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President John Kelly, Ph.D. keynote speaker at the Executive Forum Speaker Series

Executive Forum Speaker Series

The Executive Forum is designed to provide the wealth of knowledge and experience of inspirational leaders and executives from a wide variety of businesses and industries. The speakers present a brief overview of their businesses, as well as specific professional experiences, followed by a discussion of key issues facing their industries in the current business and economic climate.

ACE proudly organizes the Executive Forum to help students and external audience members to hone in on their career development interests by enabling them to gain insight from business leaders who represent a wide array of industries.

The speaker series is comprised of presentations and seminar-like interaction with entrepreneurs and executives focusing on the practical nature of business development. Audience members and executives will discuss current challenges facing business and industry today and consider alternative ways of meeting these challenges.

Thursday, January 8, 2015 from 5:30pm - 6:50pm in BU 120

Thomas Brown

Spring 2015 Executive Forum Speaker Series thumbnail Tom Brown has 25 years of experience in financial services, consumer credit policy, predictive analytics, and anti-money laundering. He joined LexisNexis Risk Solutions in Boca Raton, Florida, following their acquisition of Seisint in 2004. Brown leads the global development of product and market strategy for the financial services market, which includes solutions for Anti-Money Laundering, KYC, fraud prevention, financial investigations, real estate, business risk management and first-party collections that are used by leading global companies and financial institutions.

Beyond the US banking sector, Brown leads broader product and market strategy efforts for LexisNexis in the UK.

Brown also spends significant time developing markets for LexisNexis in Europe, Asia (in particular Greater China), and Latin America. Over his 10 year tenure, Brown has lead LexisNexis to 5x revenue growth in the financial sector. Prior to joining LexisNexis, Brown was a Principal at an NYC-area consulting firm developing profit-based analytics and strategies for the largest US credit card issuers. Brown also has served as a Senior Vice President with First Data, managing scoring and credit risk products for First Data’s issuing clients. He began his career with First of America Bank Corporation, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, leading loan administration, loan review, and credit policy functions.

Brown graduated from Western Michigan University in 1989 with a bachelor of business administration degree with a major in finance. In 1993, while working for First of America, he completed his MBA with a concentration in Financial Management, also from Western Michigan University.

Thursday, January 15, 2015 from 5:30pm - 6:50pm in BU 120

Bernard Brigonnet

Spring 2015 Executive Forum Speaker Series thumbnail Bernard is an accomplished international business leader with senior Executive expertise in lifescience business, operations and marketing management. He offers over 30 years of progressive experience in lifesciences organizations, including Carolinas Health Care System, Baylor Health Care System, Merck & Co, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Serono, IDM Pharma and Medicen. He is a leader with a track record for outstanding success in business management, organization development, sales and marketing, as well as R&D operations.



Thursday, January 22, 2015 from 5:30pm - 6:50pm in BU 120

Robert Flippo

Spring 2015 Executive Forum Speaker Series thumbnailDuring the past 20 years, Robert S. Flippo has worked in both start-up environments as well as fortune 50 companies. Mr. Flippo has experience in forming high-performance teams and has held executive roles at high-tech companies such as Motorola, Boca Research, and Emergin Incorporated.

Mr. Flippo is currently the CEO and co-founder of MobileHelp based in Boca Raton Florida, and is a current member of the Board of Directors of MAMA, the Medical Alert Monitoring Association. MobileHelp is America's leading provider of M-PERS (Mobile-Personal Emergency Response System) technology and services clients in all 50 states.

In his most recent role as Vice President of Operations at Emergin, Mr. Flippo was responsible for all aspects of the company operations including the function of CFO and COO.

