Meet The Team

Meet our staff and mentors who are on a mission to support innovative startups. Our mentors come from all over the U.S.


Tom Duening, PhD

Tom Duening, PhD

Research Director

Bder Khan

Bder Khan

Social Media & Computer Science Intern

Bder Khan created the YouTube channel for Venture Attractor and creates all the content with Dr. Duening. Bder Khan also keeps the website up to date.

Carrie Olson

Carrie Olson

Program Assistant

Carrie Olson is the Program Assistant for EPIIC.  Carrie started with the University of Colorado in January 2012 on the Boulder campus.  She moved to UCCS and started with EPIIC in August 2016.

Emily Olsen

Emily Olsen

Marketing Intern


mentors in residence

Terrance (Terry) Boult, PhD

Distinguished El Pomar professor of innovation and security – experienced serial entrepreneur and world-class researcher in computer vision, machine learning, and security.  

Mike Connolly, Mentor

Mike Connolly

I am passionate about working with startup businesses, bringing practical experience gained from a successful startup, thru scaling leading to a successful exit. 

Tom Duening, Mentor

Tom Duening, PhD

El Pomar Chair for Business & Entrepreneurship, Research Director, and Entrepreneur

Jim Holley, Mentor

Jim Holley

Startup CEO and inventor of innovative consumer products

Jason Riley, Mentor

Jason Riley, PhD

Chief Operating Officer, that started as employee #1 and has led a materials science start-up to become an end-to-end R&D and manufacturing company valued at more than $80M

Jenifer Robertson, PhD

Jenifer Robertson, PhD

Business Strategist – Agile Coach – University Instructor – Project Management Professional – Organization Leader – Executive Consultant
Professional experiences range from small three-person partnerships to organizational leadership in Fortune 100 companies.

Jon Rossi, Mentor

Jon Rossi

Passionate and Curious Entrepreneur, 2x Founder, Mentor and Advisor to Startups 

Craig Swiatek, Mentor

Craig Swiatek

Entrepreneurial Investment Advisor

Jim Waldrop, Mentor

James (Jim) Waldrop

Early-Stage Investor, Serial Entrepreneur, Mentor & Advisor
I use my extensive startup and leadership experience across multiple industries to help other companies grow their business and achieve their desired goals. 


Diane Bailey

Diane Bailey

Serial Startup Founder and current Co-Director for Founder Institute

Angus Chassels

Angus Chassels

Entrepreneur in Residence, University of Colorado Colorado Springs  

Larry Goers

Larry Goers

CEO, Speed Stacks, Inc.

Benjamin Kwitek

Benjamin Kwitek, PhD

Director of Innovation at UCCS.  An inventor and entrepreneur who has started multiple companies and closed deals with global leaders such as Dell, Facebook, and Sony. 

Shannon O'Neill, Mentor

Shannon O'Neill, PhD, JD

Shannon is a Colorado attorney with a passion for business development and growth opportunities. Shannon is a science geek (Ph.D. in Immunology) and has a love of learning. Shannon has worked as an attorney for Techstars and currently does business development for ContractsRx (a scaling legal SaaS company), has her own legal and business consulting firm, and is a volunteer analyst for the Rockies Venture Club.

Colleen Stiles

Colleen Stiles, PhD

Faculty and Co-Director Bachelor of Innovation at UCCS, as well as founder Quoin Consulting serving clients on a confidential basis by providing strategic innovative business and philanthropic services.  

Mark Tegtmeier

Mark Tegtmeier

CEO & Design Director at Trailmerge 

Mike Wagle

Mike Wagle

Husband, Father, Entrepreneur, Marketing Pioneer, Start Up Junkie, Technologist, Design Thinker, Student of the Game, Nerd. 

Interested in being a startup mentor? Contact us.