Todd is a retired executive with Mondelez International/Kraft Foods/Nabisco Inc. and has extensive experience in identifying, developing and commercializing innovative breakthrough technology for consumer goods sector. A strong strategic planning and business background coupled with skills in product development, nutritional science, R&D strategy, Open Innovation, and organizational development. Solid track record in the transfer of consumer needs from development to the marketplace. Regarded as an industry expert in scientifically driven, consumer focused innovation and driving collaboration. Experienced talent manager and team developer. A strong facilitator/teacher effective in communicating to all stakeholders from the bench to executive suite. Actively involved leading industry groups and collaborating with universities, suppliers, venture funds and start-ups as a mentor, thought leader and board member. Todd is also a nationally certified collegiate soccer referee and referee instructor.
Jaime Bari was hired in 2004 as Director of Financial Services for Doña Ana County. His responsibilities included management of the county’s fiscal activities and collaborating with executive management to formulate the county’s strategic fiscal plan. Prior to joining Doña Ana County, he was Director of Financial Services for Monroe County, Rochester, NY. Mr. Bari also launched a small business management and consulting company, which acquired Rochester Optical Manufacturing Company, whose primary customer was the US Department of Defense. Before launching this business, he held various executive positions with Xerox Corporation, Rochester, NY and 3M Company, St. Paul, MN. Bari is currently a design and business consultant to a global network of engineers and scientists developing products and manufacturing capabilities in the areas of nanotechnology, biomedical systems, electro-optical devices and low cost housing technology for emerging economies. He has an MBA degree from SUNY Buffalo and Masters of Technology Administration, a joint degree program with the University of Minnesota and Goddard College.
Emily founded Floriography Flowers in 2011 in a tiny but mighty little patch of her family’s pecan orchard in Southern New Mexico. That small flower farm has since blossomed into multiple businesses including Floriography, Calhoun Flower Farms, and Florecita. Floriography Flowers is a Southwest-based floral design company specializing in the creation of lush, arrangements, and installations. Their designs are crafted with a nod to the rich agricultural history of the American Southwest, using locally-sourced, sustainably grown flowers whenever possible. Emily and Floriography are passionate about developing small female run farms and agricultural business. They do this through investment mentoring and business strategy workshops. When she isn’t out in the field or studio you can find Emily eating tacos and sitting on a porch with her husband Eli and their dog, Tex.
John began his career, after graduating from Boston University and MIT with degrees in Media Studies and Electronics, working for one of the great early Silicon Valley tech firms: Ampex. He then spent a decade in Manhattan working for ABC Television as a systems engineer designing and building facilities for the network and managing programs for sports and news; big spectacles like the Olympics and political conventions. John then received his MBA from Wharton. He has since taken two companies public as CFO and CEO. He has founded numerous startups in alternative energy, life sciences, and technology. His career shifted to teaching at numerous universities in US and internationally in the past ten years. His company MBA ASAP delivers digital content on business topics via eBooks, paperbacks, audiobooks, podcasts and online courses.
Wesley Eric Etheridge
Wesley E. Etheridge Sr., is a retired Disabled Veterans Outreach Representative and US Navy Master Trainer who earned a Behavioral Science Degree in Alcohol and Other Drug Studies at San Diego City College, San Diego CA. A GCS Diplomat Certified Anger Management Facilitator (DCAMF), he is the author of Manage Your Anger in 10 Days a supplemental eBook on Amazon.com, co-author of My Final Re-spot, on Amazon and is a past recipient of the M.K. Gandhi Institute Award for Non-Violence Community Leadership, in addition to a variety of other awards. Coach Wes is the Principal Consultant of GCS Facilitators and Consultants, is an advocate for vet’s, their families and is known as the Leading Authority on Military Veterans and Anger Management. He is also a former CA., Gang Diversion Specialist, AZ., Youth Corrections Coach and CT., Corrections Re-entry Coordinator. Currently, he assists veterans, families and adolescents with managing anger.
Maeve is a technical leader with 20 years in research and development of novel technologies and creative solutions. She has served as a technology advisor and engineering manager for several US military commands, with a focus in robotics, sensors, artificial intelligence, and mobility systems. Maeve earned an MA in International Economics and Strategic Studies from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University, and is an ISO 9001 certified project manager. She holds two patents for personal protective equipment, and has completed extensive coursework in explosive ordnance disposal, tactical driving, and anti-terrorism/force protection.
