President & CEO
Smart Business Network
Fred co-founded Smart Business Network in 1989 with a single publication in Cleveland, Ohio. In the years since, he has built the company into a leading multimedia and content marketing business providing print and digital marketing services to a national client base.
Middle Market Regional Manager - Pennsylvania
As a high-energy and tenured business leader, Jim is a proven banking and financial services professional known for providing innovative and effective ideas to help companies grow, increase profitability, manage more efficiently and exceed client business objectives. He works collaboratively with all of his business partners to tailor impactful solutions to each of his clients. Jim is known for his challenger-based ideas that encourage clients to consider changing the status quo by providing options and continuous improvement strategies. Jim has over 35 years of banking experience.
Thomas L. Bakaitus Jr.
Tax Partner and Operating Officer
Herbein + Company Inc.
Tom is a CPA who serves as tax partner and operating officer of Herbein + Company Inc., a 180-plus person CPA firm with eight offices across Pennsylvania. Over 90 percent of Tom’s clients fall in the category of closely held or family-owned businesses. He provides those clients with accounting and business advisory services as well as tax planning and consulting. Tom spends much of his time structuring complex transactions and acquisitions.
As president of Gatesman, Shannon Baker leads clients by developing strong relationships and mentoring talent to deliver the best solutions for the client’s toughest challenges. She was named a “Top Women in Business” by the American Business Journals recognized as one of Pittsburgh’s “Most Influential Women in Business” and is a 2019 inductee into Smart Business’Smart 50 class. She is a frequent speaker at industry events and has shared her expertise with national publications.
Disruptive Health Technology Institute (DHTI) at Carnegie Mellon University
Lynn is one of Pittsburgh’s most connected executives with national reach: guiding, mentoring and coaching professionals and startup technology companies. Since 2013, DHTI has invested $5 million in 38 projects led by CMU researchers who are working with industry, payers and providers striving to create disruptive health care solutions.
Robert P. Bauer
President and CEO
L.B. Foster Company
Director of Investment
Craig plays a key role in our co-investment due diligence efforts. He contributes a strong combination of restaurant operating experience, public market investing, mutual funds, hedge funds, private equity, venture capital, and real estate. Craig received a BSBA from Washington University in St. Louis and MBA from the Katz School of the University of Pittsburgh.
Christopher A. Brodman
President and CEO
Metz Lewis Brodman Must O’Keefe LLC
Chris is the president of the firm and a member of the firm’s executive committee. His practice focuses on general corporate matters and business transactions for funds and privately held middle-market companies. Chris serves as outside general counsel for many clients. His transactional practice includes M&A, early stage investments, corporate finance and commercial transactions. Chris has led in excess of 100 M&A transactions during his career. Chris has been a member of the board of directors of many privately held companies throughout his career and he has invested in early-stage and mature businesses.
Managing Director, Wealth Management
Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management
R. Yvonne Campos
Founder & President
Next Act Fund
Yvonne Campos is a nationally recognized businesswoman, speaker, focus group facilitator, and consultant. Yvonne founded Next Act Fund in 2016 to help women grow their personal wealth by investing in early-stage, women-owned/led companies, supporting women entrepreneurs, and educating women in this asset class thereby positively impacting women in our community, the region, and the nation.Yvonne’s career includes founding and growing Campos Inc. into Pittsburgh’s premier marketing research company. Never one to sit still, after she sold the company in 2014, Yvonne identified an opportunity to support other women entrepreneurs and investors with Next Act Fund. Under Yvonne’s leadership, Next Act Fund has rapidly grown its board and membership of accomplished, visionary leaders from Pittsburgh’s business and investing community. Yvonne also founded two Pittsburgh chapters of the Women President’s Organization, a peer-to-peer learning model for women-owned businesses with revenues over $1MM.Yvonne currently serves on several boards and is very active in the Pittsburgh business community.
Gregory D. Cessna
Greg Cessna, CEO of Consumer Fresh Produce, Inc. and Extrel CM, has led publicly traded and privately held companies for 30 years. Greg has successfully completed 15 strategic acquisitions and mergers. In 2005 Greg founded Northbound Consulting to coach and mentor family business leaders in succession planning, strategy and business analytics. Today, Greg sits on several boards of privately held companies and non-profits.
