EGNC 2019

Region's largest and longest running entrepreneur event!

The Entrepreneurs Growth & Networking Conference is one of the largest events for small businesses in the Pittsburgh region. Join hundreds of other business owners and managers to heartoday’s hottest tips and strategies for growing your business. Our speakers are leaders in areas of technology, marketing, management and entrepreneurship.

This year we present more than 12 growth driving workshops, 3 Breakout Sessions and a Tradeshow!

Learn How to: 
  • Achieve Hockey Stick Growth
  • Boost Your Sales
  • Leverage Social Media
  • Raise Money
  • Start or Grow Your Business
Trade Show:
Talk one-on-one with experts who can help you grow including lenders, technology and social media specialists, accountants, attorneys and more. Get a professional picture from our photographer for your website and social channels!

What Our Past Attendees Say:

“Excellent content! Very valuable information by local thought-leaders!”

-2018 Attendee

“I have learned so many tips and tricks for my business to get in front of my target audience”

-2018 Attendee

"Wonderful stories, professionalism and information shared”

-2018 Attendee

8:30 - 9 a.m.
Registration & Breakfast

9 - 9:50 a.m.

Welcome & Morning Keynote

How to Create Something from Nothing: Never Give Up!

Mark F. DeSantis, CEO, RoadBotics and Executive in Residence, Palumbo-Donahue School of Business

10 - 11 a.m.
Workshop Session 1

11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Workshop Session 2

12:30 - 1:30 p.m.

Lunch & Keynote

Leverage Your Team for Success

Bill Molyneaux, Vice President and Co-owner and Melissa Molyneaux McFarland, COO

1:30 - 2:45 p.m.

Trade Show, Networking and Dessert

3 - 4 p.m.

Workshop Session 3

Superior Sales: How to Close More Business in 2019
Did you know that small businesses account for 54% of sales in the U.S.? You can close more business even on the smallest budget if you know the best strategies for build a high-volume sales funnel; qualify leads and how to close them.  Join us to learn how.

J. Scot Teachout, Peak Performance, Principal & Ray Sidney-Smith, W3 Consulting, President

Pricing for Greater Profits: Getting Maximum Value for Your Product or Service

Whether it is a product or service, the price you charge your customers will have a direct impact on the success of your business.  A well-priced product will grow your customer base, market share and your profits.  Learn the factors and formulas you need to consider when determining your best price.

Bill Ringle, System Ringle, President & Jim Barnes, Network Access, President

Raising Money for Growth

Ready to take your business to the next level but need capital? Meet some well-known sources of capital for entrepreneurs right here in western Pennsylvania from bank and non-bank lenders. Find out what program might be right for your business and the next step in getting the money you need.

David Wilke, Wilke & Associates, CPAs, Founder/Owne

Angel Marschik, SBA Pittsburgh District Office, Supervisory Lender Relations Specialist

Ryan Lockhart, The 504 Company, Vice President

Jennifer Wilhelm, URA, Assistant Director

Heather Thomas, Huntington Bank, Sr. SBA Business Development Officer & VP

Checklist for Launching a Successful Business

Want to get off to a great start? Join us for a three-step action plan to get you on the right track that includes launch strategies and understanding your market; business planning, cash flow and loan requirements; and important legal issues for start-ups.

Rich Longo, Senior Consultant, Duquesne University SBDC

Paul Bucciarelli, Senior Consultant, Duquesne University SBDC

Matthew Clark, Cohen & Grigsby, Director/Attorney

Inspirational & Insightful Stories from Successful Entrepreneurs
Ready to get inspired? Our trio of entrepreneurs share their successes, challenges and lessons learned.  Hear how one entrepreneur launched a business at 22, appeared on Shark Tank and now runs a multimillion dollar venture; how one mobile app entrepreneur evolved to survive a competitive and rapidly changing market; and what it took for this social entrepreneur to build an organization into one of the largest organizations of its kind in the U.S. in just four years.

Leah Lizarondo, 412 Food Rescue, Founder & CEO

Kelly Costello, Puppy Cake, Owner/Founder

Curtis Brown, Jireh Mobile, Co-CEO

Social Selling: Which Channel is Best?