Dr. Brad Gordon has over twenty-five years of experience starting, financing, growing, merging and acquiring new companies. Between 1981 and 2007 he participated in the start-up of eleven companies, including five new ventures in the biotech sector, where he held executive positions in both venture capital and corporate management. One of those companies, Celgene, has grown to become one of the three largest independent biopharmaceutical companies worldwide, and now ranks as the 137th largest U.S. corporation with a current market value of approximately $42 billion.
Charles Harb currently serves as President of RingIR Inc, a company that is revolutionizing gas and molecular sensing technology. Charles received his doctorate in Quantum Optics at the Australian National University and went on to do post doctorate research at Stanford University. While there, he focused on business development in science. The technological developments that RingIR has made has fostered business relationships in national defense, health and safety, and security industries worldwide. Charles Harb collaborates both domestically and internationally on cavity ringdown spectroscopy research. In addition to his experience in high-tech startups, he also was an associate professor in Australia.
Ray Laudano spent the early part of his career developing new products under the Maxwell House Coffee brand for Kraft Foods. While at Kraft Foods headquarters, he excelled in the Innovative Applications Group working across major brands. Ray pioneered novel ingredient applications, new product and category development, by-product ingredient reclamation and utilization, natural and organic product development, and nutraceutical applications. Along the way, Ray’s passion for creativity and innovation grew and he soon found himself being sought after to facilitate ideation and prototyping sessions. He is currently the President and Owner of NPD Strategies, Inc. which assists the food, beverage, and pharmaceutical industries to develop novel innovation techniques and streamline manufacturing processes to deliver new products for FMCG companies. NPD Strategies’ client list includes; PepsiCo, Kraft-Heinz Co., 915 Laboratories, NatureSweet, CSHealth Solutions, and various start-ups.
Christine Logan is a part of the Community, Business and Rural Development Team at the New Mexico Economic Development Department. She works to connect businesses with State incentives such as the Job Training Incentive Program (wage reimbursement) and Local Economic Development funds (grants for land and building improvements) as well helping businesses to tap into the resources of the Office of Business Advocacy, the New Mexico International Trade Office, and the department’s finance development team. Christine has relationships with a wide range of state and federal agencies and can navigate the bureaucracy with startups and small firms to get the information and assistance you need the most. Christine has been helping businesses to understand government and government to understand businesses in southern New Mexico for over 15 years. Her specialty is finding the right people, programs, or information to fit your need and helping businesses get the most out of each resource!
Innovator in Residence
Scott is the CEO and Co-Founder of Seed Worthy, an internet tech company focused on providing the fastest, most innovative launch platform for developers through their feature product BowTie. Prior to Seed Worthy, Scott was VP of Strategy and Operations for @Pay, a mobile payment startup where he led the @Pay Product and Production teams, as well as provided direct leadership for all strategic initiatives. Before that he was Senior Operations and Strategy Manager for LivingSocial, where he was responsible for leadership of several operational and strategic teams, and a key driver of growth for one of the company’s fastest growing divisions. As a finance lead to the Emerging Markets Unit at Pfizer, Scott provided business development and financial efforts for nearly $400M in partnerships deals and international operations. Scott is a third generation entrepreneur, sits on the board of several companies, consults for clients around the country, and guest lectures on business strategy and innovation at universities and conferences.
After graduating with honors from Princeton University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Molecular Biology, and obtaining her Juris Doctor from the University of Pennsylvania, Elizabeth Wechsler Mata practiced patent law for twenty-two years with Hamilton, Brook, Smith & Reynolds, P.C., an intellectual property law firm based in Concord, Massachusetts. For seventeen of those years, she telecommuted from her home office in El Paso, Texas. Ms. Mata assisted clients in the biotechnology field. She counseled on strategic patent prosecution and enforcement internationally as well as in the United States, and on patentability, patent validity, patent term extension, freedom-to-operate, interference and infringement matters. Ms. Mata also serves as an Ms. Mata is currently with the El Paso firm of Blanco Ordonez Mata & Wallace, P.C., where she works in the firm’s business and real estate practice in the areas of business organizations and commercial transactions and is an adjunct professor at NMSU, teaching “Intellectual Property for Engineers and Scientists.”
