Founded by technology visionaries, the OCTANe team has years of experience managing and leading companies of all sizes in both private and public markets. This team brings to OCTANe a level of diversity intended to leverage the OCTANe constituency.
Our success in connecting people with extraordinary ideas to others to enhance not only their own lives but the future of Orange County is the driving force behind everything we do.

Bill Carpou

Bill Carpou

President & CEO

Bill Carpou is the chief executive officer of OCTANe. Prior to joining OCTANe as CEO, Mr. Carpou served as an operating partner at the private equity firm, Blackstone including leading a key portfolio company, RGIS.  Mr. Carpou was recruited to this position by Blackstone and was responsible for all aspects of revenue including sales, marketing, channel expansion, strategic alliances, acquisitions and customer service.

Mr. Carpou’s prior experience includes a stint as a partner at Profit Recovery Partners (“PRP”).  Before joining PRP, Mr. Carpou served in a variety of senior executive positions at IKON Office Solutions for 18 years where he led revenue and M&A activities for a variety of key areas within IKON’s global operations.  IKON has since been acquired by Ricoh Corporation. He began his career with the Xerox Corporation and earned his securities license at Merrill Lynch.

Mr. Carpou has a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Villanova University.  He has served on the board of the Barclay Theatre, serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board at the Villanova School of Business and is a member of the Chief Executive Roundtable at the University of California, Irvine.  He resides in Laguna Niguel, California.


Janelle Brunette

Vice President, Operations

Janelle joined the OCTANe team in September of 2008 and focuses on signature event management for OCTANe’s Technology & Investor Forum (TIF) and Medical Device & Investor Forum (MDIF), annual membership, organizational finances, and other operational activities for the team. She also runs the OCTANe TalentEngine and assists in writing grants for OCTANe Foundation for Innovation, the company’s charitable arm. Janelle received her Bachelor of Business Administration from Loyola Marymount University (LMU), Los Angeles with a double emphasis in Business Law and Marketing.


JC Ruffalo

Director of LaunchPad SBDC and Investor Relations, LaunchPad Services

JC Ruffalo joined the OCTANe team in June 2014 and is the Director of LaunchPad SBDC and Investor Relations. 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.


Teresa Madden

Director, Partner Relations

Teresa joined the OCTANe team in June 2016. Teresa is responsible for managing the relationships of OCTANe partners and sponsors that span early stage, growth and public companies in addition to investors, executives and entrepreneurs. She is also focused on new business development and broadening the OCTANe network. Prior to joining OCTANe, Teresa was a Partner & Vice President at Profit Recovery Partners. As one of the founders, she experienced every facet of running and growing a successful professional services consulting firm. She has a broad-based business background encompassing all aspects from sales, strategy development, operations, employee development, process improvement, and execution. Early in her career Teresa held a variety of different positions at Emulex Corporation, including being on the team that released the first Fibre Channel Host Adapter. Teresa is passionate about helping organizations succeed along with developing the internal staff to meet their goals and objectives. Teresa received her Bachelor of Business Administration from Texas Tech University.

nicwash headshot 2017

Nicole Washington

Director of Innovation and Growth

Nicole Washington, M.S., owner of Micro Biz Coach®, works with micro and small business owners to identify strategies that ensure a successful business start-up or boost a veteran business owner’s bottom line. Its clients have been featured on CNBC, Fox Business News, TheStreet.com and a host of Clear Channel radio stations. Nicole has nearly 20 years of systems integration experience, including systems implementation, design and programming from her previous career with Ernst & Young, Whittman Hart and March First management consulting firms. As a management consultant, she worked with several Fortune 500 clients including Sprint, Williams Corporation and Nationwide Insurance.

Nicole is also the founder and CEO of Nicole’s Naturals® Inc. (Est. 2014). Nicole’s Naturals is a gluten free food manufacturing company specializing in the development of gluten free grain products with the texture and taste of traditional gluten products.

Nicole is a member of the Ohio TechAngel Fund, the 2nd largest Angel Investor Network in the United States, where she served as the due diligence team technology lead for several years. She was also a member of the Ohio Women’s Business Advisory Roundtable and currently serves as Chair of the Academic Committee and Trustee of the Board of Education for Samueli Academy, a Science Technology Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) high school that services a large population of underrepresented youth. Nicole earned a Master’s in Industrial and Systems Engineering from The Ohio State University and received her undergraduate degree from North Carolina State University .


