Startup Weekend Fort Myers

    Friday, October 6 - 8, 2017

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
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Startup Weekend Fort Myers

Friday, October 6 - 8, 2017

Friday, October 6 - 8, 2017
Event starts at 6:30 pm

Endeavor Innovative Workspaces
8831 Business Park Drive Unit 301
Fort Myers, FL 33912

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Turning Innovative Ideas into Sustainable Businesses

The hardest part of starting up... is starting out!

Startup Weekend will help participants learn how to launch a business, a product, or service.  It will also help participants explore their creativity, experience what it's like to create a business plan, learn how to pitch you idea and help you build an amazing network! 

At Startup Weekend, you'll be immersed in an environment where startup magic, becomes startup reality.  Connect with a rich and diverse group of individuals. You might meet a friend, a mentor, a co-founder, an investor or even your next boss.  Discover where you are on the Entrepreneur's Journey - or if you're even on it - and leave knowing the next steps you need to take on your road to success. Learn what it really takes to start a business.  No book, panel, speaker, or blog post will teach you everything you need to know! The only way to learn it is through the experience of trying it.  Startup Weekend let's you try it out in a safe, fun, supportive environment.  Start! It’s that simple. Startup Weekend is designed to get you going, FAST.  The Startup Weekend Team will help you be successful and learn as much as possible in just 54 hours.  

Connect, Discover, Learn, Start 

What happens at the end of 54 hours?  Some teams will decide to move forward with an idea, some won't.  Some members of the team will remain on the team and build a business, and others will go back to their 9-5 job, their own startup or pursue other interests.  Some people will find internship opportunities, find a job, or develop friendships that are long-lasting.  No matter what, everyone will have fun, learn, share and be a part of the startup weekend community. 

Powered by Google for Entrepreneurs and Techstars, Startup Weekend is a global, grassroots movement of passionate entrepreneurs with a mission to inspire, educate, and empower others to launch innovative ideas. It is the largest community of entrepreneurs in the world and has hosted more than 2,000 events in more than 200 countries since 2007. 

In A Nutshell: 

Friday: Anyone can pitch an idea (and everyone is encouraged to pitch), everyone votes on the ideas that are pitched, teams are formed around the top ideas (5-7 teams get formed).  

Saturday: Teams validate ideas, research customers, create a business plan and work to build a prototype that demonstrates the potential of their business.  

Sunday: Finishing touches are put on the business plans & prototypes, pitches are developed and rehearsed and the events culminates Sunday evening in a pitch competition where teams present their businesses and demonstrate their prototype to a panel of judges.  

Who is Startup Weekend For?
It doesn't matter what you do or where you come from, Startup Weekend is designed as an inclusive event and program that brings all sorts of people together including...
  • aspiring & experienced entrepreneurs
  • developers and other tech-related professionals
  • designers of all types
  • non-technical talent (i.e. business, sales, finance, legal, etc.)
  • students from colleges, universities, and even high schools
  • professionals looking to switch careers or build new skills
  • passionate visionaries
  • and many more!
Your ticket includes:
  • Access to the full weekend-long event
  • Opportunity to pitch your idea on Friday night @ Pitch Fire
  • Mentoring by all-stars from the startup community
  • Tasty meals all weekend
  • Collaboration with awesome technical professionals
  • All-star judges panel lead by startup leaders
  • A process for taking any idea from concept to creation in a matter of days, and
  • Over 75 awesome new friends!

Do I need to come with an idea?

If you have an idea for a startup, then great!  We hope you pitch for the weekend.  If you don't have an idea, that's quite all right!  Come and spend the weekend, listen to the ideas being pitched, and see if something strikes your interest!  The weekend is all about learning about the startup ideation process and from your peers. 

Why Should I Register?
  • Learn Something New: Startup Weekends are all about learning through the act of creating. Don’t just listen to theory, build your own strategy and test it as you go.
  • Networking: This isn’t just a happy-hour. Startup Weekend attracts the community’s best makers and do-ers.  And, we all know it’s not just about the idea – it’s about the team. Startup Weekend is hands down the best way to find someone you can actually work with.
  • Mentoring:  Local leaders - business people, tech experts and entrepreneurs - participate in Startup Weekends as coaches and judges. You'll get some one-on-one  and group time with local experts who can help you with your ideas. 
  • Learn A New Skill: Step outside of your comfort zone. With a whole weekend dedicated to letting your creative juices flow, Startup Weekends are perfect opportunities to work on a new platform, learn a new programming language, or just try something different.
  • Launch a business: Over 36% of Startup Weekend startups are still going strong after 3 months. Roughly 80% of participants plan on continuing working with their team or startup after the weekend.
  • Join the Startup Community: Join over 45,000 Startup Weekend alumni, all on a mission to change the world.

