Linda Teza Kulka
Prior to her role as the ScaleUp Program Director, Linda held sales, marketing, and management positions in the manufacturing, distribution, healthcare and human resources consulting industries with such global companies as Procter and Gamble, HCA Healthcare, Right Management Consultants and Development Dimensions International.
She holds an M.B.A. from Jacksonville University and a B.S. in Business Administration from California State University at Long Beach. She spent her first two years of college at the State University of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology where she represented the school at the College for the Distributive Trades in London, England, as a London Scholar.
Linda’s professional memberships have included the North Florida Chapter of the Society for Human Resources Management, the First Coast Manufacturer’s Association, the Alliance for World Class Education, JCCI’s Regionalism Study, Women Business Owners, and the American Marketing Association.
She is the owner of her own publishing and consulting firm, Enlightenment International, Inc., an author and an adjunct faculty member for several colleges and universities.
Yvonne H. Katzman
Yvonne has thirty years professional experience in the administrative field working for Texaco for 23 of those years – 21 years in research where she learned a great deal about process analysis, research and support. Following her tenure with Texaco she worked in diverse environments including New York Medical College, Wilbur Smith Associates, Green Chimneys Children Services and RDI, Inc. in Administrative Support.
Now, with ScaleUp North Florida as Administrative Assistant, she says every day she enjoys the opportunity to help small businesses grow and appreciates the hard work and dedication she sees as her responsibilities bring her into contact with both the current ScaleUp participants and ScaleUp alumni.
Yvonne and her husband relocated to Jacksonville from New York in 2014. She has a 28-year-old daughter who lives in San Francisco whom she speaks with frequently and in her spare time she conducts a Shaman class and works with Reiki, an ancient form of Japanese healing.
Noura Abi-Khalil is a Lebanese American who emigrated 10 years ago after getting married to her husband, Ray. While in Lebanon she earned a Master’s Degree in Psychology, which allowed her to work directly with the top management with large companies and financial institutions.
Noura Café was opened in 2009 and after helping her husband, Ray, in the business she found herself taking an active role in the management and running of the restaurant. The business gave her the chance to learn and educate herself about the American business system and to educate her customers about her authentic cuisine. The growth of the business and increasing demand helped Noura and Ray decide it was time to scale up by improving Noura Café’s processes and developing plans for a second location.
Noura is trilingual, speaking, reading and writing Arabic, French and English, fluently. Her hobbies are cooking, swimming, skiing and reading, and she is the mother of twin 5- year-old girls.
Meridith Anzulis is the Vice President and CEO of Fenetex Corporation, a manufacturer of high end retractable shade, insect and hurricane screens. Meridith’s professional background is in marketing, sales, promotions, event management, and finance. Prior to starting Fenetex (formerly Storm Watch) with her husband, Michael Murray, she worked in the technology sector and professional sports marketing and management.
Since its inception, Fenetex has grown to become the preferred provider of luxury outdoor retractable screen products. In addition to the company’s early roots in providing storm protection, it now produces retractable insect, shade, hurricane, and clear weather screens for high end homes, resorts, and restaurants. Fenetex was the first company to offer a dual screen system with separate specialized hurricane screens and insect or shade screens in a single unit. These motorized screens can be operated by remote control or included in home automation systems.
Meridith and Michael live in Avondale with their four year old son. She enjoys reading and traveling.
From an early appreciation of art, Lauren Atwaters has developed a successful career utilizing her God-given gift to share her passion. As a young bride, Lauren took on DIY projects and blogged tutorials. After building a following, she received requests to create items for other brides. Shortly after opening her first online shop, Ten23 Designs was born.
Lauren has set a standard in custom event décor. Her work has been recognized in print publications such as Munaluchi Bride, The Celebration Society formally known as Occasions, Oh Brides Magazine and other industry magazines as well as online publications including Hostess with the Mostest, Essence, People, Style Me Pretty, and Disney blog.
Lauren believes it is important that her products represent her brand just as she believes that her clients’ events should be a representation of their unique brand. Lauren does not identify herself as a product maker or manufacturer. She is an artist who produces custom pieces that create both emotion and memories.
