State of Entrepreneurship 2016

While serving as a Public Private Partner to the City of West Palm Beach, Startup Palm Beach will be hosting this event to bring together public and private sectors to discuss economic development.

This year’s event will incorporate a different format from last year’s. After speaking with the community, we have decided to host series of panel discussions.

RSVP to attend State of Entrepreneurship

The goal of these discussions is to shed light on and forecast the current and future economic environments across four categories of interest:

  • Tourism and Retail
  • Financing and Investment
  • Planning and Development
  • Technology and Talent

State of Entrepreneurship Panelists


Paul N. Leone

Chief Executive Officer

The Breakers Palm Beach and Flagler System, Inc.

While charting a career that has progressed from Certified Public Accountant to a world-class hotelier, Paul N. Leone has his eye on more than the bottom line.  At The Breakers Palm Beach, Leone has restored a strong sense of pride and teamwork in the 120-year old company’s 2,000 associates. Since he was appointed President in October 1994, his efforts have led to dramatic improvements in team members satisfaction, customer service and profitability at the 538-room, historic Italian Renaissance property.

Board of Directors, Startup Palm Beach

rocco-mangel_headshotRocco Mangel


Rocco’s Tacos

From busboy to restaurateur, Rocco Mangel is synonymous with tacos, tequila, and good times. His Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar empire – with six restaurants in Florida and one in Brooklyn, NY – is at the forefront of the Mexican cuisine game. Rocco is bringing it to your backyard one city at a time.

As a self-made man, Rocco hasn’t the culinary background of many celebrated restaurateurs but what he does have is an uncanny knack for making guests feel like they just arrived at the best party in town, a fiesta with Authentic Mexican food, handcrafted margaritas and your favorite music pumping through the speakers. When fans hear the buzzword “Tequila!” echo through the restaurant, everyone prepares for Rocco to take his spot on top of the bar: dancing in his legendary white shoes and pouring free rounds of tequila.


mark smith 3c interactiveMark Smith

Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer

3C Interactive

Mark Smith is chief operating officer and corporate secretary. A co-founder at 3C, Mark oversees the company’s worldwide operations, service delivery, talent management, HR, carrier relations and enterprise PMO.

Mark has an extensive operational and marketing background in telecom, mobile and online payment processing. He began his career at MCI, spending 16 years in various sales leadership positions. After MCI, Mark joined startup Internet Billing Company, one of the first Internet-based payment processors, where he served as executive vice president of sales and operations. Mark was instrumental in growing the company to more than 400 employees which processed over a half billion dollars in payments each year.


michelle_huttenhoff_2014Michelle Huttenhoff

Community Foundations Program Associate

Knight Foundation

Michelle Huttenhoff joined Knight Foundation in May 2014. She is the program associate for community foundations, working in Knight’s eighteen small to mid-size markets.

She previously worked with the School Board of Broward County as a college and career adviser. Prior to that, she worked as the programs associate for the Miami Foundation where she oversaw the youth development and scholarship programs.

In 2014, Huttenhoff received her master’s degree in public policy from Northwestern University, where her research focused on how to engage cities and neighborhoods to improve their public schools. She holds a bachelor’s in English and education from the University of Miami.


Julia Duresky/CAPEHART

Ryan Bridger

Director of Business Development

Hedrick Brothers Construction

Ryan leads teams of owners, consultants, engineers, architects, and designers from due diligence on a real estate transaction, through conceptual design and estimating to preconstruction. Founded in 1979 and headquartered in West Palm Beach, the company provides general contracting, construction management, design-build and pre-construction services for Commercial, Luxury Residential, Equestrian, Industrial, Municipal, Country Clubs, Education, Hospitality, Assisted Living, Historic Restoration and Sustainable/LEED construction projects in Florida and Georgia.


shanon-materioShanon Materio

City Commissioner | District 5

CEO McMow Art Glass

As a West Palm Beach City Commissioner, Materio has worked on numerous economic development projects for the City. She currently serves as the West Palm Beach City Liaison for the Arts in Public Places Committee. In addition, she serves as a representative for West Palm Beach on the Metropolitan Planning Organization. Most recently, she was appointed by State Attorney, Dave Aronberg to sit on the Pro-Viso, Sober Home Task Force. Materio serves on the Coalition for the Blueway Trail initiative, and eco-tourism and economic development project. She was a founding member of the South End Neighborhood Association (SENA), and served as a Board Member for six years. As SENA President in 2005, she worked on a variety of committees and issues related to improving the Dixie Highway corridor.