Myth Busters: 

Q:  I already have a business, is this event for me?  

A: Yes! Startup Weekend if for everyone.  What you know is valuable and you'll have the chance to share your skills and experiences with others who want to learn.  

Q: I don't have any ideas! 

A:  Technically, everyone has ideas.  What you probably mean is, I'm not sure if my idea is viable. This is the perfect opportunity to explore that idea. Not every idea is viable, but Startup Weekend will help you determine if your idea has legs...and if it doesn't, that's okay, you will join another team and help take someone else's idea from prototype to pitch. 

Q: Does my idea have to be an app or involve technology? 

A: No, all ideas are welcome.  You might want to start a chain of coffee stores (remember, Starbucks was a startup, at some point), create a wedding business, develop a new gadget, or offer a service.  But, if you do have an app idea, that's okay, we love those too.  The point is, you're not limited to any specific area or type of idea. 

Q: Is this event for experienced people only?

A: No. We welcome all levels of experience. No matter what your background, you'll learn a lot from your team, other participants, the coaches and judges!  Plus, we need experienced people to help build the teams and share lessons-learned. 

Q: I've already participated in a Startup Weekend. 
A:  Great! You can participate in as many as you like!  Just because you've participated in the past doesn't mean you shouldn't participate again. Each weekend is unique because the ideas are different and there are so many different people to meet. 

See what it's all about

Learn More


Friday October 6th

6:30 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

7:00 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

7:20 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:30 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

9:00 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:15 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

10:00 pm
Begin Work
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

Saturday October 7th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Begin Work
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend

12:00 pm

1:00 pm
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

2:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

6:30 pm

7:30 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

10:00 pm
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Sunday October 8th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions

12:00 pm

12:30 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS

3:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

4:00 pm

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!


Louis Bruno

Born in Las Vegas, NV, Louis Bruno was raised in The Bronx, NY and Fort Myers, FL. Upon his graduation from Fort Myers High School in 2006, he went to work at a local, family-owned air conditioning company. As a repairman, he quickly gained the trust of his customers and found he had a knack for sales. Within six months, he was named head of the company’s sales department. Over the next seven years, he developed the customer relations skills based on sincerity, professionalism, competence and commitment that would serve as the basis for the company he would soon found.  
Today, Louis is President of Bruno Air Conditioning. The company started in December 2012.It has grown from $2.5 million in revenue during their first year of business to approximate revenues of $25 million in the coming year. As President of Bruno Air, Louis leads a team of over 150 employees and continues to innovate and expand by integrating technology into every task.
In 2013 Bruno Air became the founding sponsor for the Bonita Springs Chamber of Commerce Golf Challenge and continued to sponsor the event in 2014 and 2015. In 2014 Bruno Air received the Trane Top Performer Award. Louis was featured on CNBC’s Blue Collar Millionaires in 2015.
Louis has been recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year from the Business Observer, 12 under 40 for News-Press, and a 40 under 40 for Gulfshore Business. He was greatly honored to also receive The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce Excellence In Industry Award as “Company To Watch” (2015); The Horizon Foundation Inc. Industry Appreciation Award (2015); The City of Bonita Springs Certificate of Recognition for receiving the 2015 Industry Appreciation Emerging Business Leaders Award by Mayor Ben Nelson; and in November 2015 the GrowFL “Company To Watch” Award.  
He is a graduate of the International Baccalaureate Program and the Growing Associates in Naples program. Louis maintains membership in Collier Building Industry Association, the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, Chamber of Commerce Fort Myers Beach, Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce, The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, and Above The Board Chamber in Naples and Fort Myers. Louis enjoys all sports, especially baseball. He makes his home in Naples with his wife, Rachael, and sons, LJ and Henry. Louis is also deeply involved in the local community and served as chairman of the Collier County March of Dimes.   
We are so young that we were forced to never take "no" as an answer if we wanted to succeed. Many of our competitors tried to stop us from being able to sell the top brands in HVAC. Not only were we the fastest company in the USA to get these contracts, we were able to create our own system for Southwest Florida. The short-term goals are to rebrand for a total home service company. The long-term goals are to explore new industries and expand into different states.  
We are currently retail from Marco Island to Tampa/Orlando. We are currently commercial statewide.   Our innovation has forced our competitors to change the way they do business. For so long, they just went on the mindset that "we have always done it this way." Since opening in December of 2012, we have continued to question WHY and attempt to make the industry a place that consumers run.   The answer to this question continues to involve. When I opened Bruno Air, I was not married nor did I have children. Originally, it was to change the industry. To force better quality. Today, it is a combination of that and leaving a legacy for my family for generations to come.   We have created an air conditioning system solely for Southwest Florida that is protected by an unprecedented industry warranty. We have developed a customer relationship management program that tracks every customer from the second they call or go to our website until the job is complete and then follows up for future service appointments. We are also manufacturing the first ever HVAC monitoring system for household major appliances. We will be able to test just how efficient your home is and warn you of any issues on the spot. We only had $40,000 and two employees that were entirely inexperienced in HVAC. However, they were experienced in customer-facing and the total experience. Therefore, we had to provide the best possible business to our consumers. It was never about just selling. It was about changing the industry. Even with just a fraction of the start-up capital compared to others, we bootstrapped and found our way.  
The mission of Bruno Air Conditioning is to provide the highest quality service for customers and to enhance their experience with home service companies. By introducing continuous innovations, we are forcing the enhancement of quality.  

