Houston Entrepreneurs' Forum

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Speakers

Chip DavisTuesday, May 23, 2017
The Houston Entrepreneurs' Forum is pleased to announce Charles "Chip" Davis, Managing Partner, Houston Ventures will be our guest speaker on May 23, 2017. Houston Ventures focuses on investing in early to growth-stage companies that solve operational problems in the energy and power sectors. For more than 20 years Mr. Davis has been investing in technology in the areas of process improvement, software and data networks. He has sold companies to IBM, AT&T, Siemens and IHS among others. Chip's investment background makes his conversant in operating issues resulting from, but not limited to, software as a service, international oilfield operations, data network service models, compensation frameworks for Energy, and mergers & acquisions. Mr. Davis currently sits on the Boards of Directors of: Geoforce RigNet LiquidFrameworks Zilliant NuPhysicia Mr. Davis is a graduate of Washington and Lee University, he is a CPA.

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Kim SawyerTuesday, April 25, 2017
The Houston Entrepreneurs' Forum is pleased to announce Kim Sawyer will be our guest speaker on April 25, 2017. Mr. Sawyer is an Executive and Enterprise Coach. Kim has over twenty years of diverse business experience: he has started businesses, led companies, and been involved in almost every aspect of a business enterprise. In the first phase of his career, Kim founded Muscles for Hire, served for ten years as CEO and sold it profitably in 1998. In 2000, Kim took his expertise in leadership, entrepreneurship, professional and business effectiveness and founded theWealthSource, and executive and enterprise coaching firm. Some of Kim's clients include: Continental Airlines, JP Morgan Chase Bank, IBM, Chevron-Texaco, Trans-Ocean, Rice University-Jones School and numerous regional entrepreneurs. Kim holds a BBA in Entrepreneurship from the University of Houston and an MS in Organizational Development from the University of Texas. Kim's presentation "The Alchemy of Success: Turning Failure into Success"

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Juliet Breeze M.D.Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Juliet Breeze, MD is a healthcare entrepreneur who currently serves as the CEO and Medical Director of Next Level Urgent Care. Dr. Breeze has developed multiple medical organizations from ground-up including a comprehensive orthopedics practice, a hospice solution, a rehabilitation hospital and several surgical centers. She has a deep interest in Healthcare IT and has created proprietary electronic medical records content for many of her businesses. During her career, Dr. Breeze has also served on the Board of Directors or Advisory Boards of several organizations including Vista Bank, the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce, Fort Bend Women's Center, Forum Analytics, Physician Practice Magazine, HealthPost and Cognetyx. In 2014, the Texas Diversity Council named her one of the Top 25 Business Women in Houston. In 2016, she was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Greater Houston Women's Chamber. Dr. Breeze graduated from Northwestern University in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and honors in English. In 1995, she earned her medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Breeze will discuss Employee Healthcare as both a small business owner and a provider of services.

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Meeting CancelledTuesday, February 28, 2017
No meeting in February. Next meeting 3/28/2017.

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Bert Smith IIITuesday, January 31, 2017
The Houston Entrepreneur's Forum is pleased to announce Bert Smith III, CEO of Prison Entrepreneurial Program (PEP) will be speaking at our January 31st meeting.

PEP has pioneered innovative programs that connect the nation's top executives, entrepreneurs, and MBA students with convicted felons. The entrepreneurship boot camp and re-entry programs are proven solutions for preventing recidivism, maximizing self-sufficiency and transforming broken lives.

Mr. Smith officially joined PEP as CEO in May 2010 and has been actively involved with PEP since 2005. He has served in a number of volunteer roles, including executive judge, Business Plan Advisor, teacher, mentor, donor and Chairman of the Houston Advisory Board.

In the 1980's Bert served as Director, General Counsel, and Head of Corporate Development for a family owned engineering company that built and operated independent power plants. After the sale of that company, Bert founded and led a group that developed proprietary alternative fuel and energy generation technology. Prior to joining PEP as CEO, Bert was an early stage investor and CEO for a DVD kiosk rental business.

Bert serves on the Board of Directors for a family foundation, is a past President of the Executive Association of Houston, is a member of St. Martin's Episcopal Church and has served as an active board member and volunteer with a number of other nonprofit organizations. He holds an AB in Economics from Princeton University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. He is married and has three adult children.

Mr. Smith's presentation is "From Barbed Wire to Business".

When: Tuesday January 31, 2017
Where: Ouisie's Table, 3939 San Felipe, 77027
Cost: $27 members, $35 non-members, $40 walk-ins
RSVP: Tracyspark@aol.com

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Read BolesTuesday, November 29, 2016

The Houston Entrepreneur’s Forum is pleased to announce that Read Boles will be our speaker on Tuesday November 29, 2016. Mr. Boles is a serial entrepreneur who has owned and managed companies ranging from food service to heavy manufacturing to software development. Most of his experience has been with companies that were on the brink of disaster so he knows something about the stress inherent in an entrepreneurial venture. Some examples of his efforts are:

  1. Container General Corporation which he helped transform from a salvage sale to a profitable $400 million operation
  2. Flow Components, a bankrupt flange and fitting manufacturer that became the second largest player in the market
  3. Thirsty’s, a food service operation selling smoothies which he purchased for a non-recourse note, but which has subsequently been profitable in each of the past thirty years
  4. Texas Tamale Company, which, after going through bankruptcy has developed a grocery distribution model and is now available in over 3,000 stores nationwide.
  5. Salvaging a bankrupt offshore crane manufacturing company which was ultimately sold to a public company from Singapore.
  6. Mincron Software Systems which was purchased in a distressed sale, sold to a private equity group seven years later, then repurchased in a foreclosure when the company devolved into its prior ways, and finally sold to another private equity firm.

Read is currently spreading his time between Texas Tamale Company, Durand Wayland, Inc, a manufacturer of equipment used in fruit and vegetable packing houses, and Southwest Shipyard LP, a provider of services, repair, and fabrication to the inland barge and tug industry.

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Ross BohnstedtTuesday, October 25, 2016

The Houston Entrepreneurs’ Forum is pleased to announce Ross Bohnstedt will be our guest speaker on October 25, 2016. Mr. Bohnstedt is Senior Vice President of Panton Inc. Panton is developing technologies and strategies to utilize drones to streamline business processes. It is leading the development of robust business platforms, analytics and machine learning in the insurance, oil/gas and telecommunications sector for drone enabled vehicles.

Panton has raised $8 million, has hired 40 employees, has started generating revenue and is trying to raise $50 million from venture capitalists.

Ross has 15 years of experience in sales development and a thorough understanding of technology, platform disruption, and the network effects in opportunistic markets.

Mr. Bohnstedt’s presentation is “Capture the Drone Invasion”

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Nathelyne KennedyTuesday, September 27, 2016

The Houston Entrepreneur’s Forum is pleased to announce Nathelyne Kennedy, Founder/ President of Nathelyne A. Kennedy & Associates, will be speaking at our September 27th meeting. Ms. Kennedy started her civil and structural engineering firm in 1981. She was the first female engineering graduate of Prairie View A&M and the first African-American female PE registered by the State of Texas. Ms. Kennedy has been recognized numerous times by her alma mater. In 2006, the new Architecture and History & Culture facility was named Nathelyne Archie Kennedy building in her honor. She was named Houston Engineer of the Year in 2016.

Ms. Kennedy started her career designing highway bridges throughout the Midwest. She came to Houston in the 1980s to design bridges for the widening of IH10. Since then her firm has completed bridge design on the majority of Houston’s freeways.

Ms. Kennedy shares her entrepreneurship experience by mentoring women, minorities and students. She endowed at scholarship for architecture and engineering students at Prairie View A&M University. Her presentation will be about Forging New Territory.

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Mike CollierTuesday, June 28, 2016

The Houston Entrepreneur’s Forum is pleased to announce that Mike Collier, CPA and energy financial consultant will be our speaker on Tuesday June 28, 2016. Mike will discuss private equity as a financing tool for small business and investment opportunities in private equity. He will address the risk and benefits of this alternative financing vehicle.

Mr. Collier has 25 years of energy-related audit, M&A, and portfolio company management experience. He was a partner at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, where he served in the audit practice for 10 years, eventually becoming a top aide to the PWC World Chairman.

At PWC he lead a team of professionals providing due diligence, structuring, and valuation services. Mike helped build a successful Texas oil company, serving as its CFO.

Mike is a graduate of the University of Texas, where he received his undergraduate degree and MBA.

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Yuen YungTuesday, May 24, 2016

The Houston Entrepreneur’s Forum is pleased to announce our next speaker will beYuen Yung the Founder and CEO of How Do You Roll?, a fast-casual sushi restaurant. He opened the first restaurant in 2008 in Austin, TX. In 2013, he appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank and received the highest investment offer in the history of the show from Kevin O’Leary. Yuen will share some of the lessons he learned in creating a franchise and his Shark Tank experience.

Mr. Yung is currently CEO of Casoro Capital. Casoro Capital is a real estate investment firm that creates discretionary funds that are suitable, attractive and efficient for high net worth individuals, family offices and institutions.

Before founding How Do You Roll?, Yuen spent 13 years in the investment management and advisory industry as a Managing Partner of Kenty, Yung, Ozias & Associates. He oversaw advisors and was responsible for the capital raise and management of $300+ million in funds. In his earlier years he developed 27 commercial retail sites as an entrepreneur.

He currently sits on the board of Austin-based non-profit The Thinkery and previously served on the Board of Directors for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He also volunteers as a mentor for Ignite Accelerator, an Austin-based business incubator. Yuen was named as a finalist for an Austin Under 40 Award in 2013 and was honored with the Excellence in Teaching award from the University of Texas Professional Development Center in 2006.

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Jay SteinfeldTuesday, April 26, 2016

The Houston Entrepreneurs’ Forum is pleased to announce our speaker on April 26, 2016 will be Jay Steinfeld. Mr. Steinfeld is the founder and CEO of Blinds.com. Jay was an early mover in e-commerce, in 1993 bootstrapping his website built in his garage into the world’s #1 online window covering store. In January, 2014, Blinds.com was acquired by The Home Depot. Jay is still active as CEO, driving and integrating the Blinds.com platform into Home Depot’s interconnected retail strategy.

Jay is an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year and writies for Inc. Magazine a column entitled Chief Effective Officer, about becoming a more effective leader. In 2013 he was ranked globally as one of the Top 60 CEO’s on social media.

Jay earned a BBA in Accounting with Honors from the University of Texas in Austin, after which he worked for KPMG Peat, Marwick.

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Umesh VermaTuesday, March 22, 2016

The Houston Entrepreneur’s Forum is pleased to announce that Umesh Verma will be our speaker on Tuesday March 22, 2016. Mr. Verma is the CEO and Founder of Blue Lance.

Over the past quarter century, Mr. Verma has built Blue Lance into a global provider of Cybersecurity products and services. Banks, corporations, health care organizations, educational institutions, retail outlets and government agencies in over 40 countries use Blue Lance’s software solutions.

Mr. Verma started his software career as an Environmental Engineer at Brown & Root. Thereafter, he developed oil-rig operations and control software for Shell Oil.

Umesh is very active in the Houston community. He has served on the boards of The Center for Houston’s Future, Houston Technology Center, American Diabetes Association, University of Houston College of Technology and Greater Houston Partnership (GHP).

Mr. Verma has chaired the GHP Cybersecurity Task Force for the last 3 years. The Task Force has focused on what economical steps every business should take to ensure that they are capable of surviving a cyberattack. A free copy of 3rd edition of The Business Cybersecurity Vitality Guild that was published by the Task Force will be available for attendees.

Come hear a very interesting and important presentation: Surviving a Cyber Breach – the Do’s and Dont’s.

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Eric Swanson Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Houston Entrepreneurs’ Forum is pleased to announce our next speaker on February 23rd will be Erik Swanson. Eric Swanson is an award winning speaker and best selling author in the field of personal and professional growth. He has shared the stage with many famous speakers like Brian Tracy, Jack Canfield, Les Brown and Denis Waitley.

For the past eighteen years, Eric has been training corporations, entrepreneurs, athletes and famous actors how to systematically change their habits for the better. Mr. Swanson will deliver a presentation specifically designed for entrepreneurs “How to Make 2016 Your Best Year Ever – leveraging advanced sales and marketing techniques.”

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Loren SteffyTuesday, January 26, 2016

The Houston Entrepreneurs’ Forum is pleased to announce our next speaker will be Loren Steffy. Loren Steffy is a writer-at-large for Texas Monthly, a columnist for Energy Voice, and a managing director with the communications firm 30 Point Strategies. He is the author of Drowning in Oil: BP and the Reckless Pursuit of Profit published by McGraw-Hill in 2010 and The Man Who Thought Like a Ship, published by Texas A&M University Press in April 2012. He is currently working on a biography of George Mitchell that is scheduled for publication in 2017.

For nine years, Steffy was the business columnist for the Houston Chronicle, and writing has been published in newspapers and other publications worldwide. He has appeared on CNBC, Fox Business, MSNBC, the BBC and the PBS NewsHour. Before joining the Chronicle, he was the Dallas bureau chief and a senior writer for Bloomberg News for 12 years. His presentation is “The Writing Entrepreneur in the Internet Age”.

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Gary WarwickTuesday, November 17, 2015

The Houston Entrepreneur’s Forum is pleased to announce Gary Warwick, Founder/ Past Owner Tri-Star Protector Service, will be speaking at our November 17th meeting.

Mr. Warwick is currently CEO of GNV Consulting. His career has primarily consisted of being life long entrepreneur and founding owner of Tri-Star Protector Service. Tri Star Protector is an oilfield supply / environmental service company that began as a bootstrap backyard start-up which grew both organically and strategically through two exit sales to private equity and strategic buyers thus obtaining wealth for himself, employees, and private equity firm.

Gary exemplifies what is possible for an average middle class guy with no money, no college degree, nor any financial backing to achieve. Over the span of 25 years, Mr. Warwick has gained a particular skill set in all of the areas that are required to start company from scratch to grow year after year. From many ups downs, near company death experiences to successfully sell which benefitted all parties.

As the visionary founder leader of Tri-Star Protector and most recently, GNV Consulting, Mr. Warwick has gained a significant amount of experience working and partnering with the private equity and the M&A community in preparing, presenting and selling a business for desired personal and investment objectives.

Mr. Warwick’s presentation is The Most Important Lessons Learned from Starting, Growing and Selling My Business.

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Brad SchweissTuesday, October 27, 2015

The Houston Entrepreneur's Forum is pleased to announce Brad Schweiss owner of Houston Gold Exchange will be speaking at our Tuesday October 27th meeting. Brad began his self employed entrepreneurial experience in high school cutting a yard down the street that turned into a $ 500 a week business in time. After high school He attended University of Houston as a pre med student for a grand total of 6 weeks and began working at Sweeneys.He then landed an Opportunity at Corrigan's as assistant Store manager and worked his way up to Regional Vice President at the age of 22.In 1985 He was hired as Manager of the Houston Gold Exchange.The next year he bought the company.

He and his wife now own Amy's Luxury Medspa,Houston Gold exchange,and start up Schweiss Watches.

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Max BlankfeldTuesday, September 29, 2015

The Houston Entrepreneurs’ Forum is pleased to announce our next speaker will be Max Blankfeld, Managing Partner and COO of Gene by Gene. Gene by Gene was started in 2000 as Family Tree DNA, to help people explore their ancestry. It was the world’s first genealogy driven DNA testing service and now maintains the world’s most comprehensive DNA databases in the field of genetic genealogy. It has been featured on CBS 60 Minutes, ABC 20/20 and CNN among other media outlets. The business has experienced rapid growth and currently provides a wide range of genetic tests, including health related tests.

Mr. Blankfeld moved with his family from Brazil to Houston in 1991. He completed his MBA at Rice University, majoring in Finance, Marketing and Entrepreneurship. He earned his BBA from Fundacao Getulio Vargas in Brazil.

Before coming to the United States, Blankfeld held top management positions at publicly traded companies, where he was responsible for operations and growth strategies. During his years in the US, he started and managed a company in the area of consumer products, until he sold it in 2001.

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Nozer BuchiaTuesday, April 28, 2015

The Houston Entrepreneurs’ Forum is pleased to announce Nozer Buchia will be our guest speaker on April 28, 2015. Mr. Buchia is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. He is President & CEO of Equipcap Group of Companies which focuses on Real Estate – strategic planning, management, investment, due diligence and transaction structuring. As a senior executive with over 3 ½ decades in executive management he has extensive experience in corporate strategy, leadership, turnarounds, branding, negotiations and coaching.

Nozer is also an internationally-acclaimed motivational, inspirational, and keynote speaker of repute. He is referred to as “Mr. Motivator” for his straight-from-the-heart, high energy, and passionate message. He has lived what he talks about.

Mr. Buchia is the co-author of Roadmap to Success (with Dr. Ken Blanchard and Dr. Deepak Chopra)

He is the author of Why Entrepreneurs Really Fail. (Published in USA & India)

Mr. Buchia’s presentation will include a lot of the research from his books.