Cara Parchment

Manager, Media Relations 

Cara joined the OCTANe team in July 2016 and is the Manager of Media Relations. Prior to joining OCTANe, Cara was the eCommerce Manager at one of Orange County’s largest high-end retail consignment stores. Since her graduation, she has freelanced for many exciting companies in the Southern California area. Cara received her Bachelor of Arts in Communications from a small liberal arts college in Radnor, PA.


Cara Davidoff

Manager of Strategic Initiatives

Cara joined the OCTANe team in October of 2016 and is the Manager of Strategic Initiatives. Prior to joining OCTANe, she worked in revenue management for Marriott International. Cara received her B.A. in Sociology and was a member of the Women’s Swim Team at the University of California, Los Angeles. She received her MBA from the University of California, Irvine, Paul Merage School of Business.


Jamie Hill

Administrator of Innovation

Jamie joined the OCTANe team in October of 2016. Owing to her experiences working at LenSx, Alcon and ALPHAEON, she is well versed in startup companies, medical device and ophthalmology. Jamie’s background in high level executive support and office management allow her to streamline practices and champion special projects while maintaining office efficiency and the company culture.


Elsa Kondri

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.

Maggie Carranza

Events & Marketing Coordinator

Maggie joined OCTANe in April of 2017 as a Marketing & Events Coordinator. She graduated in 2016 from Vanguard University of Southern California and received her B.A. in Business Marketing. Before joining OCTANe, she worked in organizing corporate events.


Paul Symczak

Senior Advisor, OCTANe

Paul Symczak is a Senior Advisor to 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.


Kenneth Stanigar

LaunchPad Data Analytics

Ken assists in the screening and preparation of candidates for OCTANe’s LaunchPad process, manages its data analytics, and generates the reports that are provided to entrepreneurs who complete the process. These reports show how they performed on multiple criteria versus all the other companies that have been through LaunchPad, thus enabling them to make their investor presentations as compelling as possible. Prior to OCTANe, Ken had a career in corporate strategy and finance, primarily with Verizon Communications and its predecessor, GTE Corporation. Ken earned an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business, and completed his undergraduate studies at Michigan State University.


Andrew Props

Business Development

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.


Jeffry Weinhuff

Managing Partner, Visionary Venture Fund

Jeffry Weinhuff is currently the managing partner of Visionary Venture Fund and has been active in the institutional investment realm for over 30 years. He was first involved in private equity and M&A as the sixth professional to join the West Coast Investment Banking Group at Drexel Burnham Lambert, where the practice of private equity acquisitions developed and became institutionalized. At Drexel, Mr. Weinhuff advised and worked with many first-tier private equity firms, served as a long-term member of the Underwriting Assistance Committee and was co-Founder of the firm’s Buyers Advisory Group. As the Founder and Co-Head head of Investment Banking at Jefferies & Co, he created a major full-service independent investment bank from inception to full development, including developing its Healthcare practice. At Jefferies he served for many years as head of the Commitment Committee and member of the Board of Directors, as well as operated a private merchant bank for many years.

Garrett Hamontree

Garrett Hamontree

Associate, Visionary Venture Fund

Garrett Hamontree joined the Visionary Venture Fund in May 2017 as an associate. Prior to joining Visionary, he worked in the oil and gas industry as a field engineer for Schlumberger, as project manager for Chevron, and as CEO for Bridgemark, a private exploration and production company. At Chevron he managed strategic major capital projects as well as increasing production for the company through various asset development projects. Later Garrett left Chevron to take Bridgemark through a debt financed phase of growth to acquire oil fields across the country and to begin a successful exploration campaign. Garrett graduated from Vanderbilt University with a B.E. in Civil and Environmental Engineering and is currently finishing his MBA at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business.


Chief Happiness Officer

Chunk joined OCTANe a few months ago as the designated Chief Happiness Officer. This young pup loves swimming in the ocean, running on the beach and maintaining a healthy diet of kibble and carrots.