2024 Wolverine Venture Battle Judges

Justin Driscoll

Justin has spent over 20 years in Pittsburgh’s technology ecosystem.  He spent many of those years at the Pittsburgh Technology Council, building programs and creating solutions to help the region’s technology businesses grow. He also led the local growth and expansion of Tech Elevator, a national software bootcamp training program. His team helped to train and place over 500 new software developers in the region. Justin has a bachelor’s degree in business from Robert Morris University and a Master of Divinity from Regent University.

 

RJ Fryan ’08

Dr. Fryan is a dynamic leader who has spent most of his career in the manufacturing industry. RJ grew up in Canton, Ohio, where he started working in the steel industry while still in college. RJ has served in various functions within the steel industry throughout his career, including operations, marketing, supply chain, and sales. He is the CEO of Kind Special Alloys US and Lake Park Tool and Machine in Youngstown, Ohio. RJ earned his MBA from Anderson University and his DBA from George Fox University. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife Laura (Koller ’11) and their three children, Raymond,  Emma, and Evelyn.

 

Kim Garrett ’12

At 24 years old, Kim founded the natural skincare brand, Rooted Beauty. After achieving growth with regional and national retailers, the brand was acquired by Seventh Generation. As the Rooted Beauty Brand Manager, Kim led the brand at Seventh Generation until it was acquired by Unilever and Grove Collaborative. After this exit, Kim consulted numerous startups and small businesses through her private practice and through a partnership with the University of Pittsburgh. Kim successfully led a turnaround restructuring during the pandemic and developed the Better Made Model™ to support brand and innovation initiatives. Kim holds a Bachelors degree in Entrepreneurship from Grove City College and is a Gallup certified CliftonStrengths Coach.

Jordyn Kemats ’03

Jordyn Kemats, Executive Vice President, Director of Sales Strategy & marketing at S&T Bank, has over 19 years of experience in the banking and financial services industry. Her background includes enterprise-wide strategic planning, development of specialized sales strategies and process, building training programs and sales coaching. In her current role, Jordyn leads the marketing and sales strategy teams, working with a cross-functional team to advance the overall customer experience while evolving the product and service offerings for all business lines within the Bank.

Jordyn serves as a financial coach for Christ Community Chapel and is a board member for Cornerstone Community School.

A graduate of Grove City College, Jordyn has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and is a graduate of the Consumer Bankers Association (CBA) Executive School.

Jordyn resides with her husband and two children in Silver Lake, Ohio.

Mark Nicklas ‘81

Mark Nicklas ‘81 is the President / CEO of his family business, Nicklas Supply, Inc.  Nicklas Supply was founded by Mark’s father in 1956, in North Hills of Pittsburgh.  NSI is a distribution company, selling plumbing products, kitchen cabinetry, tile and stone, cabinetry and architectural door hardware.  In 1981, when Mark joined the company, it had a single location with seventeen employees.  Today, Nicklas Supply has five branches in the Pittsburgh region with seventy employees.  Most notable are our four Splash Designer showrooms.  These showrooms showcase top of the line products that relate to the home building industry. Major companies that Splash feature are Kohler Co, Moen faucet Co., Bain Ultra Air tubs, Delta/Brizo bath and kitchen faucets, Signature Select Fine Cabinetry by Splash, Artistic Stone and Tile, and Rocky Mountain Hardware. In 2023 Nicklas Supply was named to one of Pittsburgh regions Smart 50 businesses, by Smart Business Magazine. Mark and his wife, Martha, have been married forty-two years and have four children and nine grandchildren.  Two of their children, Ben ‘08 and Emily ‘14 were Grove City College graduates. Mark and Martha currently reside in Cranberry Twp. PA.

Ben Nicklas ‘08

Ben Nicklas ‘08 is the Sales Manager of his family business, now employee owned, Nicklas Supply, Inc.  Nicklas Supply was founded by his grandfather Elmer Nicklas in 1956, in North Hills of Pittsburgh.  NSI is a distribution company, selling plumbing products, kitchen cabinetry, tile and stone, and architectural door and cabinet hardware.  Nicklas Supply has five branches in the Pittsburgh region with seventy employees.  Most notable are the four SPLASH Designer showrooms.  These showrooms showcase top of the line products that relate to the home building industry. Major brands featured are Kohler Co, Moen Faucet Co., Bain Ultra Air Tubs, Delta/Brizo Bath and Kitchen Faucets, Signature Select Fine Cabinetry by Splash, Artistic Tile, and Rocky Mountain Hardware. In 2023 Nicklas Supply was named to one of Pittsburgh region’s Smart 50 businesses by Smart Business Magazine.  Ben lives with his wife, Kristin (Impavido ’08), and their three children in Zelienople, PA.  