Gordon Tredgold
International Business Speaker, Coach and Consultant

Gordon Tredgold is a business and IT transformation expert who for over 25 years in senior leadership positions for Fortune 100 companies, who he has helped reduce Operational cost by $350m and increase performance by 50-500%.   

He has successfully delivered $100 million programs, run $300 million departments, and led teams of 1000 staff for Fortune 100 companies.  Gordon is the author of the critically acclaimed book “FAST” and works with enterprises on implementing results-based leadership initiatives to rapidly accelerate the organization’s growth.

Gordon is an International Business Keynote Speaker, Coach and Consultant  and is also a contributing author and columnist at Inc., Entrepreneur, Business Insider, CEOWorld, Addicted2Success and Huffington Post. He is also a visiting Professor at Staffordshire University Faculty of Business, Education and Law.

Gordon will be speaking on Saturday night and providing feedback and advice to all participants of Startup Weekend Fort Myers.     

Event Judges

Karl Gibbons
President, Problem Solver & Rainmaker

Hailed as one of the new breed of business philosophers and a world renowned motivational speaker and mentor, Karl has documented and shared his principles and insights on management and leadership with thousands of people across 25 countries on six continents and conducted over 100,000 coaching sessions over thousands of hours to some of the most influential organizations in the world (both small and large). Karl is also one of the most dynamic speakers you will ever have at any event. He engages the audience with his passion and energy; and keeps the audiences on the edge of their seat. His content is original, profound and battle-tested…his stuff works!  If all that were not enough, he is also co-host of “Quit & Get Rich” - on G Team Radio, an internet business talk show syndicated on iHeart Radio and iTunes.

Bud Stoddard

Bud Stoddard is a successful serial entrepreneur who has founded eight different companies in the information management and data storage industry.  His companies have included MicroMedia, DataVault, TeleVault Technology, AmeriVault, Certified Backup, NextVault, Breakaway Properties, and Directional Command.  AmeriVault, Stoddard’s most notable success, became an early market leader in the online data backup market and rose to prominence in its niche with nearly nine hundred customers in forty-five states and twelve countries.  In 2008, the company was acquired by PHNS of Dallas, a leader in Health Information services. In early 2010, Stoddard along with Kevin Harris, founded NextVault and the two immediately acquired VaultUSA to accelerate its growth and gain market share.  . In 2010, Stoddard wrote and published Reflections of a Serial Entrepreneur, a street-smart guide to starting your own company. Additionally, Stoddard has served on the boards of Copiun, Rezziliant, Plus One Solutions, TSO life, and Enow.  Stoddard was a founding member of the Tamiami Angel Fund and has been an active angel investor, having invested in over twelve companies. Most recently Stoddard has become a venture partner in The Adrenaline Fund which provides capital to early stage and pre revenue companies. Bud has been a regular mentor, coach, and speaker at Florida Gulf Coast University and Ave Maria Law School and assisted dozens of aspiring entrepreneurs in their journey.   Stoddard is a resident of Estero, Florida and West Newfield, Maine.

