The Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship

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Physical Address:
Insperity Classroom & Business Building, Ste. 536
4742 Calhoun Rd.
Houston, TX 77204-6021

Mailing Address:
C. T. Bauer College of Business
Wolff Center For Entrepreneurship
4750 Calhoun Rd.
Houston, TX 77204-6021

Entrepreneurship Major Academic Advisor:
Asha Thomas
Melcher Hall, Room 262

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Rhonda Radford Adams

Rhonda Radford Adams has a dream of creating artwork that inspires well-being. She is a renowned artist in her own right with her original art works in public and private collections nationally. In 2000 Rhonda’s work led to a collective vision as co-founder of the Museum of Cultural Arts Houston. The museum's mission is to use public areas and creativity as tools for social awareness, educational enrichment and community development.

  • ARTRRA Collection
  • Public Art Projects, 15,000 area youth involvement, 90 artists, hundreds of stakeholders
  • Director Art Angels Healing Arts Network
  • Licensed Dental Hygienist
  • Publishes series of Children’s Health Art Curriculums promoting dental and overall wellness
  • Sun Star Award of Distinction
  • “Top 25 Women of Distinction”
  • “Making of a Mark Artist of Year 2001”
  • Houston Skyline Rotary Club

Janice Anderson

Janice Anderson has more than 40 years of experience in information management. In 1985, Janice founded Access Science Corporation, which today has more than 100 employees and provides services to most of the oil and gas majors and many large companies in other industry sectors. Her passion for information and accessing information has been her life’s work. She uses her influence on various boards to empower low-income and under-resourced communities through tools of technology.

  • Member of Special Libraries Association
  • Association of Records Managers and Administrators
  • Chair Board of Technology for All
  • Board Operation San Andres
  • Board Associated Baptist Press
  • Conference Speaker
  • Certified Informational Professional
  • Speaker Conference to Managing Electronic Records
  • BA Spanish, French and Sociology, University of Texas
  • MS Library Science, Florida State University

Omar Azeez

Omar Azeez is a University of Houston graduate and active in the world of financial planning. He has received numerous awards in successfully creating plans and outcomes for businesses. Omar has been a mentor for WMBA program here within the Bauer College of Business.

  • Financial Planner since 2007
  • MassMutual Managing Associate
  • MassMutual “Rising Leader”
  • Mass Mutual specializes in Financial Planning for Business Owners
  • Fundraising Bauer Champions

Warren Barhorst

Warren Barhorst is the founder and CEO of Iscential (formerly Barhorst Insurance Group), headquartered in Houston. Warren left the corporate world and opened his first Nationwide Insurance office in November of 1993, and since has developed Iscential into the largest Nationwide Agency in the country with over $50 million in sales, 30 offices and 100 associates. Iscential has been featured in Texas Monthly magazine’s ‘Best Companies to Work For’ since 2006.

  • Houston’s Fast 100
  • “Best Places to Work in Texas”
  • Best Companies to Work For in Texas Monthly
  • 1 of the fastest growing private companies last 4 years
  • 2008 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Author of “Game Plan”
  • WCE Excellence in Mentoring Award Recipient

Bruce Beaton

For the past 25 years, Bruce has been living internationally and overseeing companies in pre-revenue start-up and turnaround phases. He currently runs IFC Financial Group, a company specifically designed to help start-up, small cap and medium sized businesses address their Debt and Liquidity challenges. He has various market, sales and leadership positions around the world and sat on numerous boards during this international career. Bruce has a passion for starting small companies and is aware of the skills an entrepreneur needs to survive the current business climate. His private passion is to see others succeed when attempting the apparently impossible.

  • BOC/Linde VP/Director Marketing and Sales
  • Air Liquide SA
  • CEO Director New Zealand, India and USA
  • Numerous Board Positions
  • Metallurgical Engineer

Stephen Block

Stephen Block is a partner in Thompson and Knight Law Firm where he represents numerous entrepreneurs as well as large private and public companies. His practice focuses primarily on the broad range of real-estate and related transaction. He assists investors, developers, owners, and users in all aspects of real-estate development, entity formation, acquisition, finance, construction and leasing and property management. Steve is a native Houstonian and has three grown children with his wife Janis and four grandchildren.

