About

Advisory Board

Dirk Libaers

Dirk Libaers
Director, Nault Center for Entrepreneurship
LinkedIn


Andy Hafer

Andy Hafer
LinkedIn
Andy Hafer is currently serving as the Executive Director of the Muma College of Business Nault Center for Entrepreneurship where he is an adjunct professor. He has a career in technology starting in corporate IT but has been a serial entrepreneur since the early 2000s. With several successful exits behind him, he is passing his startup business experience to students. Hafer also founded and currently serves as executive chairman on the Board of Directors of DCE Productions, a full-service virtual and in-place event services company. He is co-founder of Synapse, a nonprofit organization that guides Florida’s innovation communities to help accelerate success and drive economic growth. He helped establish the Inclusion Lives Here program — the organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. He founded several other organizations and had stops in his career at companies including Pride Enterprises, Tribridge, Yara, Accenture, Proctor & Gamble, and IBM.


Suhas Apte

Suhas Apte
Apte Consultants LLC
LinkedIn


Alison Barlow

Alison Barlow
LinkedIn
Alison Barlow is the executive director of the St. Petersburg Innovation District. The district is a public-private partnership focused on increasing economic vibrancy and innovative problem solving in the Tampa Bay region. Barlow manages the district’s portfolio of collaborative projects including the Maritime and Defense Technology Hub, a coworking facility for the maritime technology and national security sectors. She is originally from St. Petersburg. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Administration from Florida State University, and an MBA from American University in Washington D.C. Prior to joining the Innovation District, she was a technology consultant based in Washington D.C. working with the U.S. Department of Defense.


Saxon Baum

Saxon Baum
FL Funders Partner
LinkedIn


Richard Berman

Richard Berman
Associate Vice President for Strategic Initiatives for Innovation and Research, USF
LinkedIn


Christian HG Brown

Christian HG Brown
Founder and Investor
LinkedIn


Steve Budd

Steve Budd
USF Nault Center for Entrepreneurship, Associate Instructor
LinkedIn


Jonathan Canger

Jonathan Canger
LinkedIn
Jonathan Canger is managing partner at Zennia Research. He held prior HR executive roles at Verizon, Motorola, Monster Worldwide and Marriott International. He is an adjunct professor, advisory board member and chair of the academics and training committee at the USF Nault Center for Entrepreneurship. Canger also serves on the advisory board for the University of Tampa’s TECO Leadership Center in the Sykes College of Business. He earned his undergraduate degree from Rutgers University, and master's and PhD degrees from USF.


Allen Clary

Allen Clary
LinkedIn
Allen Clary teaches entrepreneurship at the University of South Florida and is the chair for TIGER 21 Tampa Bay, an international network of outsized successful entrepreneurs and investors. He is a co-founder of nonprofit startup accelerator Tampa Bay Wave where he served as a founding board member, entrepreneur in residence, and director of investor relations. He frequently speaks on entrepreneurship, investment, and advises several early stage companies. From 2009 to 2015, he served as president and chief operating officer for Infusion Brands. Clary earned his bachelor's degree in Engineering from the University of Florida and his MBA from the University of South Florida where he now serves on the advisory board at the Nault Center for Entrepreneurship.


Sarah Combs

Sarah Combs
LinkedIn
Sarah Combs is the chief executive officer of the University Area Community Development Corporation, Inc. She joined the organization in 2010 and under her leadership, University Area CDC secured over $100 million in community investment and tripled the number of adults and children reached through education, health, workforce and cultural arts programming. With over 18 years of nonprofit sector experience, her background spans every facet of the organization, from program development to land banking and real estate. Her main focus is the holistic redevelopment of the Uptown/University Area. She believes that while there is great need, there is even greater opportunity. She created a neighborhood transformation strategy to stabilize the community and prevent gentrification. She seeks to grow the area by enabling residents to be change agents to improve the economic and social conditions of their community.


