2019 Judges & Speakers


Chris Bailey, CEO, Revio

Chris founded Revio in 2013 after a motorcycle wreck set him on a path to make riding safer. Since then, Chris has gone through the Nucleus LaunchIt program twice, the Velocity IN Accelerator, was one of 4 Vogt Award finalists in 2014 and went on to win the $100K prize at the Vogt Demo Day. He also won the 2014 Venture Connectors Venture Sharks competition and took home both the regional and state Kentucky Innovation Network pitch competitions that year. EnterpriseCorp named his company a 2014 Hot Dozen company. In 2015, his team completed the prestigious Techstars accelerator program in Detroit and built a connected motorcycle IoT platform.

Previously, Chris was an Account Manager at Siemens responsible for $20M in annual accounts, as well as Vice President at Bailey Tools. He received his degree in Management from the University of Louisville and his MBA from Bellarmine University.

Eugene Bajorinas, Vice President, Operations, Novian Health Inc.

Gene has more than 25 years of healthcare and medical device experience with early stage, rapidly growing and large companies. He is an operations, marketing and strategy executive with a track record of developing high performing teams. At Novian Health, a Chicago-based medical device company that developed Novilase, an image-guided laser to ablate breast tumors, he leads U.S. and European operations, including clinical trials and helped raise more than $20 million. Novilase recently received a CE Mark and is the first thermal ablation device with an indication for breast cancer.

Previously, he was Vice President Marketing at Norton Healthcare in Louisville, a $2 billion health system, where he led the brand building efforts that established Norton as the market leader. In San Francisco, he led West Coast operations and business development for several publicly traded Lasik surgery companies. As Lasik Vision’s first U.S. based employee he helped launch its U.S. expansion, responsible for the de novo startup of a dozen surgery centers from Anchorage to Beverly Hills, Honolulu to Las Vegas, and grew his region to $50 million within a year and the Company was acquired. He began his career in Miami leading marketing, strategic planning and international business development for Mercy Health Systems. He earned an MBA from the University of Miami and a BSc from the University of Toronto.

Tendai Charasika, CEO, SuperFanU, Inc.

As the CEO of the fast-growing technology company, SuperFanU, Tendai’s leadership responsibilities include guiding the vision, strategy and execution of value creating milestones including: fundraising, talent acquisition, and business development activities. Prior to joining the Louisville-based SuperFanU team in 2014, he was the Executive Director of Greater Louisville Inc.’s (GLI) EnterpriseCorp, the entrepreneurship arm of the region’s leading economic development agency. Prior to that he worked for the fast-growing, entrepreneurial firm, Summit Energy. Tendai is involved on several boards including Venture Connectors, the Louisville Sports Commission and the Fund for the Arts. Tendai holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and an Entrepreneurial MBA, both from the University of Louisville.

Justin Delaney, President, Menguin

Justin started Menguin, which was acquired by Generation Tux for $25M in 2017. Menguin launched in 2014 and raised about $2.5 M in outside financing from Scott Dorsey, Mark Cuban and others. Generation Tux was founded in 2015 by George Zimmer of “You’re going to look good, I guarantee it” fame. Menguin grew at a 780% CAGR until being acquired by Generation Tux.

Generation Tux/Menguin is located in Jeffersontown in a 300K square foot facility that ships tuxedos and suits nationwide. Technology is a large focus: RFID chips are used to track inventory, a fit algorithm utilizes cutting-edge machine learning to accurately predict sizes, and the warehouse runs on an internally built software platform. Both brands focus primarily on wedding customers who are ages 24-36. Tuxedo/suit rental is a $1.5B industry and still dominated by brick and mortar stores.
Justin has worked as a travel writer, derivatives trader, bartender, airline revenue manager, and entrepreneur. Prior to Menguin, Justin worked for AOL, Delta Air Lines and received his MBA from Indiana University in 2013.

Thad Druffel, Sr. Research Engineer, Conn Center for Renewable Energy, University of Louisville

Thad Druffel, PhD, PE is currently a Senior Research Engineer and Theme Leader, Solar Manufacturing R&D at the Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research at the University of Louisville. His current research is focused on developing materials and processes for roll-to-roll manufacture of devices for renewable energy. He founded Bert Thin Films, LLC along with a post-doctoral researcher to commercialize a technology they initiated at the Conn Center. His twenty year background in industry includes research, development and engineering topics in several engineering disciplines and he has been involved in projects ranging from solar and water facilities in Africa to corporate research and development of cutting edge technologies. He has PhD in Chemical Engineering, MSc in Mechanical Engineering and is a registered Mechanical Engineer in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. He has experience as a principal investigator in grants from the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy and State of Kentucky as well as industry-sponsored research. He is active within the entrepreneurial community and continues to be involved in startups.

