Advisory Board

Seek the advice of seasoned executives and serial entrepreneurs

Our advisory board members have experience across a wide range of industries and are available to clients seeking advice. Whatever dilemma your company is facing, they’ve been there before and can guide you down the right path.

Photo of Gary A. Ascani Gary A. Ascani Biotech & Medical Products

Gary is a biotechnology and medical products executive and investor. He has over 43 years of experience in the biotechnology / medical products industry with start-up, early-stage, and late-stage companies. In 1999, he co-founded Vulcan Medical Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on seed-stage venture financing. After moving to Gainesville to become CEO of Banyan Biomarkers, he became vice president of business development for Nanotherapeutics. Gary has served on numerous boards of directors and was honored by the Birmingham Business Journal in its inaugural “Who’s Who in Health Care.”

Photo of Eric Buffkin Eric Buffkin Serial Entrepreneur, Investor

Eric is a serial entrepreneur, an angel investor, and the co-founder and president of etectRx, Inc. Eric has a passion for new ventures, new technologies, product design, and development. He is a serial entrepreneur, having launched technology, product, and services companies in the technology and health tech sector. Over the course of his 30 years in technology ventures, Eric has been instrumental in establishing industry standards for networking the digital home. These standards have ultimately influenced how we all enjoy digital media, access information, and manage our homes with connected devices.

Photo of John Engels John Engels Entrepreneur & Startup Cofounder

John Engels is a founder and investor focused on new technology development and commercialization. John co-founded AxoGen, a leading medical technology company dedicated to peripheral nerve repair. Prior to AxoGen, he worked at UF, Saffron Hill Ventures and elsewhere on entrepreneurship and venture funding projects. John started his career as an investment banker. He is on the Board of Oxicool, Inc., a privately-held company providing disruptive cooling technologies. He holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at UPenn, and a BA from the University of Chicago.

Photo of Solomon E. Gonite Solomon E. Gonite Financial Planning & Compliance

Solomon is a CPA and shareholder in Gonite & Gonite, CPAs, a firm committed to community and providing access to quality advisory services to all businesses. He brings financial planning and compliance experience from the private and public sectors, including the Small Business Administration.

In addition to his service on the Advisory Board, he serves as a business mentor with SCORE North Central Florida. He is a graduate of the Fisher School of Accounting at UF and the FSU College of Law. He is a United States Marine Corps veteran. He served in support of U.S. interests in South Africa and Saudi Arabia, among others.

Solomon is an advocate for truth, freedom, life-long learning, and responsible economic development; he believes in the spirit of entrepreneurism to provide sustainable solutions to local, national, and international problems.

Photo of Tim Gordon Tim Gordon Business Management Expert

Tim Gordon has 25+ years of experience in both new and on-going business management. Working on medical devices, consumer OTC and pharmaceutical products, Tim fulfilled a variety of roles in new product development, marketing management, business development, product engineering, quality and, (as a prosthetist) clinical care. With the benefit of both large and small organization experience in companies such as Becton Dickinson (BD), Philips Healthcare, Respironics, Discovery Labs and a variety of smaller and start-up organizations, Tim expanded more than ten brands and managed more than 25 new products. Tim holds seven medical device patents. He holds an MBA.

Photo of Guy LaTorre Guy LaTorre Business Development

Guy LaTorre is a senior business development professional who has over 25 years of experience in the development and commercialization of medical devices and consumer products in a startup company environment. Currently, Guy is the CEO of Breathtec Biomedical Inc., a biotechnology company developing a point of care breath analyzer to diagnose infections and disease.  Guy has been author or co-author of over 50 scientific publications and holds 9 US patents with associated filings.

Photo of Gil Levy Gil Levy Advisory Board Member

Gil Levy is a seasoned financial analyst and business manager with decades of experience as a financial regulator, followed by high-level employment as chief executive in the financial services industry. He has also been involved in real estate development and leasing, having successfully navigated the economic downturn that began in the 4th quarter of 2007 and then heading the successful sale of the project. His combined 40 years in regulatory, financial and entrepreneurship allows him a unique perspective when considering the financial needs of businesses.

