The Regional Business Plan Competition would not be possible without the volunteer efforts of our judging panel. Please join us in congratulating their commitment to entrepreneurship and the West Michigan community.
John Balbach Prem Bodagala Veronica
Ramirez Garcia Joe Ponstein Adam Fox
John Balbach Technology Business Consultant, Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center
John Balbach is currently a MI-SBTDC Technology Business Consultant where he assists technology-based companies throughout the state of Michigan in bridging the gap between technology development and commercialization. His background includes close to twenty years of diverse and executive-level experience spanning the nonprofit sector, large corporations, earlystage technology ventures and public-private partnerships. As one of the initial members of Silicon Valley Banks Seattle office, he played an integral role in the banks establishment of a strong and lasting presence in the regions early-stage market. In addition, while at Seattle-based software company Viathan Corporation, Balbach led the financial efforts that closed on both $23 million in venture capital and the companys eventual acquisition. He has served as a commercialization plan reviewer for the National Science Foundation, led an Impact Investing Fund focused on the life science sector, and worked on a high-profile corporate consulting engagement for a company seeking to infuse cleantech solutions into its supply chain. His background includes extensive experience in strategic planning, business plan creation, business plan analysis, venture financing and early-stage commercial lending. Balbach holds a B.S in Finance from Miami (Ohio) University, and a M.A. from St. Johns College.
Prem Bodagala Mergers & Acquisitions Associate, The Charter Group
Prem leads the analysis, research, and administrative processes for The Charter Group and The Michigan Accelerator Fund I and is actively involved in both organizations expanding private investment activities.
Prem offers a strong background in financial analysis and market research. Prior to working with Charter and MAF-I, he served as Senior Manager for a regional company providing administrative services to the healthcare industry. His responsibilities included identifying contract opportunities, networking with specialty healthcare professionals, and optimizing ROI through the implementation of a divisional budget. Veronica Ramirez Garcia Executive Director, West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Veronica Ramirez Garcia is the Executive Director for the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. A Western Michigan University Graduate and prior MI-SBTDC employee now leads the only Hispanic business organization in West Michigan that is dedicated to working with members of the community to increase the economic advancement thought the connection of Hispanic and Non-Hispanic businesses and leaders in West Michigan. In her free time she is volunteering with different organizations and enjoys spending quality time family and friends.
Adam Fox Entrepreneur in Residence, GR-Current
Adam Fox is a local entrepreneur originally from West Michigan. He graduated from Aquinas College with an emphasis on marketing and international business. Adam has had a diverse working background with experiences in federal government, consulting, publicly held entities and most recently start-ups in software and the medical device industry. His current involvements include a supply chain security risk analytics software start-up as well as a role assisting entrepreneurs and companies with GR-Current.
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