Don Morrison is a serial entrepreneur and visionary leader who has consistently leveraged technology to improve the customer experience and top and bottom-line results, in multi-channel consumer product companies. He has been involved in the growth and development of several businesses, including American Eagle Outfitters, from 1 to 165 stores (as President/CEO), Sundance Catalog Company (as Executive Director), and Bear Creek Corporation (as Senior VP of Sales and Marketing). His business experience includes Retail, Restaurant, Franchising, Manufacturing, Catalog and E-commerce. Mr. Morrison has been involved in several business start-ups, turnarounds, divestitures and acquisitions.
He is currently Chairman of Deal Flow for BlueTree Allied Angels, a Pittsburgh-PA based angel investment group. In addition to his roles at the LDC and BlueTree, Mr. Morrison is actively involved in mentoring and coaching numerous start-ups and early stage companies in the region through the Alpha Lab and Alpha Lab Gear accelerators, and The Thrill Mill incubator. He also serves as Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Pittsburgh’s Innovation Institute. Mr. Morrison also serves on several Boards of Directors/Advisors including, Pittsburgh Green Building Alliance, The Forbes Fund Advisory Committee, Women-Drivers.com, Piecemaker and Sole Power. He is often an invited guest speaker on entrepreneurship and angel investing and volunteers time to participate in panel discussions and judging business competitions.
Richard W. Epstein is a graduate of the Taft School, Watertown, Connecticut, the University of Rochester (B.A., History), and from George Washington Law School (Juris Doctorate). He has practiced law from 1978 to the present and currently is managing partner of the law firm of Ekker, Kuster, McCall & Epstein, LLP, Mercer County’s largest local law firm, which serves businesses and individuals throughout western Pennsylvania. He concentrates his practice in civil and commercial litigation, business and succession planning and economic development. He has been a lecturer in civil litigation and trial tactics for Continuing Legal Education Programs in Pennsylvania.
In addition to his legal practice, Mr. Epstein and Dr. Oscar McKnight have formed two start-ups, Scientific Legal Services, which uses statistical models and applied research to predict the results of litigation, and College Career Profiler (CCP), a web-based software company which applies statistics, economics and psychology to help students select colleges and careers where they can succeed. The CCP program identifies the best academic, financial and career match for each student based upon his or her individual cognitive profile and earning capacity.
Mr. Epstein is very active in local and regional economic development efforts, currently serving as Solicitor for Penn-Northwest Development Corporation, Chairman of the Shenango Valley Industrial Development Authority, and a member of the Board of Directors of the LindenPointe Development Corporation, which operates the eCenter, an incubator for start-ups and entrepreneurs. He formerly served on the Board of Governors of the Western Division of the Pennsylvania Economy League, an affiliate of the Allegheny Conference. He also formerly served as Chairman of the Shenango Valley Chamber of Commerce and President of the Sharon Country Club. Mr. Epstein was honored as Chamber Person of the Year in 2007. Mr. Epstein and his partner, Ronald McCall, along with Dr. Craig Columbus and Ken Smith, co-taught a course in entrepreneurship and law at Grove City College.
Mr. Epstein has volunteered his services as Campaign Chair and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the United Way of Mercer County. He was integrally involved in the development and expansion of “Success by Six” which champions educational development of children from 0 to 6 as a key to economic development. He is also a member of the Sharon Rotary Club.
Jo Anne Carrick, Campus Director and Chief Academic officer of Penn State Shenango serves as the senior administrator and academic leader of the campus. Prior to this appointment, she served as the Nursing programs Coordinator and Assistant Director of Academic Planning at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. She has also been a member of the University faculty at Penn State for over 25 years. Dr. Carrick has also previously held leadership positions in nursing in both acute health care settings and within Penn State. She holds a BS in Nursing from Penn State, a Master’s in Nursing from the University of Pittsburgh and a Doctorate in Administration and Leadership Studies in Higher Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Bob Evans is founder and principal for Evans Strategic Communications where he helps CXOs in the tech industry and those undergoing digital transformation. Previously, Bob served as Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer for Oracle and as a VP of Strategic Communications for SAP. Bob has been recognized for his more than 20 years of experience as an award-winning Editor-in-Chief, Columnist, and Thought-Leader. He has written thousands of columns on business innovation, technology, leadership, culture and has engaged with C-level executives from every industry and every continent on the globe.
