Dennis Bickmeier, President - Richmond Raceway
Dennis became the third President of Richmond Raceway, a 1,100-acre motorsports and multi-purpose entertainment facility in Richmond, Virginia, in July 2011. The raceway annually hosts two of NASCAR’s largest racing events. Overall, the facility and its staff of 42 team members execute over 200 days of activity, including operation of the 6,000-seat music amphitheater Virginia Credit Union Live! and over 500,000 square feet of consumer trade show and meeting space. The raceway has a significant economic and tourism impact on the Commonwealth of Virginia, generating more than $200 million in economic impact.
Prior to joining Richmond Raceway, Bickmeier spent nearly four years as the Vice President of Consumer Sales and Marketing at Michigan International Speedway, where he oversaw communications, corporate partnership sales and ticket sales and operations.
His career with International Speedway Corporation initially began in 1999 as the Public Relations Director at Auto Club Speedway. During his time at the Southern California-based speedway, Bickmeier became an adjunct faculty member in the University of San Francisco’s Sports Management program teaching the Strategic Communications and Sports Public Relations elective.
Over his 28-year Sports Management Career, Bickmeier has worked for some of the top sports organizations in the country, including the Anaheim Angels, now the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, both Walt Disney Company-owned franchises at the time, overseeing the Community Relations Department and the non-profit foundations for each team. He has also held Communications and sales positions with the Big West Conference and the Los Angeles Rams, respectively.
Bickmeier has also served as a sports public relations and marketing consultant for clients like the AT&T Champions Classic, ISM Raceway and BZA Public Relations.
A native Ohioan, Bickmeier is a graduate of the prestigious Ohio University Scripps School of Journalism. He also holds a master’s degree in Sports Administration from Ohio University.
Panel: Speaking with Investors - Advice for Maintaining Healthy Founder/Funder Dialogue
Dan Henderson, Investment Director - CIT Gap Funds
Dan joined CIT in 2013 and is responsible for deal sourcing, due diligence and closing seed and early stage investments. Dan comes to CIT from BeClose, a venture-backed wireless home health company, where he worked as Senior Vice President of Business Development and Strategy. At BeClose, Dan researched, designed and implemented a national distribution strategy and introduced numerous companies to BeClose technology. Prior to joining BeClose, Dan worked as Vice President of Marketing and Strategy at FastSoft, Inc, a web acceleration software startup; as the co-founder and President of Bhavan Media, a digital media company; and as co-founder and President of i-Vantage, an IT services consultancy.
Jamie Christensen, President & Co-Founder - Outdoor Access Inc.
Jamie started his career as a mapping specialist for the Forest Service, the Conservation Fund and GeoDecisions. In 2000, he founded WorldView Solutions, a geospatial consulting and software firm. The company now has forty staff in Richmond, working with clients like the Air Force, the Nature Conservancy and Nielsen. In 2016, he co-founded Outdoor Access, a company that gives outdoor enthusiasts exclusive short-term access to private land for hunting, fishing, hiking, and camping while helping landowners earn additional income from their property. Jamie grew up in Durham, North Carolina and is passionate about STEM education and the application of technology to improve childhood health and fitness.
Linda Nash, WellcomeMD
Linda serves CEO of Linda Nash Ventures and WellcomeMD. She helps start-ups, family-run companies, serial entrepreneurs, and a variety of other companies plan and grow to the next level, achieve sales and revenue goals, and exit profitably. She has a strong background in healthcare management, family medicine, practice management, and strategic planning. Linda has successfully started and exited three companies in the service industry.
Linda started WellcomeMD in 2015 with an office in Chicago and added a Richmond location in 2017. Prior to starting WellcomeMD, Linda was the Founder and CEO of PartnerMD. In 2011, she led PartnerMD through its successful sale to Markel Ventures. She began in 2003 with a single doctor and 40 patients, and by 2015 she grew the company to more than 9,000 patients, 28 doctors, and 11 locations in nine cities from Seattle to Baltimore.
