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Session B

Dealmakers Awards Presentation

Presented By: Copper Run

Congratulations to the 2022 Dealmakers of the Year Award Winners!


Joseph Bagan
Founder & CEO
STAQ Pharma, Inc.

Joe is currently a Founder and the CEO and Chairman of STAQ Pharma, Inc. a 503B Outsourcing Facility with operations in Denver, CO. and an expansion facility being built in Columbus OH.  Joe was previously Founder, CEO, and then Chairman of Sharklet Technologies Inc., until it was acquired in early 2017 by a Chinese Private Equity firm specializing in BioTechnology.  Sharklet Technologies is a medical device technology company specializing in using topography to resist bacterial adhesion and colonization of surfaces, especially short-term indwelling device surfaces. 

Joe was also the lead consultant on the genomic data gathering and analytical analysis efforts for a cancer consortium (ORIEN), founded a company to develop and launch an anti-microbial peptide, and is currently an advisor to several drug and device companies through the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus Innovation program (aka SPARK).

Joe is also a co-founder and Board Member of RevGen, Inc., a Denver based company focused on big data analytics, business intelligence systems, and digital enablement for companies of all sizes.


Mark Spiecker
STAQ Pharma

Mark Spiecker is President of STAQ Pharma, a 503B Outsourcing Facility in Columbus, OH and Denver, Colorado that will provide sterile injectable compounded medications to hospitals across the country. Prior to joining STAQ, Marks’s career spanned a number of strategy and leadership roles. In each role Mark utilized his passion for business development, process improvement and innovative operations to successfully guide complex organizations through significant change.

Mark is the former CEO of Sharklet Technologies, Inc. a medical device firm that developed a texture inspired by Sharkskin to control bacteria on surfaces. Mark exited Sharklet to a Bioscience group out of China, providing significant returns to shareholders. Mark is an active community leader, currently serving as a Chair and Board Member of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, a Trustee at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Prior to 2019, Mark served as Chair of the Board of the Colorado Biosciences Association.

Matthew Benson
Founder & CEO

Matthew “MJB” Benson is the cofounder & CEO of eFuse, the #1 platform for gamers to meet, compete, and be discovered.

Matthew has grown the eFuse ecosystem to millions of gamers, raised over $8M in venture capital, spearheaded the acquisitions of four companies, and been named to the Forbes 30u30 Gaming list.

Prior to eFuse, Benson spent time at the Ohio Innovation Fund (OIF), a venture capital firm in Columbus, Ohio, as an Investment Analyst and Executive in Residence.


Dave Billiter
Deep Lens, Inc.

Dave has a diverse background spanning his 20-year career in healthcare and life sciences, in both large corporations and start-ups. Prior to leading the creation of Deep Lens, Inc, Dave was the Director of Data Strategy for Cardinal Health (Fortune 500-Rank #14) where he developed data monetization strategies and new product development for the pharmaceutical and health care provider partners.

Before joining Cardinal Health, Dave was the first employee for Signet Accel a start-up company, spun out of The Ohio State University, where he led operations and business development supporting its federated data integration platform.

The impetus for Deep Lens, Inc. came with Dave’s tenure as the Director of Informatics at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

For over 10 years Dave led the innovative technology development that supported the Institute, primarily The Biopathology Center. Dave was a member of the Children’s Oncology Group, Gynecologic Oncology Group, and Southwest Oncology Group where his team managed the biospecimen data management and digital pathology reviews supporting the large cancer consortia.

Max Brickman
Managing Partner
Heartland Ventures



Claire Coder
Aunt Flow

Claire Coder (Forbes 30under30) is the founder and CEO of Aunt Flow. On a mission to make the world better for people with periods, Aunt Flow stocks organizations with tampons and pads. Under Claire’s leadership, Aunt Flow launched patented tampon & pad dispensers in 23k+ bathrooms, donated 1.6m tampons and pads, and raised $11m+ in venture capital.

Coder launched her first company at age 16, designed a bag for Vera Bradley that sold out in 24 hours, and has her own line of GIFs. The 25-year-old Thiel Fellow has been featured in TeenVogue, Forbes, and starred in TLC’s Girl Starter Season 1.

