Mike Bechtel is the Managing Partner of Ringleader Ventures, a corporate venturing firm that matches Fortune 500 enterprises with exceptional entrepreneurs who are working to solve their biggest strategic issues in new and unexpected ways. As Managing Partner, Mike is accountable for all aspects of RLV’s business operations, including the allocation of RLV’s $5M investment portfolio.
Mike comes to the RLV via Accenture*, where he worked for 12 years at the intersection of big business and emerging technology. There, Mike was Accenture’s Global Innovation Director. In this role, Mike was responsible for designing and driving “a culture of innovation” across Accenture’s twenty-thousand-person Management Consulting practice. His key achievement was the creation of an Intrapreneurship program, an internal venturing program which rewards entrepreneurial employees with equity stakes in their successful inventions.
From 2007 to 2009, Mike worked as a Senior Manager at Accenture Technology Labs, Accenture’s Technology Research and Development group. There, he led the invention and sales of Accenture’s Web 2.0 and Social Media offerings, resulting in a total of 12 patents filed. Most notable, Mike co-invented the crowd-powered online brainstorming tool “The Innovation Grapevine” which has been used by hundreds of thousands of users at a number of Fortune 100 clients.
From 2004 to 2007, Mike consulted to C-level clients at a number of Fortune Global 100 companies on their technology strategy. Notable projects included the co-development of BP’s business intelligence and analytics vision with BP’s CTO, and the enterprise technology & product marketing strategy for two $10+ Billion products: Office 2007 and Windows Vista.
Between 1999 and 2004, Mike implemented various emerging technology solutions for clients in virtually every major industry vertical including Pfizer, Ford, AT&T, Kellogg’s, ComEd, eBay, and Best Buy.
A 1998 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Mike graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Anthropology and Government, and a minor in Philosophy and Economics.
Mike currently lives in Naperville, IL with his wife Barb and their three children: Brady (7), Annabelle (4), and Bennett (1).
*Between leaving Accenture and joining RLV, Mike focused on social impact, working for nearly two years as the CTO of his former Accenture client, The Ounce of Prevention Fund, a national nonprofit committed to improving early childhood education for at-risk youth. There, Mike managed a team of 12 in the development of first-of-their kind social, mobile, & data solutions.
I am an entrepreneur, consultant, keynote speaker and author on a mission to inspire and empower curiosity.
At Maddock Douglas, I lead a team that collaborates with corporate leaders responsible for answering the question "what's next?" Together, we help design, brand and launch new products, services, experiences and business models. And to ensure sustainable growth, we empower companies by creating agile cultures that will continually innovate.
Deep experience in: - new product/service/business model development - creating and managing an innovation portfolio - infusing global experts into the NPD process - marketing and branding of new products, services & models - creating cultures capable of continuous collaboration, creativity and results.
Founding Partner, Maddock Douglas 1991
Founding Partner, McGuffin Creative Group 2005
Founding Partner, Ringleader Ventures 2013
Bloomberg Businessweek & Forbes Columnist
Author: Brand New, Solving the Innovation Paradox, Wiley 2011
Author: Free the Idea Monkey, to focus on what matters most!, ISB 2012
Author: Flirting with the Uninterested, Innovating in a "Sold, Not Bought" Category, Advantage 2013
McGuffin Creative Group—Founding partner
GOT Entrepreneurial Conclave at MIT—Founder and co-chair
Young Presidents’ Organization—Chapter chair, regional youth and family chair
Entrepreneurs’ Organization—Former chapter chair and membership chair
Jeff Hart leads RelaDyne's strategic market expansion and product partnerships. Drawing on his relationships with industry-leading lubrication-related businesses in diverse market segments, Jeff is building new partnerships for RelaDyne that spur the company's growth and expand its geographic reach—while broadening its offering of products and services to create greater customer value.