Ed Baldwin is the President and Founder of ProfileGorilla, a tech startup that simplifies the way businesses on-board and manage their vendors, suppliers, and contractors. After more than 15 years as a visionary leader and highly capable change-agent in operations, technology, vendor management, and software design, Ed left the corporate world in 2013 to launch ProfileGorilla.
ProfileGorilla created an easy to use software tool that provides companies and their service providers a system where they can store and manage any kind of critical business records including – automated reminders to keep clients alerted to important dates like contract, license and certification expirations, maintenance cycles, etc., in-system reporting, document management, checklists and notes.
Ed, as one of the Jacksonville entrepreneurial eco-system leaders, successfully launched an innovation and entrepreneurial district in downtown Jacksonville, called the Spark District. He is a UCF Graduate, earned a Bachelors in Management of Information Systems and has career expertise in education, defense, insurance, and technology.
In 2012, Bill Barfield and a colleague found the Institute for Professional Certification and Licensing Education (IPCLE). IPCLE offers eight insurance pre-licensing education courses online and will soon offer a real estate pre-licensing course. IPCLE focuses on sustainable growth by offering well priced courses, outstanding student experience, and the convenience of being 100% online. Two employees were hired last year to help with the workload.
Bill has a BS in Business from the University of South Carolina and spent 40 years in insurance related areas, much of it in insurance education. Bill is licensed to teach all Florida insurance and real estate license courses.
A lifelong Jacksonville resident, Bill lives with his wife Sandi, three very independent dogs and one parrot. Two of his three children and all four grandchildren live nearby. Bill enjoys their company and working on his 5 acres in the Ocala National Forest. He is a shot put enthusiast and he has participated in both the National Masters Track and Field Championship and the Senior Olympics.
Rebecca Black spent fifteen years working in the Food and Beverage industry in the U.S., Spain, and France. This was followed by a career in outside sales and management where most of her employees came from diverse backgrounds, the majority from other countries. It was this experience that led her to become an immigration attorney.
Rebecca graduated from Florida Coastal School of Law and went to work for David Fletcher, PA, where she handled case bringing foreign investors to the U.S., helped foreign exchange students develop long term strategies to stay here, worked on family sponsorships – reuniting families and helping people successfully bring/or keep their spouse here in the U.S. – and preparing and defending asylum and deportation cases and appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals and the 11th Circuit Court.
She started Rebecca C. Black Immigration in 2012 to continue delivering highly successful immigration services on the First Coast, and looks forward to new challenges and rewards of owning her own practice.
Robyn Branch is an associate member of the Florida North Chapter of American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). Her background in theater and dance created a logical path for entering the world of interior design. Robyn’s family operated a successful furniture store, and she was employed early on to stage model homes. From costume and set design to fashion merchandising, Robyn has been involved with interiors and trends her entire life.
Among Robyn’s strengths is her visionary ability to see what can be, helping clients achieve ultimate possibilities for their homes in any geographical setting. Listening, gently guiding, and genuinely caring are her tools of the trade. She has won an award for historic preservation and is regularly published in local media.
Robyn’s many long-term nationwide and international relationships coupled with her access to resources combine to provide the exact formula for interfacing with clients and builders, resulting in perfect outcomes for residential or commercial projects.
Johnny Maurice Brown is the 4th generation owner of the 100 year old E.W. Lawson and Son Funeral Home, LLC, in Palatka.
An Army veteran who has earned a B.S in Business and two M.A. degrees – one in Biblical Studies and one in Theology, Johnny worked a number of years for FedEx in Atlanta. He has spent much of his working life in Human Resources, which continues to help him in the family business.
E.W.Lawson has built its foundation on the belief that every family deserves comfort, trust and affordability in their time of bereavement and it is its responsibility to help people through this time of need. This means reaching far beyond the traditional role of the funeral director. It means providing a unique combination of quality funeral services, providing tools and support to help families create a meaningful funeral that celebrates and honors their loved ones.
Johnny and his wife Crystal live in Palatka – they have five children and four grandchildren.
Lennys Campos is the CEO of Campos Consulting Inc. She is a trusted advisor to her clients and has assisted them to improve and optimize their operations and achieve challenging goals. Lennys has over 22 years of industry and management consulting services experience, utilizing continuous improvement and lean methodology to effect positive change management across organizations while working with high impact teams during strategic implementations.
