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Committee

Chairman

Fred Koury

Fred Koury

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.


Host Committee

Jim Altman

Jim Altman

Middle Market Banking Regional Executive- PA and WVA

Huntington Bank


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.

Thomas L. Bakaitus Jr.

Partner-In-Charge, Western PA

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.

Jill Berardi

Jill Berardi

Owner/Marketing Strategist

BerardiGroup LLC


Craig Blank

Craig Blank

Director of Investments

Woodland Management


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.

Don Braun

Don Braun

Managing Director

AB Bernstein


Donald is a managing director of Bernstein in the Philadelphia office. He joined the firm in 2005 and was appointed a principal in 2010, a director in 2015 and managing director in 2016. As a principal, he advised high-net-worth families and institutions and their respective trusts, estates, foundations, endowments and pension plans. Previously, he was vice president of a privately held family business, Greater Media Inc.

Christopher Brodman

Christopher Brodman

President

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.

Ron Donatelli

Ron Donatelli

Pittsburgh Regional President

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.

Ann Dugan

Ann Dugan

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.

Chris Farmakis

Chris Farmakis

Shareholder; Chairman of the Board

Babst Calland


Chris 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.

Jeff Ford

Jeff Ford

Partner

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.

Sreekar Gadde

Sreekar Gadde

Executive Director

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.

Jessica Gibson

Jessica Gibson

CEO & Co-Founder

Ariel Precision Medicine


Stephen J. Gurgovits Jr.

Stephen J. Gurgovits Jr.

Managing Partner

Tecum Capital


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.

Jon Halpern

Jon Halpern

President

Pineapple Payments


Jon joined the Pineapple Payments team in 2016 as president to execute on Pineapple’s vision for the future of payments. He founded his first company, AthleteTrax, while still in college, to revolutionize the way recreational sports leagues and facilities leverage technology to accept payments and manage their businesses.
He serves as partner and board member of Social Venture Partners, a growing network of individuals that links passion and purpose to share skills, time and resources in support of innovative nonprofits in the Pittsburgh region.

Craig Heryford

Craig Heryford

National Chair Business Transactions Sections

Gordon Rees LP


Craig's practice is concentrated in the area of mergers and acquisitions, venture capital and corporate finance matters as well as the representation of mature and emerging businesses. He has experience in a wide variety of commercial transactions, including numerous corporate finance and venture capital funding transactions involving both equity and debt, as well as merger and acquisition and private equity transactions.

Mr. Heryford regularly represents investors, including private equity and venture based investors, in portfolio investments and acquisition and divestiture transactions. He has also represented fund clients in fund formation work, including the structuring and formation of the funds, negotiation and preparation of investor documents and constituent fund documentation.
Mr. Heryford is the chair of the firm's Business Services Section and Business Transactions Practice Group.

Gabriela Isturiz

Gabriela Isturiz

President & CEO

Bellefield Systems (Now Aderant Holdings, a Roper Technologies business)


Gaby is a serial entrepreneur, experienced CEO and founder of two successful SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) technology companies in the legal and professional services verticals. In 2012 Gaby founded Bellefield Systems, the global leader in time tracking and compliance technology for lawyers, and under her leadership, the company experienced over 900% growth. In December 2019 Bellefield was acquired by Roper Technologies (Aderant division) a constituent of the S&P 500 ®. Prior to Bellefield, Gaby was the founder and president of eBillingHub, the leader in electronic billing for law firms positioning the company to be later acquired by Thomson Reuters. A native of Caracas, Venezuela, Gaby earned her MS Information Sciences from the University of Pittsburgh and her BS in Computer Systems Engineering from the Universidad Metropolitana in Caracas.

Lee M. Koury

Lee M. Koury

Managing Partner

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. 

Mike Livanos

Mike Livanos

Principal

Stellex Capital


Michael Matesic

Michael Matesic

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.

Bob McCormack

Bob McCormack

Managing Partner

Murphy McCormack Capital Advisors


Bob is Managing Partner and Founding Partner of Murphy McCormack Capital Advisors, a boutique investment banking and corporate advisory firm in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Mr. McCormack has more than 32 years of financial services experience, and focuses on providing advisory services related to business sales, mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, business valuations, debt and equity financing, and select turnaround projects. He formed Murphy McCormack Capital Advisors in 2005. He previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Sun Bancorp, Inc., a $1 billion financial services holding company with bank branches and affiliates located throughout central Pennsylvania.

Kit Needham

Kit Needham

Director

Project Olympus


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.

John Roppo

John Roppo

Principal

Roppotunity LLC


John is Principal of Roppotunity LLC providing CFO and management consulting and transaction preparedness services.  John has held the CFO position at seven companies ranging from startup to billion-dollar multinational and been involved in numerous buy- and sell-side transactions.  After graduating from the Tepper School of Business with an M.S. in Industrial Administration, he started his career at Ford Motor Company as a financial analyst.  He progressed into senior roles in the U.S., Argentina, and Brazil, and the top financial positions at Jaguar Cars North America and Lincoln Mercury.  Since leaving Ford, he has been CFO at closely held and private equity backed companies and successfully completed the sale of three companies.  John is a CFAÒ charterholder and Certified Value Builder™.

David G. Schaich

David G. Schaich

Region Manager

JPMorgan Chase & Co.


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.

Robert Stein

Robert Stein

Executive Director

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.

Suzy Teele

Suzy Teele

Head of Marketing & Communications

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. 

 

Andy Vollmer

Andy Vollmer

Managing Director

BellMark Partners, LLC


Andy is Managing Director and Co-CEO of Bellmark Partners, LLC, and head of the firm’s Cleveland office. Andy has over 28 years of investment banking experience, having personally completed well over 100 M&A, special committee, and board advisory assignments. Previously, he was with KeyBanc Capital Markets, where he was head of the sponsor coverage, consumer & retail and M&A investment banking groups.

Austin Webb

Austin Webb

CEO and Co-founder

Fifth Season


Austin is the CEO and co-founder of Fifth Season. He co-founded the business while obtaining his MBA at Carnegie Mellon University after a successful career in investment banking, including roles with FBR Capital Markets in Washington, D.C. and New York. A native of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Austin holds a BA in Finance from Wofford College. He currently resides in Pittsburgh.