Sam Lewis

Experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the textiles and conscious commerce industries. Skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Event Planning, Screen-Printing, Sales, Embroidery, and Athletic Apparel. Strong entrepreneurship professional with a Bachelor of Science (BS) focused in Psychology, Business from University of Florida.

Coaches and Mentors

Dave Fleming

Dave Fleming is a highly sought-after keynote speaker who invigorates audiences with his thought-provoking lessons, gleaned from two decades of studying ingenuity and coaching some of the world’s most ingenious tribes. A student and teacher of human ingenuity, Dave’s scholarly and professional experiences led him to found, The Ingenuity Lab. 

The Lab is a place for people to explore creative solution making as they learn the process and practices of ingenuity. Dave's framework for collective ingenuity is summed up in his book, Tribal Alchemy: Mining Your Team's Collective Ingenuity. He's currently working on a second edition to the book. Dave can bring his Lab to you or you can come to him. Either way, his passion is to help you infuse ingenuity into your everyday execution. Through keynotes, Ingenuity Lab workshops, and strategic coaching Dave can help you ignite ingenuity. 

Dave earned a Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership and a Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Systems. Along with his work in The Ingenuity Labe, he is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry in the College of Medicine at the University of Arizona.

Kellie Nolan McCartney
Managing Partner

Kellie’s media know-how led to a 20-year career in public relations and landed her in agency management in Europe.As managing partner and chief wordsmith at Be Brilliant! Marketing, Kellie focuses her love of words on turning clients' ideas and visions into actionable strategies, and crafting facts and figures into messages and stories that give projects meaning and impact.At the heart of her work is an ability to understand client needs and distill business strategies and complex information into meaningful and memorable messages and stories. "Words are my life" is Kellie's slogan. She understands the value that compelling communications bring to any organization. Kellie has made words matter for Fortune 500 public relations programs, annual reports, and B2B and B2C marketing communications for small and large businesses alike. She also consults clients on internal and change communications, and leads workshops on brand messaging and media training. Kellie started her career in radio and TV production, but found her true calling in public relations, first in Chicago where she led marketing communications programs for global clients, and later in Zurich, Switzerland, where she managed European operations for a U.S. PR firm. While in Europe, she joined talents and dreams with her husband to start their own communications agency, as well as a photography school. Returning the U.S., they settled in Southwest Florida where they built a new creative agency, Be Brilliant! Marketing. Kellie is involved in several local and international nonprofits, with a particular focus on programs that benefit children. She and Bryon are co-chairs of the March of Dimes 2017 Signature Chefs Auction in Southwest Florida. She is a member of the Board of Directors for Valerie's House, Calusa Nature Center, and Simbolei Academy Girls' School in Kenya. Kellie serves on the annual fundraising committee for FunTime Early Childhood Academy and is a volunteer ESL tutor at the Gulf Coast Literacy Council.Weekends are for fun, movies, cooking, and spontaneous road-trips, even if it's just to the local beach.  

Ed Moore
Marketing Coach

Ed Moore is the owner of Red Sneakers Mobile Marketing & Communication in Fort Myers, FL. The company specializes in search engine optimization and mobile marketing, helping clients create foot traffic using sophisticated online and mobile marketing strategies.
Ed has decades of experience in marketing and internet sales. He moved to Fort Myers more than 30 years ago and was hired as general sales manager of Gator Country 101.9, the top radio station in Southwest Florida. While at Gator Country, Ed launched the area’s first radio-station website in 1993 and was the first manager in the nation to make a radio station’s website profitable., the company that provided the website, took notice and made him an offer to join their team.
In 1995, Ed joined, growing the California-based company’s national network of radio-station websites. As OnRadio’s field marketing manager, Ed trained Program Directors and Sales Managers at more than 200 radio stations across the country to promote their websites to generate sales and profitability.
In 1999, Ed formed Digital Revenue, a local internet service provider. The company sold internet dial-up connections, websites and it was among the first to offer search engine optimization.
Weathering the DOTCOM Crash and the Great Recession, new cloud products and services were introduced. Ed rebranded Digital Revenue as Red Sneakers in 2013, offering new cloud-based services. These products include SEO Skybox, a service that provides business owners insight into their search-engine and social-media results as well as those of their competitors.
In order to keep SEO knowledge current, every year Ed attends a 10 day SEO seminar. This takes a deep dive into SEO for the upcoming year, the changes coming and the implementations that must be done. In addition, he attends monthly meetings with SEO experts in the industry, google webinars and daily chats.
The end result:
Foot traffic delivered.

