Faculty, Staff, and Consultants
VLV Faculty, Staff, and Consultants
Dale Caldwell, Executive Director, Rothman Institute
Dr. Dale G. Caldwell is the executive director of the Rothman Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship which is focused on researching, supporting and promoting entrepreneurship in New Jersey. He is the author of Intelligent Influence: The 4 Steps of Highly Successful Individuals and Organizations which provides the theoretical framework for organizational leadership. Dr. Caldwell’s experience includes serving as the founding executive director of the Newark Alliance, deputy commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and a senior manager in Deloitte Consulting’s public sector practice. In addition, he has been the president of the New Brunswick Board of Education and the Educational Services Commission of New Jersey. Dr. Caldwell received a BA in Economics from Princeton University, an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a Doctorate in Education Administration from Seton Hall University.
Sakti Kunz, Advisory Dean
Ms. Sakti D. Kunz is a business consultant and an active participant in entrepreneurship advancement in North Jersey and Florida. She works with companies selling Software as a Service solutions especially in the IoT, Data and Analytics industries. In her 35+ years as a corporate executive in fortune 500 companies such as Honeywell, Dun and Bradstreet and AT&T, Sakti has headed businesses that range from start-ups to billions of dollars in annual revenue. She takes pride in her track record of inspiring global, diverse teams in achieving difficult and complex goals. Sakti is a graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology with a Masters in Computer Science and Advanced Management Program from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. For the last 7 years, Sakti has been a tireless volunteer with Rothman Institute most recently, leading the creation of a new curriculum for the Veterans Launching Ventures program.
Alan Levitan, Advisory Director, Consulting Services
Alan is currently a strategic planning, marketing and sales building consultant and serves on several boards. He mentors and coaches business leaders; works to improve revenue and net profit of retailers; helps food manufacturers go to market and is an equity partner in a food manufacturing company. Alan is the former president and CEO of Kings Supermarkets and was a partner in a marketing firm. He graduated from the Tuck Executive Program at Dartmouth College, the Northeastern University Executive Management Program, holds a B.A. from the University of Rhode Island and is a fellow of Leadership New Jersey. His current non-profit Boards include the Community Foodbank of NJ, Morris Arts and the Morris County Art & Culture Collaborative which he founded.
Sue Slavin, Programs Director, Rothman Institute
Ms. Slavin upholds the Institute’s efforts to support, promote and research family, veteran and student entrepreneurship. She is responsible for program management for the outreach and recognition programs including Veteran Launching Ventures and the Family Business Programs. Ms. Slavin comes to the Institute with a BS in Marketing from the University of Maryland. Her experience spans over 20 years in the fields of marketing, client relations, and employee training with a Fortune 500 company, a small family-owned business, and the Morris County Office of Temporary Assistance.
Maura Pniewski, Administrative Assistant, Rothman Institute
Maura’s experience includes twelve years at New York City-based Consolidated Cigar Corporation and Gibbs & Hill Engineering before coming to Fairleigh Dickinson University in 1993. Her diverse duties at the Rothman Institutes include budget analysis and forecasting, student recruitment, scheduling, design of promotional material, website content management, report editing and event planning. She graduated with a BA in Fine Arts from the College of Mt. St. Vincent in Riverdale, NY.
Irlana Ho, Advisory Faculty and Consultant
Irlana is a People & Culture Expert and entrepreneur with over 15 years of business and corporate experience. She is founder of Culture Pivot, a consultancy focused on Global Organizational Development, Diversity and Intercultural Management. Irlana helps business leaders gain a competitive advantage by unlocking the full potential of their people to drive innovation and performance. Her areas of knowledge and expertise include fashion retail, international business, social/sustainable entrepreneurship, organizational effectiveness, and change management. She holds a B.A. in Labor-Management Relations & Economics from the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and an M.A. in Industrial Relations from Laval University, Quebec, Canada.
Matthew Putnam, Advisory Faculty and Consultant
Matthew is a Business Development Officer at ReadyCap Lending LLC, a non-bank SBA preferred lender, specializing in financing entrepreneurs across the country who are eligible via the SBA programs. Matthew has been an active lender for the past 26 years working for lenders including AT&T Capital, Banco Popular, TD Bank and Sound Bank.