A proven entrepreneur, Jeff has more than 14 years of business experience in the petroleum industry in operations, marketing, finance, and applied technology. Since 2003 he has served as president of Mid-Town Petroleum, a company started in 1955 by Jeff's father-in-law. During Jeff's tenure, the company became one of the largest lubricant distributors in the Midwest, growing from $4 million in sales to $40 million and from 7 employees to 60.
Jeff began his career with the management development program of Enterprise Rent-A-Car. From there, he founded his first business, Oilspot.com, Inc., in 1998, raising $5 million in venture capital to expand the business and launch one of the first successful e-commerce products for the lubricant industry. Oilspot.com grew rapidly and in less than three years, developed a customer base of more than 50 lubricant manufacturing and distribution companies before its acquisition in 2000 by FuelQuest Inc, where Jeff served for three years as Vice President of Business Strategy. Jeff is also founder and chairman of BioBlend Renewable Resources, a Chicago-based manufacturer and marketer of bio-based lubricants.
Jeff is an active board member of the Chevron Texaco Petroleum Marketers Association, the Chevron Marketer Council, and the Chicagoland Chapter of the Young Presidents' Organization. He received a Bachelor of Science in economics from the University of Iowa.
Jordan is responsible for leading RLV's investment and advisory programs. Prior to joining RLV, Jordan has been:
June 2014 – Present (1 year 5 months) San Francisco
Jordan was the Director of Programmatic Technology at Marin Software, a software company focused on delivering tools for managing data and high volume advertising. Jordan brought over a team of dedicated engineers with the acquisition of Perfect Audience, where he was CTO and has continued to grow and expand the team in both their size and output for Marin. His primary focus is on delivering new and innovative technology for Display Marketers, including the creation of a robust User Attribute Store, which will be the brain of Marin moving forward.
April 2012 – June 2014 (2 years 3 months) Mountain View
Jordan was the CTO and co-founder of Perfect Audience, a startup focused on opening up the high tech tools available to big advertising clients and making them simple to use through a great user interface and a SaaS business model. In his role as cofounder, Jordan set company direction and product strategy, made or contributed to all hiring decisions and helped lead the organization for more than 2 years. Jordan and his engineering team designed and deployed the Perfect Audience dashboard, the PA DSP (Demand Side Platform) for connecting to the ad exchanges and PA Connect- a patented system for allowing advertisers to share their audiences with full transparency and control.
June 2008 – April 2012 (3 years 11 months)San Francisco Bay Area
Prior to Perfect Audience, Jordan was a consultant in Accenture's R&D organization, Accenture Technology Labs. Jordan focused on researching and leading small teams in building effective collaboration strategies and tools, including designing new patented systems for effective idea sharing and task management. Jordan worked with clients in many industries including Pharmaceuticals, Energy, Chemical Products, Retail and State/Federal Government.
August 2004 – May 2008 (3 years 10 months)
Bachelors of Arts in Computer Science
Bachelors of Arts in Religious Studies
Buzz is a technologist with over 15 years of experience leading digital product teams within startups and large enterprises. Buzz started his career as a consultant programming in Java and using agile methodologies to build large scale web applications. Most recently, he was Practice Director and co-founder of the Products & Innovation group at Slalom, where he led digital teams in reducing the waste of traditional software development by quickly validating product concepts before going to full-scale development. He is also an advisory board member to PointDrive and served as interim CTO.
Jason has 20+ years of experience in creating and building technology based businesses in roles ranging from market leader to founder. He has always been passionate about helping take ideas from concept to market, with a particular interest in helping to develop and execute on product marketing and channel distribution strategies. Prior to joining Ringleader Ventures, Jason was the Managing Director of the Products & Innovation group at Slalom, where his team focused on empowering start-ups and enterprises to rapidly ideate, create and launch validated products. In addition to his role at RocketSled, Jason also serves on the Advisory Board of PointDrive, a Chicago based start-up.
