Founder & CEO, Cherokee Investment Partners
Tom Darden is the Chief Executive Officer of Cherokee, an environmentally focused investment firm. Cherokee utilizes both private equity and internal venture capital to generate social, environmental and economic returns. Cherokee Ventures began investing in startup and venture-stage companies in 1984 and has since completed more than 80 investments, using internal capital. These have spanned several industries and regions, with particular concentrations in health care and environmental technology in the Research Triangle. Cherokee Funds made its first brownfield investment in 1990 and has since raised five private equity funds focused on brownfield remediation: $50 million in 1996, $250 million in 1999, $620 million in 2003, $200 million in 2005 and $1.24 billion in 2006.
Darden founded Cherokee through a series of acquisitions in 1984. From 1981 to 1983, he was a consultant with Bain & Company in Boston. From 1977 to 1978, he worked as an environmental planner for the Korea Institute of Science and Technology in Seoul, where he was a Henry Luce Foundation Scholar. Darden serves on the Board of Governors of the Research Triangle Institute as well as the boards of Crown Financial Ministries, Shaw University and the Environmental Defense Fund. He was Chairman of the Research Triangle Transit Authority and served two terms on the N.C. Board of Transportation.
Darden earned a Masters in Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina, a Juris Doctor from Yale Law School and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Carolina, where he was a Morehead Scholar. His 1976 undergraduate thesis analyzed the environmental impact of third world development and his 1981 Yale thesis addressed interstate acid rain air pollution. He and his wife, Jody, have three grown children.
Chairman of McDonough Advisors, Co-Author of Cradle to Cradle and The Upcycle
William McDonough is a globally recognized leader in sustainable development. A pioneer architect of the green building movement, McDonough’s interests and influence range widely, and he works at scales from the global to the molecular. Time magazine recognized him in 1999 as a “Hero for the Planet,” stating that “his utopianism is grounded in a unified philosophy that-in demonstrable and practical ways-is changing the design of the world.” In 1996, McDonough received the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development, the nation’s highest environmental honor, and in 2003 he earned the first U.S. EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award for his work with Shaw Industries, the carpet division of Berkshire Hathaway. In 2004, he received the National Design Award for exemplary achievement in the field of environmental design. McDonough advises major enterprises including commercial and governmental leaders worldwide through McDonough Advisors. McDonough also co-founded Make It Right (2006) with Brad Pitt to bring affordable, Cradle to Cradle-inspired homes to the New Orleans Lower 9th Ward after Hurricane Katrina. He is co-author of Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things (2002) and The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability — Designing for Abundance (2013)
CFO, Cherokee Investment Services
S.H. “Jim” Fogleman, III is the Chief Financial Officer – Investment Services of Cherokee where he oversees fund- and investment-level financial reporting and compliance matters on behalf of the Cherokee private equity funds. Prior to joining Cherokee, he held CFO positions with privately held companies involved in start-ups, turnarounds, and real estate development. These companies included Blue Rhino Corporation, the nation’s largest propane cylinder exchange marketer/distributor; Platinum Service Corp., a developer of Boston Market restaurant properties located primarily in the Carolinas and Georgia; and National Packaging Solutions Group, a southeastern US manufacturer and distributor of industrial packaging.
Mr. Fogleman began his career in public accounting with Price Waterhouse and later with Pryor, Sills and Fogleman and the Daniel Professional Group. He earned a BS from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a licensed CPA in North Carolina. Mr. Fogleman and his wife Mary Edna have three sons.
Co-Founder and CEO, Spectraforce Technologies, Inc.
Amit Singh co-founded Spectraforce Technologies Inc in 2004. Spectraforce is a global IT consulting and outsourcing services firm with CHQ in Raleigh NC, and 3 global development centers across India. Amit serves as the President and CEO of Spectraforce. Spectraforce has grown at a CAGR of 82% from inception. Spectraforce has made the Triangle Business Journal’s Fast50 list four times in a row and listed thrice as one of the top companies on the Inc 500|5000 list. In the last two years, Diversity 500 also listed Spectraforce as one of the fastest growing diversity companies in the US.
Amit moved from India to United States in 1997 with a large global IT services firm, Syntel Inc, While at Syntel, Amit served as a delivery/solution manager and was involved in consulting, structuring and management of IT deals/projects in an integrated onsite-offshore delivery model that created exceptional value for large fortune 1000 clientele.
Amit currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Trustees of the Kenan Institute at the University of North Carolina. Amit serves on the strategic advisory board for KnowledgeWell, a not-for-profit organization, founded in 2005 by a group of MBA graduates inspired to share their business capabilities with the world and to deliver expertise to emerging and under-resourced areas.
Amit also works closely with the entrepreneurial community locally and globally to help entrepreneurs pursue their dreams. He works with various programs at UNC, NC STATE, TYE (The young Indus Entrepreneurs) and is involved in mentoring and coaching budding entrepreneurs, MBAs, undergrads, BSBAs and executive students in developing and launching their businesses and careers.
Amit holds a MBA degree in Finance and Entrepreneurship from UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. In 2010, Amit was recognized with an Outstanding Young Alumni Award by UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School at its 12th annual Alumni Association Awards ceremony.
Co-Founder, 8 Rivers Capital & Professor of the Practice of Law, Duke Law School
Bill Brown is a Professor at Duke Law School and a co-founder of 8 Rivers Capital, a company that commercializes technologies related to the energy, internet, biomedical device, telecom and automotive industries. A distinguished lawyer with an extensive career in financial services, Brown has held leadership positions at Goldman Sachs & Co., AIG International, and Morgan Stanley. At Duke Law, his teaching focuses on entrepreneurship, business law, business planning, capital markets and corporate finance. He was instrumental in helping put together Duke’s LLM program in Entrepreneurship and the Law.