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Michael C. Riddle Jr.Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Houston Entrepreneurs’ Forum is pleased to announce that Michael C. Riddle Jr. MD, Founder of Riddle Institute for Regenerative Medicine will be our speaker on March 31, 2015. Dr. Riddle is a Regenerative Medicine Doctor and inventor. In April 2013, Michael started the Riddle Institute with Dr. Joan Nichols and Dr. Joaquin Cortiella from UTMB to create new solutions to difficult medical problems using the tissue engineering technology he developed.

Michael started working in UTMB’s regenerative medicine laboratory during his third year of medical school. He was the first to build a large lung bioreactor to grow large pig and human lungs. Michael also designed and built and aortic value bioreactor that is currently being used at Mayo Clinic. He is currently working on new technologies to grow pancreas and kidneys. Michael also developed a stem cell factor based wound treatment currently used in the veterinary market that he is trying to move into the human market.

Michael is an Eagle Scout and US Navy veteran who served as a Hospital Corpsman and Advanced Lab Tech. He has degrees from The George Washington University, Thomas A. Edison State College and UTMB School of Medicine.

Come hear a fascinating talk about Dr. Riddle’s work with lung research and the future of regenerative medicine.

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Bob TroyTuesday, January 27, 2015

The Houston Entrepreneur’s forum is pleased to announce that Bob Troy, owner of Mudlabs will be speaking on Tuesday January 27. Mudlabs has been granted a new patent recently by solving one of the biggest problems facing the Oil and Gas drilling industry ..how to remove fluid contamination and optimizing drilling fluid economics in the process.This patent was so unique it took only four months to obtain.The technology can save a company significant money in operations that run $25000 an hour. Mudlabs is a start up with Angel investing and Bob Has 3 other partners as well. Bob has been a successful Oil and Gas consultant for 40 years running many large diverse projects. Part of his talk will be the 5 questions you must ask yourself before forming a "start up".

Bob began his career after retiring with the rank of Colonel in the USAF reserves.

www.mudlabs.com

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Kumar AshTuesday, November 25, 2014

The Houston Entrepreneur’s Forum is pleased to announce that Ash Kumar will be our speaker on Tuesday November 25, 2014. Ash is the CEO and Founder of Ashford Communities is a growth-oriented real estate company specializing in the acquisition, renovation and management of multi-family residential assets. The company currently owns and manages over 2,700 units in nine complexes and has 85 full-time employees. Ash is the son of immigrant parents. His early life was living with his grandparents in India and then move to Canada to be with his parents. Ash arrived in Canada at the age of eight not knowing a word of English. He was held back in the fourth grade. His ambition to be a doctor like his Dad was crushed when he was rejected for admission to medical school. While a student at the University of Regina he started buying apartment properties. After graduation he concentrated full time on a career in real estate brokerage and investments.

Come hear an interesting and inspiring story how Ash arrived in the United States and ultimately Houston, Texas. Ash will share his secrets to success in a real estate career that has had many ups and down.

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Bill OsterhoutTuesday, September 30, 2014

The Houston Entrepreneur's Forum is pleased to announce Bill Osterhout,Co-Founder of Saltgrass Steak House Restaurants will be speaking Tuesday September 30th .He will share his story how he grew his business from 0 to 30 Restaurants and then sold it for 75 Million to Landry's in 2002.

Mr. Osterhout has over 30 years of entrepreneurial experience in the Consulting, Specialty Chemical, Restaurant, & Contract Services Industries, and a proven background as CEO/owner in concept start-up, turnaround and strategic multi-unit growth. He has sourced and closed targeted corporate acquisitions in excess of $180mm in both the chemical and restaurant industries. Expertise includes identifying talent, developing executive teams, achievement of goals through planning and accountability, and aligning corporate culture with shareholder interests.

Mr. Osterhout received his BBA in accounting from the University of Houston and began his career with Price Waterhouse LLC.

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Dan ElliotTuesday, June 24, 2014

The Houston Entrepreneur’s forum is pleased to announce that Dan Elliot managing Director of Sunbelt Business Sales and Acquisitions will be our guest speaker on June 24th. Dan purchased Sunbelt Houston in 1996 and has managed the sale of over 400 companies from the very small to companies with revenues of over $50,000,000. Dan has received the professional designations of Certified Business Intermediary (CBI) and master Merger & Acquisition Intermediary (MMAI). He holds the series 79 and 63 securities licenses and a Texas real Estate License. He was educated at Virginia Tech and lives in the Woodlands with his wife. The title of Dan’s presentation is “5 Things Business Owners do to Kill the Value of their Business”.

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Art SaxbyTuesday, May 20, 2014

The Houston Entrepreneurs’ Forum is pleased to announce Art Saxby, Founder and CEO of Chief Outsiders will be our speaker on May 20, 2014. In early 2009, in the depths of the great recession, Art Saxby decided to start a consulting firm focused on helping mid-size companies grow. (What was he thinking?) He was thinking that there was never a better time in American history to start a business. He didn’t actually win much business in 2009, but he had a lot of conversations and developed the foundation for what is now, five years later, Chief Outsiders, the country’s largest strategic growth implementation company focused on mid-size businesses.

In those five years Art’s team of Chief Marketing Officers have sat on the leadership teams and helped implement growth plans at almost 200 mid-size companies. He will be sharing one of the key learnings from those companies, which is that often the best run companies have the hardest time growing. It turns out that running a company and growing a company are two very different things. He will explain how operationally excellent companies who struggle with growth can benefit by approaching marketing with a logical, linear Growth Gear model. His presentation is “How Cost Conscious Companies Can Become Market Leaders”.

Biography: Art Saxby runs the country’s largest strategic growth implementation company focused on mid-size businesses. His firm, Chief Outsiders www.ChiefOutsiders.com, which is based in Houston but has office across the country, helps owners and CEOs of mid-size companies implement their visions for growth. While Saxby learned his trade in marketing at Frito-Lay, Kellogg’s, Coca-Cola and Compaq/HP, the partners and associates at Chief Outsiders have all held VP of Marketing or higher roles at operating companies in a wide variety of B2B, technology, healthcare, energy, consumer and other industries. Chief Outsiders allows leaders of mid-size companies to add a market-focused senior executive to their leadership team on a part-time basis for fraction of the cost or complexity of a full time hire.

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Grant SadlerTuesday, April 29, 2014

The Houston Entrepreneurs’ Forum is pleased to announce Grant Sadler, Founder and President of GMS Dental Centers of Excellence will be our speaker on April 29, 2014. Mr. Sadler has extensive experience in creating and growing businesses. Amongst his many business ventures, he was instrumental in starting Quality Systems, Inc.(QSI) which went public in 1982 and currently has a market cap of over $1 Billion on annual revenues of $430 Million. QSI provides a dental practice management system. During his time with QSI he grew the business to where it dominated the Dental Group Practice Market which it still does today. In 1996 he started GMS Dental Group, Inc.(GMS) in 1997 he took it public and then purchased it back after a successful public history, the company now produces revenue in excess of $250 Million. GMS has 8 locations in Houston, 1 in Dallas and is currently acquiring offices in Hawaii. GMS has created a discount plan in Texas which is designed to assist patients without dental insurance coverage in obtaining dental care.

Mr. Sadler holds a B. S. degree in Business Administration from Loma Linda University and is the past president of the Dental Group Management Association and past secretary of the Western Academy of Dental Group practice. Mr. Sadler is also a member of the American Academy of Dental Group Practice, the Association of Managed Care Dentists, the National Association of Dental Plans and the California Association of Dental Plans.

Visit the website at www.gmsdent.com.

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Hugh SazegarTuesday, March 25, 2014

The Houston Entrepreneurs’ Forum is pleased to announce Hugh Sazegar, PhD, Co-founder and CEO of Techcess Group will be our guest speaker on March 25, 2014. Hugh brings more than 30 years of experience in information technology, processes and methodologies as well as senior level management to his role as President and CEO of Techcess Group, an Information Technology Outsourcing firm focused on IT services for small and mid-sized businesses.

Prior to co-founding Techcess Group in 2004, Sazegar held various executive management positions with Schlumberger, including President of Infrastructure Outsourcing, President of Networks and e-Transactions, and Vice President and General Manager of Point of Sale (POS) Terminals.

Sazegar began his extensive IT career as a Research Engineer in Schlumberger in 1983. He received a Masters in Electronics and Robotics, Pre-doctorate in Signal Processing, and a Ph.D. in Electronics (Signal Processing) from the University of Sciences of Paris-France. He also holds a MBA from International School for Management Development (IMD) in Switzerland.

Mr. Sazegar received his PhD in Electronics from the University of Paris XI and an MBA from IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Hugh will be presenting “The New IT Trends for SMB’s: BYOD and Cloud Computing.”

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Dr. Francis P. McCulloughTuesday, February 25, 2014

The Houston Entrepreneurs’ Forum is pleased to announce our next speaker will be Dr. Francis P. McCullough is President and CEO of Carbtex Technology, Inc., which he founded in 2008. He has worked with new advanced materials for over 30 years, has been the recipient of 74 U.S. patents, several awards including five R&D 100 Awards, and has led two other technology start-up companies to successful operations.

In 2013 Carbtex Technology, Inc. won 2 major awards, one being Dr. McCullough’s fifth R&D 100 Award, and a Goradia Innovation Prize (1st place), both for the patented Diamondown™ high-tech fiber used to manufacture an affordable comfort management clothing system which retains up to 91% of body heat over long periods of exposure and extreme temperatures.

All Diamondown™ products are made in the U.S.A. They are sold locally and on line at www.diamondown.com.

Dr. McCullough received his BA degree in Chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania, MS in Chemistry from Auburn University and Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of Manchester (England) and was Senior Research Visitor at the University of Southampton. He is currently Adjunct Professor of Polymer & Fiber Engineering at Auburn University.

Dr. McCullough can be contacted at drfrank@diamondown.com, or on LinkedIn.

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Al DantoTuesday, November 19, 2013

The Houston Entrepreneurs’ Forum is pleased to announce our guest speaker on November 19, 2013 will be Al Danto, Managing Partner of the Danto Burks Group. Danto Burks Group advises the owners of privately held companies in developing and completing exit strategies, valuations and due diligence representation. He is also a partner in Danto Langerud investments which invests and actively manages businesses in a variety of industries.

Al has an MBA from Rice University and is a CVA (Certified Valuation Analyst). He teaches Entrepreneurship through the “New Enterprise” course to full time MBA students at the Jones School of Business at Rice University.

Al has started, built and sold business interests in a variety of industries. He started Structured Graphics at 23 and grew the company through a series of 10+ acquisitions before selling to a Private Equity Group.

Al passionately enjoys teaching entrepreneurs “How to Understand the Valuation Process in Simple Terms” so they can use these lessons to maximize the value of their companies or make strategic acquisitions.

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Steve LevineTuesday, October 29, 2013

The Houston Entrepreneurs' Forum is pleased to announce Steve Levine, President and CEO of Legacy Publishing Group, will be our guest speaker on October 29, 2013.

Steve Levine has more than 30 years of experience in publishing, advertising and advertising sales. He founded the Metro Houston Apartment Guide, The Jacksonville Communities Guide and Perfect Wedding Guides and now publishes Premier Agent Magazine, Profiles Magazine and Rising Star Magazine besides Small Business Today The focus of Small Business Today Magazine is to empower Houston's start-up entrepreneurs and small business owners by providing stories and information to help them start and/or grow their businesses.

Steve is also the Co-host of an internet talk radio show “Small Business Today”. The mission of the show is to inspire, educate, motivate and empower small business owners to achieve their dreams.

His presentation is "Are You In It to Win It?...Clues to Success!”. As a publisher for over 30 years Steve has interviewed hundreds of leaders in various professional fields. Steve will share his insights on the success factors these winners have in common.

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Ed JacobsonTuesday, September 24, 2013

Our speaker is Ed Jacobson, Owner of Entrust Inc. Ed has been an innovator in Employee benefit designs for companies for over 30 years.In addition Entrust has just about finished building it's new Location in Katy Texas...a 34,000 sq ft facility.

Here is a bit of information about them:

The Entrust family of companies is a premier employee benefits management group and claim administrator. Regarded as one of the nation's most innovative benefit designers, Entrust's experience, systems and resources allow for fresh, affordable and comprehensive business solutions. Technical competencies at Entrust Inc. span all legal, analytical, actuarial and experiential areas relating to health plan benefit design, implementation, and operation. Entrust is headquartered in Houston, Texas, with a full service office in Corpus Christi.

The Title of Ed's talk will be Obamacare: the good the bad and the ugly...Information all employers and business consultants need to know.

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Garrett FinneyWednesday, May 22, 2013
The Houston Entrepreneur's Forum is pleased to announce that Garrett Finney, owner and Founder of Cricket Trailer, will be speaking at our WEDNESDAY MAY 22 Meeting.
Garrett founded Cricket Trailer 3 years ago because he likes to camp but he doesn't want to sleep on the ground and he wants to be able to cook inside if the weather is bad. However, he didn't want to have to haul all the comforts of home like the traditional RV. So the architect and former Nasa designer decided to build his own. Today he builds 2 to 3 trailers each week with his 16 man company and has been featured on The Travel channel's "Extreme RV" Show. The Cricket employs unique design features and at 1400 lbs is easily pulled.Garrett is a licensed architect and has a Bachelors and masters degree from Yale. He was awarded the Rome prize in Architecture in 1994.

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Paul ConesTuesday, April 30, 2013
The Houston Entrepreneur's Forum is pleased to announce that Paul Cones - Founder & President of CourthouseDirect.com will be speaking Tuesday April 30th at the Briar Club.

CourthouseDirect.com is the largest provider of land title information in the State of Texas. Additionally, Mr. Cones is the founder of several real estate related companies including Integrity Title Records, Integrity Title Company and CourthouseSquare.com.  Mr. Cones has been instrumental in implementing technology solutions for the land title industry and his web sites are used by most of the major title companies, surveyors, attorneys, appraisers, municipalities, utilities and other real estate professionals in Texas and across the country.  Several years ago, CourthouseDirect.com began providing service to the land title insurance industry in Texas and since that time over $100,000,000 in Title Premiums have shifted from the major underwriter operations to independent title agents.  Paul Cones attended St. Thomas High School and the University of Texas.  He founded Courthouse Specialists in 1982 which is the predecessor to CourthouseDirect.com. The title of his talk will be "the Keys to Success" how he overcame the "goliaths" in the land title insurance industry.

WHEN: Tuesday April 30th 7 am
WHERE: The Briar Club 2603 Timmons
COST: $27 members $35 nonmembers

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James TaylorTuesday, March 26, 2013

The Houston Entrepreneur's Forum is pleased to announce that James Taylor - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CHR will be speaking Tuesday March 26th at the Briar Club.


Topic: M&A Lessons Learned


CHR is the largest, single-source provider of business process outsourcing, engineering services, software solutions, cloud, and technology managed services to communications service providers across the globe, serving over 900 clients and employing more than 500 team members. 

Mr. Taylor has been responsible for 72 major business transactions in his career to include start-ups, mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures. In 2003, he co-founded Global 1 Source Group (G1SG), which merged with CHR in 2006. Prior to that, Mr. Taylor established Knowledge Online through merger and acquisition, culminating with its sale to a public company. He founded and served as CEO/President of an outsourcing company, OnSource Consulting, one of the fastest-growing companies in Houston for three consecutive years with an average annual growth rate of 268 percent. He successfully exited the business after creating tremendous value for its shareholders within his four-year tenure. 

Mr. Taylor is an innovative leader in the international technology community, a highly sought-after speaker and expert witness. He is a six time Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist, four at CHR and two at another venture.

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Clint PhillipsTuesday, February 26, 2013
The Houston Entrepreneurs' Forum is pleased to announce our next speaker, on Tuesday, Feb. 26, will be Clint Phillips, Founder of 2nd.MD. This business helps patients facing a medical challenge like a new diagnosis, possible surgery or a change in medication the ability to go straight to the world's best medical specialist for personalized second opinion by phone or video.

Clint Phillips is a seasoned entrepreneur with more than 10 years of experience in the health and wellness industry. He founded 2nd.MD in 2011 to solve the frustrations he experienced while seeking answers from specialist about his daughter Gabi, who had a stroke at birth. Today, 2nd.MD offers thousands of employees at medium and large companies online second opinions from top medical specialists with wait times of only 5 days. Prior to 2nd.MD, Clint founded Aspen Back & Body, a destination back and wellness clinic in Aspen, CO. After treating 2,000 spines with a 95% success rate, Clint sold the clinic to the Laser Spine Institute in 2009. Mr. Phillips holds a Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Chiropractic qualifications from the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. Clint is married to Jade Phillips, a former TV gladiator, and the two have been blessed with three beautiful children, Clinty, Faith and Gabi.

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Benny BlackTuesday, January 29, 2013

The Houston Entrepreneur's Forum is pleased to announce that Benny Black will be our speaker on Tuesday January 29. Benny is the founder owner of Platinum Motorcars, a premium luxury and exotic Car Rental Company. Benny founded the company 8 years ago in Dallas as an exotic car lover who saw a niche for people who wish to experience on a special occasion the feeling of driving a truly luxurious car. His choices include Lamborghinis, Aston Martins and Ferraris among others. Business has been so good that Benny expanded into the Houston market located next to Hotel ZaZa on Main. Benny always dreamed of driving fast cars and not paying for them and now he does in a sense.