Mr. Flippo joined Emergin as the Director of Engineering and Operations in 2003 and successfully scaled the company from $2.4M in revenue in 2003 to $15M+ in 2007. He also raised $4M in funding from a strategic partner in 2006 and negotiated a successful exit sale of the company in December 2007 with Philips Electronics. He joined Emergin from Motorola's Wireless Messaging Division, where he served as Director of Product & Business Development. At Motorola, Mr. Flippo was responsible for managing Motorola's advanced messaging product lines, patent licenses, and contract negotiations. Prior to joining Motorola, he served as Director of Engineering at Zoom Telephonics Inc. (formerly Boca Research), a leading modem and networking company, where his duties included managing software development efforts for realtime embedded operations systems.

Mr. Flippo holds an MBA from the University of Miami, a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of South Florida, and has completed coursework in business management at Harvard Business School. Mr. Flippo also holds 7 US patents for communications systems.


Thursday, January 29, 2015 from 5:30pm - 6:50pm in BU 120

Jay Bernstein

Spring 2015 Executive Forum Speaker Series thumbnailJay Bernstein is the CEO of Couwalla.







Thursday, February 5, 2015 from 5:30pm - 6:50pm in BU 120

Paul Berenson

Spring 2015 Executive Forum Speaker Series thumbnail Paul works as an independent marketing consultant to business and professional organizations as well as owning and managing a marketing consultancy and commercial real estate properties.

A number of years ago, Mr. Berenson’s Direct Marketing Agency was acquired by Snyder Communications, an S&P 500 listed company and then merged with a unit another of Snyder’s companies, Arnold Communications, Boston, MA. Paul joined the company and assumed the position of Executive Vice President of Strategic Services at Wickersham Hunt Schwantner; the company's brand/direct division.

At his agency, Berenson, Isham & Partners, Inc., he was Chairman and Executive Creative Director.

Mr. Berenson was directly involved in the development of all strategic and creative plans for his agency's clients. He frequently acts as a business and creative consultant to many agency clients, helping them to organize internal systems that coordinate and monitor advertising, direct marketing, telemarketing and budgets against sales objectives. Mr. Berenson has been personally responsible for the national expansion of several agency clients, as well as the introduction of new product and new business lines for a number of clients.

Mr. Berenson was also the Chairman of Newmarket Network, a Web marketing firm. The company has developed partnerships with Cartalk.com, TheDolans.com and clubmed.com, as well as consulting on web development for the Financial Times and Nynex’s Big Yellow (now Bell Atlantic). The company was bought by Minnesota Public Radio.

He was also the chairman of data base marketing firm, Data Applications, Inc., that served as the needs of his clients.

As a basis for determining how to achieve the best results for each client, Mr. Berenson draws upon his many years of experience in direct marketing, advertising and sales promotion. Among the companies he has worked with are: The Boston Globe, Boston University, Cornell University/Johnson School of Management, The Boston Stock Exchange, China Educational Tours, Christian Science Monitor, Club Med, Data General, Fidelity Investments, Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, Gillette, HBO, MTV, New England Electric Systems, TIAA-CREF, Stride Rite Corporation, John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company, NYNEX (Bell Atlantic) and Showtime/The Movie Channel to name a few. He has guest lectured on behalf of a number of agency clients, including Bernard Haldane Associates, NYNEX, Kid Power, Colony Communications, Boston Mutual Life Insurance Company and the Waterman Pen division of Gillette.

Prior to founding Berenson, Isham & Partners, Mr. Berenson served as Manager of the Technical Publications Group for the electronic data processing division of Honeywell Information Systems.

Mr. Berenson is a graduate of Wentworth Institute where he studied Nuclear Engineering. He pursued graduate studies in Business Administration at Northeastern University and has completed numerous creative, marketing and sales training programs, including those administered by the Direct Marketing Association, American Management Association, Xerox Learning Systems and Boston College School of Management. He has also completed courses in advertising, telemarketing and mutual fund sales.

Mr. Berenson has authored several publications, including a two-volume series entitled "Management by Objectives." Other published works include "The Top 100 Venture Capital Firms", "Venture Capital & Management" and "Computer Usage". He has authored numerous trade publication articles on Direct Marketing.