Brown has authored a number of pieces and is a frequent commentator for a number of organizations, including the BBC, NPR, Bloomberg, The New York Times, NBCTV-17, Forbes.com, MarketWatch, China.com and The Huffington Post.
A 1980 graduate of Duke Law School, Brown was a member of the editorial board of the Duke Law Journal. Brown practiced law in New York City from 1980 to 1989, first at Donovan Leisure Newton & Irvine and then at Sidley & Austin, where he was a partner. His practice involved acquisition financing and workouts, project finance, leveraged leasing, Latin America debt refinance, and securities regulation.
Brown began his financial services career in 1990 when he joined the currency and commodity sales group at Goldman Sachs & Co. At Goldman Sachs, he helped grow the foreign exchange business in the asset management community, first in New York and then in London. In 1996, Brown was recruited to AIG International to become global head of sales for currency and fixed income and, one year later, was recruited to Morgan Stanley to become U.S. head of foreign exchange sales. During a part of this period, Brown also ran emerging market and non-dollar debt sales. He then took over listed derivatives as global co-head, managing over 500 members of sales, marketing, information technology, and operations teams in nine locations globally.
Brown is a former member of the Duke University School of Law Board of Visitors and previously served for several years on the School of American Ballet Corporate Advisory Board. He is an arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association. In addition to his Duke Law degree, Brown holds bachelor’s degrees in both biology and political science from MIT in 1977. He is married and has two daughters, one a magazine editor in New York City and the other a Duke undergraduate.
Executive Director of the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network
Bob Creeden, now Executive Director of the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network, is the Founder and former Managing Partner for the Partners Innovation Fund (PIF), at Partners Healthcare in Boston.
In addition to more than 30 years of experience in commercializing new technologies, both as an entrepreneur and investor, Bob has more than 20 years of experience as an early stage venture capitalist in the Boston area. He served as Vice President of the Massachusetts Technology Development Corporation, an early stage venture firm that funds technology-based companies in Massachusetts, and then as General Partner at Egan-Managed Capital, a $150 million dollar Boston-based venture fund. In 2005 his effort to establish and implement the Partners Innovation Fund at Partners HealthCare was the culmination of his success as an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and executive. Earlier in his career, Bob gained strategic operating expertise as a COO/CFO with start-up ventures.
While serving in a leadership role on the boards of portfolio companies and developing strong relationships with co-investors from New England and across the country, Bob has reviewed more than 2,500 business plans and invested in more than 40 companies. His portfolio has included companies developing leading-edge technologies in software, telecommunications, life sciences, semiconductors, medical devices, manufacturing and advanced materials. He has extensive experience in putting together syndicates of investors, corporations and third parties to fund technology companies through investment, partnership, joint development and research agreements.
Bob holds an AB in Economics from Holy Cross College and an MBA from Suffolk University, and for six years was a member of the faculty in the Entrepreneurial Leadership Program of the Gordon Institute at Tufts University. He is a former member of the Advisory Board for the Worcester Polytechnic Institute Collaborative for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, and a former Chair of the WPI Venture Forum. He has served on the boards of many entrepreneurial organizations in Massachusetts, was recently the Chair and Director of The Capital Network and a frequent speaker on entrepreneurship and early-stage investing.
Partner at Hughes Pittman & Gupton, LLP
Brooks has 23 years of public accounting experience. He joined Hughes Pittman & Gupton, LLP (HPG) in 1990 and became partner in 1997. Prior to joining HPG, Brooks worked at McGladrey & Pullen, LLP, in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Brooks works with clients in a variety of industries including information technology, medical device, life science and biotechnology, construction and real estate, service companies and non-profit organizations. Brooks’ areas of concentration include financial reporting, business consulting and financial planning.
Brooks also co-leads the knowledge-based industries (KBI) practice team that serves high-growth and investor-backed technology companies and their founders and executives including information technology (software, SaaS, hardware, and related industries) medical devices, and life science (pharmaceutical, specialty pharmaceutical, CRO, and related industries).
Education and Professional Affiliations
B.A., Business Management
Omicron Delta Epsilon Honor Society
North Carolina State University (NCSU), 1988
NCSU School of Accounting Advisory Board Member
North Carolina Certificate #19337
American Institute of CPAs
North Carolina Association of CPAs
Council for Entrepreneurial Development:
- Board of Directors
- 2008 Outstanding Service to Entrepreneurs Award
- 2007 Winner of Board Sponsorship Drive
- 2008 Winner of Board Membership Drive
North Carolina World Trade Association (state and local boards)
Duke Start-up Challenge Business Plan Judge
Member of National Eagle Scout Association (Eagle Class of 1982)
Graduate of Leadership Raleigh 11, Raleigh Chamber of Commerce
Triangle Business Journal 40 Under 40 Award in 2005
Resident Entrepreneur at UNC Chapel Hill
Charles has spent most of his professional career in and around private equity investing, beginning his career as an M&A analyst advising on the sale of private businesses, transitioning to direct investing in small buyouts and ultimately co-founding and selling a private equity fund of funds business. He began his career with Bowles Hollowell Conner & Co., the premier boutique M&A firm serving the middle market. After business school, Charles served as an Associate with NationsBank Capital Investors (subsequently Bank of America Capital Investors, recently spun off as Ridgemont Equity Partners), an investor in small and mid-market buyouts. He then began his career as a fund investor, serving as the first Director of Private Investments at the UNC Chapel Hill Investment Office, where he helped build the private investment portfolio significantly. Charles then became the Director of Private Investments at The Duke Endowment (the Duke family foundation), where he managed a portfolio of over $800 million in private alternative investments. In 2003, Charles co-founded Parish Capital Advisors, a private equity fund of funds focused on small and niche private equity managers, and helped grow the business to $2.2 billion in assets under management before it was sold to the StepStone Group in 2012. Charles remains an Advisor to StepStone, and also consults to private equity general and limited partners via CEM Advisors, LLC. He is currently an Entrepreneur in Residence at UNC – Chapel Hill, and teaches in the Minor in Entrepreneurship as well as serving as the instructor for two private equity classes at Kenan-Flagler Business School.