EVP, Managing Director of Commercial and Industrial Banking
Brian joined S&T Bank in December 2015 as senior vice president, commercial banking C&I team manager in the Pittsburgh region. In this role, Brian is responsible for leading the Middle Market/C&I Group for S&T Bank in Western Pennsylvania. The group partners with current customers and establishing new business relationships with organizations to strengthen S&T Bank’s presence throughout the region. Brian joined S&T Bank with several years of banking experience largely centered in corporate and institutional banking.
President- Pittsburgh Region
First National Bank
Ron is responsible for integrating FNB’s successful cross-functional business model and for developing small business and corporate banking opportunities in the company’s headquarters market. He joined FNB in 2009 to lead its Asset-Based Lending division and has had oversight for various corporate banking groups within the organization, including Syndications and International Banking Services. He has more than 35 years of financial services experience, having held a range of leadership roles with asset-based lending groups at major banks in the Pittsburgh area.
Chief Operating Officer
Andrew Dubois is the Chief Operating Officer at Tulco Labs where he is responsible for driving transformational growth through the application of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science. Andrew seeks to disrupt static sectors and reimagine industries that have not experienced significant technical innovation.Prior to Tulco Labs, Andrew held numerous executive positions at UBS AG. Most recently Andrew was the Chief Operating Officer for the Chief Technology Office organization. Andrew worked closely with the Group CTO to define strategic target state roadmaps for firm as well as programs focused in the areas of: research and development, enterprise architecture, innovation, application simplification and technology business development.Andrew has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University and serves on the CMU School of Computer Science Alumni Advisory Board.
Senior Managing Director
Family Office Exchange LLC
Ann Dugan is the senior managing director of Advisory and Education Services leading the FOX team in the delivery of services to substantial family enterprises and family offices striving to achieve long-term sustainability and multi-generational success. Ms. Dugan was an early innovator in understanding the power of knowledge, research, and entrepreneurship in building the enterprising family capacity and sustainability as she launched one of the first global institutes at the University of Pittsburgh. As founder and leader for nearly 30 years, of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence while also serving as the Assistant Dean for the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business her success in helping other families, universities and regions flourish has been recognized with numerous awards. Ann led her own successful succession in 2014. Post University, Ann focused her work on assisting families to start philanthropic organizations and foundations, served as Executive in Residence for the Family Business Network (FBN) until joining the FOX leadership team in 2016. Ann holds a B.S. in Economics and M.B.A. in Finance from the University of Pittsburgh. Ann is a fourth-generation member of a business-owning family and is a serial entrepreneur who has founded and led several ventures to success. Ms. Dugan currently serves on several public and private Boards of Directors.
Confluence Advisors, LLC
David is a founding partner of Confluence Advisors, an investment banking firm providing M&A advisory services, capital raise services and business advisory services to middle market businesses. Confluence serves owners of private companies, publicly traded companies seeking to divest non-core businesses or subsidiaries as well as private equity-owned businesses. David has over 30 years diverse experience in investment banking, commercial banking, M&A and business advisory.
Christian A. Farmakis
Shareholder; Chairman of the Board
Chris Farmakis focuses his legal practice on mergers and acquisitions, private company equity investments, recapitalizations and joint ventures, startup company formation and general representation, commercial transactions, corporate governance, and real estate matters. His practical legal approach has earned him a regional and national client base with recent deals in the manufacturing, retail, services, wireless infrastructure, IP, utility, emerging technology and food industries. He is also national acquisition counsel for numerous public and private companies and private equity-owned portfolio companies. Like his clients, Chris is an entrepreneur, having founded three businesses including Solvaire, a company leveraging AI technology to undertake large-scale due diligence and contract management projects.