Philip St. Jacques, Advisory Faculty and Consultant
Philip is a 30 year marketing professional with deep experience in scalable digital marketing and lead generation strategies for small, medium and large businesses. As President of St. Jacques Marketing, a firm he founded with his twin brother Michael in 1991, they engineered a successful pivot in the early 2000’s to become specialists in lead generation and marketing for franchised systems. Working with some of the world’s largest franchisors such as Supercuts, 7-Eleven, Jack in the Box, Qdoba, CENTURY 21 and mid stage franchisors such as K9 Resorts, The Lash Lounge, City Row, Phenix Salon Suites, Philip and Michael became sought after for their complete understanding of franchise systems. Following an acquisition of their agency by WorkWave, a large software company in central New Jersey, Philip and Michael now lead the combined agency generating over $10MM in revenue annually.
Paul Zapka, Advisory Faculty and Consultant
Paul Zapka has over 40 years’ experience in building organization capabilities, both individual and collective. His career included supply chain and human resource management, organization effectiveness including business process improvement, clarification of roles and responsibilities, advising/mentoring and talent management. Since 1998, Paul has been owner/operator/entrepreneur in an organization effectiveness consulting business providing advice and counsel to clients ranging across all business sectors including pharmaceutical, business to business, financial services, and professional firms, as well as not-for-profit. Paul has a BA from William Patterson and an MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Jose Amarista, Consultant and Speaker
Jose Amarista is an accomplished Global Innovation Leader with vast experience and demonstrated achievements in Innovation & Margin Enhancement Strategies, Global Category Management and Talent Development in multinational/multicultural environments. A well balanced technical and business background provides him a unique ability to craft, direct and execute strategic and tactical activities in a multifunctional environment. He has a proven track record in leading multinational teams to deliver sustained business growth in key markets.
David Postolski, Consultant and Speaker
David Postolski, a partner at Gearhart Law, is a registered patent attorney and Intellectual property attorney. With over 17 years’ experience, David specializes in assisting inventors, creators, artists, start-ups, entrepreneurs, early stage companies and emerging companies with their U.S and International intellectual property strategy, protection, enforcement and monetization. David is a frequent speaker and published author on intellectual property issues surrounding emerging technologies (cannabis, crypto currency, 3d printing, gig economy), raising capital, business formation, licensing, and reward and equity based crowd funding. David is also a Professor at Temple University and Parsons School of Design where he teaches master level students about IP, ethics and other regulatory considerations in starting business ventures and products around design.
Demetrius Brock is a financial executive with over two decades of successful experience with food manufacturers such as Pinnacle Foods and Campbell Soup companies. Demetrius earned his MBA from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and is on track to complete Harvard’s Business Analytics Program March 2019. Most recently with Pinnacle, Demetrius was Vice President of Finance with the commercial team for total US and served in that capacity for over a decade. Demetrius’ expansive experience covers both private equity startups and public companies, integrating multiple companies, risk-ops analysis, contingency planning, leading high impact projects, team development and annual operating plans. He has a passion for solving problems and getting things done. As a financial executive, he adheres to principles of “know your operating metrics”, adequate controls and no surprises of any kind. Demetrius’ military experience is a major influencer of his belief that people matters having served as an NCO in the Louisiana Army National Guard 1/141st Field Artillery Battalion.
Matthew is an Army veteran, entrepreneur, startup consultant, and co-founder and CEO of Ribbit, a platform that lets users find great restaurants that offer local food with a side of environmental responsibility. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, he spent five years in the Army with the 101st Airborne Division where he learned the importance of doing what you love. Following the Army, Matt applied his passion to start his first company by engineering turbines to convert river and ocean currents into usable electricity. Now, he operates Ribbit and strives to help others realize their untapped potential with the launch of his new venture.
Alan is a CPA and Certified Financial Planner committed to volunteering to help first-time entrepreneurs and small-to-intermediate size business owners succeed. He is a retired principal of a financial planning practice and was senior financial executive with Citibank for over 32 years where he was the CFO of several of their Capital Markets businesses in North America, Western Europe and Japan; Operations Head for North American Treasury and Director of the Institutional Bank audit program in North America. He earned a B.S. from the City College of New York and completed a graduate Financial Planning program at New York University.
