The Innovation Challenge teams are supported by an impressive group of mentors. They come from a wide range of experience and expertise. We are very fortunate and grateful to have all of them. Here's a list of the current mentors and their bios.
Travis Buchanan current works at Keystone Mortgage Corporation where his role includes sourcing, analyzing, and underwriting commercial real estate loans as well as performing property inspections and financial analysis for the company's commercial loan portfolio.
Prior to joining Keystone, Travis was a Financial Advisor at RBC Wealth Management in Beverly Hills. There he focused on investment, insurance, estate, and personal and corporate retirement planning. During his three year career at RBC he obtained his Series 7, Series 66, multiple insurance licenses and earned his Certified Financial Planner(tm) Designation (CFP(r)).
During the same period he Co-Founded Fedt Attire, a custom fit suit and dress shirt company where as CEO he was responsible for building the internal & external operations platform and managing international supplier relationships, the supply chain, and sales process.
Travis earned a Bachelor's of Science; Finance, Real Estate, Law from California State University, Long Beach in 2007. He competed for the University's Division I Water Polo team and earned All American and All Conference Honors, was President of the Student Athlete Advisory Council as well as a President's Ambassador for the University. He currently sits on the Associate Board for Heart of Los Angeles Youth; a non-profit focused on delivering programs in Arts, Academics, and Athletics for underserved youth and stays involved at CSULB as an Innovation Challenge Mentor, member of the LB State Athletics Board of Advisors, and member of the CSULB College of Business Alumni & Friends Board of Advisors. Travis currently lives in Manhattan Beach California where he grew up.
Cody Burton is a recently retired executive from The Boeing Company. During his 32 years at Boeing, he held a variety of positions in the Commercial Aircraft and Space Exploration Divisions. His primary areas of responsibility included the design and construction of facilities for aircraft manufacturing, for launch vehicle manufacturing and space vehicle launching. Additionally, he served as Director of Boeing’s Manufacturing and Laboratory Development Center in Huntington Beach.
Cody is a graduate of Purdue University with a BS and MS in Civil Engineering. Cody and wife Kathy have a daughter, Lian, who is a recent CSULB graduate in Criminal Justice.
Mike Grimshaw has over 30+ years' senior level sales and management experience in the highly competitive technology industry with industry leaders IBM, Cisco, Nortel and Unisys. He has successfully launched new strategic products and won numerous sales and recognition awards for his contributions. Mike was the founder and President of Pace Data and the US President of Israeli based RAD Network Devices. Mike has proven success in the challenge of bringing innovative start-up companies - Equinox Networks, Andrew Corp., Shasta Networks and Ellacoya to acquisition or IPO. Mike is currently an adjunct professor at Marymount College - Palos Verdes in the Business & Entrepreneurial program. He also runs the very popular monthly entrepreneurial growth program called the Monday Club-South Bay. He is also president of the new South Bay Entrepreneurial Center (SBEC) business incubator and training center for entrepreneurial growth which is headquartered in Torrance, CA.
Don’t let the pink fool you. Deployed to the Middle East after 9/11 and retired from active duty as a contract negotiator in the Air Force in 2003 after 23 years of honorable service, retired Master Sergeant Eldonna Lewis Fernandez is a force to be reckoned with. Trained to survey every room she enters and keep her back to the wall, she reveals the impact of stress and trauma in combating faulty decision-making as she trains women how to re-think and re-direct their energies for higher performance and better bottom-line professional and personal decisions.
Her audiences learn from Eldonna’s life lessons as she gives them the power tools to develop discipline and successfully negotiate personally and professionally by first applying the GoPINK Rules of Engagement:
Eldonna currently serves as the founder and CEO of a seminar training company - Dynamic Vision International Inc. and is the creator and editor-in-chief of GoPINK Magazine, an online magazine for women who are motorcycle enthusiasts. Passionate about being a voice for women motorcyclists, Eldonna created GoPINKMagazine.com as a vehicle to empower success. Her PINK Carpet interviews at motorcycle events are gaining notoriety among motorcycle riders.
Combining her love of motorcycle riding with over 30 years of leadership, negotiation and management experience, Eldonna is affectionately known as the Pink Biker Chic. Since motorcycles represent (to her) the highway laboratories for leadership, management, sales teams, risk-taking and change management, though seemingly a world away from the business culture, motorcycles are a rich source of practical insights to a variety of audiences made up primarily of women. Eldonna reaches her objective with the help of various “faculty members” or “personas” who bring an adventurous edge to every presentation and make learning interactive and fun. Techniques are used to ensure the message is absorbed at a deep level so that the takeaway is sustainable and the tools are applied long after leaving the event.