Lennys has worked with clients globally and across multiple industries including aerospace, automotive, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, technology, and entertainment. She held senior management positions at companies such as Ernst and Young LLP, Arizona Chemical, FinMetrix Group, and REL Consultancy Group and she also worked as an Electrical and Computer Engineer for IBM and the US NAVY.
She has a Bachelor in Science in Computer and Electrical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico, and an MBA in International Business from the University of Connecticut.
Dennis Chan grew up and now lives in Jacksonville, where his family has owned twelve successful restaurants.
After attending the University of Florida and the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Dennis worked with Ming Tsai, from the PBS show “Simply Ming.” This allowed him to apply the classic cooking techniques that he learned in school to the traditional Chinese restaurant format that he grew up with in Florida.
Chef Chan opened Blue Bamboo in 2005. In addition to operating Blue Bamboo, Dennis is an adjunct professor at Florida State College at Jacksonville, and teaches cooking classes at Blue Bamboo, A Chefs Cooking Studio, Publix Aprons, and Whole Foods. Chan’s first cookbook, Hip Asian Comfort Food, was published in 2009.
Dennis believes that there is a place in everyone’s heart and schedule for worthwhile organizations. He regularly participates in major food charity events such as the Children’s Home Society’s Caring Chefs and Ronald McDonald House McGala.
Jeremy Chase is a Founding Partner of Connect-Tek, LLC and its subsidiaries PC Hero and Tech Tutors. Getting the tech gene from his father, Jeremy has had a passion for computers and IT from a young age. Connect-Tek was founded to bring more entry level tech jobs to the Jacksonville area and to service strategic partnerships with nationwide coverage, assisting small businesses in maintaining a similar level of IT support enjoyed by larger firms.
Jeremy’s passion for the business and industry has already been recognized – In 2016 Connect-Tek, LLC was named one of the Best Places to Work in Jacksonville by the Jacksonville Business Journal, and Jeremy was recognized as the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce – West Council’s Small Business of the Year.
Jeremy has lived in Jacksonville for 8 of the last 10 years, is a self-proclaimed sports nerd, rarely missing a game of his beloved Chelsea Football Club. He is extremely proud the torch has been passed to his 15-year-old son, Brendon, who attends high school in Sioux Falls, SD, and is a chip off the old microchip.
Cristina “Tina” Comstock works behind the scenes for Blue Cypress Golf Course in Marketing and Business Development. This public nine hole golf course on University Boulevard is a family business headed by her husband, Byron Comstock, a former PGA tour player and director of golf at public, private and exclusive golf courses in the US, Mexico, and the Philippines.
Tina met Byron while working at a golf and real estate development in the Philippines. Previously she was the EVP for a family owned business, The Boat Shop, a manufacturer and exporter of fiberglass performance boats, yachts, patrol boats, cruisers, ferry boats, and ski boats.
Blue Cypress was the first to offer Foot Golf in NE Florida. Families enjoy this new game and corporations use it for team building and employee recreation. The two varieties of the game of golf allow the Comstock’s to keep their promise to golfers – to provide great fun at their family friendly course.
Jessica Cuetos has been investing in real estate for over 12 years. She and her husband, Jose Cuetos, own and operate Fresh Start Realty. They initially started flipping homes as a side job, sweating and tearing down walls together. As a result of their hard work and good timing, they were able to take on more and more projects until the dream of owning their own company was built. They have a love for seeing the transformation of a dilapidated house into a beautiful home and have converted that passion into a long and successful career for both of them.
Today, Jose is a Real Estate Broker and Jessica is a Real Estate Agent. They are now running a full-service real estate firm together where they help their clients invest and their agents succeed in real estate every day.
Jose and Jessica truly love what they do and strongly believe that it is always a good time for a fresh start.
Kenneth Curry became a real estate investor and business owner in 1989 when he established Millennium Investments & Real Estate LLC, in Tampa, Florida. In 1998, Kenneth became certified by the IIRC for fire, smoke, water, odor and mold restoration and he subsequently established a second company, Millennium Fire & Water Restoration in 2005.
