June Mentor of the Month: Karol Hines

Karol Hines has spent five years as a volunteer supporting the development and growth of the entrepreneurial community in Northern Nevada. Today, she serves as the Executive Director of Entrepreneurs Assembly. (EA) In addition to serving as a volunteer with EA, she was a board member of both NCET and Entrepreneurship Nevada, curated the Reno/Tahoe Digest, and participated as a preliminary judge in several Sontag Plan competitions and as a final judge for the Governors Cup Business Plan competition. Karol’s professional career, spanning over thirty years in New York and Silicon Valley, included technical leadership and executive management positions in several startup companies. We are proud to call Karol our June Mentor of the Month!

How did you get involved with Entrepreneurs Assembly?

Coming out of retirement after moving to Reno from the Bay Area, I decided that I wanted to work with small companies and startups to help them get started, grow, prosper and lift the economy. Through a lot of –something I love to do–I ended up on the Board of Directors of Entrepreneurship Nevada and NCET (Nevada Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology). Somewhere along the way, I had the opportunity to take a shortened version of Matt Westfield and Rod Hosilyck’s seminar on starting a business. This is the now the Jumpstart class they teach at UNR. It was during that time that I found out about the Entrepreneurs Assembly Startup Incubator (EASI) workshops. From the first time I attended an EASI workshop on a Saturday morning in February 2013 as a mentor, I knew I had found a place where I could use my extensive experience with startup companies in the tech world of Silicon Valley to help aspiring entrepreneurs and participate in a meaningful way to help boost the economy of Northern Nevada.
What unique perspectives does a female mentor bring to the table?
For my entire life, I have been surrounded by males. I was a “tomboy” growing up with four brothers.  When I was very young, my dolls, dress-up clothes and other girlie play things sat on the shelf while I negotiated with my brothers to play with their trucks, bikes and such. It wasn’t until well into my career as VP of Development for a rapidly growing software company in Silicon Valley that I realized my career was in jeopardy because of bias and perhaps jealousy from newly hired senior executives, all male. I tried to play the game without realizing that they were not threatened by my superior ability to execute, but just did not want a woman in the board room. I learned that women need to work together, play the game a bit differently, teach each other the rules and choose the right mentors that will help them embrace their unique qualities, skills and perspective.

How would you describe your style?

My mentoring style is much like the management style I used with my employees and the style I used as a management consultant with my clients. I am a coach. Rather than telling people the “answers” when they often don’t even know what questions to ask, I will often ask questions to help lead them to reveal what they didn’t realize they knew and or realize what they don’t know. That sounds a bit circuitous, I know.  But sometimes that is just the point. It’s like a mining expedition to help people find that vein of precious metal, that spark, that passion in them that will allow them to believe in themselves and be willing to take on the risks necessary to start and build a business.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself!

Whenever I need to get in touch with who I really am, I go fly a glider or tell stories about my career as a nationally ranked competition glider pilot. I had always wanted to learn to fly–be a pilot. But the twists and turns of life, including my career, kept veering me off that course. When the opportunity came to take an introductory flight at Sky Sailing in Fremont, CA, it coincided with having fewer personal obligations and time commitments. Within a year, I had soloed, gotten my license and bought my first glider. It wasn’t long before I reached out to find accomplished glider pilots (all male, of course) to mentor me to start flying longer distances away from the home airport–we call it cross-country flying. Flying in small local events led to first managing and then flying in Regional and National competitions. My “mentors” remained my friends, but they became my competitors, so were not so much mentors any longer, even though most of them were always above me on the scoresheet. This was another lesson of how lonely it can be for an accomplished woman in any business, sport or other endeavor that’s dominated by males.

I found my passion on that first flight in Fremont and it really did change my life. The ability to pursue that passion with just my own drive and skills to rely on was very freeing. The confidence I gained from pushing myself to complete a flying “task”, getting myself into and out of trouble, trusting myself to make decisions quickly, not deriding myself if the decision turned out to not be the best and using the information gained to make the next decision, carried over to all other aspects of my life.

