The Arthur M. Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership Board is an independent organization, providing support and assistance to the Spiro Institute. Its mission is to advise the institute about its progress and interactions with external individuals, corporations and agencies. It also develops, plans, and facilitates specific targeted activities that advance the institute’s goals through outreach.
The members of the Arthur M. Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership Board include:
Jones “Woody” Bryan, Ph.D. serves as Vice President of Business Development, Licensing and Project Management of Supernus Pharmaceuticals, a specialty pharmaceutical company dedicated to improving the lives of people suffering from diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). Dr. Bryan joined Shire in January 2000 where he served as Vice President Business Development for Shire Laboratories, the Advanced Drug Delivery Division of Shire Pharmaceuticals Group, based in Rockville, Maryland. Dr. Bryan's responsibilities at Shire included business development, licensing, and Project Management for Shire's bioavailability enhancement and oral controlled release drug delivery technologies as well as Management Team member. Dr. Bryan became Vice President following the Management Team led acquisition of substantially all of the assets of Shire Laboratories to form a specialty pharmaceutical company. Dr. Bryan received his B.S. degree in Zoology from Clemson University, Ph.D. degree in Pharmaceutics from the Medical University of South Carolina in 1991, and an Executive Management Certificate from the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School in 1999.
Stan Clifford is the President of DecoArt Inc, manufacturer of acrylic paints and specialty finishes for artists and hobbyists.
During Clifford's early career, he was supervisor of cost accounting at Tonka Toys. He later served as chief financial officer and executive vice president of Ceramichrome, another Tonka subsidiary, which he eventually purchased in an LBO in 1983. Ceramichrome was a manufacturer of hobby ceramic glazes and paints. In 1985, he started DecoArt, which is now one of the leading manufacturers of acrylic paints and specialty finishes for artists.
Domestically, DecoArt sells products to Michaels Stores, Joann Fabrics, Hobby Lobby, AC Moore, Home Depot, and numerous other retailers and wholesalers. Internationally, DecoArt products are sold in over 70 countries and the company labels products in nine languages.
Clifford has been a board member of the Craft and Hobby Association for six years and its treasurer and chairman of education. He has a B.S. in Accounting from Clemson University and an M.B.A. in Business from Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Kevin Gemas, co-founder of Titan Spine in 2005, has over 25 years of executive experience and a proven track record of building professional organizations. He has successfully founded and established three companies that grew revenues in excess of $20 million. In 1989 he was named by Xerox Corporation as the Cleanroom & Laboratory Supplier of the Year, in 1999 he was named Entrepreneur of the Year and in 2001 he was named Executive of the Year within the state of Wisconsin. In addition, Kevin has been a recognized motivational speaker for hundreds of secondary and post-secondary public schools, corporations and foundations over the past fifteen years. His presentations and programs have been featured in hundreds of television, radio, and newspapers. Kevin is a graduate of Clemson University, where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Administrative Management. He was privileged to be a member of both the Block C Letterman Club and 1981 National Championship Football Team.
R. Mike Gill is currently Chairman and a Principal of Evergreen Advisors, LLC.
In 1974 Mike joined IBM in sales and marketing. He joined Ernst and Young in 1981 as Director of Data Systems in the Mid-Atlantic region. In 1983 he joined American Teleservices as Regional Manager for Washington, DC and Northern Virginia. One year later in 1984 Mike founded AMERICOM, a Baltimore based company. By 2000, AMERICOM had grown to over $70 million in revenues, 1200 team members, and a presence throughout the U.S. In April of 2000 AMERICOM was acquired by Solectron, a NYSE company and a leader in the electronics manufacturing sector. Mike remained with Solectron thru 2002 as Vice President for Business Development in the Global Services Division. In 2003 Mike founded Hoyt Capital, a small investment firm that has provided capital and business advising to start-ups and growth enterprises. In addition, Mike was a founder of First Page (acquired by Metrocall, a public telecommunications company). He was also Chairman of Curtis Engine, a Baltimore based power generator company that he and others acquired in 2006.
Since 2007 Mike has been a member of the President’s Advisory Board of Clemson University. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Towson University in 1974, after first attending Clemson University on a baseball scholarship. Mike and his wife Mary have been married for 38 years. They have three children Jennifer, Allie and Mike, Jr. and five grandchildren.
L. Michelle Higdon is former President/COO for Waggin’ Train LLC, a wholly owned operating subsidiary of Nestlé, and has 15 years of experience in the management of sales, marketing and operations in consumer packaged goods.
At Waggin’ Train she was responsible for all operations in the US and abroad. Under Michelle’s leadership Waggin’ Train was repositioned and aligned for its growth and expansion over the past four years of 50% CAGR in EBITDA and 35% CAGR in sales to ~ $320 MM in 2011. She recently wrapped up a 13-month transition where she focused on integrating all departments at Nestle’ Purina PetCare. Michelle has been directly active with several national accounts such as Wal-Mart, Dollar General, and Sam’s to insure a collaborative relationship for Waggin’ Train on several fronts.