Dawn Dickson

Dawn Dickson is a serial entrepreneur and inventor with over 20 years of experience in technology and business development. She has founded six successful cash flow positive companies since 2001, including Flat Out of Heels (2011) and PopCom (2017) and has successfully exited one company (Lifestyle Cafe, 2021). Dawn is the first female founder globally to raise over $1M secure token offering under a Reg CF of the JOBS Act. She is considered to be a pioneer in Web3 and equity crowdfunding.

Bailey Hanley
Columbus Region Market Director

Bailey Hanley is a regional market director, master connector and community enthusiast. She teams up with a diverse range of passionate people and partners to combat issues across multiple cause areas with the most effective model possible. She is on a mission to redefine how sectors intersect, and help transform and collaborate with the communities we serve with new models never before thought possible. She finds purpose in supporting Columbus changemakers making outsized impact!

Suraj Hinduja
Managing Director

Suraj leads RTRX which was established to change how businesses and leaders convene and mobilize change. As a centerpiece of its platform, RTRX curates a multi-day experience that serves as a catalyst for doing good while doing good. RTRX was founded in 2012 by Rockbridge, and in 2019, a unique partnership between Rockbridge, Pelotonia, and the Columbus Partnership was formed to fuel the next iteration of growth for RTRX. Prior to joining RTRX, Suraj served as the Special Assistant to the President and CEO at the Columbus Partnership.


Vamsi Kora
Founder & Former CEO, Gathi Analytics
Chief Data Strategy Officer, Apexon

Vamsi Kora is an entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist with an extensive background in enterprise data strategy. He is the former CEO of Gathi Analytics, a data and analytics consultancy based in Dublin, Ohio. Throughout the company’s impressive journey, it received numerous awards including #1 "Top Workplaces 2021” by Columbus CEO. The company was acquired after 5 years of exponential growth by Apexon (formerly Infostretch), a Goldman Sachs company. Vamsi continues to lead the strategy and expansion of the data and analytics practice for the Silicon-Valley-based company. Vamsi is a long-time supporter of the Boys and Girls Clubs with strong partnerships with the Central Ohio chapter. For his achievements and involvement with the community, Vamsi was recently awarded the 2022 EY Entrepreneur of the Year. 

Yaacov Martin
Co-Founder & CEO

Yaacov Martin is CEO and Co-Founder of Jifiti, a global fintech company that he co-founded in 2011. He is an advocate of responsible, accessible and affordable consumer financing and is a widely published BNPL thought leader. Prior to Jifiti, Martin founded a leading import and distribution company for consumer goods.

Joe Pardi
Irth Solutions

Joe Pardi joined Irth Solutions in 2017. His passion for SaaS companies drives his focus on operational excellence, fiscal responsibility, and long-term growth. Prior to joining Irth Solutions, Joe served as the Finance Director for Astute Solutions, where he led the Finance, Legal, and Sales Operations teams. Joe holds an MBA from Otterbein University and a B.S. degree in Finance from Ohio State University.

Leo Ruberto
Owner & CEO

Leo Ruberto, owner and CEO of Feazel, is responsible for the strategic direction, vision, and growth of the Feazel brand. Feazel is a one-stop shop for all home exterior needs including roofing, siding, gutters, and windows. After a seasoned career in roofing sales, Ruberto purchased Feazel in 2013. He expanded the company to eleven total locations including a newly built headquarters in Columbus, Ohio in 2020.

Katie Ruberto

Katie Ruberto serves as COO for the Feazel family of companies and is responsible for overall company operations. In addition, she leads our service, customer and employee experience, marketing, and technology teams. Katie has a background in operations from companies including Best Buy and Target. Katie has her Doctorate in Business Management with a focus on Diversity Management combined with an MBA in Marketing.


Robert A. Smith
Armada Waste - OH

With over 32 years of solid waste and recycling experience, Rob has successfully led teams as small as 7 and as large as 1300 to increased sales and profits, cost controls, and process improvements which have resulted in consistent advancement in profits, safety, compliance, customer service and operational efficiencies. After time as a District Manager, Market Area GM, and Area Vice President, Rob started his own company, from scratch which has grown over the past 10 years to become Armada Waste, a regional force in the Solid Waste and Recycling business, spanning 5 locations across Ohio, Pennsylvania and Kentucky with a current annual run-rate of nearly $40 million.

Conference Location

401 North High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Tel: (614) 384-8600