Vice President, Entrepreneurship & Executive Director, LaunchPad Small Business Development Center
Paul Symczak is Vice-President, Entrepreneurship for OCTANe and is also the Executive Director of the LaunchPad Small Business Development Center hosted by OCTANe. He is a seasoned senior management executive with diverse experience in the telecom, wireless, online, high tech and broadcast media industries. He was the co-founder and operator of Prism Strategic Consulting LLC and has been actively involved with the CONNECT Springboard entrepreneurial mentoring program in San Diego, CA. Previously, Paul held senior business development, strategic alliances and operational positions with Verizon, GTE and Qualcomm, working in subsidiaries focused on leading edge and innovative products and services. He has also worked with non-profit organizations, including serving as Senior Vice-President, General Counsel and Board Secretary for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in Washington DC. Paul has a J.D. degree from the George Washington University Law School and a BA in Economics from the University of Pittsburgh.
Manager, LaunchPad Services
JC Ruffalo joined the OCTANe team in June 2014 and is the Manager of LaunchPad Services. JC graduated from Chapman University Argyros School of Business in 2011 with a business administration degree with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship and Economics. Since his graduation he co-founded a small startup (Double Splash Media), which was involved with email marketing. After Double Splash Media, JC worked for LKQ, a large corporation that is the world’s largest supplier of automotive replacement parts, as a buyer and general manager.
Manager, Marketing and Programs
Cameron joined the team in April 2016 and is OCTANe’s Marketing and Program Manager. She began in the surf industry as an athlete and social media manager for the Santa Cruz, CA company, Hotline Wetsuits. After, she moved to brand manager for SALT Surf, a company based out of Encinitas, CA. At OCTANe she oversees marketing, partner programs, and the Ophthalmology Technology Investor Summit. Cameron received her BA in History from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Austin joined the OCTANe team in July 2016. Austin’s goal at OCTANe is Business Development with potential partners and sponsors as well as growing OCTANe membership. With a background in Physician Recruiting, Austin brings a unique perspective of the healthcare industry and valuable insight of how healthcare organizations and their physicians operate. Austin received his Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO. During his time at Fort Lewis College, Austin was a defensive lineman for his football team, as well as a member of the Fishing Club. Austin enjoys going to the gym, outdoor sports, surfing, and pursuing his Faith and family.
LaunchPad SBDC Analyst
Elsa joined the OCTANe team in July 2016 and is the LaunchPad SBDC Analyst. Elsa is a recent graduate of the University of California, Irvine, where she studied Psychology and Social Behavior and English.
Samantha (“Sam”) McDermott is an executive with 20 years experience developing and driving communications, marketing, public relations and business development efforts for companies throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. She serves on the Board for the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) and is a Senior Advisor to OCTANe, an organization that connects people and ideas with capital and resources to fuel technology, job growth and wealth creation in Southern California. The organization’s members represent technology executive leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, venture capitalists, academicians, and strategic advisors. She served as Chief Marketing Officer and Advisor to Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth, a premier business law firm with 130 attorneys practicing out of 10 offices throughout California, Nevada, Colorado and Washington.
After 12 years of retirement, Andrew Props joined OCTANe in August 2015. His role in business development with OCTANe is to increase membership, partnership and MDIF and TIF conference participation. Prior to retirement in 2003 Andrew’s professional career was in the copier industry, with many years at Xerox Corporation, his own company, Kontek Business Systems, and Ikon Office Solutions. Andrew graduated from the University of South Dakota with a BA in Business Administration and participated in the MBA program at the Graziadio School of Business at Pepperdine University. Andrew enjoyed retirement but feels OCTANe’s Mission is a worthy cause and much less strenuous than keeping up with 5 granddaughters.
Associate, Visionary Venture Fund
Salmon is currently an Associate at Visionary Venture Fund. During his tenure, he has conducted due diligence and industry research on over 30 prospective deals for biotech, medtech, software, IT, and virtual reality gaming companies. He also performed valuation on start-ups using various financial models including pre and post valuation of comparable companies, discounted cash flows, precedent transactions, and market forces in recent exits in the last 5 to 10 years. Salmon is a 2010 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a Bachelor’s in Mathematics. He currently is a 2017 MBA Candidate at UCLA Anderson with expertise in finance, valuation, and quantitative analysis.