  • President Deauville Corp.
  • Omicron Delta Kappa
  • Corning Glassworks Fellowship
  • Editor, Texas Law Review
  • ‘Best Lawyers in America’
  • Texas Super Lawyers
  • Member International Council Shopping Centers
  • Past President/Trustee Beth Israel
  • Past International Board, Amigos de las Americas
  • Past Board Member, St. Francis Episcopal Day School
  • President, Keeping PACE in Texas
  • J.D. University of Texas School of Law
  • B.A. Vanderbilt University

Greg Blume

Greg Blume is a Vistage Chair of the CEO Business Owner Group. Greg has founded various organizations, been active as a home builder, having owned and operated four homebuilding companies. He is also heavily involved in numerous charitable groups and taught entrepreneurship in various venues.

  • Founder President Edward Neil Development
  • Dist. Manager Administaff/Insperity
  • Owner & CEO of 4 Homebuilding Companies Built 722 Homes, Developed 200 Lots
  • Custom Home of the Year
  • BBA Finance Texas A&M
  • Mentor for Disable Veterans
  • Student Business Plan Judge
  • Taught Entrepreneurship in Public Schools
  • Director National Association of Home Builders
  • Founding Board Member Habitat for Humanity Houston

Read Boles

Successful turnaround management professional with experience as CRO, CEO, COO, and CFO in a variety of industries ranging from manufacturing to software to branded consumer products. Read has spent his life snatching businesses from the jaws of defeat. These stories of taking floundering business and ramping them up to profitability have been shared with WCE classes through annual lectures and Lunch n Learns.

  • Goodcrane Construction Chair Restructuring Officer
  • Durand Wayland, Inc COO
  • Mincron Software
  • Principal/CEO Texas Tamale
  • Flow Components
  • Clark Graphics
  • Harvard MBA
  • UC Santa Barbara in Economics

Bob Bonsignore

Bob lists his business objective, “To contribute by providing counsel and advice to those prepared to excel in their career’s objectives and passion”. He has an extensive background in sales management, leading projects and business development.

  • Puffer Sweiven, serving broad energy markets in Capital, End-user and Upstream Oil and Gas
  • Crosby Valve/TYCO Sales, Marketing and Business Development Manager
  • Member ACIT
  • Member Instrument Society of America
  • Member Houston Technology Center
  • BBA, Marketing Management from City University of New York

Logan Brown

Logan Brown is one of the acknowledged Deans of Houston’s commercial real-estate community having been involved in over a billion dollars in real-estate transactions in his 30 year career. In May of 2012, Logan formed his own real-estate firm specializing in Private Acquisitions/Dispositions, Strategic Portfolio Optimization, Tenant Representation and Stealth Services. His primary focus has been on the sale of multi-tenant office buildings but has sold hotels, retail centers, industrial properties, land and apartments.

  • WCE Excellence in Mentoring Award Recipient
  • Founder Logan Brown Investment Real-Estate
  • 20+ Years Grubb & Ellis Top 10 Producer
  • Speaker NPR, C.E. South Texas of Law
  • Houston Council for Foreign Relations
  • River Oaks Breakfast Club
  • Past President Houston Gulf Coast Chapter 20 – CCIM
  • Houston Board of Realtors
  • Texas Association of Realtors
  • National Association of Realtors
  • University of Virginia
  • Culver Military Academy

Maxx Burrows

Maxx is currently CFO of Bludworth Marine, a multi-million dollar Gulf Coast Shipyard that repairs ships and barges. He has helped grow the company from $12 million to over $26 million in two years while increasing profits and cash flow by over 18%. This has landed Bludworth in the INC 500’s Fastest Growing Companies. Maxx has been running start-up ventures since childhood leveraging value in sports trading cards for summer cash. While in college he co-founded and bootstrapped a software startup company for the health industry that became profitable in its first year and continues as a sustainable business. Maxx has a passion for the start-up community and has built and run companies of all shapes and sizes.

  • CFO Bludworth Marine, LLC
  • INC 500’s Fastest Growing Companies
  • Co-founder software start-up
  • BS, Texas A&M
  • Vistage International
  • Association for Corporate Growth
  • The Strategic CFO
  • Texas A&M Alumni Association

Scott Chenoweth

Scott Chenoweth is a local, graduating from Cy-Fair. Scott has a rich and varied career that includes a stint as President of a Hollywood Studio where he successfully restructured the studio and was able to sell it. He returned from Hollywood to Houston and founded Welders Industrial Supply Company. He grew it for 10 years, merged it with another company and sold the business to Praxair in December 2012. Scott is active in various charitable and social organizations.