Mr. Berenson created and taught a Direct Marketing Program for the Ad Club of Boston. He has also developed and taught Direct Marketing Management for Bentley College, is a past President of the New England Direct Marketing Association, and was a trustee of The Ad Club of Boston.

Mr. Berenson was listed by Target Marketing magazine as one of direct marketing's most influential people and is mentioned in Who's Who in America and Advertising. And he is the recipient of the Instructor of the Year award from the Ad Club of Boston. In the course of his career, Mr. Berenson has received over 60 awards for creative excellence and has lectured at more than 30 conferences.

Thursday, February 12, 2015 from 5:30pm - 6:50pm in Bu 120

Frank Duemmler

Spring 2015 Executive Forum Speaker Series thumbnail Mr. Duemmler has been with Kayne Anderson since the launch of its real estate platform in 2007 and is responsible for its real estate investment operations and all asset management activities.

Mr. Duemmler also served as Chief Investment Officer until 2012, when Mr. Selznick joined the firm, and he continues to serve as a member of the Investment Committee. Mr. Duemmler has over 30 years of wide ranging experience in real estate and financial services. As Executive Vice President of Intrepid Capital Partners, a U.S.-based investment firm, he was a key player in the successful float, on the London Stock Market's AIM, of Hirco PLC, a real estate investment company, raising over $700 million for investment in mixed-use real estate developments in India, and investing over 90% of those proceeds within 12 months.

Mr. Duemmler has also held senior positions at numerous leading investment firms, including Merrill Lynch, where he successfully built a commercial mortgage origination group, developed innovative real estate financing vehicles, managed and restructured over $700 million in commercial real estate loans, and structured over $400 million in merchant banking transactions.

Mr. Duemmler raised equity capital for numerous real estate developments, and, as a private banker at Chase (now JP Morgan Chase) and PNC Bank, advised high net worth clients on real estate investment and finance opportunities, as well as hedging strategies. He started his career at the law firm of Dewey Ballantine (the predecessor to the former Dewey & LeBoeuf), handling real estate and equipment finance transactions, as well as corporate and municipal debt offerings.

He earned a J.D. cum laude from Washington & Lee University School of Law and a B.A. with Honors in Economics from Colgate University

Thursday, February 19, 2015 from 5:30pm - 6:50pm in BU 120

Lenny Chesal

Spring 2015 Executive Forum Speaker Series thumbnailLenny Chesal, CMO & EVP Business Development, has been with Host.net, a multinational provider of managed infrastructure services focusing on cloud computing and storage, colocation, connectivity and business continuity for enterprise organizations, since January 2004 and has been responsible for the company’s sales, marketing and business development initiatives, building on 30 years of diversified experience in sales, marketing and executive management.

Chesal previously worked for BellSouth, Teleport Communications Group (TCG), AT&T, Florida Digital Network, Teleplace, WebUnited and ProtectPoint in a variety of increasingly senior positions.

He spearheaded initiatives for the planning, development and implementation of the go-to-market strategies for the colocation, voice, data, and managed network security services offered by those companies.

Chesal is involved in various civic, non-profit, and industry organizations including the Past Chairman of the Board of the South Florida Technology Alliance (SFTA), IT Palooza Co/Founder-chair, Florida Atlantic University ITOM Advisory Board, Palm Beach State College Business Partnership Council for B.A.S. Degree in Information Management, South University Information Systems & Management External PAC member, Director Florida Foreign Trade Association, Inaugural Chair of the American Cancer Society-Relay for Life Deerfield Beach/Lighthouse Point/Hillsboro Beach, Big Brothers Big Sisters celebrity Kabuki chef, Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce Trustee, Workforce Alliance Infotech Workforce Development, NSU- Graduate School of Computer and Information Science and Huizenga School of Entrepreneurship, Past President of the Deerfield Beach Founders’ Days, and the Pompano Beach Seafood Festival and Fishing Rodeo Committees.