Eldonna , co author of the award winning Heart of a Military Woman which is a compilation of stories by, for and about military women, is also a contributing author in Heart of a Woman in Business, inspirational stories for women in business.
Eldonna’s education includes an Associate of Science degree from the Community College of the Air Force in Contracts Management and an Associate and Bachelors of Science degree from Park University in Business Management. She is a certified Level III in the Acquisition Professional Development Program in Contracts and certified in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), Hypnosis, as well as a Certified Coach and Consultant. Eldonna serves on the board of the International Empowerment Education Foundation and coordinates the speaker’s bureau for the Women’s Peace Campaign.
Shellie Hunt is a Global Entrepreneur, Business Strategist, Trauma Expert, Author of the “Success is by Design” Series and an Executive TV Producer. She is an International Motivational Speaker in the human potential industry and business training corporate arenas. She has specialized in personal improvement, business strategy, business expansion and corporate leadership training. She has spoken for over 25 years to the general public, college universities, and many CEO corporate forums.
Shellie is a master of business structure for understanding how to own and operate multiple businesses and what multiple sources of income are available to you. She teaches empowerment, business direction, focus, teamwork and business success.
Mr. Irwin is the principal owner and president of Outsourcing Services, Inc. a consulting firm providing senior level advisory services to privately owned business with revenues from $20million to $200million. He has over 25 years of experience as CEO and COO to high growth companies in diverse service, manufacturing and distribution industries including a subsidiary of a Fortune 50 company. He works with existing operating companies to improve performance and maximize shareholder value by interfacing at the “c” level to support the existing management team. Mr. Irwin has extensive experience in: turnarounds, acquisitions, strategic planning and implementation, due-diligence, business plan development, corporate repositioning, budget, finance, operations, staffing/human resource administration, risk/disability management, contracts, communications, marketing and business development. Particular industry experience includes industrial maintenance, heavy construction, oil, refining, petrochemical, energy, environmental, technology, financial services, manufacturing, metal fabrication and machining, staffing, human resources, marine, jet aviation services, aerospace, medical research, disability management, beauty, transportation and distribution. Mr. Irwin acquired over a dozen companies. He has also directed the successful start-up of 10 additional operations. His experience includes facilitating the growth of a 17 employee one office regional company with annual revenues of $2million to over 2,000 employee multiple office national operation with revenues of over $80million and leading the acquisition with institutional partners of the largest niche distribution company in the nation. He has also served as a director, advisory board member or consultant to companies involved in the health care industry, energy and environmental services, retail department stores, restaurants, plastics manufacturing, cosmetics, heavy construction and maintenance, investment banking, technology, staffing, insurance and risk management.
Mr. Irwin attended the University of Southern California majoring in business management with an economics minor. Mr. Irwin was also a long time resource to Pepperdine’s MBA program on entrepreneurship. He currently serves as Chairman and Independent Trustee to the Teamsters Health and Welfare Trust (M.U.S.T.) and is an active member of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), Young Presidents’ Organization Graduates (YPOG), World Presidents’ Organization (WPO) among others and currently holds active California General Contractor A & B Licenses.
Larry Jordan is a member of the Orange County Network of the Tech Coast Angels and was a founding member of this organization’s Los Angeles Network. He has personally invested in over 26 angel funded startups in the past 12 years. He began his career in sales and sales management with Honeywell Information Systems. He later served as International Vice President with Prime Computer, a Fortune 500 Company. Mr. Jordan joined FileNet (now FileNet/IBM) as a founding member of the Senior Management team and led this pioneering Orange County software company’s strategic sales efforts in content management for 12 years during its growth from $0 to $250 million in sales. Mr. Jordan then completed a three year term as CEO/Chairman of TouchStone Software Inc (NASDAQ-TSSW), a leader in personal computing diagnostic and anti-virus software.
Most recently, Mr. Jordan was the CEO/Co-owner of Mobile Messaging Solutions Inc (www.mms.us). The Company was purchased from Verisign in 2008 and then sold in 2010. This company provides mobile solutions to various organizations including Coca Cola’s My Coke Rewards, Carlson Marketing, and Bell of Canada as well as text messaging services to the interactive TV markets including voting for the leading reality talent shows. Mr. Jordan has served on the Advisory boards of both the UC Irvine Schools of Art and Computer Science. He has also served as a coach and mentor at the Loyola Marymount EMBA and the UCI MBA programs. He also participates annually in the UCLA Anderson/GAP program as a judge.
Mr. Jordan received a BS Economics from Arizona State University. He has a Directors Certificate from the Directors Institute, the Anderson School UCLA.