Most of the time though he drives his 2008 Dodge ram heavy duty pick up. He likes that Texas feel and it doesn't get his suits wrinkled. Benny will admit this service doesn't come cheap but it affords rich travelers great cars at prices competitive with limousine services. Black's ability to recognize a new market and his courage to take a chance along with his commitment to customer satisfaction makes him one of the top 50 Black Professional & Entrepreneurs in Houston. 

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Jeremy KonkoTuesday, November 27, 2012
The Houston Entrepreneur's Forum is pleased to announce Jeremy Konko, Co-Founder and President of Qtags Inc,(also known as Guest Assist) will be speaking at our November 27th Breakfast meeting. Guest Assist is a provider of mobile solutions for the stadium, event and hospitality markets. Jeremy founded Guest Assist in 2005 and launched his mobile-based program to enable instant communication between guests and stadium staff.  He has been the force behind the design and implementation of innovative Web 2.0 and mobile applications. By maintaining a focus on simplicity and intuitive user interface, Jeremy is able to design applications that are embraced by users and have low training and support costs. Today, Guest Assist is used by professional and college sports stadiums teams in the NFL, MLS, NHL, MLB, NBA, CFL, and NCAA. Notable clients include the New York Yankees, Philadelphia Eagles, Montreal Canadians, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants, and the Buffalo Bills.
Jeremy also earned a US Navy scholarship ,got a degree in Civil engineering and subsequently served in the Navy for several years. He later earned a Masters degree in Business from University of North Carolina.

He is married to Allison Grover and has 2 children.

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Errol AllenTuesday, October 30, 2012
The Houston Entrepreneurs' Forum is pleased to announce Errol Allen will be our guest speaker on October 30, 2012. Mr. Allen has taken knowledge gained during his long corporate career and founded Errol Allen Consulting where he seeks to assist his clients in developing customer service strategies for maximum customer retention. Errol has over 25 years of hands-on experience in the customer service industry including 13 years in a management role. Errol has worked in several industries within the service sector including security systems, newspaper, software, cable television and insurance. Having held positions as an Internal Customer Service Consultant, Call Center Quality Manager and Operations Analyst, Errol understands the need for a "systems" orientation to providing excellent customer service. Errol has also designed and implemented customer service training programs for the "front line" associate to insure employee confidence when interacting with customers.
 
He is a member of the American Society of Quality, which promotes the practical application of quality knowledge across multiple industries. Errol is a contributing writer for Small Business Today Magazine and D-Mars Business Journal and is the publisher of "Now That's Customer Service!" a free monthly online newsletter where he offers customer service tips and real life customer service stories. An avid blogger, his articles have been published in several online magazines including Customer Service Manager and Customer Experience Magazine of the UK. He is also a workshop leader at the University of Houston's Small Business Development Center. Errol currently serves as an advisor to the Board of Directors for the Marvin & Juanita Smith Learning Centers of Excellence which educates middle school and high school teens on the consequences of teen pregnancy.

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Stephen MaekerTuesday, September 25, 2012
The Houston Entrepreneur's Forum is pleased to announce that Stephen Maeker, a consultant for FranChoice, will speak at our Tuesday, September 25th meeting. FranChoice is the leading group of franchise consultants in the country. Stephen provides a free service for serious candidates who want to learn about how to investigate buying into a Franchise. He works with entrepreneurial minded candidates and follows a step by step process which helps identify and introduce a Franchise that is an excellent fit for his candidate. The title of his talk is "Is Franchising Right for Me".
His past experience includes Director/senior Director level positions in the oil and gas, electricity, restaurant and convenience store business and most recently served as VP of Franchise Sales for Papa Murphy's Pizza, the world's largest "take n bake" pizza brand.
Stephen has been an accomplished professor for nearly a decade teaching management, Marketing and finance courses to Business students at UT, Texas A&M, and most recently UH downtown.
He has an MBA from U of Southern California and BBA at UT. Stephen is married with 2 children and lives in the Katy area.

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Steve LevineTuesday, August 28, 2012

The Houston Entrepreneurs' Forum is pleased to announce Steve Levine, Executive Publisher of Small Business Today Magazine, will be our guest speaker on August 28, 2012.


The focus of Small Business Today Magazine is on the empowerment of Houston's start-up entrepreneurs and small and medium business owners with the mission of helping them start and/or grow their businesses. The magazine currently publishes 3,000 hard copies and has over 200,000 online subscribers.


Steve Levine has more than 30 years experience in publishing, advertising and advertising sales. He founded the Metro Houston Apartment Guide, The Jacksonville Communities Guide and Perfect Wedding Guides and now publishes Premier Agent Magazine, Profiles Magazine and Rising Star Magazine besides Small Business Today

Steve was also directly responsible for the meteoric growth of publications such as Real Estate Executive and Homes & Land Magazine.


Steve's brings to Small Business Today Magazine a network of business contacts and a level of product excellence not matched by many other publications. Steve has been featured in "Who's Who in Sales & Marketing" and "Who's Who" in Professional Speaking".


His presentation is "Everything That I Learned About Being an Entrepreneur and Small Business Owner, I Learned from My Mom & Dad."

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Bob and Marcie ZlotnikTuesday, May 22, 2012
The Houston Entrepreneurs' Forum is pleased to announce our next speakers will be the Co-Founders of StarTex Power, Robert (Bob) Zlotnik, CEO and Marcie Zlotnik, Executive Vice-President. Bob and his wife, Marcie co-founded StarTex Power in 2004. The business originally started in their kitchen. The company has won numerous accolades since its inception. It has been ranked #1 in Customer Service by J.D. Power and Associates and has been the only retail electric provider to be named as a Pinnacle Award Winner by the Better Business Bureau. In 2009, the Company was ranked by Inc. Magazine as the #1 Fastest Growing Privately-Owned Energy Company in the United States and one of the 40 Best Places to Work. The Company has been named by the Houston Business Journal as one of the 10 Best Places to Work for 4 consecutive years beginning in 2007. In May 2011 Constellation Energy Group acquired StatTex Power for $142.5 million. Come hear a very interesting story about how a "mom and pop" business grew into a huge success. 
Bob Zlotnik has a BBA in Accounting and an MBA in Finance from the University of Texas in Austin. His interests include youth sports, tennis and The University of Texas athletics. He is also a minority owner of the Houston Astros.
Marcie Zlotnik has a BBA from the University of Texas and is a CPA. She serves on the Board of the Asssociation of Woman in Energy (AWE) and Girls Inc. of Houston. When Marcie isn't working, she enjoys snow skiing and spending time with her husband and three boys watching or participating in sporting events.

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David SheivesTuesday, March 27, 2012
The Houston Entrepreneurs' Forum is pleased to announce David Sheives will be our speaker on Tuesday March 27th. David is currently working as a consulting Chief Operating Officer for companies in the Brokerage and Oil and Gas Business. However in the past 10 years David has started and sold 3 different businesses, one a very successful company (Monarch Security), the other a private investigation company (sort of successful) and the 3rd one Seavac (not successful) a company that employed a technology that allowed tankers to reach their destinations 2 to 3 days faster thus saving enormous energy costs . He revealed in conversation he could still be in Seavac had it not been for a few mistakes. He currently has a little side venture - a Bar in the FM 529 area that is close to 7 or 8 Oil and gas companies with a combined 50 to 60,000 blue collar workers nearby. David has never owned a bar before. David has a BA in Industrial Management form the University of Houston and has two sons Thomas and Samuel.

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Jonathan FisherFriday, February 24, 2012

The Houston Entrepreneurs' Forum is pleased to announce our speaker for February 2012 will be Jonathan Fisher. Mr. Fisher is a founding partner in BrandExtract, a brand experience company focused on creating brands and transforming companies' touchpoints. Jonathan personally consults across both B2B and B2C markets. He serves on a number of industry and non-profit boards, and has taught graduate classes at Texas State University. BrandExtract consistently earns top recognition in leading competitions and publications, including the International Web Awards, American Marketing Association, Business Marketing Association, American Advertising Federation, and more.

The title for Mr. Fisher's Feb. 28 speech: Are there any mulligans in business? What I wish I could do differently after 3 mergers.

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Max BlankfieldFriday, January 27, 2012
The Houston Entrpreneurs' Forum is pleased to announce our next speaker will be Max Blankfeld, Managing Partner and VP of Operations and Marketing of Family Tree DNA. Family Tree DNA was founded in 2000. It is the world leader and foremost organization in the field of genetic genealogy. It is currently the largest DNA testing company for genealogy and anthropology purposes, it also provides testing for the National Geographic's Genographic Project.

Mr. Blandfeld moved with his family from Brazil to Houston in 1991, has an MBA from Rice Universtity and a BBA from Fundacao Getulio Vargas in Brazil.

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William CoxTuesday, October 25, 2011

The Houston Entrepreneurs' Forum is pleased to announce Mr. William Cox will be our speaker on Tuesday, October 25, 2011. Mr. Cox started twelve successful businesses two of which became public. He has an exceptional record of building teams for fast growth companies.


Adobe Home Center of Boca Raton, Florida hired him as President in 1965. In four years the company grew from a single location to 17 locations increasing revenue from $1 million to $35 million. This business won "Top Home Center in the Nation" by Home Center Magazine.  In 1976, he started InTile Designs Inc. in Houston, TX. He raised $2 million which allowed him to build a $100 million company (50 locations in 18 states) which became an "Inc. 500" company in 1986. This business became the largest importer of tile, marble and granite in the United States. He took the company public in 1996. In 1997 Mr. Cox started Traditional Designs, an import company in Houston, TX. Under his leadership the company grew to $17.2 million in revenues and $3.3 million in net profits in three years.

 

Mr.Cox was a finalist in 1990 for "Entrepreneur of the Year" for the Southwest by Inc. Magazine, Ernest & Young and Merrill Lynch. In 1992 he won the" International Global Leader" award at a convention in Caracas, Venezuela. Mr. Cox was one of the original founders of World President Organization.


 Mr. Cox is retired but is actively sharing his entrepreneurial experiences and knowledge by coaching aspiring entrepreneurs and speaking to college students about virtues of entrepreneurship. His presentation is based on his own personal experiences and is titled "Power of Positive Entrepreneurial Thinking."

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William WidenerFriday, September 30, 2011
The Houston Entrepreneur's Forum is pleased to announce William Widener will be our speaker on Friday September 30th. William is the founder and President of Cambria Healthcare, Inc. a global healthcare organization operating in over 25 countries including the U.S. Since its start in 2009, Cambria has focused primarily on building its international brand and recently began focusing on domestic patient migration patterns. Cambria Healthcare is a global healthcare facilitator located in Houston, Texas, USA. They provide patients the opportunity to access physicians and hospitals, domestically and internationally, in order to decrease their costs of care, increase their access to physicians, and put the world's greatest technology in the hands of the patient. You can opt to have your medical procedure performed along the Pacific in El Salvador, in the Caribbean via Costa Rica, or on the Mediterranean seaside in Israel at lower costs. Is this where part of healthcare is going? 
Prior to Cambria, William developed business and operational plans in areas such as food service, medical homes, and consulting.
Mr. Widener currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Gulf Coast Medical Group  Management Association and also serves on numerous committees with the Texas Medical Group Management Association and American College of Healthcare Executives.
Mr. Widener graduated in 2008 with his bachelors in Business Administration from Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas. He is currently a part-time student at the University of Houston - Clear Lake pursuing a Masters in Healthcare Administration and Business Administration.
Mr. Widener has served with the United States Air Force as a fire fighter and paramedic including a tour in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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Welcome WilsonFriday, August 26, 2011

The Houston Entrepreneurs' Forum was pleased to announce Welcome Wilson Sr. as our speaker on August 26, 2011. Mr. Wilson is the Chairman and CEO of River Oaks Financial Group, Inc. and the Chairman for GSL Welcome Group, LLC. Welcome Wilson is the immediate past as Chairman of the Board of Regents of the University of Houston System. 

Welcome Wilson has over 50 years of experience in virtually every phase of real estate development, acquisition, finance and brokerage. His experience includes development of over 1,000 apartment units, over 8,000 single family homesites, two 22 story building in downtown Houston and several hotels. He has also purchased and sold 22 tracts of land in downtown Houston. His early real estate ventures were Jamaica Beach and Tiki Island in Galveston. 

Mr. Wilson's public company experience includes having served in the 1970's as Chairman and CEO of Aberdeen Petroleum Corporation, Chairman and CEO of Homestead Bank; Chairman and CEO of Colonial Savings Association; and Chairman of First Federal Savings Association of Seabrook, Texas. He was also a member of the Board and second largest shareholder of the Houston Sports Association, owner of the Houston Astros and operator of the Astrodome. 

Mr. Wilson is active in national and state politics. He served as special Ambassador to Nicaragua during the Lyndon Johnson Administration. Through appointment by Dwight Eisenhower, Mr. Wilson served as Five State Director of Defense Mobilization and Regional Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) during the Cold War. For many years, Mr. Wilson has been active in community and charitable causes and has served on numerous boards, including as Chairman of the Heritage Society of the University of Houston (UH). In 1970 has was named Distinguished Alumnus of UH, and in 1996, he was named Distinguished Alumnus of the College of Business at UH. As a devoted alumnus and Regent , Mr. Wilson has been instrumental in achieving the University of Houston's Carnegie-designed Tier One status.

Welcome Wilson, Sr. is the proud father of three daughters and two sons, has 16 grandchildren, six great-grandchildren. and just one wife, with whom he's celebrated a 62nd wedding anniversary.

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John FelthamFriday, May 20, 2011

The Houston Entrepreneurs' Forum is pleased to announce John R. Feltham, Founder and Chairman of Zebec Data Systems will be our speaker on May 20, 2011.

Mr. Feltham founded Zebec in 1978 after recognizing a need in the business community for data processing services offered on-line for companies of all sizes. Companies soon recognized that without the requirement for large investment in hardware, software and MIS staff they were able to divert capital and resources to more productive areas. Zebec has consistently grown to become one of the nation's largest commercial outsourcing companies providing services to a diverse range of industries, worldwide. Come hear John share his business philosophy that results in very loyal clients and dedicate and motivated employees. Many clients and employees have been with the company over 20 years. Zebec is the oldest privately held datacenter in the country.

John began his career in the US Air Force as a senior research analyst with the School of Aerospace Medicine. His primary area of responsibility was working on the physiological stress program pertaining to space flight in the initial space program up to the Apollo flights.

Upon leaving the military, John assisted in building his first data processing service bureau as General Manager. John was recognized as a notable talent in converting antiquated batch processing environments to on-line real time networked information systems.

As the Director of Systems, for the five star St. Anthony's Hotel in San Antonio, TX., John lead the effort in automating the nations first fully automated hotel. His next challenge, as the National MIS Director for Stewart Title Company, he converted the company from older IBM platforms to a more productive nationwide on-line environment.

Since 1983, Zebec has focused on the healthcare industry in the areas of Medicine, Medicaid and Managed Care. Zebec serves hundreds of Hospitals, Third-Party Administrators (TPAs), and Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs).

WHEN: Friday, May 20th 7:00 a.m.
WHERE: The Briar Club, 2603 Timmons Ln 77027
COST: $25 members, $30 nonmembers
RSVP: royceh@aptia.com or 713-458-1080

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William SherrillFriday, April 29, 2011


William Sherrill was our guest speaker on April 29, 2011 when we celebrated our 26th year anniversary. 


William W. Sherrill has a strong background in both operations and finance.  In addition to his active business interests, he is an Executive Professor at the University of Houston's Bauer College of Business Administration teaching Entrepreneurship and is Chairman of the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship at that college.  He is also a former Adjunct Professor at the Cullen College of Engineering.  


Mr. Sherrill has headed both large and small corporations.  He was President of Associates Corporation of North America, a multi-billion dollar international corporation providing financial services.  He was a member of Gulf and Western's Board of Directors.  His smaller corporation experience includes Chairman, President and CEO of Dasa Corporation, a multi-million dollar telephonics and electronics company with international offices and distribution.  Mr. Sherrill was a co-founder of the Jamaica Corporation, a development, construction and financing group.  The company developed Jamaica Beach and Tiki Island in the Galveston Resort Market plus Commercial Centers and Apartment Complexes in the Houston Market.  


For seven years, Mr. Sherrill owned his own financial consulting business, assisting corporations in the structuring of acquisitions, mergers and spin-offs.


He has served in both the private and government sectors of finance.  He was President of a Commercial Bank, President of a Federal Credit Union and Executive Vice President of a Savings and Loan Association.


At the national level, Mr. Sherrill was a Governor of the Federal Reserve System in Washington D. C., and Director of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and, at the local level, Treasurer of the City of Houston.

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Richard ScruggsFriday, March 25, 2011

Richard Scruggs was our guest speaker on March 25, 2011. Mr. Scruggs is President and CEO of Salient Pharmaceuticals. Salient's mission is to improve patients' health and quality of life by developing and commercializing therapeutic products for the prevention and treatment of gastrointestinal side effects caused by disease, chemotherapy or radiation.

