Wendi Fowler, President

Wendi Fowler, President/CEO Beacon Life Tech

Wendi Fowler is an accomplished entrepreneur and leader for more than 25 years in the local technology field as past CEO and owner of The Client Server, Inc. Most recently Wendi has integrated her technology background with a her passion for improving the lives of Seniors with innovations and tech in Continuous Life Care Communities throughout the U.S. As founder of Beacon Life Tech, Wendi leads Low Voltage projects with developers and executive management to reach the most effective technology for every area of the community. She is known for her professionalism and dedicated community service, as well as her highest level of leadership by empowering others to achieve their goals. Wendi is the 2017 SWFRTP Woman of the Year in Technology, and most recently nominated for 2019 APEX Award. Wendi has been appointed various community honors and industry certifications. She is a board member and officer of several corporate and non-profit organizations.

Colleen Jorgensen, Vice President

Colleen Jorgensen, Hotwire Communications

Colleen Jorgensen is a seasoned professional in the technology sector, currently serving as a key player at Hotwire Communications. With an impressive background, Colleen brings over 25 years of experience in leading and training sales teams, making significant contributions to the industry. Her journey in the tech world began with notable stints at industry giants Sprint and AT&T, where she excelled in the role of Commercial Regional Sales Manager. She returned to school to earn a Network Administration Degree. Armed with a solid educational foundation, she has since been a driving force in the technology sector, staying at the forefront of industry advancements and imparting her knowledge to her teams. Beyond her professional endeavors, Colleen is deeply involved in the community. She is a proud officer of SWFLTech, an initiative that underscores her commitment to fostering technological innovation in Southwest Florida. Colleen is not only a dedicated professional but also a loving family person, managing the responsibilities of a large family with five children. Colleen extends her influence beyond the corporate world, serving as an officer on several non-profit boards. Her dedication to community development is evident through her active participation in mentoring and educating initiatives, with notable involvement in Junior Achievement and KKIDS, Inc. Moreover, she plays a pivotal role as a member of the Business Advisory Council for Dunbar High School, contributing her expertise to shape the next generation of professionals.

Edward Fritz, Treasurer

Edward Fritz, IT Director CareerSource Southwest Florida

Edward Fritz is currently the I.T. Director for Southwest Florida Workforce Development Board (dba CareerSource Southwest Florida). He is a Florida Certified Workforce Professional with over 13 years of experience in Workforce Development and Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act funded Program Management. He has served in the roles of Out-of-School Youth Program Coordinator and Quality Assurance Program Manager for Wagner-Peyser, Veterans, and WIOA Out-of-School Youth programs at CareerSource Southwest Florida. Edward served as a youth Career Coach and then Program Manager for youth programs with Henkel’s & McCoy. Prior to moving to Florida in 2011, he worked as a Customer Quality Assurance Engineer and Quality Assurance Manager in Bloomington and Peoria Illinois. Edward retired from the United States Navy in 2004, after serving 23 years working in the Advanced Electronics and Computer Field and Career Recruiting. He is a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Healthcare Management and a Master of Science in Management with a concentration in Human Resources.

Debbie Peterson - Secretary

Debbie Peterson, VP & Chief of Staff, CallMiner

Debbie Peterson is the Vice President and Chief of Staff at CallMiner, a high growth venture backed technology company that enables customers across the globe to convert customer interaction insights into transformative business performance improvements. In this role, Debbie reports to the CEO and works closely with the entire executive team to drive the development and execution of business strategy across the company. Debbie spearheads operational excellence by combining a deep understanding of organizational design, process and systems improvement and human capital development. Debbie is a Southwest Florida native and a lifelong learner with a deep interest in how technology, business and education intersect to create growth and opportunity. She has held a variety of operational and leadership roles in companies ranging from early-stage startups to established healthcare companies to large publicly traded multinationals. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a Marketing concentration from Jacksonville State University, an MBA from Nova Southeastern University’s School of Business and a Master’s Certificate in IT/IS Project Management from Villanova University.