Steve M. McLary
Mr. McLary is presently associated Of Counsel with the intellectual property law firm of Peacock Myers, P.C, whose main office is in Albuquerque. Mr. McLary is resident in Las Cruces. Prior to Peacock Myers, Mr. McLary was Of Counsel with the firm of Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge, and Rice in Atlanta for 12 years. Mr. McLary has extensive experience in intellectual property matters, including license preparation and negotiation, leasing, joint venture strategy (both domestic and foreign), antitrust compliance, and general contract issues. His patent experience includes preparation and prosecution of U. S. and foreign patents on a wide range of subject matter, writing validity, infringement, and patentability opinions, as well as patent license agreements. Mr. McLary earned his B. S. in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University and his J. D. from the University of Toledo. He is admitted to practice in Indiana and Ohio and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Leah Messina is an experienced entrepreneur in digital marketing, content production, and publishing. For over 15 years, she has pioneered innovative social media strategy, digital brand management, and content promotion through emerging technology. She has worked extensively for consumer brands including GEICO, Black & Decker, Ace Hardware, and A&E Television, developing and managing digital promotion strategies for product launches. In 2014, she co-founded Approach Positive, a marketing and communications firm dedicated to increasing awareness of research and programs in the science and technology industries. Leah is also the founder and CEO of Sinuate Media, a digital marketing consulting firm she launched in 2006 that emphasizes the collaboration between digital and traditional strategies. She holds a BA in Professional Writing & Communication Design from Carnegie Mellon University and a MS in Marketing from the Carey Business School at Johns Hopkins University. Leah is also the founder of NETWorks Las Cruces, Southern New Mexico’s only marketing networking organization.
Bobbi Kay Nelson
Bobbi Kay Nelson is the Tax Specialty Group Practice Leader at Atkinson & Co., LTD. Bobbi is a CPA with more than 15 years of experience in accounting and taxation. She in an expert in business taxes, business registration, and entity selection as well as offering general business and accounting advice. Bobbi Kay Nelson, CPA has years of valuable experience as an IRS registered tax preparer. She assists taxpayers and small businesses with taxes in Albuquerque, NM and the surrounding communities.
Luke Nogales loves to help innovators reach their potential. Luke is an assistant professor in the Engineering Technology Department at New Mexico State University. He teaches mechanical engineering technology core courses and is developing an innovation and product development curriculum for traditional students as well as for the private sector. Prior to working at NMSU, Luke worked as an innovator at Procter & Gamble. While working full-time at P&G in Cincinnati, OH, Luke went to Northwestern University in Evanston, IL and received a MS in Product Design and Development. The internationally recognized program, which is taught by engineering and business faculty, strengthened his understanding of how to develop successful value propositions. Luke’s engineering foundation was built at New Mexico State University, where he received a BS with high honors in Mechanical Engineering Technology.
James is REDW’s Sales and Use Tax expert. With over 8 years of experience specializing exclusively in the State and Local Tax arena, James has dealt with sales and use tax compliance for every state in the U.S.A. and Canada. In addition to his time working with a multi-national retailer, James spent 4 years working with the New Mexico Taxation & Revenue Department in multiple divisions, including the Audit & Compliance Division, as well as assisting the Department in the development of internal policies and procedures for auditing specialty refund claims. James also has experience preparing and providing audit defense for a variety of State and Federal Tax Credit filings and unique Property Tax situations involving tribal entities and specialty exemptions. James holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of New Mexico and Masters of Science in Accountancy from the University of Phoenix.
Investor in Residence
Ebetuel “Beto” Pallares-Venegas was born in Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico and raised in El Paso, TX. He is an active high tech early-stage investor, university lecturer and conducts research on incubators and accelerators; he also serves on several corporate and venture fund advisory boards. He founded Joseph Advisory Services, an early stage venture capital and economic development advisory firm. He is also the sole general partner of Proficio Capital Management, an early-stage fund. He is a Kauffman Fellow, as well as a Presidio Institute Cross Sector Leadership Fellow. He also serves on the NMSU Intellectual Property Advisory Committee. Dr. Pallares received a BA in Economics, an MBA and holds a PhD in International Business.
