Board of Advisors
Managing Partner/Founder of Paw Pods LLC and Loyal Paws Pet Memorial Center
The day Ben’s dog died, was the day his life and career changed forever. His four-legged family member was given back to him in a plastic bag so he could transport him back home to be buried. That memory picture never left Ben’s mind. Shortly thereafter he founded PawPods, an eco-friendly pet caskets and urn company made from 100% biodegradable materials.
Initially his primary focus was on sales, as well as handling the day-to-day operations of the company. As Paw Pods has grown, he is now responsible for managing national sales, customer relations, processing, and of the most day-to-day operations.
Being passionate about a dignified end of life experience for pets, Ben went on to become a managing partner of Loyal Paws LLC (pet crematory and memorial center). He also focuses on building partnerships with veterinarian clinics and assists with overseeing the day-to-day operations. Ben is a CPLP (Certified Pet Loss Professional with the PLPA). He is empathy for helping grieving pet parents is what drives him to be the best.
Ben has a BA in Psychology from Michigan State University. He also is a sitting board member for Spectrum Human Services which includes 5 separate affiliate companies in the social services field. He was awarded the Pet Age magazine “Top 40 under 40” in 2015.
Co-founder & President Let Your Love Grow and Verde Products, Inc
Bob is the co-founder and president of Verde Products Inc. and Let Your Love Grow. He oversees the daily operations, sales, marketing, business and product development. He has over 40 years’ experience in funeral service that include all aspects of the profession from managing funeral homes, crematories and cemetery properties to building sales territories and managing sales teams for two nationally recognized funeral service companies. Bob has consulted with many firms throughout the U.S. to educate staff on product and presentation to enhance revenue. He graduated from Kentucky School of Mortuary Science, Louisville, KY.
Through research and experimentation, Bob has partnered with a forensic team that includes an entomologist, tophonomist and anthroplogist to study and understand the environmental impact of the disposition of human and pet bodies that are either buried or cremated. Buried and cremated remains can have significant effects, positive and negative, on their surrounding environment yet these effects are insufficiently understood to serve as an effective foundation for cemetery management. His goal is help educate the after-life care profession as well as the consumer on the important aspect of memorializing while creating balance and harmony with Mother Nature.
Bob resides in Wildwood, Missouri with his wife, Annette and his beloved companion, Roscoe, a rescued dachshund.
A chance encounter with a pet parent facing the death of her pet was a defining moment for Coleen in 1998. It was the beginning of her vision of how to best meet the needs of pet parents in their desire to mourn, memorialize and pay tribute to their beloved pets when they die. In 2004, the experience of the death of her dog, Mico, guided her in starting the nation’s first stand-alone pet’s-only funeral home. Soon, publications such as Kates-Boylston’s Pet Loss Insider deemed her the “most well known pet funeral director” and a true “pet loss pioneer.”
In 2009, Coleen founded Two Hearts Pet Loss Center, to guide people who wish to provide meaningful pet death care services in their communities, as well to be an educational resource in the pet grief discipline. In 2009, she received the first Death and Grief Studies Certification specializing in Pet Loss Companioning by Dr. Alan Wolfelt as well as releasing her first book, Pet Parents: A Journey Through Unconditional Love and Grief. She is also Certified in Thanatology and is a Certified Pet Loss Professional.
By 2014, Coleen was ready to take her vision to a new level. Joining Nick Padlo as managing partner and Chief Marketing Officer, they formed an acquisition company whose mission is to standardize and raise the service levels of the pet loss industry. The Pet Loss Center strives to be the nation’s premier pet loss service, elevating the experiential component of pet loss and grief care across the country.
Coleen is a sought-after speaker on the topics of pet loss and grief. Through her delivery style, pet care professionals learn a variety of techniques immediately applicable to implement on how to companion families in their grief journey. Furthermore, her talks to pet parents give them the permission they need to not only grieve but mourn the loss of their beloved pet.
Coleen is currently the co-chair and founder of the Pet Loss Professionals Alliance and past president of the International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care. She is a native of Kansas where she graduated from Fort Hays State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing.
Dallas, TX, is where Coleen and her husband, Chris Burke, reside. They share their home with their four-legged kids, Crisco, Harry, Ellie Mae, and Rudy.