He has been a long-time member of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, slated to serve as Chair of the Economic Development Committee in 2020 and as Chair of the Board of the Chamber in 2021. He has also served on the Regional Advisory Board of the United States Small Business Administration, North Florida District, and he served as a mentor during a prior session of StartUp Quest.

He currently serves as senior vice president of VyStar Credit Union, charged with heading regional community relations.

Photo of Mark S. Long Mark S. Long Senior Managing Partner

Mark Long is currently the Senior Managing Partner of Salus Business Advisors, LLC ( He recently retired as the Director of Incubation Services at UF Innovate, the commercialization arm of the University of Florida, where he was responsible for over 140,000 square feet of business incubation, coworking and acceleration space. Long has more than 20+ years of experience with Long Performance Advisors and Salus Business Advisors; both global consulting companies focused on accelerating efforts in incubation, technology transfer, sales and marketing, and small business formation/management and economic development. He worked on 120+ business incubator and research park projects in over 30 countries. He is also a former member of the Board of Directors of the International Business Innovation Association and is a 2014 recipient of the InBIA President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in Business Incubation and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from BioFlorida.

Photo of Stephanie Marchman Stephanie Marchman Counselor & Litigator

Stephanie, a shareholder in GrayRobinson’s Gainesville law firm office, represents both private and public sector employers in the areas of labor and employment law, civil litigation and government law. For 11 years, she was a counselor, litigator and transactional lawyer for the City of Gainesville serving as the Senior Assistant City Attorney in the areas of labor and employment law, employee benefits, constitutional law, ethics, and Sunshine Law. Her work included providing legal advice on workplace investigations and the administration of discipline to any of the city’s 2,000 employees, as well as preparation of employment policies and contracts.

Photo of Ernest “Ernie” Moyer Ernest “Ernie” Moyer Seasoned Tech Management Exec

Mr. Moyer’s business career spans more than 40 years. He served as the president and co-founder of a $40 million-a-year environmental engineering and manufacturing company, QuadrexHPS. Mr. Moyer also established a business advisory practice where he helped to create several local technology-based companies (Nanotherapeutics, EV Energy Systems, Geltech, SyMed, etc.). Primarily, he has been a business and financial advisor to early-stage technology companies.

Photo of Richard G. Nadeau Richard G. Nadeau Inventor, Entrepreneur & FACB

Dr. Richard G. Nadeau served as Founder & Chairman of Vistair, Inc. (Vistair Ventures), a company he formed in 1984 to seed small businesses in the high technology fields. He also founded and served as CEO of Cytometrics, co-founded EMDS Inc. with E. Merck, and served in a variety of leadership positions with a number of noted companies. He co-invented the DuPont aca, the first random-access clinical chemistry analyzer. He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Clinical Biochemists and a named inventor on 44 patents worldwide.

Photo of Merrie Shaw Merrie Shaw Startup & Incubation Expert

A force behind the success at UF Innovate | Sid Martin Biotech for 16 years, Merrie brings her knowledge of biotech business incubation management and her insight into successful entrepreneurship to her advising role at both The Hub and Sid Martin Biotech.

Photo of Ron Stein Ron Stein Tech Revenue Executive & Entrepreneur

Ron has built a reputation for incubating new business models into mature revenue-generating engines, developing market entry strategies for emerging companies and tech giants, and building a global channel and strategic partner programs. As a tech executive, entrepreneur, and expert in B2B sales, marketing, and business development Ron helps tech companies sell more software, products and services to accelerate revenue growth. He has also played a vital role in helping companies raise capital through venture funding and IPOs. In his spare time, Ron writes a popular business column for Florida Trend magazine, plays jazz and blues trombone, and rides his bike as fast as he can.

Photo of Quang Tran Quang Tran Serial Entrepreneur, Coach

Quang Tran is a serial entrepreneur and is passionate about helping entrepreneurs build great products, strong management teams and, ultimately, lasting companies. Quang is a co-founder and Managing Director of LaunchPad at Infinity Hall, a co-working and student incubator platform designed to transform early-stage startups into fundable companies. Quang also co-founded Starter Space, the first co-working space in Gainesville. Quang has been recognized for his leadership in creating entrepreneurial, dynamic work environments in Gainesville, where he serves on the board of the Gainesville Tech Council. He is a proven mentor with a history of motivating high-performance startup teams to achieve full potential.