Dr. Susan Clark Muntean, UNC-Asheville

Entrepreneurship Professor
Track A: Start-Up Businesses

Susan Clark Muntean, Ph.D. teaches courses in Management, Organizational Behavior and Theory, Entrepreneurship, and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. She holds a certificate in Social Entrepreneurship from the United States Association for…

Timothy Montgomery, Redwood Valuation Partners

Redwood Valuation Partners
Director, CFA
Track C: Investor Ready

Tim Montgomery has worked in finance and business valuation since 1996. Since 2008, he has focused on a select clientele of prominent venture capital and private equity firms as well as venture and angel backed companies. Tim performs business…

Dr. Arthur Salido, WCU

Western Carolina University
Executive Director
Track E: Cluster Focus

Dr. Arthur Salido is the Executive Director for Community and Economic Engagement and Innovation, where he works to create partnerships that link university, nonprofit, government, and industry resources to address community and economic…

Josh Dorfman, Venture Asheville & Asheville Angels

Venture Asheville & Asheville Angels
Director of Entrepreneurship
Investor Ready

Josh leads Venture Asheville and is a green economy entrepreneur, author, and strategic adviser focused on building mainstream audiences for mission-driven brands. He is also Managing Director of Asheville Angels, the EDC’s member-based angel…

Mark Goldstein, Communication Mark

Communication Mark
President and CEO
Track D: Non-Profit Organizations

Mark Goldstein, CFRE, President and CEO, is most sought after as an expert proposal writer and project strategist. He is the creator of the Open Communication Fundraising Model, a system that enables all nonprofit agency stakeholders to…

Smithson Mills, Blue Ridge Food Ventures

Blue Ridge Food Ventures
Executive Director
Track E: Cluster Focus

Smithson Mills is an economic development consultant living in Asheville N.C. Smithson has led numerous feasibility studies and grant-funded projects to increase economic opportunities for farmers, small food businesses and rural communities. He…

Emily Edmonds, NCSU

NCSU Center for Environmental Farming Systems
NC Growing Together Project Extension & Outreach Program Manager
Track E: Cluster Focus

Emily Edmonds, MPA, currently serves as the Extension & Outreach Program Manager for the NC Growing Together Project, an initiative of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems. She has over a decade of experience in local and regional…

Stephanie Swepson-Twitty, Eagle Market Streets Development Corporation

Eagle Market Streets Development Corporation
Executive Director
Track D: Non-Profit Organizations

Stephanie Swepson-Twitty, President and CEO for Eagle Markets Streets Development Corporation, a native of North Carolina, residing in Old Fort, McDowell County, married with one son and three grandchildren. Stephanie is a Community Economic…

Nathan Ramsey, Land of Sky Regional Council

Land of Sky Regional Council
Mountain Area Business Development Board Director
Track E: Cluster Focus

Nathan Ramsey is the MAWDB Director on the Mountain Area Workforce Development Board at the Land of Sky Regional Council. Nathan also serves as the regional direct point of contact on NC Commerce Workforce Development projects, such as the…

Jeanne Milliken Bonds, Federal Reserve Bank

Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
Regional Community Development and Community Engagement Team Leader
Track B: Business Expansions

Jeanne Milliken Bonds is the Regional Community Development and Community Engagement Team Leader for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond’s District which includes Maryland, D.C., Virginia, most of West Virginia, North Carolina and South…

Jennifer King, Atlantic Capital Bank


Jennifer King is an SBA Business Development Officer at Atlantic Capital Bank. Atlantic Capital Bank serves middle market and emerging growth companies, private banking clients and top-tier real estate developers. By strategically combining the…

Jeff Roegge, Atlantic Capital Bank

Atlantic Capital Bank
SBA Division Manager
Track B: Business Expansions

Prior to joining Atlantic Capital Bank, Jeff Roegge was the SBA Team Lead for SunTrust Bank.  He joined SunTrust in October, 2014 and was recruited from St. Louis where he resided since 1991.  He has worked in the finance industry since 1993,…

Joseph Hackett, Green Opportunities

Green Opportunities
Executive Director
Track D: Non-Profit Organizations

Joseph “J” Hackett has served as Executive Director of Green Opportunities (GO)-an Asheville, NC-based non-profit organization-since February 2017. As Executive Director, Mr. Hackett leads GO’s work to build a resilient, inclusive workforce in…