Craig Cuffe

Craig Cuffe
Thrive Managing Member
LinkedIn


Steve Diasio

Steve Diasio
LinkedIn
Steve Diasio is an associate professor of instruction in the entrepreneurship and innovation program at the Muma College of Business. Diasio has a PhD in Management Science from ESADE Business School in Barcelona, Spain. He has worked in the field of innovation for 20 years as a practitioner and researcher. He is a leading scholar on innovation jams and his contributions include extending the open innovation paradigm through his investigation with IBM. His work has been published in top academic journals. His latest book is titled, “Evaluating Your Creativity: Building Your 21st Century Skills Through Assessment and Evaluation.” Prior to higher education, Diasio worked at the Chicago Board of Trade, Ted Baker — London, and Aon Corporation in research & development building front and back-end AI systems. In 2022, he was included on the Poets&Quants Best 50 Undergraduate Business Professors list. One of his most transformative life experiences was walking the El Camino de Santiago — a 35-day, 500-mile trek across northern Spain.


Dustin Eldridge

Dustin Eldridge
LinkedIn
Dustin Eldridge is a wealth coach and national expert on building wealth in all areas of life for NFL players. With over a decade of experience working with some of the wealthiest families in America and being a Certified Financial Planner and Certified Private Wealth Advisor professional, he is sought after by NFL players hungry to learn how to join an elite group of wealth — the generationally wealthy. Through TEAM Private Wealth Management, Eldridge teaches NFL and college football players how to leverage their football careers to achieve their vision of financial freedom. 


James Faison

James Faison
LinkedIn
James Faison is the founder of The Mainframe, a Tampa Bay-based nonprofit organization that focuses on the infrastructural development of Black innovation ecosystems. A Tampa native and lifelong lover of  innovation, Faison started The Mainframe because his friends and family were leaving the region to pursue careers and opportunities. His mission is to lead a thriving region that not only retains but also attracts top talent. Faison spent 15 years in health insurance. As a former startup founder, he is using his experiences and insights as a convener, connecter and coordinator. Faison was noted as an influencer by the St. Pete Catalyst and as a featured founder by Embarc Collective. He serves on the Synapse Florida Board of Directors and AdventHealth Tampa Foundation Board.


Mac Gardner

Mac Gardner
LinkedIn
Mac Gardner serves as founder and chief education officer of FinLit Tech.  The company's mission is to build a bridge between financial literacy and financial technology. He also serves on the advisory board of the personal financial planning degree program at USF. Gardner is also the founder and executive director of MNY Fraternity, Inc.


Gary A. Giamartino

Gary A. Giamartino
LinkedIn
Gary A. Giamartino established Giamartino Consulting in December 2016 following over 30 years of leadership experience in higher education, consulting, and work with nonprofit boards. Specializing in firms going through transitions, he has coached leaders to help enhance their skills and to diagnose and shape organizational culture. His global experience includes significant assignments in Brazil, France, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. He served on several boards and is currently a member of the International Advisory Board of Insper (Sao Paulo, Brazil). Giamartino earned a PhD in social and organizational psychology from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennesee. His undergraduate degree is from the State University of New York at Fredonia, and his master’s degree is from Western Kentucky University.


Gilbert Gonzalez

Gilbert Gonzalez
MCS of Tampa, Inc. CEO & Founder
LinkedIn


Dana Gordon

Dana Gordon
LinkedIn
Dana Gordon is the president of Pirate Marketing. In 2019, she founded Pirate Marketing to provide a full suite of both traditional and digital strategic marketing services. Her goal is to help clients increase revenue by building their brand, growing their customer base, and nurturing customer retention. Her favorite part of marketing is helping clients maximize their marketing ROI and chart their course to success.


Kenneth Hamner

Kenneth Hamner
The Entrepreneur Law Center, P.L. Managing Member
LinkedIn


Gary Hensley

Gary Hensley
LinkedIn
Gary Hensley is currently the CEO of Livingtree. Livingtree acquired Edbacker in 2018, a company Hensley founded in 2014 to address America’s educational funding gap. A serial entrepreneur, Hensley sold his previous company, Intagrade to Pearson in 2009, where he also served as the director of Product Management and Strategic Partnerships until 2013. Prior to his work in the technology space, Hensley was a teacher and assistant principal for the Newport Mesa Unified School District in southern California. Hensley was named DC’s Top Entrepreneur 40 under 40, and was on the cover of Washington Life Magazine’s Top 25 Tech Companies Making A Difference issue. A husband and dad of three, Hensley grew up within a military family and resides in Tampa, Florida.