When I work with entrepreneurs, particularly women, I try to discover both their deep-seated passions and their insecurities. It’s more difficult, at least for me, to get men to reveal their insecurities. I find women often are more forthcoming about their insecurities with other women. If they can get to that point and find the magic that turns those insecurities into strengths, that’s when I get…well, I have to be clear with myself that I am helping them soar and hold back from soaring myself!

Lunchbox Learning: Secrets of Authentic Audience-Building for Your Blog

A successful blog is usually at the center of a good content strategy, and a must for creatives, freelancers and solopreneurs who are positioning themselves as thought leaders and experts. In the online world, “Content is King,” and the key to developing an audience. Compelling, original, high-quality content is vital to a powerful online presence and helps provide search engines with the “food” they love–which makes you (and your brand) more visible.

Jonas Ellison is a Northern Nevada author whose blog, Higher Thoughts, boasts a following of over 50,000 subscribers around the world. More impressive, Jonas achieved this success in a relatively short period, less than 2 years. It began as a side project/personal challenge: to blog every day for one full year. Now it’s the centerpiece of his professional life and his personal brand.

Jonas is an advocate of something he calls “authentic audience building”, and generally spurns the “clickbait” tactics commonly used to snare subscribers. For his blog, he chose to take the high road, and the results have been spectacular.

Jonas uses and recommends the blogging platform Medium and in this fast-paced lunch session he’ll share with you how he went from a WordPress blogger with a handful of followers to one of the Top Writers on this very influential blogging site. Medium was created (by the founder of Twitter) to enable everyone from world leaders to everyday folks to share their thoughts, analyses of world events, personal stories and more. As Medium says, they are “your daily news reimagined, straight from the people who are making and living it.” Top Medium bloggers include world leaders and everyday folks alike.

This fun, free lunchtime class is a great introduction to using Medium to amplify your “voice” and build your brand.

Get to know Jonas.

Tuesday, June 20th, 12-1 p.m.
The Studio at Adams Hub
177 W. Proctor St. Carson City
RSVP to grow@adamshub.com

Mentor Moment: Howard Treadaway

Howard Treadaway is a manufacturing consultant who brings more than twenty-five years of experience to the Adams Hub mentoring team. Howard helps entrepreneurs and growing companies bring their inventions and prototypes into production, and enables existing small businesses make the transition into larger-scale manufacturing. With a deep understanding of cost engineering, lean manufacturing and total quality management, Howard helps companies prevent the chaos that can come with fast growth, ensuring that they have the management structure, systems and processes necessary for efficient, profitable operations. Howard has brought his expertise to companies in sectors as diverse as medical devices, consumer products, food, beverage and pharmaceuticals. He serves on mentor teams for Adams Hub incubator companies as well as Entrepreneurs Assembly.

Are there specific aspects of your background and experience that led you to Mentorship? If so, what are they?

I thought that my background in industrial engineering and manufacturing could play an important role in the manufacturing growth in Carson City, specifically, but in Northern Nevada as well. Not necessarily from a big “Tesla-Effect” way, but by enabling small to mid-sized companies to grow “smarter.” Young companies often go through a lot of turmoil as they grow, frequently because they’re learning-by-doing. If a manufacturer can start off right and deploy best practices from the beginning, their path to growth will be much smoother. Startups always face risks, but I can help companies reduce those by avoiding mistakes. I saw the opportunity to mentor at Adams Hub as a way to assist companies in that manner.

What part of mentoring do you enjoy most?

I enjoy helping people succeed. It is genuinely gratifying to receive an email from a mentee that says, “Thank you for following up” or “Thank you for helping with this question,” or to give a startup their first $1 in sales! In another instance, I’ve been working on an Adams Hub mentor team that’s assisting a cutting-edge technology company. Personally, I find the manufacturing, product-costing and general managerial aspects exciting, as I’m able to offer my 25+ years of experience in a small, startup environment.

