Experienced founders, operators & executives

Experienced founders, operators & executives

Experienced founders, operators & executives

Our Team

As founders, operators, and innovators, we are your partners.

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    Blake Patton
    Managing Partner, Engage & Tech Square Ventures
    BIO


    Blake Patton
    Managing Partner

    Blake is the founder and Managing Partner of Tech Square Ventures. He currently represents Tech Square Ventures on the boards of Pointivo (Chairman) and PreTel Health (Chairman), as a board observer of Haste, and is the Managing General Partner of Engage. He was previously a board director and observer of Cypress.io (Chairman), Sequr (sold to Genea), UserIQ, and Salesfusion (sold to SugarCRM). Under his leadership, the firm has invested in 47 early-stage ventures.

    Prior to founding Tech Square Ventures, Blake was General Manager of the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) at Georgia Tech – named by Forbes as one of the “Top 12 Incubators Changing the World”. Prior to leading ATDC, he served as President & COO of Interactive Advisory Software and EVP of iXL, an internet services company that he joined through the acquisition of Swan Media and was part of the executive team that grew the company from startup to over $300 million in annualized revenue and an IPO. He started his career as an Associate at SEI Corporation.

    Blake is an active leader in the technology community, serving on the boards of Engage, the Center for American Entrepreneurship (former Chairman), Georgia Advanced Technology Ventures (GATV) and High Tech Ministries. He also serves on the advisory boards of ATDC and Georgia Tech’s Cowan-Turner Center for Servant Leadership. Blake is a former Chairman of Venture Atlanta, a Georgia Tech Alumni Association Trustee, a Georgia Research Alliance Industry Fellow and a member of the selection committee for the NC State Chancellor’s Innovation Fund.  Blake also teaches Entrepreneurial Finance at Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business.

    Blake earned a Bachelor of Industrial and Systems Engineering degree from Georgia Tech, where he was captain of the swim team. He was inducted into the Georgia Tech College of Engineering’s Council of Outstanding Young Engineering Alumni and previously served on the Georgia Tech Advisory Board.

  • Daley Ervin
    Managing Director
    BIO


    Daley Ervin
    Managing Director

    Daley is a Managing Director of Engage, where he focuses on enterprise investments, leads corporate partner relationships, and assists portfolio founders in partnership development and go-to-market strategy.

    Previously Daley spent more than ten years leading four venture-backed startups on three continents. He was most recently Vice President of Business Development and Strategy for Amazon-backed Nucleus based in New York. Before that, Daley was GM and Head of North American Operations for Shanghai-based Student.com and was founding team and GM of North America for YPlan based in London, which later sold to Timeout Group. He started his career as part of the International Expansion team at Airbnb and eventually led sales for North America.

    As an ultramarathoner and extreme endurance athlete, Ervin set the United States’ pairs record having rowed 3,000 miles over 45-days across the Atlantic Ocean from Spain to the Caribbean in the “World’s Toughest Rowing Race.”

    He earned his bachelor’s degree in business and communication from Arizona State University.

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    Thiago Olson
    Managing Director
    BIO


    Thiago Olson
    Managing Director

    Thiago is a Managing Director of Engage where he is responsible for leading the Engage program for startups, sourcing, and supporting portfolio founders.

    Previously, Thiago served as an Entrepreneur in Residence at the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) at Georgia Tech. Prior to ATDC, he was the CEO and co-founder of Stratos Technologies, a connected hardware and mobile payment platform. Stratos raised more than $10 million in funding from investors including Hyde Park Venture Partners, Resonant Venture Partners, Toba Capital, and Western Technology Investment and was later acquired in 2015. Thiago has also served in various roles in Venture, Think Tank and Engineering Program Management at the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Energy, where he worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Sandia National Laboratories. Thiago also worked overseas in research capacities at the Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel.

    Thiago holds a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering and Physics from Vanderbilt University. He also was a fellow in the National Fellowship Program in Plasma Physics and Fusion Energy Sciences at Princeton University. Thiago came into the national spotlight as a teen for his research in plasma physics, successfully building a fusion reactor in his home in Rochester, Michigan.

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    Nammy Vedire
    Director, Platform & Operations
    BIO

    Dr. NAMMY VEDIRE
    Director, PLatform & Operations

    Dr. Namratha “Nammy” Vedire is the Director of Platform and Operations at Engage. She leads the development of the programming and content delivered to our portfolio companies.

    Nammy started her career as a Venture Creation Consultant at the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute where she worked with over 50 student, faculty, and alumni-led early-stage startups. Most recently, Nammy was the Associate Director of the Center for Deliberate Innovation at Georgia Tech where she led strategic planning and operations. At the Center, Nammy ran the Flashpoint@GT program which taught founders, enterprise innovation teams, and leaders in educational innovation to recognize and supersede the cognitive biases that cause startups and corporate innovation to fail.

    Nammy holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Yale University. Her doctoral dissertation was on the development of algorithms for 5G wireless communication technologies. She received her Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad, India. An artist and graphic designer, Nammy has over eight years of training in fine arts and has studied at the Yale School of Art. She spends her downtime working with different painting media, tinkering with typography, and reading.