Mr. Scruggs has an extensive background in starting and developing companies. In 1996, he started Align Solutions Corp., which went public in 1999 as part of Luminant Worldwide. In 1999, Align was recognized as No. 1 on the HBJ Houston 100. Ernst & Young also recognized Mr. Scruggs as Entrepreneur of the Year in 1999. In addition to Align, he has served as director of Texas A&M University's Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship and leadership positions with Andersen Consulting, BSG Alliance/IT and Perot Systems. Currently Mr. Scruggs serves on the board and advisory board of the Houston Technology Center and the boards of multiple early-stage companies. He is the past president and director of the Houston Angel Network. He holds a BS in Chemical Engineering and an MBA from Texas A&M University.

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Doug ErbFriday, February 25, 2011

Doug Erb was our guest speaker on Friday, February 25. Mr. Erb is the co-founder of Canidium, a Houston-based leading provider of sales performance and incentive compensation management services that maximize the ratio between compensation and revenue. Canidium's unbiased, value added approach utilizes best practices and best of breed vendors to implement and integrate sales incentive and compensation systems, as well as supporting business intelligence and analytics in order to achieve optimal results in line with a company's overall business strategies. 

Erb started his career at ADP and became a consultant at Anderson Consulting shortly thereafter; he then joined one of the leading software providers of SPM, Iconixx. Recognizing SPM consulting was a quickly growing, but segmented market, Erb founded Canidium in 2008. With more than 10 years of experience in the variable compensation field as a consultant and lead for plan design and implementation, Erb has been instrumental in the significant growth of the company.  In the past 2 years Erb has helped Canidium grow revenues more than 150% each year, while maintaining profitability. 

He has a wide variety of experience in several industries including Insurance, Banking, Automobile Retail, Manufacturing and Telecommunications. Erb possesses an extensive working knowledge in the deployment of compensation software with hands-on experience using Varicent, Versata, Iconixx Software, Oracle and Callidus. Don't miss this opportunity to gain insight from one of Houston's brightest entrepreneurs and learn how Canidium incorporated its experience and expertise of SPM strategies into their own organization to drive revenue, decrease cost of sales, and realize rapid growth.

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Russ CapperFriday, January 28, 2011

Russ Capper was our guest speaker on Friday, January 28. Mr. Capper is founder and co-host of The BusinessMakers, a radio show and web-based magazine that features person to person interviews with entrepreneurs.

Russ has a track record that includes leading multiple companies from concept formation to execution, expansion and exit. His business career started when he joined IBM in the seventies. After 12 years he left to pursue his first entrepreneurial challenge as President and COO of Techtron Corporation, a computer reseller and connectivity company which he successfully sold after 7 years of expansion and growth. Next, he invested in a high volume document image capture and management company, Document Services, Inc. which he grew and expanded before selling to IKON in 1995. Next, Russ founded eReality.com a real estate brokerage built from the ground up with fully integrated Internet technology to improve the process. He successfully rolled out the country's first online brokerage displaying full MLS data online. Prudential Real Estate acquired eRealty in 2004.

An entrepreneur and champion of entrepreneurship shared some fascinating stories about several of Houston's most successful entrepreneurial ventures.

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Richard LeaderFriday, November 19, 2010

Richard Leader, President and Chief Investment Officer of First Houston Capital, was our speaker on November 19, 2010. Mr. Leader founded First Houston Capital in 2006 to provide a unique investment solution for high net worth entrepreneurs, corporations and trusts. He began his career in 1976 with Citibank's Investment Management Group in New York City. Throughout a succession of increasingly responsible positions, Richard has developed a thorough knowledge of economics, securities analysis and portfolio management. He writes a weekly newsletter, The Leader Market Letter, which details his views. 

Richard received his undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University, followed by an MBA from Vanderbilt University. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). Come hear an insightful presentation and become better prepared for the2011. Richard's presentation will be "2011 Economic and Investment Outlook".

Richard gave free copies of his book "Capital Gains" to those in attendance.

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Ronald FarmerFriday, October 29, 2010


Our speaker on October 29 was Ronald Farmer. Mr. Farmer has founded several companies but the most noteworthy are US Signs and US LED, both of which he still owns and participates in.


Ron founded US Signs in 1980 and grew it rapidly winning the Inc. 500 as the 196th fastest growing company in the US and later won the Houston 100 and the Houston Chamber of Commerce's Star Award. Although considered a mature company at 30 years old, it is in a growth cycle again. Ron now serves as Chairman of US Signs and has been a regular speaker at regional and International Sign Association shows.


US LED, started in 2001, is recognized as one of the top three LED companies in the sign arena in North America with average growth of almost 70% per year. This growth has won US LED a place on the INC 5000 and Houston 100 lists for the last three years, as well as the Fast Tech 50 from 2006 - 2008. 


As CEO, Ron helps manage the company and contributes to product development and sales as US LED expands the product line to include refrigeration lighting and a large line of indoor and outdoor LED lighting products. Due to the increased product line US LED will grow over 300% in 2010.


In his spare time he races his Z06 Corvette and won the ST2 NASA National Championship September 2010. 

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Jeff ApplegateFriday, September 24, 2010

Jeff Applegate, President of Blackwell Plastics, was our guest speaker on September 24, 2010. Blackwell Plastics was founded in 1939 and is the largest custom injection molding and plastic extruder supporting industrial clients in the south central United States. The company has a history of helping many of Houston's greatest businesses. Blackwell Plastics built the first plastic liners for Igloo, components for the Mercury Freedom 7 Mission, collaborated with Dr. Michael DeBakey to develop the first heart by-pass pumps, partnered with Dr. Denton Cooley in developing plastic tools for open heart surgery, built the first Weed Eaters, and created parts for the original Compaq computer.

 Jeff Applegate has led the sales and operations of the company since 2003. Jeff began his career with LSI Industries where he held various sales and management responsibilities. In 2005 Jeff was awarded the Texas Mainspring Manufacturing Award for his commitment to manufacturing excellence and innovation in Texas. Jeff is the Past President of the Society of Plastics Engineers, Co-Founder of the Gulf Coast Medical Device Manufacturers and serves on the advisory boards of the Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center, The University of Houston College of Engineering and Houston Rotary. Jeff graduated from Baylor University with dual majors in Finance and Entrepreneurial Management.

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Stan BuntingFriday, August 27, 2010

Stan Bunting, CEO of McCoy Workplace Solutions was our speaker on August 27, 2010. McCoy has been in business 38 years and is Houston's largest office furniture dealer.

Mr. Bunting graduated from the University of Houston 1976 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology. He fully intended for his career path to take him in the direction of dentistry. During the summer of 1976, he decided to take a break from school and accepted a position in the Installation Service Department at McCoy Inc. Stan soon realized this was the industry for him.

In 1984, along with two partners, Stan purchased McCoy Inc. from its original founder.  With his two partners, they purchased Wilson Business Interiors in 1992 and JOPC Office Products in 1993.  Stan also has ownership in Memphis Business Interiors in Memphis, Tennessee; Rockford Business Interiors in Austin, Texas; and Texas Wilson Office Furniture in San Antonio, Texas, serving on the Board at each location.

In 1995 Stan became President and Chief Operating Officer of McCoy, and in 2006 he became CEO. Come hear Stan share the lessons he learned in building a $100 million business.</p>

Stan is a firm believer in giving back to the community; therefore, Stan is a huge supporter of several local charitable organizations. Stan's favorite pastime is spending time with his wife, Stephani, his daughters, son-in-law and grandchildren. He is an avid reader, loves to travel, golf, fish, and quail hunt.

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Mike EyreFriday, June 25, 2010

Our speaker on June 25, 2010 was Mike Eyre, founder and Managing Partner of Apollo Sales & Marketing Group. Apollo is a 3-time winner of the Houston Fast Tech 50 award. Apollo has worked with over 125 clients world-wide, including many Houston companies. The company focuses on integrating sales and marketing to maximize the return on marketing investments. Mike's presentation "Marketing Best Practices" will provide ideas and strategies to get the most out of every marketing dollar.

Prior to Apollo, Mike held sales and sales executive positions with software and technology companies i2, Cardonet, Excara, Quad and UCS. Mike regularly speaks on business development and marketing at events hosted by the Greater Houston Partnership, Microsoft, University of Houston and American Marketing Association.

Mike is a native Houstonian, a Texas Longhorn and Houston Cougar.

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Jim McIngvaleFriday, February 27, 2009

The Houston Entrepreneurs' Forum was pleased to announce Jim McIngvale, founder of Gallery Furniture, as our speaker on February 27, 2009. Jim and his wife Linda arrived in Houston in 1981 with $5,000 and a dream to open a furniture store. Gallery Furniture is now one of the largest single-store furniture stores in the United States with annual sales of $200 million and about 300 employees. Jim says the secret of his success is "Late to bed and early to rise, work like hell and advertise."

As the business has grown so has Jim's community involvement and philanthropy. In 2008, Gallery Furniture began a campaign to refurbish and revitalize over 130 USO Centers around the world. Other community contributions include millions of dollars to the Houston Live Stock Show for youth scholarships, he furnishes 15 homes of deserving area families each Christmas, he has donated furniture to hundreds of teacher lounges, has feed over 25,000 people Thanksgiving dinner for several years. In 2000 Jim was recognized for his community service when he received the Congressional Medal of Honor Society's prestigious Patriot Award.

Jim McIngvale was born in Starkville, Mississippi. He graduated from high school in Dallas and then attended and played football at the University of Texas in Austin. Jim and his wife Linda have three children. In 2002, Mcngvale co-authored the book Always Think Big. The book chronicles the ups and downs of his entrepreneurial career and offers readers advice on how to effectively market and manage a business.

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Mark StibichFriday, January 30, 2009

The Houston Entrepreneurs' Forum is pleased to announce Mark Stibich, PhD, Founder and COO of Xenex Technologies will be our speaker on January 30, 2009.

Xenex Technologies is bringing to market a pulse xenon disinfection technology to fight infections in hospitals and other settings. The energy from the UV pulse penetrates the cell walls of microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, mold, fungus and spores) to disrupt the nucleic acids and other cell structures, leading to instant damage, the inability to reproduce, mutations and death of the microorganism. These devices can rapidly, and without chemicals, disinfect a room or other enclosed spaces. Each device requires only minutes to operate by simply plugging it into the wall. The devices have been tested and used on a daily basis in real-live hospital settings since 2005.

Currently hospital acquired infection alone cost over $40 billion in additional health care. The technology behind these devices was developed in Russia. It has been patented in the United States, the Russian Federation and several other countries. Xenex Technologies is in the process of commercializing this technology for use in the United States.

Dr. Stibich holds a PhD in Public Health from the John Hopkins School of Public Health. Dr. Stibich has conducted research or consulted on research in the United States, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Brazil, Kenya, South Africa and Afghanistan. He has written and designed public health projects that have been funded by the Global Fund, the NIH, the Ford Foundation, the Soros Foundation and many others.

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John HennesseyFriday, November 28, 2008

The Houston Entrepreneur's Forum is pleased to announce that our speaker will be John Hennessey, President and Founder of Hennessey Performance Engineering (HPE).

Come hear how a hobby turned into a business with a world-renown automotive brand. "It started as a hobby and got a bit out of hand" says John Hennessey who has built exclusive cars for some very famous clients including Nicholas Cage, Jay Leno, Tim McGraw and Tony Hawk to name a few. John started in the exclusive business of tuning cars after setting a world speed record and winning numerous speed events across the country. The Hennessey vehicles have an impressive list of achievements. They have been featured on the covers of 20+ Automotive Magazines around the world, including - Road & Track, Car and Driver and Motor Trend. The Neiman Marcus Spring 2008 Men's catalog featured the Hennessey Venom 700, the first specialty manufacturer to be offered by the prestigious outlet.
 
John has expanded his operations to include the Lonestar Motorsports Park and Tuner School. Lonestar Motorsports Park is a premium facility that allows enthusiasts to safely race in a professional and safe environment. The Tuner School fills the need for qualified technicians to develop and maintain high-performance automobiles. 

John lives in West Houston with his wife Hope and their five children.

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James FosterFriday, October 31, 2008

James Foster, CEO and Co-founder of Solar Nation, Inc was our speaker on October 31, 2008. Solar Nation develops solar products to lower energy costs and serve emergency needs. The company was started in 2005, when an emergency need was created by Hurricane Katrina. Solar generators in a simplistic form were quickly created and produced for the Red Cross to meet emergency needs. Since then Solar Nation has created four patented Solar Generator Products for consumer use. During Hurricane Ike the units were widely used to provide clean and safe electricity to Houston families.
The company has two more patents pending.

James Foster has an engineering degree from the University of Missouri at Rolla (Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy) and served as Signal/Communications Officer in the US Army. The company President, Douglas Brewer has an electrical engineering degree from LSU.

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Michael SkellyFriday, September 26, 2008

The Houston Entrepreneurs' Forum guest speaker on Friday, September 26 will be Michael Skelly, Co-founder and Chief Development Officer of Horizon Wind Energy. The Company was started in 1998 and nine years later is was a multi-billion dollar operation and the third largest wind energy company in the country. It generates enough electricity to meet the needs of nearly one million American homes. 
Throughout its history Horizon Wind Energy has gone through several stages and business models. As the company grew it required greater financial strength. It was purchased by Goldman Sachs in 2005 and later acquired by a major Portuguese utility in July 2007. The company is currently developing a portfolio of wind farms in 15 states.

Michael Skelly came to the U.S. from Ireland with his family when he was two years old aboard the S.S. America, arriving on American shores wit only $200 to their name. After attending public schools, Michael went to the University of Notre Dame and Harvard Business School with the help of student loans and Pell Grants. After college he joined the Peace Corps. 

Michael serves on Mayor White's Green Building Advisory Committee, was a longtime member of the board of the American Wind Energy Association, and has served on the boards of several other nonprofits and companies. He is currently running for Congress in the Seventh Congressional District of Texas. Michael and his wife, Anne have three children, ages 15, 13, and 11.

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Greg YakimFriday, June 27, 2008

The Houston Entrepreneur's Forum was pleased to announce on Friday, June 27, Greg Yakim, Partner-President of CastlelRock Communities, a homebuilding and development company, as our speaker. CastleRock is now in its 3rd full year of operations and is now the 101st largest builder in the nation.
Prior to forming Castlerock Greg led an active role in Proformance Golf Properties as majority partner where he reorganized the company and arranged it's sale....and prior to that he was President and chief Operating officer of Kimball Hill a large homebuilder.  Greg as a young man (1969 ) originally started out as a Mason and self employed contractor.

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Stephen Blakesley Friday, May 30, 2008

The Houston Entrepreneurs' Forum wss please to announce Stephen J. Blakesley as our speaker on May 30, 2008. Stephen Blakesley is the CEO of GMS Talent Management, Inc and Managing Partner of GMS Talent LP, a Human Resources consultancy and full service search firm. Stephen and GMS Talent are leaders in the new science of Emotional Intelligence (EI) and its application in the workplace. Stephen will share some of the powerful tools any organization, large or small, can use to improve the quality of the hires you make, enhance the performance of the hires you have made and keep the best of the best. 

Mr. Blakesley holds two post-graduate degrees from American College (MS Financial Services and MS Management). His book "Strategic Hiring-Tomorrow's Benefits Today" has been recognized as a Top 50 Business Book of 2006 by Business Book Review.

Come hear Stephen talk about the "Five Keys to Hiring High-Performance People."

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Max BlankfeldFriday, April 25, 2008

The Houston Entrepreneurs' Forum was pleased to announce Max Blankfeld, Co-founder and Vice-President of Operations and Marketing of Family Tree DNA as our speaker on April 25, 2008. This was an opportunity to learn from one of the pioneers in this fascinating field of genetic genealogy.

Family Tree DNA was started in 2000 to help people explore their ancestry. It was the world's first genealogy driven DNA testing service and now maintains the world's largest DNA database in the field of genetic genealogy. The company sells and processes mail-in test kits. A cheek-swab test provides the DNA to let a person know who their ancestors were, where they lived and who they are related to. The business has experienced rapid growth and was recently #8 on the HBJ list of Fastest Growing Companies in Houston. Revenues in 2004 were $2.6 million and now they exceed $12.0 million. 

Mr. Blankfeld was originally from Brazil. Before coming to the United States he held top management positions at publicly traded companies, where he was responsible for operations and growth strategies. During his years in the US, he started and managed a company in the area of consumer products which he sold in 2001. 

Mr. Blankfeld graduated summa cum laude with a BBA from Fundacao Genulio Vargas in Brazil and in 1991 complete his MBA at Rice University. 

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Gary CooperFriday, March 28, 2008

The Houston Entrepreneurs' Forum was pleased to announce Gary Cooper, Founder and CEO of Chatterbats Inc., as our speaker on March 28th. Chatterbats Inc. develops promotional products for sporting events. The company's first product was the "Chatterbat". A Chatterbat is a small plastic replica of a real baseball bat that is designed to make noise and is used as a sprit enhancer and souvenir.

The product has been used by the Astros, Texas Rangers, LA Dodgers and Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. The company has experienced two years of successful promotions with Major League Baseball and is now branching out to other sports and avenues of distribution. Their most recent product is the Chatterball Soccer Ball, the world market for soccer is in the hundreds of millions. 
Mr. Cooper had a very successful accounting practice when he invented the product. He will discuss his experience of getting a new idea to the marketplace, saying NO to NO, and still paying the bills. 