You’ve been one of our “core” EA mentors. What do you like about that particular mentor experience?

The EA meetings bring together a diverse group of people on a monthly basis. Some are experienced entrepreneurs, others are just starting a new venture or in the ideation stage. To hear the ideas that folks have (and can bring to fruition) in Carson City or Nevada is amazing. I like the diversity of the businesses here. And I’m excited that, of the scores of ideas presented, I may be able to share skills or knowledge that can help someone succeed. At EA, this is refreshed monthly.

How does a business owner know if they’ll benefit from being mentored at EA?

If they’re willing to take two hours out of their month to participate, I believe they will walk out of EA with direction, clarification and connections to folks that will help them succeed. They just have to be willing to take that 0.83% time investment.

Did you have an influential mentor in your career?

Dr. William (Bill) A. Smith, Jr. was my Industrial Engineering professor at North Carolina State University. I was his undergraduate teaching assistant, mentoring students in Plan Perfect and Word Perfect (precursors to Word and PowerPoint), answering Industrial Engineering class questions and teaching the class. Through my two and a half years on campus and the subsequent 20 years’ friendship we enjoyed, he taught me razor-sharp focus on industrial engineering aspects, early 6 sigma, Total Quality Management and continuous improvement. There isn’t a day that I don’t think of him at some point or in some context. I genuinely miss him.

Letter from an Adams Hub Intern

Dear Adams Hub Newsletter Readers,

For the past three months, I’ve had the pleasure of interning here at Adams Hub for innovation, where the atmosphere is alive with entrepreneurial excitement! Whether the conference rooms are occupied by community influencers recording a podcast, entrepreneurs conducting a training session for their new web application, or builders discussing development projects, there’s always something to learn by simply being here. Through playing my small part, I’ve found helping local startups to be an enlightening adventure.

My name is Jeremy Ussher. I’m part of a team of five Adams Hub interns that includes Kevin Haws, Kory Richardson, Whitney Weaver, Jaime Guidino. Kevin, Kory and I are part of the Pack Internship Program sponsored by the University of Nevada, Reno. Whitney was a student at Western Nevada College when she accepted this internship, but now studies at UNR as well. Jaime is a senior at Carson High School, and will start college at WNC in the fall. Intern support is one of the most popular services provided to incubator clients. We help with researching and gathering information, beta testing, scraping data from websites to build mailing lists, and anything else that can aid in the success of a startup.

“We’re at the heart of Northern Nevada’s entrepreneurial community. Whether it’s a new company looking for growth or an experienced mentor looking to advance others, this is the perfect environment to advance entrepreneurial endeavors. It has been a spectacular experience,” says Kevin.

We consider ourselves very fortunate to be a part of the “hand up” Adams Hub offers the Carson City community, while also building our business network and skills.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience that’s been afforded to me by Adams Hub. Every day offers new opportunities for learning, growth, and contribution. Working with so many different clients has given me a broad range of business knowledge, and allowed me the opportunity to contribute to the many exciting projects that are taking place in the Northern Nevada area. The community that has been built here is ready to support anyone with an interest in entrepreneurship.” Kory says.

Whitney adds, “My experiences at Adams Hub have taught me that a startup takes more than one person. The element of coworking and collaboration here is the epitome of entrepreneurship. Everyone is trying to make the world better through their work—that’s what makes Adams Hub so unique!”

“If you would’ve asked me a couple of months before I started my internship what my career path looked like, I would’ve said I have no clue,” says Jaime, who’s preparing to graduate from Carson High. “Now I can comfortably say I want to be an Entrepreneur. I was able to spend time with some of our Carson City entrepreneurs, listening to them, and talking with them about their goals and plans for the future. It was such an amazing experience. I look forward for the day I get to apply these skills to lead a group of people to success, too. I truly appreciate the confidence Adams Hub has given me, allowing me to go further in life and not just be a dreamer but an achiever.”