Sandra Dennison, SBTDC

Regional Director
Track A: Start-Up Funding

Sandra S. Dennison is a general business counselor with the SBTDC. Prior to working at the SBTDC Sandra was a Community Outreach Manager with the American Cancer Society. She was awarded in 2014 and 2015 for exceeding community fundraising…

Dr. Lisa Fournier, Lenoir-Rhyne University

Lenoir-Rhyne University
Director, Social Entrepreneurship and Non-Profit Management
Track A: Start-Up Businesses

Dr. Fournier’s business journey began as an entrepreneur when she was a college undergraduate at Western Carolina University. After selling her first business in imprinted sportswear in the late 1990s, she pursued a path of working for several…

Ryan Moody, SunTrust Bank

SunTrust Bank
First Vice President, Commercial Banking
Track A: Start-Up Funding

Ryan Moody is a Relationship Manager in Asheville, NC in the Commercial Banking Division at SunTrust Bank. She works very closely with her client to understand their business cycles and cash flow while recommending appropriate strategies and…

Dr. David Jones, Lenoir-Rhyne University

Lenoir Rhyne University
Chair of Charles M. Snipes School of Business and Economics
Track B: Business Expansions

Dr. David Jones is an Associate Professor of Business, teaching marketing, management, and leadership at the Lenoir-Rhyne University Center for Graduate Studies of Asheville and is the Chair of Charles M. Snipes School of Business and Economics….

Megan Robinson, The Collider

The Collider
Executive Director
Track E: Cluster Focus

Megan Robinson is the Executive Director of The Collider. She is responsible for the strategic development and execution of programming, membership, cowork, and events. Prior to joining The Collider team, Megan was a Strategy and Management…

Sherry McCuller, Magellan Advisors

Magellan Advisors
Senior Consultant
Track E: Cluster Track

Fiber-optic Broadband Communications: Strategic Business Planning, Fundraising, Deployment Management, Federal Contract Administration and Compliance Over $336 million in grants, loans and private equity raised for new fiber-optic broadband…

Chris Reedy, NC BioNetwork

NC BioNetwork
Director, Industry Training for Food, Beverages and Natural Products
Track E: Cluster Focus

Director, Industry Training for Food, Beverages and Natural Products, has a Master’s degree, Business Administration from Xavier University. He has eight years of experience educating businesses entrepreneurs, and the public on food safety…

Kelly Foster, Mountain Bizworks

Mountain Bizworks
Small Business Lender
Track A: Start-Up Funding

Kelly joined Mountain BizWorks in October of 2015, bringing with her over 20 years of lending and underwriting experience. As a small business lender, Kelly is responsible for supporting and providing capital resources to small business. While…

Patrick Doran, Carolina Small Business Development Fund

Carolina Small Business Development Fund
Vice President of Business Development
Track E: Cluster Focus

Patrick Doran serves as Vice President of Business Development for Carolina Small Business Development Fund. In his role, he manages all business development activity by establishing new partnerships and referral sources to increase the delivery…

Katie Crumpler, NC Community Foundation

NC Community Foundation
Western Regional Director
Track D: Non-Profit Organizations

Katie B. Crumpler is the Western Regional Director for the NC Community Foundation, where she works with nine affiliate foundations in the far west corner of North Carolina. She supports affiliate foundation boards’ community leadership…

Janelle Wienke, Asheville Area Arts Council

Asheville Area Arts Council
Grants Manager
Track D: Non-Profit Organizations

Janelle Wienke has a life time ingrained in the arts. Her education in anthropology, sustainable development and community and regional planning has propelled her into the field of creative placemaking. Previously the Entrepreneurship, and Small…

Leslie Anderson, Leslie Anderson Consulting

Leslie Anderson Consutling
Founder and Owner
Track D: Non-Profit Organizations

For over 40 years, as a volunteer and public servant, and as a consultant for the past 11 years, Leslie Anderson has sought to improve the future of North Carolina and beyond. Leslie’s experiences in the community are diverse:  active advocate,…

Hunter Goossmann, ERC Broadband

ERC Broadband
Executive Director and CEO
Track E: Cluster Focus

Hunter Goosmann is the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Education & Research Consortium of the Western Carolinas, Inc (ERC, dba ERC Broadband). With twenty plus years in IT/Telecom leadership roles and twelve years…

Stephen Poland, 1×1 Media & ScaleUp WNC

1x1 Media, A-B Tech Community College
Director, Embedded Entrepreneur
Track C: Investor Ready