Kim Butler, aka The URL Dr, has been doling out prescriptions for online success to business clients for more than 15 years. Raised in the funeral business, she is a fourth generation self-employed business owner.
Nationally recognized since she was a teenager, Kim started her first company, Kim’s Khocolate, at the tender age of eleven. Five years later, she was discovered by Guy Kawasaki and went on to do business with Apple, The Rolling Stones, AT&T, Land Rover, Bausch & Lomb, and Ralph Lauren.
Subsequent e-commerce companies have sold everything from dinnerware to dog products. Her most recent, Good Dog in a Box, is her first foray into subscription boxes. Kim’s various retail companies have grossed over $11.5M.
As The URL Dr, Kim speaks, conducts workshops, and consults with companies in all areas of e-commerce. Her e-learning system, The Small Business Academy, offers more than 500 educational and instruction videos to small business.
Kim has been a featured speaker at YPO Family University, The Wharton School, National Federation of Independent Business, ASBDC, SBDCs around the country, and the Association of University Technology Managers. She has testified before a US Senate Subcommittee on Entrepreneurship and received the NFIB Young Business Owner of the Year Award.
Kim’s entrepreneurial activities have been highlighted in “USA Today,” “Inc,” “People,” “Barron’s,” “Newsweek,” “Success,” “Ms,” and “The Washington Post.”
Northern Virginia based certified canine separation anxiety trainer and honors graduate of Jean Donaldson’s prestigious Academy for Dog Trainers, Tracy Krulik, CTC, CSAT, is the founder and managing editor of iSpeakDog — a website and public awareness campaign to teach dog body language and behavior. Krulik trains dogs with separation anxiety for the Humane Rescue Alliance in Washington, D.C., and she is rapidly becoming the leading separation anxiety specialist in the D.C. area. Her writing can be found in publications including The Bark magazine, The Washington Post, and The Chronicle of the Dog. Krulik’s passion is helping fearful dogs discover confidence and joy — just as she did for her once “fraidy” pup, Emma the Beagle. Visit www.tracykrulik.com to learn more.
Kate Wilder is a Digital Marketing Consultant with a proven track record of helping brands build a stronger presence across social platforms and search engines through current digital marketing strategies. From early beginnings at Young & Rubicam Advertising and Burson-Marsteller Public Relations to becoming an early internet marketer, Kate has served Fortune 500 and small businesses for over 25 years in marketing, content development and technology. She holds a M.S. in Internet Marketing and B.S. in Psychology. When not in front of a computer or mobile device, Kate can be found in the world of wildlife photography for relaxation.
Gila Kurtz is a serial entrepreneur who found her deepest passion in working with dogs and their people. She is a Co-Founder and Co-Owner of Dog is Good, a lifestyle brand for dog lovers. The company creates original messaging and design for a broad array of products to celebrate and “share the unique joy one feels living life with Dog”. Along with her husband, Jon Kurtz, Gila has turned her love for dogs into a thriving business and highly recognizable brand.
She is the bestselling author of Fur Covered Wisdom…A Dog Can Change the Way You See the World, which quickly became a #1 International Best Seller on Amazon in both the Pet and Self-Help Categories.
Gila is the recipient of several business awards including recognition as one of the top 25 women of influence in the pet industry (2015) by Pet Age Magazine and, most recently, Women of the Year award for Women In the Pet Industry Network.
In addition to her role as Brand Ambassador for Dog is Good, Puppy Training Expert, Gila is an author, expert storyteller, and compelling teacher who speaks professionally on life lessons, entrepreneurship, building relationships, and parenting strategies… inspired by Dog.
Gila is a master of “Bliss-ipline”, loves her active lifestyle, and is #1 fan to her daughter-Abby.
Doug McPhail has more than 25 years experience in estate planning and has helped families like yours protect millions of dollars from estate taxes and nursing home expenses. He is an effective communicator and presenter and has taught numerous workshops, seminars, continuing education classes covering Medicaid planning, estate planning and elder law issues both locally and nationally.
Doug graduated with honors from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law in 1988. While there he earned the American Jurisprudence Award for Academic Excellence in the area of professional responsibility and was a published member of the University of Detroit Mercy Law Review.