As we prepare to move on to our next adventures, I can definitely say that everyone on the intern team has enjoyed playing a part in growing Carson City’s entrepreneurial spirit.

Gratefully yours,
Jeremy Ussher

How to Research Almost Anything: Lunchbox Learning Class April 27, 12-1 p.m.

If you’ve tried to do vital using Google and Wikipedia, you may have discovered that the “good stuff,” accurate, professionally-vetted data, is behind paywalls. One such premium database is ReferenceUSA. The Research Ninjas of the Library utilize ReferenceUSA and other premium tools on Wednesdays and Fridays while helping , solopreneurs, startups and community businesses at Adams Hub (psst! It’s free.)

On Thursday, April 27th at noon, The Carson City Library and The Studio at Adams Hub for welcome ReferenceUSA Senior Account Executive Nancy Spidle, who’ll share the amazing capabilities of this business-focused database, which offers accurate data on 268 million consumers and 48 million businesses. Learn how to find answers to your burning business questions as you scrutinize markets, search for customers, optimize your supply chain or get a deeper understanding of your competition. Learn how to search smarter, faster and more strategically in this informative free hour-long class.

To RSVP for Lunchbox Learning or reserve a session with a Carson Library Research Ninja, email grow@adamshub.com or call us at 775.222.0001.

Executive Pajamas – Cute Idea. But Not Cute for Executive Mindset.

Guest Blog by Diane Dye Hansen, Chief Inspiration Officer, What Works Coaching

Last Friday, I hit work-from-home bottom. Ironically, it was because I wasn’t working from home. I had set such poor boundaries with my working hours Monday through Wednesday that, by Thursday, I was waking up late. By Friday, I was entirely unable to focus. I went for a run. I talked on the phone. I did everything I could to get my head right. Because, darn it, I’m a business productivity coach! This is not me! But, it had become me.

It becomes thousands of well-intentioned business owners who want to save some money and work how they want. Unfortunately, how I wanted to work was to work when the inspiration is flowing. Can you guess how long that lasts for someone whose title is Chief Inspiration Officer?

I was working a lot. It was sustainable, I thought. It was productive, I justified. But last Friday, I hit my work-from-home bottom.

I realized that, although I could go to work in my pajamas, I also had “pajama boundaries” with myself. I put “pajama limitations” on myself on my ability to network. By that Friday, I looked at my social calendar and it looked like “pajamas” too. Too much Netflix and chill was needed to recover from the way I had been pushing myself. I needed boundaries. I needed socialization. I had reached “diminishing pajama return.” I needed to be a part of the human race again. I already volunteer at Adams Hub for Innovation on Mondays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.. So, I decided to drop my pajamas (!) and check into what co-working could do for my business.

For one, I am clear and unwavering about my needs. I don’t want to be tied to a space. I want the flexibility to be absent, to travel, go see clients, and (gasp) work from home if I wanted to. Also, I didn’t want to be in the middle of something and have to get up and leave because its “closing time.” That sounded less productive than more. The 24/7 co-working membership allowed me flexibility to come and go and not experience the “last call’ feeling when it came to my work. If I am inspired at 4:50 pm, I am probably going to lean into my inspiration versus say, meh, tomorrow.

What’s your Co-working Why?

Co-working might be right for you if you:

• Enjoy being around people and don’t need absolute silence while you are working.
• Hate being in pain after sitting in the wrong chair at coffee shops or other public spaces.
• Are open to the opportunity that meeting new people may bring you.
• Tend to overwork or underwork yourself when you work from home.
• Realize your home doesn’t feel like home anymore.
• Need a more professional environment for meetings
• Need things like fast Internet, copiers, good ‘ol fashion fax machines, and coffee you don’t have to worry about making.
• Understand that a $5 cup of coffee and a $5 snack from your favorite place times 5 times a week is the same amount as a 24/7 co-working membership at Adams Hub – and there is no closing time.
• Would like to work in downtown Carson City, have sushi for lunch, maybe some mid-morning yoga, and walk to your office from your free parking spot.