Zachary Petry, VP Small Business Lending Team Manager - Virginia Community Capital
Zachary is the Small Business Lending Manager at Virginia Community Capital. His team works to deploy loans to businesses throughout the Commonwealth that are not being served by conventional lenders. Prior to this position, he worked for a community bank in San Francisco as well as a microlender in Oakland, CA. Zachary is passionate about supporting small businesses and educating businesses on what banks assess in an loan application. Zachary was born and raised in Richmond, VA and is happy to call Richmond home once more.
Shy Pahlevani, Co-Founder - LiveSafe, Hungry
Shy Pahlevani is a serial tech entrepreneur who loves to innovate and figure out how to use technology to make the world a better and more connected place— be it through pioneering mobile security or connecting food lovers to top local chefs. Shy is the founder of LiveSafe, the world’s leading mobile safety communications platform, serving hundreds of universities, malls, sporting arenas, and military bases nationwide. To date, LiveSafe has raised $15 million, and its board members include billionaire Barry Diller (IAC), Fred Smith (Founder/CEO of FedEx), and Eve Burton (Hearst).
Currently, Shy is leading his newest venture, a chef-to-office application called HUNGRY. HUNGRY is a food-tech startup disrupting a highly fragmented, $21 billion, corporate catering industry using a data-driven approach, including a digital marketplace that offers a sharing economy model of top chefs for office food.
Panel: The Customer Connection – Leveraging Client Relationships to Maximize Value
Moderator: Derek Thomas, Vice President of Customer Success - SnagaJob
Derek started his career as the first and only sales person at a start up in the Human Capital Technology space in Tennessee. Five years later, that company was sold to Richmond based Snagajob, and in the fall of 2009, Derek moved to Virginia to join the company as a Sales Engineer. Over the last 9 years, Derek has worn multiple hats, ultimately becoming the Vice President of Customer Success, leading all of the existing business and renewals for Snagajob. Keeping customers happy is his business. When Derek is not working, he enjoys spending time with his wife Julia, cheering for anything Tennessee related, picking crabs and golfing.
Tennille Boyer, Business Development Executive - Blue Ocean Brain
Tennille was the first sales person hired at Snagajob in the fall of 2000 and was the top producer every year for the following 14 years, bringing in marquee clients such as UPS, Macy’s and Chipotle. After leaving Snagajob, Tennille started a sales consulting business, where she helped local start ups refine their sales process and recruit talent. She ultimately fell in love with one of her clients, Richmond based Blue Ocean Brain, where she is is happily carrying a bag again. She has a passion for early stage businesses and building meaningful relationships with both prospects and customers. She holds her B.A. in Communications from Meredith College, has three awesome children and is married to an entrepreneur. She loves to cook, eat, drink wine and ski as much as possible.
Andrew Miller, Co-Founder - Workshop Digital
Andrew is the Co-Founder and Director of Operations at Workshop Digital in Richmond, VA. He loves PPC (Pay Per Click advertising), SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) but despises acronyms. His favorite part of the job is building teams and systems that empower people to work smarter, not harder.
Neil Patel, Chief Marketing Officer - Legacy Navigator
Neil brings over 20 years of advertising, marketing and entertainment business experience to Legacy Navigator. His work has supported the iteration and development of emerging ad-supported digital media platforms at several global agencies, including TBWA/Chiat/Day and BBDO Worldwide. Neil has served in a number of capacities at The Walt Disney Company, including as an executive on the corporate staff and as a consultant with Disney Imagineering’s Research and Development arm.
In addition to his work with the Disney family of brands, Neil has developed a broad range of marketing strategies for American Express, Pepsi, Nissan, Energizer, Walmart, and more. Most recently, Neil previously served as SVP and Managing Director of Business Strategy and Engagement Planning at the Martin Agency. As CMO of Legacy Navigator, an Estate Transition company, Neil is busy building a new national brand in a fast growing market space. A west coast transplant, Neil now lives in the Richmond area with his wife and two young children.
Kathrine Wintsch, Founder & CEO - The Mom Complex
Katherine is a nationally recognized expert on the topic of modern motherhood. The majority of her expertise comes from studying the passion and pain points of mothers around the world the rest is accumulated from a little trial and a whole lot of error while raising her own two children, Layla and Alex, with her husband, Richard, in Richmond, Virginia.
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