About

THINK LOCAL - ACT GLOBAL

IgniteHQ connects startups and entrepreneurs with international accelerators, funding opportunities and talent to scale globally. We accelerate startups, cultivate job growth and provide market expansion resources in the Southeast.

IgniteHQ Staff

Mark Hubbard

Mark Hubbard

President & CEO

A well known mentor and investor, Hubbard brings decades of management and capital markets experience to his role as President & CEO of IgniteHQ. During more than twenty years serving at the highest levels of some of the world’s largest investment management companies, Hubbard directed billions of dollars of capital and launched one of China’s most successful asset management joint ventures. Known as an adept strategist and operator, he also founded a global private equity firm and has been a leader on the vanguard of Impact Investing, Social Entrepreneurship, and sustainable Nonprofit management.

Catherine Pearson

Catherine Pearson

Chief Operating Officer

Catherine manages and executes external programs, events and services for IgniteHQ's entrepreneurial community. This includes member recruiting, facility tours, application and interview process, on-boarding of tenants, on-site social activities and more. She is also responsible for developing, implementing and overseeing internal facility vendors and projects. Prior to IgniteHQ, Catherine spent six years working for Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC) where she served as a senior project coordinator for the entrepreneurial development and small business department. She brings expertise in event and program planning, logistics and fundraising to IgniteHQ, having managed more than 150 MAC events annually to advance metro Atlanta entrepreneurship.

Rumana Sultana

Rumana Sultana

Marketing Director

Rumana develops and executes the strategic marketing initiatives for IgniteHQ. Her work includes brand development, identifying potential member clients and opportunities, managing the digital space and building out the strategic marketing and communications plans to further IgniteHQ's mission. Rumana brings impressive experience as she has worked on campaigns with Chick-fil-A, Estee Lauder Companies and Former First Lady's administration.

Board of Directors

Andy Crowe

Founder & CEO

Velociteach

Full Bio

Andy Crowe

Founder & CEO

Velociteach

Andy Crowe is a seasoned entrepreneur with a strong track record of success.

He began his career as a C++ software developer. After owning a software development company for over a decade, Crowe went on to work for Cambridge Technology Partners, Intellinet, and Manhattan Associates. In 2002 he followed his passion to found Velociteach.

In addition to being awarded Project Management Institute’s Provider of the Year, Velociteach received Cobb County’s Small Business of the Year award in 2012 and was named Top 100 Small Businesses in the United States for 2013 by the US Chamber of Commerce. Crowe’s books on project management have sold over 250,000 copies worldwide and continue to lead the industry.

In 2013, he and his son, Clint, co-founded Elite Event Rental, providing tents, tables, chairs, staging, dance floors, and linens for parties, weddings, and festivals across Metro Atlanta. Elite has experienced rapid growth and is now one of the top event rental companies in Georgia fulfilling the rental needs for events such as the Yellow Daisy Festival, The Atlanta Steeplechase, and Kennesaw State University campus and athletic events.

Andy is very involved in the Cobb Chamber of Commerce. He also mentors entrepreneurs in the community and plays trumpet in the Marietta Symphony on the Square.

David Duley

Founder & CEO

iCanFixAmerica

Full Bio

David Duley

Founder & CEO

iCanFixAmerica

David Duley, originally from Flint Michigan, has called Atlanta his home since arriving to attend school at Oxford College of Emory University and Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business. David’s first entrepreneurial adventure started during the dot.com boom when he tossed his hat in the ring by starting The Handyman Network, Inc., a unique service that would allow customers to find qualified contractors for their home improvement projects with just the click of the mouse. While at The Handyman Network, David invented “Handyman In a Can™,” the first way home improvement retailers could sell installation services as a product right off their store shelves.

After The Handyman Network, David began consulting for small and medium size corporations. While technology sales slipped globally, David helped develop a new sales platform for a local start up company that increased sales by over 100%. In 2003, David started Triad Ventures, LLC, a real estate investment firm specializing in the investment of bank and government owned assets.