Trisha Finnegan, Senior Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer, Community Foundation of Louisville

Joining the Community Foundation of Louisville in 2015, Trisha brought over 15 years of multi-functional experience including a social venture, a nonprofit and two Fortune 100 corporations. Over the last 4 years first as Vice President of Mission & Impact and now as Senior Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer, Trisha has innovated process and programs, established and extended relationships and elevated the foundation’s community engagement and investment efforts. Whether through impact investing, poverty alleviation or collaborative funding initiatives, Trisha works with strategic focus and urgency to drive sustained, positive community change in concert with partners, grantees and donors.

A Louisville-native, Trisha holds a BS in Business and Organizational Behavior from Miami University in Oxford, OH where she graduated magna cum laude and completed a graduate certificate in Design Thinking & Innovation through the Darden School at University of Virginia in 2018. Trisha is a proud and active Board Member of the Community Foundations of Canada, Louisville Urban League and Awesome Fund Louisville. She is committed to making meaningful contributions and serving others in doing the same.

Maggie Galloway, CEO, Inscope Medical

Inscope is a medical device company that is developing and commercializing a novel laryngoscope system that combines several devices into one, improving patient safety and saving costs for hospitals. Before founding Inscope Medical, Maggie was an Innovation Consultant at Humana, Inc. Maggie specialized in clinical product development from user research to concept development to product scale. During her time at Humana, she developed several new innovations for diabetes that aimed to slow progression of the disease in Medicare patients. Maggie received her BS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and MBA in Entrepreneurship from the University of Louisville.

Steve Huey, CEO/Co-Founder, Capture Higher Ed

Steve is the CEO of Capture Higher Ed, an industry-leading technology firm that provides predictive modeling and marketing automation software to university recruitment offices nationwide. Capture uses narrow AI and machine learning to provide its partners with extraordinarily accurate enrollment and financial aid data. Steve is a huge promoter of gaining higher education as he believes it provides the knowledge and inspiration that is needed to help influence our future.

At Capture, Steve has built a stellar culture that aims to align personal and professional goals so that employees can achieve their dreams too. While maintaining fast growth, 3-years on both the Inc. 5,000 Fastest Growing US Companies and Louisville’s Fast 50 Companies, Capture has also been awarded Best Places to Work both in Louisville and nationally through publications like Inc. magazine, where they were given a prestigious Top 200 Best Culture’s to Work in 2017.

Steve is a passionate entrepreneur that has experienced success on both coasts, and believes that Louisville has what it takes to be a hotbed of innovation. Featured in Forbes’ Built to Sell and ranked in Insider Louisville as Louisville’s #1 “Startup Standout” you can find Steve mentoring dozens of startup CEOs across town. He is also actively involved as Chairman or on the Board of Directors in several organizations like GLI EnterpriseCorp, 1804 Entrepreneurial Center, Louisville LaunchIt, and Louisville’s IMBA Program.

Angelique Johnson, CEO, MEMStim

As CEO/founder of MEMStim, Dr. Angelique Johnson has raised nearly $2.5 M in non-dilutive funds for the medical device start-up. An expert in Lean Startup Methodology, she has educated students on building successful companies. With a doctorate in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan, she is an authority on innovation and entrepreneurship. Dr. Johnson delivered a congressional briefing on Capitol Hill, served as a speaker for the eighth district of the Federal Reserve, and delivered several international talks. She has been featured on NBC Universal, National Public Radio, The Root news site, Louisville Insider, Business First and other media outlets.

Ross Jordan, Founding Partner, Weller Equity, Principal, Yearling Funds

Ross Jordan is a founding partner of Weller Equity, a Louisville-based private equity firm that invests in lower-middle market companies throughout the Mid-South region of the U.S. In addition, Ross is a principal with the Yearling Funds, an early-stage venture capital firm. His duties at both firms include performing due diligence for prospective investments and assisting existing portfolio companies with fundraising, business strategy, financial modeling, and general corporate structuring issues. Ross, who is a licensed attorney, also has corporate law experience, with an emphasis on corporate law matters involving early-stage profit and nonprofit companies. Ross is a board member of Venture Connectors, a Louisville-based nonprofit organization focused on connecting entrepreneurs with investors, service providers, and other entrepreneurial resources. In addition, Ross serves as a board member of multiple portfolio companies of Weller Equity and the Yearling Funds. Ross received his BA from Xavier University and his JD/MBA from the University of Louisville.