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    Joelle Fox
    CFO & Operating Partner,
    Tech Square Ventures
    BIO


    Joelle Fox
    CFO & Operating Partner, TECH SQUARE VENUTRES

    Joelle is CFO and Operating Partner at Tech Square Ventures where she manages fund administration and accounting, supports the investment process, and assists portfolio companies with financial and operating strategies.

    Prior to joining Tech Square Ventures, Joelle served in roles including starting, growing and exiting high growth technology companies. After successfully selling Velocity Medical Solutions to Varian Medical Systems, she joined Varian to integrate Velocity’s team and systems into the publicly traded medical device and software company. Previously, Joelle served as SVP of Finance and Acquisitions at iXL, Inc. and was part of the PWC audit practice for eight years in Atlanta where she focused on technology, media, and consumer goods.

    Joelle earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Tennessee. She is actively involved with the LEAD2Legacy program, LOVE Atlanta, and the Flourish women’s mentoring program.

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    Scott Lopano
    Principal,
    Tech Square Ventures
    BIO


    Scott Lopano
    Principal, TECH SQUARE VENUTRES

    Scott is a Principal at Tech Square Ventures where he is responsible for sourcing new deals, deal execution, and supporting portfolio companies.

    Since joining TSV as an Associate in 2017, Scott has led or supported diligence and execution on 39 new investments across the TSV and Engage funds focused on early-stage enterprise (B2B) and marketplace technology companies.

    Previously, Scott worked at UBS Investment Bank in New York where he advised clients on capital structure and funding strategy, raising more than $26B in debt and preferred stock capital for clients over his tenure.

    Scott graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business with a concentration in Finance. He was a 4-year starter for the Penn Quaker Football Team during 3 Ivy League Championships. He currently holds the record for most punts and most punt yardage in the school’s history and maintains strong ties to Penn. Scott was ranked as a top 5 NFL-hopeful punter and was invited to Rookie Mini Camp with the Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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    Melissa Pegus
    Senior Associate,
    Tech Square Ventures
    BIO


    Melissa Pegus
    Senior Associate, TECH SQUARE VENUTRES

    Melissa is a Senior Associate at Tech Square Ventures where she is responsible for sourcing new deals, deal execution, and supporting portfolio companies.

    Prior to joining Tech Square Ventures, Melissa spent more than a decade scaling startups from pre-revenue through series C growth, resulting in 5 acquisitions. Melissa’s domain expertise is in ecommerce and enterprise technology.

    Most recently Melissa served as the Chief Revenue Officer at mBolden (acquired by SheRunsIt) and Head of Revenue at Diff Agency where she was responsible for the strategy, performance, and integration of all the organization’s revenue operations including sales, marketing, customer success, and strategic partnerships. Prior to that, she was the SVP of Sales and Strategic Partnerships for the Americas at MPP Global where they helped media companies such as Sky and NBC Universal launch their own ecommerce initiatives. Before her appointment at MPP Global, Melissa was the Director of Technical Integration Partnerships at Curalate (acquired by BazaarVoice) where she launched partnerships with Google, Pinterest, Facebook, and Amazon Payments. Before joining Curalate, Melissa was the Manager of Strategic Partnerships at Spree Commerce (acquired by First Data who then IPO’d and was later acquired by Fiserv) where she grew their market share to over 45,000 stores globally by building the partnership organization from the ground up, recruiting and managing both agency and technology partner programs.

    Prior to her career in technology, Melissa was a consultant specializing in emerging markets working with Active Risk (acquired by Sword Group) and Frontier Strategy Group (acquired Ducker Worldwide).

    Melissa graduated from Georgetown University earning an undergraduate degree in Government.  She also serves on the Board of Directors for Music Heals International.

Board Of Directors

Engage’s Board is comprised of Fortune 500 Executives and proven Investors.

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    Ed Bastian
    CEO,
    Delta
    BIO

    Ed Bastian
    CEO, Delta

    An 18-year Delta veteran, Ed Bastian was a central part of the team that led the airline from bankruptcy to its current position as the industry’s leader. Named Delta’s CEO in May 2016, Bastian is committed to putting Delta’s shared values of honesty, integrity, respect, perseverance and servant leadership at the core of every decision.

    Under Bastian’s leadership, Delta is focused on operating the nation’s most reliable and customer-centric airline, expanding its global footprint, and striving to become the airline of choice for the next generation of travelers.

    Bastian joined Delta in 1998 as Vice President – Finance and Controller and was promoted to Senior Vice President in 2000. He left Delta in early 2004 and became Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Acuity Brands.

    He returned to Delta six months later to become Chief Financial Officer and lead Delta through its restructuring. In 2007 Bastian was appointed to serve as Delta’s President, from where he oversaw Delta’s commercial and international functions and strengthened Delta’s financial foundation through innovation, debt reduction, revenue growth and bolstering the airline’s global network.

    Prior to joining Delta, Bastian held senior finance positions at Frito-Lay International and Pepsi-Cola International. Bastian started his career with Price Waterhouse where he became an audit partner in its New York practice.