David also founded PEARL Protected, a company that brought to market the worlds first permanent escape ladder system for 2 and 3 story residential homes, apartments, condo’s as well as student and military housing. The PEARL escape ladder has been featured on The Today Show, Good Morning America, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and numerous other national media outlets. PEARL has also won the Home Safety Council Award for product Innovation, LBM magazines top 20 new building products of 2006 as well as Building Magazines 2006 product of the year award.

On July 1, 2009 PEARL was sold to Werner Ladders to bring our permanent escape ladder to the masses. Werner Ladders (http://us.wernerco.com/en/ ) is the world’s largest ladder company with roughly 75% market share in the US with growing markets in the European Union, Australia and South America. Until their partnership with PEARL, Werner ladders had never had an escape ladder product. By working with PEARL Protected, Werner launched the Werner Fire Escape ladder system with Home Depot, Lowes, and various other big box retailers.

David is also co-owner of a successful restaurant in midtown Atlanta called The Nook, on Piedmont Park. The Nook’s patio was ranked #2 by Creative Loafing magazine Atlanta. In addition to a nice patio, The Nook has brought to market many innovative dishes that have reached acclaim such at Totchos™ (Nook tater tots covered in goodness), the “Bloody Best” (named top 10 Best Bloody Mary in America) and the various “Stuffed Burgers”, that have been winners of the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Atlanta battle of the burgers.

David’s latest project is I Can Media, LLC. In 2012, the published book titled “I Can Fix America: 52 common sense ways YOU can make the United States great again” arrived online and in bookstores across America. This book and subsequent website has helped empower Americans with simple tool and ideas that can help restore America for generations to come. Since the release of the book, David has appeared on numerous national talk radio and TV shows. Additionally, he has teamed up with New York Times bestselling author, Robb Wolf, to create The Controversial Truth Podcast available on iTunes and Stitcher.

Throughout all of David’s ventures, he has been a strong proponent of the creation and protection of intellectual property. He has written, bought and licensed numerous patents, trademarks and other innovative designs and content in order to create maximum value for his enterprises as well as create competitive advantages within the marketplace.

In 2012, David was named by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of the “40 under 40” in business and community leadership. Currently, David serves on the Board of Counselors for Oxford College of Emory University where he is Vice-Chairman of the Scholarship Committee. He was also appointed by City Council to serve on the Board of Ethics for the City of East Point, GA in from 2009-2012 and previously served of the Board of Directors for Jerusalem House in Atlanta Georgia (www.jerusalemhouse.org ) which houses over 50% of permanent housing for the homeless living with HIV/AIDS in the Atlanta metropolitan area.

Rachel Ford

Director

Techstars Atlanta, in partnership with Cox Enterprises

Full Bio

Rachel Ford

Director

Techstars Atlanta, in partnership with Cox Enterprises

Rachel Ford began her journey into Atlanta’s entrepreneurial ecosystem while an undergraduate at Georgia Tech, co-founding FIXD Automotive, a connected car startup, in parallel with her studies in biomedical engineering and finance. Prior to FIXD, Rachel cut her teeth in product development working within DowDuPont’s non-wovens R&D arm, launching a commercialized product line in 2013. While at Georgia Tech, Rachel served as an instructor within Georgia Tech’s Venture Lab, teaching both evidence-based entrepreneurship and design thinking. Named one of the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s “30 Under 30” in 2015, Rachel has since become the Director of Techstars Atlanta, held in partnership with Cox Enterprises, establishing the first global startup accelerator in the southeastern United States. Rachel has a passion for working with early-stage technology startups, through both sourcing companies for Techstars Atlanta’s accelerator program and by serving as a mentor to founders in the Atlanta ecosystem.