In 1984, he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Mass Communications from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana.
As a credentialed canine professional, I’m is very passionate about how humans can understand their dogs better. I realized that more dogs are being euthanized due to behavioral problems than to medical issues. Being from France, my view on the canine world is not so much to micromanage a dog’s life, but to teach our furry friends and their human parents that cooperation can be achieved in a natural and effective way, producing wonderful relationships, based on true trust and respect.
Roberta Knuaf has been in the retail pet industry since 1982 owning and operating retail stores as well as a boarding kennel, day care, training facility. She is an accomplished dog groomer, a member of the American Pet Dog Trainers Association, American Boarding Association, is accredited to give the AKC Canine Good Citizen exam, as well as an evaluator for Therapy Dog International Inc. is the co chairman of the education committee for the Pet Loss Professional Alliance (ICCFA/PLPA). Roberta has volunteered for Canine Partners for Life www.k94life.org which places dogs with people with disabilities. She coordinated and oversaw their Prison Puppy Program at five Pennsylvania Correctional Institutions. Her efforts have awarded her the 2006 Pennsylvania volunteer of the Year.
Currently, Roberta is working as a consultant for funeral homes getting into the Pet Loss industry, and also consulting on Grief Therapy Dogs in your business.
Mike Cameron is a lifetime entrepreneur. He is a Co-Founder of multiple companies including: National Solar http://natlsolar.com/ Waste to Energy Partners http://www.bolderindustries.com/ I-4 Capital Partners http://i4fund.com/ and JobPath Partners https://yourjobpath.com/ Mr. Cameron, was also the President and CEO and a major shareholder in Zephyrhills Water, and was primarily responsible for developing it from the once small, local company into the largest bottled water company in the Southeastern US. He negotiated the successful sale of Zephyrhills to Perrier/Nestle. Mr. Cameron is a graduate of Georgetown University and holds an M.B.A. from The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. In addition to his business ventures, Mr. Cameron was a member in the Young Presidents Organization, served on the Board of Overseers for Georgetown University, and was the President of the Wharton School Club of Central and North Florida.
Dan Liptak is the CTO and Co-founder of Collaborative Fund Partners, LLC, with over 20 years in the computer programming industry to date. Liptak is an experienced web developer who has developed and managed multiple consumer driven websites such as InformedEater, Affordable Housing Collaborative and BuyGreen. An internship at NASA during high school put him on a 20-year path in Information Technology. He registered his first domain name in 1998 and has been helping companies big and small build their web presence ever since. With his experience in the computer industry along with his passion for entrepreneurism, Dan’s attitude and culture within the team is complete.
Co-Founder and CEO of Dagda Partners LLC
Harold Graham is an advisory board member at Collaborative Fund Partners, and is a formerly registered securities and commodities broker, lead HW Graham & Associates, an investment banking, fundraising, corporate development, and political consulting firm based in Orlando. During his 25+ year career, he served as a strategic business consultant and investment banker, developed strategic marketing campaigns and distribution partnerships with companies of all sizes. In addition, he spearheaded successful campaigns on behalf of corporate and philanthropic entities. His expertise also includes private placements involving equity and debt financing, raising growth and expansion stage capital, and acquisition financing for companies in various industries. He sourced alternative investments for individuals, institutions and family offices, was recently registered with FINRA and the NFA, CFTC and held Series 3, 7, and 63 registrations.
In addition to Dagda Partners http://dagdapartners.com/, Harold has also co-founded many other socially impactful companies including: Community Seal http://communityseal.com/, Affordable Housing Collaborative, http://affordablehousingcollaborative.com/, WeNet, http://wenet.world/ Karitas, http://karitas.world/ HeroesJourney, http://heroesjourney.world/ and Brovo, http://brovo.life/
His previous experience includes serving as owner and lead consultant for Intellishare LLC where he was responsible for new account generation, account maintenance and penetration for the sales and marketing based consulting company. He also served as a senior vice president at US Telemedicine where he generated new business for a network-based hardware application hosted medical treatment center and HL7 electronic medical records. Earlier, he held similar positions with Lealta Media, Tax Advantage, AMP Film Studios and Fortis TCS.