His craft, passion and focus in this business has allowed him to venture into additional project areas such as the rehabilitation of homes and new home construction under the direction of Operation New Hope. By June 2005, he purchased Total Trust Title of Jacksonville, to augment his other businesses.
Having over 20 years of knowledge and experience in this trade has provided Kenneth the opportunity to manage quality control along with a number of construction projects for other local real estate firms, helping him build awareness for his own company.
To fuel her passion as a champion for small business owners, Kimberly Deas bought the franchise rights to Murphy Business & Financial Services, which helps coordinate the sale and transfer of small businesses.
As a business owner herself she learned the hard way that not preparing to sell a business could cost millions; she now shares that learning through her work with small businesses in Nassau, Duval and St. John’s counties.
Holding herself and her business brokers to a higher standard of professionalism Kim is focused on learning everything she can about small business. In her role she assists and guides her clients, helping them increase the value of their business, then coordinates the sale of the business when the time is right.
On a personal note, Kim loves living in Jacksonville because of the sun, sea and sand and looks for ways to make Jacksonville the best place for small business.
Jen DeVore Richter is a marketing expert, seasoned business owner, and author often asked to guest teach at the university level and speak professionally to women’s business groups. Rock My Image recently published the book Amplify Your Business: A Rockstar Professional’s Guide to Marketing Success Vol.1.
After running her own award-winning photography studio and marketing consulting services for nine years, Jen cofounded Rock My Image, where she spearheads strategic planning for all agency accounts. Rock My Image is an authority marketing agency that provides business owners with marketing solutions that are innovative, engaging and worthy of “Rock Star” status.
Jen is in active member of her church and regular participant in their community volunteer initiatives. In her spare time, she takes acting workshops and attends local community theater events. She enjoys traveling with her husband Will, is a ‘bonus mom’ to his two teenage children, and is an avid painter and home cook.
Daren Dillinger is the co-owner of Mac+PC Tech Pro, a minority and women owned business serving Northeast Florida for the past 15 years. Mac+PC Tech provides its clientele a full service experience by offering innovative product options to quality minded clients for both home and business. Mac+PC Tech Pro installs networks in homes and business, repairs broken technology, and trains its clients on how to use their technology to benefit them.
Daren has been immersed in Apple technology since 1984. He initially worked on Apple II programing with Apple DOS in the 80’s. In the 1990’s, Daren was a magazine editor and graphic designer using PageMaker on the Macintosh platform. In 1997 he joined Apple Solutions Experts, which later became Apple Consultants Network to become a Certified Apple Technician.
He is a speaker, trainer, writer, and local television tech expert for Apple products and teaches at UNF about Apple technology.
Hanan Furqan is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and a summa cum laude graduate from the University of Miami. In 2008, she established a tutoring company that has employed over 70 tutors, served approximately 1,100 students and received an “Excellent Service Designation” from the Florida Department of Education.
In 2011, Hanan and her husband established THREEZ Company to cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit within their three sons, whose names begin with Z, hence the company name. THREEZ Company distributes a full line of its own name brand of residential and commercial paper products, Blissful™ Paper Products. It is an authorized distributor of over 5,000 janitorial, foodservice, paper and safety supplies. It is certified MWBE vendor located in an HUB zone and has successfully fulfilled contracts to supply over 800 public buildings and 300 schools.
THREEZ Company gives back to the community by offering youth empowerment programs and fundraising opportunities for non-profit organizations.
Delmas “Dedee” Harper is a Real Estate Broker and owner of Harper and Associates Real Estate and POISE, a nonprofit professional development program for women. Her passion for unprecedented client service coupled with an expert knowledge of the Jacksonville metropolitan area have helped to build her reputation as someone who has integrity, knowledge, and brings excellence to all that she does.
With more than a decade of experience in the real estate industry Dedee is more than equipped to expertly handle any type of transaction, loving the new challenges that come with every deal. She is a Fannie Mae listing agent and is certified in military relocation, short sales, REO, and luxury sales.
Coupled with extensive knowledge of real estate, she brings financial expertise from Merrill Lynch as a financial analyst and licensure as a loan originator as well as a Master’s Degree from Jacksonville University in Educational Leadership.