Charles received a BA in Economics from UNC – Chapel Hill where was a Morehead Scholar, graduating with Highest Honors and Distinction. He received the Honors Prize in Economics and was involved in Student Government. Charles received his MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College. He is Trustee of the Trinity School of Durham and Chapel Hill and serves on the Working Group for the Minor in Entrepreneurship at UNC – Chapel Hill. Charles has been married for over 20 years to his wife Valerie, and they have three children.
Founder and President, Applied Technologies, Inc.
Dan Fuccella is the Founder and President of Applied Technologies, Inc., a product design and engineering firm based in Cary, NC providing product development, prototyping, and evaluation services to the medical, transportation, consumer and industrial communities since 1992.
Concurrent with his responsibilities at Applied Technologies, Inc., in 1994 Dan served with a team of plastics professionals to establish what has evolved into The Polymers Center of Excellence (PCE) in Charlotte, NC, where he continues to serve as a Technical Associate. PCE provides extensive training, testing, processing and design services in the area of plastics and polymers.
Prior to founding Applied Technologies, Inc., and after a short term in the Plastics Product Development Group at the Dow Chemical Company, Dan devoted the subsequent 23 years to the growth of Thermofil, Inc., a Michigan based specialty polymers manufacturer, where he ultimately served as Vice President of Research and Development. Dan relocated to Cary, NC in 1992 after assisting with the technical transition after the sale of Thermofil, Inc. to the Chemicals Division of Nippon Steel in 1989.
Dan received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Ohio Northern University in 1967 and is a Registered Professional Engineer in the states of North Carolina and Ohio.
In recent years, Dan has been devoting an increasingly greater proportion of his personal effort to assisting early stage entrepreneurial endeavors in the areas of design for manufacturing, materials selection, and processing methodologies at local universities and incubators.
General Partner at Bull City Venture Partners
Prior to co-founding Bull City Venture Partners, David was (and continues to be) a partner with Southern Capitol Ventures. David was with the Deloitte Consulting practice in Washington, DC where he managed strategic technology projects for the newly formed Department of Homeland Security.
David was on the board of ArtusLabs (acquired by PerkinElmer) and was a board observer at AVIcode (acquired by Microsoft). He is co-Founder and former Chief Technology Officer of medical device portal, Orthocopia.com, which provides surgical information to operating room professionals.
David’s background in technology stems from the military where he served as a Naval Aviator flying over 1900 hours in the P-3C Orion. During his last tour he served as an Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia teaching Engineering and Leadership courses. David served as the Weapons and Operations Officer during two deployments to the Mediterranean theater and North Atlantic and led a Naval Intelligence special projects crew testing cutting-edge technologies for acoustic and non-acoustic sensors and combat mission hardware and software.
David recently received the Triangle Business Journal’s “40 under 40″ leadership award and is a frequent guest lecturer at UNC Kenan Flagler Business School. He received his BS in Electrical Engineering from the US Naval Academy, his MS in Management Information Systems (MIS) from the University of Virginia and his MBA from UNC Chapel Hill.
Attorney and Business Strategy Consultant
Houston Barnes is an attorney and business strategy consultant, and is the founding member of The Barnes Law Firm, which serves the Triangle region of North Carolina and the state at large. Houston has worked in a number of areas including consulting for large corporations and serving as counsel for a number of start-up entrepreneurial and emerging growth businesses. He excels at counseling clients on legal aspects as well as the business issues involved in starting and growing companies.
His practice areas include corporate formation and startups, general business and corporate law, licensing and corporate partnering, m&a, corporate counsel, and government relations in a diverse range of industries such as technology, healthcare, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, retail and small business, and franchise.
Houston spent almost 5 years as an executive and entrepreneur, taking a product from proof of concept, and helping grow it into a successful international healthcare company. While with the company, a life science, medical device, and pharmaceutical start-up in the RTP, he was part of the team which raised over $4.5 million in equity financing; he was part of the team that sought and received multiple regulatory clearances from the FDA and other international regulatory bodies for healthcare related technologies; and was integral in the commercialization and out-licensing of the technologies throughout the world.
Houston serves as a mentor in the entrepreneurial programs at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and formally the Poole College of Management at NC State University. Additionally, he is currently serving on many corporate as well as local non-profit boards, and he is very involved with entrepreneurial efforts throughout the community. Houston is a graduate of the UNC School of Law. For more information, visit http://www.barneslawnc.com.
