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Judges Named for UW’s John P. Ellbogen $50K Entrepreneurship Competition

April 18, 2022
Susan Barlow, Jennifer Ford, James Garland, Penelope Shihab and Nate Storey

The University of Wyoming College of Business has selected the panel of judges for the 22nd annual John P. Ellbogen $50K Entrepreneurship Competition.

The competition will take place Friday and Saturday, April 22-23, in person in the UW College of Business Building and virtually via WyoCast. To register to attend the event, go here.

“The College of Business is excited to announce our panel of judges, who will volunteer their time and expertise to judge student business plans each vying for a share of $50,000 in prize money,” says Patrick Kreiser, UW College of Business Rile Chair of Entrepreneurship and Leadership. “We are extremely excited about the five accomplished judges who have agreed to participate in this year’s competition. Each of the judges contributes a unique perspective and background and, taken together, represent success in a wide variety of entrepreneurship pursuits.

“The finalist teams will benefit a great deal from interacting with such an impressive array of judges,” Kreiser continues. “Importantly, these judges are all extremely dedicated to supporting the university and state, and they will serve as an invaluable asset in helping our finalist teams develop valuable and innovative business concepts to support the Wyoming economy.”

The judges are:

-- Susan Barlow is co-founder, managing partner and chief operating officer of Blue Moon Capital Partners LLC. She is responsible for day-to-day operations, product development, capital formation and setting the long-term strategic direction of the firm. She has over 30 years of experience advising institutional real estate clients on branding, strategy implementation, product development and capital formation.

Barlow was previously managing director and head of global client relations for Rosenberg Real Estate Equity Funds (RREEF), a global institutional real estate investment manager wholly owned by Deutsche Bank. At RREEF, she directed the activities of the firm’s 60-person global client relations team and led the firm’s product development, client relations, sales, marketing and investor communications.

Barlow also co-founded a real estate fund-of-funds investment management firm that allocates capital to small and midsize operating companies. Previously, she was the CEO and president of a strategic advisory firm assisting real estate operating partners and investment managers in developing investment vehicles and capital formation strategies for the institutional marketplace. Early in her career, she founded the institutional real estate consulting practice for Callan Associates, one of the largest independently owned investment consulting firms in the United States.

Barlow serves on the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care Board of Directors as vice chair and also served as a mentor for the 2021 Techstars Future of Longevity Accelerator. Barlow received her Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Denver and her bachelor’s degree from Black Hills State University.

-- Jennifer Ford has spent over 15 years working with businesses and nonprofits to help get those organizations back on track and profitable.

In 2011, Ford founded Frederick Mountain Group to bring small and midsize companies real business development solutions and the expertise to implement those solutions. Her goal is to help define the challenges facing businesses; organize a strategy for tackling those issues in order of priority; and implement so organizations can see results.

Ford was a wilderness guide for seven years in Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming. She received her law degree from the University of Colorado and her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University.

-- James Garland has worked in a variety of industries -- from tourism to real estate to investment management. His fondest memories are leading naturalist programs for the Yosemite Conservancy and three summers guiding the wildest and most remote adventures possible in Alaska.

After retiring from the guiding world in 2019, Garland has focused on a historical restoration project -- an 1888 boarding house -- in Leadville, Colo. Garland is grateful for his industrial arts classes at Laramie Junior High School, which gave him a great foundation to learn the art of carpentry, tiling and installing drywall. While this is a for-profit endeavor, it is committed, at its core, to providing affordable, modernized housing options to members of his Leadville community.

Future endeavors that interest Garland include blockchain technologies, decentralized finance and helping rural communities develop strategies for value-added tourism. He is a former Ellbogen $10K Competition participant in 2010 as a team member of Envision Financials.

Garland received his bachelor’s degrees in economics and finance, both from UW.

-- Penelope Shihab recently was named director of the Wyoming Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at UW. She will lead the key component of the Wyoming Innovation Partnership at the university.

She also is the CEO and founder of Jordan Company for Antibody Production (MonoJo Biotech), a leading biotech company in the Arab region. The company has been selected by the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with the Bahrain Economic Development Board, as one of the 100 Arab startups shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution in 2019. Out of these 100 startups, MonoJo Biotech has been selected as one of the 10 startups that are helping to change the Arab world.

A decade of scientific research at MonoJo Biotech resulted in the development of the company’s first patented product, SKINUE, which is the first cosmetic product formula worldwide based on camel milk whey immunized against Propionibacterium acnes.

In 2011, Shihab founded the Applied Scientific Research Fund with the aim to promote and increase awareness on innovative applied scientific research in Jordan and the Arab world, and influence women and young professionals to become leading entrepreneurs and innovators.

She currently sits on the advisory board for the Chemical Engineering Department at Jordan University of Science and Technology and is a board member of The European Cooperation in Science and Technology. Shihab has won EY’s Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year Award Jordan; ranked 16th in the “World’s 100 Most Influential Arabs” list by Arabian Business; and has been selected among the top 30 women behind Middle Eastern beauty brands by Forbes Middle East.

Shihab conducted her postgraduate research at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at the University of Cambridge. She received her Ph.D. in pharmacy and biomedical sciences from the University of Strathclyde in the United Kingdom. 

-- Nate Storey, co-founder and chief science officer for Plenty, leads science and innovation for Plenty’s cutting-edge vertical farm technologies. He has extensive experience in plant production and equipment design and drives Plenty’s ground-breaking plant science to deliver industry-leading yields of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Before his work with Plenty, he founded Bright Agrotech, an agriculture company that created hardware, software and services to advance the indoor and vertical agriculture industries.

Storey received his Ph.D. in agronomy from UW, with an emphasis in vertical plane hydroponic production. He also received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agriculture science from UW.

For more information, email Josie Voight at

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