Courtney’s career began at Circles, a start-up in Boston where she helped raise $22M in funding and took on a variety of product development roles to help grow Circles into a world-class concierge provider to clients like American Express. Circles was acquired by hospitality giant Sodexo in 2007 and spun off a venture-backed company called Spire where Courtney was VP of Marketing and Product until it was acquired by Perfect Escapes in 2010. Most recently, Courtney was Practice Lead of the Products & Innovation group at Slalom where she worked with enterprises and start-ups to invent and launch new digital products.
As Chairman of Much Shelist, David T. Brown is actively involved in strategic planning and leadership development for the firm. He is an experienced transactional lawyer who serves as a legal and business counselor in a wide range of matters. He acts as advisor to closely held businesses in connection with their everyday legal and business issues, including the sale and acquisition of assets, private placement of debt and equity, tax and entity structure, and commercial loan workouts and company restructuring.David also serves as a business counselor to firm clients on their strategic and human talent development.
He has experience representing institutional lenders in all aspects of commercial real estate and corporate loan and workout transactions. He also counsels numerous commercial real estate firms, assisting them with the acquisition, development and financing of real estate projects, and advising them on legal and business issues.
David is a regular speaker and writer on a broad range of topics, including business planning and succession, and the business aspects of the legal profession.
At the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago (JUF), David is an active Board member and is Chairman of the Board of Directors. He has also held multiple positions within the JUF - Chair of the Overall Planning and Allocations Committee (OPAC), End of the Year Chairman for the 2004 and 2008 campaigns, Chair of the Government Affairs Committee, and President of the Young Leadership Division. David was recently named a member of the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and chairs JFNA's Human Services and Public Policy Council where he works closely with professional leadership in Washington, D.C., and lay leadership throughout the United States on health and long-term care issues, care of the aged, disability and tax policies.David is active in AIPAC and is a regular visitor to Israel.
Randy founded TicketCity in 1990 and has since grown it to be one of the most successful companies in the secondary ticket market. Under Randy’s guidance, TicketCity has developed into one of the largest and most prominent ticketing companies, won numerous awards, and has been named one of the Top 50 Fastest Growing Companies in Austin six times.
When TicketCity began, the internet was still unknown to most consumers, however, just six years later Randy led the company to launch the first e-commerce web site in the industry. Randy focuses on acquisitions and partnerships as well as being the Chief Energizing Officer for the company.
He is active in the community and is a board member of the Austin Chamber of Commerce and the Austin Sports Commission. Randy is also a published author and speaker; his first book, Ticket to the Limit, is a personal account of how passion and performance can enable you to build a company from nothing to amazing while living all your wildest dreams along the way. His second book, DD and Daddy’s Big Night Out, is a children’s book he wrote for his daughter.
In addition to overseeing TicketCity, Randy frequently speaks at events all over the country and has started a charity organization known as The Loop of Love.
Specialties: Negotiating, speaking, marketing, and branding
Maria Ferrante-Schepis, MBA, CLU, is managing principal of Insurance and Financial Services Innovation at Maddock Douglas, Inc., an internationally recognized innovation consulting firm focused on helping large brands bring new ideas to market. Prior to Maddock Douglas, Maria was vice president and chief marketing officer at Guardian in New York City since 2007, and vice president of marketing at Prudential in Newark, New Jersey from 1999 – 2007.Maria holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in marketing and a Master of Business Administration in management from Hofstra University. She also holds a Chartered Life Underwriter designation from The American College.
Mansfield is a $8 billion industry innovator, recently ranked by Information Week as the #1 technology innovator in Energy & Utilities, and is the only nationwide provider of fuel supply, biofuels, propane and Diesel Exhaust Fluid. Mansfield built our biofuels division into a billion dollar plus business in less than 12 months and combined that into a JV with Noble Group. We will see similar results with the new DEF industry and expect to exceed a billion in net new sales over the next five years with this entirely new product.
Mansfield has greatly expanded our power, natural gas and CNG business in the past 3 years. We have constructed over 200 locations for CNG fueling and we joined with Clean Energy this summer in an alliance where we will focus on supplying power and gas and Clean will focus on infrastructure and end user fuel supply of CNG and LNG.