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    Paul Bowers
    Chairman, President & CEO, Georgia Power
    BIO

    Paul Bowers
    Chairman, President & CEO, Georgia Power

    Georgia Power is the largest subsidiary of Southern Company, one of the nation’s largest producers of electricity. Paul Bowers joined the Southern Company system at Gulf Power in 1979 and has held executive leadership positions at multiple subsidiaries.

    Prior to his current position, he was the Chief Financial Officer of Southern Company, where he was rated by Institutional Investors magazine as one of the industry’s Top Three CFOs in America. In 1998, Bowers was elected President and CEO of South Western Electricity plc, Southern Company’s former U.K. subsidiary. From 2001 to 2008, he served as President (currently titled Chief Operations Officer) of Southern Company Generation, where he was responsible for the company’s overall operational activities. He also served as CEO of Southern Power.

    Bowers serves on the boards of Nuclear Electric Insurance Ltd., AFLAC, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, the Georgia Research Alliance, the Georgia Historical Society, the Atlanta Committee for Progress and the Public Policy Advisory Board for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. He is the 2015 chair of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, chair of the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Foundation, as well as a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s Energy Policy Council and a trustee for The Woodruff Arts Center. He is the past chair of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education. A Pensacola, Florida native, Bowers holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of West Florida and a Master’s degree in management from Troy University.

    Bowers is a Harvard Business School Advanced Management graduate.

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    Paul Brown
    Co-Founder and CEO,
    Inspire Brands
    BIO

    Paul Brown
    Co-Founder and CEO, Inspire Brands

    Paul Brown serves as Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Inspire Brands, a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes nearly 32,000 Arby’s, Baskin-Robbins, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dunkin’, Jimmy John’s, Rusty Taco, and SONIC Drive-In restaurants worldwide. Inspire is supported by more than 650,000 company and franchise team members. In 2020, its brands achieved $27 billion in global system sales, making Inspire the second largest restaurant company in the United States.

    Prior to founding Inspire, Brown was Chief Executive Officer of Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc.

    Arby’s turnaround “can be attributed to Brown’s vision and leadership,” according to Fortune. As CEO, he launched several transformative initiatives across the brand’s global system with a focus on innovation, including: introducing a new brand purpose, Inspiring Smiles Through Delicious Experiences®; unveiling a visionary restaurant design that increases energy efficiency; launching a team member training program that is centered on goal setting; and fostering a unique approach to product development that reinforces the brand’s We Have The Meats® marketing.

    Prior to Arby’s, Brown served as President of Brands and Commercial Services of Hilton Worldwide. The global hospitality company is comprised of ten brands including Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton, Hampton by Hilton, and Home2 Suites by Hilton. Brown was the company’s global leader for brand management, product standards, marketing, sales, pricing, e-Commerce, loyalty programs, franchise relations, and information technology.

    Brown also previously served with Expedia, Inc., the world’s leading online travel company, as President of Expedia.com and Expedia’s Partner Services Group. Prior to Expedia, Brown was a partner at the McKinsey & Company. Based in London, he was a leader of the firm’s global travel and hospitality practice and served clients across the travel, hospitality, and retail sectors. Brown has worked with InterContinental Hotels Group as Senior Vice President of Global Brand Services and was responsible for global sales, reservations, the Priority Club loyalty program, e-Commerce, and purchasing. He was also a Manager for The Boston Consulting Group in the firm’s Chicago and Atlanta offices.

    For his leadership, Brown was named by Business Insider in 2019 as one of the 10 People Transforming Retail. He was also named the 2018 Norman Award recipient by Nation’s Restaurant News, a 2018 Silver Plate honoree by IFMA, the 2017 Restaurant Leader of the Year by Restaurant Business, and a 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year in Retail and Consumer Products in the Southeast by EY. In 2020, Brown became a member of the Wall Street Journal CEO Council.

    Brown is chairman of the board of directors of Neiman Marcus Group and a member of the board of directors of H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE: HRB) and FOCUS Brands, Inc. He is also active in the community, serving on the boards of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the Georgia Tech Foundation, and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee.

    Brown is an alumnus of Georgia Tech where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in management. He also received an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and a Master of Engineering Management from the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He is currently a Fellow with the Culinary Institute of America and has served as an executive-in-residence at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.

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    Dan Cathy
    Chairman & CEO,
    Chick-fil-A
    BIO

    Dan Cathy
    Chairman & CEO, Chick-fil-A

    As CEO of one of the nation’s largest family-owned businesses, Chick-fil-A’s Dan Cathy represents the next generation of leadership for the Atlanta-based fast-food chicken restaurant chain founded by his father, S. Truett Cathy. Eager to incorporate his own skills and talents into the business, Cathy has taken an unconventional, yet personally and professionally rewarding approach to Chick-fil-A leadership.

    With a firm handshake and kind smile Dan T. Cathy, chairman and chief executive officer of Chick-fil-A, greets a family in a restaurant dining room saying, “Hi. I’m Dan. I work in customer service.”

    Cathy has been defining his role in “customer service” for more than 40 years — even before officially joining Chick-fil-A, Inc. in 1970. As the eldest son of one of the most influential restaurateurs of the last century, Cathy has dedicated much of his life to building upon his father S. Truett Cathy’s pioneering vision to care for people by providing food and customer service that exceeds expectations.