Stephen R. Poland co-founded 1×1 Media, a publisher of tools, templates, and how-to guides for startup founders and entrepreneurs. Steve has worked with hundreds of founders and entrepreneurs, mentoring them on startup mechanics, funding plans,…

Tom Ryan, Supportedly & Start100 Fund

Supportedly.com and Start100 Fund
CEO and General Partner
Track B: Business Expansions

Tom’s professional mission is to help entrepreneurs everywhere succeed both in business and in life.  Drawing on over two decades of experience as a serial entrepreneur, investor, entrepreneur-in-residence, and coach and mentor; Tom has a knack…

Danny Yelton, Carter CPA

Carter CPA
Vice President & Accounting Director
Track C: Investor Ready

Danny Yelton is the Accounting Director for Carter P.C. He is licensed as a Certified Public Accountant in North Carolina, and has over 20 years of accounting, tax and audit experience. As the Accounting Director, Danny supervises CFO assistance…

Sara Nichols, Madison County NC

Madison County EDC
Community Development Planner
Track E: Cluster Track

Sara Nichols currently serves as the Community Development Planner for Madison County, North Carolina. She is a project Coordinator passionate about meaningful work in communities related to natural resources and their importance to a community….

Annie Price, Bird’s Eye Business Planning

Bird's Eye Business Planning & Adventures
Track A: Start-Up Businesses

Founder of Birds Eye Business Planning and Adventures, Annie is an entrepreneurial learning facilitator, trainer, coach, and consultant. Bird’s Eye’s mission is to generate success and support along the journeys of entrepreneurs and…

Oby Morgan, Capital at Play

Capital at Play magazine
Track A: Start-Up Funding

Oby Morgan has not only been responsible for scores of profiles of entrepreneurs, he is an entrepreneur of note himself. Having launched Capital at Play in September 2011—at a time when the U.S. was still trying to recover from a crippling…

Keynote: Josh Jacobson, Next Stage Consulting

Next Stage Consulting
Managing Director

Josh Jacobson brings diverse experiences in organizational development to his leadership of Next Stage Consulting, a strategy and implementation firm based in Charlotte, NC and serving nonprofit organizations and social cause start-ups…

Rebecca Crandall, McGuire, Bissette and Wood

McGuire, Wood and Bissette
Track C: Investor Ready

Rebecca Crandall is passionate about assisting entrepreneurs in protecting some of their most valuable assets, their intellectual property. As the only North Carolina Board Certified Trademark Specialist in Western North Carolina and a…

Jodi Rhoden, Bird’s Eye Business Planning

Bird's Eye Business Planning & Adventures
Writer, Activist, Teacher
Track A: Start-Up Businesses

Jodi Rhoden is the founder and former owner of Short Street Cakes in West Asheville and the author of Cake Ladies: Celebrating a Southern Tradition. Jodi uses her 10-years of small-scale business experience to offer classes and one-on-one…

Douglas English, ACT Advisors

ACT Advisors
Certified Financial Planner
Track C: Investor Ready

Doug has been in the financial industry for more than 20 years with 18 years as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™. Doug has an MBA in finance and is the founder of ACT Advisors a Registered Investment Advisory firm headquartered in Asheville NC. …

Dr. Jonathan Snover, NC Biotech Center

NC Biotechnology Center
Executive Director of Western NC
Track E: Cluster Focus

Jonathan Snover assumed responsibilities for the Western Office of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center in January of 2016. He works with regional stakeholders to expand opportunities for biotechnology-based business growth. Snover serves as…

Andrew Crosson, Rural Support Partners

Rural Support Partners
Director of Regional Initiatives
Track D: Non-Profit Organizations

Andrew has been at Rural Support Partners since June of 2012. A native of Appalachia, his path to sustainable economic development work began in a small farming community in the mountains of rural Western North Carolina. He completed…

Jane Hatley, Self Help Credit Union

Self Help Credit Unions
WNC Regional Director
Track A: Start-Up Funding

Jane Hatley is the Western North Carolina Regional Director for Self-Help Credit Union. Self-Help is a community development lender, credit union, and real estate developer that works with individuals, organizations and communities traditionally…

Jill Sparks, A-B Tech Small Business Center

A-B Tech Community College
Executive Director of Small Business Center & Incubator
Track A: Start-Up Funding

Jill Sparks is the Executive Director of Small Business Center and Business Incubator at the Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College and serves as the Regional Director of the Small Business Center Network. She helps to provide business…