Personally I serve as a Director of BioBlend Renewable Resources, a renewable biobased products company that now has over 40 different finished biobased products, these products are renewable, biodegradable, and high performance, www.bioblend.com. I also serve as a board director for the Clemson University Research Foundation (CURF) which is responsible for commercialization and technology transfer for all of the IP being created at the university.
On a personal note I was born overseas in Scotland, and have lived all over the U.S. I'm an avid reader and write quite often. Most importantly of all, I am lucky to have married my college sweetheart, Athena, who along with our two children Asa and Gavin manage to keep me out of trouble most of the time.
Specialties: Business Process Engineering and Optimization, Downstream Energy Supply Chain Operations and Economics, Indirect Taxation Automation and Compliance, Convenience Store Operations and Fuel Retailing, Finished Lubricants Distribution and Marketing, Offshore Software Development and Business Process Outsourcing
Thomas J. Hauske, Jr. is the Chairman of Everett Smith Group. Hauske is responsible for oversight of the strategy of the enterprise and performance of the company’s management, as well as leading the activities of the Board of Directors and enhancing the quality of corporate governance.
In addition to his current role as Chairman, Hauske’s career with Everett Smith Group and subsidiaries has included roles in sales, finance, operations and executive management. This includes his tenure at Maysteel from 1983 to 1995, where Tom served as Vice President of Business Development, General Manager and had other roles in sales and finance. Hauske also worked as an Assistant Tanner in the factory and laboratory at one of Everett Smith Group’s tanneries when he was a student.
Hauske is active in his community and serves on many Boards around the Greater Milwaukee area. He serves as a Director of Theresa State Bank, Waldo State Bank and the U.S. Bank-Wisconsin Advisory Board. He is Chairman of BloodCenter of Wisconsin, where he has served as a Director and member of various committees for more than 13 years, including as past Chairman of the Blood Center Research Foundation. Hauske is also actively involved in a number of civic organizations.
He is a Director of Junior Achievement of Wisconsin, he serves on the Board of Regents of Milwaukee School of Engineering and as a Trustee of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee. He is also a Director and past Vice Chairman of Prevent Blindness Wisconsin.
Hauske received his undergraduate degree in business from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida and attended the Kellogg Management Institute at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
Mr. Tony Lillios co-founded Speck Design Inc.(also known as Speck Product Design Inc). in April 1996 and serves as its Advisor. While at Speck, Mr. Lillios has spearheaded notable projects with Dell Computer, Juniper Networks, Apple Computer, Cisco Systems, and Medtronics. He has served predominately as a technical project lead, and project manager in a wide range of disciplines. Drawing from his background in software, electrical, and mechanical engineering enables him to address design challenges at a detailed level as well as approach the problems from a systems point of view, embracing intuitively the interplay of the various disciplines. Prior to Speck, Mr. Lillios was at IDEO Product Development developing products with a mechanical, electrical, and software content. Previous to IDEO, he was a freelance consultant in software and mechanical design. Mr. Lillios received a BSEE in controls and a MSME in design from Stanford Univeristy.
Lawrence (Larry) J. Lineker is the President of HUB Canada and has served on the Executive Management Team since 2004. As President of the Canadian Region, Larry oversees all sales and operations for six HUB retail entities as well as three Hub Wholesale operations with annual sales of more than three billion dollars. Larry joined HUB in 1998 and has over 30 years of insurance industry experience.
Previously, Larry served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the HUB International TOS (Vancouver) region. He lead this operation in driving multiple years of strong organic growth, thus being the #1 region for HUB International during his tenure. Larry became the Chief Sales Officer for all of HUB in 2004. He was responsible for coordinating HUB International’s sales efforts in driving HUB’s organic growth strategies through a team of 30 regional sales leaders and more than 2000 sales and account executives across the United States, Canada and Latin America from the corporate office in Chicago.
Larry is a Canadian Accredited Insurance Broker (CAIB), member of the World Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and sits on the board of North Lawndale College Prep high school in Chicago.