Each social channel has its strengths but what channel is optimal for your specific product, service or market?  Our social marketing pros will share strategies to help make the most of your online investments by leveraging the right channel with the right content that appeals to your target audience, strengthens your brand and drives engagement.

Tim McLaughlin, 321Blink, President

Building a Great Brand & Why it Matters?

A solid, recognizable brand is one of your most valuable assets but great brands take insights, efforts and nurturing.  Join us to hear strategies to build a brand that sets your business apart from the competition, helps you connect with customers, reinforces your values and drives growth.

Jon Kasunic, Crown Run Pictures, Writer/Producer/Director

Stephen Wayhart, BrandMill, Managing Partner

Money to Launch: Where to Find Startup Capital in Pittsburgh

Looking for capital to fund your start-up? Meet representatives from early stage capital sources right here in Pittsburgh including SBA lenders and economic development agencies and learn strategies to help you raise money from hundreds of small investors with crowdfunding, a popular funding alternative that is changing the financing landscape for entrepreneurs.

Miriam Parson, IOBY, Pittsburgh Manager

April Cacia, Washington County Council on Economic Development, Loan Officer

Tanner Fitzgerald, Bridgeway Capital, Loan Officer

Angel Marschik, SBA Pittsburgh District Office, Supervisory Lender Relations Specialist

Selling to Government & Global Markets

Did you know that 95 percent of the world's consumers are outside of the U.S. and that 97 percent of exporters are small businesses?  This workshop will provide an overview of exporting basics including free resources that are available, as well as exploring the benefits of government contracting including how to get started, what the federal government buy, certifications and local success stories.

David Pinkosky, Business Opportunity, Economic Development Specialist

Brent Rondon, Manager, Global Business Program Duquesne University SBDC

Securing Patents & Prototypes for Your Invention

Have a great idea for a new product? Join us for a discussion on two important considerations when taking your idea from mind to market consider when taking your idea from mind to market-developing a prototype and protecting your idea. This workshop features a product design and prototype professional and a patent attorney who will cover the benefits of patent protection, types of patent applications and the timing of a patent strategy.

Matt Beale, Daedelus, President

Micheal Dukes, Cohen & Grigsby, Associate

Get a Bigger Bang for Your Email Buck

Email may be one of the oldest weapons in your marketing toolbox but it remains one of the most valuable with a return of $44 on every dollar spent. However, email has evolved; have your practices?  Join us to learn the anatomy of a great email, how to make email work with the website and social marketing and strategies to turn one-time buyers into long-term loyal customers.

Andrew Gregory, Clarity Squared, Founder

Rules, Regulations & Best Practices for Hiring Great Employees

Are you ready to start building your team, but not sure where to start? Join us for an informative discussion on hiring considerations for small businesses including legal concerns, attracting qualified candidates and hiring right-fit employees that will help grow your business.

Kelly Radomski, Compass Resources, Vice President Client Solutions

Rabih Helou, The Beauty Shoppe, COO

Uncover Opportunities & Drive Growth with Market Research

Ready to launch a new product, grow sales or expand into new markets?  You need information and this workshop will help you find it. Our experts will discuss the best methods to learn about your customers, competitors and industry identify opportunities and the risks and rewards of using market research to drive growth.

Alice Greene, Campos, Vice President Research Services

Jeff Schirm, Ebb Sleep, CTO

Bill Molyneaux

Molyneaux Tile Carpet Wood

Vice President and Co-owner

Bill Molyneaux is co-owner and Vice-President of Molyneaux Tile Carpet Wood with over 43 years of experience in the flooring industry.  His current focus is providing flooring services for the property management and commercial market in Pittsburgh. 

He started in the business at the age of 14 installing flooring and learning skills of ceramic tile, vinyl tile, and sheet goods. His career in the family business progressed quickly and at the age of 20 Bill became responsible for running the entire operation.  Bill was a vital part of the business growing from one location to its current eight locations today.

