AWC & NAU-Yuma Startup Weekend

    Friday, March 23 - 25, 2018

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
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AWC & NAU-Yuma Startup Weekend

Friday, March 23 - 25, 2018

Friday, March 23 - 25, 2018
Event starts at 6:00 pm

AWC & NAU-Yuma Campus
2020 S Ave 8 E
Yuma, AZ 85365

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Develop your ideas and experience Entrepreneurial Learning in a weekend!

Do you have an idea you'd like to pursue or a problem you'd like to solve but don't know where to start or who to start with? 

AWC & NAU-Yuma Startup Weekend is the place to look for possible answers and experiencing learning to develop and validate your idea, create a prototype of your idea, work in teams, receive feedback from experienced faculty and entrepreneurs, and get recognized for your efforts, all in one weekend.

What do you need to bring?

Lots of energy! You'll pitch your own idea or listen to others, then vote on the most interesting ideas and form teams with diverse skill sets. You can come with friends, but you’ll get the full experience if you participate in separate teams. Remember, it’s all about the team.

Your idea should be something you have not previously worked on. The idea you pitch and the problem you set out to solve can span social, educational, financial, environmental, or other issues. Over the course of the weekend you'll be challenged to create a prototype of your minimum viable product (MVP), that fits the needs of your target customer. You'll get feedback, iterate, and likely pivot your approach entirely! Important: You cannot have worked previously on your idea.

AWC & NAU-Yuma Startup Weekend is a full weekend long experience. Your ticket includes:
  • 7 full (and delicious) meals over the course of the weekend
  • Benefits and discounts from our global partners
  • One-on-one time with amazing mentors
  • A new network of participants representing problem-solvers, developers, designers, and entrepreneurs eager, like you, to change the world.
  • All the Internet and coffee you can consume.

Watch the video below to see what you can expect, and if you’re feeling inspired click on the “Buy Ticket” button now!

Still have questions, feel free to reach us at “”.

Don’t wait any longer and join the AWC & NAU-Yuma Startup Weekend movement!

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Friday March 23rd

6:00 pm
Arrive at the venue and check-in at Registration; Get to know fellow participants; Networking and Dinner

6:45 pm
Welcome Addresses & Speakers
Welcome addresses; Introductions; Overview of Agenda for the weekend; Motivational messages by selected Speakers

7:30 pm
Pitches & Teams
60-second pitches by participants; Voting on pitches; Form Teams; Introduce Team Mentors; Teams discuss ideas and take inventory of skills required

9:45 pm
Wrap up
Wrap up; You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Saturday March 24th

8:00 am
Arrive, Check-in, Breakfast; Mentors arrive

8:30 am
Finalize Teams & Begin Work
Finalize teams; Setup workspace; Discussion with Mentor; Begin work

12:00 pm

1:00 pm
Team work
Check-in; Review progress; Team work; discussion with Mentor; Conceptualize presentation; Team work; Discussion with Mentor; Team work; Discuss presentation strategy

6:30 pm

7:00 pm
Team Work
After-dinner check-in, Team work; Discussion with Mentor; Team work; Start developing presentation

9:30 pm
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Sunday March 25th

8:00 am
Arrive at the venue; check-in; Breakfast

8:30 am
Team Work
Review status; discuss presentation strategy; Discuss with Mentor; Team work; Develop prototype/artifact; Team work; Discuss strategy of presentation

12:00 pm

1:00 pm
Presentations & Awards
Presentation tech check; Finalize presentation; Final Presentations; Judges evaluation; Judges feedback; Awards presenrtation; Concluding remarks.

5:30 pm
Early Dinner
Early Dinner

6:00 pm


John Courtis
Executive Director, Yuma Chamber of Commerce

Yuma Chamber of Commerce, Executive Director 

John Courtis is currently the Executive Director of the Yuma County Chamber of Commerce. After a 14 year career at the Yuma Sun as Advertising Manager, John assumed his current post in September of 2014. In that span membership in the Chamber has increased by over 19%. John began his marketing / advertising career at the Long Beach Press Telegram in 1973 and 43 years later, he's still helping independent business be successful! John has been a publisher of a weekly paper, and has owned an advertising agency, a weekly paper and a consulting firm. He has worked for big papers like the Los Angeles Times and the Kansas City Star and small papers like the Sun Shopper in Prescott. He is a trainer and motivational speaker and loves helping small businesses be successful. John is involved in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life of Yuma, the Yuma Council for CASA, Yuma Youth Leadership, BetterYuma.Org, the Yuma County Fair, and the Yuma Area Agricultural Council.