Dr. Mangir received her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science/ Computer Engineering with minors in Digital Signal Processing and Microelectronics from UCLA in 1981. She also holds Industrial Certificates in Systems Engineering and MBA.
Dr. Mangir's current research interests are High Speed Networks, Wireless and Sensor Networks, Dependable and Secure Communication/Computer Networks, Dependable Infrastructure Development, Virtual Organizations, and Nano Technology. Dr. Mangir has more than 25 years Academic and Industrial experience. She has built many programs, departments and business units from scratch. She has also started many new businesses and has consulted for venture firms in evaluating funding requests. Academic programs, she has developed with NSF (National Science Foundation) support, have been used as model programs by NSF and other academic institutions.
She is a Boeing Faculty Fellow, and Distinguished Visitor for the IEEE Computer Society, and Distinguished Lecturer for IEEE LEOS and Communication Society. In 2005 she received Outstanding Engineering Educator award from Northrop Grumman.
Dr. Mangir has also been recognized by many civic and professional groups for her contributions to science education, community programs, and leadership in strategic planning.
Frank Martinez joined Griffin Structures in 2010. In the role of Executive Vice President of Business Development, Mr. Martinez manages all business development activities such as strategic planning, marketing, and public relations with a particular emphasis on planning, finance, and construction management. He also assists in the coordination and support of Griffin’s Executives in the company’s core markets, including: public sector, institutional, and private sector.
Mr. Martinez is very involved with industry organizations where he serves as a mentor to those entering the design and construction field. Some of his affiliations included: California State University, Long Beach’s College of Construction, Engineering and Management, Board Member, Pacific Region, Society of College and University Planners; Construction Management Association of America; Former Vice President, WTS Orange County and Los Angeles; Western Council of Construction Consumers; Former President, Toastmasters International Costa Mesa; Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, and Los Angeles Headquarters Association. Mr. Martinez is also a board member of the Boys & Girls Club of Long Beach, and the Association of Commercial Real Estate Executives, Inland Empire – ACRE-IE, and the American Public Works Association, Southern California chapter.
Mr. Martinez’s broad background includes sales and marketing experience with major architectural and engineering firms such as Jacobs; URS; and AECOM.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Public Relations with a Minor in Marketing from California State University, Long Beach.
Steve Meyers is a leading attorney in the areas of securities laws compliance and technology licensing. He has over 25 years of business law experience with emerging and high growth companies. He began his legal career as an Enforcement Attorney with the Securities & Exchange Commission in San Francisco. He went on to become in-house counsel with several publicly traded and pre-IPO companies in San Francisco and the Silicon Valley in both a legal and business development capacity. During the “Dot-Com Boom” in 1999-2000, Steve was the sole in-house counsel for a Silicon Valley B2B e-Commerce company before its monster IPO, negotiating and drafting all of the company’s license agreements and strategic partnering and joint marketing arrangements. Thereafter he relocated to San Diego, and became Special Counsel to MP3.com, Inc., formerly the world’s largest online music service provider, where he advised management on, and negotiated, complex license and business agreements.
He relocated to Palm Springs in 2006, where he assists companies to raise money in compliance with federal and state securities laws. He specializes in the preparation of private placement memoranda (Rules 504 and 506 and Form S-1 IPOs) and advises companies on valuation methodologies and ways to structure and present offerings to maximize successful capital raises and shareholder value.
Steve’s private practice experience includes running his own solo practice, as well as previous positions with a Bay Area-based national law firm and with boutique securities law firms in San Francisco and La Jolla.
Steve received his law degree from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley. His undergraduate education was at University College, London, England, and Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts, from which he graduated with a degree in economics with honors. Steve has been an Instructor in Legal Writing and Research at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, as well as a judge for the Annual International Collegiate Business Strategy Competition, which is currently hosted by California State University, Long Beach.
When not chauffeuring his 15-year old daughter to the mall or playing basket ball with her 6 year old brother, Steve dreams of returning to San Diego and learning to surf.
Dave Phillipson has been a Business Trainer since 1987, working with such companies as Ford, AT&T, Remax, Century 21, Nordstrom and others, and while that may seem impressive in print, what really stands out is the results he gets for his clients.
Dave has been a producer for the WallSt. Network, where he not only helped produce "The Three Minute Press Show" and the first contracted original content on Fox Business News, he was a mentor to CEOs, CFOs and COOs, of numerous public companies. He's also held series 6, 7, 15, 23, 24, 62, 63, 79, and Series 3 Licenses.
Dave's says his most valuable lessons in business, however, came as a professional Umpire.
Dave Phillipson is now a representative for CEO Space which is an income acceleration, entrepreneurial training and world class business networking organization, providing MBA-level training and development and an immersion experience of cooperation that results in income acceleration through exponential business growth.
