Mr. Richard Benham, Attorney of Benham Law Firm
Richard Benham is an attorney in private practice in Tallahassee, Florida. Engaged in the information technology field for over twenty years, he has held technical, marketing, and business administration positions with numerous large and small technology firms. Prior to admission in the Florida Bar, he co-founded and was President of a privately held software development company. Mr. Benham concentrates his law practice on Business and Commercial matters with a special emphasis on Intellectual Property related transactions.
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Dr. Nolia Brandt, Associate Director, Jim Moran Institute for Entrepreneurship of Florida State University
Dr. Nolia Brandt is an Associate Director of the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship (JMI) at Florida State University's college of Business in Tallahassee, Florida. She is also President of Brandt Informatio Services, a successful, award-winning information technology company. Dr. Brandt has over thirty years of highly recognized leadership in business, information technology,a nd social services. She specializes in organizational, human resource, and leadership development; change management; business analysis and partnerships. Much of her work has been in policy analysis and development, strategic planning, monitoring, evaluation, advocacy and trainng. Dr. Brandt holds a Ph.D. in Education and two Master's degrees from Florida State University.
Dr. Brandt, through the JMI, provides business consulting services to entrepreneurs and small businesses, mainly in Florida and South Georgia. She runs the JMI Mentor-Mentee Program, manages quality assurance on the Accelerator Program, developed and runs a Guerrilla Marketing Program as a three college collaborative, and is developing other small business programs. Dr. Brandt's publications address business and entrepreneurial issues.
As President of Brandt Information Services, Inc., Dr. Brandt and her teams grew revenue by 465% in a three year period, putting the company on the coveted Inc Magazine's Inc 500 list of America's fastest-growing private companies; grew the company's customer base from two states to thirty-three states, and from one service line to eight product and services lines of business. The company also grew to five times the number of employees, and added additional jobs for contractors and multiple subcontractors. Other awards that the company obtained under Dr. Brandt's leadership include multiple DiversityBusiness.com awards in 2003, 2004, and 2005 as a Top Diversity-Owned Business and outstanding in leadership, entrepreneurship, and outstanding community service; Software Magazine's Software 500 list for three years; the Jim Moran Institute's award for Entrepreneurial Excellence in 2003; and the company was honored by the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce with the Technology Business of the Year Award in 2003.
Dr. Brandt serves on many community service boards. She works with non-profit organizations and associations dedicated to education and economic development, and to the delivery of services to individuals and communities.
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Mrs. Linda Dilworth, Chief Operating Officer of KMR Consultants, LLC
Mrs. Dilworth assumes responsibilities for production of the firm's products and solutions, strategic planning, staff, and daily operations. Prior to joining KMR Consultants, Linda served 30 years in the professional public sector having served as Director of Finance for the State of Florida's Comptroller's Office and as Assistant Secretary for Economic Sufficiency Services for the Florida Department of Children and Families. She managed the Department's Welfare Reform program and also policy and administration of TANF, Food Stamps, Medicaid, KidCare, Silver Saver, Refugee Assistance, Individual Family Grant, Emergency Family Housing Assistance Program eligibility and also Benefit Recovery and Nutrition Education programs.
Mrs. Dilworth is a product of the public educational system of Leon County, Florida. Following graduation from Rickards High School, she enrolled in Florida A&M University where she received a B.S. degree in Biology/Pre-Medicine. Subsequently she attended one year of medical studies in the University of Florida's Program in Medical Sciences. She earned the M.S.P.A. degree in Public Administration at Florida State University where she also completed Public Administration doctoral coursework.
Her numerous civic affiliations include curently serving as Southern Area Treasurer of The Links, Inc. serving nine (9) states, The Bahamas and South Africa, President of Club '54, Inc., Past Presidents of Tallahassee Chapter of The Links, Tallahassee Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc., Holy Comforter Episcopal School PTO, Tallahassee Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and Silver Dome Chapter of American Business Women's Association. She currently serves on the Tallahassee Museum Board of Directors, Vestry Member of St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church and was a member of Leadership Tallahassee Class IX and Florida Impact Board of Directors. Linda served as General Chair of the NAACP Freedom Fund Events of 1991 and 1993. Her community service contributions also include the John G. Riley House Museum where she served as Dedication and Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies Event General Chairperson in 1996, and Endowment Fund Campaign and Gala General Chair from 2000 through 2002.
Linda is married to Jerome Dilworth and has one adult son, J. Glendon, II, an aerospae engineer employed by The Boeing Company at NASA and currently enrolled in graduate studies at Columbia Unviersity.