Chesal was recently honored by South Florida Business and Wealth magazine with an inaugural Apogee Award as the outstanding CMO in Palm Beach County. He has been a featured speaker at Startup Quest, Leadership Broward, Leadership Palm Beach, NSU GSCIS and at the Palm Beach County Emergency Operations Center. He was listed as a “must-know” contact in Palm Beach County in Florida Trend Magazine and an inaugural member of the TechWeek 100 in association with eMerge Americas. Chesal has taken to the road as a cyclist raising money for the Miami Dolphins Ride DCC benefitting the Sylvester Cancer Center, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Cycle for Life, and his third 165 mile SmartRide from Miami to Key West. He was named Volunteer of the Year by the Deerfield Beach Chamber of Commerce for his dedication to the community and his work with the American Cancer Society. Chesal also shares his talents as the drummer for Gee Force, The World Famous Low Tides and several other local bands.


Thursday, February 26, 2015 from 5:30pm - 6:50pm in BU 120

Anthony Barbar

Spring 2015 Executive Forum Speaker Series thumbnailAnthony K.G. Barbar is President and Chief Executive Officer of Barbar & Associates, LLC and has been involved in the acquiring, planning, financing, developing, consulting, advising, managing, leasing and sales of real estate projects for the past 30 years.

During his 30-year career in real estate, Mr. Barbar has handled the purchase negotiations for over $1 billion in commercial and residential properties and commercial lease negotiations for more than 1,000,000 square feet of space.

From 1974 to 1992, Mr. Barbar served as Chief Operating Officer for The Barbar Group, a firm responsible for changing the face of real estate development in Boca Raton. The commercial and residential development firm pioneered the concept of family communities in the 1980s, when the area was primarily a retirement haven. Mr. Barbar handled numerous property acquisitions, government approvals, lot sales to builders and neighborhood platting prior to his firm’s development of larger, upscale neighborhoods in west Boca Raton. Throughout the development of Woodfield Hunt Club and Woodfield Country Club, Mr. Barbar was involved in DRI applications, multiple builder programs, community marketing and sales programs and overall site development. The country club also involved the development of a championship golf course, multiple clubhouses, tennis courts, high-end housing and a 160,000-square-foot shopping center. As part of his responsibilities, Mr. Barbar also handled the day-to-day operations for three companies and eight partnerships. He created a comprehensive employee benefits program and managed all banking and financial relationships. His additional experience includes negotiating for the purchase of the Dallas Cowboys Football Club, Inc. and Texas Stadium Corp. and consulting on the disposition of condominiums in New Orleans, Louisiana and apartments in Tampa, Florida.

Since 1996, Mr. Barbar served as President of Barbar Investment Group, Inc. and most recently, President and CEO of Barbar & Associates, LLC. He leads all aspects of the licensed real estate brokerage for the firm, and he has built a foundation focusing on the needs of his clients and building solid relationships with many of South Florida's local businesses. Mr. Barbar currently oversees the real estate needs of numerous corporate clients, including providing consulting services, evaluating a company's real estate needs, investment strategies, site selection, planning, relocation and commercial leasing transactions for an array of major companies.

Mr. Barbar earned a Bachelor’s degree in International Business from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. He holds a Florida Real Estate Brokers License, and is a member of the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches where he serves as chairman of the Grievance Committee and is a member of the Commercial Alliance. He is also a member of the Florida Association of Realtors where he is a director and a member of the Commercial Alliance Committee. Mr. Barbar is an active member of many community and civic organizations including the National Association of Realtors, CoreNet Global, Sheridan House Family Ministries, the Council of 100, and Boca Raton Community Church. He is a director of Student Leadership University and Boca Helping Hands. Mr. Barbar serves on the Board of Trustees of both Florida Atlantic University and Palm Beach Atlantic University.


