Our Mentors

Interested in mentoring with Launch Alaska? Email: info@launchalaska.com

Eric McCallum

Eric is an entrepreneur and angel investor, who in 1983 founded Arctic Wire and Rope, Alaska's oldest and largest supplier of wire rope and rigging used in heavy lifts. He invests in early stage clean technology and third world social enterprises. He is a gurantor and board member of MCE Social Capital. He is focused on leveraging market solutions to address poverty and global warming. 

Rick Nerland

Rick is an entrepreneur and angel investor with over 40 years experience in marketing communications, public relations and brand building. For the last 25 years Rick served as Chairman of The Nerland Agency (now Spawn Ideas Inc) and successfully transitioned his company to an employee owned organization. He serves on the 49th State Angel Fund as Vice Chairman and as an advisor to the Alaska Accelerator Fund, a local venture capital group.

John Niles Wanamaker

John Wanamaker brings over 50 man-years of professional board service to public, private and non-profit enterprises. He has made transformative contributions to companies across the development spectrum, from early-stage private ventures to mature public companies. Among these are serving as a board member and chairing the committee that oversaw a nearly $500MM M&A deal for a NASDAQ company, participating in a successful IPO, and chairing a university board of trustees that initiated a leadership transition. John is valued for his deep skill set in M&A, strategic planning, financing (from private, seed-stage equity to public debt), marketing, innovation, technology,and intellectual property.

In addition to his advisory roles, John has first-hand experience as an entrepreneur and early-stage investor, having founded 6 companies. His experience spans diverse industries, including communications, aerospace, security, imaging/mapping, geolocation, real estate development and angel investing. He has consistently and successfully focused on the creation of value and the monetization of that value.

Mead Treadwell 

Mead, former Lt Governor of Alaska, has served as a seed investor, director and/or officer of several early stage technology companies, including Yukon Pacific Corporation, Digimarc (NASDAQ:DMRCE), Immersive Media (TVX:IMC), and Owner State Wireless, a joint venture partner with Nextel (now Sprint). Co-Founded Venture Ad Astra with Digimarc Founder Geoff Rhoads, Alaska Entrepreneur John Wanamaker, and former CIA technologist Clarence Smith to provide "nurture capital" for a number of technology start-up teams in which they serve as both participants and major investors.

John Springsteen

John is the Executive Director for Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) that supports growth by deploying its AA+ rated Revolving Fund. Previously, he was an Economic Consultant and Transfer Pricing Director at Grant Thornton LLP, PwC, and Deloitte. He received an MBA from Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management and a BS, Civil Engineering from MIT.


Brian Hirsch

Brian is the President and Founder of Deerstone Consulting LLC, a renewable energy consulting firm focused on microgrid, utility, and community development in remote locations, especially the Arctic and the Tropics. Recent and ongoing projects include the largest solar photovoltaic-wind-battery-diesel hybrid system in the state of Alaska and system design and analysis for various wind and solar projects on remote islands in Indonesia.

Marcia Rick Dawood

Marcia is a Board Member at Angel Capital Association, Managing Director at Golden Seeds a New York firm dedicated to delivering above market returns through the empowerment of women entrepreneurs, and Managing Director of OneHEEL Partners, LLC a compounding equity management firm. During her 16 year career in operations, sales and marketing with Kaplan Higher Education Campuses she developed a companywide self-audit tool and oversaw P&L with over $20 million in annual revenue, and later as National Vice President of Career Services oversaw job placement for over 60 campuses and 20,000 graduates. She holds an MBA from UNC Chapel Hill.


Dick Jablonowski

Dick has over 40 years of technology leadership experience. He is a founder at Network Business Systems, which was recently acquired by GCI. Dick was an officer at MicroAge-TDS, which was also acquired by GCI, and he was a founder of the University of Alaska Computer Network (UACN). Dick is an expert at working with customers to identify their problems and create solutions.

Dr. Mrim Boutla

Mrim is a Neuroscience PhD with 10 years of experience in applying brain plasticity principles to maximize behavioral change. Mrim specializes in cognitive computing and self-learning systems that use data mining and pattern recognition to mimic the way the human brain works. She if cofounder and managing partner at More Than Money Careers, LLC a B Corp that transforms how universities help their students get hired in well-paying social enterprise positions. She is fluent in five languages and has received numerous awards including 2013 Finalist in SXSWedu Higher Education LaunchEDU Competition. 


