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

April 8, 2021

The University of Wyoming College of Business has selected the panel of judges for the 2021 John P. Ellbogen $50K Entrepreneurship Competition.

The five judges have volunteered their time and expertise to judge the nine student business plans, each vying for a share of $50,000 in prize money.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have put together a panel of five exceptional judges for this year’s competition,” says Patrick Kreiser, the Rile Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship and Leadership in the UW College of Business and an associate professor of management and marketing. “Each of these judges is extremely accomplished and, taken together, the judges represent career success in a variety of entrepreneurial contexts.” 

The competition will include webinar presentations scheduled Friday and Saturday, April 23-24.

The judges are:

-- Kim DeVore is president of Jonah Bank of Wyoming and a founding director when the bank was chartered in July 2006. Through her high school DECA program, DeVore began her banking career in 1988 with Valley National Bank. She has filled almost every role within banking, including teller, operations, new accounts, cash management, loan assistant, securities sales, commercial lender, compliance officer and various regional management roles.

-- Spencer Garland is an experienced power generation engineer and serial real estate investor/manager. Garland currently serves as the generation engineering manager for Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association Inc. in Westminster, Colo. Previously, Spencer has worked as a turbine/generator engineer and reliability engineer at two large power stations. He also has a decade of philanthropic experience through his service on the John P. Ellbogen Foundation Board of Directors, where he currently is the vice president. Spencer received his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in mechanical engineering, both from UW.

-- Thomas Kinder, a senior medical device/health care executive with successful experience in startups, early-stage and profit generating companies all the way to exit. Kinder is founder and CEO of three companies; CEO for a turnaround company; and has experience in the medical device industry since 1990. 

-- James Brooks Mitchell is a senior lecturer emeritus of management and marketing in the UW College of Business. He joined the faculty in 1987 and helped start the entrepreneurship program at UW. After 10 years in corporate America with Texas Instruments and PepsiCo, he started a consulting business. He has started several companies and was a very early pioneer in the internet application of the employment process. Mitchell has been featured in Forbes, Fortune magazine, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and numerous other publications. Mitchell received his doctorate from the University of North Texas; his MBA from Southern Methodist University; and his bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University.

-- Shawn Saucier has extensive experience providing financial management, market research and strategy within technology companies. He has industry expertise in computer hardware, software, SaaS (software as a service), digital media, HDTV, cellular and home networking industries. His specialties include financial management and strategy within technology companies, market research and marketing strategy. Saucier’s skills include financial reporting, generally accepted accounting principles, cash management, sales, new business development, marketing, market research, technical accounting, cost accounting, lean manufacturing, Six Sigma, venture capital and private equity. He is interested in early-stage, high-tech startups in Southern California.

“We know that each of our nine finalist teams will benefit greatly from their interactions with such a superb panel of judges,” Kreiser says. “Importantly, these judges are all extremely dedicated to the university and state, and they will serve as an invaluable asset in helping these teams develop sustainable and innovative business models to support the Wyoming economy.”

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