IgniteHQ is proud to announce the appointment of their new board members to its Board of Directors. Dr. Pamela Whitten, Julia Ayers, Stephanie Carvajalino, Jeremy Fort, Craig Ganssle, Mike Mahan, Jacob Reuschel, Mitch Rhoden and Umesh Shiknis are the new faces leading the charge at IgniteHQ alongside existing members, Rachel Ford and Sharon Mason.
Meet our new board members:
Dr. Pamela Whitten
Pamela S. Whitten was named Kennesaw State University’s fifth president last June. Previously, Whitten served as senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of Georgia (UGA), from February 2014 to June 2018. During her tenure at UGA, Whitten worked with campus leadership to implement a number of enhancements and innovations to the learning environment, including ensuring that all undergraduate students engaged in hands-on learning through internships, research, and other forms of experiential learning opportunities.
Julia Ayers serves as Kennesaw State University’s vice president for government relations. In her role, Ayers promotes KSU’s goals and objectives to state and federal policymakers, University System of Georgia officials, and business and civic leaders. Previously, Ayers was the senior executive director of economic development for the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), where she worked closely with the vice presidents of economic development at 22 colleges to develop and implement curriculum and industry outreach initiatives. Prior to TCSG, she spent eight years working with Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, most recently as deputy chief of staff for legislative and external affairs.
Stephanie Carvajalino is the co-founder of The Biz Nation, an online education platform that teaches marketable skills as well as business education. The Biz Nation was highlighted by President Obama at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit for its innovation and social purpose. It was also selected to be presented in the educational panel of One Young World, the most important youth conference presented by the United Nations. Stephanie is a passionate entrepreneur and a member of IgniteHQ.
Jeremy Fort is the founder of The Service Fort, a family owned and operated environmentally-friendly, full-service commercial janitorial and maintenance provider specializing in medium to large sized properties throughout Georgia. The company was named 2018 Cobb County Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year. The company has also been on the Bulldog 100 list for several years, which recognizes the fastest growing companies owned by UGA graduates as well as Atlanta Best Places to Work list. Jeremy was one of 50 chosen leaders for 2018-19 Leadership Cobb organization which is an exclusive community development program. He is a member of the Cobb Chamber CEO Roundtable as well as Vistage.
Craig Ganssle is the founder and CEO of Basecamp Networks, a technology firm headquartered in Alpharetta, GA. Basecamp Networks delivers innovative IoT solutions on a global scale in the form of wireless infrastructures, wearable agri-tech, smart city initiatives and back-end business collaborative communications. Craig has 20+ years experience developing and deploying wireless networks and innovative solutions for both the United States Marine Corps and Verizon Wireless in the network engineering division. Craig’s team has developed the world’s first wearable application for farming called intelliSCOUT. Craig speaks globally at universities and conferences on leadership, IoT, and technological capabilities. Craig is a contributor to the Alpharetta Technology Commission, Wall Street Journal Leader Opinion Panel, and Marine Corps League.
As an Investment Manager at Stanley Ventures, Mike is responsible for being an active member of startup ecosystems and identifying innovation that is strategically relevant to Stanley Black & Decker. He was previously a Director at White Light Consulting, a Florida-based consulting startup. Prior to White Light Consulting, Mike was a Principal at a Boston-based startup that experienced explosive growth and raised VC funding. Mike brings startup experience and a strategic perspective to Stanley Ventures investments.
Jacob Reuschel, a sophomore at Kennesaw State University, is pursuing a degree in Entrepreneurship at the school’s Coles College of Business. Reuschel was recently named a member of the 6th Cohort of the Coles College of Business Scholars Program, a prestigious two-year program designed to provide students with exceptional business-focused experiences both in and out of the classroom. An entrepreneur at a young age, Reuschel owned and operated a landscaping company as a teenager. Currently, he works as a maintenance technician and crew member for Outdoor Expressions in Canton, Georgia. Outside of his work and school commitments, Reuschel is actively involved in the community. He has been a member of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) since 2011, rising to the rank of cadet major and holding the position of cadet commander for two consecutive terms at the Marietta Air Museum Cadet Squadron.
Stephen M. Rhoden (Mitch)
Mitch Rhoden is President and CEO of Futren Hospitality. He is responsible for the management and ongoing operations for Futren Hospitality, Indian Hills Country Club, The Georgian Club, The Orchard Golf & Country Club, Woodland Hills Golf Club, and the National Alliance of Private Clubs, as well as other corporate interests. From 1997 until May 2001, Mitch was an Engineer Officer in the United States Marine Corps. He holds a B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Mississippi and an M.B.A. from Kennesaw State University. Mitch is a licensed Georgia real estate broker. Mitch currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce and for The Atlanta Area Council for the Boy Scouts of America.
As a Senior Vice President at Infosys, Umesh Shiknis is responsible for unit strategy and leads a team of senior industry experts to create and close large deals for the company. He and his team have successfully transacted over $1 billion on net new TCV deals. Prior to joining Infosys, Umesh managed several sub-verticals for ISG (formerly TPI). ISG is the world’s largest sourcing advisors having managed over $360 billion in transactions till date. Prior to joining ISG, he was a IT services leader managing portfolio for iGATE in Manufacturing, Retail, Distribution and logistics vertical. Umesh has 18 + years of IT experience in front end sales. He has won several awards, including “sales person of the year” for significantly exceeding revenue targets.
For the Board of Directors complete bios, click here for more information.