We are proud to announce the judges of this year’s EP Startup Competition, who will bring an incredible depth of experience and expertise to the table in judging the competition finalists on Saturday.
William J. Allen
Throughout a career of over 35 years, Bill Allen has been an innovative and strategic leader in the philanthropic and non-profit sectors.
Bill has a Master of Social Planning (M.S.P.) from Boston College Graduate School of Social Work. As Executive Vice President of Community Services (1977 to 2004) at the United Way of Rhode Island, he led a community building operation focused on systems change and achieving results. He built a team that has leveraged funds with individual and corporate donors, local and national foundations and government to achieve maximum impact in affordable housing, community development, family support, workforce development and out of school time activities. He served as Interim President of United Way of RI in 1996. He was one of three individuals who led a coalition which designed and successfully lobbied for Rhode Island’s welfare reform legislation.
Bill was elected to the Cumberland School Committee in 1986 and chair of the Committee in 1988. He has been president and a member of the boards of Lincoln School and the Cumberland Library. He now serves on the boards of Butler Hospital, Amos House, Children’s Friend and Providence Singers. He is the immediate past chair of the board of RI Kids Count and current chair of Clean Power Now. He is also an associate partner at Social Venture Partners Rhode Island.
He has held senior management positions with United Ways in Broome County, New York and Portland, Maine. He began his career as a caseworker for the Boston Welfare Department and has managed a Neighborhood Employment Center for Boston’s anti-poverty program. Currently he is on the part-time faculty at Brown University’s Taubman Center for Public Policy, Boston College Graduate School of Social Work and Providence College.
Richard Katzman was Chairman & CEO of Kaz, Incorporated, a global consumer appliance company, until its recent sale in December 2010. Under his leadership, the company grew from $4 Million in annual sales to $500 Million by expanding its product offerings and international distribution, and pioneering brand extension licensing with the global power brands Vicks, Honeywell, and Braun. Mr. Katzman’s family has a tradition of entrepreneurship. His grandfather invented the electric vaporizer and founded Kaz in 1926, his father had a successful career as a professional cartoonist while also leading the company, and his brother founded the Princeton Review and 2tor.com. Mr. Katzman graduated with an A.B. from Brown. He is a board member of the Princeton Review.
Erik Simon is Director of Marketing and Communications for Dun and Bradstreet Credibility Corp., the leading provider of credit building and credibility solutions for businesses. Erik is responsible for all public communications, offline marketing and is heavily involved in business development deals as well. Prior to Dun and Bradstreet Credibility Corp., Erik was involved in advertising and business development activities for j2 Global Communications, a publicly traded company with customers in 45 countries around the world. One of Erik’s key responsibilities at j2 Global was managing all business development, sales and marketing for eFax Free, the largest free online telco service in US. Prior to j2 Global Communications, Erik was involved in 2 start-ups focused on online video, VideoBanner.com, one of the first companies focused on online video advertising, and Vosaic, a company founded to commercialize video technologies developed by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne, the same University that developed the Web’s first browser. Erik was also one of the founding manager’s of Steven Spielberg’s Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, where he helped launch the largest archive of video testimonies ever created. Erik is a graduate of Boston University and a former speechwriter for two Boston Mayors, Raymond L. Flynn and Thomas Menino.
Allan is a founder and managing partner of Betaspring. Allan has founded three venture-funded startups: Elastic Networks, Incanta, and WhyData. He has raised over $15M from angels, venture capital, and strategic partners, including Slater Fund, Intel Capital and AT&T. He is an expert in new product and service launches.
Allan is co-founder of Hackable City and Mashable City, open-source projects that facilitate social capital in our urban environments and communities through better information, transparency, and citizen engagement. He advises students and schools on entrepreneurship through the Brown COE program, MET School, and the Carnegie Mellon Dean’s Leadership Council. He was selected in 2008 for the Providence Business News “40 Under Forty” list. Allan is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, with B.S. degrees in Electrical & Computer Engineering, and Public Policy.