J. Robert Tyler, III
Partner at Williams Mullen
Rob Tyler has dedicated the past 17 years to helping entrepreneurs grow emerging technology companies in a variety of industries, including information technology, life sciences, medical devices, healthcare, nanotechnology, and advanced materials. He represents his clients in a wide range of transactions including equity and debt financings, intellectual property and technology licensing, strategic alliances and partnerships, mergers and acquisitions, and general corporate matters. Moreover, he has an extensive network of contacts with potential investors and other resources of potential value to his clients.
Rob’s experience includes representing technology companies in licensing, financing, acquisitions, and service agreements. He has written a Founder’s Handbook, which provides a general guide to issues that are faced by entrepreneurs when starting a company, including choice of entity, initial capital structure, equity compensation, venture capital basics and intellectual property basics. He also has developed a Venture Capital Guide that explains how venture capital investments typically are structured.
Rob has almost 25 years of experience in business and corporate law, having worked most recently as a Partner at Poyner Spruill and, prior to that, at Hutchison Law Group. He has also served as an assistant general counsel of a New York Stock Exchange listed health care services company. Rob is a member of the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors of the CED (formerly, the Council for Entrepreneurial Development).
Rob graduated from the University of Richmond with a B.S. in 1994, and received his J.D. from the University of Richmond as well, cum laude, in 1989. He served as Editor-in-chief of the University of Richmond law Review, and was in the McNeill Law Society (Top 10% of Class). He continues to be active with the University, currently serving as the Vice President of the University of Richmond Law School Alumni Association.
Founder and CEO, Sustainable Industrial Solutions
Jason is the founder and CEO of Sustainable Industrial Solutions, focused on energy efficiency in the manufacturing and industrial sectors. He has worked with startups over the last 10 years as a venture capitalist, founder, angel, advisor, janitor and team shrink. He helped lead over 40 investments with $200 million in funds across a variety of sectors including energy, manufacturing, and telecommunications in Silicon Valley.
Today, Jason continues to advise startups including Mission Motors, the developer of electric powertrain systems and the fastest electric motorcycle. He is also on the board of TransLoc, helping to make mass transit more accessible. As part of his efforts in energy efficiency, Jason recently participated in Richard Branson’s Creating Climate Wealth program in London.
He guest lectures on hi-tech entrepreneurship at NCSU and Duke as well as regularly judging business plan competitions such as Stanford’s Social eChallenge.
Jason studied Physics and Finance at NC State and later studied Mandarin at Stanford and Peking University. His work in China ultimately led him to help launch Al Gore’s The Climate Project in Beijing.
His passion for sustainability goes back to his days as an Eagle Scout but has evolved from a passion to a mission with the birth of his daughter and his desire to leave behind a better world for future generations. Sustainable Industrial Solutions is the culmination of his entrepreneurial drive to “do good and do well.”
Director of Entrepreneurship at the Council for Entrepreneurial Development
Jay is currently the Director of Entrepreneurship at CED, and is responsible for enhancing and extending its education and connection programs. He is also in charge of CED’s Venture Mentoring Service, which connects early and growth stage entrepreneurs to mentors who provide guidance; CED’s FastTrac, a 10 week intensive business-planning program for early stage entrepreneurs; CED Investor Brown Bag, a series which connects local and out of region investors to North Carolina startups; and PitchScrub, which helps qualified entrepreneurs refine and perfect their investor pitches.
Jay has a diverse entrepreneurial background. He has started two businesses and has joined three different early stage tech companies (one acquisition, one IPO and one still operating). In each case Jay has applied his leadership, strategic planning, marketing, advertising and business development expertise to drive growth and accelerate the businesses.
Jay was also the President & CEO of MicroMass Communications, a top-25 life sciences marketing communications agency. Its clients include both mid-size and large pharmaceutical companies. Jay received a BS in Marketing from Drexel University College of Business and Administration.
CEO of Power Generation Services, Inc.
Jim Szyperski is the Chief Executive Officer of Power Generation Services, Inc. and has been an entrepreneur in the telecommunications and technology industries for over 25 years. Prior to his current position, Mr. Szyperski worked in private equity and was a founder or senior executive of a number of companies including ActiveGroup Ventures, Airimba Wireless Inc., Cherokee Edge, Fidelity National Information Systems (NYSE: FNIS), Intellivoice Communications, Premiere Global (NYSE:PGI), WebTone Technologies and WindChannel Communications. Mr. Szyperski has directed a series of capital raises, mergers and acquisitions over his career.
Having served as a director for various private companies and non-profit organizations, Mr. Szyperski continues to serve as an advisor to early stage companies, venture capital and private equity firms. Mr. Szyperski holds a BSBA from the University of North Carolina and has been a guest lecturer and advisor on entrepreneurship to undergraduate and graduate classes at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of the South.
Attorney at Law
John is a local attorney with extensive experience working with clients ranging from entrepreneurs to Fortune 50 companies. John combines his strong technology background and legal knowledge to counsel both established and start-up/emerging growth companies with technology licensing, intellectual property, business/corporate law, employment law, mergers and Acquisitions, funding transactions, tax matters, and in developing intellectual property commercialization and protection strategies. John has worked with both domestic and international clients in the electronics, software, telecommunications, Internet/e-commerce, finance/banking, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and life sciences industries.
Before beginning his legal career, John served 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard where he specialized in electronics, computer programming and systems design, and government contracts.
John’s legal experience runs the gamut from working as a sole practitioner to working in large international law firms to serving as general counsel for a multinational software company.
John received his BS degree (Summa Cum Laude) in Computer Information Systems and Management from Park University and his JD degree (with Honors) from the George Washington University Law School.
Founder & CEO, Appia, Inc.
