Mentors

Ty (Sumner) Adams, Adams:Kinkade Design

Ty is an industrial design entrepreneur experienced with transforming ideas into new products & strategic brands. He founded A:KDesign to commercialize innovative technology for intrapreneurial teams & early stage start-ups, serving as CDO - chief design officer and co-founder of several start-ups.

Ty spent the previous decade exploring design ideas & creating new business concepts for Kimball International's Advanced Product Group and directing global design & product development for Paoli, Inc.

Active in the entrepreneurial eco-system, Ty chaired the Vogt Invention & Innovation Awards, serves on Venture Connectors Board and as a Mentor/Business Coach for accelerator programs including Nucleus' LaunchIt, Velocity and StartUp Weekend/Louisville.

Ty has been awarded (8) U.S. Patents & earned his Bachelor of Science degree in ID (industrial design) from California State University Long Beach.

Chris Bissig, GE Appliances

Chris is Manager Concept Brand and Development for GE leading a talented team of designers creating next generation appearance concepts for GE Appliances brands as well as developing advanced features, product ideas, and new appliance configurations. He holds a BA in Industrial Design from Purdue University.

Theresa Fritz Camoriano, Camoriano & Associates

Theresa is a registered patent attorney since 1980 and was admitted to Wisconsin Bar in 1980, Kentucky Bar in 1987. The holds a JD University of Virginia, 1980, BS Engineering Science w/ Highest Honors from University of Notre Dame 1977 (Engineering Science included the core courses from all the engineering disciplines), BA Russian Language w/ High Honors from University of Notre Dame 1976.

Honors - Phi Beta Kappa, Tau Beta Pi, and earned the Father Steiner Award for Engineering (ND Award to top three engineering students). Theresa has practiced exclusively intellectual property law since 1980; has written and prosecuted patent applications on a wide variety of inventions, including conveyors, new chemical compositions, electrical controls, goose calls, actuators, bottle caps, and heat recovery steam generators. She has also done a considerable amount of licensing work and trademark work. Theresa began practicing at Rexnord, Inc., in Milwaukee, then worked in the intellectual property section of Quarles & Brady in Milwaukee, and has been in Louisville since 1987.

Chris Cprek, LVL1

Chris is co-founder and President Emeritus of LVL1, a 501c(3) hackerspace and maker community in Louisville. Founded in 2010, LVL1 has since grown into a celebrated community of makers, engineers, scientists, educators and artists. The space has served as home for an eclectic array of fun engineering projects, from mind-controlled watermelon explosions to transatlantic robotic balloon flights. LVL1 provides Louisville with a new type of venue to explore engineering as entertainment and attracts some of the most creative engineering talent in the region.

Chris is an administrator and programmer with the University of Louisville's Cardinal Research Cluster. The supercomputer cluster provides researchers with 35+ Teraflops of high-performance computing for research applications in medicine, physics and chemistry. Prior to U of L, he developed HPC resources at Florida State University's School of Computational Sciences.

Following LVL1's success, Chris has begun a new role as both community organizer and entrepreneur to develop more Makerspaces in K-12 education. He is currently developing MakerLeague, which combines 3D Printer manufacturing and 3D printer curriculum to accelerate hands-on STEAM skill development in K-12 education.

Mark Franco, MixerDirect

Mark Franco is the Founder/CEO of MixerDirect, Inc, a leading supplier of mixing and liquid processing equipment in Louisville, KY. Mark earned a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati and has spent most of his career in the process industry. He has extensive experience in many areas, from general chemical processing at Henkel, to pioneering pharmaceutical manufacturing initiatives at ISP Chemicals, Creosalus, and Becton Dickinson. He has also developed coatings manufacturing processes while employed by Dana and Ziniz. Building on these experiences, Mark entered the liquid agitator fabrication business to become the VP of Sales and Product Development as well as minority shareholder of Indco Inc. He has launched six businesses, with all but one still in operation today. Mark and his wife live in Crestwood, KY with their eight children and are active members of Sojourn Community Church.

Tim Gornet, University of Louisville Rapid Prototyping Center

Tim is the Manager, Rapid Prototyping Center Operations at the University of Louisville. Previously he was a CAD/CAM Engineer for GE Appliances. The University of Louisville has been assisting industrial users with its Rapid Prototyping Center (RPC) since 1993, when it became the first US university to buy and operate Selective Laser Sintering equipment.

Users gain access to problem-solving technology as well as continuing research. Benefits also include access to U of L's J.B. Speed School students and graduates - engineers of the future with training in this state-of-the-art technology.

In the fall of 2007, the RPC expanded its capabilities when it became the only Louisville-area Haas Technical Education Center (HTEC) for Haas Automation, Inc. With advanced additive manufacturing equipment and six fully featured CNC machine tools, the RPC is now one of the most advanced prototyping facilities in the Louisville area.