Bill is a proud father of one Duquesne alumni (Melissa ’11) and soon to be alumni (Bill ’19) and is currently helping his youngest son Danny prepare to begin his undergrad degree.  Outside of his work and family, Bill is a director for a medical team in Honduras where he shares his knowledge of farming, construction and Spanish. 

Bill has a passion for connecting people and opportunities in the Pittsburgh region and welcomes you to connect on your flooring needs!

Melissa Molyneaux McFarland

Molyneaux Tile Carpet Wood


Melissa Molyneaux McFarland is the Chief Operating Officer at Molyneaux Tile Carpet Wood, where she is responsible for customer experience and operational efficiency.  Melissa graduated from Duquesne University in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in Information Systems and Finance.  Before joining the family business in 2016, Melissa gained external experience holding positions in IT at Federated Investors and Konica Minolta. 

Melissa is extremely passionate about the family business and has been involved with the company for as long as she can remember.  Melissa’s earliest responsibility at Molyneaux was accompanying her dad, Bill, to the office and job sites to learn about the flooring industry.

Today, she always has continuous improvement and growth in mind. She is invested in developing the company’s 100+ employees in order to achieve sustained success of Molyneaux Tile Carpet Wood for future generations.  Some of her largest achievements to date are: establishing an organizational structure focusing on the company’s Vision, Mission, and Values, transitioning the company to a paperless ordering system, mobilizing salesforce with tablets, and forming a customer experience team to ensure quality and communication after the installation.

When she is not working, you can find Melissa serving as the Campus Director at Amplify Church’s Strip District campus.  Melissa was recently married in October 2018 and loves spending time with her husband and friends.  

Mark DeSantis

RoadBotics, CEO & Palumbo-Donahue School of Business, Entrepreneur in Residence

Mark is CEO RoadBotics, an AI platform for assessing roads and roadways infrastructure. He was Executive Chairman of kWantix, a quant hedge fund, CEO of kWantera, a GE Ventures-backed energy trading company and CEO of Think Through Learning, a venture-backed online tutoring company and US Managing Director of ANGLE Technology, PLC, a UK-based venture capital firm and consultancy.

Earlier in his career, Mark was the Director of Government Relations for Texas Instruments and held policy positions as a Senior Policy Analyst in The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Administration of George H. W. Bush. He was also staff assistant to late U.S. Senator John Heinz was a management consultant with Booz Allen.

Mark is on the Advisory Board of MIR Ventures in Palo Alto and has a dual appointment as an Adjunct Professor in both Heinz College and the School of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. He is also an Executive in Residence for Entrepreneurship in the Palumbo School of Business, Duquesne University. He has lectured at Princeton University and Dartmouth College and was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland.

Mark holds a BA and MBA from the University of Dayton, an MS in Technology Management from The American University and a PhD in Public Policy the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University.

Curtis Brown

Curtis Brown is the co-owner of Jireh Business Development. The company was founded in 1998 and is comprised of three ventures: Jireh Fashions, Jireh Mobile & Burgh Bubble Soccer. The first venture was Jireh Fashions, a hip-hop styled Christian clothing company. In 2005 Jireh Mobile was launched as the world’s first mp3 formatted ringtone site for Christian hip-hop music. The success of Jireh Mobile was a direct result of the worldwide reach of the Jireh Fashions venture. Jireh Mobile was able to distribute mobile content here in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia. In 2008, Jireh Mobile adapted to market changes and now offers text marketing and mobile app design & development services for an assortment of clients including non-profit organizations, chambers, municipalities, restaurants and retailers. In 2015, Jireh Business Development launched Burgh Bubble Soccer, a sports equipment rental business.

Paul Bucciarelli

Paul Bucciarelli is a business consultant with the Duquesne University SBDC and serves the New Castle / Lawrence County area.  

Paul recently retired from The PNC Financial Services Group after 19 years as a VP - Supply Chain Manager.  His previous positions include merchandising and purchasing with Servistar, a hardware cooperative membership organization, and with Big Wheel, a discount store chain.

Paul holds a MBA from Youngstown State University and a Bachelor's degree in Advertising and Journalism from Penn State.    He is a part-time business faculty member for the Penn State Shenango Campus, and also serves on the Advisory Board for PSU - Shenango.  Paul is a long-time member of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Institute for Supply Management.