Your why is in there. You are feeling it. I know I had to be huddled under the covers, exhausted, unsocialized, and battling the pajama-CEO blues before I realized it. Use me as your cautionary tale. Just come and check it out. There are day passes, 9 am to 5 pm memberships, offices, and even incubator services. Plus, you get access to a bevy of experts to help you with your business.

If nothing else, come say hi to me. I’m still getting used to face-to-face human interaction again.

Diane Dye Hansen Chief Inspiration Officer
What Works Coaching
775-400-6174 | diane@whatworkscoaching.com
| www.whatworkscoaching.com | Skype: whatworkscoaching

Schedule a session now.

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Cultivating Emotional Balance Workshop with Molly Dahl: Work-Life Balance is Possible!

On Monday, April 24, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., author and instructor Molly Dahl is bringing a new workshop to Carson City, designed to help participants create healthier, more balanced lives. Dahl, whose 2015 book Youth Positive, Exploring the Unique Genius of Every 21st Century Adolescent shared emotional-balance tactics for teens, is now setting her sights on the area’s stressed-out adults. The event will be held at The Studio at Adams Hub for innovation, best known for business events like Entrepreneurs Assembly. Dahl is eager to reach out to the business community.

Workshop Leader Molly Dahl

“Our constantly-connected, 24/7 lifestyle is depriving us of the full richness of relationships, both with ourselves, our loved ones and even our co-workers,” Dahl explains. “The process that I’ll be teaching, Cultivating Emotional Balance, or CEB, is a proven mindfulness and emotional awareness system.” CEB enables anyone to reduce stress, increase empathy and compassion, avoid burnout, and self-regulate negative emotions.

“These are skills that everyone benefits from, but when practiced by employers, their impact is particularly profound,” explains Dahl. “Entrepreneurs and managers are under a great deal of stress, and their communication can have a large impact on their employees and even customers. Being able to identify and regulate negative emotions makes them much more effective and improves morale in the people they interact with.”

Every community member is invited to the workshop, which will introduce participants to the key practices of CEB. It includes lectures, discussion and small-group practice. Students will also receive access to personal tools and online resources.

The CEB system is based in the western science of emotion and contemplative practices, designed by Paul Ekman, PhD and B. Alan Wallace, PhD. Dr. Ekman is the author of Emotions Revealed, and the scientific genius who took audiences on a journey inside the mind in the Disney-Pixar movie Inside Out. Dr. Wallace is a prolific author and the founder of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies.

Dahl holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and has been teaching the principles of balanced, healthy living for over 30 years. Her rich and varied background makes her teaching accessible to a wide range of people. Molly is a certified teacher of , meditation, and Cultivating Emotional Balance. She holds a Certificate in Positive Psychology from The Wholebeing Institute.

Workshop Takeaways:

• Burnout identification and avoidance
• Understanding the science of emotions, inside and out
• Using mindfulness to manage daily emotions and restore equilibrium
• Short-circuiting destructive behavior caused by negative emotions
• Specific breathing practices to relax and calm the nervous system
• Greater effectiveness at, and ease with, completing tasks and reaching goals

Documented benefits of Cultivating Emotional Balance include:
• Protection from negative psychological and physiological effects of stress
• Highly significant decrease in
o depression
o anxiety
o hostility
o stress

• Increase in effectiveness when communicating at work and at home, including significant increases in:
o Empathy, patience and affection for others
o The ability to effectively read and respond to others’ emotions

General registration $35 per person, includes all course materials
Earlybird registration $29 until April 17
Adams Hub client discount registration $25

For more information, contact mdahl@youthpositive.net

Registration site

NewE Entrepreneurial Readiness Intensive kicks off April 19

with Alex Ellison, Executive Envisioner, New Entrepreneur Network (NewE)

Enthusiastic. Quick to notice opportunity. Solution-oriented. Improvement-oriented. Effective communicator.