Steve Hitson is the president and owner of Parts2Ride.com, an online wholesaler of quality used motorcycle parts. Though mostly dealing with motorcycles, Parts2Ride.com currently has moped and ATV parts as well.
Steve started the company in his garage in 2012 and it has grown into a 2000 square foot warehouse with current inventory of over 6000 parts. He has three full time employees and hopes to triple in size, both staff and space, by 2018.
Steve currently works full time as the Service Manager for TruTechnology, a Managed IT Services company, where he is a gold level trustee with the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce. He credits the bulk of his business acumen to the friendship and mentor-ship of the owner, Doug Lowenthal.
Steve is a Jacksonville native and lives with the love of his life, Krystle, her daughter, and their assortment of animals. In his free time, Steve enjoys working on various other start-ups, listening to audio books, and spending time with family and friends.
Chris Kennelly is the CEO & Executive Producer of Kennetic Productions. Chris started Kennetic in 2003 out of the spare bedroom of his parents’ home after studying TV production at the University of Florida and interning in Los Angeles.
Fast-forward thirteen years and Kennetic includes Fortune 500 companies with national and global footprints as part of its client base. What Chris describes as the company’s key differentiator is the ability to discover and then visualize the passion of their clients. “Every organization has passion, and that passion is the best way to connect with an audience.” This ability is supported by a family culture that supports each unique member of the Kennetic team, and Chris believes this is best environment in which creativity can thrive.
Kennetic is proud to consider downtown Jacksonville as its home. Kennelly and his beautiful wife, Attie, live in St. Augustine with their three little ones – Lucy, Leo and Mia.
Amie Keslar is the co-owner of Front Porch Pickings, a farm to table delivery service located in Northeast Florida. She started the Veggie Bin, in 2010 after learning how today’s food affects the body’s immune system. Her need for healthy food opened her eyes to the local food movement and her passion to connect the area farmers to the community has grown ever since.
In 2014 she merged the Veggie Bin with Front Porch Pickings, taking a more active role in the management of the company. With the support of her company and companies similar to hers, local farmers are able to focus on doing what they do best…growing.
Prior to owning her own business, Amie worked in marketing and sales for NASA Ames, University of Texas at Austin, and Soliant Health (Modis).
When not peddling veggies, you can find Amie hanging out with her husband, three-year-old son, and three crazy dogs in Jacksonville’s historic Avondale neighborhood.
Bradley “Duke” Lewis
Duke Lewis is Co-owner and Vice-President of Lewis Diving and Salvage. This Jacksonville based business was founded over 40 years ago and is North Florida’s leading provider of Emergency Diving Services. The company is proud to provide services at Mayport Naval station, JEA, and Jaxport. Duke has had operational control since 2005 and veteran hiring has been his cornerstone. During his tenure he has led staffing changes from 15% veterans hired to 75% veterans hired.
A lifelong resident of Jacksonville and graduate of Sandalwood High School, Duke is a state certified EMT, Paramedic and Firefighter, retiring from St. Johns County Fire Rescue in 2015 after 10 years of service. His retirement allowed him to take a more commanding role in Lewis Diving and other family owned businesses and enterprises.
None of this would have been possible without the support of his wife of 10 years, Nikki. They have two children, Bryce and Kendal, and enjoy camping, Jaguars games, fishing and taking care of their many animals.
Jeffrey Lipp, president of Active Health, enjoys growing his multi-specialty practice that focuses on getting and keeping people active. Jeffrey started his practice in 2005 and has been refining his unique methodology ever since. In 2016, four different sports performance labs and a medical doctor who specializes in regenerative medicine were added. Jeffrey’s goal for 2016 is to offer his services to corporations to help them lower their Workers’ Compensation expenses and OSHA recordables.
Traditional methodologies involve only treating symptoms, without addressing true underlying root causes. Active Health takes a different approach. Active Health looks at the big picture, studying the patient as a whole. They identify muscular imbalances/dysfunctions that cause pain, then use unique, aggressive forms of treatment to quickly correct the problem. A regimen of continued exercises ensure that the problem stays corrected.
Though his practice keeps him busy, in his free time Jeffrey enjoys playing golf and spending time with his wife and three children.