Victoria Medvec is the Adeline Barry Davee Professor of Management & Organizations and Executive Director of the Center for Executive Women. Professor Medvec joined the Kellogg School's faculty in 1995. Her research focuses on judgment and decision making, with a particular emphasis on how people feel about the decisions they have made.
Her current research explores both independent decision making and interdependent decisions within the context of negotiations. Her work is published in academic journals such as Psychological Review, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and Organization Behavior and Human Decision Processes. In addition, her research has been highlighted in numerous popular media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Today Show. Professor Medvec teaches in many executive programs, both at the Kellogg School’s Allen Center and in numerous individual companies.
Her consulting and teaching activities bring her in touch with executives from around the world. Her outside clients include General Electric, Merck, McKinsey, Hearst Communications, Exelon, Abbott Labs, Ernst and Young, Booz Allen and Hamilton, Everett Smith Group, Deloitte and Touche, Kaiser Permanente, Baker & McKenzie, Redi-Cut Foods, Guidant Corporation, ZS Associates, Motorola, Business Objects, PCA, United Healthcare, Exelon, Akzo Nobel, Foote Cone and Belding, Guaranty Bank, Scottish Power, Novartis, and Mattel.
Specialties: Communications, Corporate Governance, Diversity, Group Decision-Making, Group Dynamics, Leadership, Negotiations, Psychology, Teams, Women in Management.
Tom Rivkin is the Managing Principal and President of Central Building &Preservation, L.P. – a 3rd generation masonry restoration (tuckpointing) contracting firm in Chicago. During Tom’s tenure, the company has grown dramatically and expanded its business beyond the Chicago metropolitan area. The firm is recognized as the leading contractor in the industry and has completed many high profile award-winning restoration projects of Chicago's architectural landmarks. Tom is the current chairman of the Tuckpointers' Union Trust Funds overseeing more than $300 million in assets and is a past president of the Tuckpointing Contractors' Association of Chicago.
He received his B.A. in Economics from Duke University in 1986 and his M.B.A. from Northwestern University’s KelloggSchool of Management in 1989.
Tom is very active in philanthropic activities and serves as an Officer of the Jewish Federation/JUF of Chicago. He is a board member of CLAL - the Center for Leadership in Learning based in New York City. He is the past president of the Standard Club, a current trustee of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy - a think tank focusing on American foreign policy throughout the Middle East - and an active member of the Duke University Alumni Association working as an interviewer for prospective applicants.
Tom is a member of Young President’s Organization (YPO) and a past Chairman of the Chicagoland Chapter. He is an active investor with extensive experience in real estate, media, distressed securities, and high technology investing.
Tom and his wife Viki live in Wilmette, IL and have three children – Lauren (20), Leah (17) and Michael (15).
Marc Roth is the founder and former president of Home Warranty of America, which touches just about every part of the real estate industry since it sells through builders, real estate agents, title companies, mortgage companies, and directly to consumers. Mr. Roth has also been a director and advisor to a number of companies including Paylink Payment Plans and Maddock Douglas.
As National General Manager and co-founder of Slalom Consulting, John Tobin is responsible for driving the overall vision, direction and operations for Slalom’s 11 Offices. By attracting and empowering a team of strong regional leaders rooted in their own local markets—the engine powering Slalom's local strategy—he guides the company toward expanded growth, a larger footprint, and a wider range of innovative solutions.
Prior to Slalom, John served as Director of Architecture at AT&T Wireless and as a manager at Ernst & Young, among other firms. A 2011 winner of Consulting Magazine’s Top 25 Consultants award and a 2008 winner of the Ernst & Young Pacific Northwest Entrepreneur of the Year award, he holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Northern Illinois University.
John enjoys golf and playing sports with his wife, Ellen, and three children, Greta, Riva, and Ryan. Hobbies and charities Golf, coaching and playing soccer, Tour de Cure, Community for Youth, UW project management and UW mentorship programs