Executive Chairman & CEO / Founder
RDX / 21Ventures
Buddy Flerl is Executive Chairman and CEO of RDX, a leading cloud and data infrastructure managed services provider headquartered in Warrendale. RDX started almost 20 years ago as Contemporary Technologies, a Pittsburgh-based Oracle consultancy. Since Buddy acquired the company in 2010, RDX has become one of the largest IT-services employers in the Pittsburgh region, grown to over 700+ clients worldwide, and generated over $200M in enterprise value. RDX’s most recent recapitalization was led by Madison Dearborn Capital Partners. Buddy is a founder of 21Ventures, a $300M venture capital fund. He lives in the North Hills with his wife and three children.
Jeffrey A. Ford
Grossman Yanak & Ford LLP
Jeff has focused his career on providing accounting, auditing and consulting services to privately held companies and not-for-profit organizations. His experience includes furnishing compliance services such as audits; providing due diligence and investigation services related to business acquisitions; performing fraud investigations; developing and compiling projected and forecasted financial statements; and evaluating, selecting and implementing information systems for companies.
BlueTree Capital Group
BlueTree Capital Group is an active investor in early-stage, high-growth companies in the Pittsburgh region and around the country. We invest in companies where we can provide both capital and expertise to help accelerate their growth. As the Executive Director for BlueTree Capital Group, Sree focuses on identifying and evaluating investment opportunities, working with other investors as well as other parts of the entrepreneurship ecosystem. Specifically, we focus on leveraging our groups unique skills and experience, specifically in sales, marketing, and operations, to help companies to avoid or overcome early obstacles. Sree leverages his experience and training as an engineer and IP attorney to help portfolio companies develop and implement an IP strategy. For high-growth companies, he helps them focus the allocation of resources (both capital and time) on assets that will drive business value.
Chair and CEO
Ariel Precision Medicine
Jessica Gibson is CEO and co-founder of Ariel Precision Medicine. She has led the development, clinical validation and commercial launch of Ariel’s first product, PancreasDx®, and a cloud-based digital health platform designed to simplify the management of complex patients with Ariel’s proprietary expert system. Before entering industry, she worked in emergency care and in academia at the University of Pittsburgh.
Cohen & Grigsby
Thomas B. Grealish
As president of Henderson Brothers, Tom manages virtually all of the firm’s business activities and leads the company’s management committee. He is responsible for all day-to-day operations and the execution of the company’s strategic plan. He also maintains contact with insurance carrier executives and is active in the field, accompanying producers and account executives when visiting clients.
President and CEO
Vivek joined Mastech Digital as the President and CEO in March 2016. Vivek has over three decades of experience in the technology industry and was the Chief Executive of Global Infrastructure Management Services at Zensar Technologies. He spent his entire career at Zensar before joining Mastech Digital and played a major role in the growth of Zensar globally, over the years. Vivek has completed an Advanced Management Program from Wharton School, Philadelphia, PA and Bachelors in Technology from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, India. Vivek is a keen enthusiast of Hi-Fi technologies, and Sound and Vision gadgets.
Stephen J. Gurgovits Jr.
Stephen is the managing partner and co-founder of Tecum Capital, a $450 million private investment firm based in Pittsburgh, which oversees pools of committed capital focused on mezzanine debt, subordinated notes and private equity, via two active funds, Tecum Capital Partners II LP and Tecum Equity Partners III. In his current role, Stephen is responsible for providing strategic, operational and investment management leadership to the funds, including its overall planning, fundraising, growth and execution of strategy.
President and CEO
Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse
Michael J. Lewis
Quick Med Claims LLC
Michael J. Lewis founded Quick Med Claims, a leader in emergency transportation billing and reimbursement consulting, in 1992. As CEO, he has built the organization from two employees to 350. In 2015, he led the company through a recapitalization with private equity and did so again in 2018. He has presented at a number of conferences and founded Cures for KIDS Foundation, where he serves as its president.
Lee M. Koury
Smart Business Network Inc.
Lee Koury is managing partner of Smart Business Network Inc., a national events, media and marketing company founded in 1989, primarily responsible for expanding the company’s Aspire deal-making conference throughout the U.S. He plays a key role in establishing corporate policies and developing long-term strategy and growth plans. Previously, he founded and chaired the Growth Group at national law firm Arter & Hadden LLP (now Tucker, Ellis & West), which focused on working with middle-market and high-growth technology companies.