Bryon McCartney
Chief Idea Guy and Managing Partner

As managing partner and Chief Idea Guy of Be Brilliant! Marketing, Bryon McCartney drives the creative and strategic development for client projects. His talent for design, visual storytelling and internet marketing draws on his professional experience as a graphic & web designer, photographer, and video producer.Bryon’s expertise is based on more than 27 years in creative services, corporate communications and strategic branding and marketing. He is a former creative director for Unilever North America, and was COO and lead creative for BBDO Worldwide in Zurich, Switzerland. He has managed numerous projects for Fortune 100 clients in the U.S. and Europe, and has played an important role in establishing internet strategies for major brands, including Calvin Klein Fragrances, Elizabeth Ardent Cosmetics, General Motors, Lipton Foods, Scott Fischer Enterprises, and many others.Bryon is a current board member of the March of Dimes, Southwest Florida Division, and he and his wife, Kellie Nolan, are chairs for the 2017 March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction. He is also a former member of the Board of Directors for the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, co-chairing the Business Symposium committee from 2015-2016. He has also served as President of the Fort Myers chapter of the Entrepreneur Society of America.Bryon holds a B.F.A. in Graphic Design from Ohio University and has received numerous awards for his creative work throughout his career. When he is not working or volunteering, he enjoys playing golf, exploring the splendid lifestyle that Florida offers, and spending well-deserved breaks with his wife, and their dog Lucky.

Brian Benson
Founder of InspireLink

We are working to transform the next generation of entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. We are a story based learning eco-system creating contextual content for Higher Ed, Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs.   Brian loves to help entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs by providing relevant content the moment they need it. He has interviewed some of the most successful CEO’s and Entrepreneurs (yes, even Gary Vaynerchuk) around the world over the past few years and is looking to pass that knowledge down to the next generation of startups.   Brian is a life long learner and an edtech enthusiast.  He is passionate about instilling the entrepreneurial spirit in everyone he meets. He cares deeply about helping people live their passion and make money doing it! 

Kenneth Bupp

As the Chief Operating Officer for Endeavor Innovative Workspaces, Kenneth Bupp brings expertise advising fast-growing companies how to effectively implement business development strategies, networking strategies, and use office space in rapidly changing markets. As a longtime consultant for top executives in the aerospace, transportation and defense industries, Ken is intimately familiar with the dynamics of working with agile, waterfall, and hybrid development processes in a variety of different technology based fields. 

A native of Cape Coral, Ken graduated from North Fort Myers High School and earned an associate’s degree in public relations from the University of South Florida and a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Gulf Coast University. He loves to participate in group sporting events such as mud runs and is an avid fan of the Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles, the University of South Florida Bulls and the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team.

Ken is a d
ynamic entrepreneur who utilizes resourcefulness, creativity, leadership, and teamwork to design and execute solutions that create value for clients. He is an extremely effective communicator that utilizes numerous marketing strategies to reach a number of different client markets. He is a devoted father and enjoys traveling in his free time.

Peter Cuderman
Executive Vice President

I love growing businesses. I’ve been helping businesses in the seed, start-up, growth, and maturity stages since I graduated with my MBA in 2013. Since, I have taught Entrepreneurship and Management at my Alma Mater (Go Eagles!), joined the Marine Corps -- first enlisted then commissioning --, and volunteer in various causes.

My work has been featured in CNN (on-air), Philadelphia Inquirer, Gulfshore Business, News-Press (Part of the USA Today Network), Naples Daily News, Business Observer, Naples Herald, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, NBC2 News, WINK (on-air), EagleNews, and Lee Herald.

When I’m not on the job, I spend my time training for marathons, hiking with intent to climb the 7 Summits, reading books (mainly business), and indulging my interest for seeing new places.

Ken Beauvais

Ken Beauvais is an award winning entrepreneur, internet visionary and motivational speaker. His specialties are in Internet of Things (IoT), telecommunication services, selling, motivating and startups.  He is currently a Regional Sales Manager for Comcast Business where he manages a team of Business Account Executives, Advanced Product Specialists and Consultants. Mr. Beauvais is an alumnus of the Lutgert College of Business at Florida Gulf Coast University where he studied Computer Information System, Business Management and Marketing. In his free time Ken loves to dance, box and volunteer to speak with underprivileged youth. He welcomes challenges and knows that on every journey there are always obstacles.  Nevertheless he sincerely, no matter what, greets everybody with faith and enthusiasm while saying “Living The Dream”.