Mark Lytle

Economic Development Consultant

Mark Lytle Consulting , LLC

Full Bio

Mark Lytle

Economic Development Consultant

Mark Lytle Consulting , LLC

In his role with the Board of Regents-University System of Georgia, Mr. Lytle is responsible for identifying and enhancing access to the research and economic development assets of all 31 institutions of the University System of Georgia and for utilizing those assets to create an ecosystem of innovation, discovery and entrepreneurship to create new businesses and support Georgia’s early stage companies, existing industries, communities, researchers, students and faculty.

Prior to joining the University System of Georgia in April 2013, Mr. Lytle was the Division Director for the Georgia Centers of Innovation, a division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. In that role he had overall managerial responsibilities for Georgia’s Six Centers of Innovation, connecting Georgia businesses with university researchers, essential contacts and matching grants to help companies grow.

Before managing the Centers of Innovation, Mark held several positions within the Georgia Department of Economic Development including Director of Foreign Investment Projects, Director of Statewide Projects, Manager of the Kia Supplier Initiative and SMark has also been the president of a nationally recognized heavy industrial contracting business, has worked in Georgia QuickStart (Georgia’s globally recognized workforce development organization) and has owned and operated a small business.

Mark has also been the president of a nationally recognized heavy industrial contracting business, has worked in Georgia QuickStart (Georgia’s globally recognized workforce development organization) and has owned and operated a small business.

Mark is a member of Georgia Economic Developers Association, and holds a B.S. in Architecture from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He and his wife live in Brookhaven and have two adult children.

Sharon Mason

President & CEO

Cobb Chamber

Full Bio

Sharon Mason

President & CEO

Cobb Chamber

As President and CEO, Sharon will lead the Chamber’s efforts to create jobs, strengthen the economy and quality of life for businesses and the community while building Cobb County’s reputation regionally, nationally and beyond.

Mason has 15 years of chamber experience, including the past decade at the Cobb Chamber. She has held varying leadership positions of increasing importance. During Mason’s career, she has increased engagement among Chamber members and recently led the organization’s 5-year strategic planning process while increasing membership. As part of the leadership team, Mason helped to raise more than $3 million for Cobb’s Competitive EDGE, the first comprehensive community and economic development strategy for job creation in Cobb County. Since its inception in 2012, the EDGE program has led to more than 22,000 new jobs and $2.5 billion in new private investments in Cobb County. Mason succeeds David Connell who will retire at the end of the year following seven years leading the Chamber.

Mason is an Atlanta native and an active member of the Cobb County community including serving on the MUST Ministries Board of Directors, Marietta Rotary Foundation Director in 2015-2016, and Past President of Friends for the East Cobb Park, to name a few. She also is active in the region including currently serving on the executive committee for the Regional Business Coalition, the Atlanta Regional Commission’s strategic planning steering committee and is presently in Leadership Atlanta. She is a graduate of Leadership Cobb, Honorary Commanders, Regional Leadership Institute, Chamber Institute for Organizational Management and is active in these alumni associations.

Mason has a bachelor’s degree from Samford University in Birmingham, Ala. In addition to the Cobb Chamber, Mason also has worked for the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce and the American Cancer Society. She lives in Cobb County with her husband and daughter. They are active at North Point Community Church.

Don McGarey

Interim Vice President for Research

Kennesaw State University

Full Bio

Don McGarey

Interim Vice President for Research

Kennesaw State University

Madhu Menon

Global Head – Influencer Relations

Infosys Operations

Full Bio

Madhu Menon

Global Head – Influencer Relations

Infosys Operations

Madhu is responsible for analyst, deal advisory and alliance partnership relations at Infosys BPO. He also heads the southeast regional operations for Infosys in the United States. His key strengths are relationship management, tonality management and enabling new capabilities through strategic analyst intervention. Madhu brings agile alliance partners to collaborate on creating zero distance to value for clients and their end users. As an ambassador of Infosys in the US region, he has influenced several companies to anchor their operations in Atlanta, collaborated with leading NGOs and education institutions to invest in K12 education and amplified Infosys brand presence in the local community.

