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Governor's Small Business Forum

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Please join us for the Governor's Small Business Forum - Research Valley, sponsored by the Texas Governor’s Office, the Texas Workforce Commission, and other local partners. This forum is designed to give entrepreneurs and small businesses valuable tools, skills, and knowledge needed to thrive in today’s fast-paced economy. Featuring a wide range of instructive seminars and expert speakers offering vital information on both public and private resources, the forum will provide a great opportunity to network and connect with industry specialists, government officials, service providers, and other regional businesses.


8:30a -  Networking Registration w/ Community Leadership and GSBF Expo
  • The Honorable Duane Peters, Brazos County Judge
  • The Honorable Ben Hardeman, Bryan City Councilmember District 5
  • The Honorable Julie Schultz, College Station Mayor Pro Tem
  • Chad Wootton, Associate Vice President-External Affairs, Texas A&M University Office of Public Partnership & Outreach
9:00a - Welcome
  • Matt Prochaska, President/CEO of Research Valley Partnership
  • Casey Oldham, Oldham Goodwin Group and Chairman of Research Valley Partnership Board of Directors
  • Betty Russo, Texas Governor’s Office
9:10a - General Perspectives: On the Shoulders of Giants – Business Planning
Moderator: Dr. Richard Lester, Executive Director of Texas A&M University’s McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship
  • Ben Downs, Vice President/General Manager, Bryan Broadcasting
  • Paul Bonarrigo, Chairman, Messina Hof Wine Cellars
  • David Gardner, President, David Gardner’s Jewelers & Gemologists
  • Rachel Boenigk, National Sales Manager, Neutral Posture, Inc.
  • David Shimek, Sr. Vice President, Reynolds & Reynolds
  • Celia Goode-Haddock, Founder/Senior Advisor, University Title Company
10:15a Break – GSBF Expo
10:30a GSBF ExpertTalks – Customers, Product and Team
Introduction: Glen Brewer, President/CEO, Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce

  • Spencer Clements, Principal, Traditions Club & Community/ATLAS/The Stella Hotel
  •  Gabby Ring, Director of Manufacturing Operations, LiquidPower Specialty Products Inc. (a Berkshire Hathaway Company)
PRODUCT ExpertTalk
  • Drs. Blake & Elisa Teipel, President/Chief Technology Officer and Chief Operating Officer, Essentium Materials
TEAM ExpertTalk
  • Uri Geva, CEO and Owner/President, Infinity Pro Sports / Brazos Valley Bombers / Brazos Valley Cavalry
11:30a - Break Strategic Partner Expo
11:45a Networking Lunch, Keynote Message, and Presentation of GSBF Award
Introduction: Betty Russo, Texas Governor’s Office
  • Texas Workforce Commission
    Ruth R. Hughs, Commissioner Representing Employers
  • Workforce Solutions Brazos Valley
    Tom Wilkinson, Executive Director of Brazos Valley Council of Governments
  • Keynote Message
    Janet Briaud, Chief Investment Officer, Briaud Financial Advisors
  • Presentation of GSBF Awards 
    • Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce Award
    • Research Valley Small Business Development Center Award
    • Workforce Solutions Brazos Valley Award
1:15p   Break – GSBF Expo
1:30p   CEO Panel Sessions: Mentorship on Customers, Product and Team
Introduction: Jim Pillans, Director, Research Valley Small Business Development Center

Moderator: Jose Quintana, President/Chairman, AdventGX
  • Brandon Jones, President/CEO, TexAgs
  • Dave Fox, President, Blue Baker
  • Al Gonzalez, Sales & Service Site Director, Wayfair
Moderator: Caleb Holt, Manager, TEEX Product Development Center
  • Adam Laubach, CEO, Exothermix
  • Benjamin Knox, Owner/Artist, The Benjamin Knox Gallery
  • André Thomas, CEO, Triseum
TEAM Panel
Moderator: James Lancaster, Managing Director, Innovate CXO Services
  • Ross Morel, President/CEO, FrogSlayer
  • Tai Lee, Owner/Executive Chef, Chef Tai’s Restaurant Group
  • Dr. Gerry Farrell, Chief Operating Officer, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies Texas
2:55p   Closing Remarks
3:00p   Adjourn to Networking Reception/GSBF Expo


The Stella Hotel
4100 Lake Atlas Drive
Bryan, TX 77807

Staff Contact: 

Hayden Paul