Thursday, March 12, 2015 from 5:30pm - 6:50pm in BU 120

President John Kelly, Ph.D.

Spring 2015 Executive Forum Speaker Series thumbnailDr. John W. Kelly was named President of Florida Atlantic University by unanimous vote of the FAU Board of Trustees on January 17, 2014. He is the seventh President in the 50-year history of FAU, a comprehensive public university with campuses and sites in Boca Raton, Davie, Dania Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Jupiter and Fort Pierce. As the University’s chief executive officer, Dr. Kelly oversees an institution that currently serves more than 30,000 students at the bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and postdoctoral levels. With more than half of its student body representing minority groups or coming from abroad, FAU ranks as the most racially, ethnically and culturally diverse institution in Florida’s State University System and is ranked 27th for diversity in the United States.

One of the largest employers in South Florida, FAU has more than 3,000 employees, including 1,000 dedicated faculty members, and an annual operating budget in excess of $690 million. The University has an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion and is conducting millions of dollars’ worth of funded research in such critically important fields as drug discovery, biotechnology, ocean engineering and marine science.

Dr. Kelly came to FAU from Clemson University, where he held a succession of leadership positions over a 28-year period. As Vice President for Economic Development he was one of Clemson’s three Mission Vice Presidents, with wide-ranging responsibilities that included policy setting, strategic planning, hiring strategies, communication and budgeting. He oversaw 12 campuses and centers in a variety of South Carolina locations, supervised more than 900 employees and managed an annual budget of $90 million. As Executive Director of the Clemson University Restoration Institute, he built a highly collaborative team to educate students and direct research in energy systems.

Dr. Kelly also headed Clemson University Public Service Activities, a statewide agency with outreach programs in 46 counties. In this role, he directed Clemson’s Undergraduate Service Learning program, oversaw a broad array of specialized centers and institutes and was co-leader of the Clemson University Center for Workforce Development.

Active on the national level, Dr. Kelly has served on the boards of the Administrative Heads Section of the National Association of State Universities and Land-grant Colleges (now the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities) and the American Distance Education Consortium.

He began his academic career in 1982 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Horticulture at Texas A&M University. Three years later, he went to Clemson, rising through the ranks to become Professor and Department Head by 1991. He was named Vice President for Public Service and Agriculture in 1997 and Vice President for Economic Development in 2010.

Dr. Kelly holds three degrees in horticulture – a bachelor’s degree from Clemson and both a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University

Thursday, March 19, 2015 from 5:30pm - 6:50pm in BU 120

Tom Mersch

Spring 2015 Executive Forum Speaker Series thumbnail Tom has 30 years experience as a corporate counsel and businessman in multiple sectors including government, sales, finance, travel, and information technology. Hired as a legal consultant for a large Internet retailer in need of restructure, Tom navigated their operation from near collapse to solid growth.

Armed with the contacts and knowledge gained from that successful assignment, Tom leveraged that experience using his own capital and resources to launch an online asset recovery services firm that he sold in 2008.

In addition, Tom has held influential leadership positions with a number of firms, formerly serving as attorney for the Delta Airlines Dream Vacations Program, General Counsel and Vice President of Business Development for UCS, Inc., a software company that was eventually acquired by SunGard Data Systems and as President of WeType4u.com, an internet-based business services outsourcing company with over 300 employees. For the last five years Tom has been General Counsel for Channel IQ a rapidly growing “Big Data” SaaS provider for 300 of the Worlds’ largest manufacturers based in Chicago.

Tom now devotes time to the FAU Tech Runway and the Adams Center for Entrepreneurship. He is a mentor for BedaBox at Tech Runway the past winner of the FAU and State of Florida Business Plan Competition. As a businessman first with an attorneys’ training, Toms’ career has exposed him to many different businesses but always with two constants; change and diversity.

Tom is a licensed attorney in Florida and Mississippi, earning his JD from the University of Mississippi and his BA from Southern Methodist University.


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