Jeff Kincaid

Jeff Kincaid
Advanced Systems Resources, Global Passive Investments President & CEO
LinkedIn


Patrick Maslanka

Patrick Maslanka
LinkedIn
Patrick Maslanka is an advisory board member at iNur Technologies and the USF Nault Center for Entrepreneurship where he co-chairs the venture capital committee as well as serves on the technology commercialization and mentor committees. Maslanka spent his career in the consumer packaged goods industry working for large multi-national companies serving in sales managerial and marketing roles. His experience of working with cross functional teams earned him awards for outstanding marketing, sales and managerial leadership. His areas of expertise are strategic concept development and execution, analytics, insights and planning, new market penetration and growth strategies. He and his wife, Joanna, have been active members in the Tampa Bay community for over 20 years and support charitable organizations including the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, Feeding Tampa Bay, Metropolitan Ministries and the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.


Steven Oscher

Steven Oscher
LinkedIn
Steven S. Oscher is a member of Oscher Consulting, PLLC., a firm providing support services and financial analysis to the legal community. Prior to forming Oscher Consulting, he served as an audit and quality review partner at an international accounting firm and was the director of litigation services. Oscher earned a DBA from the University of South Florida, is a CPA, accredited by the AICPA in Business Valuations and Financial Forensics and as a Certified Fraud Examiner by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. He taught numerous professional education courses in the areas of accounting, auditing, and litigation services. He served as an adjunct instructor at USF. The Florida Institute of CPA’s recognized Oscher as its Outstanding Discussion Leader.


Timothy Papp

Timothy Papp
Timothy Papp & Associates, LLC Owner
LinkedIn


Ken Pomella

Ken Pomella
LinkedIn
Ken Pomella is a CEO and entrepreneur, with over 20 years of experience in the technology industry. He is the founder and CEO of RevStar, a leading technology consulting firm in Tampa. Born and raised in the United States, Pomella is passionate about technology and its potential to change the world. He earned a degree in Computer Science and worked at several high-tech companies before founding his own firm. His career started at several companies, including McKesson, where he held technical and managerial roles in software development and product management. He also worked at start-ups, including HealthAxis. In 2008, he founded RevStar, a company that specializes in helping businesses leverage technology to drive growth and profitability.


Jennifer Sineway

Jennifer Sineway
LinkedIn
Jennifer Sineway is an owner and co-founder of Allied Analytic, an analytic device company that sells and services laboratory blood analyzers to universities and private sector cancer research, veterinary, and wildlife organizations across the world. Sineway earned her Master of Science in Entrepreneurship in Applied Technology in 2011. She is  passionate about entrepreneurship and is a guest lecturer in USF graduate and undergraduate classes teaching "bootstrapping" techniques in entrepreneurship and international business strategies. A Florida native and a USCG 100-Ton Master Captain, Sineway is often fishing the Gulf of Mexico or traveling to fishing tournaments.


Shane Smith

Shane Smith
LinkedIn
Shane Smith is an entrepreneur and university professor. He has dedicated his career helping others start and grow their business and has been a part of new and novel programs supporting both student and existing business owners. Smith is a director for the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship at Florida State University. He earned a PhD from the University of South Carolina and an MBA from USF in 2001.


Nawal Taneja

Nawal Taneja
LinkedIn
Nawal Taneja, whose experience in the aviation industry spans five decades, has worked for and advised major airlines and related aviation businesses worldwide. He served as a faculty member at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Ohio State University. He is a partner in Seedfunders, an early-stage investment firm based in St. Petersburg, Florida. He has served on the advisory boards of both public and private organizations. He has helped venture groups select startups for investments and mentored startup founders.  He wrote a series of 15 airline management books.