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Mr. Todd Franklin, President of Comm-Engines
Todd Franklin is President and founder of Comm-Engines which was formed in 2001. Starting with a BSEE for the Georgia Institute of Technology, he has spent the last 22 years involved with the design, development and manufacturing of various wireless products. He has worked within large corporations like Rockwell/Collins, Motorola and Sensormatic. He has also worked within numerous small and start-up corporations. This experience has given him a unique understanding of marketing, product development and manufacturing. He has seen, first hand, what is successful and what is not when marketing against large corporations and how to manufacture product without owning a factory.
Todd has designed products for the military community which has stringent requirements for performance, durability and reliability. He has also designed products for the high volume commercial market which is very sensitive to cost, manufacturing production yields and performance.
Todd has significant management and business experience. For 6 years, he managed his own company in south Florida. With his partner, they provided complete wireless design services to start-up companies. Clients would bring ideas and they would deliver hardware which performed to the clients requirements. He has also managed teams of engineers as large as 30 people. Directing and coordinating the activities of each person to meet the scheduling and cost needs of multiple deisgn and development projects performed in parallel.
Taking the Comm-Engines products from idea to manufacturing and delivery to customer is what he has done for 22 years.
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Mr. Roger Miller, Eastern Region Representative of Florida's Great Northwest, Inc.
Roger Miller is the Eastern Region Representative for Florida's Great Northwest. His responsibilities include primarily the WIRED Northwest Florida Initiative, but also project activity such as site selection and incentive information. Roger is based in the newly created FGNW office in Tallahassee.
Prior to joining Florida's Great Northwest, Roger was Vice President of Recruitment for Enterprise Florida, responsible for project management. Roger joined Enterprise Florida as Director for North American Recruitment in the Expansion, Retention and Recruitment group in 1996. He is the former bureau chief for industry development with the Florida Department of Commerce.
Roger joined the Florida Department of Commerce as a Development Representative in February 1984. He served in various positions in the Bureau of Industry Development and was Supervisor for National Marketing from 1988 to 1994. During that period of time, Florida was the number one state in the U.S. with new business locations and start-ups for five of those years. He was appointed Bureau Chief in June 1994.
At the Department of Commerce and Enterprise Florida, he has been the lead rep on a number of significant projects such as American Express, Champion, Citibank, AT&T, Chase, Fidelity Investments, Time-Life, Ford Motor Credit, GE Power Systems, and a number of smaller industries. In June 2007, Roger was voted the Economic Development Professional of the year by his peers in the industry.
Before joining the Department of Commerce, Roger was in sales positions for 19 years with private industry. Most of that time was with medical and pharmaceutical related industries.
He earned his bachelor's degree from Troy State University, Troy, AL, in Biological Science and Chemistry. He completed EDI in Norman, OK and has done additional advanced studies in business and economic development. He is married, has two sons, four grandsons and two granddaughters.
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Ms. Linda Nicholsen, Executive Director of Innovation Park
Ms. Nicholsen has over twenty years of experience in the development and operation of a university related research park. She currently serves as the executive director of Innovation Park. The park is affiliated with the two state universities and is governed by a county authority. The mission of the authority is to enhance the research capabilities of the universities, to create jobs, and to diversify the tax base of the county.
Innovation Park now contains sixteen buildings, with over 900,000 square feet of research offices and labs. There are 50 tenant organizations employing 2,000 citizens. The newest development at the park is The Incubator at Innovation Park. The incubator is a joint project with the FAMU Small Business Development Center and the park authority. The goal of the incubator is to enable start up firms to reach full potential with intense training and consulting. Ms. Nicholsen serves as the co-director of the incubator.
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Dr. Randal Pinkett, Chairman & CEO of BCT Partners
Randal Pinkett has established himself as an entrepreneur, speaker, author and community servant. He is the founder, chairman and CEO of BCT Partners, a multimillion dollar, management, technology and policy consulting services firm based in Newark, NJ, that works with corporations, government agencies and philanthropic organizations. BCT Partners is a minority-owned and operated company and one of the leading firms in the country with expertise in the following industries: housing and community development, economic development, healthcare, human services and education.
Pinkett was also named the winner of NBC's hit reality television show, The Apprentice, with Donald Trump. He was selected as one of 18 candidates chosen from among 1 million applicants to compete for the opportunity to run one of Donald Trump's companies. During his first year, he was responsible overseeing both renovation and information technology projects for Trump Entertainment Resorts in Atlantic City, NJ. Since then, Pinkett has maintained a role with the Trump Organization as a boardroom advisor on The Apprentice, national spokesperson for the Trump Institute and faculty member for Trump University.