When Jason McDonald was 12 years old, he wanted a pair of Nike Air Jordan like those worn by the rest of the basketball team, though parents didn’t see their value. Their decision sparked his entrepreneurial flame. He began mowing lawns and soon bought the shoes himself; by 18 years old he was mowing 40 lawns a week and had enough money to pay for college.
In 2010 he and his wife made a commitment to love themselves enough to live healthier and happier for 30 days. Those 30 days turned into weeks, months, and years of healthy living. Inspired to share their health and happiness, Jason took a leap of faith and left his corporate job in 2011 to begin work on what would become FreshJax, a healthy living center.
FreshJax will open a new location near the St. John’s Towncenter in May 2016 that will include a yoga studio, commercial kitchen and retail selling space where their healthy foods-to-go will be available.
After graduating from college, Regina McDonough taught school, traveled the country and finally settled in Jacksonville, working with AT&T and eventually earned a Master’s Degree in Project Management.
Meeting her environmentally conscious husband, David, raised her awareness about how the indiscriminate use of chemicals can be harmful to our lives. While her husband worked on developing and perfecting natural products, Gina took classes and passed her Florida Certified Pest Control Operator exams. They opened Nature’s Way Natural Pest Control, Inc. in
Nature’s Way offers a safe alternative to the toxic chemicals typically used in the pest control industry. The company makes its own products from the goodness of nature and uses the biology and habits of insects in combination with modern science and time proven natural remedies to safely prevent insect infestation.
Gina takes every opportunity to use Nature’s Way to educate and support all things “green” and loves to support local business and green organizations, whenever possible.
James Pennington, Sr.
James Pennington Sr. was one of the early pioneers in the Internet sector. In the early 90s, he founded AugLink Communications, one of the first ISPs in Florida. After selling ALC in 2004 he started BitCom. For the first five years, BitCom functioned as a wholesaler of private line data services to governmental agencies.
All of Bitcom’s voice services were sold as master agents for national carriers such as AT&T and EarthLink. As conventional voice began migrating to VoIP, BitCom saw the need to control both the delivery circuits and the voice services and deploy its own IP telephone soft-switch. Today, BitCom provides bundled voice and broadband IP to hundreds of accounts from its to central offices in Jacksonville and Virginia.
For five years James serve as president of FISPA (Federation of Internet Solutions Providers) and has spoken before the Florida Senate, ISPCOM (Internet Service Providers Convention) and the FBI Academy on competitive, regulatory and Internet security issues.
After a successful fifteen-year career in corporate sales, Tracey Phillips’ passion and entrepreneurial spirit was the driving force behind the inception of Creative Treasures in 2002, a personalized line of gift products. After the economic downturn in 2008-2009 the business model shifted from a consumer gift company to unique business gifts, promotional products and marketing campaigns. She rebranded the company Promotional Presence, LLC in 2010.
Promotional Presence is a member of both the Jacksonville and St. Johns County Chambers of Commerce. Tracey believes that getting involved and giving back to the community helps create a culture that will elevate others and is the foundation for her success. She was the President of the Jacksonville NW Business Council in 2011-2012 and President of the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors in 2013 when she also served on the Board of Directors.
Tracey holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of North Florida. She and her husband Dave have a 16-year-old son. They live in St. Johns County.
Joseph Quest founded the moving company, Day or Night Moves, in 1998. He has over 18 years’ experience in the moving and storage industry focusing on commercial and residential relocation.
Prior to starting his own company, Joseph served in the Army as an airborne paratrooper where he learned the importance of supply logistics. Joe has a passion for getting to know each client and understanding their unique needs to ensure their relocation is stress free. Over the years Day or Night Moves has established an exceptional reputation throughout Duval, St. Johns, Nassau and Clay Counties as one of the most reliable moving companies in the area; 85% of their jobs are client referrals or repeat customers.
Joe maintains professional associations with Moving Staffers, Beaches Business Association and the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce. In his spare time he enjoys spending time outdoors fishing, boating and bike riding.
Katie Rider created Gregory Paul’s, with her husband Greg, in 2010. Having an opportunity to start a new career, Greg’s passion for cooking led to the business’s concept of providing freshly prepared meals and catering. Located in a cozy beach cottage in Jacksonville Beach, Katie’s professional marketing skills have been invaluable in helping to establish and maintain a growing clientele.