Jud Bowman is the founder and CEO of Appia and has helped grow the company into the largest cross platform, open app marketplace in the world. In March 2011, the Wall Street Journal ranked Appia #15 on its list of the Top 50 VC-backed companies out of more than 5,700. Appia’s venture investors include Venrock, DCM’s A-Fund, Eric Schmidt’s TomorrowVentures, BlackBerry Partners Fund, Noro-Moseley Partners & Wakefield Group.
Prior to Appia, Jud co-founded Motricity (Nasdaq: MOTR) in September 1999 and was instrumental in growing the company to more than $100 million in annual revenues and 500 employees globally. As Motricity’s Chief Technology Officer, Jud was the chief architect of one of the industry’s leading mobile content delivery platforms – a platform that has delivered more than $3 billion of content to mobile phones and was named the 2006 Best Service Delivery Platform by the GSM Association, Best Content Service Delivery Platform by Mobile Entertainment magazine, and honored by Frost & Sullivan as the Premium Mobile Content Platform of the Year in 2005. In June 2010, Motricity successfully completed a $50 million IPO co-led by Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan and achieved a market capitalization as high as $1.25 billion.
Jud has been named one of the world’s “Top 100 Young Innovators” by MIT’s Technology Review and one of “Tech’s Best Young Entrepreneurs” by BusinessWeek in 2007. He was also recognized as a winner of the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” award in the Carolinas in 2001 and 2010. Jud is currently on leave from Stanford University, where he was named a President’s Scholar, and is a graduate of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.
In September 2011, Motricity co-founders Jud and Taylor Brockman announced the creation of the Bowman-Brockman Endowment for Entrepreneurship & Advanced Research at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics with an initial gift of $100K. Jud has served on the Board of Directors of the NCSSM Foundation and the Council for Entrepreneurial Development. In October 2011, Governor Bev Perdue appointed Jud to the North Carolina Board of Science & Technology.
Startup Consultant and Connector
Kathryn James is the Director of Entrepreneurship at CED, bringing a successful career in High Tech and Greentech startups and management consulting, as well as her own consulting company serving developers in sustainable land development and LEED certification.
After nine years serving in various international technology consulting roles at Accenture, Kathryn served another five years as an early member of the Entrepreneurial Consulting group of Ernst & Young in San Jose, focused on developing business infrastructure for “gazelle” companies. Subsequently, Kathryn served in Client Services and Sales management roles in two Silicon Valley startups and as a board member and VP, Sales and Client Services for a software startup in RTP. Kathryn received a BS in Computer Science from Western Michigan University, and an MLA from North Carolina State University.
VP, Business Development, Bandwidth
Lance joined Bandwidth.com shortly after its founding in early 2001 as CFO. He served as the financial leader for seven years as the Company grew from startup to $50 million in annual revenue. In 2008, he led the newly formed subsidiary Bandwidth.com CLEC as CEO during the deployment of a nationwide network covering 48 states and 200+ cities. The business unit, now branded inetwork, has become the 6th largest provider of telephone based services in the US and provides the infrastructure behind popular services such as Google Voice, TextFree and Skype. Lance graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in Economics.
VP Business Development, Research Triangle Foundation
Mason Ailstock joined the Research Triangle Park Foundation in May 2012. Originally from Annapolis Maryland, Ailstock received his Bachelors and Masters degrees from Clemson University in the fields of architecture and city & regional planning with a focus on real estate development. As Vice President, Ailstock leads the business development, marketing, real estate and partnership efforts of the Research Triangle Park. He is responsible for strengthening the Park’s role in partnering with regional and state economic development efforts and expanding partnerships with the universities and Park companies.
Co-Founder and Chief Design Officer, New Kind
Matthew Muñoz is co-founder and chief design officer at New Kind, a company that helps organizations inspire and engage communities of people. He provides design leadership on New Kind’s projects, which help organizations align perspectives, visualize ideas, and ultimately, form their future with intent.
Matthew thinks visually, having mapped complex concepts for multiple organizations, such as the U.S. National Design Policy Initiative and Red Hat. He created growth maps, which demonstrate how leaders and stakeholders can manage compound problems affecting their communities.
Matthew is a nationally award-winning designer, and in 2013 was honored as a Triangle Business Journal 40 under 40 Leadership Award winner. He’s held design roles at IBM, Capstrat, and Work Worth Doing, as well as his own consultancy, DesignHeals. He holds degrees from East Carolina University and North Carolina State University, served as President of the AIGA Raleigh chapter, and is a marathon runner and iron distance triathlete.
Merril M. Mason
Partner, Smith Anderson
- Venture Capital Securities
- Mergers and Acquisitions Intellectual Property Corporate
- Life Sciences
With extensive experience representing technology and life sciences companies, Mr. Mason represents companies at all stages of development with particular emphasis on emerging and entrepreneurial enterprises.
Prior to joining Smith Anderson, Mr. Mason co-founded Triangle-based Hutchison + Mason in 1996 where his leadership helped the firm grow to 20 lawyers specializing in meeting the general corporate needs of technology and life sciences companies.
Passionate about working with developing entrepreneurs and law students, Mr. Mason has taught as an adjunct instructor at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and the University of North Carolina School of Law.