Are these qualities that describe a successful entrepreneur? Or are these qualities that might be found in a job description on Craigslist?

They’re both.

Countless studies have been conducted, and articles written, about the key traits of successful entrepreneurs. Researchers and writers have ferreted out the “secrets” of famous founders in hopes of offering insights for budding company builders.

But why should these traits be taught and revealed only to budding entrepreneurs? Anyone hoping to make a living and be more than a task rabbit, bouncing from job to job, would be smart to adopt this mindset and hone these behaviors.

In conversations and focus groups with business owners, I’ve learned that regardless of the industry, location or size of the company, the desired qualities in new hires overlap the qualities of successful entrepreneurs.

We’ve also discovered that many teens lack the context and experience to even fathom the idea of running their own companies one day; the goal of this program is to deliver the right exposure and inspiration.

These observations created the impetus for The Entrepreneurial Readiness Intensive (ERI) a five-week intensive designed to prepare students to be Intrapreneurs. Intrapreneurs are people who use entrepreneurial skills and attitudes to succeed in any job environment. Fostering an entrepreneurial mindset may help inspire students to become entrepreneurs, but it will also make them more valuable and productive employees.

In the five after-school sessions, NewE students will hear from local business owners who will share tips and insights for landing a job at their respective companies. They’ll also discuss how they started their companies. Sessions will focus on specific skills, such as building stand-out resumes and portfolios with limited experience, interviewing with confidence, and building and nurturing a professional network.

The ERI is held on Wednesdays, from 2:45 to 4:30, beginning April 19 and ending May 17th. Each student will receive a certificate of completion signed by Carson City Mayor Bob Crowell. The program is open to students in grades 9 through 12 and will be held at Carson High.

Carolyn Usinger of ReadyConnect

We caught up with Carolyn Usinger, founder of disaster-recovery communications company ReadyConnect.

Why did you start ReadyConnect?
I have a passion for helping businesses succeed. My earliest careers were involved with foreclosures and bankruptcies. After those experiences, I wanted to devote my life to helping businesses succeed. I started by creating a series of kits to help people create their businesses easily, with the California Chamber of Commerce.

While I was doing that, my house and home office burned in the 1991 Oakland fire. It changed my whole life. I began to look at disasters through new eyes. I learned that 50% of local businesses don’t survive a disaster. Of the ones that do, another 50% are gone within 3 years. Disasters have a very long-tail effect of small businesses.

What are some of the things we don’t understand about disaster recovery?
Even well-meaning attempts to help can backfire. For example, a truckload of bottled water or a load of plywood may be donated to the community, and undermine sales that could have gone to struggling local businesses. Without accurate insights into what a community needs, efforts to help often don’t hit their intended target. ReadyConnect facilitates communication, coordination and recovery. It pulls the community together. As we say, “Don’t face a disaster alone.”

During a disaster’s immediate aftermath, consumers don’t know which businesses are open, which are closed, which may have supplies that they need. Employers may have difficulty finding out the status of employees. During power outages, cellphone batteries run low as people make multiple calls to family, friends, and employers.

I began doing research through chambers of commerce and started to create a toolkit. As I learned more about the needs of businesses following disaster, that tool morphed and grew. It became a resource to help business and people connect to each other.

Since then, the number of natural disasters and the intensity of the destruction has magnified. ReadyConnect was created to make recovery a reality, supporting local businesses and individuals with a community network. My goal is to provide toolkits to every community in the country, to enable them to start recovering on Day 1 instead of starting from scratch.

How does your product work?
Our toolkit is hosted online for business and we offer a mobile for end users. We’re beginning with Chambers of Commerce, so every member business receives an online toolkit at no charge, and their employees and families can purchase as many mobile apps as they wish. Anyone can purchase the mobile app, so we expect that our subscriber base will grow organically through these personal connections. If you’re connected, you want your friends and family to be, too.