Every Sunday at 6:00pm a menu consisting of entrées, small plate meals, side dishes, salads, soups and a dessert is posted online on social media and is sent to clients and potential clients via email. Both Katie and Greg love hearing from their customers, “That’s my favorite time of the week!” Together they are making eating healthy, diverse meals, easy.
Katie spends most of her time promoting this delicious idea and enjoys anything style and design related. She eats amazing meals daily and hasn’t even considered cooking in years, something her twin daughters will happily tell anyone.
Isidore Robertson is the owner and president of A Real Unique Enterprise, a Christian-based company in Jacksonville, Florida. The company primarily operates in the lawn and landscape counseling and planning industry within the agricultural services sector.
Isidore grew up in a small town called Demopolis, just south Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He played football in high school and his talent got him a spot on the semi-pro Navy football team where an injury ended his dreams of being professional football player. As a result, he chose to stay in the Navy and eventually retired from a career in military service.
A Real Unique Enterprise was started in 2004 with one push lawnmower and a broom, three years before his retirement in Jacksonville. Continually operating since then, the company continues to add services, employing up to six people from his location.
He met his wife in Orlando, marrying in 1995 and they are the proud parents and grandparents of five children and five grandchildren.
Heather Sams started working in the art world as a high school student and enjoys the dynamic changes the industry has experienced. She started HAS Art Solutions in 2009 when the economic downturn forced many galleries and arts organizations to close. HAS Art Solutions is a full service art procurement firm specializing in strategic design for corporations, as well as corporate and residential installations and custom framing.
A magna cum laude graduate of Arizona State University with a BA in Art History, she pursued an MA in Art and an MBA in Non-Profit Arts Administration from Southern Methodist University.
“I see the value in uniting the creative side of the arts community with the entrepreneurial side of business. I have always wanted to be the person to make those two clusters dance.” To fuel her passion and to give back to the community, Heather mentors artists and small business owners and serves on non-profit committees and boards that focus on empowerment and education.
Vicki Schneller, along with her mother and business partner Diane, owns The Home Studio, Inc., an interiors firm with a focus on education. The Home Studio offers national brand cabinetry and provides consultations to assist clients making selections for their new homes, bathroom or kitchen remodels. The Home Studio uses a number of suppliers so customers have access to a broad selection of products, some of which are only available to the trade. Vicki firmly believes that helping clients understand the products they are using in their home leads to a better functioning space, as well as a more enjoyable one.
Vicki has a Bachelor’s Degree in business from the University of Florida and is a 3rd generation University of Florida graduate. She is also a State Certified Residential Contractor. Vicki married her high school sweetheart and they have two children. They are very active in their church where Vicki and her husband teach high school students. In her free time she likes watching football, blogging and reading.
Kim Scott is the President and Co-Owner of The Morgan Company, a full-service promotional product and corporate gift distributor located in Jacksonville Beach. The Morgan Company provides creative marketing solutions for businesses, associations, and nonprofits to help them promote themselves with the use of custom imprinted specialty items.
Kim graduated from Auburn University and worked for the Ritz Carlton- Buckhead in Atlanta before moving to Jacksonville. In 2000, Kim and her mother Samm Morgan, opened The Morgan Company out of their home offices. In 2009, the company moved out of her home and started building its sales and support team.
“Because I have surrounded myself with smart, experienced people, owning my own business is possible. Our collective knowledge and proven track record helps us deliver an exceptional level of service to our customers.”
Kim has lived in Ponte Vedra Beach for 16 years with her husband Andy Scott and three daughters, Morgan, Katherine, and Sydney. Kim hopes that one day one of her girls will work beside her.
In 1972, Jim found his lifelong passion in running. Along the journey, Jim obliterated the national high school record for the 3000 meter steeplechase and became a six time national champion in various distance events. He attended the College of William and Mary on a full athletic scholarship.
After a Wall Street career, Jim saw a demand and opportunity for timing and managing running races as fitness became ingrained in more lifestyles and younger professionals migrated to Florida and Milestone Race Authority was conceived in 2009 and started in 2010 with a six race schedule.