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Alex Brennan-MartinFriday, January 25, 2008

The Houston Entrepreneurs' Forum announced Alex Brennan-Martin, President, Brennan's of Houston, as our speaker on January 25, 2008. Alex is a co-owner of the restaurant and a member of the third generation of a family that is synonymous with top-quality restaurant operations. 

The oil crisis in the 1980s hit Houston hard. It was a reality check for Alex Brennan-Martin who at the time was general manager of Brennan's of Houston. He found himself in a world of new competition, a stagnant economy and declining business. Many of the traditional ways of doing business were not working. Alex tried numerous management techniques and realized that the best management techniques were the simplest. He wrote a book "The Simple Truth About Your Business". The book describes his journey to revive the restaurant and outlines his management techniques that can be applied to any business. Come hear Alex share his management philosophy which has resulted in Brennan's of Houston being recognized as one of the Distinguished Restaurants of North America for more than 10 years.

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Edward TeitelFriday, November 16, 2007

Dr. Edward Teitel, President and CEO of ThromboVision, Inc. was our speaker on November 16, 2007. ThromboVision is a biomedical diagnostics company committed to enabling people to lead longer and healthier lives. The company has developed a new medical device - the ThromboGuide Platelet Function Analyser (T-Guide). For years, cardiovascular patients have been taking anti-platelet medications to prevent life-threatening events such as heart attacks, strokes and stent occlusions - without knowing whether their therapies were effective. The T-Guide device provides a simple, inexpensive solution to help physicians individualize blood-thinning therapy for cardiovascular patients. 

In November 2006, the company won the Michael E. DeBakey Life Science Award, presented to a Houston-area company with "leading-edge commercial potential". Last month, ThromboVision raised $4 million in its first round of funding in anticipation of potential Food and Drug Administration approval of the ThromboGuide. 
Prior to founding ThromboVision, Dr. Teitel served as Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at MicroMed Technology, Inc. (now MicroMed Cardiovascular, Inc., a public company). As a part of senior management at MicroMed, Dr. Teitel participated in all aspects of clinical trials and regulatory matters, business scope and fund raising activities, as well as legal matters. 
Before joining MicroMed Technology in 2002, Dr. Teitel practiced for many years as a board certified general and vascular surgeon. He founded, managed, and developed a multi-specialty group practice in Alabama until he closed his practice in 1997 to transition into corporate medicine and management. At that time he went on to earn his MBA at Auburn University and worked with a boutique investment banking firm, Colby Capital, in Atlanta where he worked to fund start-up companies in the life sciences. After completing law school in 2002, he joined the senior management team at MicroMed.
Dr. Teitel earned his MD degree at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and completed his surgical residency at St. Mercy Medical Hospital in Pontiac, Michigan. He received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Houston, with a focus in healthcare law, intellectual property and business law. Dr. Teitel holds a BS in chemistry from Sul Ross State University. 

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Beverly DenverFriday, October 26, 2007

Beverly Denver, editor and publisher of Houston Woman Magazine, was our speaker in October 2007. Beverly holds a BA in journalism and history from Louisiana Tech and a Master's degree in journalism from Louisiana State University.

Her experience is unique, having worked in all facets of the newspaper industry. She has worked in the newsroom, as a reporter and editor, but also in the boardroom, holding positions as marketing director, advertising sales manager and publisher. ??In the mid-980s, the entrepreneurial bug bit, and Beverly launched a community newspaper in the North Harris and South Montgomery County area. In 1991, she sold that publication and, immediately, launched another in the City of West University Place - which she owned and operated for nine years. 

Before launching Houston Woman Magazine in March 2004, Beverly worked as a print media consultant, working with individuals and newspapers, including The West University Examiner, The Houston Chronicle and The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 

Beverly is the recipient of numerous civic and professional awards

In 2000, she was named Print Journalist of the Year by the Press Club of Houston. 

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Jay SteinfeldFriday, September 28, 2007

The Houston Entrepreneurs' Forum speaker for September, 2007 was Jay Steinfeld. Mr Steinfeld is founder and CEO of Global Custom Commerce, a direct marketing company that sells more window coverings online than anyone else in the world. Jay started a business for $3,000 and grew it into a $50 million enterprise and the 10th fastest growing ecommerce company in the U.S. In 1994 Mr. Steinfield created a Web site and online brochure to advertise his walk-in drapery stores. By 2001 his online success caused him to sell his bricks and mortar retail stores and launch Blinds.com to sell exclusively in cyberspace. The first year sales were $1.5 million and by 2006 had grown to $43 million. 

Jay earned a BBA in Accounting with Honors from the University of Texas at Austin. After graduating he worked for KPMA Peat, Marwick, then became Vice-president, Finance of the national franchise, Meineke Discount Mufflers. Jay Steinfeld was honored as the 2006 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the Retail division for Southeast Texas and Louisiana. 

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Albert NahasFriday, August 24, 2007

Albert J. Nahas, Principal of Focused Leadership, was our speaker on August 24, 2007. His presentation was "Building Your Entrepreneurial Team". 
Al Nahas has over forty years of corporate and military leadership experience. He has successfully applied his leadership skills in a wide variety of industries including mobility systems, power generation, construction, transportation, healthcare and telecommunications. His experience has varied from VP of Operations and Engineering to Senior Director of Global Network Operations for an international broadband network.
Mr. Nahas divided his 26 years of Army service between the Infantry and Corps of Engineers. For three years, Al served as an Associate Professor at the United States Military Academy and he has nineteen months of combat experience.
Al received a BS degree from West Point. He holds a MS degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University, a MBA from Long Island University and a Masters Degree equivalent in Executive Management from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He is a registered Professional Engineer.

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Steven KayFriday, July 27, 2007

Steven Kay, President and Founder of Steven Kay Media was our speaker on July 27th. Steven Kay Media specializes in radio advertising sales and promotions, as well as producing and hosting talk shows. Steven Kay is a talk show host & producer of "Life, Business and Money" which airs daily on AM650. The purpose of the talk show is to discuss all the different aspects of life that cause both success and failure, everything from our health, lifestyle, marketing & advertising, technology, investing and more. The show first aired live on April 4, 2005, and is continually growing in popularity among business owners, executives and sales professionals. 

Prior to starting his company, Steven's experience included business, sales management, marketing and financial services. He owns/has owned numerous businesses, serves/served on the board of directors for organizations, and is actively involved in the Houston business community. Steven's presentation was "Choices and Attitudes - Choosing Your Path in Life."

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Derrik DeyhimiFriday, June 29, 2007

Our speaker on June 29, 2007 was Derrik Deyhimi, Chairman and CEO of Iconixx. Iconixx is a leading compensation and workplace performance integration firm that leverages information technology to help companies increase sales and profits. The company serves a range of industries with particular expertise in financial services, telecommunications, technology, retail and energy. 
Mr. Deyhimi joined Iconixx when it acquired EnterpriseWorks in 2000. Derrik was the CEO and founder of EnterpriseWorks which he grew to $20 million in revenues and 160 employees in three years. His company was the eighth fastest growing business on the Houston Business Journal's Houston 100 and was the 74th Fastest Growing New Business in America, according to Dunn and Bradstreet and Entrepreneur Magazine.

During his nearly 20 years of growing profitable technology companies, Derrick was also a Partner and Executive Vice President of BSI Consulting where he held technical leadership positions with BSG Consulting, Compaq Computers and Texaco. 
Mr. Deyhimi holds an MBA from the University of Houston and a BA from the University of Texas at Austin.

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Parsley DanielFriday, May 18, 2007

Daniel Parsley, CEO of SalvageSale, Inc. was our speaker on May 18, 2007. SalvageSale is the leading online industrial asset disposition marketplace and services provider for the commercial property & casualty insurance industry and corporations. SalvageSale has dramatically improved the recovery results for sellers of commercial salvage goods by combining comprehensive services and the Internet to increase transaction transparency and efficiency access to a global universe of buyers. The company has been a member of the Fast Tech 50 for the last four years, most recently ranked number six. SalvageSales was a member of the Inaugural Aggie 100 and was a recipient of the A.M. Best 2005 E-Fusion Award.

Mr. Parsley leads the company by drawing on more than twenty years in technology and supply chain management consulting. He was previously a partner with CSC Consulting, the management and systems integration division of Computer Sciences Corporation. Dan started his consulting career in the Houston office of Andersen Consulting (now Accenture). In 2005 Mr. Parsley was a Gulf Coast finalist in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Program. He received his B.S. from Texas A&M University and his M.B.A. from the University of Virginia.

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Mohamed AkbarFriday, April 27, 2007

The Houston Entrepreneurs' Forum speaker on April 27, 2007 was Akbar Mohamed, Co-founder and COO of Prime Communications. 

Formed in 1999, Prime Communications launched its retail operations by selling wireless phones and accessories from a small kiosk in a Houston mall. From there the company opened more mall kiosks and walk-in and stand alone stores in urban areas of the South and Southeastern United States. It now owns and operates 150 stores in Texas, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and North and South Carolina. The company has been consistently ranked on the Houston 100, an annual ranking of the fastest growing privately owned businesses in the greater Houston area. In 2004 it was ranked #19, 2005 #2 and 2006 #1. 

The company's successful mix of retail savvy and strong financial controls enabled it to thrive in an industry with intense competition for customers. The growth has been financed debt-free. Prime attributes its fast paced growth to several key principals: staying focused on the "big picture", hiring excellent employees, choosing great locations and having an open-door policy for partnerships.

Akbar manages the operations by leading sales and marketing, supply chain and customer service functions. Formerly the CFO, he led the company's expansion and launched its retail markets. Previously, he served as an Analyst at Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst, a private investment firm in Dallas, and as a Mergers and Acquisitions Analyst at Goldman Sachs. Akbar holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting, summa cum laude, from the University of Illinois and is a Certified Public Accountant.

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Rick HoldrenFriday, March 30, 2007

Rick Holdren was our speaker on March 30, 2007. Mr. Holdren has founded three $100 million companies and is currently a full time Angel Investor. A serial entrepreneur, he has founded or invested in over 26 healthcare start-ups and was named as 2002 Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation Mentor of the year. He currently owns Appraisal & Mentor Group LLC, which is a top 3 M & A and healthcare valuation firm with over 2500 completed assignments including over 200 court valuations. His current investment is a virtual incubator with "Space-Act" agreement with NASA to commercialize its phase III SBIR companies with matching venture investments.

He is Co-Founder of Equivision, publicly traded on NASDAQ and sold for over $70 million cash, and EquiMed, a publicly traded cancer management company with a market cap over $200 million. Holdren has additionally co-founded/Invested in Physician Trust (venture backed by over $5 million in investment), DaVincian Technologies (picked by Bob Ryan's High-Tech Start-up Boot Camp), Austin Med Tech, a publicly traded surgical 'pack' company, DermAmerica, a national cosmetic dermatology firm and MD Pain Clinics. 

Mr. Holdren previously was a partner in the nation's largest physician search firm, a director of physician relations at a major hospital management firm and co-founder of Texas's largest practice management firm. 

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Christopher WasdenFriday, February 23, 2007

The Houston Entrepreneurs' Forum was pleased to announce Christopher Wasden, CEO and Founder of SimplexityMD as our speaker on February 23, 2007.

SimplexityMD is a medical device development company that acquires early stage technologies from around the world to create disruptive and next generation medical devices that address high value and unmet market needs. The company simplifies the complexity of commercializing medical device innovation by filling the gap between innovation and commercialization. 

Prior to founding SimplexityMD, Wasden was President, CEO and co-founder of Tympany, a revolutionary diagnostic medical device company that designed, developed, marketed, sold and supported proprietary, automated diagnostic hearing testing equipment. The company was recently successfully acquired.

Mr. Wasden also spent eight years on Wall Street as an investment banker with JP Morgan & Co. He also spent a year with Union Bank of Switzerland, where he started and led its Latin American Equity research activities. Additionally he has been a CFO of a $20 billion chemical and refining business. 

Chris Wasden has been an instructor at the University of Houston and Rice University, where he taught courses in Entrepreneurship, Marketing and Corporate Finance. Wasden, has an MBA from UCLA, and two bachelor degrees from Brigham Young University, where he graduated summa cum laude.

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Robert ConradFriday, January 26, 2007

Our first speaker for 2007 was Robert Conrad, Founder and COO of Tyrell, Inc. Tyrell recently won first place in the Houston Business Journal Fast Tech 50 competition, with a revenue growth of more than 1,700 percent over the prior year. The company manufactures Zeno, a unique acne-fighting device that utilizes heat to treat infections. It delivers a specific heat dose for a specific amount of time to kill the bacteria in emerging pimples. In clinical trails, 90 percent of patients saw results within as little as 20 hours.

The company was established in Houston in September 2002. The Zeno product was invented by Robert Conrad and his brother Dr. Charles Conrad. In June of 2005 the company received FDA approval for the treatment device. In September 2006 Tyrell announced an agreement with Walgreens as the exclusive national drugstore retailer of Zeno.

Prior to founding Tyrell, Conrad's entrepreneurial positions included president, CEO, and owner of a company that provided biologic testing services. He also founder, owner and vice president of operations of Latro Research Inc., a biotech company primarily focused on microbiology and genetic engineering. His professional experience includes previous executive level management positions in the financial industries. 

Conrad earned a B.S. in economics from Texas A&M University. He enjoys spending time with his wife and two children and competing in triathlons.

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Peter HanikFriday, November 17, 2006

Peter Hanik, founder and Managing Co-Director of Pretium Consulting Services, LLC, was our guest speaker on November 17, 2006. Pretium provides assistance to clients to generate sustainable economic value from Structured Innovation. 

Structured Innovation is based on TRIZ (the Russian acronym for Theory of Inventive Problem Solving), function modeling (derived from Value Engineering) and Brainstorming.  Using Structured Innovation you can generate 3-10 times the number of ideas that you can using conventional brainstorming techniques alone and the probability of creating out-of-the-box ideas is greatly increased.  The method is elegantly simple and can be used by almost anyone and at the same time it is extremely powerful and capable of addressing complex business or technical problems.

Prior to founding Pretium, Mr. Hanik was Senior Vice President of Technology at Millennium Chemicals, President and CEO of Millennium Petrochemicals, Vice President Chemicals & Supply Chain at Quantum Chemical, Vice President Reengineering and Information Systems at Quantum Chemical, Director Applied Research & Technical Service at Quantum Chemical, Regional Sales Manager at Northern Petrochemical, Engineering Manager at Northern Petrochemical and Production Superintendent at Northern Petrochemical.  He began his career as a Systems Engineer developing computer based process models and advanced computer control systems.  Mr. Hanik holds a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology and an MBA from the University of Chicago.  Mr. Hanik is a registered professional engineer.

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Rodrigo JimenezFriday, October 27, 2006

Rodrigo Jimenez, CEO of Whiteboard Labs, was our October '06 speaker. Whiteboard Labs was founded in 1994 under the name Webvertising, which revolutionized the hotel industry with its innovative Web application that allows for a OneScreen user-friendly, Flash-based reservation interface. The business also developed MotionNotes, which is a video email application, as well as Tralix, an enterprise-level email marketing solution.

Mr. Jimenez joined and invested in Whiteboard Labs after 10 years in the banking industry. Rod was Vice President and Client Advisor in the International Department of the Chase Manhattan Bank in Houston. In that capacity, he advised subsidiaries of multinational companies in corporate finance and investment banking matters. 

Prior to joining Chase, Rod worked for Bank of America's Latin America Division. He was involved in the opening of the bank's representative office in Monterrey, Mexico and spent the last two years of his career with Bank of America managing the bank's Monterrey and Northeast Mexico corporate banking operation, where he was responsible for a portfolio of assets of more than $600 million. 

Rodrigo is a graduate of the Financial Management Program at Stanford University and was a participant in the 1999 Focused Financial Management Series at Harvard Business School. He holds a B.B.A. in Marketing and an M.B.A. in International Business & Finance from the University of Houston.

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Marti FrostFriday, September 29, 2006

Marti Frost, Founder and President of Frost Products was the speaker at our September 29th meeting. Frost Products is a plastic products design and manufacturing company founded in 1996. The purpose of the company is to supply commercial and institutional facility managers with a single source for a complete line of indoor and outdoor site furnishing products. Frost Products is one of only four national plastic commercial trash can manufacturers in the country and offer an variety of products from waste receptacles, planters, benches, tables, and even crash test dummies. The company now offers over 800 products.

In May 2006 Ms. Frost opened a new manufacturing plant in West Houston. Prior to this all production was outsourced to a number of custom molders across the country. 

Ms. Frost is a native Houstonian, a graduate of the University of Houston with a degree in Consumer Science and Marketing with a minor in Art. In her spare time she is involved with the Woman's Business Enterprise Alliance where she has been instrumental in developing programs to assist women business owners and serves on several committees.

