BlueTree Allied Angels, Deal Flow Chairman
TELL US ABOUT YOUR JOB.
As a network of private equity investors, BlueTree Allied Angels evaluates and considers pre-institutional investments. As the Chairman of Deal Flow, I work with the BlueTree committees to identify new investment opportunities, oversee the entire deal flow process from screening to investment, and help our portfolio of companies grow to reach their full potential.
I'm also an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) for Student Programs at the University of Pittsburgh. The UPitt Innovation Institution helps Pitt innovators and students move their ideas toward commercialization by connecting them with experienced EIRs and business mentors. As an EIR, I meet with students to provide guidance during business competitions and beyond.
WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE YOUR CURRENT JOB?
You could call me a serial entrepreneur — I'm the Founder & CEO of many retail and e-commerce start-ups. I've been involved in the growth and development of several businesses, ranging from retail, restaurants, manufacturing, and e-commerce. I've also been a part of numerous business turnarounds, divestitures, and acquisitions. As the President & CEO of American Eagle Outfitters, I took the company from 1 to 165 stores. I was also the Executive Director of the Sundance Catalog Company, and the Senior VP of Sales & Marketing at Bear Creek Corporation. I leverage technology to improve top and bottom-line results, as well as the overall customer experience of multi-channel consumer product companies.
Prior to my career, I studied History and Pre-Law in the Midwest.
HOW HAS MENTORSHIP IMPACTED YOUR CAREER?
Early in my career, I had some amazing business mentors. They paved the way for my early successes. However, I never had any dedicated to entrepreneurship. Although my business innovations allowed my companies to grow and prosper, these businesses likely would have become so much more if I had had the right entrepreneurial mentor at the time. This is why I'm so passionate about mentoring entrepreneurs today.
WHY SHOULD STUDENTS AND PROFESSIONALS ATTEND THE FINAL ROUND AT NATIONAL CONFERENCE?
If you're interested in starting a business or working for a start-up, it's important to understand the keys to a successful entrepreneurial journey.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU'RE NOT WORKING?
I'm passionate about sustainability, serving multiple terms on the Green Building Alliance Board of Directors. I'm also a mentor at the AlphaLab and AlphaLab Gear accelerators, where I coach numerous start-ups and early-stage companies.
Other organizations and programs I dedicate my time to are the Forbes Fund UpPrize Advisory Committee, the 3 Rivers Venture Fair Committee, the Pittsburgh Living Product Hub Advisory Council, and the Penn State Beaver Business Management and Technology Advisory Board.
Outside of entrepreneurship, I love packing a nice bag of trail mix and going out sea kayaking. I also enjoy playing the guitar and reading books by Stephen Ambrose.
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