Todd Alston, SBTDC

Business Counselor
Track B: Business Expansions

Before working at the SBTDC, Todd worked as a regional account manager with Sprint Communications. Todd spent fourteen years within the telecommunication industry fulfilling various roles, including lead sales consultant, sales manager, and…

Charlie Jackson, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project

Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project
Executive Director
Track D: Non-Profit Organizations

Charlie Jackson is the Executive Director and founder of Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP), one of the nation’s oldest local food advocacy nonprofits in the country. He has a MA in history from the University of Maine and nearly…

Jennifer Pickering, LEAF Community Arts

LEAF Community Arts
Founder and Executive Director
Track D: Non-Profit Organizations

Jennifer Pickering is the founder and Executive Director of LEAF, which is a non-profit organization, building community, connecting cultures and enriching lives through the arts – locally and globally – with festivals, community events, and…

Adam Charnack, Hi Wire Brewing

Hi Wire Brewing Company
Co-Owner, Ringmaster
Track B: Business Expansions

As is typical with small, growing companies, I wear 100 hats [at Hi-Wire Brewing in Asheville, N.C.] The best way to describe my day-to-day responsibilities is that I’m working on the company’s future, while my business partner concentrates more…

Roy Morejon, Enventys Partners

Enventys Partners
Track A: Start-Up Businesses

Roy Morejon brings over 20 years experience in delivering integrated marketing services for B2B and B2C clients, helping transform companies by increasing online visibility and brand awareness through targeted digital marketing, corporate…

Zurilma Annuel, Carolina Small Business Development Fund

Carolina Small Business Development Fund
Latino Program Director
Track A: Start-Up Businesses

Zurilma Anuel serves as the Latino Program Director. In her position, she directs the Latino Program, underwrites loans and provides one-on-one training and business coaching. Prior to coming to Carolina Small Business Development Fund, Zuri…

Celeste Collins, OnTrack WNC

OnTrack WNC
Executive Director
Track A: Start-Up Businesses

CELESTE COLLINS is the Executive Director of OnTrack Financial Education & Counseling, formerly Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Western North Carolina. OnTrack WNC is a nonprofit, which serves the western 18 counties of NC helping…

Michael Palermo, Palermo Law

Palermo Law
Owner, Attorney
Track B: Business Expansions

Michael Palermo was born and raised in Chicago.  After 47 years in the city and almost 25 years as a business lawyer, he felt needed a change.  He took a year off in 2014 to recharge, living in the remote mountains of Idaho.  In 2015 him and his…

Tom Mock, Asheville SCORE

Asheville SCORE
Track A: Start-Up Businesses

Tom Mock is a retired marketing and communications executive from the telecommunications industry.  HIs most recent assignment was running corporate marketing and PR for a $2.5B communications equipment manufacturer in the Washington, DC area….

Ryan Coffield, Van Winkle Law Firm

Van Winkle Law Firm
Track A: Start-Up Funding

Ryan Coffield is a member of The Van Winkle Law Firm’s Business Practice, where he works with small and mid-size businesses on all phases of corporate life, including entity choice, formation, ongoing operations, reorganizations and owner…

Christopher Murrey, Mountain Bizworks

Mountain Bizworks
Chief Credit Officer
Track B: Business Expansions

Christopher Murrey is the Chief Credit Officer at Mountain BizWorks in Asheville.  He leads a lending team with a mission to finance and support small business throughout Western North Carolina.  His previous work with Carolina Financial Group…

Lacy Cross, Entegra Bank

Entegra Bank
Commercial Banker
Track A: Start-Up Funding

Lacy is a Commercial Banker for Entegra Bank, a 1.5 Billion dollar Community Bank that has offices in NC, SC, & GA.  He has been in banking since graduating from University of North Carolina Asheville with a major in Monetary Finance and…

Thom Ruhe, NC IDEA


LUNCH KEYNOTE Acceleration: Maximizing High-Growth Entrepreneurial Endeavors through NC Seed Grants & Programming NC IDEA is a private foundation with a mission to maximize the economic potential of the people of North Carolina by supporting…

Tommy Dennison, PNC Bank

PNC Bank
Business Development Officer
Track B: Business Expansions

As Business Development Officer, Tommy is responsible for building relationships and sourcing loans for the PNC Bank portfolio. He also provides technical assistance to applicants by helping them analyze their current and projected financial…