Paul is a board member of the Lawrence County Partners for Preservation, a non-profit advocacy group focused on the economic value of preserving and promotion history and architecture in

April Cacia

April Cacia, Loan Officer for Washington County Council on Economic Development, has over 15 years of experience between consumer and commercial lending.  She has been with WCCED since 2013 and her territory includes Washington, Greene, Fayette, Westmoreland, Allegheny, and Beaver Counties.  April has won the Leadership Award for the highest number of microloans in the Pittsburgh District of the SBA for the last 3 years.  As an intermediary of the SBA Microloan program, she works with companies who are looking to start or expand their business.  WCCED also covers 38 counties in West Virginia.  April is a lifelong resident of Pennsylvania and earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration from Waynesburg University. 

Matt Clark

Matt Clark is an attorney with extensive corporate experience serving as primary legal counsel to various business, leadership and executive teams. He has regularly provided advice on the myriad of issues related to portfolio companies and investments – drafting and negotiating various debt and equity financing documents; providing assistance to portfolio companies with commercial agreements concerning intellectual property; information technology; business development; federal regulations related to health care ; and general corporate matters.

Prior to joining Cohen & Grigsby, Matt was senior counsel of Evoqua Water Technologies LLC where he was responsible for information technology, sourcing, technology licensing agreements and a wide variety of commercial contracts.

Matt previously held positions as vice president and general counsel of Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse and as senior corporate counsel for Dick’s Sporting Goods, Inc. and Philips Healthcare where he served as corporate counsel and director of strategy and business development.

Kelly Costello

Kelly Costello is Owner, founder and CEO of Puppy Cake LLC, manufacturer of cake mix and ice cream mixes for dogs. Currently 33 years old, she began the business just after 22nd birthday after coming up with the idea for Puppy Cake while working on advertising material for Pillsbury, a client.  Looking at those old cake mix advertisements she thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if they made that for dogs?” and that was the light bulb moment!  Kelly started

Puppy Cake in her one-bedroom apartment and grew it into a multi-million dollar a year company.  Kelly appeared on Shark Tank on February of 2012. She earned an international business degree from Grove City College.  She is the owner of five dogs and two 3-legged cats.

Michael Dukes

Michael Dukes, Associate, Cohen & Grigsby is a registered patent attorney with a background in chemistry and material science. He concentrates his practice in the area of intellectual property portfolio development and management, including patent preparation and prosecution, licensing, and strategic counseling.

He also advises clients on a variety of strategic intellectual property and business issues, including IP audits, freedom-to-operate, patent validity, and patentability, as well as trademarks and trade secrets.

On behalf of major universities as well as companies large and small, Michael negotiates and drafts IP agreements that include license agreements, non-disclosure agreements, research and manufacturing agreements, research and development agreements, and consulting agreements

Alice Green

Alice Green is Vice President of Research Services for Campos. Her career has spanned secondary, qualitative and quantitative research, executive-level account management, and client-centered, big-data solutions management. Her ability to elicit and identify needs/gaps across a broad range of professional profiles and effectively communicate actionable findings has been cultivated through a career in listening and analysis. 

Alice’s first love is journalism, for which she received her degree from Boston University. That skill set and passion, combined with her experience with many industries, including packaged goods, retail and distribution, technology, healthcare, and higher education, bring an experienced ear and eye to the various research disciplines at Campos.

Andrew Gregory

Andrew Gregory is the Founder of Clarity Squared, a digital marketing agency. He has led this business for the past three years focused on helping clients find clarity in the ever-changing world of digital marketing.

Prior to starting Clarity Squared, Andrew gained experience while working at another marketing communications agency. He has had a passion for business since growing up on a family-owned fruit farming operating that his father began in the 70’s. His interest in marketing was sparked when he had the opportunity to assist in launching a retail brand and an ecommerce website while working at Shoreline Fruit. He is excited to combine these passions with his work at Clarity Squared.

Andrew has a BA in Business from Calvin College and currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Trinity Christian School and the Board of Directors for Cherry Bay Orchards.