  • Merged to form Texas Welders Supply Co. sold
  • Director Reg. VP Gasses & Welding Distributor
  • President Amigo Studios—restructure and execute sale
  • Texas Tech University
  • Dir. Gasses & Welding Association
  • Advisory Board NexAir
  • Boards: Miller Electric, Lincoln Electric, Thermadyne and Kolke Aronson.
  • Member Whitehall Club

Dave Cook

Born Pittsburgh, PA. Early life in Oakmont before attending Grove City College, Grove City, Pa. Graduated English Major in 1965. Air Force ran an information office that included the investigation and tracking of UFOs. Married Nancy Valoon Cook (Slippery Rock) in 1967 (Clearly the most fortunate day of my life.) Offered and accepted a sales rep job with Scott Paper Company in 1967 (When asked "Where would you like to work?" I replied, "Anywhere but Pittsburgh." I was promptly assigned to Detroit.) Later we would have a son Andy born in Detroit.

Moved from Detroit to Flint, to Fort Wayne, Indiana, back to Detroit in a period of two years until I was welcomed into marketing at Scott's Headquarters outside Philadelphia. A daughter Candice was born while in Philadelphia.

Was promoted to "Promotions Development Manager" working with brands to balance their overall marketing strategies. In essence we were all trying to figure out how to get the maximum benefit from three pots of money—Consumer Advertising, Trade Promotion and Consumer Promotion.

Another fellow and I were offered the chance to start a new business within the structure of Scott Paper. One year later we had developed Underoos, the Kids' Underwear that's Fun to Wear. Essentially, we negotiated the rights to all of the Super Hero characters, Major League Baseball, the NFL, Disney and Saturday morning cartoon characters to put Logos or characters on children's sets of underwear. Scott abandoned the idea (later successfully taken to market by Union Underwear.)

Promoted to National Training Manger and became an instructor in Xerox Professional Selling Skills/Coaching, KISS and the Scott Process System of Selling.

Promoted to Customer Development Manager and conducted various programs to foster better relationships with all major national accounts. Part of the process was to conduct a week long Leadership Seminar in which I addressed various styles and effectiveness of leading. We also brought in financial and political heavyweights from Wharton and Washington to speak on current trends and issues.

I went to Houston as District and later Regional Sales Manager for the South West. After five years in Houston, I left Scott and in partnership with a past National Sales Manager for Unilever, we opened a food brokerage company. We started with seven people and over two years grew to 55. We were the fastest growing brokerage in the country, representing a host of major national consumer packaged goods brands.

In 1986 my friends at the Safeway chain called to tell me that a guy had made a presentation on a promotion using Postage Stamps and manufacturer's coupons. Together we started a company and figured out how to make the promotion work for consumers, retailers, manufacturers, brokers and the United States Postal Service. We were successful in selling the promotion with retailers across the country and working with hundreds of CPG organizations in building joint executions. The promotion eventually succumbed to various forces of Sarbane Oxley, decline of U.S. Postage Stamps, expiration of patents and the consolidation of retailers, manufacturers and brokers.

In 2006 I formed MarketFinders to advise and participate as organizations take ideas and products into markets. I work with various organizations in understanding their future, establishing strategies and plans and assisting in achieving results. I worked with Texas A&M University in developing strategies and "future" work for their Office of Technology Commercialization. In 2007 I began doing mentoring work at the University of Houston. In 2009 I became Director of Mentoring Programs for the WCE and continue my consulting work in helping take ideas to market.


Sheri Davidson

Sheri is a graduate of the University of Houston now operating her own Acupuncture and Chinese Medical clinic located in Rice Village, Element 5OM, where the vision is to create a brand that generates a strong desire in people of all ages to achieve healthier lives. Sheri has over 1,000 hours in clinical training experience in practicing Oriental Medicine. She founded the Soult of Houston, which organizes diverse local businesses in Houston’s urban core.

