2020 Judging Panel
Meet Our 2020 Judges
Bipin Agarwal is an entrepreneur and executive with a track record of driving visionary technology solutions for Fortune 500, high-growth, and start-up organizations. He has proven abilities to identify and align IT initiatives with business objectives. Bipin also has expertise in developing high performance teams to support software, infrastructure, and right-sourcing programs.
In Bipin’s current role as a CEO of AiVante, he is focused on creating transparency for employers and end users when buying healthcare plan. AiVante goal is to reduce the cost for buyers by 50+ Billion. He is integrally involved with acquiring venture capital funding and developing sales and marketing programs. Bipin has invested in and advised many companies in financial services, telecommunication, technology services, and hospitality. Some examples of his success include:
SppedEra, which was sold to Akamai in 2005 for $110M. Value of the transaction has since tripled for this infrastructure-based business to deliver digital content across the globe.
Forte Research, a clinical trail software company. Angel investor. Company was sold for $180 million in 2019.
Zerology, Platform for ride sharing for business, consumer and community. Angel Investor. Company has recently raised 1.3 million and is well positioned to be a successful player.
Investor in HealthXVenture. This is a ten million dollar fund and invest into early stage. Fund is fully invested in 15 companies.
Bipin was a co-founder and Executive Vice President for multiple divisions of Tanning Technology Corporation from 1993 to 2000. He led this high-end technical consulting firm in growth from two to more than 500 employees with operations in the U.S., Europe, and India. He assisted in raising $12M in first-round funding and $60M in successful IPO launch. Bipin participated in M&A activity, developed strategic business alliances, and maintained analyst relationships. His success is directly linked to the ability to implement a multi-tiered vision consisting of leveraging new business opportunities, linking technology strategy to corporate goals, team-building, and optimal resource management.
Elisabeth Armstrong is faculty in Colorado Christian University's School of Science and Engineering. Armstrong graduated with university honors, earning a B.A. in political science and philosophy from Colorado Christian University, and a later, an M.Sc. in bioethics from Columbia University. She is currently earning a Doctorate in bioethics and health policy at Loyola University of Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine.
Armstrong works as Director of Public Relations for Proactive MD — a national Advanced Primary Care organization. She has a background in finance working for various venture capital groups, and formerly worked as an EMMY-nominated news anchor and broadcast journalist at stations across the country, in addition to filing reports for FOX News Channel, and i24 in Tel Aviv.
Elizabeth Ellis has spent 20 years leading private sector and agricultural development efforts in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. She joined International Development Enterprises (iDE) in 2013, first as Chief Operating Officer before becoming CEO in early 2019. iDE uses the power of businesses – wholly owned social enterprises; large multinational corporations like Kohler and Coca-Cola; and hundreds of small, often family-owned indigenous businesses – to reach millions of people with tangible impact in agriculture, nutrition, WASH, climate change, and women's economic empowerment.
She is leading iDE to even greater impact by scaling up iDE's approaches in WASH and agriculture to reach another 20 million more people with products and services that increase their incomes and improve their livelihoods. Prior to joining iDE, she worked in DC on USAID-funded economic growth and agriculture projects before moving to Morocco, where she helped export the country’s first blueberries into Europe; and then to Nigeria, where she helped raise farm yields and incomes through partnerships with Olam, Heineken, and the Government of Nigeria.
Ellis serves as the Vice-Chair of the Posner Center for International Development, and a board member of Hydrologic, an award-winning social enterprise in Cambodia owned by iDE as well as iDE UK and iDE Ghana. Ellis received her MPA/PP from Rutgers University and her BA from Grinnell College in History and Global Development Studies.
Dave Harris is the Director of Operations for Rockies Venture Club (RVC). RVC is the longest running angel investor group in the US and is a non-profit organization centered on furthering economic development in Colorado by connecting investors and entrepreneurs through conferences (Angel Capital Summit, and the Colorado Capital Conference), networking events, educational offerings and facilitation of Colorado’s largest angel investor groups. RVC has led investments totaling over $45M to Colorado start-ups since 2014. In addition, Dave is an active Board Member for the non-profit organizations, like the Biz Girls CEO Accelerator.
