rainey STAR Center, a Pinellas County Government economic development program. For the STAR Center, he is responsible for the entire operation including; administration, leasing, maintenance and operations. Paul joined the STAR Center in 1997 where he served as the Facility Operations Manager and Assistant Director. He works closely with the Pinellas County Economic Development Department in areas of business attraction, business retention & expansion, new business development/incubation, business assistance, Brownfields and international economic development. He is a certified economic developer through the International Economic Development Council.
Paul’s tenure at the STAR Center dates back 17 years to when the facility was owned by the U.S. Department of Energy and operated by the General Electric Company. After a brief mechanical engineering career, he was promoted to manage various facility departments such as; maintenance, utility operations, facility engineering and construction. Before General Electric he worked for the U.S. Naval Ship Systems Engineering Station where he was a lead engineer for surface ship damage control and ship survivability systems.
Paul served as chairman of the Tampa Bay Innovation Center, executive board member of the Bay Area Manufacturers Association and the Florida/Korea Economic Cooperation Committee. He is also a member of several facility management and economic development organizations. Paul is a graduate of Widener University where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering.