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Event Ended

THe Tech Garden,-76.149931&spn=0.00933,0.018711&fb=1&gl=us&hq=the+tech+garden&hnear=0x89d9f39bbf979a0d:0xd50ce2d7ad9545,Syracuse,+NY&cid=0,0,9487740356816644875&t=m&z=16





Nov 15
  • Registration Starts
  • Dinner & Networking
  • Welcome & Speakers
  • Pitches Start
  • Attendees vote for the top ideas
  • Teams start forming and discussing ideas
  • Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow


Nov 16
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend
  • Lunch
  • Call for needs & skills
  • Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!
  • Dinner
  • Mid weekend check-in, status reports, call for help
  • Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow


Nov 17
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Call for help (this is self motivated, so don’t be shy)
  • Lunch
  • Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS
  • Gut check. Start prepping for presentations
  • Dinner
  • Judging & awards
  • Wrapup
  • Go home!
Platinum Sponsors

Charlie Kemper

General Partner & Co-Founder of Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator Read more: Follow us: @crunchbase on Twitter   |   Google+

crunchbase on Facebook

Patrick Ambron

CEO   |   LinkedIn

Patrick Ambron is the CEO and co-founder of, the first DIY platform that makes it simple for anyone to take control of their own search results.

Patrick is recognized as a leading expert in online reputation management and Search Engine Optimization. In 2011, his company was named New York's # 1 Emerging Technology Business, making his team the youngest company ever to win the $200K prize. Most recently, he was recognized by the White House as one of the Empact 100 Top CEO's under 30 and named Young Entrepreneur of the year by the SBA.

Patrick has led BrandYourself to secure over $1 million in venture capital, grow to over 20 full time employees and bring in millions in revenue. They were recently named the the overall StartUp winner at SXSW. His ideas on Online Reputation and business have been quoted in Fox News, the Huffington Post, FastCompany, Mashable, TechCrunch, the New York Post, the WSJ, the NYTimes, PandoDaily, US News & World, ABC, NPR and more. He is recognized as a thought leader in the new media landscape and his presentations on GrowthHacking have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.

Gold Sponsors

Jonathan Brown

Digital Strategy Director at Eric Mower + Associates   |   LinkedIn

Jonathan came to EMA with over 22 years of experience working on the forefront of interactive marketing, software product management and development, and enterprise software strategy.

“I like to think of myself as a creative technologist, I went to school for fine arts but was always a closet geek. I spent a large part of my career working in the enterprise software space, having been part of acquisitions by Netscape, Oracle, and IMG. About 10 years ago I transitioned to digital marketing within agencies, providing me with a perfect blend of creative and technology that allows me to indulge my passions.”

Jonathan’s early career was filled with software start-ups. The first, Insoft, Inc., was acquired by Netscape in 1996. Insoft’s technology was the basis of Netscape LiveAudio and LiveVideo and of several major Internet standards such as Real-Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP). These technologies now provide some of the core infrastructure for the way multimedia and real-time interactive communications are utilized on the Internet, as well as the basis for the convergence of traditional telephony services with the Internet protocol (IP).

David Bulger


Dave is a proven leader and expert in accelerating changes in customer behaviors through advanced predictive modeling, deep consumer insights and individually tailored messaging. A pioneer in interactive video and one-to-one marketing design/development, Dave has spent over 25 years working closely with B2C and B2B brands in healthcare, CPG, high-tech and finance to provide strategy, design and optimization expertise for large-scale social media, IMC and CRM programs.

In January 2013, Dave launched tuzag, a behavior change acceleration think tank, specializing in consultation, strategic planning and design for integrated marketing communications systems, online interactive applications and tailored communications initiatives. He also currently serves as Marketing Executive in Residence for The Tech Garden, central New York's premiere innovation and technology incubator and home to the suite of CenterState CEO's innovation economic development programs.

Alexandra Kostakis

Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurial Practice

Prior to joining the Whitman faculty, Alexandra was the CEO of The Student Storage Company, Inc. for 12 years and Vice President of Hellinis Imports Company, Inc. since 1999. She co-founded and operated both companies which provide ample real-life experiences for the classroom. She still operates Hellinis Imports and has founded another venture, European Driving Academy, Inc. She likes to inspire and encourage young people to consider life as an entrepreneur. She currently teaches Introduction to Entrepreneurship and Strategic Entrepreneurial Management.

MBA Finance, NYU Stern School of Business

Kyle Blumin

Kyle Blumin was born, raised and currently resides in Central New York. Kyle graduated from the Syracuse University Martin J. Whitman School of Management in 1993 and has established a record of success as an entrepreneur, investor, operator and mentor. Three successful exits, experiences in turn-arounds, angel-funded start-ups, mergers & acquisitions as well as principal investment have given Kyle a unique skill set.

Kyle led the turn-around of a long-held family business in the waste services industry. After overcoming substantial financial, legal and reputational hurdles, Kyle led the sale of the company to a Canadian firm. He then went on to lead U.S. M&A activities for the acquirer and closed multiple accretive acquisitions.
Next Kyle acquired a facility services company just prior to its entering bankruptcy. Within three years, Kyle executed a plan that yielded substantial growth via operational improvements which, in turn, significantly enhanced profitability. Given their success, the company was targeted by multiple industry leaders and was ultimately acquired by a strategic buyer from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Kate Brodock

Director of the Center for Social Commerce, Newhouse School at Syracuse University   |   Google+

Kate is the Director of the W2O Group Center for Social Commerce at the Newhouse School of Public Communication at Syracuse University and President of Girls in Tech, a global non-profit focused on empowering, educating and engaging women in technology and entrepreneurship.

She is also Founder and CEO of the Other Side Group, an integrated marketing and communications firm with a sweet spot for writing and social media, with locations in Syracuse, NY and Denver, CO.

She most recently held the position of Executive Director of Digital and Social Media for Syracuse University, where she was responsible for leading the digital marketing strategy for the University, and has worked in marketing and business for companies such as Bose, Ignition Ventures and Priority 5.

Her expertise is in marketing strategy, digital and new media marketing, brand management, and entrepreneurship and can be found writing regularly for ForbesWoman and Mashable. She holds a Board position for Willowbank Yacht Club.

Silver Sponsors

Martin Babinec

Founder, TriNet   |   LinkedIn

Leading multiple initiatives to build a startup ecosystem across the Upstate New York region. Active angel investor and LP/advisor in several venture funds. Founded TriNet, serving as CEO 1988-2008 and Chairman till 2010. Remain active as large shareholder and Board member.

Doug Gorman

Director, Crisafulli Gorman, PC   |   LinkedIn

Douglas J. Gorman is a New York and Delaware business attorney specializing in corporate matters, emerging business, venture capital and commercial law. He represents businesses, large and small, on a wide range of matters including start-up and choice-of-entity issues, domestic and international commercial contracting, private finance, shareholder relations and disputes, corporate governance and corporate transactions of all types. He lectures frequently across New York State on small business, finance and international trade, and his articles on small business concerns and crowdfunding have been published both locally and nationally with Martindale-Hubbell. Doug is a longtime participant in local business organizations and outreach programs such as the CenterState CEO and the Tech Garden, and he is also a mentor at various business incubators such as the Syracuse Student Sandbox and the Couri Hatchery. Doug graduated summa cum laude from both LeMoyne College (B.S. Physics) and Syracuse University College of Law, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Syracuse Law Review. He began his practice in the mergers and acquisitions department of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in Delaware before establishing his current practice in his native Central New York. Doug is a founder and principal of Crisafulli Gorman, PC, a boutique law firm specializing in New York and Delaware corporate and commercial law, tax planning and disputes, elder law, estate planning, not-for-profit compliance, business succession and exit planning.

Nasir Ali

Managing Director, Startfast   |   LinkedIn

Entrepreneur, mentor, and investor with a passion for helping high growth entrepreneurs in Upstate New York. If you are interested in building Upstate NY's high tech economy and working with some of the most talented people on the planet, join me on the Upstate Ventures Group (

Oscar Pedroso

Founder & CEO, GradFly   |   LinkedIn

Oscar is founder/CEO of GradFly, an education-tech company that helps technical students build an online portfolio of their most innovative projects and matches them to colleges and companies looking for top talent. GradFly was recently a finalist at TechCrunch Disrupt and International Startup Fest. Prior to GradFly, Oscar cofounded a college admissions consulting company to help students get into college and graduate school. He knows what it's like to build a startup in WNY and enjoys helping other entrepreneurs avoid the mistakes he made when he first started out. Outside of startups, Oscar is a competitive rower and swimmer.

Chuck Stormon

Cofounder, StartFast   |   LinkedIn

I build businesses and create shareholder wealth. I have 20+ years of executive experience in all aspects of running and growing technology-based businesses. My direct experience includes business development, sales, marketing, indirect channels, on and off-shore software development, venture capital, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, and international operations, in public and private companies ranging in size from $5M to $500M in annual revenues. I enjoy building, coaching and leading teams to produce outstanding results and competitive advantage through innovation in technology, business model, positioning, and go-to-market strategy. I'm particularly good with customer-facing activities.

Matthew Leonard

Editor, Innovation Trail   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Matthew Leonard has been involved in public broadcasting since 1988, having worked for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Radio New Zealand and for the post-apartheid South African Broadcasting Corporation. He is the recipient of Australia’s highest award for journalism, The Walkley

Dan Pacheco

Peter A. Horvitz Chair in Journalism Innovation at Newhouse School, Syracuse University   |   LinkedIn

Dan Pacheco is a digital journalist with 18 years of experience in news and information startups and new product development. After a year as a feature writer for The Denver Post, he joined the launch team for in 1994, where he produced its first business, technology and community sections. He later spent six years at America Online, launching and managing user-contributed content services that were used by tens of millions of people daily.

Pacheco returned to his newspaper roots in 2004 at The Bakersfield Californian, where he is known for launching Bakotopia, the first social networking service for a local newspaper, and multiple web-print niche products. His work there earned him a Newspaper Association of America "20 Under 40" award and two Knight-Batten Awards for Innovation in Journalism. The home-grown Bakomatic platform that powered these sites was purchased by the Arizona Republic and Sacramento Bee.

In 2007, Pacheco was awarded an $837,000 Knight News Challenge grant to run Printcasting, an experiment in cloud-based magazine creation. The service evolved into BookBrewer, an e-book and print-on-demand startup that is used by journalists and news organizations as well as hundreds of self-published authors.

Pacheco is a proponent of constant innovation and reinvention for individuals and industries. He believes future historians will see the present as the golden age of digital journalism, and that its positive impact will overshadow the present turmoil in legacy media.

Odean Dyer

Facilities Engineer at City Of Syracuse   |   LinkedIn

Odean Dyer is a Syracuse University Alumni, graduating class of 2010, with a BS in Civil Engineering. He is currently the Facilities Engineer with The City Of Syracuse, the Co-Chair for the 40 Below Civic Engagement Taskforce and is also a small business owner. Odean has experience with starting organizations as he is the founder of the Multicultural Empowerment Network (MEN), an organization with SU that focuses on building up men of color and providing tools that will help them to succeed in the professional world.

Michael Kirmse

Marketing & Business Development Manager, OBG   |   LinkedIn

Michael T. Kirmse is the Marketing & Business Development Manager for O’Brien & Gere. He has been with the Company, in the Syracuse, New York office, since 2004 and oversees the daily business development activities from a corporate level. The marketing division he manages provides support in: proposal development, qualifications, questionnaires, presentations, collateral development, and creative services. Mike is also in charge of the Company’s strategic accounts program, manages the sales outlook and analysis, and facilitates the markets, brand, & growth strategies for O’Brien & Gere. He earned his undergraduate degree in Engineering & Management from Clarkson University and obtained a Masters degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Aaron Godert

CTO, GiveGab   |   LinkedIn

An entrepreneur and technical leader with over 13 years of experience across a wide breadth of industries including consumer, social, higher-ed, banking, consulting, and open source software development.

Aaron currently serves as the CTO and Co-Founder of GiveGab - a venture backed startup focused on uniting the volunteer ecosystem in a fun and effective manner. In this capacity, he has grown the company's product and development teams to 12 FTE and is also a Director on the GiveGab Board.

Aaron received his MBA from Cornell University ('11), MEng in Computer Science from Cornell University ('05), and BS in Computer Science from Canisius College ('02).

Joanne Lenweaver


A life-long student of the entrepreneurial spirit, whether within her women-owned business or other large corporation, Joanne believes in creative problem solving, calculated disruption, and never accepting the status-quo in any situation. Starting in 1985, Joanne with her husband, Dave, guided their design firm of remarkably talented creatives through many award-winning years . Lenweaver Advertising+Design Inc. featured in national media for its innovative use of the first Apple MacIntosh installations in a design firm setting in the US led the way in a new world preceding the current standard, Adobe InDesign. Inspired by the tech explosion of the 1990’s, the firm diversified into FoodWeb® which was one of the first food portals on the Web. Linking almost 2,000 food and food products sites and preceding Google and other search engines FoodWeb® pushed the limits of established web creation at the time. As a result of the immersion into food promotion and data, LA+D, Inc. expanded its expertise in marketing food products to European gourmet cheese. Most recently, in the last year, Joanne, as Director of the WISE Women’s Business Center has taken the Center to a new level by relocating to a downtown location in The Tech Garden to achieve greater branding presence and visibility to its target markets. She currently lives on a scenic organic farm in Fabius, NY with her husband, Dave.

Pamela Caraccioli

deputy to the president for external partnerships and economic development

SUNY Oswego President Deborah Stanley appointed Pamela Caraccioli as deputy to the president for external partnerships and economic development in July of 2013. In this new role, Pam coordinates the college’s economic development efforts, develops critical partnerships, cultivates funding and invigorates SUNY Oswego’s endeavors to understand and address the state’s economic and social needs. Pam was deputy director of Oswego County’s economic development agency from 1995 to 2005, then worked globally as an independent consultant assisting government, business, and industry with reporting, compliance and communications related to various economic development programs and services. She holds a master of public administration degree from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School and a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara. She has been a board trustee with Oswego Health for the past 15 years. She formerly served as a board member for the Port of Oswego Authority, the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce, Harbor Festivals, and Arts and Culture for Oswego County.

Dan Rickman

Economic Development Specialist

Dan Rickman currently serves as an Economic Developments Specialist and District International Trade Officer for the Syracuse District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration, which covers 34 Counties of Upstate New York. In that role, his mission is to help small businesses start, grow, and achieve long-term success. Prior to joining the SBA, Dan founded and operated a payroll processing firm in Texas. He has also worked in business development for a large national bank and is an Army Iraq War veteran.

Sarah Roche

co-founder of Platypus TV

Sarah Roche is co-founder of Platypus TV, a social television platform that time stamps conversations to television episodes. Sarah is a recent graduate of the New Media Management Master’s program at Newhouse and has focused her energy on assisting startups and small businesses with social media and digital marketing. You can find her on Twitter @sarahrroche or read her blog on the IDEA website where she focuses on entrepreneurship in Syracuse.

Michelle Gaston


First year masters student at Syracuse University, getting a degree in Information Management, and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Data Security, and am one of SU's Kauffman Entrepreneurship Engagement Fellows. She earned her Bachelors of Science in Communications and Rhetorical Studies from SU in May. She has been as a cofounder of a high tech startup based out of Silicon Valley named It is a business management platform that doubles as a site for SME's to commission high quality creative services. Michelle was born and raised in San Francisco, CA, and the entrepreneurial culture that exists there/ in Silicon Valley has greatly shaped her interests, experiences, and future goals. In her free time, she enjoy’s skiing, surfing and coaching the SU Debate Team in the American Parliamentary Debate Association.

Dan Schultz

Captain of the Internet   |   LinkedIn

Dan Schultz (@slifty) is a civic hacker and innovator. Specifically he is Knight News Challenge winner, a recent graduate from the MIT Media Lab, a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, and a 2012 Knight-Mozilla Fellow.

Today Dan lives in Providence, Rhode Island and wears many hats. He is a Visiting Programmer in Residence at Syracuse University’s Newhouse school, a cofounder of Hyperaudio Inc.—a non-profit organization that allows anyone to remix videos in a notepad—and a partner at the Silicon Valley Software group—a less-non-profit organization dedicated to helping startups solve their technology problems. Dan is also is a 2013 Reynolds Journalism Fellow where he is working on Truth Goggles, a credibility for the web, and a 2013 Sunlight Foundation grant recipient building CivOmega, an “Wolfram Alpha for civic information” that makes it much easier for nerds to make government data useful to normal human beings.

Adam Stanard

Adam provides accounting, audit and advisory services to many of the Firm’s closely held manufacturing and distribution clients and not-for-profit organizations as well as their employee benefit plans. He has worked extensively on reviews of clients’ internal controls and the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Adam is the Firm’s employee benefit plan industry leader and is chairman of the Firm’s quality control committee.

Adam serves as an active member in the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce. He is also a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA) and the AICPA Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center.