As President of McMow Art Glass, she leads a team of creative artisans in manufacturing custom art glass designs for commercial, residential and religious spaces. She is the 2013 Retailer of the Year, awarded by the Florida Retail Federation, and the 2016 Athena Award Recipient presented by the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches.


jeff-ostrowskiJeff Ostrowski


The Palm Beach Post

Jeff Ostrowski writes about biotechnology, banking and economic development. Since joining the Post in 1999, he has covered a variety of business beats, including real estate and insurance. Before coming to the Post, he was a reporter at the South Florida Business Journal and the Fort Pierce Tribune.


meghanfaiellaMeghan Faiella


The Palm Beach Post

Meghan Faiella brings a unique youthful perspective to the newsroom as a Gen Y writer covering topics like: travel, leisure, lifestyle and entertainment. Before working for The Post, she was a designer, social media manager and fashion curator for an online retail company.


roog-head-shotChristopher Roog

Director of Economic Development

City of West Palm Beach

Chris was promoted into the position after several successes as the Mayor’s Chief of Staff assisting local businesses with their needs. Chris began his career with the local home builders association running their government affairs program. He was promoted to Executive Director of the Gold Coast Builders Association in 2010 and remained there until stepping down in 2012. During his time at the builders association Chris developed key ties with local government and business interests across Palm Beach County. In the Fall of 2012 Mayor Jeri Muoio brought Chris on to her team. He has a degree in Political Science from Florida Atlantic University and a 35 year resident of Palm Beach County. Chris, his wife Courtney and son Everett reside in downtown West Palm Beach.


pam-stewartPamela Stewart


Paragon Florida

Pamela Stewart brings a wealth of first-hand expertise to her role as President of Paragon Florida. Her background is shaped by broad experiences in small and minority business program management, economic and community development and management and financial assistance to small businesses.  Ms. Stewart oversees all aspects of program development, administrative oversight, client services, financial management and marketing.


kevin-hutchinsonKevin Hutchinson

Founder & CEO


Kevin Hutchinson is the Founder and CEO of MyTaskit, a comprehensive and user-friendly task management platform that businesses use to connect their service teams, subcontractors and customers. MyTaskit smooths the rough edges of service delivery so technicians get more done, customers are happier, and the business makes more money.


ken-tumaKen Tuma


Urban Design Kilday Studios

Managing Principal and owner of Urban Design Kilday Studios, a land planning and landscape architecture firm in West Palm Beach, Florida.  My wife Wendy is the firm’s qualifying landscape architect. Prior to taking the UDKS reins, I served as VP of Planning, Engineering and Development with WCI Communities, Inc. and held positions with Toll Brothers, Inc., Taylor Woodrow Communities and The Villages.  Wendy and I reside in Palm Beach Gardens and have two young sons.

aj-ripinA.J. Ripin

Executive Committee Member

Palm Beach Tech Association

A.J. Ripin participates in many organizations and serves on a board of directors. He participates in UCF I-Corps designed to provide entrepreneurs with the tools and foundation necessary to examine feasibility of products and launch preparation. Ripin is an Executive Committee member with the Palm Beach Tech Association, constituted in uniting and building the innovation, entrepreneurial, and technology industries throughout Palm Beach County. He is the COO of Merging Traffic, a virtual private equity firm; and Moving Knowledge, a licensed technology spin off from UCF’s Mixed Emerging Technology Integration Lab.