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    Dave Dase
    Head of Investment Banking SE Region, Goldman Sachs
    BIO

    Dave Dase
    Head of Investment Banking SE Region, Goldman Sachs

    Dave Dase is head of the Investment Banking Division’s Southeast Region and has primary responsibility for clients in the Southeast as well as the media, information services, internet, telecom, and sports sectors.

    He is a member of the Firmwide Commitments Committee and a member of the Investment Banking Services Captains Group. Dase has served as co-head of Client Coverage for the Technology, Media, and Telecom Group. Previously, he was a member of the Mergers and Acquisitions and Real Estate Groups. Dase joined Goldman Sachs in 1994 and was named managing director in 2003 and partner in 2012.

    Dase is a member of the Executive Committee of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, a member of IoT.ATL, a program that intends to increase the region’s tech sector, and a member of Cornell University Council.

    In addition, he serves on the Board of Directors of New York City Outward Bound. Dase has served as an adjunct professor at Cornell University, teaching a course on corporate finance and investment management. Dase earned a BA in Economics from Cornell University, where he played varsity football and baseball, and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

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    Marty Flanagan
    President & CEO, Invesco; Chairman of Engage
    BIO

    Marty Flanagan
    President & CEO, Invesco; Chairman of Engage

    Martin Flanagan has been a Director and President and Chief Executive Officer of Invesco since August 2005. He is also the chairman of Engage Ventures and a Trustee and Vice-Chairman of the Invesco Funds (the company’s U.S. open and closed-end fund companies).

    Flanagan joined Invesco from Franklin Resources, Inc., where he was President and Co-Chief Executive Officer from January 2004 to July 2005. Previously he had been Franklin’s Co-President from May 2003 to January 2004, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer from November 1999 to May 2003, and Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer from 1993 until November 1999. Flanagan served as Director, Executive Vice President, and Chief Operating Officer of Templeton, Galbraith & Hansberger, Ltd. before its acquisition by Franklin in 1992. Before joining Templeton in 1983, he worked with Arthur Andersen & Co.

    Flanagan earned a B.A. and B.B.A from Southern Methodist University (SMU). He is a CFA charterholder and a certified public accountant. Flanagan serves on the board of governors and as a member of the executive committee for the Investment Company Institute, and is a former chairperson. He also serves as a member of the executive board at the SMU Cox School of Business and is involved in a number of civic activities in Atlanta.

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    James Hannan
    EVP & CEO,
    Koch Enterprises
    BIO

    James Hannan
    EVP & CEO, Koch Enterprises

    As Executive Vice President and CEO for Koch – Enterprises, James Hannan is responsible for oversight of Georgia-Pacific, Guardian®, Invista, Molex, and Koch Industries’ acquired interest in Infor, and for driving transformational change and knowledge sharing among these and all Koch companies. Previously, he led one of the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of tissue, packaging, pulp, paper, cellulose, nonwovens, building products and related chemicals as CEO and President of Georgia-Pacific.

    Hannan’s career with Koch Industries began in 1998 in the mineral services unit as Chief Financial Officer prior to being named president of INVISTA Intermediates. He joined Georgia-Pacific in 2005 as Chief Operating Officer, and was promoted to CEO and President in 2007. He returned to Koch in 2017 in his current role. Hannan serves on the boards of Koch Industries, Georgia-Pacific, Guardian®, Invista, and Molex.

    Hannan is involved in numerous community organizations in the Atlanta area as well as business organizations nationally. He has worked closely with the Atlanta Police Foundation and actively serves on the Atlanta Committee for Progress. Hannan is currently on the boards of the Georgia Research Alliance, Woodruff Arts Center, The Commerce Club, and the educational foundation board for California State-East Bay.

    Originally from Connecticut, Hannan grew up in the San Francisco Bay area and where he attended California State University-East Bay (formerly California State University, Hayward) and received a Bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting.

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    Richard McPhail
    CFO & EVP,
    The Home Depot
    BIO

    Richard McPhail
    CFO & EVP, The Home Depot

    Richard McPhail was named Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of The Home Depot in September 2019. He is responsible for the planning, analysis, and management of the Company’s financial performance, business investment, and capital allocation. His corporate finance responsibilities include financial reporting and operations, commercial financial services, internal audit, investor relations, treasury, and tax.

    Prior to his current role, McPhail served in senior executive roles at The Home Depot in strategic planning, financial planning, business development, real estate, international financial management, and as the primary finance partner to all main commercial functions.

    McPhail joined The Home Depot in 2005. Previously, McPhail was executive vice president of corporate finance with Marconi Corporation plc in London, England. McPhail also held positions with Wachovia Securities and with Arthur Andersen.

    McPhail serves on the executive committee of the Metro Atlanta Chamber and is a member of the board of trustees of Odyssey Atlanta, Zoo Atlanta and The Westminster Schools.