Matthew Gardner

Matt provides accounting, audit, review and advisory services to many of the Firm’s closely held manufacturing, distribution and retail clients, as well as the Firm’s healthcare and not-for-profit organizations, including large healthcare systems. Matt has previous work experience in the corporate arena, as well as experience with international clients.
Matt is active in the community serving as a member on the Steering and Finance Committees for 40 Below of Syracuse and as a member of the Board of Directors and Finance Committee for the Jowonio School in Syracuse. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA).
Matt is a graduate of the State University of New York at Oswego and resides in Syracuse, NY.

Joe Charles


Joe is the Firm’s CEO and Chairman of the Executive Committee. He oversees the Firm management and provides income and estate tax planning, including advisory services in connection with partnerships, limited liability companies, S and C corporations and the owners of such businesses.
Joe serves as an active member of the Board of Directors and Audit Committee of CenterState CEO and is a member and former President of the Estate Planning Council of Central New York. He is also a member of the Manufacturing Association of Central New York’s (MACNY) Financial/Professional Services Council. In addition, Joe serves on the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities of Onondaga County. Joe is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA) and its Committee on Taxation of Closely Held Businesses and S Corporations.
Joe, a graduate of Georgetown University, is a licensed CPA in New York, Connecticut and Virginia. He is an Accredited Estate Planner and Chartered Global Management Accountant and resides in Fayetteville, NY.

Tim Hammond

Tim provides accounting and audit services to many of the Firm’s not-for-profit, long-term care and healthcare clients, as well as numerous employee benefit plans.
Tim is active in the Syracuse Chapter of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants, and is the chair of the Syracuse Chapter’s Young CPA Committee. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), as well as the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA).
Tim received his BS and Masters in Accounting from LeMoyne College, and resides in Syracuse, NY.

Pat Dailey

Pat is responsible for the Firm’s financial affairs and the strategic initiatives set forth by the Executive Committee. He has oversight of the Firm’s administrative personnel, and provides ongoing reporting of Firm performance to the Partner group. Prior to returning to the Firm, Pat was the CFO at a Syracuse NY based gear manufacturer which became an ESOP. He advises clients on ESOP matters and is an educational resource to companies investigating employee ownership.
Pat is an Executive Committee member of the NJ/NY Chapter of The ESOP Association and the President of Friends of Dave Pirro Inc (a not-for-profit that raises funds to assist needy families and charitable organizations). He serves as an active member of the Board of Regents at his alma mater LeMoyne College. Pat is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Kevin Nass

Kevin provides income tax, estate tax planning and advisory services to many of the Firm’s closely held businesses. He has worked extensively with the owners of closely held businesses in planning for ownership transition.
Kevin is also responsible for the delivery of all tax-related services to the Firm’s financial institution clients.
Kevin serves on the Board of Trustees of the YMCA of Greater Syracuse and as a special advisor to the Fayetteville-Manlius A Better Chance Program. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA).

Koby Brandstein

Information Management Graduate Student at Syracuse University   |   LinkedIn

Koby Brandstein is a graduate student at Syracuse University pursuing a Masters in Information Management with a Certificate of Advanced Study in Information Security Management. In conjunction with the graduate program, he is a Kauffman Engagement Fellow. He received a dual Bachelors of Science degree from Syracuse University in Information Management & Technology, and Business in May 2013. Throughout the past several years, he has participated in programs such as Spring Break in Silicon Valley and several other technology-based road trips hosted by the School of Information Studies at SU. He has a passion for bridging challenges and technology. You can find him outdoors on his bike or on the ski slopes during down time!

Dee Cater

Co-founder and CEO of Scrapsule   |   Google+

Dee Cater is the co-founder of Scrapsule, a Facebook plug-in that curates social media posts to allow users to create digital scrap-books around life events. Her experience with an early stage startup, coupled with her background in freelancing and design, led her to her current role as the Head of Marketing and Communication for Syracuse University’s IDEA office. Combining her passions for art, design, and social media has been a consistent theme throughout her education and career. Dee’s expertise in aesthetics, advertising, and digital strategy are valuable as you look for ideas to market your startup. You can find Dee on twitter @deecater or follow her blog at

Media Sponsors
Seth Mulligan
Stacey Ellen Keefe
Michael Smith
Dan Clark
Andrea Bianchi
Tony Kershaw

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