Fund members have elected a leadership team to successfully guide the Fund’s day-to-day business, attract quality deal flow, and conduct due diligence on potential investments. See below to learn more about the StartUp NEPA leadership team.
StartUp NEPA Chair
Tina Dowd is the co-founder of Sundance Vacations, a wholesale travel company based in Wilkes Barre, Pa. Unlike the steep growth trajectory of venture startups, Tina’s company took years before landing on the Inc. 500/5000 list of Fastest Growing companies for three consecutive years. “Our business path was completely different from the startups I encounter through Startup NEPA. We self-funded the growth of our business, re-investing profits to launch new locations or hire more staff. We definitely took the slow road.”
“A wise friend, Attorney Alan Kluger, gave us business and life advice that we have applied to our career. He raised a question for us to ponder about the value of a super successful business if the price to pay is not spending time with our children and family. We have applied our strong work ethic to our company but we have never hesitated to take time off for school assemblies, school sports and plenty of vacations as a family.”
The success of Sundance Vacations is definitely a result of a prolonged, consistent focus on company culture. Her employees regularly use the words “like family” to describe the prevailing feeling at the company. Tina’s vision for maintaining a focus on culture has led to the company being honored with many awards including one of the 50 Most Engaged Workplaces by Achievers, named to the Best Places to Work list in multiple states and over many years, and a Pride of Place Award and Healthy workplace award from the Chamber of Commerce.
“The advice that I would offer to other entrepreneurs is to embrace change and innovation. At Sundance Vacations we are willing to turn a lot of knobs to find an incremental gain that cuts expenses, increases production or improves the experience for our customers and employees.”
StartUp NEPA Treasurer
John is co-founder of Tax Credit Brokerage, LLC and President of KIZ Resources, LLC. With fifteen years of professional experience, John has contributed to the development of Pennsylvania’s transferable tax credit industry. With technical tax training as an Enrolled Agent, John serves as tax advisor to numerous companies located across the United States who buy and sell Pennsylvania Tax Credits. John has a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from The Pennsylvania State University.
In 2011, John received the Saint Francis University Small Business Development Center & Center for Global Competitiveness’s Financial Services Advocate of the Year award. A strong advocate for small business, he volunteers his time to various entrepreneurial organizations. John resides in Altoona with his wife and two daughters.
StartUp NEPA Secretary
Jake Latcham currently serves as Chief of Staff at Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services, a vertically-integrated industrial real estate development and construction company focused on Northeastern Pennsylvania. Jake previously invested in clean energy startups as part of Schlumberger’s corporate venture capital team after holding roles in product and project management at both Schlumberger and ExxonMobil. Jake has an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from MIT and an MBA from Harvard Business School.