    McPhail earned Bachelor’s degrees in Economics and in Business Management from North Carolina State University, and a Master’s degree in business administration from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

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    Blake Patton
    Managing Partner, Engage & Tech Square Ventures
    BIO


    Blake Patton
    Managing Partner

    Blake is the founder and Managing Partner of Tech Square Ventures. He currently represents Tech Square Ventures on the boards of Pointivo (Chairman) and PreTel Health (Chairman), as a board observer of Haste, and is the Managing General Partner of Engage. He was previously a board director and observer of Cypress.io (Chairman), Sequr (sold to Genea), UserIQ, and Salesfusion (sold to SugarCRM). Under his leadership, the firm has invested in 47 early-stage ventures.

    Prior to founding Tech Square Ventures, Blake was General Manager of the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) at Georgia Tech – named by Forbes as one of the “Top 12 Incubators Changing the World”. Prior to leading ATDC, he served as President & COO of Interactive Advisory Software and EVP of iXL, an internet services company that he joined through the acquisition of Swan Media and was part of the executive team that grew the company from startup to over $300 million in annualized revenue and an IPO. He started his career as an Associate at SEI Corporation.

    Blake is an active leader in the technology community, serving on the boards of Engage, the Center for American Entrepreneurship (former Chairman), Georgia Advanced Technology Ventures (GATV) and High Tech Ministries. He also serves on the advisory boards of ATDC and Georgia Tech’s Cowan-Turner Center for Servant Leadership. Blake is a former Chairman of Venture Atlanta, a Georgia Tech Alumni Association Trustee, a Georgia Research Alliance Industry Fellow and a member of the selection committee for the NC State Chancellor’s Innovation Fund.  Blake also teaches Entrepreneurial Finance at Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business.

    Blake earned a Bachelor of Industrial and Systems Engineering degree from Georgia Tech, where he was captain of the swim team. He was inducted into the Georgia Tech College of Engineering’s Council of Outstanding Young Engineering Alumni and previously served on the Georgia Tech Advisory Board.

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    Dr. G.P. “Bud” Peterson
    President Emeritus,
    Georgia Tech
    BIO

    Dr. G.P. “Bud” Peterson
    President Emeritus, Georgia Tech

    Dr. G.P. “Bud” Peterson was the eleventh president of the Georgia Institute of Technology. In this capacity he oversaw a top ten public research university with more than 21,500 students and research expenditures of more than $730 million.

    Throughout his career, Dr. Peterson has played an active role in helping to establish the national education and research agendas, serving on numerous industry, government, and academic task forces and committees. A distinguished scientist, Dr. Peterson was selected in 2008 by President George W. Bush to serve on the National Science Board through 2014.

    Dr. Peterson was born September 1, 1952, in San Francisco, California, and earned undergraduate degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics as well as a Master’s degree in engineering from Kansas State University. He earned his doctoral degree in Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University.

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    Jeff Sprecher
    Chairman & CEO, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE); Chairman of the NYSE
    BIO

    Jeff Sprecher
    Chairman & CEO, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE); Chairman of the NYSE

    Intercontinental Exchange is a Fortune 500 and Fortune Future 50 company. ICE was formed in 2000 and Jeff Sprecher has served as the Chief Executive Officer since May 2000 and as Chairman of the Board since November 2002.

    Sprecher acquired Continental Power Exchange (CPEX), the predecessor company to ICE, in 1997 to achieve his vision of an open, transparent electronic energy marketplace. Under his leadership, ICE has evolved from operating an energy market to a network of exchanges, including the New York Stock Exchange, clearing houses and information services customers rely upon to invest, trade and manage risk across global financial and commodity markets.

    Sprecher has led numerous strategic initiatives that have enabled ICE to expand from a single asset class – energy – into a broad range of asset classes today. In addition to expanding through acquisitions, Sprecher has led numerous organic growth initiatives to modernize markets. ICE developed the first cleared OTC energy contracts (2002), built the first new major clearing house in the U.K. in over a century (2008) and launched the world’s leading clearing houses for credit derivatives (2009).

    Sprecher’s leadership has been recognized by Business Week, Institutional Investor and a number of other publications. In 2006, ICE’s stock was named the best one-year performer by The Wall Street Journal and continues to be recognized for its growth strategy by being named to the 2017 inaugural Fortune Future 50. Sprecher was named Best CEO for Brokers, Asset Managers and Exchanges in Institutional Investor’s annual poll for 2019 and in years prior.

    Sprecher is involved in a number of civic initiatives. He is the immediate past Chairman of the Metro Atlanta Chamber; is a Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation Trustee; and is on the Board of Directors for the Buckhead Coalition, The Commerce Club and Atlanta Committee for Progress.

    Raised in Wisconsin, Sprecher earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a Master of Business Administration from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.

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    Alex Taylor
    President & CEO,
    Cox Enterprises
    BIO

    Alex Taylor
    President & CEO, Cox Enterprises

    Alex Taylor is responsible for Cox Enterprises and its three major subsidiaries: Cox Communications, Cox Automotive and the Cox Family Office, as well as corporate functions including financial operations, human resources and administration. Taylor serves on Cox Enterprises’ board of directors and is the great-grandson of James M. Cox, who founded the company in 1898.