- University of North Carolina, J.D., 1986
- University of North Carolina, B.A., 1982
Representative Accomplishments and Honors
- Member, IDEA Fund Partners Advisory Board
- Listed, The Best Lawyers in America (Biotechnology Law, Securities/Capital Markets Law, Venture Capital Law)
- Member, The North Carolina Public Radio WUNC General Manager Search Committee
- Member, Board of Directors of Council for Entrepreneurial Development
- Past Member, Executive Committee of Council for Entrepreneurial Development
- Listed, Business North Carolina’s Legal Elite
- Listed, North Carolina Super Lawyers (Business/Corporate)
- Martindale-Hubbell AV® Rated
- Member, Board of Directors of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Foundation Investment Fund, Inc.
- Member, Board of The North Carolina Public Radio
- WUNC Community Advisory Board
- Recipient of Entrepreneurial Excellence Award for Outstanding Service to Entrepreneurs from the Council for Entrepreneurial Development
Professional and Community Activities
- Author of published article, “Nobody Said There Would Be Math”
- Author of published article, “Valuation of a Start-Up Business – Art Not Science”
Admitted to Practice
Co-Founder, 8 Rivers Capital
Dr. Miles Palmer is a co-founder of 8 Rivers Capital, a company that commercializes technologies related to the energy, internet, biomedical device, telecom and automotive industries. A distinguished innovator, engineer, and scientist, Dr. Palmer has four patents and over 40 publications in a broad range of fields, including biomedicine, aerospace, optics, communications, transportation, automotive technology, robotics, power, energy, fuels, and environmental chemistry.
After earning both an Electrical Engineering and a Chemistry degree at MIT, Dr. Palmer earned his PhD at the University of California, San Diego. He earned scholarship and academic society honors at both institutions. His bachelor’s thesis at MIT led to advances in artificial skin materials for burn victims, and his PhD thesis included a credible alternative theory for the early evolution of the Earth’s atmosphere that was published in the national press. Dr. Palmer was selected by NASA for final interviews for astronaut selection at Johnson Space Center while in graduate school.
Dr. Palmer joined the Air Force in 1981 to gain experience in flight testing and advanced aerospace technology. He received numerous awards in the Air Force and was nominated for astronaut duty in 1984. He left the Air Force in 1986 and joined SAIC.
Dr. Palmer’s pioneering work in advanced aerospace technology at SAIC has been recognized nationally by his peers, and resulted in a press conference hosted by Sandia National Labs. His work has been cited by Business Week, the Chicago Tribune, Scientific American, Discover Magazine, and other media outlets.
Dr. Palmer served on the MIT Curriculum Committee, The Department of Defense Strategic Defense Initiative Rocket Technology Advisory Panel, and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Aerospace Committee on Lasers and Plasmadynamics.
He is married and has two sons, one working on top box office Hollywood movies and one in high school.
Founder and Attorney at Bagchi Law
An attorney by training and an entrepreneur at heart, Neil understands the challenges of taking an idea, turning that idea into a small company and growing that company domestically and/or internationally into a dynamic medium to large-sized business. Neil cultivated this understanding first, at one of the Southeast’s premier law firms for emerging growthcompany-side representation and later, at one of North Carolina’s largest law firms, where he was a member of the firm’s business and technology group and where he launched and headed the first large firm India-focused legal practice in the Southeast.
Neil’s hard work and dedication to his profession has been recognized by several different professional publications and groups. In 2007, Neil was recognized as “Attorney of the Year” by the IndUS Business Journal, one of the largest India business publications in the U.S. In 2008, Neil was recognized as “North Carolina’s Legal Elite” in the Young Guns category. In 2010, Neil was recognized as one of the Triangle Business Journal’s “Top 40 Under 40” business leaders in the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Research Triangle Park community. In 2012, Neil was recognized as “North Carolina’s Legal Elite” in the Business category and was deemed one of North Carolina’s “Top 50 Entrepreneurs” byBusiness Leader Magazine.
Neil enjoys writing and speaking on topics associated with entrepreneurship, early stage companies and doing business in India and the U.S. Neil published articles in the Tech Journal Southand the IndUS Business Journal and contributed chapters to Thomson West publications, U.S. Corporate Counsel’s Guide to Doing Business in India, and Transnational Joint Ventures. In addition, Neil frequently serves as a panelist, moderator and speaker for a variety of events. Contact us if you are interested in having him speak at your event. Neil is an active member of the Boards of Directors of non-profits Nourish International and theNorth Carolina World Trade Association, Triangle Chapter.
Neil attended the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill on the prestigious Morehead Scholarship. While at UNC, Neil served as a student community leader and captained the university rugby team. Several years after graduating from UNC with honors in Political Science and History, Neil returned to UNC to attend law school where he received his Juris Doctor.
Scott M. Bryant
Attorney at Hutchison PLLC
Scott advises technology and emerging growth companies at all stages of development across a range of industries, including software, SaaS, e-commerce, networking, advanced materials, medical devices, clean tech, health care services and education IT. His practice focuses in the areas of general counseling, corporate structuring and formation, venture capital and other equity and debt financing transactions, mergers and acquisitions, strategic alliances, and intellectual property and technology licensing. Scott also regularly counsels clients on the commercialization of university intellectual property.
Scott has a deep passion for technology and entrepreneurship, having started his career as a technology and strategy consultant at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture), and later working full-time as a touring musician and founder of online record label Gone World Music.
Before joining Hutchison PLLC, Scott practiced with Siavage Law Group, LLC, an Atlanta-based technology and venture law firm, and McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP. Scott has been recognized as a member of the “2012 Legal Elite – Technology Law” by Georgia Trend Magazine, as well as a “Georgia Super Lawyer – Rising Star” by Law & Politics and Atlanta Magazine in 2006, 2007 and 2009.