  • American College of Acupuncture
  • Academy of Oriental Medicine
  • Masters of Chinese Medicine
  • Soul of Houston—Connecting Houston

Ralph D’Onofrio

Ralph D’Onofrio has an extensive background in consumer products marketing with PENNZOIL©. Currently, Ralph operates his own consulting company helping owners of small businesses succeed by ensuring that their business is “On Purpose” to support the dreams and plans they have for themselves and their families. He is an active member of the Silver Fox Advisors. Ralph continues in a tradition of bringing value to the Wolff Center where he has contributed as an Adjunct Professor, a Mentor to one of our Roundtables and coaches many of our students.

  • Prior Executive V. P. of Pennzoil Products
  • Brand Management Pennzoil
  • Led National Account Department Pennzoil
  • V. P. Consumer Products Pennzoil

Margarita Farmer

Margarita Farmer is co-founder of US Signs and US Signs & Services. When the company was founded in 1980 she was also a young mother. US Signs would become the standard bearer in the industry with a reputation for cutting edge technology in both products and service. Even better, it became a company that people wanted to work with. US Signs utilized a network of 800 installers and 20 manufacturers along with their in-house staff. Margarita has now turned her wealth of experience and knowledge toward helping entrepreneurs achieve success. She is currently consulting a high-tech information system and chairs a group called the Committee of 200 that inspires, supports, and mentors thousands of women on the path of business leadership.

  • Chair of Southwest Division of C200
  • Mentor in programs sponsored by:
    • Beijing University
    • University of Johannesburg
    • London Business School

Ron Farmer

The highest recognition that WCE can bestow on anyone is the WCE Excellence in Mentoring. Ron Farmer is one of five to receive it. When Bill Sherrill started this program they had no money. Ron Farmer was an original stakeholder. Ron is founder and owner of U.S. LED which is experiencing spectacular growth nationally and internationally. Ron is and has been a loyal and consistent supporter of the University of Houston acting as a Stakeholder, Roundtable Leader, and Guest Speaker.

  • Race car driver
  • Won NASA ST2 National Championship in 2010
  • Won NARRA GT3 National Championship in 2012
  • Holds ten amateur track records.
  • Raced in the Grand-AM professional series in 2011 and 2012 with six top-ten finishes

Geoff Gallo

Geoffrey S. Gallo brings more than 25 years of experience in the financial services and accounting industries to his role as Vice President of Sales & Client Strategies and Exit Planning Specialist at Doeren Mayhew. Geoff works with business owners to identify needs and solutions with a particular focus on helping them achieve their exit goals. In addition to developing and implementing successful business planning strategies at some of the country’s largest financial institutions, Geoff’s comprehensive business background also includes work in international operations and product development.

  • Developed Polish Cheese Brand sales zero to $10 million in 3 years
  • Sold business to French conglomerate
  • Bucknell

Chris Gillan

Chris Gillan is the founder and Managing Partner of Kent Street Partners, a boutique consulting firm serving the software industry. The company’s focus is recruiting professionals for fast growing start-up companies and assisting companies with projects from raising early investment capital to selling underutilized intellectual property. Chris works out of Austin and has clients in Houston.

  • Co-Founder Gazzang, Inc.
  • Start-up Teams Houston Based Idera, Inc. (Currently employing over 400 people.)
  • BMC Software
  • Bindview Development
  • Business Forge

Ed Greene

Ed is currently Vice President with Enterprise Products running the NGL processing and storage businesses. Ed has a unique perspective on running profitable businesses and the imperative of establishing a “growth culture” in any business.

  • 25+ yrs. Petrochemical and oil and gas midstream industries
  • Introduced polyethylene into fibers
  • Managed development of new food packaging technologies
  • Built new polymer and chemical businesses for two Fortune 100 Companies
  • Georgia Institute of Technology

Richard Helmey

Dick Helmey is President of Campus Document Systems operating under University Copy Centers. They serve UH, UH-Downtown, Rice and HCC. These printing, graphics and marketing services are generally assessed to be the best service within the University. His background has been in the consumer products area having worked with Coca-Cola as well as having been director of marketing for Houston’s 7-Up Bottling Distributors.