Sven Hermann
Software Engineer

Sven is a software/electrical engineer by trade, but a techie / entrepreneur / tinkerer at heart. As the founder of Rollin' Taps he designs, builds and operates vintage vehicles equipped with draft equipment. He also founded the SWFL Tech Meetup as a place to connect and help local techies and entrepreneurs. Besides his company Rollin' Taps and the SWFL Tech Meetup, Sven is actively engaged in building and growing the SWFL Tech Community. Sven considers himself a "Parallel Entrepreneur", which means he embraces multiple opportunities at a time, and prefers to manage his time across many rather than 'too few' projects. It also means that he welcomes the questions and needs of entrepreneurs, and loves to help them in any way he can.

Bill Benson

Bill is a Principal of Benson Blackburn and brings years of experience in consulting with public and private companies. Bill’s previous work experience with M Financial Group in Portland, Oregon has enabled him to effectively grow Benson Blackburn’s presence in the closely held and public corporate marketplace while supporting the needs of existing individual clients of the firm. In particular, Bill enjoys working with Chief Financial Officers and the core Executive teams who strive to create an environment where clarity and insight can naturally flourish. Fueled with a passion for helping others overcome the complexities associated with working and owning a business, he helps provide enlightened structure on the terms of each core member for the overall good of the company.

Reid Lennertz
Director of Career Services, FGCU

Serving as the Director since 2002, Reid had had the opportunity to build the career services operation “from the ground up.” Between 2004 – 2014, FGCU has ranked #1 in the state university system of Florida every year but one for highest percentage of bachelor degree candidates employed and/or continuing their education within one year of graduation. Before joining FGCU, Reid served as the Recreation Director for The Ritz-Carlton, Naples. Successfully transformed the Recreation Department from a financial liability into the first profitable recreation center in The Ritz-Carlton chain, setting the benchmark for Ritz-Carlton recreation operations worldwide.  He was also selected from a worldwide pool of the hotel company’s top managers to be a member of the Opening Team for The Ritz-Carlton hotels in South Korea, St. Thomas, and Cancun, Mexico. 

Reid has a B.S. Degree from Westfield State University, as well as an MBA and M.A in Educational Leadership, both from Florida Gulf Coast University. He is an Adjunct Instructor in Entrepreneurship for the Lutgert College of Business, and was nominated for the FGCU Adjunct Teaching Excellence Award in 2015.  Originally from the Boston area, he has lived in Naples since 1990.

Marshall Howard
CEO CommLynx, LLC

Marshall K. Howard has over 20 years of senior management experience in both startup operations and Fortune 500 companies.  This experience is in multiple areas including Operations, Engineering, and Technology Implementation, Business Planning/Budgeting, Finance/M&A, Revenue Assurance, and Regulatory Affairs.

Mr. Howard is currently the owner of CommLynx, LLC which provides multiple technology related services including technology evaluation, vendor management, IT support and project planning, budgeting, management and implementation services to multiple companies. Previously
Mr. Howard served as a Vice President at T3 Communications, Inc., a Fort Myers, FL based CLEC and managed services provider. While at T3 he led several projects including T3’s conversion to a fiber based network infrastructure, deployment of WiMax based last mile connectivity, Operational and Support System (OSS) development and opening T3’s Winter Haven data center. His focus on customer service also led to T3 reaching a 99% customer satisfaction rating. Prior to joining T3, Mr. Howard served as VP of Network Technology and Business Development at Cleartel Communications (now part of Birch Communications) where he played a major role in the acquisition and integration of three other CLECs. Prior to joining Cleartel, he served as VP of Access Revenue and Cost at Choice One Communications (now part of EarthLink) with responsibility for budgeting, revenue assurance and network planning for a $100 million network serving 29 markets. Other significant experience includes managing Talk America’s nationwide UNE-P expansion process as VP of Local Operations and serving as VP of Operations at Con Edison Communications responsible for fiber deployment (now part of Light Tower).

Mr. Howard earned a BS in Physics from Rhodes College, a MSEE from Vanderbilt University, and an MBA from Southern Methodist University. Mr. Howard also completed post-graduate work in Finance and Economics at Vanderbilt University. Outside of work, Mr. Howard is an active member of the Rotary Club of Fort Myers.