Bosco Noronha
Senior Plant Engineer, APS

Bosco Noronha is an electrical engineer and entrepreneur. He has a Master in Electrical Engineering and an MBA from San Diego State University. Extensively  travelled on professional work to Canada, Kuwait, Mexico and now in the US. Yuma is his final home town. He started his career in the aerospace industry working on the F-18 E/F and the Airbus A340 development programs. Later moved on to the Oil and Gas industry transitioning into Information Technology and finally settling to engineering project management into Power Generation, working for Berkshire Hathaway and Arizona Public Service (APS).  Managed projects in the range of $5M to $50M.  Active member of the engineering steering committee at Arizona Western College. Business entrepreneur in the hospitality industry.

Margie Dallabetta
Associate Broker

Margie’s real estate career began while in college at Northern Arizona University with her studies in business and design. After college, opportunities took Margie to North Western Arizona where she joined one of the oldest and most prominent real estate firms that specialized in development, focused on commercial and land.   Returning to Yuma, Arizona, Margie’s hometown, she was again rooted in development by managing the sales and financing division of Lee Home Builders. Further acted as project manager for additional new developments and private projects in Yuma. In 2008 Margie reorganized her real estate business and formed Inside Connection, LLC, a real estate brokerage with design work.  In 2015 she diversified her business and merged the real estate division into Long Realty-Yuma with the expansion of a new central town office.    

Arturo Morales
Senior Director of Business Development

Arturo Morales has been in finance for 19 years; 14 of which have been in business banking helping entities from sole proprietors to the large complex C corporations with their financial needs. Currently Arturo is the Senior Director of Business Development for AEA Federal Credit Union. A 1995 graduate of Cibola High School, he has a lot of pride in the Yuma community and is involved in various organizations such as being on the board for the Yuma County Chamber of Commerce (2018 Chairman), the board for the Foundation of Yuma Regional Medical Center, an active member of his church, a Yuma Rotarian, NexGen member, previous board member of Adult Literacy Plus and previous board member of Housing America Corp.Arturo was honored by Arizona Western College Foundation in 2014 as the recipient of the Alumni of the Year award. 

Event Judges

Jim Adler
President, JOL Enterprises

Jim is a native Arizonan and was raised in Phoenix. He attended Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff where he joined the U.S. Navy his senior year.  Upon graduating in 1984 with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, Jim was commissioned a Civil Engineer Corps officer.  His time in the Navy Civil Engineer Corps and Seabees found him doing tours in all over the world with his final duty at the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Arizona.   We are lucky that he decided to spread roots in Yuma after leaving the Navy by joining the electrical engineering firm, JOL Enterprises. In 2000, Jim took over as president and owner of JOL Enterprises. Jim is a licensed Registered Professional Engineer with an MBA from Webster University. 

Niraj Kohli
President, CSC

 Niraj Kohli, President of CSC, is a 30 year technology industry and cross cultural management veteran,having held leadership positions at Motorola based in USA and Asia. He has mentored  entrepreneurs and delivered webinars across the country. He spent 19 years with Motorola in various global management roles including Operations Management based in USA and Asia. He had P&L responsibility of several high volume global businesses with sales in excess of $250 million serving Communication, Digital Consumer, Computing, Industrial and Automotive markets. His other experience includes technology, business development, Strategic and Product marketing management and manufacturing. He has lived in 4 and done business in 32 countries. He is currently a practitioner faculty and teaches courses on entrepreneurship, strategy and sustainability.

Tom Rush
LPL Branch Manager, Wealth Advisor

Tom Rush is the Founder and President of Yuma Investment Group Wealth Management. He has been dedicated to assisting his clients in pursuing their financial goals for over 20 years.

Julie Engel
President, Greater Yuma Economic Development Corporation

Julie Engel hails from North Platte, NE. For the past 8 years Julie has been the President & CEO of the Greater Yuma Economic Development Corporation (GYEDC). Before arriving at GYEDC as a Project Manager in June of 2003, Julie previously held positions with the U.S. Postal Service, City of Somerton, and Cocopah Indian Tribe. Through her work at GYEDC, Julie has recruited 20 new companies into the Yuma region creating almost 2,893 new jobs. Between 2004-2014, Julie helped increase capital investment $1.3B in the Yuma region. She has assisted with the creation and implementation of GYEDC’s Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) program Attaining Certified Economic Developer from the Economic Development Institute. Julie serves on the Board of Directors for Yuma Regional Medical Center, and National Heritage Area. Julie was appointed by Governor Brewer and again by Governor Ducey to serve on the Arizona Commerce Authority Rural Advisory Council, named the 2012 Economic Developer of the Year by the Arizona Association of Economic Development and received the 2015 Yuma Chamber of Commerce Athena Award.