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Jack SmythFriday, August 25, 2006

Jack B. Smyth, President and CEO of SpringMedical Systems was our speaker on August 25, 2006. Spring Medical is a Houston company founded in 1997 and was a winner of the FastTech 50 2006 competition. The company was founded by a team of physicians and technology professionals to develop software solutions that empower physicians to better manage the clinical and administrative aspects of their practices while maintaining proven procedures and workflow. The company delivers on the promise of Electronic Health Records in small and mid-sized medical offices. The flagship product is SpringCharts, an integrated software suite that provides measurable benefits in the areas of clinical data management, office productivity, internal and external communications, and compliance with HIPAA regulations.

Mr. Smyth has over 25 years of experience with technology companies, 5 previous start-ups. He holds an engineering degree from Cornell and an MBA from Stanford.

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Andrea KatesFriday, April 21, 2006

Andrea Kates, Founding Principal of SUMA Partners, spoke at our April, 2006 meeting. Andrea specializes in identifying new market opportunities and the facilitation of the process for achieving strategic alignment toward growth. She has more than twenty years in traditional market research, social marketing and strategic planning; Andrea puts business analysis into action. Her presentation will be, THE EIGHT LEADING INDICATORS: Finding the Sweet Spot in the Market of the Future.

Entrepreneurs learned the 8 Leading Indicators that have been proven to predict the path for future revenue streams and market opportunities. Andrea presented case studies that reflect their ground-breaking research on THE EIGHT LEADING INDICATORS.
The participants participated in hands-on, customized applications, so that the following Monday morning at 9 AM they no longer conducted business as usual.

From finance to restaurants to high-tech, in both business-to-business and consumer/retail arenas, Andrea has been the principal in charge of many Fortune 500 Company accounts and has led smaller firms through expansion stages to achieve hyper-growth. She has also worked with smaller and emerging companies to align management strategies with market and customer opportunities.

Andrea has facilitated more than 200 strategic projects for corporate clients (e.g., Brinker International/Eatzi's, Hyatt Hotels, KPMG, AIG, Royal Dutch Shell, Hewlett Packard), entrepreneurial clients (e.g., Ergos Technologies), government entities (Greater Houston Partnership, City of Houston, Texas Education Agency), as well as non-profit entities (Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, I Have a Dream, Menil Collection, Susan G. Komen Foundation, United Way).

Andrea is an honors graduate from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and the Executive MBA program at University of Houston.

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B.J. FarmerFriday, March 24, 2006

B.J. Farmer, Founder and President of CITOC, Inc., spoke in March. Mr. Farmer started CITOC in 1997. The company is a provider of server based computing and remote access solutions. CITOC works with corporate IT departments to define requirements for new and existing applications. Based on the client's specifications, they design and implement the IT infrastructure. CITOC has been recognized in the Houston Business Journal's Fast Tech 50 in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

Prior to starting CITOC, Mr. Farmer was a partner in a privately held consulting firm focused on customizable, proprietary, accounting software for brokerage firms. There, he performed network assessments, product implementation and testing. Before this partnership, Farmer was involved in a variety of sales, accounting and management related positions.

Mr. Farmer has many Microsoft and Citrix certifications including CITOC achieving Microsoft Gold Partner status.

BJ Farmer is from a family of entrepreneurs. His father Ron Farmer, founder of US Signs was a HEF guest speaker in November 2000. The title of Mr. Farmers presentation is "Are you Born an Entrepreneur or Do Become an Entrepreneur?

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Kent LeMonteFriday, October 21, 2005

The Houston Entrpreneurs' Forum is pleased to announce Kent LeMonte, Vice President and Co-founder of Enpro Distributing Inc., was our October speaker. Enpro Distributing is a leader in the window film (tint) industry. Enpro distributes brand window films for automotive, residential and commercial applications for use in aiding solar control issues, safety, security and bomb blast mitigation. In addition to window films, Enpro also distributes automotive paint protection film, automotive electronics, hurricane protection systems and tools associated with the installation of window film.

Beyond its traditional products, Enpro markets FrameGard Anchoring Systems, designed to prevent filmed glass from erupting from its frame under blast load conditions. These systems were designed in the U.K. to protect government and private facilities from the destructive forces of civil violence, specifically terrorist bombs. Other innovative products are the high impact windscreens to protect against extreme wind loads and flying debris from hurricanes.

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Kathleen DiamononFriday, August 26, 2005

Kathleen Diamonon, Managing Partner of The Turning Point Group, spoke on August 26, 2005. The Turning Point Group is a customer retention firm recognized for their ability to deliver positive customer experience and customer retention strategies. The firm audits key areas of a company to evaluate Customer Satisfaction, Information Management, Customer Retention, Customer Communications, Internal Communications, Sales Development and Corporate Culture to create a unique customer retention strategy and turn-key solutions that deliver measurable results.

Prior to co-founding the company in 2001, Kathleen served as Vice President for United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast. Prior to joining United Way she served as Director of Customer Relationship Management for Houston Cellular (now Cingular Wireless), where she was pivotal in developing Houston Cellular as the market leader in mobile communications. At Continental Airlines she was Manager of Field Sales Planning, where she assisted in developing the award winning OnePass program.Ms. Diamonon received her BBA from  the University of Texas at Austin. She is a frequent speaker at national industry conferences and contributor for numerous publications.

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Mark CarrFriday, July 22, 2005

Mark Carr, Founder, President and CEO of Christian Brothers Automotive Corporation, spoke at our July, 2005 meeting. He opened the first Christian Brothers Automotive service facility in 1982 and now leads 31 franchises locations in six states. Carr is responsible for the strategic direction of the company as well as a attracting and qualifying all potential store franchise owners, directing expansion strategy for new locations, and selecting new store locations.   

Carr has raised over $11 million in private investments since CBAC began selling franchises in 1997. He is responsible for the expansion rate from 6 stores in operation in 1997 to over 31 locations today. CBAC continues to maintain a 100 percent success rate for all franchise locations in operation under Carr's leadership and strategic direction and continues to expand at a rate of 7 - 10 stores annually. 

Prior to taking over the operational reigns of CBAC in 1989, Mr. Carr served as the Vice President of Wood Quest, an architectural millwork firm that created ornate department store displays for clients such as Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Nautica and other high-end  clothing lines. Mr. Carr's primary responsibilities included business development and job estimating.  

Mr. Carr sits on the Board of Trustees for Otra Onda, a non-profit Hispanic ministry and is on the Board of Directors for Global Vision Ministies.

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Kevin CarswellFriday, June 17, 2005

Kevin Carswell spoke at our June, 2005 meeting. Mr. Carswell is Co-founder, Chairman and CEO of The VIA Group, based in Houston Texas, an industry leading and recognized Systems Integrator in the leading edge telecommunications field of Unified Communications.

Mr. Carswell's longtime dream has been to create a company that was recognized for it's expertise, integrity and commitment to the people it employs and customers it serves. Although being formed more than 15 years ago and recognized as a successful and mature organization, Mr. Carswell has maintained a clear vision and excitement for the future and continues to lead the company with ideas and direction that fosters an environment with the excitement and opportunity of a startup technology venture.

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Dr. Bernard HarrisFriday, May 20, 2005

In honor of the 20th year anniversary, Houston Entrepreneurs' Forum was pleased to welcome Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. as our guest speaker. Dr. Harris is president and CEO of Vesalius Ventures, a venture capital firm that provides funding to emerging telemedicine companies.

Dr. Harris grew up in Houston's Fifth Ward as a young boy. When he was six his parents divorced and he move to live on a Navajo Reservation where his mother was a teacher. When he was ready for college he moved back to Houston. He worked his way through the University of Houston as a research assistant and graduated with a degree in biology. He then enrolled at Texas Tech University where he earned an M.D. Harris completed his residency at the Mayo Clinic, then spent a year at NASA's Ames Research Center in Houston's Bay Area where he trained to become a flight surgeon. In 1990 he was selected as a NASA astronaut. Harris was part of the historic Mir Space Station mission that represented the first space collaboration between the United States and Russia. He was also the first African-American to walk in space.

After leaving NASA, he decided to pursue a career in business. He became vice president and chief scientist of Spacehab Inc., a space commercialization company. He was involved in business development and marketing of the company's space-based products and services. During his tenure, the company grew from 60 to 800 employees and annual revenue over $100 million. While working at Spacehab, he earned two master's degrees - one in biomedical science from UTMB at Galveston and an MBA at the University of Houston. Later he served as Vice President of Business Development for Space Media, Inc., an Informatics company, establishing an e-commerce initiative that is now part of the United Nations education program.

Currently, Dr. Harris is also an Associated Professor in Internal Medicine at UTMB Galveston and Assistant Professor at Baylor. He is also the founder and president of The Harris Foundation, a non-profit organization that develops math and science education and crime prevention programs for America's youth.

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Brad DeutserFriday, April 29, 2005

Brad Deutser, President & COO of Yaffe/Deutser, spoke on April 29th.  Mr. Deutser founded YaffeDeutser about three years ago. The company went from $0 to $25 million in its first year. The company is a strategic marketing firm that specializes in the development and implementation of sophisticated brand management systems. Some of their clients are Memorial Hermann Healthcare Systems, HISD, Houston Community College, Texas Southern University and AmeriPoint Title, Star Furniture and Neighborhood Centers Inc.
 
 Prior to founding Yaffe/Deutser his client experience included Cone Communications in Boston, Ringling Bros and Barnum Bailey Circus, Walt Disney World on Ice, Houston Independent School District, Service Corporation International.  Mr. Deutser serves on the Board of Directors for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, The Children's Fund, and is the past gala co-chair and 2005 President of The Children's Fund. He also served as the Communications Chair for the Campaign Cabinet at Texas Southern University.  Don't miss this opportunity to hear Brad Deutser speak about "Where Do You Want To Be Tomorrow?"

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Geary BroadnaxFriday, March 18, 2005

Geary Broadnax, President & CEO of Dovarri, Inc. was our guest speaker on March 18th. Dovarri is Mr. Broadnax's third major Houston entrepreneurial venture. The company provides sales process and customer management solutions for medium and large companies.

Mr. Broadnax's first venture Allsource, Incorporated, a systems integration company, reached the rank of second place on Houston's 100 Fastest Growing Companies list in 1995, within its first three years of business. His second venture, Insync Internet Services, Inc., which provided complete corporate Internet solutions, later became the number one fastest growing technology company on the same list in 1998. Insync Internet Services was purchased by Reliant Energy, Inc. in 2000.

Mr. Broadnax has been named several times as a finalist for the Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year award, and has been the recipient of the University of Houston Center for Entrepreneurship's Crystal Eagle Award. He has also been the recipient of the SBA's Businessman of the Year award. He is active within the Houston community, serving on numerous business and philanthropic boards, including the Better Business Bureau, the Houston Technology Center, the Houston Symphony, and the Houston International Festival. Mr. Broadnax is also a mentor for young entrepreneurs through the University of Houston's Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.

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Cindy BoydFriday, February 18, 2005

Cindy Boyd, President of Sentigy Inc., was our guest speaker on February 25th. Ms. Boyd co-founded Sentigy in 2001 and it has become one of the fastest growing companies in Houston. The company has offices in Austin and San Francisco. In the past 3 years the company has grown to include Fortune 500 clients and government agencies across the United States and internationally. Sentigy, Inc. is a leading consulting firm that helps organizations optimize their processes in the area of technology and human capital. It specializes in networking, security, storage and recruiting services, as well as regulatory compliance.

Prior to founding Sentigy, Ms. Boyd was with technology services company Paranet, Inc. where she built the largest business unit in the company, employing more than 100 technology professionals and generating over $10 million in annual revenues. Previously, she opened and managed ExecuTrain's Houston operations. 

Ms. Boyd was a 2003 recipient of AWC's prestigious Leadership in Technology Award, she was recognized as a finalist in Ernst & Young  Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2003 and 2004. Cindy serves on the board of the World Entrepreneur's Organization. As a community leader she is involved with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Committee, Habitat for Humanity, the Houston Forum, and Fast Company Magazine's "Fast Houston" organization.

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Joe SansoneFriday, January 28, 2005

Joe Sansone, CEO and founder of TMC Orthopedics, was our guest speaker on January 28th. Mr. Sansone founded TMC Orthopedics in 1991 with just 3 employees, the company now has over 100 employees and has become the largest and fastest growing orthopedic distributor in Texas. The company offers the most complete range of products and services of any orthopedic company in Texas, from implants used in the OR to rehabilitation equipment and bracing thereafter. The company has made the list of the Houston 100 fastest growing companies for five years and in 1998 was on the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing private companies in the country.

Joe Sansone has been involved in the orthopedic industry since 1988. He has authored numerous articles for national publications and has been recognized nationally as an industry leader and speaks on topics related to the healthcare industry.

Mr. Sansone serves on several advisory boards, including the NRCC for Congressman Tom Delay. Some of his achievements include US Small Business Administrations top award as Small Business person of the Year, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist 1997, 1999 and 2003. Texas Businessman of the Year 2003 and the Ronald Reagan Republican Gold Medal Winner.

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Donnie RuddFriday, November 19, 2004

Donnie Rudd, PhD, Chief Scientist of Regenetech Inc., spoke at our November 2004 meeting. Regenetech is a biotech company established in March of 2002 located in Houston, Texas, whose research involves the extraction, cellXpansion and reintroduction of adult stems cells from and into the same patient's body and development of growth factors. Regenetech uses a NASA based technology, originally discovered in space shuttle experiments, for a proprietary method of growing stem cells three dimensionally in a simulated weightless environment.

The key to the Company's strategy and success is its proprietary method (patent applied for) of cellXpansion of adult stem cells. The seemingly insurmountable problem that all researchers face when trying to expand stem cells is enabling the cell to maintain their three-dimensional geometry, their cell-to-cell support, and their cell-to-cell geometry during the expansion process. The company is focused on patenting and licensing its intellectual property involving adult stem cells, while supporting research for "proof of concept" that these products and procedures are beneficial in the treatment, repair and regeneration of tissue in the human body.

Dr. Rudd became Chief Scientist of Regenetech, Inc. three years ago. He helped transform the company into an Intellectual Property company. Dr. Rudd has over 30 pending patent applications on the use of stem cells for regeneration of human tissue. His inventions cover regeneration of the heart, pancreas, liver, and other organs. Regentech recently licensed his Intellectual Property regarding treatment for sickle cell disease.

Dr. Rudd has written 15 books and over 160 publications. He has degrees in chemical engineering from Texas A&M University and a J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law.

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Al DantoFriday, October 29, 2004

Al Danto, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Universal Worker, spoke on October 29th. Al started Universal Worker with a classmate from Rice University. Universal Worker is an international nurse recruitment, training and consulting company supplying and training registered nurses for healthcare systems such as St. Luke's, Episcopal Hospital, Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, Seton Medical Center, and John Hopkins University Hospital.  Prior to starting Universal Worker, Al started Structured Graphics in his apartment when he was 24. He grew the business into one of the top 100 printing and document management companies in the country.  The company was recognized by INC Magazine as the #145 fastest growing company in the United States.  Structured Graphic achieved much of its growth through acquisitions, acquiring over a dozen companies. In 1999, Structured Graphics was acquired by Global Docugraphix the largest document distributor in the US. Mr. Danto has served as a board member to several Houston businesses and non-profit associations.

He received his undergraduate degree in Business Administration and Mathematics from Central Michigan University and an MBA from Rice University.  Al lives in Sugar Land, Tx. with his wife Donna, son Cheston and daughter Alicia. He enjoys coaching Little League baseball, playing golf and whipping up on kids half his age in the Men' Ice Hockey leagues. The subject of his presentation was "Achieving Entrepreneurial Growth through Acquisition".

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Sarah MorinFriday, September 17, 2004
Sarah Morin, Publisher and CEO of (DCR) Daily Court Review, spoke at our September 2004 meeting.  DCR is a 115-year-old business publication in Houston. It has been in the family for four generations. DCR is Houston's only daily business newspaper. The content is local, how-to-do information that offers business owners and managers information regarding the financial, marketing, advertising, technology and personnel aspects of running a business. DCR publishes all the official public record data for Houston and select surrounding counties.

Sarah Morin is responsible for creating the newspaper's marketing and editorial voice and, as a member of the Texas Daily Newspaper Legislative Advisory Committee, represents DCR and other media in matters of legislative importance, such as Freedom of Information and the importance of public notice. Ms. Morin also serves on the board of directors of the American Court & Commercial Newspaper Association and the advisory board of Houston Achievement Place. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, Young Entrepreneurs' Organization, Leadership Houston, the Houston Downtown Alliance and the government relations advisory committee of the Greater Houston Partnership. Morin received a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Journalism from Texas Christian University.

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William LadinFriday, August 20, 2004

William E. Ladin, President and CEO of Internet America, spoke at our August, 2004 meeting. Mr. Ladin joined Internet America in connection with its acquistion of PDQ.Net. PDQ.Net was formed by Mr. Ladin in 1997 and grew into Houston's largest independent Internet service provider.

Mr. Ladin has extensive experience as an entrepreneur and has been a founder of several Houston based companies. The companies includes Lifemark, a hospital company; Mobil Communications Corporation, Westside Tennis Club, the ForeFront Group, an Internet company, First of Texas Incorporated, an investment banking boutique and ComputerCraft, a chain of computer retail stores he built into 65 stores.