Arianna Parsons is a native of Missouri but has lived in Las Cruces since 2012. She and her husband, Tyrell Thacker, have owned and operated Beck’s Coffee for the past five years. She is the former Director of the Downtown Las Cruces Partnership, which she headed from 2014-2017. In addition to her work at Beck’s she currently runs Parsons Consulting, a small business consulting firm dedicated to helping small businesses launch and thrive here in Las Cruces. Arianna sits on the Board of the Amador Foundation, and can usually be found sitting on several special project committees. Over the years Arianna has received the honor of recognition by her peers for her work in her field. She was Young Professional of the Month from Las Cruces Young Professionals in 2015. In 2016 she was a “Woman of Distinction” as recognized by the Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest. On December 04, 2017 the City of Las Cruces honored her with a proclomation for Arianna Parsons Day for her work in the community. Beck’s Coffee received a Gold Level Family Friendly Business Award in 2018. Arianna is the mother to toddler Thomas Harris Thacker. She and her husband are expecting their second son in November 2018.
Edward Pines is Department Head of Industrial Engineering at New Mexico State Unive’rsity. His teaching and research is focused around people and how they create and fund new enterprises and systems. Entrepreneurship education for engineers is one of his current efforts. He has been involved in innovation and new project development throughout his industrial and academic careers. He is a graduate of Stevens Institute of Technology and Penn State University.
Tony Pranger Jr.
Tony Prangner Jr. is the Founder & CEO of bOpit (Business of People) Radio. Tony has experience working in both terrestrial and streaming radio broadcasting. He has extensive experience in radio communications; he has worked as a Technical Director and Producer for several radio stations in Phoenix, Arizona where he recorded and edited shows, aired commercials, created and distributed podcasts, and directed on-air talent. Tony’s platform, bOpit Radio, produces content that helps businesses and organizations promote their products and services using storynomics. Tony uses storytelling/narrative techniques and marketing to create a uniquely branded format that helps business owners tell their stories.
Jorge A. Ramos
Jorge A. Ramos is the Director of Corporate Development at Arrowhead Center. He is responsible for engaging and enhancing Arrowhead Center activities with the private sector. He has over 20 years of experience in economic development, and in the private sector his experience includes serving as president and CEO of start-up companies in both the industrial supplies and the construction materials sectors. Mr. Ramos holds a Certificate of Economic Development from the University of Oklahoma, a BBA in Economics and an MBA from the University of Texas at El Paso.
Patricio currently serves as the President of EVUS, Inc., an engineering technology firm based in Las Cruces. His career as an electrical engineer spans 30 years, while also working in tele-communications, information technology, and energy industry generation and distribution. Building on these skills, Patricio has spent the last 15 years running startup companies all over Latin America during which time he has worked with investors, VC private equity investors and has gained first-hand knowledge of business and startup management best practices.
Maricela Sandoval is the Branch Retail Executive/Branch Manager at BBVA Compass Bank in Las Cruces at the Lohman branch. She has 16 years of experience in banking and working with small business customers. She offers small business workshops on behalf of BBVA Compass and also provides financial education on Affordable Housing, and adult financial education – general banking throughout Las Cruces. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing from New Mexico State University and is affiliated with the local Chamber of Commerce.
Melissa is a registered patent lawyer with 10 years of experience in intellectual property law, technology commercialization, and business law in academia and private practice. Melissa recently launched Melissa Silverstein Law PLLC, an El Paso-based Intellectual Property Management and Technology Commercialization Law Firm, focusing on intellectual property protection, marketing, licensing, contract negotiation, and business law. As former Director of the University of Texas at El Paso’s Office of Technology Commercialization, she managed UTEP’s patent portfolio, including protecting, marketing, and licensing 150+ UTEP inventions in six technology fields, as well as drafting and negotiating all commercialization contracts. She joined the teaching team of the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program held at the Arrowhead Center.
William L. Smith is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Management at New Mexico State University. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in accounting and has been a licensed CPA for over 30 years. He started his career with KPMG/Peat Marwick and has remained an active consultant working with small business and nonprofit organizations. In 2004 he earned his Ph.D. in Business Administration from NMSU. His current areas of research include organizational structures, firm performance, strategy, critical theory, and financial analysis. His publications have appeared in journals such as Organizational Research Methods, Behaviour & Information Technology, Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management and Journal of Accounting and Finance.
Eric Lee Smith
Eric Lee Smith is a serial entrepreneur who helps form and lead innovative development teams that create breakthrough products and services. He has a history of designing and shipping award-winning games, sales leading software, and enterprise-class business systems that manage over two trillion dollars in assets, transact hundreds of millions of trades per day, and help people manage their money. Eric is an expert in visualization, information design, interaction design, and getting things done. He is knowledgeable on game design and publishing, customer-relationship management, and investing/fundraising avenues. He has served as a mentor for the University of Pennsylvania entrepreneurship program and has been a consultant for many software businesses. Eric is experienced in financial services development, system design, and creative startups.