Matt is the founder of MWF Enterprises, LLC, which provides consulting services within the warranty industry. He has worked within the consumer electronics and insurance arenas for over 40 years holding various jobs from distribution and retail to Panasonic and Sony and insurance giant AIG. He retired at the end of 2013 as Vice President with Asurion, the largest cell phone warranty company in the world. Prior to Asurion, he worked for AIG as the division president for the Warranty Division. He holds a dual B.S. in Management and Marketing from Sacred Heart University. Matt’s coaching specialties include sales, marketing, retail, distribution, insurance, account management, and business management.
Jack is a business planning consultant, focusing on small growing companies and start-ups. He currently serves on several non-profit boards. He provides visioning, leadership development, strategic planning and sales growth training and support so his clients can build sustainable businesses on a firm foundation. His corporate experiences include project management and IT system implementations in Fortune 500 insurance, banking, computer sales, management consulting and manufacturing companies. He earned his A.B. in History at Rutgers University and MBA in Organizational Management from Seton Hall University. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at Pillar College, teaching Organizational Behavior.
Ray has held executive human resources positions in small to large-sized multinational organizations. His experience has spanned the consumer electronics, professional services, technology, consulting, educational, and training industries. In that regard, he has a good working knowledge of the R&D, manufacturing, supply chain, IT, finance, marketing, sales, and distributions areas of business. Ray has also worked as an outplacement consultant with a number of multinational firms such as The Ayers Group and Lee Hecht Harrison. In that capacity, he provided coaching and counseling services to individuals who were seeking to transition to new career roles in business or in start-up situations. Ray has been an adjunct faculty member at a number of colleges and universities in NJ. He holds an MBA degree in Business Manage-ment. He has set up, launched, and operated his own training and consulting services practices.
Gabi Haberfeld is president of a technology company for 25 years that serviced the New York metropolitan area. Gabi’s expertise is in recognizing opportunities and good ideas, understanding the sales process and sales cycles and building good communication and trust with prospects and clients.
Ellen is currently a financial consultant and entrepreneurial coach for start-up businesses. She began her career at Deloitte & Touche serving publicly-traded asset management clients and then joined outsourced-CIO firm Summit Rock Advisors. After several years working on Wall Street in various operations and business development roles at new launch hedge funds, she identified her passion for working with new business ventures. She has worked entrepreneurs in various industries, most recently with HomePlate Peanut Butter, a consumer packaged goods start-up founded and funded by former Major League baseball players, and Content Capital, a newly-launched publishing firm, both based in Austin, TX. She earned her Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Professional Accounting from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in New York State.
Founder and principal of Capital Dynamics, International (CDI), Wayne has 25 years of domestic and international consulting/advising experience in strategic, operational, financial, and market planning with Fortune 500 enterprises as well as startup companies. His specializations include business viability assessments and valuations for new ventures, mergers and acquisitions. Prior to CDI, his positions at AT&T included Director, Financial Planning, and Management and Director, Network Operations. He received his degree from Purdue University in Industrial Engineering and Industrial Management-Finance.
A mentor and business consultant, John is founder and former Chairman and CEO of Emtec, Inc., an IT consulting and service company. He is Founder and Managing Partner of HomeShore America, LLC, providing bookkeeping and financial planning services while employing veterans and people with physical disabilities. Experienced in all phases of business operations with a focus on sales process and operations including inventory management, financial management and planning, John currently serves as financial executive for two non-profit boards.
Mr. Javello is a serial entrepreneur that has a successful 30+ year history of starting and growing business ventures. He has built leadership teams and aligned staff with a common vision to achieve long and short-term company strategies and goals. He has crafted and implemented market penetration and growth strategies to achieve profitability. Mr. Javello currently works with companies as a trusted advisor as a CFO/COO. He helps clients manage financial operations. He identifies and formulates key financial and productivity metrics, integrating them into the operational cadence of the company. Mr. Javello received his MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management. He received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Tufts University.
William Kraut is a Strategic Advisor/Board Director with expertise in Risk Management, Operational Disruption, Cyber- Security Oversight, Finance, and Exit Strategy. He is Board Director of NACD-NJ.