    During his nineteen-year career at Cox, Taylor has held numerous positions within the company. Taylor previously served as Chief Operating Officer of Cox Enterprises, where he had oversight of the company’s three subsidiaries, as well as its long-term growth and investment plans. He also served as Senior Vice President of field operations for Cox Communications, the company’s broadband and cable division. As Executive Vice President of Cox Media Group, he oversaw its largest television, radio, newspaper and digital properties, and led the creation of the company’s first cross-platform newsroom.

    Taylor is a board member of the Food Well Alliance and PATH Foundation, a member of the Carter Center Board of Councilors, and a former board chair of American Rivers. He received his Bachelor’s degree in human and organizational development from Vanderbilt University, where he now serves on the board of trust.

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    Carol B. Tomé
    CEO,
    UPS
    BIO

    Carol Tomé
    CEO, UPS

    In 2003, Carol Tomé joined the UPS Board of Directors and currently serves as chief executive officer. Before joining UPS, Tomé served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of The Home Depot, Inc., one of the world’s largest retailers. She joined the company in 1995 as Vice President and Treasurer.

    Tomé began her career as a commercial lender with United Bank of Denver (now Wells Fargo) and then spent several years as Director of Banking for Johns-Mansville Corporation. Prior to joining The Home Depot, Tomé was Vice President and Treasurer of Riverwood International Corporation.

    Tomé serves as a trustee or board member for a number of organizations including Grady Hospital Foundation, Atlanta Botanical Garden, Sovos Brands and GIA Partners. She is also a member of The Committee of 200, The Buckhead Coalition, The Business Roundtable and The Business Council.

    A native of Jackson, Wyoming, Tomé holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communication from the University of Wyoming and a Master’s degree in Finance from the University of Denver.

Advisory Board

Chosen by their CEO, each Advisory Board member is a trusted senior executive designated to serve as their company’s lead representative on the platform. These executives help open doors for our founders and are critical to the success of the engagements within their companies.

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    Chaouki Abdallah
    EVP for Research,
    Georgia Tech
    BIO
    Chaouki Abdallah
    EVP for Research, Georgia Tech

    As Chief Research Officer, Chaouki Abdallah provides overall leadership for the Institute’s $1 billion portfolio of research, economic development and sponsored activities, including the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), eleven interdisciplinary research institutes (IRIs), and related research administrative support units. He also serves on the executive committee of the Council on Research for the Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities (APLU), the executive committee for the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable (GUIRR), and the advisory committee for the Center on Measuring University Performance (MUP).

    Since Abdallah assumed the role of Executive Vice President of Research, the Institute took occupancy of Coda, a first-of-its-kind, mixed-use facility in the heart of Tech Square, designed to create opportunities in interdisciplinary research, commercialization, and sustainability. Under his leadership, Georgia Tech also recently launched the “Commission on Research Next,” a process that will map a comprehensive future for research at Tech.

    Abdallah came to Georgia Tech from the University of New Mexico, where he served as the university’s twenty-second President, Provost, and Executive Vice President for academic affairs, as well as department chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department. During his tenure, Abdallah oversaw long-range academic planning and efforts to improve student success, as well as retention-achievement and graduation achievement rates. Abdallah’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, national laboratories, and various companies.

    Abdallah began his college career at the Faculté d’ingénierie of the Université Saint-Joseph in Lebanon, then obtained a Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) degree from Youngstown State University in 1981, and a M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Georgia Tech in 1982 and 1988, respectively.

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    Mike Anderson
    President & CEO, Georgia Power Foundation
    BIO

    Mike Anderson
    President & CEO, Georgia Power Foundation

    Mike Anderson serves as Senior Vice President for Georgia Power and President and CEO of both Georgia Power Foundation, Inc. and Southern Company Corporate Foundation. Anderson leads the company’s charitable giving and is also a member of the Georgia Power Management Council. Prior to this position, he served as vice president of Corporate Services, with responsibility for corporate safety, labor relations, fleet management, and workforce development
    and training.

    Since beginning his career with Georgia Power, Anderson has held numerous leadership positions in Capital Budgeting, System Planning, Customer Operations, Information Technology, and Marketing and External Affairs. Prior to joining Georgia Power, Anderson was recruited from Texas Instruments in Dallas, where he was responsible for quality control component testing of nuclear warhead guidance systems.

    In the community, Anderson serves on numerous boards, including St. Joseph’s Healthcare System, Georgia Tech Advisory Board, Southeastern Council of Foundations, Zoo Atlanta, Emory University Board of Visitors, Georgia Tech Industrial & Systems Engineering, Chick-fil-A Bowl, IntegralGude Advisory Board, and Georgia Tech Athletic Association.

    An Atlanta native, Anderson received a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he was also inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Engineering Alumni. He has an MBA from Emory University and is an alumnus of Regional Leadership Institute, Leadership Georgia and Leadership Atlanta.

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    Tanya Baker
    Managing Director - Head of GS Accelerate,
    Goldman Sachs
    BIO

    Tanya Baker
    Managing Director – Head of GS Accelerate, Goldman Sachs

    Tanya Baker is head of Goldman Sachs Accelerate, the firm’s internal innovation engine that identifies, invests in, and incubates new businesses for Goldman Sachs. Previously, Tanya ran digital strategy for the Investment Banking Division. Before that, she was a vice president in the Technology Business Development Group. Tanya joined Goldman Sachs in 2008 as an associate and was named managing director in 2019.