Douglas Harding

Douglas Harding is currently a Business Consultant for Duquesne University’s Small Business Development Center, having led many SBA & AARP-funded training programs and workshops for emerging entrepreneurs. Douglas is also a frequent presenter on Exporting and International Business at the Small Business Development Center at Duquesne University. Douglas brings 35+ years of managing international business activities for various multinational industrial manufacturing companies, including a new business venture within PPG Industries.

Douglas is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Pittsburgh’s College of Business Administration where he teaches various business management courses at the junior and senior levels. Douglas has also taught International Business in Waynesburg University’s Professional MBA Program, and Strategic Management and Public Affairs Management in Duquesne University’s A. J. Palumbo School of Business.

Originally from Venezuela, Douglas is fluent in Spanish and holds an MBA from Syracuse University and an MA in Economics from Georgia State University.

Rabih Helou

Rabih Helou is a co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of TBS Inc. (known under its primary Brand: Beauty Shoppe), a hospitality development and operating company, focused on coworking. He spent over 15 years consulting to a wide range of organizations in the private, public, and non-profit sectors in the US, Canada, Europe, and the Middle East. He led several multi-million dollar business operations, including international development project for the US Department of State, and as head of Middle East operations for a NYC-based strategy-consulting firm a $25m multi-year entrepreneurship initiative for the fastest growing mobile operators in the Middle East and North Africa. Rabih holds a PhD in Social Markets from the University of Maryland.

Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson, founder and CEO of Elite Transit Solutions, is a nationally recognized trailblazer in the supply chain industry. Since starting ELITE in 2013, his relentless drive to change the freight management business, along with his passion for customer service, has led to the company’s hyper-growth which has taken the logistics world by storm. This has resulted in numerous awards that recognize both the company’s remarkable success, as well as Michael’s individual accomplishments — twice honored on the Inc. 5000 list (2017, 2018) as one of America’s fastest-growing companies along with honors such as Food Logistics’ Rock Stars, Best In Biz, Supply and Demand Chain Executive Pro’s To Know, Pittsburgh Business Times’ Fastest Growing, and Auburn University’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

Steve Johnson

Stephen Johnson is the CEO of Chioh, LLC.  He is an entrepreneur, an author, and an award-winning writer. 

Over the last ten years Steve has mentored hundreds of inner-city youth across the country.  This mentorship along with Steve’s research on urban culture sparked him in 2018 to create Chioh Apparel.  The word Chioh (Chee-oh) translated from the African Igbo language means ‘Power of the Creator’; a word Steve chose to represent the company’s core values. 

Recently, Steve reached his ten-year anniversary from completing what he called the CEO boot camp; or, the Riverside Center for Innovation Entrepreneurial Training Program. 

Currently, Steve is working to establish an International line to take Chioh worldwide.  Please visit for more information.

Jon Kasunic

“Kaz” started his career in 1982 at Ketchum Advertising where he worked as a copywriter on Gulf Oil, Heinz, Rubbermaid and PPG Paints. In 1985, he opened a film production company, Longfellow Productions, now Crows Run Pictures, which for more than two decades has been one of the nation’s leading producers of high-end television commercials (NFL, Mandalay Bay Resorts, GNC, UPMC), corporate and institutional films, and documentaries. He’s also produced several music videos and short films for the Sundance Channel, MTV and PBS. Recently, Crows Run has produced a series of commercials for Wall to Wall Studios and their client Robert Morris University which won best television campaign at the 2011 Pittsburgh Addy’s. Past spot and campaign awards include Pittsburgh Addys, National Addys, Clio and New York Advertising Club. Kaz continues to help tell great stories with creative teams at agencies and major brands throughout the nation.

Leah Lizarondo

Leah Lizarondo is the CEO and Cofounder of 412 Food Rescue, a technology and logistics organization setting the standard for retail food recovery. Leah received her graduate degree in Public Policy & Technology from Carnegie Mellon University.