Dave is also a Managing Partner with the Rockies Venture Fund (RVF), a seed-stage venture fund that operates alongside RVC, and Managing Director of the Rockies Impact Fund (RIF), a venture fund centering on for-profit social and environmental startups.
Prior to joining RVC and the funds, Dave worked with several dozen companies as a collaborative start-up consultant specializing in capital strategy and fund raising, business development, and marketing. He also has 7+ years experience in international finance and project management at Thomson Reuters and Lipper, covering the financial markets for Latin America, Europe, and Canada.
Dave is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder, and he enjoys climbing 14ers, backpacking, mountain biking, and cooking; often all simultaneously, while still answering emails.
John A. Kelley, Jr. has been the Chair and CEO of CereScan, a functional brain diagnostics company headquartered in Denver, Colorado since 2009. Previously, John served as the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of McDATA Corporation, until its acquisition by Brocade Communications Systems, Inc. in 2007. Prior to McDATA, he served as Executive Vice President of Networks at Qwest Communications International after it acquired US West. His tenure at US West included President of Wholesale Markets, Senior Vice-President and General Manager of Large Business and Government Accounts, and President of the Federal Systems Group. Prior to US West, he was an Area President and a Vice President and General Manager at Mead Corporation.
Mr. Kelley has been a member of the board of directors of Polycom, Inc. (NASDAQ), and Emulex Corporation (NYSE). His private company board work has included, Aztek Networks, Stored IQ, Circadence Corporation and 3 Leaf Networks.
Mr. Kelley has been a frequent keynote speaker focusing on technology, leadership, best practices management, and corporate ethics on a local and a national level.
Mr. Kelley holds a B.S. in business management from the University of Missouri, St. Louis. He served in the US Army from 1970 to 1972.
Ms. Lance’s legal career includes representing large and small for profit and not-for profit organizations, with choice of entity selection, organization, business purchase and sell transactions, financing, corporate governance, private offerings of securities and contract needs. Donna’s former experience as a chief financial officer and general counsel of a bank and bank holding company provides her a unique perspective for representing lenders and borrowers. Donna also has significant experience with commodities hedging instruments, including the use of derivatives and ISDA contracts. Donna’s experience as in-house counsel with large and small and growing companies provides her valuable insight into the needs and challenges of businesses and business owners.
Donna also advises individuals with their private business ownership issues and their estate planning needs. Ms. Lance considers the use of business organizations, will, trusts, and buy-sell agreements as mechanisms to accomplish the desires of her individual clients. Ms. Lance has valuable insight into the financial needs of individuals and ability to communicate with the individual’s other trusted advisors, including financial planners.
Donna earned a BS in Business Administration and an M.B.A. from the University of Kansas, with each degree concentrated in finance and accounting. After serving as a Sr. Vice President and Controller of a bank and bank holding company, Donna attended Washburn University School of Law, graduating Cum Laude. While in law school, Donna represented Washburn University in Moot Court competition and served on the Washburn Law Journal, publishing an article titled “Can The Glass-Steagall Act Be Justified Under the Global Free Market Policies Of The NAFTA.”
Kimberly Lucas is the Founder and Chief People Connector at Goldstone Partners, Inc., a Colorado-based search and talent advisory firm specializing in recruitment strategy and engaged search for privately-held companies. As a seasoned entrepreneur and career coach, Kimberly is committed to helping founders build strong, profitable companies that stand the test of time.
As a Certified StrengthsFinder coach, she works with individuals and teams to help them achieve their stated objectives. Kimberly is an active mentor for MBA students at the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business, serves on the board of the Rockies Venture Club and is a contributing writer for the Denver Business Journal Leadership Trust. She is also founding member of the Women’s Investor Network and facilitates a Mastermind group for Lady Founders.
Kori McClurg is a managing partner at McClurg Century Investments, a family office in Englewood, CO. Also as the CEO of Astute Brands, most of her time is spent leading an amazing team of professionals across several food and beverage companies that comprise that portfolio. Ori’Zaba’s, Wild Plum, and Melita’s Table are all exciting brands that are in the midst of expansion.
Stuart Smith serves as the Chief Executive Officer at Buehler Companies.