  • President TrueColor Graphics
  • Co-founded Selling Solutions Group
  • Oklahoma State Graduate
  • Director, Marketing 7-Up
  • VP Sales Dist. for Minute Maid Food Service

Leisa Holland-Nelson

Leisa Holland-Nelson is a driving force in business and charity within the city of Houston. She is co-founder and President of ContentActive in the integration of custom CMS functionally with powerful search, social and mobile innovation. Her company has won numerous awards and recognitions. Leisa had a rich and extensive background in the executive search field as well as merchandising and marketing with retailers Neiman Marcus and Federated Department stores. She is extremely active in the Houston community as examples she was 2012 Chairman of the Board of the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce and serves on the boards of the Hermann Park Conservancy, The Holocaust Museum and is vice chair of TUTS where last year she co-chaired the 2012 annual TUTS gala, and the 2012 Houston Technology Center Celebration of Entrepreneurship. She has appeared on various TV programs and is currently author and host of “Women Mean Business” heard on over twenty news radio stations and seen weekly online.

  • Six Time Winner HBJ’s Fast Tech 50
  • Alfred P. Sloan Award for Excellence
  • Houston West Chamber of Commerce Star Award
  • BBB Company of Distinction
  • Former Partner Heidrick and Struggles Consultants in Executive Search NYC
  • Leslie Fay’s Outlander Division/Evan-Picone
  • Formed Apparel Resource Group
  • Co-Chair Business Leadership Council
  • GHP Executive Women’s Partnership
  • Houston Woman’s “Fifty Most Influential Women”

Kelly Jacquot

Kelley pursued various career opportunities in the corporate sectors working with companies ranging in size for $30M to $35B. Eventually the entrepreneur spirit took hold and Kelly’s two primary business have been a room-mate referral start-up and as an independent business owner in the health benefits field. Kelley has learned firsthand about the challenges entrepreneurs face and is enthusiastic in meeting those challenges and growing her businesses.

  • Support roles for C-Suite Executives
  • Graduate of Texas A&M
  • BA Sociology

Dimitri Karastamatis

Dimitri joined CenterPoint Energy in November 2004. His challenge was to turnaround its failing Alternative Fuels subsidiary. Dimitri orchestrated and executed a multimillion-dollar turnaround swing of business from red to black within 14 months. Since the turnaround in early 2006, he has delivered double digit EBITDA and growth.

  • Born in Greece
  • University of Houston Mechanical Engineer
  • MBA, University of Houston
  • Houston Chronicle
  • Chicago Tribune
  • Manager Eng. Serv.
  • General Manager of Mobile Energy Solutions for CenterPoint Energy

Joel Kay

Joel Kay was a partner in Scheinfeld, Maley, and Kay, one of the Nation’s top ranked commercial bankruptcy firms which at one time employed 85 attorneys in Houston, Austin and Dallas. They handled the Continental bankruptcy, which at the time was the largest bankruptcy in U.S. History. Joel has a combined background experience in accounting and corporate finance, litigation, management and tax and commercial law. His experience has been in various industry settings including manufacturing, retailing, service providers, technology development and marketing, communications, Real-estate development and construction as well as oil and gas.

  • Captain U.S. Army
  • Department of Justice representing The IRS
  • Assistant U.S. Attorney, South District of Texas
  • BOD, Chairman State Bar of Texas
  • BOD, Texas Board of Public Accounting
  • American College of Bankruptcy
  • BS Economics, Wharton
  • JD, University of Texas
  • Master of Laws, Georgetown
  • “Best Lawyers in America”
  • “Super Lawyers in Texas Monthly”
  • TX State Bar’s Banco Rotto “Legend”

Laura Koch

Laura is an equity partner and VP Sales and Marketing with the Strategic CFO where they do consulting practice as well as retained search services. Laura is active in their coaching workshops and comes to our program with a successful career in the pharmacy, healthcare industries. She is a graduate of Texas A&M.

  • Central U.S. Sales Manager AmerisourceBergen Pharmaceutical Service Co.
  • Territory Manager for Complete Pharmacy Resources (Staffing)
  • Wright Business Technologies
  • Montgomery County Association of Business Women
  • Women’s Finance Exchange
  • Texas Young Professionals Organization
  • Interfaith Hospitality Network (supporting homeless families)
  • Mentors Conroe High School Girls as Team Leader for Women of Vision Program

Bill Lakenmacher

Bill Lakenmacher is the founder and president of Locke Protective Services, the largest locally owned security provider in Houston. His company has received numerous awards, most recently the Pro Patria Award as one of the six best companies to work for as a veteran. Bill is a native Houstonian and an avid sportsman with a particular interest in racing sailboats.