Greg Langdon, Angel Investor, Startup Advisor

Greg is an experienced executive with a background in corporate and product strategy for technology businesses. He has a range of experience in executive management, business development, M&A, product management, marketing and product development. Greg was a senior member of the management team that led Efficient Networks from a venture-funded startup into a market-leading position in broadband equipment, an initial public offering, acquisitions of several smaller firms, and subsequent acquisition by Siemens AG. He serves on the investment committee of an angel fund, is a board member for several early-stage technology companies and is a member of the Board of Advisors for GLI EnterpriseCorp and Venture Connectors. Greg has worked closely with numerous startups in over a dozen accelerator programs. He is a cum laude graduate of Vanderbilt University with a degree in Electrical Engineering, and is co-author of three patents.

Jake Miller, CEO, Toggle Health

Jake is the CEO of Toggle Health, a medical device company that aims to dramatically reduce surgical errors by providing surgeons with a wireless, sterile controller to access their patient data during surgery without having to leave the sterile environment. Jake started Toggle Health in December 2016 and was awarded a $75K grant from Nucleus and won the Venture Connectors Sharks competition in 2017. Previously, Jake was a retail health executive with Target, Walgreens and Humana where he launched dozens of successful new products and businesses. Jake is active in the local entrepreneurial ecosystem as a coach for the LaunchIt program and as a mentor for XLerate Health. He holds a BA in Chemistry from Bellarmine and an MBA from Vanderbilt University. Jake is on the board of Louisville-based New Roots, working to create affordable access for farm-fresh food.

Brett Moreno, Director of New Programs Development, Cuddle Clones

Brett has a background in business to business marketing. He’s worked at several start-ups helping to successfully grow their base and strategic partnerships. He is currently with Cuddle Clones, a growth stage company in Louisville that creates high-quality, custom products designed to look like people’s pets. At Cuddle Clones, Brett is responsible for growing and managing their partnership program with other pet related businesses. Before joining the company, he marketed technology based inventions at the University of Louisville Research Department. In addition to Cuddle Clones, Brett is a business coach at LaunchIt, a lean start-up training program designed for start-ups and early-stage companies. Brett received both his MBA and Bachelors degree in marketing form the University of Louisville.

Jeff Shrensker, Vice President, BB&T

Jeff Shrensker has been with BB&T since 1995 and currently serves as a BSO-Portfolio Manager Team Leader within KY’s Regional Corporate & Commercial Banking teams, which involves extensive credit underwriting and risk and portfolio management, along with relationship support for BB&T clients and prospects, as well as leading a team of portfolio managers within the region. Past roles within BB&T included retail branch management, small business relationship management, and credit portfolio management for middle market and corporate clients.
He has been a judge for the Cardinal Challenge since 2009 and is a frequent presenter to undergraduate and graduate classes about the importance of corporate culture. Former board membership includes The Metropolitan Business Development Corporation (METCO) for the City of Louisville, Seven Counties Services, Inc. (k/n/a Centerstone) and The Venture Club of Louisville, Inc. Mr. Shrensker graduated from the University of Louisville in 1995 with a major in finance and a minor in political science, and graduated from the school’s Professional MBA program in 2009.

Jennifer Williams, COO, Cuddle Clones

Jennifer is the founder and COO of Cuddle Clones, an online retailer that creates soft and adorable plush versions of people’s pets as well as several other custom products of your pet. She has a BS in Mathematics and Business from the University of Puget Sound and an MBA from the University of Louisville. Jennifer spent 10 years as a benefits consulting actuary and her last job before making the entrepreneurial leap was with PwC. She is actively involved in the entrepreneurial community in Louisville.

Jackie Willmot, CEO, XLerateHealth and Venture Consultant

Jackie has more than 30 years of experience in the healthcare industry including executive positions in the Life Science, Payer and Healthcare Service space. Her experience also includes 9+ years working directly with and for healthcare start-ups. Jackie is the CEO of XLerateHealth (www.xleratehealth.com), a Louisville based healthcare accelerator. XLerateHealth accepts applications on a rolling basis (https://gust.com/programs/xleratehealth-2018).

Jackie volunteers her time in the start-up community and has served as a judge for the annual Invention and Innovation Awards competition, the Brown-Forman Cardinal Challenge and the European MBA challenge. Jackie also coaches healthcare startups via the LaunchIT program and works closely with Coulter, ExCITE, and iCorp funded companies. She is a Master’s prepared Perinatal Clinical Nurse Specialist and holds an MBA from the University of Louisville’s entrepreneurship program, a Master’s of Science from the University of Pittsburgh and a Baccalaureate Nursing degree from Villa Maria College.