Stuart earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Marketing from the University of North Texas and began his sales career in the apparel industry. Despite his success in apparel, Stuart was driven to be an entrepreneur and found an opportunity in the moving business. Stuart purchased Buehler Moving and Storage in 1994 and began his mission of growing the company into one of the strongest agents in the Mayflower Transit system.
In 1996, Stuart acquired Buehler Transfer and Storage of Texas, located in Fort Worth. In 2002, Stuart saw the opportunity to diversify Buehler, and created Alliance Relocation, an agent for United Van Lines.
Stuart has continued to drive the expansion of Buehler, purchasing Manitou Express Moving and Storage in Colorado Springs, adding Student Movers in Denver, and adding Buehler Moving and Storage of New Mexico in Albuquerque.
Stuart’s determination to grow the company has been fueled by his willingness to reinvest in the company, as Buehler has purchased six new warehouses in the past ten years. Buehler is currently the fourth largest hauler in the Mayflower Transit system and has been recognized with numerous awards, including being selected as one Colorado’s Companies to Watch by CoBiz Magazine and 2018 Best Moving Company.
Outside of Buehler, Stuart serves on the advisory board for both Vectra Bank and the Colorado Motor Carriers Association. Stuart, who earned the rank of Eagle Scout in his younger years, is an active supporter of the Boy Scouts of America and still enjoys spending his downtime in the outdoors.
Beth Ann Taylor is the vice president of economic development for the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC. She oversees business attraction efforts; working directly with companies and site location consultants considering Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region for new business locations. She assists with site visits, incentive analysis, real estate needs, and business-to-business introductions.
Prior to joining the Chamber & EDC, Taylor worked for the Governors Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) in an appointed position in Western Colorado during Governor Bill Ritter’s term. Beth’s focus as a Business Development Representative for the State was in community organizing and connection. As a business and community outreach specialist Taylor reported direct to the Division Director for OEDIT. Taylor strengths in community allowed for her to easily disseminate information to Western Slope entities, businesses and individuals on state economic development programs, including business assistance (SBDC), financing (Business Finance), and job training programs working closely with Colorado WorkForce. This position covered 22 counties in Western Colorado. Working with Economic Development partners and organizations on issues and activities in the region, including program and technical assistance, prospect development, distribution of business leads, and providing current economic data and demographic data. Taylor served as a business liaison with ED organizations, local Chamber of Commerce, and all local government. Taylor was fortunate to be part of the transition team for Governor Hickenlooper’s team to kick off the beginning stages of the Colorado Blueprint strategy for a Statewide Economic Development program.
Taylor has more than 20 years of experience in the medical and pharmaceutical industry and a proven history of managing multi-million-dollar portfolios. Community involvement is important to Taylor. She currently is a Board Member with the Colorado Procurement and Technical Assistance Center (PTAC).
Taylor graduated Cum Laude from Regis University Denver Colorado with a degree in Communication and a minor in Psychology. Beth and her husband Bruce, enjoy hiking, cross country skiing, traveling, and everything else this outdoor paradise called Colorado provides. They have five now adult children and four grandsons.
Phil Del Vecchio is the current Director of company-wide Organizational Development initiatives (Culture & Talent) for JBS Foods, which is the second largest food company in the world. During his time at JBS, Phil has visited 62 global facilities, learning the business from a local perspective and studying the common strategies that drive performance and a positive culture. Currently, Phil’s team manages seven (7) leadership development programs and four (4) talent programs along with the five-step Performance Management strategy for JBS.
Phil started his career at Sonos, Inc. where he managed Global Leadership Development and Performance Management. In this startup environment Phil also had the opportunity to manage additional HR functions from time to time including Benefits, Compensation, Onboarding and Employee Relations. Phil has also obtained two post graduate degrees, including an M.A. in Sport and Performance Psychology and an M.A. in Positive Organizational Psychology. Phil has conducted O.D. and Performance research with mentor, Mike Csikszentmihalyi (founder of Flow theory) and worked within this field for nearly fifteen (15) years.
In addition to his professional and educational background, Phil also sits on two Boards: The Executive Leadership Advisory Board at Colorado State University and The Greeley, CO. Area Chamber of Commerce Board. In his spare time, Phil enjoys spending time with family in the Colorado Mountains (golfing and hiking in the summer and snowboarding and snowmobiling in the winter).