The businesses create disaster plans and the employees who have the app can build their own family disaster plan. One of the features people appreciate most is that we keep their contact lists up to date and enable them to have fast, efficient, battery-preserving “one button” communication with all those people. But it is much more than a communication tool. Perhaps the most important element of ReadyConnect is that we help businesses themselves to the Ready-Connected Community in the aftermath of a disaster. They will be able to notify consumers of crucial supplies in stock. If they’re scrambling to re-open, they can let people know their re-opening date and sell vouchers to keep cash flowing. This is absolutely critical, because many businesses that survive that first year following a disaster will eventually succumb to poor sales. The disaster doesn’t end when the media coverage does.

How does this differ from what Facebook is doing?
Facebook offers a “safe” notification, which is a simple way to notify friends and family of your status–if you’re all Facebook subscribers. Now imagine, following a disaster, trying to remember who you have reached and then having to still communicate by phone or text with the individuals you’ve missed. Another serious issue is that Facebook and other social media sites are rife with scams and rumors, even well-meaning misinformation. ReadyConnect provides forums that are vetted by local community leaders. Users can ask questions and get reliable answers. We’re a source of trusted information. We can start disseminating information before the disaster center opens five days after the fact. We provide a platform on which to organize the recovery.

We recognize that not all disasters are big, natural disasters. A fire or broken pipe can close a business, too. So we’re offering ReadyConnect as a tool for “everyday” recovery.

What are some challenges you’ve faced?
People don’t want to think about disasters. And it’s human nature not to prepare—it’s called “denial”. So we are approaching “preparation” with tools that businesses can use every day, as well as during these epic events. For example, a tool to “broadcast” updates to your employees if you’re experiencing a sudden closure, that enables them to easily view work schedules and cover shifts.

There’s the obvious problem of government agencies being consumed with major infrastructure issues such as repairing roads or levees or putting out fires. But when it comes to recovery, we find that different agencies are “siloed.” There is not good integration of resources. Disaster centers are not enough. Without clarity about a community’s needs, agencies may not be providing the right help. We have built this company to deliver what FEMA is asking for, a “Whole Community Approach.” Unless you own your own business, you can’t understand the urgency of keeping your doors open. A weeks’ closure can be the difference between life and death for many local businesses. Folks in government don’t experience this kind of traumatic job insecurity, so their ability to relate to this situation can be limited. Meanwhile, a owner may be paying salaries to employees even when they have no sales and revenue. Many sacrifice themselves to keep their teams going, expecting that recovery will be faster.

In speaking with cities, we’ve learned that they’re willing to spend $30,000 on a reverse 911 system yet don’t understand why they should invest 10% of that cost to enable their community to recover. That has been eye-opening. Chambers “get it” because they’re part of the business community, so they’re our target market for the rollout.

Where is ReadyConnect now?
This is a very exciting time—we’re launching in five communities in California: Palo Alto, San Mateo, Half Moon Bay, Encino and Culver City. We’re working through Chambers of Commerce because they’re already connected to community businesses and they get it. Ironically, businesses receive the least amount of support after a disaster, and yet healthy businesses are key to the recovery of the entire community. ReadyConnect is filling a gap, and we’re very excited about the future.

Mentor Moment: Carlo Luri

Sharing a conference table with Adams Hub mentor Carlo Luri is always surprising. Pick his brain, and you’ll discover education and career experience that spans chemical engineering, sales, finance, regulatory compliance, manufacturing, environmental sciences, agriculture and…whiskey distilling. As head of governmental affairs for Bently Enterprises, Carlo is hard at work on legislation to form new category of distillery for Nevada, the Estate Distillery. (More on that later.)