Founded in 2015, 412 Food Rescue is one of the fastest-growing food recovery organizations in the U.S. Creating the infrastructure for national retailers, 412 Food Rescue has prevented over 5 million pounds of food from going to waste via technology that mobilizes over 4,000 drivers--food rescue heroes--the largest volunteer food transport network in a single urban region. It is a scalable and replicable food recovery model that eliminates friction from retail and nonprofit operations, facilitating adoption and creating measurable impact on hunger.

Donald Lodge

Since 2018, Donald Lodge has served as a business consultant at Duquesne University’s Small Business Development Center where he assists entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses.  Over the last 18 years, he has worked with about 100 owners of private businesses as a consultant, advisor and coach.  He considers himself to be an expert on profitability improvement and human resources, especially employee benefits and compensation. 

Before that, Don had director-level desk jobs in human resources at big organizations like Westinghouse, Mercy Hospital, UPMC, and K & L Gates.  He also taught graduate-level courses in total compensation at Duquesne University, Carnegie Mellon University, and LaRoche University where he polished his stand-up comedian act.

Richard A. Longo

Rich Longo is currently a Business Consultant with Duquesne University/School of Business/ Small Business Development Center (SBDC) where he assists new and existing businesses in the areas of business plan development: financial forecasting/financial statement development: marketing strategy and implementation plans. Rich is also certified in Technology Commercialization.

Previous positions held include Owner/CEO  of RIOL; LLC a boutique consulting firm specializing in Group Medical Practice Management, Pay for Performance, Accountable Care Organizations (ACO’S) and Productivity and Quality Outcomes based physician-based compensation and Senior Vice President, Network Management for Devon Health Services, Inc. King of Prussia, PA, one of the largest regional PPO’s in the Northeast.

Rich has also served as adjunct facility at Robert Morris University  and the University of Pittsburgh. Rich received his Bachelor’s degree in Nursing (cum laude) from Duquesne University and a Master’s Degree (magna cum laude) from the University of Pittsburgh.

Angel Marschik

Angel Marschik brings over 37 years of diversified banking and economic development knowledge to her position as Supervisory Lender Relations Specialist at the SBA Pittsburgh District Office.  In this position Angel serves as the regional point of contact for all facets of SBA lending.  Banks and non-bank lenders rely on her to provide information, guidance and training on multiple SBA programs.  Her past experience includes commercial lending, international banking and alternative/SBA financing.  Prior to joining the SBA in 2016, Angel worked as the SBA Regional Manager/VP at KeyBank, where she was responsible for SBA loans ranging in size from $100k to $5 million. She is the recipient of the 2006 SBA Champion Award and the 2010 Entrepreneurial Excellence Award.

Tim McLaughlin

Tim McLaughlin is an award-winning video producer with nearly 30 years of cable and media industry experience. As a principal of 321Blink, Tim has assembled an industry-leading team of people to deliver marketing and content solutions that are unparalleled in the city. He is also very active in the community with various volunteer and leadership activities, including active Aspinwall Borough Councilman, former Board President of both Fox Chapel District Association and the Media Association of Pittsburgh, as well as ongoing involvements with Aspinwall Riverfront Park and Panera food delivery to the needy.

Michele Migliuolo

A Professor and Director of the Center for Excellence in Entrepreneurship at Duquesne University, Michele, also an investor, advisor, coach and mentor to multiple startups, has co-founded five technology companies. He has decades’ experience as an executive in manufacturing and sales of scientific capital equipment and analytical instruments, bridging technologies from the physical sciences to the life sciences. Recently Michele was an executive in Residence at TechGROWTH Ohio, a venture development organization, and Commercialization Alliance Manager at Innovation Works where he took the lead on accelerating technology transfer of federal research performed at the Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory. Michele received M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in physics from the University of Rochester

Miriam R. Parson

Miriam R. Parson, is a Pittsburgher who has worked in community development and sustainability for over a decade in Central and Western Pennsylvania. Miriam brings strengths in motivating and training teams to launch new projects, analyzing and adapting strategy, and bridging divided resources to grow new partnerships. She holds a Master's in Sustainability from Chatham University, Bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Environmental Studies from Gettysburg College, and she holds a LEED AP Operations & Maintenance and an EcoDistricts AP.