Christine Resler

Christine is a General Manager of Schlumberger- Alaska. She was a professor at the University of Houston for 14 years. At Schlumberger in Katy, Texas she was the Director of Mergers and Acquisitions, then the Vice President of Advanced Technologies from 2006-2011. She holds an MBA from the University of Chicago with concentrations in Finance, Operations Management, and Entrepreneurial Business. 

Nathaniel Gates

Nathaniel is a technology entrepreneur focused on the cloud computing and crowdsourcing industries. In addition to co-founding Alegion, Nathaniel was the founder of Zipinion, a crowdsourced instant-survey company and Cloud49, a cloud computing services company. Nathaniel has spoken and lectured at both universities and at crowdsourcing, cloud computing, and telecom industry events.


Pranitha Koppula

Pranitha is Senior Product Manager for Omni-Channel Customer Experience at Gap, Inc. She is a data and metrics driven product manager with distinctive experience in technology, online media, and analytics. Previously she was a Senior Product Manager at QuinStreet where she launched multiple products within the auto insurance vertical. Additionally, she was a Business Analyst at Polycom and an Analyst and Developer at Satyam Computer Services Ltd. Pranitha has an MBA in Marketing and Strategy from IE Business School and a Bachelor of Technology, Electronics and Communication Engineering from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University. 

Dean Barnes

Dean founded an Anchorage-based technology company where he provided technical and business leadership for more than 10 years. A PMI certified PMP, Dean has provided technical leadership to enterprise scale system development and implementation projects for the State of Alaska and numerous commercial clients; he also has experience delivering production web applications for Internet startups.


Katie Bronnenkant

Katie Bronnenkant is an independent finance and operations professional who has significant startup experience: She was employee #1 at Namely, which since its founding in 2012 has accepted $77.8M in financing (Series C). As part of leadership at Namely, Katie built from scratch business processes and teams including operations, accounting, finance, human resources and client services.


Owen Johnson

Owen is an early-stage investor and entrepreneur who has co-founded 9 ventures and invested in over 90 companies. He is Chairman and CEO of Revival Brewing Company, Managing Partner at Betaspring accelerator, and Board Member at Location, Inc a Big Data SaaS company.  He holds an SB in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT, and is mentor for the MIT 100k Business Plan Comp and a judge at the Brown Entrepreneurship Program Business Plan Competition. 

John O'Donnell

John is a Vice President of Business Development at Alaska Growth Capital (AGC). 

Nicholas Begich

Nick has over a decade of business and information technology management experience, and has led and advised global development teams for clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to venture-backed startups. He is the CEO and Founder of FarShore Partners, a custom software development firm; and co-founder of Dashfire, a start-up enabler assisting companies with business architecture and technology development. Nicholas was previously a Global Technology Manager with Ford Motor Company. He holds an MBA from Indiana University's Kelley School of Business with Concentrations in Information Technology and Decision Support Modeling and a BBA, Entrepreneurship from Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business.

Tim Pearson

A personal and professional coach who earned his Masters of Public Policy from Harvard in 1989, Tim has helped train over 700 executives in the last 25 years. A leader in performance improvement through professional development, Tim's work ranges across a wide array of areas, including aspects of customer interaction, business best practices, team dynamics and leadership.


Douglas Johnson

Doug is an angel, early-stage technology investor and an expert strategic planner with over 30 years of experience as a partner at Professional Growth Systems. He is an expert in hydrokinetics, organizational transformation, and energy policy. Previously, he was the Alaska Director of Business Development at the Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) for nearly a decade and was the first Alaskan investor in the project. 

Randy Moore

Randy retired from a 40-year legal career in January 2015. At the time of retirement, he was the senior partner in a twelve-lawyer firm headquartered in San Diego, CA, but with a nationwide practice and significant activity on behalf of Alaska clients. During his legal career Randy also was engaged in a variety of other business activities – from commercial and residential real estate investment and development, to business and financial consulting and software development. Randy splits his time between Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula – where he enjoys time at his place on banks of the Kenai River.