As a mentor, Carlo says one of the greatest challenges is “not to put too strong an imprint on the advice you give.” That thoughtful attitude is also apparent as he interacts with Adams Hub incubator companies and members of Entrepreneurs Assembly. He recognizes that different people approach company-building differently, having worked in the build-and-flip Silicon Valley culture and as part of the family-owned Bently Nevada.

His journey to Northern Nevada began in New York as the son of Northern Italian immigrants, took him to Geneva, Switzerland for high school, and then back to New York to attend Cornell. Armed with a degree in chemical engineering, he began a career in…sales. After seven years he was back at school, this time at Rutgers University, where he received a Master’s in Environmental Science. His career path eventually led him west, to a Silicon Valley startup that was cleaning up old semiconductor manufacturing sites.

“That was where I learned that the sales forecast for every startup was, Year One, $1 million, Year Three, $10 million, and Year Five, $100 million,” he laughs. “That’s where I also learned the lesson about managing investor expectations.”

After a stint with a Southern California environmental cleanup company, his next role took him to Nevada to work with Costner Industries Nevada Corp (CINC). In sales for CINC, Carlo traveled the globe prototyping and testing the company’s liquid-liquid centrifuge technology, which had gained notoriety as a solution for cleaning up oil spills, in the pharmaceutical sector. Carlo’s education in chemical engineering proved invaluable in highly technical, industrial sales.

Seven years into his work with CINC, he met Don Bently, founder of Bently Nevada. Bentley, a peripatetic engineer-inventor, was involved with a long-term engineering venture, but, Carlo says with admiration, “One day he said he wanted to make fuel.” Bently was in the biofuels industry for ten years, until the market became too difficult. The Bently sons eventually took over the company from their father, and their mini-conglomerate in Minden now includes Bently Ranch, which was founded in 1997 and produces grassfed beef. Bently Ranch is moving toward all-organic production that will include farming grains for the distillery.

And that’s Carlo found himself in the whiskey business. Carlo has been involved with the Minden Heritage Distillery project for last 2 years, which includes the renovation of a former flour mill, a building on the National Register of Historic Places, to modern LEED standards.

Carlo’s professional role in the company, which prides itself on its people, went from sales to operations and found its way to governmental affairs. As Director of Governmental Affairs at Bently, he deals with local, state and federal officials, or, as he likes to joke, “I’m in charge of the government.”

Somewhere in all of this Carlo managed to get his MBA from UNR, too.
“But now I realize I probably should’ve gotten a law degree!” he says.

The launch of Bently Estate Distillery will be much sweeter if SB189 is passed, creating a new Estate Distillery category. Alcohol production is highly regulated in Nevada, and organized into three tiers: a company can be only a producer, wholesaler, or retailer. While Craft Distilleries would remain small-batch producers at a maximum of 50,000 cases, Estate Distillers would be able to produce at volume, using ingredients grown on the premises, like estate wineries, and sell their product to distributors.

Echoing a common trait of entrepreneurs, Carlo states, “I fix problems.” When asked about a “day in the life” of a problem solver, he cites an amusingly concrete example.

“There’s this light pole in front of the distillery that we really need to have removed,” he laughs. This “do-whatever-needs-to-done” attitude gives him keen insight into the issues of the small business owners he mentors, who out of necessity must wear many hats.

He believes his breadth of work experience also enables him to approach problems with an open mind. “If you’re a marketer, you may approach challenges as marketing problems. If you’re a finance person, it’s a finance problem. I have a lot of experiences to draw on and I think that helps me give balanced guidance.”

When not lobbying the state legislature, you’ll find Carlo enjoying the great outdoors, often with his fifteen-year-old sons. They mountain bike, paddleboard, kayak and ski. Carlo recently helped to launch a new interscholastic mountain biking league for middle and high schools. He’s also active on the Carson Valley Trails Association board.

Why does he mentor?

“It’s a learning experience for me. I’m always learning new stuff. I like to keep my finger on pulse of what’s going in community, business, technology. I like to have fun and give back.”