Prior to Waggin’ Train, Michelle was President of Ultra Pet, LLC a pet products company which marketed premium cat litter, Litter Pearls, Ultra Pearls, and Cedar Fresh as well as dog treats. Before joining Ultra Pet Ms. Higdon held the position of President over Greased Lightning Household brands for Bio Labs, Inc. and had previously been the Vice President of Marketing with A&M Cleaning Products. Michelle was instrumental in the growth from $5 million to the $50 million run rate as well as the preparation and sale of the company to Great Lake Chemicals in her tenure with the company.
Michelle has spent the past 12 years leading management teams through strategic growth of CPG companies and through processes to maximize return through the selling process. She received her BS in Food and Resource Economics from the University of Florida and lives in Clemson, South Carolina.
Founder and CEO; SCIO Diamond Technology Corp.
Former President & CEO, D & W Fine Pack, Dispoz-o Products
Mr. Lancia is an entrepreneur and senior executive with comprehensive experience in generating top and bottom line growth both domestically and internationally. He has an extensive background in profit & loss management and leading aggressive growth companies. He possesses expertise in a range of industries including consumer products, packaging, food service, electrical, metal fabrication, and electronics and in establishing strategies for the integration, implementation and restructuring/redirection of businesses. Having completed and managed 14 deals outside of the US, Joe has a wealth of international experience.
Melinda Davis Lux is a corporate partner with Wyche, P.A. in Greenville, SC. Melinda focuses her practice on complex corporate transactions, including mergers, acquisitions, sales, spin-offs, joint ventures, and debt financings. Melinda also regularly represents entrepreneurs in capital raising transactions, such as private placements of securities.
Melinda is listed in Best Lawyers in America and was named a “Rising Star” by South Carolina Super Lawyers and a member of the “Legal Elite” by Greenville Business Magazine. She was named by the Greenville Chamber as the 2009 Young Professional of the Year. Melinda is a member of the M&A Committee of the American Bar Association and serves on the Task Force on Model Asset Purchase Agreement. Melinda is a Liberty Fellow, a graduate of Leadership South Carolina, and a graduate of Leadership Greenville. She serves on the board of the Greenville Symphony Association and is a member of Greenville Professional Women’s Forum. Melinda has a J.D. from Yale Law School, an M.B.A. from Clemson University, and a B.A. from Wellesley College. She is an Adjunct Professor at Clemson University College of Business and Behavioral Science teaching entrepreneurial law.
David Mendez is a 1987 graduate of Clemson University (Mechanical Engineering), and currently serves on the Executive Advisory Board to Clemson’s School of Business and Behavioral Sciences. He subsequently obtained his MBA from The Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
David is currently General Partner at Capital A Partners, a venture capital firm based in Charleston, SC with offices in New York and Stockholm.
After many years with DuPont and General Electric, David founded Supplybase.inc, a VC-backed B2B software company, sold in 2000 to i2 Technologies. After Supplybase, he served as managing director for Katalyst Venture Partners, a NYC-based VC firm, and later formed DPM Resources, his advisory firm that he relocated from NYC to Charleston in 2011. In addition to his advisory work and venture capital firm management, David has invested in several ventures, real estate, and film projects.
David has traveled extensively, and has lived and worked across the United States and internationally in the UK, Belgium and in Spain. He currently lives in Charleston with his wife, Phoebe Sanders (Clemson ’87) Mendez, and their two children Ellerbe and Sebastian.
Andy Monin is founder and CEO of Vendormate, Inc., the premier provider of vendor credentialing solutions to over 1,500 US hospitals in the US. As CEO he is responsible for the overall strategic direction and vision of the organization with a focus on business development and new product creation.
Vendormate has garnered many awards and recognition for its meteoric growth and success in healthcare technology since its founding in 2005. In 2010, INC Magazine named Vendormate the #1 Fastest growing private software company in the US (#25 overall) and Mr. Monin was a 2011 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist and was also named to the Clemson University Arthur Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurship Leadership Hall of Fame.
Prior to Vendormate, Mr. Monin co-founded BroadSource, a telecommunications expense management software and solutions company. Mr. Monin has held various sales and marketing positions for global telecommunications companies Incomm, Cable and Wireless and MCI.
Mr. Monin graduated with BA in Political Science and was a 4 year letterman on the Clemson baseball team. Mr. Monin serves on the advisory board of the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), a technology start-up accelerator at Georgia Tech, and is a board member of the Georgia Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).
Jim Self is the President and Managing Partner of ProBioPharm, a global Strategy and Business Development consultancy for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry. ProBioPharm specializes in providing strategy, business development, and commercialization expertise to the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, vaccine, and life sciences industry.
Jim was with Merck for 21 years, beginning his career in quality control, and progressing through various leadership roles in pharmaceutical manufacturing, business development, and international operations. Prior to founding ProBioPharm, Jim was the Global Leader of Business Development for the Vaccines & Infectious Disease Division (MVID) of Merck & Company, where he was responsible for the identification and
leadership of international growth and business development initiatives. Prior to joining the Vaccines and Infectious Disease Division, Jim was the Executive Director of Business Operations for the Asia Pacific Human Health Division and General Manager of Merck's Japan Licensee business (Annual Sales ~$100 million).