Darius Joseph
President and CEO

Darius Joseph, is currently the President @ Simplified Technologies, LLC. a Fort Myers, based IT services company which specializes in computer network design, support and IT strategy.  Mr Joseph, a SCORE mentor and entrepreneur, has over 20+ years of business experience running IT organizations and non-profit organizations. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Lutgert College of Business at Florida Gulf Coast University and on the Board of Directors of the American Lung Association in Washington DC

Alkesh Patel
President and CEO

Alkesh Patel, founder of Rudram Engineering, has over 15 years of experience in Systems Engineering and Software Development fields. He has worked with major engineering firms such as Raytheon and GE delivering excellence in Defense and Aerospace Systems Engineering. His specialties include, but are not limited to, multifaceted soldier-worn electronics and other mobile soldier systems. He is a former Lead Systems Engineer on multiple multi-million dollar defense programs providing rugged electronic systems to the US Army Aviation and the US Air Force Battlefield Airmen.
Mr. Patel holds a Master’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Purdue University. He is a certified Principle of Systems Engineering professional. He is fluent in Asian-Indian languages allowing him to conduct business internationally.
He believes his largest accomplishment throughout his career is building a team of experts in diverse occupations within the Engineering and Technology fields. His team combined has over 70+ years of experience in Systems Engineering, Software Engineering, Product Development, and Project Management.

Sebastian-Alexandru Froehlinger-Weiss
Owner, Designer, and Entrepreneur

Sebastian-Alexandru Froehlinger-Weiss

Visual Designer 

Sebastian, was born in Romania and raised in Austria. Since his earliest years, he has been a design and tech geek. At the age of 13, Sebastian started to teach himself design tools (Coral Draw 9, Adobe® Photoshop, and Adobe® Illustrator) to create websites, logos, digital art and t-shirts just for fun.

After his graduation from the academy of creative design in Austria and several years in advertising agencies, he decided to start his own design studio named He is specialized in Branding & Identity Design, UX, and UI Design.

In 2012, he co-founded the network to provide international clients with unique Apps, Websites, Brands and much more. Sebastian has now been a professional for over 10 years and loves to support entrepreneurs and companies to define their own success story.

Let's tell your story with pixels. 

Brian Zajac

Brian Zajac received his B.F.A. from Bowling Green State University in Ohio and began working in the field of 3D in the mid 90s. At that time, a typical workstation cost as much as $100,000 and ran at a fraction of the speed of today’s computers. He left 3D and turned his sights towards a career in web design where he wouldn’t have to wait so long to see the fruits of his labor. In 2001, Brian started his own company EyeMagination ( with the goal to build web sites / apps based on user-experienced (UX) designs, train clients for self-service, and create internet marketing solutions to expand their business. Brian has worked with several high-profile organizations, such as the PGA, American Golf, and the New York Yacht Club.

After establishing his web-based business, Brian noticed that the 3D world of technology had become much faster, produced better results, and was finally cost-effective. So, along with his business partner Brian Smith, he formed 3D Architectural Solutions (3DAS)—a 3D architectural visualization facility specializing in the production of architectural renderings and animations. A portfolio of his work can be seen at

Brian later joined efforts with his business partner Jeff Mottle to develop CGschool – the only company in the world that provides Autodesk Authorized books and training dedicated to architectural visualization while simultaneously working full-time in visualization production. More information can be found at

Stephen Vitch
Vice President of Business Development

Whatever the mind can believe, you can achieve. Stephen Vitch possess extensive-to-expert level financial, capital markets, research, procurement, proposal, negotiating, communication, and analytical skills. 

Stephen is currently immersed in optimizing the profitability of the most exceptionally engineered military products in the world. His current ambitions include expanding Rudram Engineering Inc. by closing DoD and aerospace contracts surrounding aircraft and warfighter equipment.

Stephen has extensive experience in procurement of government and DoD projects and works with top level executives and military personal solving complex problems on highly classified projects.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Fort Myers team is grateful for the support of local community partners without whom this event would not be possible.
Learn how to become a sponsor here.

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Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Fort Myers is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Kenneth
  • Ken
  • Peter


Geza Molnar
CEO @ SimpLight

Running SimpLight.CO / Facilitating @ Startup Weekend / Community building #CPHSW and #CPHFTW

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