Jeff Ames, Founder, Bluegrass Barrels, VP Commercial Relationship Manager, Stock Yards Bank

With a BS in Finance from Virginia Tech, Jeff bolstered his education by graduating from the University of Louisville’s IMBA program in 2011. A commercial banker by day at Stock Yards Bank, Jeff also founded Bluegrass Barrels, LLC in January 2011. Bluegrass Barrels has sold more than 40,000 mini-bourbon barrels since inception. Jeff has served on several volunteer boards, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, YPAL, and the St. Xavier Business and Professional Association.

Chris Blakely, Founder and CEO, Credit Fair-e

Credit Fair-e is a socially responsible lender that leverages advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning to help low and middle income families break their cycle of debt by providing them with fair, affordable small-dollar loans. Chris received a BS in Business Administration and an MBA in Entrepreneurship from the University of Louisville.

David Gollinger, Lead Accountant, Brown-Forman

David is a Lead Accountant at Brown-Forman, one of the largest American-owned spirits and wine companies. He is a licensed CPA with over 14 years of experience in industry and public accounting. David has a BSBA in Accounting and Finance from The Ohio State University and an Entrepreneurship MBA from the University of Louisville where he graduated with distinction. While at UofL, David co-founded DV Tech, a rubber recycling concept company which he and his MBA team presented at seven business plan competitions, concluding with winning the Edward H. Molter Memorial Prize for Best Presentation at the 2016 Rice Business Plan Competition. David and his wife Amy’s most recent new venture is their daughter Ava who was born in 2017.

Alicia Kelley Heazlitt, COO, Signature Advantage

Alicia Heazlitt is a strategic business leader with over 20 years’ experience in market research and business development, actively supports entrepreneur access to customers and data to accelerate the development and adoption of innovative products, services and technologies in the post-acute market. Today she leads Corporate Development and Innovation for Signature HealthCARE and serves as the Chief Operations Officer for Signature Advantage, a Medicare Advantage Plan. Alicia assists in the management of Signature’s portfolio of companies while optimizing corporate
investments that enhance market strength in the evolving healthcare environment.

Ms. Heazlitt helped build the first business accelerator and entrepreneurial hub in long term care, (InnovateLTC) for early-stage companies to have the market insights and access to customers servicing the care continuum. She has served on multiple boards and leadership groups including, Louisville Innovation Summit, Health2.0 and AARP.

Kela Ivonye, CEO, MailHaven Inc.

MailHaven is building infrastructure for the future of delivery. Our first two products; an iOS package tracking app and the Haven smart mailbox helps homeowners avoid missed deliveries and stolen packages, providing convenience and accountability at the last mile of delivery.

Prior to MailHaven, Kela founded Arrow Food Couriers, an on-demand delivery service. Kela has a BSc in Geographic Information Systems. He is a champion for the United Nations Climate Neutral Now Initiative and has published works for the US Housing and Urban Department as well as Recode magazine. Kela is interested in nascent technologies in delivery and eCommerce intrastructure and has a passion for building technology that reduces carbon emission in traditional industries. When he is not problem solving, he enjoys reading, watching soccer and playing volleyball.


Vik Chadha, Managing Director, GlowTouch Technologies

Vik is the co-founder of a number of high-tech companies such as Backupify, a leading backup provider for cloud-based data; GlowTouch Technologies, a six-time Inc. 500/5000 software and services company with 1500 employees; and Scalable Ventures, an early-stage startup investment and operating firm. From 2001 to 2010, he served as a Managing Director of the EnterpriseCorp in Louisville, where he managed a portfolio of over 100 client companies and helped them raise $120 million in funding. Prior to EnterpriseCorp, he worked as the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at bCatalyst, an early-stage business incubator. Vik holds a BS degree in Electronics & Communications Engineering from the Manipal Institute of Technology and has an MS degree in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Tech.

Viji Evers, Technology Vice President, Solution Engineering, Humana Inc.

Viji is an executive responsible for crafting the vision and delivery strategy of cutting edge, mission critical applications to support Humana’s core domains such as Product, Pricing, Sales, Enrollment, Billing, Wellness and Messaging. Her geographically diverse IT teams build technology solutions that enable end-to-end enrollment support for Medicare, Individual, and Commercial consumers.

Viji’s 24 year IT career includes technology leadership for Fortune 500 companies such as Bristol Myers Squibb and Kraft Foods. She is active in the Louisville entrepreneurial community, and enjoys applying her business process streamlining expertise on a variety of entrepreneurial ventures in the capacity of investor and strategic partner. Viji completed her MBA in Entrepreneurship from University of Louisville and holds a Master of Management Studies degree from Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, India.

Kenneth Gardner, Founder/CEO, conDati Inc.

