Vanita Spaulding is Managing Partner of Cogent Valuation, a business valuation firm with offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Orange County, California. Since 1991, Cogent has provided independent valuations and financial opinions of business entities during thousands of mergers, acquisitions, and other business transactions. The firm has worked with companies of all industries and sizes, from closely held businesses and startups to corporations with billions of dollars in assets. Vanita has served clients in a financial advisory capacity since 1982, and has been involved in over 1,500 valuation engagements.
Denise O'Neill is the president of The Alternative Board, Baltimore-Washington Corridor (TAB-BWI). A branch of the global TAB network, TAB-BWI is a coalition of experienced business professionals who provide peer advisory services, one-on-one coaching, and networking opportunities to entrepreneurs and business owners looking to grow their companies. Denise is the former Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Nabisco, and brings 16 years of leadership experience to the team. As a Strategic Business Leadership Coach and Facilitator for TAB, she specializes in sales, marketing, and logistics, as well as organizational development and strategic planning. In this Pinnacles interview, Denise spoke with Mike Mercurio about what sets TAB apart from other advisors, her entrepreneurial philosophy, her charitable endeavors, and more.
Donna Kolb Boesl is the CEO of Walter Electric, an electrical contractor serving the Greater Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area. Walter Electric's history dates back nearly a century, starting when Donna's grandfather, Walter G. Kolb, founded Kolb Electric in 1925. The company remained locally owned and family operated as it grew through the decades, with Donna eventually leading and opening a Baltimore office in 1993. Driven by the dream to run their own company, Donna and her husband Gus Boesl launched Walter Electric in 2015. In this Pinnacles interview, Donna spoke with Mike Mercurio about navigating family dynamics in business, her advice for entrepreneurs, Walter Electric's unique corporate culture, and more.
Ava Pipitone is the executive director of the Baltimore Transgender Alliance as well as the co-founder and CEO of HostHome Inc. Founded in 2014, following the murders of transgender Baltimore residents Mia Henderson and Kandy Hall, the Baltimore Transgender Alliance is a coalition of trans parents, business owners, activists, and artists that seeks to unify, reclaim, and empower the city's transgender and gender non-conforming communities. In 2017, Ava launched HostHome through the Johns Hopkins Social Innovation Lab. Described as a "donor-powered Airbnb," the company aims to provide peer-to-peer housing for homeless LGBTQ individuals and others.
Arnold Heckman is the CEO of Cannaline. Founded in 2009, Cannaline supplies storage products, accessories, and packaging solutions for cannabis businesses and consumers. Products include glass stash jars, concentrate containers, smell-proof bags, dropper bottles, and more. Additionally, Cannaline offers custom packaging, 3D modeling, and design and printing services for dispensaries and retail shops. The company has earned a reputation as an industry innovator: it was the first to supply screw top concentrate containers, BPA-free acrylic concentrate containers, state-specific “Best Practices” printed bags, and many more cannabis packaging elements that have since become commonplace.
Matt Stover is a former American Football placekicker, two-time Super Bowl Champion, Baltimore Ravens “Ring of Honor” inductee—and now, a major philanthropist in the Maryland region. Along with Seth McDonnell, Matt is one of the founders of Players Philanthropy Fund (PPF), a 501(c)(3) public nonprofit organization through which athletes, entertainers, and other philanthropists can accept tax-deductible contributions in support of members’ qualified charitable missions of choice.
Larry Letow is the CEO of Convergence Technology Consulting, an information technology and data management firm based in Columbia, Maryland. Calling on a deep well of technological expertise and experience, Convergence provides enterprise infrastructure, web and app development, cybersecurity, and managed IT services to a wide variety of public and private clients.
Michael Nelson is the managing partner of DFDR Consulting LLC. Headquartered in Malvern, PA—with offices in Philadelphia—DFDR is a consulting firm that specializes in digital forensics, security assessments, data recovery, and information security. The firm combines deep and broad-ranging IT expertise with law enforcement-caliber training to provide advanced investigative services to clients at the lowest possible cost and with minimal network downtime.
Dennis Underwood is the CEO of Cyber Crucible. Built in response to today's mounting cyber threats, Cyber Crucible is an automated intrusion discovery and analysis service. The platform allows organizations to quickly detect attacks, accurately analyze their details and scope, and efficiently contain them, instantly avoiding immense costs and reducing untold organizational liability. Before inventing Cyber Crucible, Dennis worked as cyber attack discovery expert for the NSA, and served as a combat leader with ten years of US Army service.
Dr. John Chessare is the president and CEO of GBMC HealthCare, a private nonprofit that owns and runs the Greater Baltimore Medical Center. Founded in the 1960s, GBMC is Baltimore County’s leading medical system, with nearly 1,300 physicians and more than 1,100 nursing staff serving community members at facilities throughout the region. In addition to the medical center, GBMC HealthCare also owns and operates Gilchrist Hospice Care, a nationally recognized hospice organization.
Greg Gurev is the founder and “Head Sherpa” of MySherpa, a provider of IT managed services in the Greater Philadelphia region. True to its name, MySherpa helps clients ascend to peak performance in networking and cybersecurity. The company serves business owners and IT leaders in industries such as law, healthcare, construction, manufacturing, and financial services.