Jim earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from North Carolina State University and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Greg Smith serves as President of Blue Vista Ventures, LLC, and is an advisor and consultant to early-stage technology companies. Smith has personally invested in 11 start-up companies and funds. Smith formerly served as vice president and general manager of Xerox Mortgage Services. Prior to Xerox, Smith co-founded and served as CEO and Chairman of Advectisâ, Inc., the exclusive provider of BlitzDocsâ Collaboration Suite, one of the mortgage industry’s most widely-used solutions for electronic document collaboration. Advectis was acquired by Xerox in October of 2007.
The BlitzDocs solution enables a network of mortgage participants to manage the process needed to underwrite, audit, collaborate, deliver and archive loan documents electronically via an on-demand web-based application. As of 2011, between 12% and 14% of the U.S. mortgage volume was processed through the BlitzDocs network.
Before co-founding Advectis, Smith was instrumental in launching products in a number of vertical markets, including the insurance and commercial real estate industries with InterTech Information Management.
He has obtained international experience having lived and worked in several European countries and is conversant in German. Smith holds a master’s degree in international business from the University of South Carolina and a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Clemson University.
Smith is a frequent speaker at various entrepreneurial forums including the ATDC, Technology Association of Georgia events, as well as MIT Forum entrepreneurial events in Atlanta. He currently serves on the advisory boards of NurseNav, Pretty In My Pocket, Inc., Workforce Resource, Inc., The Clemson University (Golf Paws) Program, and currently serves as Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Arthur Spiro Institute for Entreprenurial Leadership at Clemson University. Smith is a board memberof Social Growth Technologies, Inc., serves as Chariman of the Board of Verdeeco Inc., and Smith is also a board member and active investor with the Atlanta Technology Angels group.
G. T. “Toby” Stansell has served and continues to serve in an executive management role for high-impact, fast-growth companies, primarily in the arenas of apparel sales/sourcing/distribution, information technology, and enterprise software. His ability to leverage and apply technology to automate manual processes, streamline workflow across supply chains/networks, and improve information access, availability and delivery has enabled companies of all shapes and sizes to make better business decisions faster, leverage their competitive advantages, and maximize profitability. Mr. Stansell holds a BS in Financial Management from Clemson University. He has been married since 1979 to his wife, Susan, and they have two children, Taylor & Evyn, both of whom are now grown and out of the home.
A.J. “Buddy” Thompson, Jr. MD, after completing a Residency in Ophthalmology in 1981, he founded Easley Eye Associates in 1981. Dr. Thompson earned a BS in Chemical Engineering with high honors in 1969 from Clemson University. Following 5 1/2 years working for Exxon as an engineer and financial analyst, Dr. Thompson entered medical school at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC becoming a Doctor of Medicine in January of 1978, where he received the Lange Award as the 2nd Honor Graduate. Beginning in 1997 and biannually since then, Dr. Thompson has been selected by his peers to “Best Doctors in America.” Among Dr. Thompson’s community involvements, he was an Organizing and Founding Director and Vice Chairman of The Peoples National Bank, Easley, SC. In 1999 he became President of the Keowee Toxaway, Co., LLC, as co-founder of The Reserve at Lake Keowee, a 3,900 acre lakefront community where he resides and is currently Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors. In addition to the Spiro Board, he has served Clemson as a 2 term member of the Board of Visitors, The Rutland Center for Ethics Advisory Board, Golf Paws Board of Directors, and a member of the recent Capital Campaign Leadership Team. He will begin serving MUSC on its Foundation Board in 2013.
Paul Trinder is a British born business leader with global experience. He previously held Executive management positions in Europe, North America, Australia and Asia. Most recently he was CEO and Executive Chairman of Capital Safety Group Ltd., the global leader in Fall Protection. Mr. Trinder led MBO of division from BTP plc ($154m) and subsequent sale to Candover (London based Private Equity Company) in 2007 ($565m). The business was recently sold to KKR for in excess of $1Bn.
Mr. Trinder is now a US Citizen and full time resident of South Carolina and owner of Capital Properties Inc, a residential property developer. He is also a Board member of Standfast Holdings USA (Chicago) (safety devices for transport industry), and the Board of the Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership and a local investor.
Adam Witty is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Advantage Media Group, an international publisher of business, self-improvement and professional development books. Adam and his team help business professionals grow their credibility, influence and business by supporting them with the tools to write, publish, monetize and market a book to grow their businesses.
He is an in-demand speaker, teacher and consultant on marketing and business development techniques for entrepreneurs and authors, and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily, Young Money Magazine, on ABC and Fox. Adam was selected as one of INC. Magazine's 30 Under 30 for “America’s coolest young entrepreneurs” in 2011. He is the author of 21 Ways to Build Your Business with a Book, 11 Ways Financial Advisors Attract Their Ideal Clients with a Book, 21 Ways to Build Your Dental Practice with a Book, Log On and Learn, and co-author of The Book Itch and Book the Business: How to Make Big Money With your Book Without Even Selling a Single Copy.
Adam is a proud alumnus of Clemson University and happy to call Charleston, South Carolina home.