Ken has more than 40 years in the enterprise software industry. A serial entrepreneur, he holds over 20 patents. Prior to founding conDati, a new firm using data science and machine learning to build next generation marketing analytics, He is a seven-time entrepeneur having previously been the founder of other successful tech firms. SOASTA, a Silicon Valley bsed web and mobile performance testing company was acquired by Akamai in 2017. Istante was acquired by Oracle in December 2004; Sagent Technology (IPO in April 2000); ReportSmith (acquired by Borland in March 1994); and ViewPoint Systems (acquired by Knowledgeware in June 1992). His first startup was Tesseract Corporation, where he was senior vice president of technology. Ken, a graduate of the College of Business at the University of Louisville, was named Alumni Fellow in 2000, and was inducted into the College of Business Entrepreneurship Circle of Fame in 2013. He lives in Menlo Park, California

Bob Saunders, General Partner, OCA Ventures

Bob is a General Partner at OCA Ventures (a leading Chicago venture capital firm), a Founding Partner of Saunders Murdoch & Associates (Louisville/Boston) and is Chairman of XLerateHealth (Louisville).

He is an active investor in several healthcare and technology startups. Bob was a Managing Director and General Partner at Chrysalis Ventures (1997 – 2009). Bob was a founding board member of MetaCyte Business Lab, the University of Louisviille’s life science incubator. He is also a co-founder of XLerateHealth, one of the leading healthcare accelerators in the US. Over the last 30 years, he has invested in dozens of startup companies (several of which have gone public or been acquired by large strategic investors) and has mentored 100+ startups. Bob worked for several years as a strategy consultant with both The Boston Consulting Group and Bain & Co. before becoming a professional venture capital investor. Bob received a BA from Stanford University, an MSc from the London School of Economics and an MA from Harvard University. He was both a Marshall Scholar and Fulbright Scholar.

John Wechsler, Founder of Launch Fishers and The Indiana IoT Lab

John has founded, co-founded or served in C-level roles in several high-growth and venture-backed startups including Formstack, Formspring, DeveloperTown, Vontoo, Wishoo and beenz. In 2012, John founded Launch Fishers, a 52,000 square foot launch pad for start-ups and high-potential enterprises with the goal of being a catalyst for economic development. In 2014, John founded the statewide entrepreneurial mentorship initiative Launch Indiana; he continues to serve as an active advisor to entrepreneurs and startup teams. In 2017, John founded The Indiana IoT Lab in Fishers (IndianaIoT.com), a 24,000 square foot innovation and commercialization hub for Internet of Things (IoT)-related enterprises.

John has been a lifetime volunteer with community and nonprofit organizations and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Indiana State Chamber of Commerce where he co-chairs the Technology & Innovation Council.

John started his career at IBM where he managed the global account plans for multiple Fortune 500 clients and achieved membership in the Golden Circle- recognizing the top 1.5% of the IBM sales force. Prior to joining IBM, John earned a marketing degree from Indiana University where he participated in the School of Business Overseas Study Program in Maastricht, the Netherlands. John is currently pursuing his Masters Degree in Emerging Media Design and Development at Ball State University. John also served in the US Army where he learned the art of rappelling from helicopters as an Air Assault-Qualified Combat Engineer in the First Cavalry Division at Ft. Hood, Texas!


Dr. Beth Boehm, Executive Vice President and University Provost, University of Louisville

Dr. Beth Boehm was appointed executive vice president and university provost at the University of Louisville on September 1, 2018 after a brief term as interim provost. Boehm joined the faculty of UofL as an assistant professor of English in 1987, and has served in the provost’s office since 2009, serving as associate provost for faculty affairs, vice provost for graduate affairs, and vice provost for academic affairs, in which role she was responsible for both undergraduate and graduate affairs. She also served as dean of the school of interdisciplinary and graduate studies for eight years before being appointed as interim provost. As executive vice president and university provost, Boehm not only is responsible for setting the university’s course, through collaboration with faculty, staff and students, but also is charged with assuring that it stays on course. The executive vice president and university provost is an advisor to the university president and acts as president during presidential absences.

She has served in a variety of administrative and academic roles at the University of Louisville, including as director of undergraduate studies in English, as director of graduate studies in the Department of English, as vice chair of English, and as vice chair and chair of the faculty senate.

Boehm was twice awarded the College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Teaching Award and was selected as a University Distinguished Teaching Professor in 2003. In 2009, she was awarded for her distinguished service by both the college and the university.
Her recent research has focused on issues in graduate education such as mentoring, reimagining the dissertation, community engagement in graduate education, masters education, and holistic admissions.



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