Bob Kaufman

Bob has over 25 years of experience as an investor, entrepreneur and management consultant and in 1993 he founded Alaska Channel, the leading Alaska tourism media company. Previously, he was a venture partner at TDI Capital, a consultant at Bain & Company, and a founder at Alaska Vacations and Travel, where he acquired exclusive rights to operate the Alaska Airlines Vacations business. He is skilled in media origination and distribution in print, video and online marking and received a BA, Economics from Amherst College. 

Ryan Gilbert

Ryan Gilbert is an experienced business development officer with more than a decade of executive-level management practice. Ryan has worked extensively in international trade, education/training, global market evaluation and enterprise marketing. He is an expert in customer relationship management, financial planning and business case analysis. Ryan enjoys the challenge of social-enterprise consulting and providing executive management training. Ryan founded and managed an international business based in Southern Japan, a national non-profit training and education organization headquartered in Alaska and a technology company.

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Massimo Pernicone

Massimo is a Senior Consultant at BTS, a boutique international consultancy that has been in business for over 30 years and which today has 32 offices across six continents. Originally from Italy and now based out of Mexico City, Massimo is a cross-functional consultant who delivers everything from strategy to safety engagements. An international business expert, Massimo most enjoys working on innovation initiatives with corporations.

Eric Silver

Eric founded Alt-Capital LLC a syndicated angel investment fund that invests $10-$500k in 3-6 deals per year and founder of WebKite a platform for small businesses to connect their inventory, resources and availability to the web. He currently is the Entrepreneur in Residence at University of Pittsburgh and a PhD Candidate at Carnegie Mellon. 

Kevin Kastner

Kevin is CEO of Iron Dog, "The World's Longest Toughest Snowmobile Race". He has over a decade of experience working with brands including Global 500 corporations to develop and execute ROI strategies through sports and entertainment marketing. 

Paul Singh

Paul is an investor, entrepreneur and Managing Director at 1776. Previously he was a partner at 500 Startups, EIR at Tipton Capital Management, and founder at Disruption Corporation which was acquired by 1776. He holds a BS in Computer Engineering from George Mason University. 

Neda Aldehany

Neda is the Managing Director and Founder of Brilliant-lab a startup accelerator in Kuwait. His is an experienced Project Manager in Education, Oil, and Gas industries and has worked with Kuwait Oil Company and Arab Education Enterprises. He specializes in managing pre-award contract management, pre-qualification and bid evaluation, project feasibility studies and market research. He holds an International MBA from IE Business School in Spain. 

Siddhartha Gavirneni

Sidd is the Founder and CEO of an early-stage startup, an advisor for Kehko, and a Senior Product Portfolio Manager with Polycom. He has nearly a decade of strategic management and product portfolio management experience. Previously, he was a senior portfolio management consultant, a global product security strategist, and software design engineer. He specializes in managing cross-functional global teams and is fluent in English, Hindi, Telugu, and Spanish.  He holds an MBA from IE Business School in Spain, was an MBA Exchange Student at Dartmouth, and holds a MS in Computer Engineering from University of Kansas. (Angellist: https://angel.co/siddhartha-gavirneni)

Rick Thomas

Rick is President and CEO at The Chariot Group, Inc an audiovisual technology company that specializes in video conferencing, multimedia solutions, turnkey installation and communication collaboration. Previously, he was an Account Manager at Presentation Productions in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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Alex Hills

Alex is a Wireless Inventor who served as an Engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University for 26 years. He and his team built Wireless Andrew, the world's first wireless campus in 1993, which was the prototype used to build other Wi-Fi networks now in use around the world. He described his experience in his book "Wi-Fi and the Bad Boys of Radio". He is actively involved in international development and is a senior advisor to the "Technology Consulting in the Global Community" program, which he describes in his book "Geeks on a Mission".

Jim Posey

Jim Posey has vast energy experience. He moved to Alaska in 1979 to start his career with Arco. More than three decades later he has spent time not only in private industry but as a regulator and later, general manager for Anchorage's public energy utility, Municipal Light and Power (ML&P). Today Jim is a consultant in private practice.