Mr. Ladin is actively involved in supporting high tech startups in Houston. He works with the Houston Technology Center, The Houston Angel Network, The Houston Entrepreneurs Foundation and the Houston Area Technology Advancement Center.

He is a graduate of Brown University with a BA in Philosophy. He and his spouse Robin have been married 40 years and have four children.

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Tom LaurenzoFriday, July 23, 2004

Tom Laurenzo, former Vice President of Marketing for Ninfa's Mexican Restaurant, spoke in July. Tom is the son of the late Maria Ninfa Laurenzo, founder of the Ninfa's chain. Tom will share the "inside" story about how a young widow with five children borrowed the money to start a small café and eventually built a restaurant empire of 40 restaurants.

In 1973, Ninfa opened the first restaurant (10 tables) on Navigation Street in a poor area of Houston. Her restaurant became famous for her signature green table sauce, margarita cocktails, homemade torillas and fajitas. Ninfa's restaurants were greatly responsible for the wide popularization of fajitas, a dish now taken for granted in all Tex-Mex restaurants. A second restaurant opened in 1976 and 20 years later Ninfa Laurenzo was running a multi-million dollar corporation.

The rapid expansion ultimately proved to be a bad business plan and the company was forced into bankruptcy reorganization in 1996. The business was bought by Seranos Café and Cantina. Mr Laurenzo will be sharing the secrets of Mama Ninfa's success and some of the painful lessons learned about growing
 a business too fast. 

Mrs. Ninfa Laurenzo was honored as "Business Woman of the Year", "Woman Restaurateur of the Year" and was inducted into the Texas Woman's Hall of Fame. She also sat on many boards and foundations and received numerous awards for her volunteer service.

Mr. Laurenzo is currently Sr. Loan Officer at Urban Financial.

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J. Boyd HeathFriday, June 25, 2004

J. Boyd Heath III, Chairman and CEO of Network International, spoke at our June 25th meeting. Network International provides a convenient and secure way to buy and sell surplus oil and gas equipment. By utilizing proprietary technology, the company creates a competitive environment allowing all buyers fair and equal access to equipment sales, which ensures that sellers to receive competitive market prices. Equipment sales are conducted through two primary formats: Internet based auctions and Internet facilitated sales. 

Prior to joining Network International, Boyd served as Vice President of EnCap Investments L.C., a private equity firm focused on investments in the oil and gas sector. During his tenure at EnCap, he was involved in the structuring and management of numerous investments in both public and private companies. Prior to EnCap, Heath worked for Koch Industries where he focused on acquisitions in the midstream, petrochemical, and power sectors. He began his career as a member of Chase Manhattan BanksT Global Energy Group where he structured senior and subordinated debt offering, both public and private, and advised clients on acquisition and divestiture opportunities.

Mr. Heath graduated from The University of Texas, where he received a BBA.

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Christopher WasdenFriday, May 21, 2004

Christopher Wasden, CEO, President and Co-founder of Tympany, Inc. Tympany designs, develops, markets and sells proprietary, automated diagnostic hearing testing equipment to physicians and hearing health professionals. With the invention of the Otogram, patients can self-administer to most important diagnostic hearing tests, saving time and money.
Mr. Wasden identified the opportunity, developed the business plan, assembled the team, led the product development and obtained the financing for the company. The product was brought to market in 16 months and generated $2.5 million in revenue within 15 months of commercialization. 

Prior to forming Tympany, Mr. Wasden spent 8 years on Wall Street as an investment banker with JP Morgan & Co., where he was responsible for its international investment banking and mergers and acquisition activity for foreign financial services companies operating in the USA. He also spent a year with Union Bank of Switzerland where he started and led its Latin American Equity research activities. He spent several years with Koch Industries where he served in several capacities including CFO of its $20 billion chemical and refining business. He left Koch to join Enron, where he was responsible for its strategic and merger activity for its newest business Azurix. In that role he started several of Azurix innovative businesses including its water risk management, operating services and internet marketplaces. Mr. Wasden's first startup, Cait & Abby's Daily Bread became on of the top five bakeries in Northern New Jersey.

He has an MBA from UCLA and two bachelor degrees from Brigham Young University in Accounting and Asian Studies, where he graduated summa cum laude.

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Brian NichelsonFriday, April 23, 2004

Brian J. Nichelson, Ph.D., founder and Executive Director of TechMatters Institute, spoke at the April 2004 meeting. TechMatters Institute educates the business community and public on the workings of technology. Brian outlined a simple, cost-effective strategy for building and implementing technology that reaches out to all users - even the 85 to 90% who are not the Eagar Adopters of technology - to ensure they accept it readily, learn it easily, and use it effectively.

Very few people have the education, experience and ability to bridge the gap between technology and people like Brian. He gained valuable insights into technology's impact on people through his studies in the History of Science and Technology at the United States Air Force Academy, University of North Dakota and University of Minnesota. He worked in high-tech environments such as the U.S. Air Force as an intercontinental ballistic missile launch control officer, and at ExxonMobil's upstream research lab as an award-winning instructor, designer and trainer.

Mr. Nichelson is an accomplished author. He has written dozens of articles that make technology accessible to all readers. He published "Taming Technology: You Can Control the Beast" in April 2003. HEF heard an interesting and educational presentation about how to improve the adoption and use of technology.

Mr. Nichelson received a B.S. degree from the Air Force Academy, M.A. from University of North Dakota and Ph.D from the University of Minnesota. He is also a member of The American Society for Training and Development and The International Society for Performance Improvement.

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Chris EfirdFriday, March 26, 2004

Mr. Chris Efird spoke on March 26, 2004. Mr. Efird co-founded Momentum Bio Ventures and serves as President and Managing Director. Chris has formed and been instrumental in the growth of twelve companies, of which four became public on NASDQ, four were sold, and in excess of $2.2 billion in market value was created.
Mr. Efird specializes in corporate formation, particularly as it relates to opportunity identification and capture. His experience includes formulation of strategic options for growth, financial modeling and analysis, acquisition and divestitures, negotiating of strategic partnerships and most debt and equity financing. Mr. Efird holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University and a Master of Arts degree from Sam Houston University.
Momentum Bio Ventures is dedicated to building life science companies in Texas. The company makes and facilitates private equity and debt investments in growing and profitable early stage and middle market companies. It also provides integrated business advisory services designed to build life science companies.

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Bob GowFriday, February 27, 2004

Mr. Bob Gow spoke on February 27, 2004. Mr. Gow is the owner and President of Yucatan Bamboo Inc, the largest managed bamboo plantation in the western hemisphere. In 1994, Bob started growing bamboo on a large estate he owns in the jungles of Yucatan. His goal was to build a profitable business while helping to restore rainforest in a fully sustained manner, provide employment for Maya villagers, develop a habitat for native plants and animals, and help relieve the pressure on the slower growing hardwood resources. The plantation's products include decorative fencing, edging, roll-up curtains, furniture and unique gifts like wind chimes and walking sticks.

Prior to starting Yucatan Bamboo, Mr. Gow's experiences include President of Zapata Corp, business professor at Rice University, founder of Green Thumb, which became the world's largest grower of indoor tropical plants. Mr. Gow is also an author and graduate of Yale University.
 
The title of his book and presentation is "You Can't Change the Wind, You Can Only Reset Your Sails!"

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Bradley TashenbergFriday, January 23, 2004

Mr. C. Bradley Tashenberg, Founder and CEO of Bradmark Technologies, Inc.spoke at the January, 2004 meeting. Mr. Brad Tashenberg founded Bradmark Technologies in 1981. The company provides database management tools for all leading relational database systems. The tools help companies manage their data, increase system reliability and drive down IT costs. Bradmark serves more than 70 of the Fortune 100 companies and over 200 of the Global 500. Software Magazine has recognized Bradmark as one of the world's foremost software and service providers by selecting the company for the last five years for the Software 500.

Mr. Tashenberg is a recognized leader in distributed data processing and has authored two books that were published by the American Management Association. Over the last 32 years, he has fostered many computer products and received numerous awards for technology. Through Bradmark, he has helped sponsor several scholarships within the HP user community and has made sizable contributions to many art and music organizations.

Mr. Tashenberg received a Bachelors of Science in Mathematics from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1968 and later pursued a Masters of Science in Economics from the same university. He was awarded a Fulbright  Scholarship to pursue Classical languages and a scholarship to pursue a Ph.D. in Mathematics in 1969, but decided instead to pursue a career. Today, in addition to serving as Chairman of the Board with Bradmark, Mr. Tashenberg serves on the boards of other public and private companies.

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Hank MooreFriday, November 21, 2003

Hank Moore, Futurist and Corporate Strategist, spoke on November 21, 2003. Mr. Moore speaks and advises companies about growth strategies, visioning, planning, futurism and the Big Picture issues that affect the business climate. His clients include 90 of the Fortune 500. He has also presented Think Tanks for five U.S. Presidents. He is often grouped in circles of experts such as Peter Drucker, Tom Peters, Steve Covey and Edwards Deming. He has appeared on Mastery Programs with Jay Abraham and Tony Robbins. Moore has published over 200 articles and written four books. His most current book is "The High Cost of Doing Nothing.Painting the Big Picture of Business Success". Don't miss an opportunity to hear Mr. Moore. His topic is "The Future Has Moved and Left No Forwarding Address."

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Kit CooperFriday, October 31, 2003

Kit Cooper, Co-Chairman & Executive Vice President of Hispanic Teleservices Corporation (HTC) spoke on October 31, 2003. Hispanic Teleservices Corporation is a leading provider of outsourced contact center services for the Hispanic market. HTC effectively serves as a "remote office" for onshore bilingual call center operations, offering customer care, technical support, customer acquisition and Internet customer support services. With operations strategically based in Monterrey, Mexico, HTC provides clients important quality and scalability advantages, namely access to a large pool of bilingual, university-educated agents.

Mr. Cooper leads HTC's corporate development  strategy, bringing to the company an extensive background in operations and customer service management within the outsourced services sector. He is fluent in Spanish and possesses an extensive background in international affairs.

In recognition of HTC's innovation, growth and leadership position, Kit was honored in 2003 as a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. Kit holds a Bachelor of Art in History from UCLA and an MBA from Georgetown University.

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Daniel ProsserFriday, September 26, 2003

Daniel F. Prosser, CEO of Conversint Inc., spoke at our September 26, 2003 meeting. Mr. Prosser formed Conversint to help entrepreneurs and their organizations focus on business results improvement. He has authored numerous articles on the impact of technology on the way people work and the results they produce. He speaks regularly on the subject and serves on several management boards. Mr. Prosser presentation is titled "Risking the Present for a More Powerful Future". 

This is a great opportunity to bring a key employee or two, your spouse, or significant person in your life. In this introduction to "Creating Your Best Year Yet", you will begin to see how to start the process of creating a currently unrecognizable future for yourself, your business, or your relationships. Not given to you by your current circumstances or from your past, but through a new way of thinking that can change your life and produce real results in your business. 

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Anthony ChaseFriday, August 22, 2003

Anthony R. Chase spoke at our August meeting. Mr. Chase is Chairman and CEO of ChaseCom and Chase Radio Partners. He is also Chairman and co-founder, together with SBC Communications, Inc., of The Telecom Opportunity Institute. In addition, Professor Chase is a tenured Associate Professor of Law at the University of Houston Law Center. ChaseCom is a provider of customer care and customer acquisition services to large clients with large customer bases. ChaseCom deploys the latest customer focused technologies and over a thousand people in several domestic and foreign teleservices facilities. Major clients include SBC Communications, Inc., BellSouth, and other Fortune 100 firms. Through Chase Radio Partners, Mr. Chase owns several radio stations in various US markets.

Mr. Chase awards include Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Businessman of the Year Award conferred by the Business and Professional Men's Club, the Lamont Godwin National Achievement Award from the Rainbow Push Coalition, Outstanding Young Businessman Award from Texas Business Magazine, Williston Prize in Contract Law from Harvard Law School, and the Endicott Saltonstall Award from Harvard University. Mr. Chase received a B.A. with honors from Harvard University in 1977, an MBA from Harvard Business School and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1981.

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Mike AlsupFriday, July 25, 2003

Mike Alsup, President of Gimmal Group, Inc. spoke at our July 25th meeting. The Gimmal Group is a leading systems integrator. Gimmal was founded in June 2002 with 10 people and has grown to 20 professionals. 

Mr. Alsup has been a management consultant and systems integrator for over 25 years. He has held senior management positions with Andersen Consulting, Booz, Allen & Hamilton, BSG Consulting, Align Solutions, and Luminant Worldwide. Mr. Alsup was one of eleven Founding Shareholders of BSG Consulting. BSG grew from 12 to 750 people and was sold in 1996 for $390M. His next venture was Align Solutions where he was the co-largest shareholder. In its second year, Align Solutions grew to 110 people and achieved $8.9MM of revenue. Align went public as Luminant Worldwide in September 1999 with an initial valuation of over $100M and Luminant grew to over $1B in market capitalization.

Mike was also an early investor in NetworkOil (now Network International) and US Farm Ranch (now USFR Media Group).

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James TaylorMonday, June 23, 2003

James A. Taylor, President and CEO of YCO Services, Inc., spoke at our June 27th meeting. Mr. Taylor was a founder and manager of Your Corner Office. Your Corner Office integrates independent consulting practices into a collaborative provider network so subscribers can have a single resource to interact with many entrepreneur-oriented professionals.

Mr. Taylor was a co-founder of OnSource Consulting, Inc, where he served as CEO & Chairman of the Board from February 1995 through November 1999. OnSource was ranked 43rd in The Houston 100 fastest-growing private companies for 1996-1998. Mr. Taylor was an Ernest & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist in 1998 and 1999. Mr. Taylor is a member of the Houston Technology Center Steering Committee and Business Evaluation Committee. He attended Southwest Missouri State University. His presentation was "The Entrepreneurial Lifecycle". 

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Dave FerdmanFriday, May 23, 2003

Dave Ferdman, Co-founder, President and CEO of CyrusOne, was our guest speaker for May. CyrusOne is an IT Infrastructure and Technology Services Company that uses a variety of enabling technologies to ensure and guarantee your systems will be available 100% of the time. CyrusOne currently provides these services to companies in the Energy, Medical, Financial and Technology industries.

Prior to co-founding CyrusOne, Dave was COO and co-founder of Eclipse Telecommunications. Founded in 1992, the company achieved $22 million in annualized revenues before engaging in M&A activities that evolved the company into a publicly
traded carrier with $110 million in annualized revenues. Eclipse grew rapidly and was acquired by IXC Communications (now Broadwing) for $240 million in 1998.

Dave has an excellent track record in the telecommunications industries and M&A experience. Please make your reservation to meet Dave and learn from this interesting entrepreneur.

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Daniel ColbertFriday, April 18, 2003

Our April speaker was Daniel Colbert. Dr. Colbert, along with several Rice University colleagues, including Richard Smalley, who won the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, formed CNI to develop nanotube technology. Based on technology licensed exclusively from Rice University, the company has developed continuous processes for producing Buckytubes. Buckytubes possess an unprecedented array of properties, electrical, thermal, and structural that promise to revolutionize existing technologies and enable new ones. Some of the initial uses include electromagnetic shielding, flat-panel displays, nanoelectronics, and composites.
Come learn how CNI, the preeminent world producer of single-wall carbon nanotubes, is commercializing this amazing technology.

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Peter BryantFriday, March 21, 2003

Mr. Peter L. Bryant is President and CEO of TBC Consolidated Fuels (www.confuels.com), an energy marketing and management service company located in Houston, TX.  Since 1990, TBC has cultivated market and supplier relationships with Fortune 500 customers covering all aspects of the business. TBC evaluates clients' energy needs, monitors their energy usage and implements cost effective contracts, reducing costs by 40 percent in some cases.
TBC's clients include Miller Brewing, Texas Instruments, FedEx and others.  In 2002, TBC was named the fastest-growing, privately owned company in Houston by The Houston 100®, a ranking of businesses making the greatest economic impact on the Houston area. The Houston 100 profiles Houston's fastest-growing businesses based on sales over a three-year period. The award is sponsored by the University of Houston and the Greater Houston Partnership.

Peter Bryant attended the Hampton Institute on a four-year swimming scholarship and earned his MBA at the University of Houston.

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Karen O'Quain-WilsonFriday, February 21, 2003

Karen O'Quain-Wilson is the founder of RaceWorks. Like china in a bull's pin, this Houston businesswoman has spent the last 13 years adding a touch of refinement to the predominantly male world of racing. After surviving several mergers and corporate buyouts, Karen O'Quain-Wilson's unbreakable spirit has proven invaluable in assuming the pole position as the only woman-owned motorsports marketing company outside Charlotte, NC. Based here in Houston, gaining an edge in the $3 billion motorsports sponsorship industry has taken guts.