Joseph Moser
Plant Manager for Johnson Controls

Joseph Moser is the Plant Manager for Johnson Controls, Yuma Service and Distribution Center. Mr. Moser is a 30 year product manufacturing professional holding leadership roles at the local and Americas level. His background is in Supply Chain and Operations Management holding various positions in mail/phone order fulfillment, agro-business, print and now the automotive battery market. Joseph has degrees in Business Management, and Master’s in Business and Supply Chain. The Yuma S&DC ships one million batteries per month in peak season and support a territory of nine states from California to Oklahoma and Arizona to Wyoming. Joseph has been in the Yuma area since 2004 and was part of the Yuma S&DC plant startup in 2006.

Coaches and Mentors

Randy Nelson
Director, Small Business Development Corporation

Randy Nelson knows startups. As Director of AWC’s Small Business Development Centers, Randy provides small business owners the means to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals. Certified as a NxLevel Instructor and Profit Mastery Facilitator, he has helped thousands of students and businesses with financial literacy and business planning strategies. 2010 State Star Award as top performer in capital formation and customer satisfaction. Randy serves on the Board of Directors for Yuma County Airport Authority (January ‘15) and was elected to the Yuma Area Non Profit Institute (YANPI) Board in January 2012. Yuma County Chamber Member of the Year (2005), Center of Excellence Award AZSBDC (‘05-’10), and SBA Award as SBDC of the Year for ‘11 and ‘12 for the State of Arizona.

Shahrooz Roohparvar
VP Finance & Administrative Services at Arizona Western College

VP Finance & Administrative Services at Arizona Western College

Sarah Kramer
Chief Medical Information Officer

Dr. Sarah Kramer is the Chief Medical Information Officer at Yuma Regional Medical Center (YRMC).  She is a former Family Physician of 30 years clinical practice experience. She has extensive experience in Health Information Technology (HIT), including patient portals, data interoperability using standardized taxonomies, and population health.   Prior to joining YRMC, she spent most of her career with the University of Washington as a leader in physician practices, clinical quality and extracting valuable insights from HIT. Other industry experience includes private practice, academic medicine, the US military, a multi-state not-for-profit health system, and even a software vendor.  Her current responsibilities include leading strategy and change using HIT for analytics, patient engagement and care-team communication. Most important, she is a self-professed nerd who enjoys mentoring the next generation of leaders.

Marc Lafond
Professor of Business

Business/Computer Information Systems / Yuma

Faviola Villegas
Marketer. Entrepreneur.

Consultant with 12 years of experience in Mexico and in the USA. Founder of Marketing Positivo Consulting Group and Co-Owner of Speaker. Professional instructor for about 30 companies. Full-time professor. Social Media Strategist.  Marketing Program Coordinator at CETYS University.  She is always looking for fresh ideas to support and promote. 

Moses Diaz De Leon
Professor of Business/Business & CIS Division Chair

Business/Computer Information Systems / Yuma

Bradley Baird
AWC Professor of Business

  • Professor of Business and Computer Information Systems

Monica Acosta Alvarado

Professor, researcher and consultant in Strategic Management, Entrepreneurship, Organizational Development and Human Talent Management. International Rankings Director at CETYS University System. PhD in Strategic Management, Master in Business Administration and Master in Human Resources Management. More than 20 years of professional and academic experience. International Academic Accreditations Evaluator. Author and Coauthor of academic articles and two books. Reviewer for Scholarly Journals. Speaker. Wife and a proud Mom of two daughters.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The AWC & NAU-Yuma Startup Weekend 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.




Organizing Team

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

  • Michael
  • Linda
  • Rakesh
  • Alex
  • Karime
  • Shahrooz
  • Sergio


Jen Newell
Marketing and Communications Professional

I am part of the original organizing team of Startup Weekend San Diego and saw SW grow from toddler-hood to adulthood as early as 2007 in Boulder when it began.

I have recently worked at two Techstars companies, Carbon Robotics and CleverPet. I recently changed gears to do social media marketing at a large scientific instrument company.

Event Staff

Susan Lauer

Susan Mary Lauer
Administrative Associate

Event Blog

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