Gene Gutierrez currently invests in multi-family apartment buildings located throughout the mid-coastal region of Maine. Through his real estate investments he has become expert in affordable housing, working with federal, state and local government programs. He understands the needs of working class renters as well as “at risk” citizens that are financially struggling. As a result of Gene’s efforts, he quickly learned the need to discover new and innovative ways that affordable housing professionals and tenants have to collaborate in order to achieve their individual goals and maximize their limited financial resource.
Gene owned and operated a printing and graphic communications company for over thirty-years in Miami, Florida. Confronted with rapidly changing technology and the growing global competitive marketplace, Gene transformed a traditional brick and mortar production company that primarily served a local market into an Internet-based marketing and graphic communications company that served clients throughout North America.
Gene obtained his undergraduate degree in accounting at Georgetown University and obtained an MBA at Rutgers University. He has served on the board of directors of numerous not-for-profits, chaired chamber of commerce committees and is a past president of the Rotary Club of Miami. Gene was a certified public account in Florida. He began his career in the management consulting division of a large global accounting firm and was chief financial officer of a large financial institution before embarking on his entrepreneurial career.
Since 2010 Dr. McBride has been Founder of Intellectual Property Matters LLC (North Carolina) and a Partner at ipCapital Licensing Company LLC. Dr. McBride has 38 years of professional experience, as both an individual contributor in a wide variety of technical assignments and as a manager at various levels. He joined Lenovo (United States), Inc. in 2005 as Director of Intellectual Property Licensing as part of IBM’s divestiture of its Personal Computing Division. He was also appointed to the Lenovo Singapore Board of Directors. Dr. McBride’s thirty-one year IBM career spanned several divisions, including Research, Microelectronics, Personal Computers and Mainframe Systems. As a Program Director of Licensing he was in charge of monetizing the IP portfolio. These comprised patent infringement assertions; business development of trademark and technology licensing; identifying, negotiating and executing new deals to grow IP income; and managing the annuity income stream. Dr. McBride worked with Finance, Accounting, IP Law, and Product Development while having overall program management responsibility for IP income. He was also responsible for IP Defense in areas such as non-infringement through prior art and other defenses, working in concert with IP Law and General Legal functions. Dr. McBride drove the Patent Portfolio Management process to evaluate invention disclosures, select the most valuable inventions for first country and foreign counterpart filings within budget, and evaluate patents when maintenance fees were due. Earlier career responsibilities included Research Staff Member and management roles at IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY, technology strategy development, and hardware and software product development. He is an inventor with several patents. Dr. McBride has a Ph.D. (EE) from Polytechnic Institute of NY and M.S.(EE), B.S.(EE) degrees, combined honors curriculum, from Purdue University.
A visionary entrepreneur and professional engineer with over 40 years of technical and senior management experience. In 1999, Don became President and CEO of Simpson Environmental Corporation (SEC) and has led the company’s growth from a manufacturer and distributor of commercial air and water treatment equipment, to world-class facilities that convert a range of waste into sustainable energy. Don has created, led, and employed state-of-the-art energy solutions for environmental projects on a global basis. He has designed numerous solid waste management and wastewater treatment processes and currently oversees all aspects of environmental engineering projects globally. Don’s distinguished career includes working for the Department of National Defence, Ericsson Communications, and IBM/Rolm and Ericatel, where he led a merger with Tie/communications, and later, a management buy-out. As President and CEO of Ericatel, he took the Company from start-up to the Globe & Mail’s Report on Business List of Canada’s Top 300 Private Companies. Don’s charitable work includes serving as the President of the Juno Beach Centre Association, a Canadian non-profit charitable corporation that provides a tangible and fitting memorial to Canada’s participation in the Second World War on the D-Day beaches of Normandy.
Mr. Koch has advised and co-founded a number of early stage companies, including JobPath Partners, a job posting and training site for military veterans, FabLab, a branded makerspace, and Energy Conversion Partners, a technology agnostic renewable energy center developer with a global presence. Paul is actively involved in the community through the Central Florida Foundation and volunteering as a mentor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy at the Orlando Science Center. When Paul is not in the office he can be found playing ice hockey in a local league, or competing on the triathlon circuit. Paul is an Eagle Scout and a graduate of Rollins College.