Director, Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, UNC Kenan-Flagler
Ted Zoller oversees the teaching and outreach programs of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at UNC Kenan-Flagler.
His research focuses on the role and structure of entrepreneurial networks and the interrelationships with investor syndicates. He has posited a “dealmakers’ algorithm” to identify the most important actors in entrepreneurial ecosystems. He is an adviser to the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, and works with them to scale the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network, an entrepreneurship networking project based on his research.
His teaching focuses on new enterprise development, business models and early-stage venturing with a focus on developing entrepreneurial leaders and teams. He is the founding instructor of “Launching the Venture,” which has increased the number of companies to spin-off from UNC to lead national benchmarks.
Dr. Zoller oversees Launch Chapel Hill, a new venture lab that supports UNC teams that are moving to the marketplace. He is a senior adviser to the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, and a senior fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where he previously served as a vice president. He serves as the primary liaison for UNC Kenan-Flagler to the Research Triangle entrepreneurial community.
He collaborates with leading venture accelerators in Europe, including the Accelerace program at the Symbion Research Park in Denmark. He has taught and consulted with numerous entrepreneurial ventures, and is an active, practicing entrepreneur. He founded CommonWeal Ventures, a venture advisory and analytics firm, and is a small business owner.
He serves on the boards of Idea Fund Partners, Rex Health Ventures, Southeast TechInventures, the executive committee of Council of Entrepreneurial Development, and the national board of the Specialist People Foundation.
Dr. Zoller is a former associate dean, high-tech entrepreneur and American Management Systems, Inc. principal. He was founding director of economic development at the College of William & Mary, where he developed Jefferson Park, an advanced technology research park.
He received his PhD from UNC, master’s degrees from the University of Virginia and Syracuse University, and a dual bachelor’s degree from the College of William & Mary.
Vice Chancellor for Research, Innovation, and Economic Development, NC State University
Terri Lomax is Vice Chancellor for Research, Innovation, and Economic Development at NC State University. In addition to her responsibilities for federal relations, research development, sponsored programs, regulatory compliance, technology transfer and Centennial Campus partnerships, last year Dr. Lomax led the development of the Springboard Partnership Portal, which acts as a network of networks for coordinating innovation activities across NC State and enhancing collaborations both internally and with external partners.
Before arriving at NC State in 2006, Dr. Lomax was on assignment from Oregon State University to NASA Headquarters in Washington DC, where she directed the space biology program, research and technology development for human space exploration, and served as Senior Policy Analyst and Senior Education Advisor to the NASA Administrator. In addition to her research program in molecular and systems biology at Oregon State University, she founded and directed the Program for Analysis of Biotechnology Issues and a K-12 outreach program, Science Connections. Among her many honors and accomplishments, Dr. Lomax has been named a Fulbright Fellow, Carnegie Fellow, National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, Monsanto Research Fellow and Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow. She serves on many boards and is currently the past president of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Biology and chair of the board of directors for the National Institute for Aerospace.
Founder and Manager of The Crown Companies, LLC
Timothy A. Dockery is the founder and is a Member/Manager of The Crown Companies, LLC. Mr. Dockery is involved in all areas of real estate development, construction, finance, and management. He also enjoys excellent insurance and banking relationships with much of his business coming from repeat lenders.
In 1986, Mr. Dockery began his real estate career with Town and Country Builders, a retail and residential development company. He and two colleagues founded Granite Development, Ltd. in 1987. While at Granite Development, Mr. Dockery acted as owner and developer for properties throughout the Southeast. In 2000, Mr. Dockery left Granite Development to form The Crown Companies with offices in Dobson and Cary, North Carolina.
Mr. Dockery is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill holding a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree. He serves on the Board of Directors of Blue Ridge Analytics, Inc., a Charlotte, North Carolina based company that provides SITEOPS®, a patented optimization software for the land development industry. He lives in Dobson, North Carolina where he is very active in the schools, community, and youth organizations. Having a passion for education, he has served as a tutor for at-risk children, a member of the Surry County Board of Education and as real estate advisor to the Surry County Schools. Mr. Dockery has also been tasked by Surry Community College to chair fundraising efforts for the North Carolina Viticulture and Enology facility. He is active in First Baptist Church of Dobson, North Carolina serving as a Deacon, Sunday School teacher, and on various committees. He is married and has three daughters.
Senior Advisor of GreenOrder
Since 1992, when he began working to expand clean energy investments in emerging markets, Truman Semans has been an innovator, entrepreneur, investor, and thought leader at the intersection of business, environment, technology, finance, and policy. He is Senior Advisor of GreenOrder, a strategy consultancy called by Fortune “the go-to consulting company for green business”, helping clients including GE, GM, Duke Energy, Saudi Basic Industries, DuPont, Dell, and Disney drive growth through environmental innovation and clean technology.
Prior to GreenOrder, Truman led the Pew Business Environmental Leadership Council – 45 global companies with combined revenue of $2.8 trillion working together on market intelligence, business strategy, and public policy related to climate change. He is co-founder of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) and the U.S. Partnership for Renewable Energy Finance (USPREF).
Previously, Truman founded consultancy Global Sustainability Advisors after working with McKinsey & Co. and the U.S. Treasury Department. While at Treasury, he counseled emerging market countries on their energy and natural resource development strategies, advised the White House and trade and environment initiatives, and served on the U.S. Climate Change Negotiating Team.