David M. Pinkosky

From managing a small city at age 22, to becoming a certified procurement professional, Dave Pinkosky now is transitioning his business acumen to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Western Pennsylvania District Office as a business opportunity specialist. In his 12-year career with the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, Dave assisted 700 clients receive more than $900 million in government contracts. Now, he’s crisscrossing our 27-county footprint helping entrepreneurs and small business owners increase their revenues and cash flow through SBA’s numerous federal contracting opportunities.

Dave shares SBA’s mission and his contracting expertise at partner workshops and group- eligibility instruction sessions as well as providing one-on-small business counseling to clients.

Dave graduated from Penn State University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in management and marketing.

Bill Ringle

Bill Ringle, President of System Ringle, has served as a trusted business advisor for owners and leaders of small- to mid-sized, privately held and family companies for 15 years..

Before launching System Ringle, Bill built Pittsburgh Flatroll, a startup company, from a closed, steel mill into a $10-million producer of aerospace alloys.  Following that, he was president of a titanium processing company. He led this business to achieve 52 consecutive, profitable months extending the company’s market reach domestically and internationally.

Bill translated this high-level, business expertise into assisting owners and leaders to achieve their business goals. Bill has been where you are.  In one-on-one, collaborative relationships with Bill, you learn how to broaden their roles as business owners who work on their businesses rather than just in their businesses.

Bill works comfortably with product and service businesses anywhere business fundamentals can be structured into the fabric of a client’s business. His proven business systems and methods provide sustainable results for business owners committed to achieving more for their customers, teams and families.

Brent Rondon

Brent Rondon manages the Global Business Program and the Program for Immigrant and International Entrepreneurs at the Duquesne University Small Business Development Center where he offers consulting on Exports, Imports, Start-ups and Foreign Direct Investment.

He managed the Pacific Alliance IMPACT project funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce where he has led business delegations to Mexico, Panama, Colombia, Peru, Chile and Puerto Rico.  He is a board member for Global Pittsburgh, Welcoming Pittsburgh, Sister Cities Association of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Diversity Communities and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He is a lecturer in business classes at Duquesne and University of Pittsburgh. He is fluent in Spanish and conversational Portuguese. He has an engineering degree from the University La Molina in Lima, Peru and a Master’s degree in Public and International Affairs as well as a Certificate in Latin American Studies from the University of Pittsburgh.

Jeff Schirm

Jeff Schirm, Chief Technical Officer of Ebb Sleep, has over 25 years of experience in bringing successful medical devices to market. Since joining Ebb in 2011, he has been responsible for all aspects of product research, design and development. Jeff has held various leadership roles in research & development and operations at Philips Respironics, a global leader in both the sleep and home respiratory care markets. He also served in several key engineering positions at GE.

He earned his B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh.

Ray Sidney-Smith

Ray Sidney-Smith, President of W3 Consulting, is the author of SoLoMo Success: Social Media, Local and Mobile Web Small Business Marketing Strategy Explained (with a second edition coming out in July 2019) and Podcasting for Small Business (scheduled to be published in September 2019). W3 Consulting is a technology; marketing and productivity training practice dedicated to helping Small Businesses market and manage on the Web, Mobile, and Social Media and beyond.

He presents for the Virginia SBDC's semi-monthly Webinar series, Google and Beyond: Marketing and Managing on the Web, which contains over 100 hours of digital marketing training videos.

Loren Smith

Loren Smith, a mentor with SCORE, puts his marketing expertise to work helping companies grow. He has over 40 years of corporate experience in Marketing and Sales in the life science industry. Although most of his working career has been in B-to-B marketing, he has led smaller companies to successful results in areas that have a consumer focus with an understanding of all the various tools of marketing at the right time in tech business cycle.  Loren has played key roles on process improvement teams within several companies at times when they have undergone strategic makeovers, mergers, expansions and divestitures. He is versed in the principles of Six Sigma, Theory of Constraints and Lean. The best answers start with the best questions.