Tyler Arnold

Tyler is an entrepreneur from Anchorage who currently resides in New York City. He founded SimplySocial, a social media content management company, which was acquired by Matchfire Co. in 2015. He has been published in Forbes and VentureBeat and has done business across the United States, Western Europe, and Romania. Previously, he cofounded a web development and consulting service for advertising agencies called Purlize/Tyler Systems and helped pass legislation that exempts startups from Alaska State Corporate Income Tax in 2012.

Hans Roeterink

Hans is a Senior Technology, Energy, and Telecommunication Executive and Partner at Raven Management Consulting in Seattle, where he delivers business transition and technology project management services for large corporations as well as support and financing for startup companies. Previously, he was COO and cofounder of Quintillion Networks LLC, startup consulting for fiber-optic companies, and CEO of TDX Power. He received a Bachelors degree in Telecommunications from Instituut voor Bedrijfskunde (IBO) .

Krist Jake

Krist is an entrepreneur and investor with over 30 years of experience. He founded Redwood Capital Corp, a pioneer in Tandem Computer hardware renting, leasing, and reuse industry, and two non-profits, Denali Education Center and San Francisco Ocean Film Festival. He received a BS Engineering from Princeton University; and an MBA and MS in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University.

Sarah Barton

Sarah is President of ConsultNorth, a consulting business focused on Northern infrastructure, policy and culture. Current roles include strategic advisor for the Quintillion high capacity subsea fiber project, and project manager for the new Alaska Gallery, Anchorage Museum. Sarah serves on the Alaska Statewide Committee on Research to develop the state’s research agenda and host the Alaska Innovators Hall of Fame. She led RISE Alaska as Executive VP for 15 years, and provided microenterprise consulting for Solace International. Sarah serves as Senior Fellow with Institute of the North, and is dedicated to leveraging the potential of the humans to build the future.


Brendan Babb

Brendan, the Chief Innovation Officer for the Municipality of Anchorage, is a passionate computer scientist with a specialty in evolutionary computational optimization and machine learning using supercomputers, the cloud, and GPUs, and over 20 years of experience in the IT field. His current position focuses on project software development and BI, he has experience with Mars Rover image compression, computer chip design, databases, agile web development, and complex networks. He also co-authored 30+ technical papers related to his research, has 3 patents, and has received 10+ grants that have been used towards his research.


Karen King

As President & CEO of Spawn Ideas, Karen King not only leads Alaska's number one fully integrated advertising agency, she brings deep strategic planning and brand building experience to the table. Karen has worked on everything in marketing, from national brands and regional promotions (General Mills, Coca-Cola) to local efforts (University of Alaska Anchorage, GCI, Kaladi Brothers Coffee). Karen is a big advocate for the Alaska lifestyle. The proof? Her 37-foot cabin cruiser, the MV Grizzly Bear.

Nicolai Shuman

Based out of New York City, Nicolai is Head of Expansion Strategy at Lemonsqueeze, a scandinavian startup agency that helps launch US startup branches. Earlier, Nicolai was Head of International Distribution for Hickies, the no-tie shoelace, and also spent time as a consultant to SaaS photo editing solution Aviary. Before working in startups Nicolai was involved in research and project management in aspects of M&A and private equity.


Dennis Hoffman

Dennis Hoffman is a software manager with success in a variety of environments ranging from startups to the Fortune 100, with work in mid-market and public agencies along the way. Based out of Phoenix, Dennis' experience includes software architecture, product design, sales and marketing management, Infrastructure and Operations Management, BPO and PMO Consulting, M&A, and advisory board leadership. Dennis' projects involve from integrating people, process and technology--whether that's creating a tightly-knit and high performing point of sale system, to providing state government with a comprehensive telecom or robust disaster recovery solution.

Juliet Shepherd

Juliet has over 13 years of experience collaborating with individuals and groups, across cultures, to successfully and creatively develop stakeholder relationships to maximize mutually beneficial effective strategic outcomes. Juliet manages Tech Led Development, Business Retention & Expansion, and Cold Weather projects for the Fairbanks Economic Development Corp.