Thomas Nelson Workforce Development’s Peninsula Entrepreneurship Forum brings together thriving and growing entrepreneurs around the region to share their perspective on opportunities available through Entrepreneurship. The forum will continue to connect local and regional entrepreneurs with national entrepreneur leaders.
Running the Entrepreneurial Race
Friday, October 27, 8 a.m. - 2 p.m.
8 - 9 a.m. Registration & Continental Breakfast
This year's conference features three dynamic forum speakers and an entreprener spotlight featuring local Hampton Roads entrepreneurs. Learn more about each one below.
Gary P. Warren
Gary Warren is President and Chief Executive Officer of ivWatch, LLC, a medical device company focused on improving safety in vascular access (sticking needles in your hands and arms and delivering drugs). In addition to overseeing all operational aspects of the company, Warren is also deeply involved in ivWatch’s research and development and is listed as co-inventor on 46 published U.S. utility applications, seven published PCT (international) applications, and 15 national/regional stage applications.
Warren has over 30 years of experience working with high-technology companies with a proven track record of creating successful organizations in rapidly emerging markets. Before ivWatch, his career history includes serving in technology advisory roles to several venture capital firms, serving as CEO of several investor-backed companies, and holding the role of Senior Vice President of Symantec Corporation overseeing mergers and acquisitions, gateway antivirus products and an advanced concepts research group. Warren began his career as a Research Scientist in computational fluid dynamics at NASA Langley Research Center and moved to a Program Manager for the high-performance computing and communications group.
Warren holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a Master of Science degree from Mississippi State University in Aerospace Engineering/Computational Fluid Dynamics. Warren was awarded the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal in 1995 and was inducted as a Bagley College of Engineering Distinguished Fellow of Mississippi State University in 2014.
Courtney Buzzell is the owner of Proximo Marketing Strategies, a full-service marketing firm based out of Yorktown serving clients all across the country. She also works as adjunct faculty at Thomas Nelson, educating students on best practices for marketing in the 21st century.
She began her marketing career in 2004 with a high-end building supply company in Northern Virginia. While a part of this team, she worked alongside the owners to develop and implement a marketing strategy that improved customer service ratings significantly. In 2009, Buzzell began working with a successful local medical practice and established herself as a notable networker within the community.
Buzzell has a passion for connecting and empowering entrepreneurs and business owners on both a local and national scale, and currently serves on the board of several organizations including Peninsula Women’s Network- the longest consecutive running women’s networking organization in the United States- as the current President.
She also has a heart for giving back, working as a board member for various organizations that focus on our children. She is the proud parent of a spunky social butterfly and attributes her personal and professional success to her faith in Christ.
Chris Heivly is one of the nation’s leading experts in how to turn startups into multimillion-dollar companies and has been dubbed the “Startup Whisperer.” For over 30 years, Heivly has worked at the highest levels for some of the world’s most recognized brands, including MapQuest, Rand McNally, and Accenture. He has also personally directed over $75 million in investment capital on behalf of these and other companies. Heivly current serves as one of two managing directors of The Startup Factory, the largest seed investment firm in the Southeast and as an EIR at Techstars. Heivly writes for INC.COM, his blog at heivly.com and has just published his first book about startups called Build The Fort.
Hamilton Perkins is the founder and President of Hamilton Perkins Collection, a certified B Corporation offering designer travel bags at an affordable price, while holding the highest standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.
Perkins has served in a leadership capacity with various non-profit organizations and has been recognized for his volunteer work and service assisting low-income populations.
Perkins previously served as an Investment Advisor at Merrill Lynch and as an Analyst at Bank of America. He earned a Business Administration degree from Old Dominion University and a M.B.A. from the College of William and Mary.
Nisha Witt CEO and Founder of Aesop Technologies, is a Hampton Roads Native and Navy Veteran seeking to make a difference in the way we use renewable energies throughout the state, country, and world. Established in 2013, Aesop Technologies specializes in building next generation of solar powered products, such as solar-powered benches where a user is able to recharge any USB driven device from a bench completely off the grid. Witt has been recently featured in Inc. Magazine's October 2016 issue for spotlight on Veteran Owned Businesses."
Special thanks to Forum Gold Sponsor Newport News Economic Development Authority.