    Prior to joining the firm, Tanya worked at Microsoft. Tanya earned a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering from McGill University in 2002 and an MBA from New York University Stern School of Business in 2008.

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    Christian Charnaux
    Chief Growth Officer,
    Inspire Brands
    BIO
    Christian Charnaux
    Chief Growth Officer, Inspire Brands

    Christian Charnaux serves as Chief Growth Officer of Inspire Brands, a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 4,700 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Rusty Taco locations worldwide.

    As Chief Growth Officer, Charnaux is responsible for identifying and integrating strategic additions to Inspire’s brand portfolio as well as developing emerging brands.

    Prior to Inspire, Charnaux was with Hilton Worldwide where he served in a number of brand management, commercial services, and finance positions. Most recently, he was Senior Vice President of Corporate Finance where he oversaw the Hilton’s Capital Markets, Mergers & Acquisitions, and Investor Relations efforts.

    Previously, Charnaux was with the Boston Consulting Group where he focused on the travel and consumer product sectors. He also worked for J.P. Morgan in the Technology coverage and Mergers & Acquisition groups.

    Charnaux is an alumnus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he received a Bachelor’s of Arts degree, with Highest Distinction, in History and Political Science and was a Morehead Scholar. He also received an MBA, with Distinction, from Harvard Business School.

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    Jim DiAndreth
    Managing Director of GP Ventures, Georgia Pacific
    BIO
    Jim DiAndreth
    Managing Director of GP Ventures, Georgia Pacific

    Jim DiAndreth is responsible for building an Innovation culture across Georgia-Pacific, including creating a portfolio of Innovation opportunities that will deliver sustainable and profitable growth. He is working with the individual Georgia Pacific Businesses to develop Innovation strategies, technology roadmaps, and market-based metrics to measure Georgia Pacific’s progress commercializing innovation.

    Prior to joining Georgia Pacific, DiAndreth was Vice President of Research and Development for INVISTA and spent twenty years in Research and Development business and manufacturing roles with DuPont.

    DiAndreth has a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware.

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    John Featherston
    Senior Director of New Ventures, Chick-fil-A
    BIO
    John Featherston
    Senior Director of New Ventures, Chick-fil-A

    John Featherston is responsible for leading the New Ventures function at Chick-fil-A. New Ventures supports continued business growth for Chick-fil-A by accelerating the focus on key strategic areas of the business, activating Chick-fil-A in venture communities and anticipating disruptions to prepare Chick-fil-A for the future.

    Featherston has consistently been involved in areas of new growth for Chick-fil-A, and led Chick-fil-A’s move into urban areas through real estate deals in Chicago and New York. His past work leading the New Market Entry and Growth Strategy teams helped frame the company’s focus on new markets and future disruptions. Prior to Chick-fil-A, John spent ten years in real estate finance with Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

    Featherston’s philanthropic commitment to growth and community is evident in his involvement with organizations including Care for AIDS, Redeemer City to City, and MTLTW (Music to Light the World). Featherston is a frequent speaker, often asked to address Growth Strategy for leadership groups and at universities and sits on the Advisory Board of the Erwin Center for Brand Communications at Clemson University. He is also a Fellow of the Culinary Institute of America.

    Featherston is a native North Carolinian, earning his degree in Economics from Duke University. He was an A.B. Duke Scholar and went on to complete the Advanced Management Program at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Featherston continued his dedication to mastery and leadership by completing coursework at the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). His professional associations include ULI (Urban Land Institute) and IFA (International Franchise Association).

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    Todd Giacco
    VP of Finance, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE)
    BIO
    Todd Giacco
    VP of Finance, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE)

    Todd Giacco is responsible for all Financial Planning and Analysis matters for the Intercontinental Exchange firm. Additionally, he provides financial support for the company’s active M&A process including managing acquisition opportunities, target due diligence, synergies, valuation modeling and financial integration. Giacco has worked at ICE over eleven years in an expanding finance capacity as the company has grown both organically and through acquisition.

    Before ICE, he worked in various corporate finance roles for retailer Home Depot, internet firm EzGov, and consumer products manufacturer Kimberly Clark. He began his career at Nations Bank where he was a commercial banker.

    Giacco graduated from Vanderbilt University with a degree in Economics and Psychology and later earned an MBA in Finance from the University of Georgia.

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    Matthew Guffey
    President of Global Strategy, UPS
    BIO
    Matthew Guffey
    President of Global Strategy, UPS

    With 19 years’ experience at UPS in Marketing, Sales and Operations, Matthew Guffey recently took on the position of President of UPS Global Strategy. Guffey’s current role allows him to oversee the strategic leadership and direction of the Industrial Product, High Tech, and Professional Services industries globally. Guffey is passionate about developing opportunities and solutions for businesses across all these targeted sectors.

    Guffey sees global trade as a great opportunity for economic growth, and at UPS helps businesses of all sizes, especially SME’s, take advantage of a global marketplace.