In just 5 meetings in the last year, CEO Space has generated over $3 Billion Dollars in funding for its members, while all the banks and venture capital firms were sitting on their hands.
CEO Space was founded by BJ Dohrmann, whose father was a mentor to Walt Disney, Napoleon Hill, Buckminster Fuller, Jack Kennedy, W. Edwards Demming, Earl Nightingale and many others.
For the last thirty years, BJ has been known as "Coach of the Coaches" ...Anthony Robbins, Mark Victor Hansen, Jack Cannfield, Lisa Nichols, T. Harv Ecker, Robert Kiyosaki, Les Brown and just about any other big name you can think of.
He is also a mentor to high-powered executives such as the president of Starbucks, HSN, Conoco-Phillips, and many world leaders of the United Nations.
Tianjiao Qui earned her Ph. D. from the College of Business Administration at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). She teaches Marketing Management, Business to Business Marketing and International Business at CSULB. She has published papers in Journal of Marketing Management, European Journal of Marketing, and Journal of Product Innovation Management. Her papers have also been published in Proceedings of the AMA Winter Educator's Conference, Proceedings of the AMA Summer Educator's Conference, and Proceedings of the Annual Academy of Marketing Science Conference. She has won best paper award in Inter-organizational Issues in Marketing Track at 2011 Summer Marketing Educators' Conference.
JJ Richa is an accomplished technology executive with over 20 years of experience in a vast spectrum of the technology industry. Mr. Richa is a results-oriented serial entrepreneur who has demonstrated his strategic, proactive, and creative abilities with the successful start-up and launch of several companies including TransBoundaries Corporation - a SaaS/WaaS technology company for the hospitality industry, UniquelySpecial.com – an online ecommerce portal for exquisite and unique shoppers, and Ultimate Computer Systems Inc. - a custom software development company with main concentration on the financial sector. Mr. Richa is a Managing Director at Trenchant Ventures, LLC - a private equity firm with concentration on distressed business acquisition and restructuring. Mr. Richa holds a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Science degree from California State University Long Beach. Mr. Richa is a private equity investor and is a member of Tech Coast Angels. He serves on the board of for-profit in addition to not-for-profit organizations that help start-ups in accelerating business growth and raising capital.
Ross Riddle graduated from CSULB in 1972, having earned a BS in Business Administration, with a Major in Management. He is President/CEO of South Coast Shingle Co./A-1 Building Material, one of southern California’s oldest distributors of roofing and masonry materials, where he’s worked for over forty years. He started at the bottom, and worked his way up in the family company. Industry affiliations include: Board member of Roofing Contractors Association of So. CA, Board Chairman of Nemeon, a national buying co-op for Roofing/Siding industry. Charitable affiliations include: Board member of Community Hospital of Long Beach Foundation, Board member of Pacific Battleship Center, responsible for bringing the USS IOWA Battleship to Port of Los Angeles/San Pedro as a permanent museum. He’s married, and has two grown children and lives in Belmont Shore.
Michael Rosenthal has over 25 years of business experience in Southern California. During the past 10 years, Michael has been serving clients in the financial services industry. He is the president and founder of M.A. Rosenthal & Associates Inc – a private financial services firm located in Newport Beach, CA providing advice and guidance in all areas of finance. Prior to starting M.A. Rosenthal & Associates, Michael spent 8 years at Merrill Lynch specializing in retirement planning and corporate financial services, focusing on employee stock option/ownership plans, executive compensation plans and employee retirement plans. Before serving in the financial services industry, Michael spent over 15 year in the electronics industry, holding various management positions in Operations, Marketing, and Sales. In March of 2000 he co-founded Microcom Inc during the early start of the 2000 to 2002 “Dot Com crash”. Microcom is now an 11-year-old technology company in Tustin, CA serving small business global manufacturing needs. Michael studied Business Management and Finance at Pepperdine University and volunteers as a financial coach helping individuals and families with their finances.
Bruce Wilcox is a lecturer in the Information Systems Department of the College of Business of Administration in the fields of quantitative analysis, business analytics, data mining, and business intelligence. He has a Master's degree in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University and an MBA from UCLA. Bruce is currently completing his Ph.D. in engineering and applied mathematics from Claremont Graduate University with thesis work in applying advanced filtering technologies to the modeling of portfolios of fixed-income bond portfolios. He has over 25 years experience in Information Systems consulting with several of the largest consulting firms in the country.
Arnold Wilkins has forty-five years experience of Sales / Marketing & Management in the Major Appliance & HVAC component aftermarket. Exposure to a broad range of functions, products and channels. Sustained leadership performance rolls in a variety of traditional and global assignments.