Madhu has been instrumental in getting Infosys BPO invited to large multi tower advisor led pursuits and establishing Infosys operations delivery presence in Asia and North America. An early member of Infosys BPO, his expertise lies in setting up transformation Centers of Excellence (CoE), which are focused on process optimization and automation, developing global delivery solutions, managing a culturally diversified workforce, among others.

He has been with Infosys for over eleven years. Prior to joining Infosys, Madhu was General Manager at a world leader in technology and outsourcing services, in which capacity he played a key role in a US$1.3 billion transformation deal. Overall, Madhu has 18 years of experience in industries like services, retail and ITeS. He is a member of the pioneer group responsible for establishing the ITeS industry in India and has successfully executed multi-million dollar transformation engagements.

He is a member of the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals, North America; Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce; and on the Board of Advisor for Cobb County Chamber of Commerce. He was awarded the Global Impact Award 2013 for foreign direct investment hosted by the City of Atlanta and International ICT Awards 2010 – Most Innovative BPO Company of the Year, Philippines.

He has been a resident of Cobb County since 2010.

Madhu holds a bachelor’s degree in accountancy, a dual master’s degree in business administration with specialization in marketing and general management.

Trey Sanders

Regional President

Brasfield & Gorrie

Full Bio

Trey Sanders

Regional President

Brasfield & Gorrie

Trey Sanders is responsible for the overall operations of the Healthcare and Senior Living market sectors in Brasfield & Gorrie’s Atlanta office, the Commercial and Medical market sectors in our Raleigh, North Carolina office, and our Charlotte office. He leads efforts in client development and service and oversees project operations for projects in these markets. Prior to this position, Trey served in both estimating and project management. Through these roles, Trey was involved in all preconstruction and construction activities, including coordination, quality control, pricing, value analysis, scheduling, and development of means and methods of construction. As a member of the Corporate Strategic Planning team, Trey’s focus is client satisfaction and works to increase our client’s success through our performance, service, and new initiatives.

Trey graduated from Auburn University in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science in Building Science. Trey is the current Chairman of the Executive Board of Directors of the Cobb County Chamber and was a past chair of the Northwest Georgia Heart Walk. He also served as past president, vice president, and was on the board of directors at the Atlanta Country Club. Trey is married to Amy and together they have three daughters: Cameron, Emily, and Lucy.

Dr. Pamela Whitten

President

Kennesaw State University

Full Bio

Dr. Pamela Whitten

President

Kennesaw State University

Pamela S. Whitten was named Kennesaw State University’s fifth president on June 12, 2018 by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, following a nationwide search. Whitten began her tenure on July 16, 2018, bringing with her a strong emphasis on expanding successful outcomes and meaningful learning experiences for students, boosting faculty research, and providing greater outreach services to the community.

Previously, Whitten served as senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of Georgia (UGA), from February 2014 to June 2018. As the chief academic officer, she was responsible for overseeing instruction, research, public service and outreach, student affairs, and information technology.

During her tenure at UGA, Whitten worked with campus leadership to implement a number of enhancements and innovations to the learning environment, including reducing class sizes, enhancing advising services, and ensuring that all undergraduate students engaged in hands-on learning through internships, research, and other forms of experiential learning opportunities. Her office also identified three Signature Research Themes – improving human health, creating a more secure future, and strengthening communities – and spearheaded enhancements to grants administration and supported faculty hiring initiatives that dramatically increased UGA’s research activity. Through her leadership, the university also deepened its commitment to public service and outreach with new programs related to economic development, community revitalization, and cybersecurity.

Prior to serving as provost at UGA, Whitten was director for telemedicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center before she joined Michigan State University, where she worked her way through the faculty ranks and eventually served as dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences.

An internationally recognized expert in the field of telemedicine – the remote delivery of health care services and information – Whitten has conducted research with funding from multiple state and federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Commerce. She has published two books and more than 100 peer-reviewed research articles and book chapters.

Whitten holds a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from the University of Kansas, a Master of Arts in Communication from the University of Kentucky and a Bachelor of Science in Management from Tulane University.

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