Scot Teachout

Scot Teachout is a principal at Peak Performance Management. After graduating from the University of Texas, Scot embarked on a thirty-year career in insurance brokerage, holding positions of increasing responsibility in service, marketing, sales, sales management, and ultimately President.

Having been a loyal advocate of Peak Performance and Sandler Training, when it came time for a new direction, Scot knew exactly what he wanted to do.

“I now do, full time, what I have always enjoyed the most; help design, develop, and construct successful sales organizations.”

Business owners, executives, and salespeople, appreciate his ability to understand their operating environments and his practical approach to growing sales.

“Business is about profit and there are two ways to increase profit; reduce expenses or increase sales. Having done both, I can tell you that increasing sales is not only more effective and longer lasting, but a heck of a lot more fun!”

Heather Thomas

I am originally from the Pittsburgh area and as an SBA Lender, my passion is getting business owners access to capital to help them achieve their aspirations I began in the banking industry in 2006 and utilize that experience when handling transactions in areas such as owner-occupied real estate acquisition. I have honed my expertise to help those that I work with get the most from the programs available to them. At the same time, I aim to tailor the financing to the specific needs and preferences of the ownership team and expertise. I am passionate about helping a city that I love see growth expansion through the businesses and entrepreneurs that thrive here.

I am a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania and hold a BS in Finance. I currently serve on the Board of the Jean B. Purvis Community Health Center and Rivers of Steel. I am proud to serve on the RDFC’s Loan Committee.

Stephen Wayhart

For more than 30 years, Stephen Wayhart has built brands in a wide variety of industries from his Ad Agency days with General Motors’ Cadillac and Oldsmobile Dealer Marketing Groups to the corporate marketing side with McDonald’s and Sprint PCS. As BrandMill’s principal, he is consulted with Ford Motor Company, the Gateway Clipper Fleet, Kennywood Park, Idlewild & SoakZone, MARC Advertising, Pittsburgh Brewing, True Value Hardware and more. Moreover, as a servant leader, he has consulted with nearly 50 non-profit brands. Key achievements include creating the launch marketing plan for the famous automotive marketing device “The Club”; leading McDonald’s most successful public relations event in its history, “Big Mac’s 25th Anniversary” and serving as the brands youngest marketing manager in its history. Today, his award-winning firm excels in building brands by harnessing and exploiting their unique competitive advantage, while significantly reducing marketing expenses through key processes.

David Wilke

David Wilke is the Founder and Managing Partner of Wilke & Associates, CPA and Small Business Advisors. His entire career has been dedicated to being an advocate for privately held businesses and Certified Public Accounting. His skills have been proven in tax planning, business planning and business consulting. David earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting and Finance and his Master in Business Administration from Duquesne University. Since the founding of Wilke & Associates, David has grown the client base from 1 to over 2,000 clients and his staff has grown from 1 to over 40 employees. David has been nominated as Entrepreneur of year and Accountant Advocate of the year by the SBA. David currently serves on the Board of Light of Life Rescue Mission of Pittsburgh.

Ryan Wilkinson

Ryan Wilkinson, Director of Marketing of Primanti Brothers, is a marketing professional with experience leading digital and social strategy with clients ranging from national CPG brands to grocery, restaurant and retail. Having made a career of leveraging online audiences to drive real-world results – Ryan understands the opportunities – and pitfalls – of digital and social advertising. The strangest thing he has ever done for a client? Jumped in to a pool in Pittsburgh in late February holding a Nestle Drumstick. In that case, it is safe to say he was in over his head.


Last years Entrepreneur's Growth and Networking Conference

A breakout group in one of our conference rooms.
A breakout group in one of our conference rooms.
Dr. Mary McKinney , Dr. Dean McFarlin , Michael DelGrosso , and President Ken Gormley (Pictured left to right)
Dr. Mary McKinney , Dr. Dean McFarlin , Michael DelGrosso , and President Ken Gormley (Pictured left to right)
Jim Rooney From the Pittsburgh Steelers
Jim Rooney From the Pittsburgh Steelers
Lunch is served at the Entrepreneur's Growth and Networking Conference
Lunch is served at the Entrepreneur's Growth and Networking Conference

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