June 23, 2011

First Meeting of the Nebraska Center for Entrepreneurship Advisory Council

The new Nebraska Center for Entrepreneurship Advisory Council met for the first time in late April with CBA Dean Donde Plowman. The Advisory Council’s mission is to provide strategic planning for the center and to better engage the Nebraska business community. The Council is currently working to facilitate new strategies as UNL enters the Big Ten and will work with the NEC’s new director to ensure growth in this vital component of the college.

Members of the current Advisory Council include:

  • Bill Champion, president of Orthopaedic Marketing Group, a niche healthcare firm that delivers strategic marketing resources to orthopaedic providers. Champion was also formerly a student member of the Nebraska Entrepreneurial Society now known as SIFF. Champion has a background in startup businesses and strategic marketing, and helped start the Nebraska Chapter of Entrepreneur Organization which now represents the largest entrepreneurial peer network in Nebraska. Champion currently lives in the Omaha area.
  • Marc Lebaron, Chairman and CEO of Lincoln Industries, a company that supplies products requiring high-performance metal finishing. Lebaron currently sits on the US Bank advisory board and the board of directors for Assurity, Inc., Ballantyne of Omaha, TEK Industries, BryanLGH, Nebraska State Chamber, University of Nebraska NU Tech Ventures, International Sculpture Center and many other non-profit organizations. Lebaron and his wife, Kathy, live in Lincoln.
  • Lisbeth McNabb is the CEO and founder of w2wlink.com which promotes women working smart and living well. Her professional background includes 20+ years in sales and business development, operations, finance and planning in growth and emerging stage businesses at match.com, Frito-Lay, American Airlines, AT&T and Sodexo.  McNabb is on the board of directors and advisory boards for a variety of corporations and educational institutions, and received her B.S. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. McNabb resides in the Dallas, TX area.
  • David Milligan is a founding partner of Advent Intellectual Property law firm, and a co-founder of Leap Ventures, an early stage concept accelerator. Milligan also serves on the board of directors of InvestNebraska. David grew up in Lincoln and received his B.S. from UNL and after eventually practicing law in Washing DC for ten years he moved back to Nebraska in 2006 and currently lives in Omaha. Milligan’s grandfarther is the late Clifford Hardin, former Chancellor of the University of Nebraska, and his mother is Cynthia Hardin Milligan, who was the dean of the UNL College of Business Administration from 1998-2009.
  • F. Joe Petsick, is Chief Financial Officer and a Co-Founder of Proxibid. Petsick has dedicated most of his career to helping seasoned companies further develop their business, or in helping build new ideas into businesses that quickly become functional and successful ventures. He further escalated his career by working closely with the development of many new companies that leveraged technology in helping them grow into the future. Petsick has been involved in one of the first internet auction service providers and escalating it to a position of market leader with subsidiary offices in Europe and Japan. Petsick currently lives in Omaha.
  • Brian Stanley retired from Valmont Industries, Inc in 2000, his last position as Vice President of Investor Relations and Controller. Valmont is a global, integrated manufacturer of irrigation equipment for agriculture; steel and aluminum poles, towers and structures for the lighting, electric utility and communication industries; and coating services for various industrial products. Stanley lives in eastern Missouri and is active in the Lake of the Ozarks Chapter of SCORE – “Counselors of America’s Small Business”.  He currently serves as chapter Treasurer, and is a mentor to small businesses and presents at educational workshops for hopeful entrepreneurs. Stanley received his B.S. from UNL.
  • Rex Utsler is President, CEO and Director of Grease Monkey International, Inc. (GMI), the largest independently-owned franchisor of automotive preventive maintenance services in the United States. Utsler took control of GMI in 1991 and within a year Mexico was added to GMI’s franchising operation. An avid believer in the brand, Mr. Utsler is a Grease Monkey franchisee as well. He is a Managing Member of Utsler Investments, LLC, which owns and operates Grease Monkey centers in Colorado. Utsler graduated from UNL in 1968 and worked in several positions before forming Bountiful Corporation in 1980 which provided transportation and marketing services for independent oil producers. Utsler currently lives in the greater Denver area.
  • Jeffrey Vaske is the founder and Managing Principal at Charter Hill Partners LLC in Omaha. Vaske has had extensive experience in the investment and financial advisory fields, having previously managed Meridian Capital Management, Inc., a portfolio management and investment advisory firm he founded in 1998. Vaske has been involved in multiple entrepreneurial endeavors both directly managing and consulting with owners of privately-held enterprises. This work includes serving on multiple boards, including as Executive Chairman of Innovia Medical LLC. He holds an undergraduate degree in Finance from the University of Nebraska.
  • Denny Walker is the Founder and CEO of JET LINX Aviation in Omaha.  Before founding JET LINX Aviation, Denny was a founder, Executive Vice President and board member of MemberWorks Incorporated, which later changed its name to Vertrue Incorporated. In September of 2002 Denny resigned from his position at MemberWorks to focus his energy on the further development of JET LINX. Walker is a serial entrepreneur getting his start selling T-shirts during  the Nebraska State Track Meet while in college at the University of Nebraska.  Denny was a letterman in track at Nebraska and a 1968 from UNL.