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    Mark Lewis
    VP of Strategy & Corporate Development, Cox Enterprises
    BIO

    Mark Lewis
    VP of Strategy & Corporate Development, Cox Enterprises

    As a VP of Strategy and Corporate Development for Cox Enterprises, Mark Lewis is responsible for growing and diversifying the company’s portfolio of companies.

    Lewis joined Cox in 2018 from Google, where he was a Senior Director in the Business Operations and Strategy team. Lewis spent seven years working with leadership teams in Google and Alphabet’s Other Bets, including Capital G, Fiber, Nest, Sidewalk Labs, Verily, Waymo, and X. Lewis also led work to operationalize the Alphabet structure.

    Prior to Google, Lewis worked for The Boston Consulting Group in Chicago where he led a wide range of strategy and corporate development projects, mostly in the Industrial Goods and Consumer Products sectors. Lewis also worked for Ernst & Young Management Consulting in London.

    Lewis holds a MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science & Management from the University of Nottingham UK, where he was a Ford Scholar.

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    Donie Lochan
    Chief Technology Officer, Invesco
    BIO

    Donie Lochan
    Chief Technology Officer, Invesco

    Donie Lochan is Managing Director, Chief Technology Officer, and Global Head of Technology for Invesco, overseeing strategy and execution for Invesco Technology. He was previously the global head of information technology strategy, innovation, and planning.

    With the support of the global Invesco Technology team, Lochan is guiding Invesco into a new digital- and data-driven era, with a focus on delivering an investment experience that helps people get more out of life. Collaborating with senior technology leaders and business partners, he develops and oversees implementation of the strategic technology roadmap to support Invesco’s investment capabilities and help drive revenue and profit growth. He champions the value of a strong, unified organization, and his strategic vision embraces emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics and automation, blockchain, and the “internet of things”, which are redefining the rules of the financial and asset management industries.

    Lochan has a background in organizational transformation, with a focus on wealth and investment management in domestic and international settings. Prior to joining Invesco in June 2015, Lochan served as head of corporate strategy and mergers and acquisitions for LPL Financial. Before that he was a partner with Bain and Company, a global strategy consulting firm.

    Lochan earned a BSc degree with first class honors in mathematics, statistics and computing.

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    Knox Massey
    Executive Director,
    Invest Georgia
    BIO

    Knox Massey
    Executive Director, Invest Georgia

    Knox Massey is Executive Director for the Invest Georgia Fund and the Invest Georgia Program. He has served in this position since the inception of the program in 2014. Both the Program and the Fund were created by legislation passed in the Georgia General Assembly in 2013. The Invest Georgia mission is to fund, build, and grow innovative Georgia companies and Georgia-based entrepreneurs. Doing so helps to create new innovations, new entrepreneurs, and new employees within Georgia.

    The Invest Georgia Fund has received allocations from the State of $50,000,000 since 2014. Currently, the Invest Georgia Fund has thirteen Georgia-based venture capital or private equity funds in the portfolio. These thirteen funds have helped to fund and create seventy-two Georgia-based companies where two thousand, three hundred sixty Georgia-based employees now work.

    Prior to Invest Georgia, Massey was Executive Director of the Atlanta Technology Angels, head of the SE sales division at AOL (sold to Time Warner), head of New Media advertising at WestWayne (now 22squared), and SE sales at the New York Time Regional Newspaper Group (sold in 2011).

    Massey holds an MBA from Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business.

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    Matt Muta
    VP of Operations Technologies & Innovation, Delta
    BIO
    Matt Muta
    VP of Operations Technologies & Innovation, Delta

    As Vice President, Matt Muta and his team are responsible for driving results through innovative solutions and technology. Muta oversees business innovation strategy and harnesses research, design and technology to deliver solutions across all areas of the airline to enable effortless travel.

    Prior to Delta, Muta served as Global Managing Director for Hospitality and Travel for Microsoft Corporation. In this role, Muta was responsible for developing Microsoft’s comprehensive solutions framework that enables the next generation of Hospitality and Travel innovation. Additionally, he served as Corporate Vice President of Web Technologies and E-Business for Albertson’s Food & Drug, Inc.

    Muta is a graduate of Boise State University and serves on the Board of Directors for the YMCA and Boise Hoop Dreams.

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    Lindsay Weaver
    Senior Director, Strategic Business Development
    BIO
    Lindsay Weaver
    Senior Director, Strategic Business Development

    Lindsay Weaver is a Senior Director in Strategic Business Development at The Home Depot. In this role, Weaver works with business partners on a number of projects and initiatives to develop and support The Home Depot’s corporate strategy, including the annual strategic planning process, key organic growth initiatives, as well as inorganic growth initiatives through mergers and acquisitions (M&A), applied innovation, partnerships and corporate venture capital (CVC).

    Prior to joining The Home Depot in 2016, Weaver was a Vice President in the Investment Banking Division of Goldman Sachs & Co. In this role, she advised global chemicals clients regarding corporate and capital markets strategy and execution, including mergers and acquisitions, equity and debt capital financings, capital structure, share repurchases, credit advisory, and activism and raid defense.

    Weaver holds a Masters of Business Administration from Goizueta Business School at Emory University and a Bachelors of Business Administration in Finance and Marketing from The University of Georgia.