  • Commercial Real-estate
  • Degree in Economics, University of Texas

Huan Le

Huan Le recently joined the executive team of Medifr, a healthcare startup. He also provides executive leadership to DiCentral a fast growing supply chain software company where he serves as Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel. Huan founded and is on the Board of Caphin, Inc. a ready-to-drink Vietnamese Iced-Coffee beverage company. Huan serves on various boards, is a native Houstonian and an enthusiastic supporter of our city, its people and its food.

  • Corp. Counsel at Healis
  • Advisory Board Asia Society of Texas
  • Board of Cultural Arts Houston
  • Advisor to various start-ups
  • USC
  • University Texas Law

Adrienne Leigh

Adrienne Leigh is an experienced entrepreneur with over 25 years of business ownership, consulting, management and franchise experience. She is a partner in a manufacturing business here in Houston, President of Gray Hair Management and is a Business Transfer Specialist with Murphy Business & Financial Corporation. She is most known for her dedication to her clients, achieving the best price and providing a trouble-free experience for sellers finding that perfect “fit” for buyers as they achieve their dream of business ownership.

  • Conducts 50 Seminars/year How to Buy and Sell a business
  • MBA from the Anderson UCLA
  • Masters University of Santa Monica
  • Founding President Houston Chapter of the Association of Career Professionals
  • International Franchise Association
  • Radio Commentator CNN’s Houston Business Show

Fred Lowe

Fred is founder of BMS Connections, an executive coaching/leadership Development Company dedicated to enhancing both individual and organizational performance. He had a rich and varied career with Exxon where he led various teams in product development and sales initiatives. He also held leadership positions in property management and real-estate, warehousing operations, and served as the security manager for all personnel and physical assets in the USA. He is active in Brigid’s Hope that helps former female inmates of the Texas penal system get their lives back on track.

  • 35 years Exxon Mobile in Marketing, New Product Development, Product Integrity
  • Director Chapelwood United Methodist Church
  • Brigid’s Hope
  • Chairman Advisory Council of Kairos Prison Ministry
  • University of Texas

Reva Ma

Reva is a graduate of Bauer with degrees in Finance and Marketing. She started her own practice right out of college and in her first year she was ranked No. 1 in the country in her experience group. She qualifies every year for the Million Dollar Round Table, a world-wide organization that selects members based on high productivity and leadership benchmarks. Reva is married with two young sons and her passion is helping college students and giving back to where she came from here at the Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston.

  • Financial Services Professional
  • Certified Financial Planner from Rice University
  • “Rising Star” by National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors

JD Messinger

JD Messinger is an award winning and best-selling author and serial innovator. The former CEO of Ernst & Young Consulting, Singapore, began his adult life as a fireman, going on to become one of 37 Distinguished Graduates from the U.S. Naval Academy. He was the Channel News Asia “IT Person of the Week” and a senior advisor to the Singapore Prime Minister, and members of parliament in Great Britain, China, Brunei, Australia and Malaysia. After careers in the Navy, Exxon and Ernst & Young, JD became an entrepreneur. JD is the recipient of numerous corporate and national presidential awards, and just recently the 2012 Publishing Innovation of the Year Award. His thought leadership papers on crisis, energy, innovation and social change have been distributed to U.S. Presidential candidates and dignitaries around the world.

  • Former Nuclear Submarine Officer
  • Exxon Exec. supervised Valdez Oil Spill Cleanup
  • Nominated CNBC Asian CEO of Year
  • Created Award Winning games, television and radio show programs and books

Larry Mott

Larry Mott is General Manager and Managing Partner for American General Life and Accident. He has a history of growing businesses by attracting, training and retaining key personnel. Larry has won numerous awards, has opened a couple of venture himself and continues to find financial solutions for his clients. He is a graduate of Auburn University.

  • Managing Director MetLife’s Bayou City Agency
  • MetLife Million Dollar Roundtable
  • Managing Director MetLife’s Wealth Financial Solutions
  • “Regional/Territorial Office of the Year”
  • Auburn University Business Management
  • Opened two small business ventures in Florida

Christine Noble

Christine Noble created a company to meet the computer needs of businesses and individuals in the Houston Market. Her spirit of adventure and passion for working with customers evolved into a successful technology company which operated for 23 years. She is currently a Director at The Rose, Houston’s leading breast health organization and has received numerous professional recognitions. She has two degrees from the University of Houston and has been a frequent guest speaker to our entrepreneurship students.