Chris Lipper is a creative professional who has worked with a range of businesses from large institutions to entrepreneurial startups. In addition to coaching hundreds of business owners and owning one of the more successful TAB franchises, Chris has experience in creating brand identity and corporate image and has developed advertising, direct mail collateral, web sites, and trade show booths. Chris has helped conceptualize, develop, market, and sell products domestically and internationally in different markets including consumer, business-to-business, and institutions.
Francisco is a global operations executive with extensive experience leading business planning, logistics, manufacturing and engineering teams and in growth and turnaround strategies for L’Oreal, Pinnacle Foods (Conagra), Gurwitch Products (Shiseido), Esteé Lauder, Movado, Lucent Technologies (Nokia), and Duro Felguera. He is skilled in team building, business and go-to-market strategies, new product introductions, mergers & acquisitions integration, product portfolio lifecycle management, process improvements and technology systems design and implementation. Francisco brings a strong foundation in new venture strategic planning, operational performance improvements and shareholder value optimization to his new role as co-founder, partner, investor and advisor to early stage startups at Merlin Mentor Capital. He earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from Universidad Simon Bolivar in Venezuela and an MBA in Corporate Finance and Supply Chain Management from Penn State.
Hugh is an independent management consultant with primary focus on the telecommunications industry. Within this area he offers services related to new market development, business operations improvement and effective customer service. Extensive expertise is also offered in wireless data applications for commercial use and in call center operations. He prepared and published primary market research addressing wireless data applications, specifically addressing the migration from 3G to 4G services. Hugh has provided expert testimony, serving as a telecommunications Expert Witness in a major class action suit in Alaska, and guided a significant technology upgrade on location for Saudi Telecom. He received a degree in Economics from Notre Dame, and an MBA from Cornell University.
Bob recently retired as CEO of ConEdison Development, a mid-size energy company that develops renewable power projects and provides energy trading services. He has worked on evaluating the viability of new ideas, marketing/communicating those ideas, and converting the ideas into operating lines of business. He has over 35 years’ experience in the energy industry and hold a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Polytechnic Institute and an MBA in Finance from NYU.
Kevin R. Peters is a Regional Director with Thrivent financial. He received his B.S. from the University of the West Indies and started his financial career as a bank teller with Citibank. Four years later, he became a Financial Advisor with Citibank, then joined JP Morgan Chase to oversee their Chase at-work program for the state of New Jersey. In 2011, Kevin became a Cluster Branch Manager with HSBC bank where he managed five locations in the Midtown Manhattan area. He was then a Managing Director role with MassMutual which lead him to his current assignment as a Regional Director with Thrivent Financial. Kevin’s 15 years of experience in financial services and investment, and insurance management have given him the skills to be proficient in team management, recruiting, asset management, financial planning and team building.
Anthony is a senior vice president in the Municipal Banking and Markets business at Bank of America. In his role as Public Sector Banking Strategy Executive, he leads a team of national treasury solutions analysts and sales support associates. During his 25 year career with the Bank, Anthony has held various positions including CFO and COO of Municipal Banking and Markets, Regulation W Finance Executive, and Corporate Reporting. He has also led college recruiting efforts for the Financial Management Associate Program. Anthony began his career as an auditor at KPMG, after completing his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Pace University, New York.
Ron is co-founder and managing partner at TR Business Solutions LLC, a firm dedicated to assist municipalities and small businesses improve services and maximize operational efficiencies. Ron has 25 years of proven leadership, business, and technical skills in implementing over $14.0M in improvement projects resulting in operational savings of $10M+ annually. He is a VLV graduate.
Joe Salsberry is an accomplished Executive Coach/Facilitator/Consultant with the CCI team. After a successful career in financial services and the not-for-profit sector, Joe’s coaching career focuses on serving executive leaders and leadership teams in reaching their full potential. With nearly thirty years of experience in the international marketplace, Joe has served as a board member, business executive, CFO, program director, and strategic planner. He has significant experience in serving leaders and leadership teams of multicultural and international organizations. He graduated from Georgetown University and holds a Coaching Certificate from NYU.
