Local entrepreneurs recognized among best in Virginia

December 13, 2012

Montgomery County, Virginia
Economic Development Department


Montgomery County, Virginia – The Center for Innovative Technologies (CIT) announced the winners of the Gap 50 Entrepreneur Awards today in Herndon, Va.  Part of Governor Bob McDonnell’s “Year of the Entrepreneur” initiative, the statewide program is intended to identify and celebrate Virginia’s next generation of entrepreneurs who are creating high-growth companies.  Montgomery County was well represented among the finalists and award winners. 

Impressively, seven of the 50 entrepreneurs who received a Gap 50 Entrepreneur Award were from Montgomery County.  Here are their bios from www.CIT.org.

Hussein Ahmed, Founder and CEO of KustomNote.com,
Blacksburg, Va.

Coming from Egypt to Virginia, Hussein got his PhD in Computer Science from Virginia Tech. Staying in Blacksburg, he joined VTLS Inc. as a Software Engineer making his way up to Engineering Manager in two years. Hussein started a number of businesses with thousands of users and several press coverages. He was named this year by Roankoe Times as "Coders Rockstar" and his last startup KustomNote.com was selected from among 174 as a finalist in Evernote's 2012 Devcup competing next for the Grand Prize in San Fancisco.

Doug Juanarena, Vice President of RackSpace Hosting,
Blacksburg, Va.

Doug Juanarena has been a serial entrepreneur for the past 35 years as a founder & CEO of three sensor and instrumentation startups. In 2005, he founded GenTek Ventures to mentor startup founders and help raise private equity. He is a board member for the Va Tech/ Carilion NewVa venture capital fund. Over the past 25 years, he has been a board member and director of a number of technology advocacy groups and University advisory boards.

Nathan Latka, Co-founder and CEO of Heyo, Blacksburg, Va.

Learning from Warren Buffet, and desiring larger profit margins and visibility, Nathan taught himself FBML. This followed the launch of Fan Page Factory which dominated as the major provider of customized Fan Pages for small business.He headed sales, social marketing, and community engagement. Eventually, he couldn’t personally handle all of the work the Fan Page Factory brand was creating. He then partnered with Brian Putt and Joshua Gunter to launch Lujure. The Lujure platform is a DIY drag and drop fan page customization tool. Nathan heads sales, marketing, and product development under his CEO title.

Peter Lazar, CEO of eBroselow, Blacksburg, Va.

Peter Lazar is co-founder of eBroselow, LLC. With partners Dr. Jim Broselow (the inventor of the Broselow Tape) and Dr. Bob Luten, Lazar developed a web and mobile-based clinical support system for hospitals and EMS. Launched in 2010 and now licensed to over 150 hospitals and over 7000 medical professionals, Lazar hopes it will save many lives by preventing medical errors. Formerly, Peter Lazar founded an award-winning mobile video technology and successful web development company.

Jack Lesko, Associate Dean of Research and
Graduate Studies at Virginia Tech
, Blacksburg, Va.

Jack serves as the Associate Dean for Research & Graduate Studies in VT’s College of Engineering and is co-founder and principle of PowerHub Systems, a 2008 startup headquartered in the VT Corporate Research Center. Through this startup experience with PowerHub, Jack is working with the university community and the local startup ecosystem to support students and faculty developing new technology based ventures through structured and practical entrepreneurial training opportunities.

Caroline Pugh, COO of VirtualU, Blacksburg, Va.

Caroline is the COO and Co-Founder of VirtualU, a company based on integrating 3D human modeling technology into the e-commerce industry. Caroline is the former President of the Virginia Tech Entrepreneur Club where she raised a record amount of over $11,000 for the club, organized the annual student team competition (VT $5K), helped to introduce the first entrepreneurship classes with in the College of Science and host weekly week networking and speaking events. Currently working with university officials and entrepreneurs to help build an Entrepreneurship Center at Virginia Tech that would help fund innovative technologies and help commercialize them. To build entrepreneurship on a more national and global level, Caroline serves as the President for the DC region and Director of Partnerships for Kairos Society, one of the largest and most prominent, student run entrepreneurship organizations.

Bob Summers, Chief Geek of Friendeo, Blacksburg, Va.

Bob Summers has developed and marketed commercial software applications for consumers and enterprises since 1994. He is currently Chief Geek @ Friendeo, his fifth startup. Mr. Summers has a BS in computer engineering from Virginia Tech and MBA from MIT Sloan. He is founder of 460 Angels and TechPad.

CIT President and CEO Pete Jobse was quoted in a press release as saying:  “We are honored to recognize these entrepreneurs today as part of the Year of the Entrepreneur and the CIT GAP 50 Entrepreneur Awards.  They represent Virginia’s thriving community of innovative entrepreneurs who are laying the foundation for a bright economic future.”

Over 800 entrepreneurs from across Virginia were nominated for the CIT Gap 50 Entrepreneur Awards. The 50 winners were selected from 272 finalists using a peer voting process.  Other Gap 50 Entrepreneur Award finalists from Montgomery County included: 

  • Steven Chen, Chairman PowerFingerPrinting
  • Louis Cirillo, CEO VirtualU Inc
  • Charles Clancy, Co-Founder & CSO Optio Labs
  • Vinod Chachra, President & CEO VTLS Inc
  • Anne Giles Clelland, President & CEO Handshake Media
  • Eric Collins, President Sans Seriphs Design
  • Steve Corcoran, Founder Viirl Beyond Grades
  • Braden Croy, CEO Cloud Conservatory
  • Michael Fleming, CEO TORC Robots
  • Erik Gatenholm, CEO BC Genesis
  • Colin Grant, Managing Director Nomad Mobile Guides
  • Brian Hazzard, Product Manager Rackspace Hosting and Startup Weekend Blacksburg co-organizer
  • Danny Kang, CEO Electric Threads
  • Derick Maggard, Exec. Director RBTC Tech Council
  • Pat Mathews, SVP Corprate Dev Rackspace Hosting
  • Dave Payne, Co-Founder MoGo Mobile Inc
  • Gary Pickrell, Director Surface Engin. Virginia Tech
  • David Poteet, President NewCity
  • Brian Putt, CTO Heyo
  • Z. Kelly Quiejo, Pres. & Founder Smart College Visit
  • Jeff Reed, Co-Founder Power FingerPrinting
  • Glen Skutt, President PowerHub Systems
  • Peter Sforza, Director Research Scientist Virginia Tech
  • Sam Toriel, Software Dev Rackspace and Startup Weekend Blacksburg co-organizer
  • Joe Turner, Founder VP Engineering MiserWare, Inc
  • Jules White, Asst Prof Virginia Tech
  • Zach Williams, Founder/ Creative Director Venveo

About Us

Montgomery County, Virginia- home to Virginia Tech and the towns of Blacksburg and Christiansburg - is a progressive, technology-driven community with an abundance of outdoor amenities. The Montgomery County, Virginia Economic Development Department's mission is to improve the quality of life throughout Montgomery County by encouraging positive economic growth that 1) creates meaningful career opportunities, 2) expands the commercial tax base, and 3) protects our enviable way of life.

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