Michael Usrey recently retired from an executive vice president position with an engineered materials start-up. Over the past decade, he helped the company grow from eight employees to over 30. In addition to leading business development efforts to secure over $20M in Government contracts and grants, Michael successfully advocated for and managed participation in maturation tests that represent millions of dollars in additional, in-kind investment. As CFO, he was responsible for contractual compliance and successfully oversaw 10 years of DCAA audits. Michael has been involved in entrepreneurship and all aspects of business formation, planning, development, and control. He was co-founder of two companies which both completed the cycle from start-up to acquisition by larger firms. At Honeywell Aerospace, he was responsible for successful projects in IT, lean manufacturing and six sigma quality. Michael has also taught management and engineering courses at the university level.
Jeff graduated from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law in 2015. While in law school, Jeff was a chief of the Small Business and Trademark Clinic and participated with the ABA Client Counseling and Arbitration teams. Prior to law school, Jeff obtained his B.S. in Public Policy, Management, and Planning with an emphasis on Urban Development from the University of Southern California. Jeff currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Arrowhead Innovation Fund. At Vela Wood, Jeff advises clients on a wide variety of intellectual property, privacy, advertising, and corporate transactional matters, including trademark clearance, trademark enforcement, brand development, copyrights, IP due diligence, technology commercialization agreements, privacy policies, terms of service agreements, endorsement agreements, advertising regulations, and distribution agreements. Based out of El Paso, Texas, Jeff likes to spend his time hiking or traveling with his wife, Tilli, their sons, Tracen and Tommy, and their dog, Charlie.
Garrett Weinzierl is a podcaster, graphic designer, founder of Amove.tv, and a Jedi in training. Garrett produces and hosts multiple gaming, tech, and pop-culture shows like The Angry Chicken, Into the Nexus, Let’s Talk About Star Wars, and Embrace the Spoilers. When he isn’t producing his own online entertainment he can be seen guesting on shows like the Daily Tech News Show, Pixels, and The Instance. Garrett graduated from the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. After working many jobs just to pay the bills, he started podcasting as a hobby. That hobby grew into tens of thousands of downloads a week, an active community of gamers and hobbyists, and a steady source of income thanks to that same community and the crowdfunding platform Patreon. The platform Garrett helped build through podcasting also became a source of recurring graphic design freelance clients.
You can find Garrett’s work at Nomoonart.com and Amove.tv
Dick Welter is a respected business development and licensing professional with an extensive track record of success. Schedule a meeting today if you have questions or need help with licensing a technology or product, sales and negotiations, asset valuations, presentation coaching and pitch strategy, or business plan review.
Howard is a patent attorney at Sand & Sebolt and his practice is limited to intellectual property law. Particularly, he focuses on patent, trademark, and copyright law and related litigation, as well as intellectual property licensing. Howard counsels clients ranging from a Fortune 500 company to individual entrepreneurs, however most of his clients are middle-market companies and research institutions. He helps clients develop strategic intellectual property by drafting well-crafted patent applications. Howard utilizes a practical approach in an attempt to resolve disputes, however he understands the necessity to enforce and defend intellectual property. Howard has been lead defense counsel in multiple federal patent litigation suits which resulted in favorable settlements to his clients. He has also assisted in other federal patent litigation suits. Howard keeps an active international intellectual property practice. He counsels companies from around the world on United States patent and trademark law and has clients from the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.
Daniel Ziesmer is the President of Centripetum LLC, a firm specializing in supporting the governance, risk management, and compliance efforts of small enterprises, developing cybersecurity architectures and remediation programs, and providing virtual CISO services. Daniel is also the Vice President of the New Mexico Chapter of ISSA. A former professor, security architect, compliance director, and information security officer, Daniel has extensive experience in establishing security programs for governments and various private industries, including industrial control system environments. He holds a broad array of professional industry certifications, is a member of and contributor to numerous IT, cybersecurity, ICS, engineering, and scientific industry organizations, and has served as a technical editor or contributing author for more than a dozen IT industry books and textbooks
Become a Mentor!
If you are interested in working together, sign up here!