While her reputation for being one of the best in the motorsports management & sponsorship business is credited to her fabulously feminine touch, it is O'Quain-Wilson's shrewd contract negotiating skills, first class hospitality programs and keen business sense that have secured her company, RaceWorks, with more than $200 million in motorsports sponsorship contracts over five years.
What's the secret to her success?  What is it like to be front and center, creating the most remarkable racing experience for clients, customers and CEOs?  Come hear O'Quain-Wilson discuss what it takes to boost the bottom line and stay in business.
Founded in 1997, RaceWorks delivers first-class motorsports marketing programs that carefully leverage every sponsorship dollar to meet corporate objectives and boost the bottom line.  The company is to motorsports sponsorships what a crew chief is to the car and driver: the expert that knows how to maximize power for winning results. RaceWorks handles everything from contract negotiations, driving school promotions, public relations and making sure the driver is wearing the right hat to hospitality.

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Maria FeeFriday, January 24, 2003

Maria Fee is Founder, President and CEO of Kitba Consulting Services. Maria recently received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Communications Category. Kitba is an award winning communications company that employs the latest technologies to blend words, graphic, multimedia and sound. Whether business, technical, or creative content, Kitba provides the strategy, implementation, and reproduction to deliver the right message to the right audiences - in any language. Founded in 1996, the company has over 100 consultants and has built a diverse client base in various industries including oil and gas, energy, engineering, construction, telecommunications, software development, manufacturing, retail, healthcare, financial and insurance. Come hear Maria tell how she is building a fast growing business during very difficult economic times.

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Umesh VermaFriday, November 22, 2002

Umesh Verma is the founder and CEO of Blue Lance. Umesh was born in Calcutta, India and grew up with the desire to come to America. His dream came true in 1974 when he had the opportunity to attend the University of Houston. He graduated with an Engineering Degree and started his professional career as an Environmental Engineer for Brown & Root but his heart was in software development. While at Brown & Root, Umesh worked his way into developing software for engineering calculations. Thereafter, he accepted a position as a software consultant on a rig automation project with Shell Oil.

In 1985 he founded Blue Lance and pioneered the development of highly secure audit trail technology for Novell and Windows networks. Blue Lance now provides peace of mind to major corporations, financial institutions, government agencies and health care providers. Come hear Umesh share philosophy on building a business and his vision for Blue Lance.

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Jeff CorcorronFriday, October 18, 2002

Jeff Corcorron is the owner of Landscape Management Services Inc. Jeff, a graduate with a degree in Horticulture, started his company in 1986 on a shoestring out of an apartment with a couple of accounts and has steadily grown his company ever since, now employing over 90 people.

Just recently he completed construction of his new 8000 sq.ft.facility. His business is one of helping his clients create a great first impression for their customers. Jeff's company also is involved in irrigation systems for new construction and some high end residential also developing a new organic pest control misting system.

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Adam NisensonFriday, September 20, 2002

Adam Nisenson is the founder of Active Imagination, a design and video production firm. Adam started very small but has never been afraid of going after the large accounts. His philosophy has been, "If you 've got something worth selling then size doesn't matter." Adam is a sports nut and his cadre of clients include the Houston Texans, the Astros, the Rockets, the Seattle Seahawks, and the Detroit Tigers. Persistence and personality have played a large part in his success.
Adam's wife Beryt is an Emmy award winning video producer.

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Richard TarrarFriday, April 19, 2002

Cedarcide has developed an organic environmentally friendly pesticide for consumers. The EPA passed standards that outlaw such traditional pesticides as duraspan and others. This has created a marketing opportunity. Cedar oil, produced by the company, is a natural repellant. Cedarcide has a manufacturing facility employing about 15 people but CedarCide.Com expects to grow, according to biz plan, to around 220 people in a short time frame.

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Rasheed RafaeyFriday, March 22, 2002

Rasheed Rafaey owns Red Hot Jazz Cafe and has been involved in several ventures - some successful and some painful lessons.
It's an interesting story.

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Juan FrancoFriday, January 25, 2002

Juan Franco of Ezfund.com spoke on January 25th. Ez fund was formed in 1997 by Juan after several years working for another fundraising company. Ezfund's main markets are school systems where the various extracurricular activities are always short of money. Ezfund provides cookie dough, lolipops, all kinds of products, brochures and marketing materials to these organizations to sell to raise money. They can raise anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to $30,000 in a fundraiser. Ezfund's first 1/2 year in business generated about $130,000 in business. Today, about $4,000,000.

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Kenneth DennardFriday, November 23, 2001

Kenneth Dennard was our speaker in November. Kenneth is managing partner of Easterly Investor Relations. Often publically held corporations do not staff an investor relations department but instead use an outside firm and that is what Easterly does. Founded in 1997, they currently represent 11 public companies among them Stewart and Stevenson. What is the job of an investor relations firm? To give accurate and timely important information to the investor community. Recent regulations make this job even more critical because it must be "material information".

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Kevin SwailesFriday, September 21, 2001

The HEF was pleased to announce that Kevin Swailes of Swailes and Company was our featured speaker this Friday. For over a decade Swailes & Co. have provided both investigative and security management to both domestic and international companies. Their client list includes companies such as Compaq, BP Amaco, Anadarco, BMC Software among others. In addition, he and his staff have been featured in many published magazine articles as well as TV appearances recently on ABC and FOX affliates in the aftermath of Sept 11th. He is also an active member in the community serving on many on many boards. The title of his talk was "UNVEILING THE ISLAMIC TERRORIST - What They Don't Want You to Find Out".

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Robert CagleFriday, August 31, 2001

Robert Cagle of Houston Funding Corporation spoke on Friday August 31st. Robert and son Harry (an HEF member) own and run HFC. Houston Funding specializes in acquiring hundreds of millions of dollars of "charged off" credit card debt from major banks for pennies on the dollar, then laboriously and methodically collects it over a period of time.  They do this by offering enticements to the debtor and other incentives in order to get the debt paid.  HFC takes in a selective group of invenstors and takes a position itself in these portfolios through limited partnerships.

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Highland Village Central MarketFriday, June 22, 2001

Instead of our regular meeting at the Briar Club, HEF had breakfast and a personal tour of one of the most exciting retail concepts to ever hit Houston -- the Central Market in Highland Village, corner of Westheimer and Weslyan. Central Market also operates stores in Austin and San Antonio. The original store in Austin is now listed as second only to the State Capitol as a "must see" destination in Austin tourist brochures. The Houston store is about 75,000 square feet, packed with 700 varieties of fresh produce, 100 varieties of seafood, 600 kinds of cheeses and more than 30 chefs who create unique meals "to go". This is not the place to go for diapers and garbage bags! 

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Dave TippettsFriday, April 27, 2001

David Tippetts, co/owner of ProtekDoor, spoke at our April 27th meeting. David and his partner Tim Parks have for 6 years been developing this idea in secret.  ProtekDoor is a simple home security device made of a stretchable polymer strap that fits around the doorknob and is anchored to the door stud. Normal doors are easy to break down with one swift kick,but the Protek device absorbs the shock of a forced entry.  Over 56% of forced entries are thru doors.  Both David and Tim have this idea patented and in production. In fact, 300 Walmarts are selling these in addition to Wagners and Bering hardware.

Both David and Tim are still gainfully employed as attorney and geologist respectively.

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Jimmy PryorFriday, March 30, 2001

Jimmy Pryor, a long-term member of the Houston Entrepreneurs'  Forum, spoke Friday, March 30, at the monthly breakfast on SunBody Hats, a hat importing and wholesaling business he started five years ago.  SunBody hats has grown rapidly from "home-based" operation to one selling more than 60,000 hats annually to retailers all across the country. Beginning five years ago with only one style, plain unshaped hats, SunBody now markets several dozen styles with endless custom variations available. 

Even though such a business might seem "old hat", the unique character of the operation - buying from Quiche Indians in Guatemala and selling to cowboys - and the way Jimmy got into it are particularly interesting. All combined it shows that it's possible to have your own business, make money, not work 15 hours a day, have time for friends and family, enjoy yourself and do something good for the world all at the same time.

Jimmy received an MBA from the University of Texas, was an international loan officer for RepublicBank in the early 80's and president of Pueblo to People, a non-profit trade and development business, before starting Sunbody Hats.

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Schumann RafizadehFriday, February 23, 2001

Schumann Rafizadeh founder/owner of Flash VOS (Virtual Operating System), spoke Friday, Feb 23, 2001.  He talked about the Flash VOS story and "Using Technology to Increase Efficiency". He presented an overview of 3 or 4 of the best technolgy time savers for today's business person,including Flash Vos super operating system.

What is Fash VOS you ask? It is a software that allows different operating systems and file systems to coexist and run on the same computer, each in a secure environment and without risk of losing data, programs, or entire operating systems. Their market for this product will be on value added resellers and OEM manufacturers. The company was formed in 1998 by a 10 member team of computer/business/technology experts.

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James StuartFriday, January 26, 2001

James Stuart, founder of Packaged Ice, spoke on Friday January 26th for our first meeting of this year. Packaged Ice (ICY) was started in 1990 in an industry that had not seen any technological development in 40 years. James developed the ICE FactoryTM  which is a self contained automated system that maufactures, stores, and merchandizes ice at the point of sale.

ICY made and sold the equivalent of 450 million seven pound bags of ice in 1999. They have been in an active acquisition mode in the last several years, having acquired some 23 companies in 1999. The ice business is a fragmented industry.

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Ron FarmerFriday, November 17, 2000

Ron Farmer, founder of U.S. Signs, was our November speaker. U.S. Signs provides electric identification signage  for large national accounts such as Discount Tire, EZ Pawn, Michaels, Cinemark and a number of others. Ron Farmer founded his company in 1980 and grew it over 1000% in the first 5 years when it made INC Magazine 500 fastest growing companies. The company is in fast growth mode again, increasing 50% in each of the last two years,revenues reaching $12 million in 1999. It is a unique company in many ways, outsourcing many of it's operations.The company is averaging $420,000 sales revenue per employee.

Ron is also involved in much of the U of H's Entrepreneurship Program.

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John McNevinFriday, October 20, 2000

John McNevin, Chairman and founder of EnForm Technology, spoke at our October 27th meeting. EnForm is one of the fastest growing companies in Texas. The company specializes in corporate strategy, marketing/branding, systems design/implimentation and hosting for clients ranging from fortune 500 on down to dotcom startups. Enform was started in 1998 and already has 200 employees.

Mr. McNevin has 26 years experience consulting and has held several high level management and partnership positions.He is also very generous in civic and community affairs. Texas A& M named him the 2000 outstanding alumni for the school of business.

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Tom ReiserFriday, September 22, 2000

Tom Reiser, Chairman of Technical Risks, Inc. was our September speaker. Technical Risks is a 15-year old insurance services boutique, serving both the local owner-operator company as well as large, national enterprises. They specialize in the insurance requirements of the energy and healthcare industries. The recent trend of rising rates for property & casulaty insurance should make this presentation interesting for all business owners.

Tom will also had a few things to say about the political races, as he has been very active in the Republican Party as a state and county fund raiser, and as a candidate for Congress. He is on the Boards of Sterling Bank, Texoil, Boys and Girl's Country, Escape Family Resource Center and the 1st Presbyterian Church of Houston.

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Harald BlakesleeFriday, July 21, 2000

Harald Blakeslee of Radio Intercast Inc. spoke to HEF in July. Radio Intercast provides technology to radio stations so they may become multimedia. Many stations are broadcasting over the net and Harald's company provides streaming video, text and other media enhancements for them. Additionally through his relationships with the radio stations he has also developed Starzmusic.com which is an artist developement co. and retailer of music among other ventures he has developed. Harald has also developed large database software which he licenses and then resells this to companies (i.e. courthouse records). It was an interesting Friday.

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Ron FrankFriday, June 23, 2000

Ron Frank of NetStrategy spoke to HEF in June. NetStrategy is visualized as a form of venture company to create sucessful Internet companies. In a word, an e-business incubator in which the idea is to turn innovative ideas into valuable companies. The business strategy utilizes a simple and powerful strategy.The model is creativity, execution, and speed. Also the companie's philosophy about providing employees with a stake in the company is important. Usually the seed capital is limited to $250,000 but the goal is to grow the new company into a minium valuation of $100 million and a liquidity event. Some of their clients are Ziptide.com, Digitalwebs.com, and uzone.com.

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Herbie McNichSunday, May 21, 2000

Herbie McNich had an idea about how to have a faster shave one morning in 1993. He went to his computer and sometime later emerged with a design, and then had it patented.

How many would go that far? With his children grown and gone he and his wife decided to sell everything - house, business, furniture -  and start their new company. Dissolve to the present and Quik Shave is now in 23 local Walmart stores. True believers and true entrepreneurs, they are now starting to make some progress!  

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George LaneMonday, April 24, 2000

George Lane, founded Pinnacle fourteen years ago when he recognized a niche market in real estate publishing. Many exclusive neighborhoods will not let realtors post "For Sale" signs and he knew that in many of these neighborhoods, most of the sales come from people already living there.

George and Pinnacle allowed realtors to help develop the markets that needed to be targeted. Home-to-Home distribution is their method. Their mailing list includes only homes priced over 400K. It is a very high quality production. They are now in 20 cities and plan to expand to another 33. George also has several other magazines in production (Farm and Ranch).

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Matt ProvenzanoSaturday, February 19, 2000

Matt Provenzano, our speaker on Friday, Feb.18, is the owner of KYND FM radio station, 1520 on your dial. KYND is a 3500 watt directional station aimed only at Houston which gives it a more concentrated signal than other stations. It is a "brokered station" in that they do not create  the programming but sell it to other parties that program their shows.  Because of this they have found a niche market in the Hispanic market especially South and Central America and the Polka Polish crowd (avid dancers), religious markets and the Philippino market.  They only  broadcast during the day. Matt has owned and sold radio stations in the  east and founded KYND in 1988.

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Paul FrisonFriday, January 21, 2000

Paul Frison of the The Houston Technology Center was our first speaker of 2000. HTC seeks to lead Houston into the 21st century by creating a fertile environment for entrepreneurial activity. By leveraging Houston's  leading research and development capabilities with a supportive and nurturing business community, Houston will remain a world-class leader in  the technology-focused global economy.

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Tracy StephensFriday, November 19, 1999

The Houston Entrepreneurs Forum is pleased to announce that Tracy Stephens of The Procurement Centre will be speak on Friday November 19th at the Briar  Club. Tracy, along with Paul Hicks, founded the company in 1996 when they noticed the trend to outsource all departments in a company that were not central to the core business.  Both of them had previous experience owning companies that sold to large corporations and took notice of their purchasing practices and where the inefficiencies lay.  Within 6  months they were turning a profit and have grown from $500,000 in revenues with 8 employees to $5,000,000 in revenues and 50 employees. 

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Richard ScruggsFriday, October 29, 1999

Richard Scruggs of Align Solutions Co. ( now Luminant Worldwide ), spoke on Friday October 29th. Richard's company was just recently named as #1 on Houston's top 100 fastest growing companies, clocking in at  a growth rate of 8148% with 109 employees, and sales expected at $27 million.  Richard founded Align in 1996 with nine other partners. Align uses technology to solve business problems thru Web site development and  Intranets, allowing companies to reallocate idle resources, purchase  supplies, communicate between departments and sell.  Richard and his partners recently sold their interest in the company for $107 million dollars and now he is vice/chairman of
Luminant, the new company. 

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Jeff SchumacherFriday, September 24, 1999

Schumacher & McClure is a business valuation firm. Business appraisals are often required for  sale of a business, estate planning, buy/sell agreements, and divorce. Jeff, who is a CPA, has had over 15 years experience in  business appraisal.  He is an Accredited Senior Appraiser / Business Valuation with the American Society of Appraisers.  The Website of Schumacher & McClure can be found at: http://www.businessvalue.net/

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Phil MorabitoFriday, June 18, 1999

Phil Morabito founded Pierpont in 1987 after leaving a prestigous public relations firm in New York City.  He chose Houston because it presented excellent growth opportunities after our crash. Phil was selected 1999 entrepreneur of the year by the Greater Houston Partnership for businesses under $2 million and is currently a finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the year. 

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Barbara Dawson SmithFriday, March 19, 1999

Barbara Dawson Smith has written since she was a child.  She was a journalism major who worked for Exxon as a technical writer when she decided to find a way to make  money out of her home. Two or three years and 3 books later she was finally published with a national distributor.

She has published 16 novels in the romance genre since then and just last week made #74 on  the top 150 USA list of hard and paperback books sold nationwide for that week.   She also made #7 on B.Dalton's paperback list of most books sold.

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Richard LeaderFriday, January 15, 1999

Richard G. Leader, Managing Director of Burnham Asset Management, was our speaker on November 18th. Richard shared his insights on the economy and the stock market. He writes the weekly newsletter, "Leader Market Letter", that reports on financial markets. His views can be regularly seen in The Houston Business Journal and are also aired on ABC-Channel 13 and CNBC-Asia.

Richard has extensive experience in the financial services industry. In his current position with Burnham Asset Management he participates in the development and management of diversified equity and fixed income portfolios for high net worth
 individuals, pension plans and charitable foundations.
 
 Prior to joining Burnham Asset Management, he was Sr. Vice President of Oppenheimer & Company where he launched the financial services business in Texas. He was Vice President with Drexel Burnham Lambert and Assistant Vice President with Citibank, New York.  Mr. Leader has a BA from Wake Forest University and MBA from Vanderbilt University. He is also a Charter Financial Analyst.

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