Finding good mentors is essential and can greatly increase your startup’s chances for success. TechFarms’ highly experienced team of mentors can help you determine if your ideas have value, and if so, help you and your team formulate and execute your business plan. Our mentors will share their knowledge and experience, assisting you as you strive to build a successful business.
Steve Millaway is TechFarms' founder and CEO. He graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Electrical Engineering and started his career in Arizona as a semiconductor "chip" designer for Burr-Brown Corporation.
In 1994, he founded Gain Technology Corporation, a semiconductor design firm that developed the USB 2.0 chip. The product was licensed to Intel and others and has since been used in over 500 million PCs and peripherals world wide.
In 1996 he formed Gain Communications Incorporated, an internet service provider that designed and deployed the nations first broadband wireless internet service - a service that eventually became known as Wi-Fi.
In 2007, Mr. Millaway returned to his hometown in Panama City, Florida where he now helps other entrepreneurs pursue their startup dreams. He serves on various corporate boards as well as the District Board of Trustees at Gulf Coast State College. Recently, he has launched TechFarms Capital, an angel fund company that invests in startups across Florida, Alabama, and Georgia.
Kelly Reeser is a Managing Director with TechFarms Capital, an early stage tech fund headquartered in Northwest, FL. Her career has focused on building the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Northwest Florida by supporting the region's high-growth entrepreneurs with both startup and growth strategies.
Programs include 1 Million Cups Pensacola, Co:Lab, Startup Weekend Pensacola, and the ITEN WIRED Summit. Kelly serves on the Board of Directors for The Global Corner and is a member of the International Business Innovation Association.
She is a member of the Leadership Pensacola Class of 2013 and serves as a volunteer with students at Olive Baptist Church.
Kelly holds a Master of Arts degree in Development Management & Public Policy from Georgetown University and undergraduate degrees from Southern Methodist University. She is a native of Pensacola, an avid traveler, and loves spending time with her family.
Laura Nelson is founder and owner of A-List Accounting. She has two wonderful children. She has a Bachelors Degree from Florida State University and an MBA from Florida Institute of Technology. She enjoys helping others and learning new things.
A-List Accounting serves the accounting needs of small businesses located in and around Panama City Beach, FL and surrounding Panhandle cities in Florida.
She takes pride in creating a customized accounting solution for each client, based on their individual needs.
Laura offers bookkeeping, payroll, tax return preparation services, QuickBooks consulting and training, and Xero consulting and training.
Dr. Len Eichler
Dr. Len Eichler has a Masters Degree and Doctorate in Higher Education Administration with a concentration in entrepreneurship. He started one of the first Angel Networks in the Midwest and has worked with many companies in the high-tech industry, assisting them with business development and startup financing.
Dr. Eichler has experience in strategic planning, product distribution, and financial projections as a certified business growth consultant.
He works with the Panama City, Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and the Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC).
Dr. Stephen Dunnivant is currently the Dean of Business, Industry, and Technology at Tallahassee Community College. Recently, he played a lead role in the planning, launch, and operation of Gulf Coast State College's $35M Advanced Technology Center.
Originally from Upstate New York, Dr. Dunnivant has been a resident of the Florida's Panhandle for almost 40 years. He presented at numerous national conferences on education and entrepreneurship and is the creator of the nation's first "Pledge Model" Fab Lab for Entrepreneurs.
He serves on the board of the National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers and is a member of the Association University Technology Members (AUTM) and USA FabLab Network.
He is also co-arthur of "Technology for Teachers: Mastering New Media and Portfolio Development," published in 2005.
Dr. Emmanuel Hernández is an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at Gulf Coast State College. He works with students in the Entrepreneurial Program to Building Businesses while pursuing their education, giving them both the knowledge and experience for career advancements.
Prior to his position at Gulf Coast, he was the Associate Dean at Ana G. Mendez University. Dr. Hernández is the founder of Mindhatch Ventures, a virtual accelerator of entrepreneurs and startup enterprises.
Tony Lopez - Baquero created and runs Flordia's first Unmanned Vehicle Systems A.S. Degree Program at Gulf Coast State College in Panama City, where he is also Program Coordinator/Assistant Professor.
A retired U.S. Army Engineer Diving Supervisor, Tony has a BS in Law Enforcement Intelligence from Florida State University and a MPS in Geospatial Intelligence from Penn State University. He has earned two professional certifications; Geographic Information Systems Professional (GISP) from the Geographic Information Systems Certification Institute and Geospatial Intelligence Professional (GEOINT) from the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation.
After his time with the military, Tony served as a Regional Director for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University before taking on his current position at Gulf Coast State College.
Les Brackett is a Senior Partner at Bluewater Wealth Strategies and certified AXA Equitable financial advisor since 1980. Committed to professional education, he earned Series 7, Series 66, Life, Health, and Variable Annuities Licenses and Registrations and earned Retirement Planning Specialist at Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania.
A native of Panama City, Florida, Les is a graduate from Florida State University and has served on numerous boards. He is a current member and a past President of the Gulf Coast State College Foundation and is active in the community.
Les enjoys mentoring entrepreneurs and business owners and advising them on wealth creation and preservation strategies. In his spare time he enjoys boating and fishing.
Hank Picken is the president, founder, and CEO of Beaumont Products in Kennesaw, GA, a maker of various eco-friendly consumer products: Citrus Magic, Clearly Natural, and Veggie Wash.
Mr. Picken earned a MBA in Marketing & Finance at Dartmouth College and afterwards served as an Infantry Captain in the US Army in Vietnam. He has held various senior executive positions at companies such as Pfizer, Lever Brothers, and Colgate - Palmolive, and is a non - practicing CPA.
Mr. Picken serves on various boards and has 50 years experience in management, marketing, finance, and accounting including international, small business, turnaround and acquisitions.