Tim holds an ME in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Louisville.

Lou Lenzi, GE Appliances

Lou is the Director of Industrial Design Operations at GE Appliances.

Based in Louisville, KY, Lou leads a team of 22 designers responsible for all industrial design, user interface design, and user experience design activities for GE's Monogram, Café, Profile, and GE branded major appliance products.

Prior to joining GE Appliances in 2011, Lou held senior design leadership positions with IBM, RCA, Thomson, Audiovox, and GE Healthcare.

Over the course of his career, Lou's design teams have received numerous design and innovation awards from the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), the Consumer Electronics Association, and a Design-of-the-Decade award from BusinessWeek for the DirecTV on-screen user interface and electronic program guide.

Lou is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati with a BS in Industrial Design and is a member of the Academy of Fellows of the Industrial Design Society of America.

Lance Mann, Dean Dorton

Lance has nine years of experience providing assurance, accounting and business advisory services for hospitals, nonprofits, colleges, universities and manufacturers of all sizes. Lance serves the firm as an associate director of assurance services. Lance serves on the leadership teams of the nonprofit, college & university and manufacturing industry teams. In addition, Lance serves on our litigation consulting team as a Certified Fraud Examiner. In that role, Lance performs forensic investigations, provides litigation support services and assists companies in designing internal controls to prevent and detect fraudulent behavior. Lance also leads the firm's whistleblower/ethics hotline services.

Lance provides internal audit, risk advisory and financial advisory services to hospitals, health systems, clinics and physician groups. These services include assisting organizations in the annual risk assessment process, analyzing and designing internal controls, fraud investigations and operational assessments.

Rick Schardein, Current360

Rick is CEO and Chairman of Current360. They offer a holistic approach to brand building, combining traditional, digital, social and mobile marketing to make your brand a more meaningful part of the consumer experience.

Anyone can build a cool website. But a cool website that strengthens your brand, improves your search results and engages your audience? That takes a rare mix of technical prowess, design talent and refined marketing instincts.

Throw in some email marketing, a winning SEO/SEM strategy and a side of pay-per-click advertising, and your brand is well positioned to succeed on the Interwebs.

Current360 was digital when digital wasn’t cool, and when it comes to online consumer engagement, they’re beasts.

Natarajan Venkatakrishnan, GE FirstBuild

Venkat is the Director GE FirstBuild, an online and physical community dedicated to designing, engineering, building, and selling the next generation of major home appliances. Venkat is responsible for conceptualizing, planning, building and operations of FirstBuild starting with the recruitment of the founding team of design, engineering , operations, marketing and sales professionals:

  • Overseeing the creation of the online platform and construction of the Microfactory
  • Day to day management of designing, manufacturing and sales of home products
  • Building a FirstBuild community of industrial designers, scientists, engineers, makers and early adopters
  • Negotiating private and public partnerships to enable the venture
  • Promoting the venture through traditional and social media to gain support

Glenn Whitfield, Centric Consulting, LLC

With over 25 years of experience, Glenn delivers customers an unmatched experience through a deep understanding of a client's needs and challenges, and developing business and technology solutions to overcome those challenges. With expertise in operations management and improvement, he has a broad background with experience in manufacturing, healthcare, automotive and consulting, having held leadership positions at several organizations including Ford Motor Company, Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's Healthcare, Signature Healthcare, and most recently Centric Consulting.

He holds a Masters and Bachelors in Industrial Engineering from the Speed School of Engineering at the University of Louisville, is Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM), a Six Sigma Blackbelt, and has extensive experience in Lean Thinking and implementation of Lean based management systems.

He currently lives in Louisville with his wife and four daughters.

Doug Whyte, J.D. Whyte Company

Doug Whyte, a native of Louisville, KY, is a proven executive professional with over 25 years of domestic and international business experience as a President / CEO and corporate officer for public and private equity owned companies. He has worked for companies headquartered in America, Europe, and Australia. His career experiences encompass various roles of increasing levels of responsibility in manufacturing, operations, supply chain, product innovation and development, and sales and marketing.

Doug has extensive experience with companies that manufacture, engineer, source, market, and distribute products to Consumer, Automotive, Truck, Industrial, Marine, RV, Agricultural, Aftermarket, Hospitality, e-Commerce, and Retail partners. Utilizing private label, owned brands, and licensed brands, his experience includes sourcing products from low cost countries such as China and Mexico, as well high value products from Europe and Australia.

He has experience operating, managing, and transacting companies to and from private and private equity owners as well as leadership within publicly traded companies. In 2011 Doug and the executive management team successfully transacted Dometic Group to private equity owner EQT Partners in Stockholm, Sweden.