Truman has been covered in the Financial Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, and Petroleum Economist. He has an MBA from Fuqua School of Business and MA in International Economics from Johns Hopkins SAIS. He serves on the board of the National Wildlife Federation, the largest environmental membership organization in the U.S., as well as Duke University’s School of the Environment and the American Farmland Trust.
W. Merrette Moore
Founder and Managing Partner, Lookout Capital
Merrette Moore is the Founder and Managing Partner of Lookout Capital, a Raleigh, NC-based growth capital and services firm. He has over 15 years experience working in venture capital, private equity, investment and commercial banking. Firms and companies he has worked with include Wachovia, Franklin Street Partners, MCNC, NC IDEA and IDEA Fund Partners.
Over the past decade, Merrette has been involved in multiple private investments, serving as the lead investment representative in many of these deals. During this time, he was instrumental in developing and refining a structure for the deal sourcing, company due diligence and investment management processes that serves as the model for Lookout.
Merrette received both his undergraduate and MBA degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
JT Vaughn is the director of the Cherokee Challenge. Through the Challenge, Cherokee invests seed stage capital in a portfolio of environmental startups. JT is also responsible for identifying and developing other venture investment opportunities for Cherokee. Cherokee began investing in startup and venture-stage companies in 1984 and has since completed more than 80 investments.
JT is on the Board of Directors at ABAN, a startup with offices in Chapel Hill, NC and Accra, Ghana. ABAN designs, manufactures and sells wallets, tote bags and briefcases made from upcycled plastic bags, while simultaneously educating and employing disadvantaged young women in Accra.
Previously, JT worked for Selam Awassa Business Group (SABG), an appropriate technology engineering and manufacturing firm headquartered in Hawassa, Ethiopia. Prior to working with Selam Awassa Business Group, JT helped launch the Center for Creative Leadership’s Africa headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and was a program manager for Cherokee Gives Back, also in Addis Ababa.
JT received a BA in Economics, with a minor in Entrepreneurship, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has an elementary proficiency in Amharic.
Christopher Wedding is the Director of R&D and Sustainability at Cherokee. Since joining Cherokee in 2005, he has focused on innovation and new ventures, asset-level sustainability strategy and design, corporate sustainability and strategic partnerships. He manages activities at Cherokee Renewables, a solar PV project investment platform.
Christopher is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) Kenan-Flagler Business School; an Adjunct Assistant Professor with Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment; an Adviser to Cherokee Gives Back; a Fellow with the E3 Foundation, an energy-focused think tank affiliated with the University of Cambridge; an Ambassador for the Living Building Challenge; and a LEED™ Accredited Professional with the U.S. Green Building Council where he serves on the national Research Advisory Committee.
He received a BS summa cum laude in Environmental Science from Western Kentucky University, where he was a national Goldwater Scholar. At UNC, he earned an MS and PhD that combined studies in business, environmental management and city planning. Christopher is conversational in Spanish and Japanese.
Steven Hartanto is an analyst at Cherokee. Previously, Steven interned at RedBridge Grant Samuel, a boutique investment bank in Hong Kong with a focus on mergers and acquisitions and the renewable energy market. He was also a manager in training at the JW Marriott Food and Beverage Department in Hong Kong.
Steven received a BA in Economics with a Business Emphasis and in Chinese Studies from Occidental College, California. While attending Occidental College, he also served as a research assistant in the Economics Department and as an accounting assistant in the Budgets Office. In addition to English, Steven is fluent in Mandarin and conversational in Cantonese and Indonesian.
Oliver Pau is an Environmental Program Manager at Cherokee. Since joining Cherokee in 2006, he has directed environmental due diligence, managed site assessments and remediation, analyzed financial risks associated with brownfield real estate transactions, and maintained Cherokee’s ISO 14001-certified environmental management system. He also supported the development of new investment opportunities and business initiatives.
Prior to joining Cherokee, Oliver was a Program Manager with URS Corporation, where he served as a Program Manager for multi-media environmental engineering and design contracts. He currently serves on the Environmental Advisory Board for the Town of Cary and is a LEED-AP (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional) with the U.S. Green Building Council.
Oliver received a Master of Business Administration from Kenan-Flagler Business School, a Master of Science in Environmental Sciences and a Bachelor of Science in Business from the University of North Carolina. Oliver speaks conversational Mandarin.
Cherokee is an investment company that blends capital with creativity, experience and resolve to provide superior financial, environmental and social returns for investors, partners and communities. Cherokee invests both private equity and venture capital to create value for all involved.
Cherokee Investment Partners: Since 1990, Cherokee has invested in more than 550 environmentally contaminated, or brownfield, real estate assets across the United States, Canada and Europe. Cherokee is the world’s only known ISO 14001 certified private equity manager, with a total of five investment funds since 1996, with aggregate commitments exceeding $2 billion. In addition to managing numerous brownfield properties throughout the US, Cherokee is presently investing private equity in utility-scale solar PV projects on brownfields.
Cherokee Ventures: Since the late 1980s, Cherokee has made more than 70 venture investments. These investments range from investments in cleantech, energy efficiency, software and healthcare to investments in other venture and middle market funds. Cherokee Ventures is funded with internal capital, so our venture investments are typically much smaller than our private equity brownfield real estate investments. Rather than seeking a quick exit, Cherokee tends to get in early, stay for the long-haul and provide follow-on capital and advising, as needed and appropriate.
In all that we do, we strive to effectively steward the environmental and economic resources entrusted to our care, and to be a good partner. We take these responsibilities seriously and we welcome feedback. Feel free to contact us with questions, concerns or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about Cherokee, please visit www.cherokeefund.com.