  • Past President of Federation of Houston Professional Women
  • Leadership Texas Alumnae Association
  • Houston Woman’s Magazine’s “Top Woman in Technology”
  • “Woman Business Owner of Year”
  • Woman of Excellence

Michael Piana

Michael Piana is currently owner and president of Larsen Oil and Gas which provides consulting services to clients around the world. These services include handling contracts, legal and personnel issues and negotiations, executive management, oversight of drilling programs as well as overseeing bankruptcy and arbitration negotiations. Michael was the Sales and Marketing leader in PreCheck, Inc a company that provided healthcare background checks.

  • Director Marketing Pennzoil
  • Burr Wolff VP Marketing
  • Houston Food Bank—Assoc. Director Community Relations
  • Art Colony Association: Bayou City Art Festivals, Board Member and Past President
  • B.S. University of Texas
  • MBA University of Texas

Chris Rasberry

Chris has an extensive career in the financial services industry with over 16 years of experience in Asia and speaks fluent Japanese. From Merrill Lynch to Morgan Stanley to Goldman Sachs Chris has had leadership position. In Tokyo he led a country-wide policy change program that sourced a President and management team for two newly formed business units. He belongs to various organizations and has served honorably in the U.S. Navy.

  • Co-Founded and launched Japanese language web portal
  • VP Goldman Sachs Equity and Research Dept.
  • Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Practice
  • Walters Associates UK, HR consultancy new business development with global private equity
  • MBA from Temple University
  • BA, Sophia University
  • Project Management Institute
  • Association of Corp. Growth

Bo Ritz

He is founder of and Managing Partner of Micro Capital Venture Partners, a private equity firm focused on early stage companies. Bo had formerly been an owner and principal in FINRA broker-dealer and his career began as an institutional bond trader. Bo is an expert in securities structuring for small deal finance, valuation services and other testimony and crowd-funding strategies.

  • Texas A&M Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship Board Member
  • Active in A&M’s Commercialization
  • Long time Personal Mentor, Sponsoring Mentor of WCE Students

Ben Samuels

Ben Samuels is CEO of Victory Packaging a North American Packaging Distributor. He has served in various positions in operations, Real-estate, sales, finance and legal. Victory has more than 1,100 employees and is enjoying a period of unprecedented growth in sales and revenues. Ben is very active in the community where he serves as Chairman of the Houston Food Bank and numerous other charitable organizations. Ben resides in Houston with his wife and two children.

  • President of Houston Chapter of the American Jewish Committee
  • AJC National Board of Governors
  • American Leadership Forum
  • Serve Houston
  • Holocaust Museum Houston
  • Jewish Federation of Greater Houston
  • Jewish Family Services
  • Amherst College
  • MBA Harvard School of Business Admin.

Terry Stockham

Terry Stockham is a Human Capital Advisor, Executive Coach, Business Coach and Consultant with 40 years of experience. Since 1999, he has consulted and coached thousands of owners, managers, and employees of companies across the US, Europe and Russia.

  • HR Manager
  • General Manager
  • Div. President
  • Goodyear Tire & Rubber
  • Coca-Cola
  • Pepsi Cola Bottlers
  • Total Synergy Solutions
  • Human Capital Institute

Nelson Vanegas

Nelson Vanegas has started various studios and multi-media production companies and is currently working as the Production Director for Univision Radio. He is a graduate of the University of Houston with a degree in Mass Media Production and a minor in marketing. His dream is to take the technology training and create value in the private sector and to use these same tools to help others.

  • Operated Home Recording Studio
  • Opened Recording Studio
  • Technician Spanish AM News Station
  • Currently operating a multimedia production and marketing Company

Catherine Woodruff

Dr. Woodruff is Founder of Houston Global Investors which manages global, domestic and international equity and portfolios for institutions and individuals. Catherine has an extensive background in the Finance and Investment Field. She has taught Finance and Economics here at the University of Houston, has numerous degrees including a PHD in Finance from the University of Texas.

  • Managing Partner and Director of Equities Davis Hamilton Jackson
  • Portfolio Manager Citicorp Investment Management
  • Equity Analyst at Texas Commerce
  • M.S. B.A. Economics L.S.U.
  • Chartered Financial Analyst
  • Board Member Texas Growth Fund
  • Instructor Graduate Certification Rice University
  • Published Journal of Finance
  • Featured Conference Speaker including Pacific Regional Investment Conference in Manila