Wendy Mascio ’88

Wendy is a serial entrepreneur that started her entrepreneurial journey by co-founding Medical Equipment Source, LLC, a multi-million-dollar medical equipment company. After experiencing domestic and international success, Wendy went on to co-found VIVO Worldwide Inc. to serve as a strategic partner to Medical Equipment Source, LLC to manage the growing international distributions channels as well as medical device development. Her next entrepreneurial endeavor CompleteIt Consultants was formed from Wendy’s years of entrepreneurial experience where she utilizes her talents in “getting things done” to help organizations succeed by planning, implementing, and achieving their goals. Wendy’s passion for the entrepreneurial spirit has led her to be active with business development/entrepreneurial programs at several universities and organizations around the Greater Pittsburgh Area. Additionally, Wendy serves her alma mater of Grove City College by being a member of the Alumni Counsel as well as a Trustee. Prior to her entrepreneurial journey, Wendy was an award-winning sales professional with over a decade in pharmaceutical sales and sales training experience. Wendy believes that the entrepreneurial dream is attainable through good planning, strategic execution, and hard work.

Patrick Miles

Over the first period of his professional career, Patrick’s work centered on community development, social impact, and social innovation. For more than 20 years, he served in various management roles in the nonprofit, faith, and community development sectors where he learned much about the importance of building and cultivating pathways for collective impact, strategic partnerships, and innovation to advance large scale efforts that tackle complex social challenges. Along the way he developed a passion for coaching and facilitating with an aim to empower professionals on the adoption and utilization of creative problem solving through humancentered innovation.

These experiences prepared Patrick for his current role at Chick-fil-A, Inc. where he is charged with creating unique avenues to cultivate the culture and practice of innovation to more than 3,200 Staff and Operators. As an internal consultant and facilitator, Patrick educates and empowers Staff to adopt innovative mindsets and methodologies to address a variety of business and Customer challenges. This effort contributes to one of the company’s Core Values – “We Pursue What’s Next.”

When not teaching, consulting, and facilitating teams across Chick-fil-A, Patrick’s primary attention focuses on his roles as Husband to his wife, Jenni, of 22 years and as Dad to his five children. You will also see him cheering on his beloved Arsenal Gunners, volunteering to help advance the faith life of those in his church, and strategizing response efforts concerning orphan prevention and care, especially in the arena of national and international foster care.

Josh Newton ’09

Josh Newton ’09 is a developer, marketer, designer, trainer, assessment expert, consultant, photographer, husband, and father from Claysville, PA.  He has a BS in Computer Information Systems from Grove City College and enjoys bringing ideas to life through web design and web app development.  He currently works as the Director of Technology for the Newton Institute, a family owned and operated business, in the greater Pittsburgh area.  Along with being responsible for the technical needs of the company, he works with clients who want to better align their employees’ natural abilities and talents with their work. He loves watching people flourish through self-awareness and authenticity to achieve the purpose of their organization.  Josh loves spending time with his wife and six kids. They are the motivation behind everything he does.

Elisabeth O’Brien ’16

Elisabeth O’Brien ’16, a seasoned big sister, accomplished product manager, and life-long learner, has always been a catalyst for fostering connection and infusing joy into every moment. After graduating from Grove City College, Elisabeth initially found herself in a sales role that didn’t quite align with her creative inclinations. While she enjoyed engaging with individuals and their unique stories, her true passion for envisioning and bringing ideas to life steered her towards a different professional journey. Following a series of applications and interviews, Elisabeth secured what she now regards to be a “dream job” – a role as a product manager. With a diverse background spanning the financial services industry to the hospitality sector, Elisabeth has honed her expertise in crafting digital products and innovative product strategies that captivate consumers. A life-long student, Elisabeth is currently pursuing her MBA at the NYU Stern School of Business while simultaneously serving as the Director of Reservations Product for IHG Hotels & Resorts global contact center. 

 

Mark Pentz ’81

Mark Pentz earned a BA in Business Administration and is the owner and president of Calvin Group Inc, a used asphalt paving equipment dealer in Grafton, OH that reaches customers around the world. Mark’s passion for paving equipment started when he was a young boy in Pennsylvania when he went to work for his father, who ran an equipment dealership. Mark founded Calvin Group in 1996 and the company has since expanded to selling paving equipment around the world. He lives in Ohio with his wife, Cheri (’79), and two dogs. He has three adult children and six grandchildren. 

Michael Pentz ’06

Michael Pentz earned a BS in Business Management and is the vice president of Calvin Group Inc, a used asphalt paving equipment dealer in Grafton, OH that reaches customers around the world. He joined his father in the company in 2009 to manage the day-to-day activities of the company. Prior to that Michael worked in marketing and product development for startups, nonprofits, and brands such as LG, Apple, and Specialized. Michael lives in Ohio with his wife, Yvonne (’06), and three children. 

Brad Schake

Brad Schake is the Director of Field Operations for Armstrong, where he is responsible for leading, coordinating, and serving 500 field operations employees across 13 systems in 6 states as well as leading Armstrong’s “Top Ops” high potential leadership development program.  Armstrong is a family-owned company located in Butler, Pennsylvania that is focused on delivering an unmatched fiber network to the communities in the northeast that we call home.   Brad earned a BS in Education from Clarion University of Pennsylvania in 2003 and served over 10 years in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, first as an enlisted Soldier and later as a commissioned officer in the Signal Corps, where he first learned to love leadership, technology, and operations.   Outside of work, Brad loves spending time with his wife, Amy, and their three children as well as cheering on the Grove City College Wolverines Football team #BrickByBrick.   Brad also serves as an elder, worship leader, and life group leader at Community Alliance Church in Butler, Pennsylvania.