Milestone made an immediate impact on the running community. The 2011 schedule boomed to over 40 races and the company won a national contract to time the series know as Rugged Maniac Mud Runs.
Jim has three grown children, two young men living in NY and a daughter living south of Tampa. When he is not timing races, Jim spends his time boating aboard POST RACE, a small cruiser.
Jean Shimp started Shimp Sign and Design, a full service sign company, in 1981. Jean studied fine art at the School of Visual Arts in New York City with hopes of becoming a professional artist. But while working in between semesters at a local sign shop she became fascinated with the sign business, particularly the art aspects of sign design. After working for other sign companies, Jean’s husband, Roy encouraged her to start her own business. Eight years later Roy joined the company and made a significant impact on the capabilities of the business.
At Shimp Sign and Design most of their products are made in-house.
An emphasis is put on the design of the sign in order to make it an effective sales and marketing tool.
Jean loves it when her clients thank her for helping them increase their business as a result of their new signs. She believes they are not just a sign company – they are creating functional art.
Drew Slover has been in marketing and advertising for his entire professional career. Originally from Illinois, he graduated from Bradley University with a degree in marketing and subsequently relocated to Jacksonville to pursue a career as an advertising executive with Cox Media Inc. After almost a decade with Cox Media Inc. he started Slover Consulting LLC, a marketing and advertising consulting firm located in Jacksonville.
Slover Consulting LLC helps businesses navigate the many options in the world of advertising and marketing by developing strategies to increase their clients’ online footprint and market awareness.
In 2006, he cofounded The Jacksonville Axemen Rugby team and currently acts as its General Manager. Drew also serves at the Director of Marketing for the United States of America Rugby League (USARL).
In 2015 Drew and his wife Mary welcomed their first child, Clara, into their family.
Mike Sperry is the owner and founder of Sperry Software, which makes add-ins for Microsoft Outlook. Mike always knew he was going to be involved with computers. He was born and raised in Connecticut and remembers that in 1982, while walking the hallway of Notre Dame high school in West Haven, he heard an announcement that a new, extracurricular class in computer programming was being offered for the next semester. He signed up, and as he likes to say, the rest is history.
In the summer of 2001 he started Sperry Software. Sperry Software has been developing and marketing Outlook add-in solutions since its inception. With a commitment to fast, easy, and productive solutions over 100,000 customers have been served including major Fortune 500 companies like Verizon Wireless, Microsoft, RBS and the US Navy.
Mike Holds BS in Computer Science from Southern Connecticut University, has been married for 26 years and has two grown twin boys. He lives in St. Johns, Florida.
Leslie Sutton is the majority owner and Managing Partner of the woman owned business, Veterans Moving and Storage, LLC, a Wheaton World Wide Mover.
As an interstate moving agent for the 4th largest van line company in the country, Wheaton World Wide Moving, her company offers a stress free transition to a new home or office. The company offers local, national or international moving, full service moves with packing and unpacking, a special cleaning team to close up an old location and settle you customers into a new one, and short and long term storage in their Department of Defense approved warehouse.
In 2015 the company was named a Top Ten Hauling Agent and is a recipient of Wheaton’s Total Quality Commitment award. Veterans Moving and Storage, LLC, has partnered with Changing Homelessness.org a local charity, to collect, move and store donated furniture to give to homeless veterans. Leslie is currently a Trustee at the Jacksonville Chamber and a member of the Board of Governors.
Hard-working, passionate and congenial are a few words that describe Jason Watson, creator of FightFit™ and owner of Watson Martial Arts. Jason is a Jacksonville native and has been practicing martial arts for over 33 years. He is a 6th degree black belt in Taekwondo, as well as a 5th degree black belt in Hapkido. Creating champions is something Jason knows about personally. He is a 10 time Florida State champion, 10-time National champion, and two time US Cup champion in Olympic style Taekwondo.
He recently fulfilled a lifelong dream of purchasing his own 9000+ square-foot building which will accommodate his future growth plans. His passion is to make a positive impact on families through martial arts and fitness. He believes that building strong relationships with clients and employees is the key to his success.
When he isn’t training clients, Jason enjoy spending time with his wife Alison, and their two young boys, Reynolds and Council.