Greg Savettiere is an electrical engineer with a BSEE from the University of Pennsylvania and the founder of Landice Treadmills. Under his leadership, the company’s products have been consistently rated #1 by Consumer Reports Magazine. Mr. Savettiere has led in all aspects of small business operations involving the design, manufacture, marketing, sale, distribution, and service of a complex consumer product. He serves as a guest speaker at the University of Pennsylvania’s engineering school where he encourages engineers to pursue entrepreneurial careers that make a difference. He is also a maker space facilitator at Blair Academy and a FIRST robotics mentor at Gill St. Bernard’s High School.
Mark is the owner and founder of Abar Retirement Plan Services LLC, a NJ actuarial and consulting firm specializing in the design and administration of retirement programs for private employers. He holds many actuarial credentials and is an active member of the American Academy of Actuaries serving on various committees. Mark is a Certified Financial Planner and a Retirement Management Analyst providing investment and retirement consulting services to individuals. He has taught as an adjunct professor at Rutgers University, has authored many commentaries on retirement issues and spoken on topics covering retirement security in America. He has prepared several consumer oriented publications for the Actuarial Foundation on a variety of financial related concerns. He is a graduate of SUNY Albany and holds a Master’s Degree from Columbia University.
Robert Shiff has extensive experience in sales, marketing management, product development and brand management. Known for his ability as an innovative problem solver and team builder, his most recent position was in a senior sales management position with Canon USA. Prior to Canon, Mr. Shiff headed the Brother International Consumer Products Division marketing, merchandising, trade show and advertising activities. He also led an OEM campaign and helped launch a new sales category. Mr. Shiff led marketing and sales organizations at GE and directed product development and sales management teams with the Toshiba America. He received his MPA from Indiana University and his B.A. in Government and Economics from Lafayette College.
Curtis Springstead is a Certified Mentor and Chairman for the SCORE Northeast NJ Chapter. The bulk of his 38-year IT career has been as a strategic IT consultant, designing and implementing major business change and the supporting technology at a variety of clients including Bristol-Myers-Squibb, Bank of New York, Prudential, Honeywell, TD Ameritrade, Optimum, Cablevision and Liberty Travel. He has also served on a number of diverse non-profit boards and mentors non-profit clients for SCORE. Curt has been a trainer and professor part-time for 30 years. He has developed and delivered programs on topics ranging from high tech topics to consulting skills.
Tom Terzo is a graduate of Rutgers University and New York University. He has had a long and successful career in the Insurance Industry with supervisory management and executive positions in both the private and public sectors. He has been an entrepreneur for over 30 years having created companies in the Property Casualty Sector of the Insurance Claims Industry which developed new claims management practices, and administrative and medical management software. He has served on numerous professional boards and industry and public commissions as an expert in the field of workers’ compensation. Tom is a VLV graduate.
Mark is an expert in the field of tenant representation, working with business owners and executives who are looking for quality advice and guidance in securing the right commercial real estate to support their business for the right reasons and on the best possible terms. Clients engage him to assist them when they are looking to relocate, expand, start up new operations, renew an existing lease, or buy a facility. His typical client is a small to mid-size business (10-200 employees). He represents clients in New Jersey and through his membership of ITRA Global, is also able to assist them nationally and overseas.
Amanda, an expert in Military Talent programs and veterans’ initiatives and founder/CEO of Miligistix, LLC, educates companies and clients on how to recruit, hire, and retain service members and veterans within their respective workforces. She has created customized educational content and resources for corporations and connects companies to governmental and veteran service organizations with the intent of increasing engagement between private and public entities. Prior to expanding her expertise in military talent programs, she created legacy HR initiatives, crafted leadership development and employee engagement programs, and developed and deployed organizational research and surveys. Graduating from Christopher Newport University with a B.S. in Psychology, Amanda received her M.B.A. from Centenary College and holds a Certification in Professional Coaching. She is an Advisory Board Member for Military Friendly®/Victory Media and Stand Beside Them, dedicated to providing coaching to veterans.
Victor is a sales strategy and technology consultant with 30 years of experience in IT Infrastructure, implementing accountability metrics and executing playbooks and Go-To-Market strategies. He has consistently been at the forefront of technology trends, with success pioneering new ventures and penetrating global markets. Victor has a B.S.E.E. degree in Telecommunications and Electronics from the Monterrey Institute of Technology in Mexico. He moved to the US to start the operation of a real-time financial information company on Wall Street. He lives in Ledgewood, NJ with his wife and two children.