President & CEO
Idea Foundry, Inc.
Michael M. Matesic, President & CEO of Idea Foundry, Inc., is a seasoned business executive experienced in working with businesses at a variety of stages. Over the last 17 years at Idea Foundry he has invested in and participated in the development of over 200 innovation based start-ups, creating jobs in the region. Previously, Mr. Matesic was Chief Executive Officer for two start-up companies and Chief Financial Officer for MetalSite, Inc., participating in the rapid growth of the company and public registration process. While at MetalSite, Mr. Matesic led the startup of the company’s subsidiary, ScrapSite.Before that he served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Anker Coal Group and its subsidiaries where he was responsible for Human Resources, Information Technology, Tax and Finance functions. During his ten years with Anker Coal, Mr. Matesic led a successful registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission, managed the company’s substantial growth, established and invested in various start-up companies and completed many acquisitions.A 1987 graduate of Duquesne University with a B.S. in Business Administration, he spent two years on the audit staff of Ernst & Young, LLP in Pittsburgh.
Kit is Director and Executive-in-Residence at Project Olympus where she provides start-up advice, business strategy planning, connections to industry experts, advisors and the business community to student, faculty and staff startups. She is a Program Leader for the National Science Foundation’s iCorps programs and an Amazon Alexa Innovation Fellow.She is a member of BlueTree Allied Angels and serves on the Screening Committee. Kit is an Advisory Board member of Chatham University's Center for Women's Entrepreneurship, and a Board member of the Pittsburgh Entrepreneurs Forum.She was a Senior Vice President at the Allegheny Conference on Community Development working on education and economic development initiatives. Prior to that, she was Chief Operating Officer of Mellon Lab which was responsible for creating revenue-producing businesses for Mellon Bank. She also provides consulting services to promote economic growth to Chambers of Commerce, individual entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations.Kit is a Board member of the Women's Center & Shelter for Domestic Violence, and an Advisory Board member for Standing Firm. She is a graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh XIX.
Louis Plung & Company
Louis Plung is the Managing Partner of Louis Plung & Company. He joined the Firm in 1984, became partner in 1989, and was made Managing Partner in 1992. He provides services for clients in a wide range of industries, from closely-held businesses to large publicly-owned companies.
Gildas Biscotti Inc.
David G. Schaich
Chase Bank USA N.A.
David G. Schaich is a veteran banker who joined JPMorgan Chase Bank in 2013 as a Division Manager of Middle Market Banking for the Western Pennsylvania Region. His role expanded to Region Manager of WPA in March of 2016.Prior to joining JPMorgan Chase, Mr. Schaich was with PNC Bank for 19 years, most recently as a Senior Vice President in the Middle Market group of the Corporate Bank. Mr. Schaich began his corporate banking career with SunTrust, gaining extensive experience in both commercial and commercial real estate lending, as well as branch management within the Retail Bank.Mr. Schaich is a native of Pittsburgh and attended the University of Pittsburgh where he received a dual degree in Business Administration and Economics. He currently holds his Series 79, 63 and 24 licenses. Mr. Schaich is very involved in the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, FEI, and ACG of Pittsburgh, as well as the Annual Campaign Chair for Junior Achievement.Dave resides in North Huntingdon with his wife and two children.
Partner, Business Development
Incline Equity Partners
Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence, University of Pittsburgh
Robert “Bob” Stein is executive director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence. He leverages his contacts and experience to the benefit of IEE members. For 13 consecutive years, he’s earned the title of Microsoft’s Most Valuable Professional. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the Smeal College of Business and an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business. He also holds a certificate in Executive Leadership from the Harvard Business School.
Co-chair / Head of Marketing & Communications
WELD / Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM)
Suzy has been an integral part of Pittsburgh's technology and start-up environment for over 20 years. She was the COO of two early stage companies, and is currently the Head of Marketing & Communications for Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM), a national public-private collaborative accelerating innovative robotic technologies and workforce development strategies for U.S. manufacturers.
Jamie Van Buren