Prior to founding BCT Partners, Pinkett gained corporate experience as a member of Technical Staff at General Electric, AT&T Bell Laboratories, and Lucent Technologies. He holds five degrees: a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Rutgers University; a master of science in computer science from the University of Oxford in England; a master of science in electrical engineering; a MBA; and a Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Pinkett has received numerous awards: the National Society of Black Engineers' National Member of the Year, NCAA Academic All-American, and has been recognized by USA TODAY newspaper as one of the top 20 scholars in the country. Also, he has been featured on nationally televised programs such as The Today Show, Live with Regis and Kelly, Nightline and Larry King Live. He is a brand ambassador for Verizon Communications and Outback Steakhouse, and a spokesperson for Autism Speaks; National Black MBA Association; Miller Urban Entrepreneurs Series; New Jersey Reads; and Junior Achievement of New York. Most notably, Pinkett is a Rhodes Scholar, and was the first and only African-American ever to receive this prestigious award at Rutgers University.
He is the author of Campus CEO: The Student Entrepreneur's Guide to Launching a Multimillion-Dollar Business and No-Money Down CEO: How to Start Your Dream Business with Little or No Cash. His forthcoming book, Black Faces in White Places, chronicles his experiences as well the experiences of his college roommate, Jeffrey Robinson, as African Americans who have successfully navigated predominantly white institutions.
He is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., as well as a member of the board of directors for the New Jersey Public Policy Research Institute (NJPPRI), the Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network (N-TEN), and the Institute for Innovation in Government Technology (IIGT), and the board of advisors for the Community Technology Centers' Network (CTCNet).
Born in Philadelphia and raised in New Jersey, Pinkett attends First Baptist Church in Somerset, NJ, where he resides. He is happily married to his wife, Zahara, and they are both proud parents of their daughter, Amira. He firmly believes that "to whom much is given, much is expected," so throughout his endeavors, he places great emphasis on his desire to give back to the community.
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Mr. Jack Sams, Director of Licensing of Floida State University
Jack manages the acquisition and commercialization of new intellectual property for the Department of IP Development and Commercialization. Jack joined our Office in 1998, ending a short retirement from a long career at IBM, where he managed the development and acquisition of operating systems for a variety of real time multicomputers and engineering workstations. At various times, he has also been a consulting engineer, owned several small businesses, and started a business incubator. Jack has a BS in Chemistry from Texas Tech, an MS in Engineering from Tulane, and participated in the Executive MBA program at Florida Atlantic University.
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Mr. Chris Workman, Certified Business Analyst of Florida &M University-Small Business Development Center
Chris is a CPA with over twenty year experience as a small business owner. He also holds an MBA, is licensed as a life, health, and variable annuity agent in Florida, and is a Certified Business Anlayst. His areas of specialization include: general business management, financial systems, and taxation.
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Professor Richard Wright, Professor of Florida A&M University
Attorney Richard Wright holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Southern California and earned a Juris Doctorate from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. Immediately after passing the California Bar, Attorney Wright was appointd to the position of California State Inheritance Tax Referee for San Francisco by the California Secretary of State.
While State Inheritance Tax Referee, Attorney Wright concurrently led the law firm of Trans International Consultants from its beginnings in 1980. Trans International Consultants specializes in the introduction of new products into foreign markets. International projects initiated under his leadership include the distribution of Aloe-Vera gel into Japan for production of various consumer proejcts, and the introduction of Microcapsule Engineering Epoxy System used in the repair and waterproofing of dams, pipelines, and water treatment plants.
Over the years, Attorney Wright has advised both small and major organizations on issues involving start-up, to bankruptcy. Some of the firms to which he has served as advisor, legal consultant, and general counsel include the Bay Area Black Chamber of Commerce, Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Pan American Trading Co. of Japan, Tescon, Inc. of Japan, USA Tax Service, Inc., Lake Chabot Golf Course, and The Brick Inc., location for the Northern Exposure television series. As such Dr. Wright has been a litigator involved in a wide range of issues within the global context.
In addition to his many advisory positions, Attorney Wright has been Professor of Global Business Law in the Graduate School of Business at Florida A&M University since August 2000.
Attorney Richard Wright's past and present civic involvement incldues the Tallahassee Regional Airport Advisory Committee, Alameda County Bar Associatio, Marion County Grand Jury, Rotary International, and the Commonwealth Club. In addition he has served on several Boards of Directors and has advised numerous for-profit and not-for-profit entities.
In 2007 Attorney Wright was a visiting scholar lecturing on International Intellectual Property at the University of Beijing's School of Law and was instrumental in the first Chinese patent to be licensed outside of the People's Republic of China.
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