Frank provides the eCenter@LindenPointe constituents an expertise in building teams. He brings a passion for helping business owners achieve success utilizing team building principles. Frank has provided leadership services for 35 years to American Express/Ameriprise Financial Services’ independent advisor channel to market. Frank’s firm, Practice Growth Partners (PGP) provides leadership to business owners to help them achieve their team growth objectives through the implementation of PGP’s “Perfect Alignment” methodology.
Frank’s community service includes Board Chairman for UPMC Horizon Hospital, an integrated community hospital with UPMC. He served as a board member for the Sharon Country Club and as chairman of the Kennedy Catholic High School advisory board. Frank and his wife Judy have been involved in the music community in Mercer County for over 40 years. His commitment to improving our region’s quality of life aligns with the eCenter@LindenPointe’s mission of attracting and retaining businesses.
Kit Mueller is an Entrepreneurial Community Builder with a demonstrated history of success in the software and creative industries. Kit currently serves as Chief Tummler at DDC Pgh LLC helping companies to develop their strategic communications and community building initiatives. Kit is also the Executive Producer of Speak Freely, a popular series of live interview events featuring notable leaders in technology, advanced manufacturing, and non-profit sectors sharing on their entrepreneurial journeys in front of a monthly audience of more than 200 people.
Since moving back to his home region of Southwestern PA in 2010, Kit has been leading the area’s efforts to become the next hub for startups and innovation. As an investor, advisor and organizer, he has been very involved in our region’s startup scene, helping to launch initiatives including Pittsburgh’s Startup Weekend, RustBuilt, and ShiftPgh.
Sarah Palmer serves First National Bank as Assistant Vice President and Business Development Officer. In this position, Sarah is responsible for expanding the bank’s small and middle market business relationships. Sarah has been in the financial industry since 2005, focusing on commercial and residential lending. During her time with other financial institutions, Sarah has held previous roles such as Regional Retail Banking Manager, Commercial Lease Lending Market Manager, Regional At Work Banking Specialist, and Licensed Financial Consulting.
Currently enrolled in American Bankers Association’s Stonier Graduate School of Banking and University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Leadership Program, she is an Alumni of Clarion University of Pennsylvania. She is involved in many local events and volunteerisms supporting surrounding community organizations.
John W. Rose, LDC Board
John W. Rose is an investor and strategist who specializes in bank and finance company investments. He is currently a founding Principal in CapGen Capital Advisors, LLC (since 2007) which is a $500 million private equity fund and bank holding company based in New York City that invests in banks and financial services companies across the country.
Prior to CapGen, Mr. Rose led investors is several turnaround banking investments and established three de novo banks.He has served as Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Director of Bay View Bancorp, a $6 billion bank in the San Francisco area; Executive Vice President in charge of Community Banks at F. N. B. Corporation, a bank holding company in Pittsburgh; and Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at ABN North America/LaSalle National Bank in Chicago.
Over his career, Mr. Rose has served on the Board of Directors of 25 banks or bank holding companies, 5 finance companies and 2 industrial companies. He currently serves as an advisor to a venture capital firm in Chicago and an SBIC in Pittsburgh.
John has a Bachelor of Arts from Case Western Reserve University and a Masters of Business Administration from Columbia University.
Brian Slawin is the Regional Director and Portfolio Manager for the Ben Franklin Technology Partners / Central & Norther Pennsylvania and comes to northwestern Pennsylvania from St. Louis, MO after exiting a mobile startup company that he co-founded in 2006. With a passion for helping entrepreneurs turn their ideas into companies, he has broad experience leveraging technology and monetizing the flood of opportunity that comes with it. Throughout his career, Brian has helped build strong operating and sales teams, created, developed and managed technology products and brought them profitably to the market. In addition to running his own companies, Brian has been very involved in the startup ecosystem in St. Louis, leading educational programs, serving as a senior mentor to both startup and growth stage companies, raising capital and managing companies to exit. His broad entrepreneurial and profitable business experience will allow him to bring a unique perspective to the entrepreneurs coming to the eCenter.
Prior to his journey into entrepreneurism, Brian was a commercial pilot and flight instructor, graduating from Parks College of Saint Louis University after attending Penn State University – University Park in the mid-80s. He and his wife Sheri have two daughters, Kimberly (Levin) Pearse who is a medical administrator in St. Louis and Katherine Levin, BSN who is an orthopedic nurse in Colorado Springs.