Board of Directors

Warren Baucom - Economic Development Chair

Warren Baucom, Director, Partnerships and Entrepreneurial Activities, Economic Development Office

Warren Baucom is Director of Partnerships and Entrepreneurial Activities with the Economic Development Office of Lee County. In this role, Warren facilitates programs and connections, filling in gaps along the spectrum of economic opportunity in Southwest Florida. Among other responsibilities, he serves on the Lee County Disaster Advisory Committee, provides support for the Horizon Council, and is a member of the county’s Local Technology Planning Team. Warren is a founding member SWFL Tech, serving on the Board of Directors since 2010. During his time on the board, he has chaired the Hackathon Committee, the Awards Planning Committee, and currently chairs the Economic Development Committee for the organization. In 2014 Warren received the Partnership Award for service to SWFL Tech. Additionally, he serves on the Conference Planning Committee for the Florida Economic Development Council where he was previously the SWFL Regional Director. He is a former President of the SWFL Small Business Resource Network, and served as Administrator of the Lee County Enterprise Zone. In 2022 Warren was part of a team that established the SWFL Veteran’s Business Council. Prior to joining the Economic Development Office, Warren held a variety of management roles within the hospitality industry and served in the United States Air Force as an intelligence analyst stationed in Okinawa, Japan and at RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom. He is a graduate of the Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University.

John Schlager - CIO Advisory Chair

John Schalager, CEO & Co-Founder, Inceptus

Mr. Schlager is the CEO & Co-Founder of Inceptus, trusted advisors providing military grade cyber defenses and high-end consulting services that focus on helping organizations deal with the increasing risk and impact of cyber-attacks. Combining best of breed technologies, advanced data analytics, exclusive threat intelligence and elite analysts with years of digital combat experience Inceptus builds ultimate cyber resilience that aligns with an organizations business strategy. He was the Co-Founder & Chief Cyber Strategist for Skout Secure Intelligence (now Barracuda MSP). Skout is a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) and Consulting Company offering cyber services to clients across numerous verticals including Critical Infrastructure, Financial Services, Information Technology, Healthcare and Retail. He was responsible for development and operations of the Secure Intelligence Center (SIC), the Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT), Skout Labs as well as for the overall selection, design & operations of all services offered by Skout. He was the Chief Information Security Officer of the United States Capitol Police responsible for the overall design and deployment of enterprise cybersecurity program, including its associated technologies and policies. He was an Associate at Booz Allen Hamilton where he investigated malicious activities and designed and developed operational security strategies for the assessment, detection, remediation, and continuous monitoring of large-scale enterprises. He developed strategies for the clandestine detection, containment, eradication and continued monitoring of Foreign Nation States and the Advanced Persistent Threat (APT). Mr. Schlager was an Information Security Officer for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency where he was responsible for the cybersecurity program and posture of the office of criminal enforcement, forensics, and training (OCEFT) and the Criminal Investigation Division (CID). Mr. Schlager graduated with a Bachelor of Science, summa cum laude, majoring in Cybersecurity with a minor in Information Systems Management from the University of Maryland University College. He is an active member in numerous honor and leadership societies including the National Society of Leadership and Success – Sigma Alpha Pi, the National Honor Society for the Computing, and Information Disciplines – Upsilon Pi Epsilon, the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. Throughout John’s career he has also held many IT Certifications including the Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP), Cisco Certified Networking Professional (CCNP), Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), Cisco Certified Design Associate Checkpoint Certified Security Expert (CCSE), Checkpoint Certified Security Administrator (CCSA) and the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE).

Laura Schmidt - Board Development Chair

Laura Schmidt, Principal Consultant, Endinas, LLC (Tech Ecosystem Development)

Laura has held leadership roles in corporate technology, K-12 education, higher education, and non-profit organizations. She worked for a Fortune 100 company for 15 years and was responsible for enterprise software, user centered design and testing, and technology research. She then served as Executive Director of an education foundation for nearly 5 years before joining a local school district as a consultant where she provided leadership and support to strategic planning and continuous improvement efforts, developed corporate relations strategies, and represented the District in local, regional, state, and national efforts to support talent pipeline objectives. She later served as the first Director of Corporate Relations for the region's premier engineering university with the primary objective of aligning corporate and university objectives to form mutually beneficial partnerships. Most recently, she served as the Chief Talent Development Officer for a regional tech council where she helped build the foundation for the organization and assumed primary responsibility for tech talent pipeline strategies. Laura holds a degree in the Management of Computer Systems and an MBA with a focus on leadership studies. She has served in a wide variety of volunteer roles and has received awards for her service to the tech community at both a local and national level. She now serves as a consultant for state/regional tech talent initiatives and is a mentor for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Talent Pipeline Management program.

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Michael Honorio - Membership & Community Engagement Chair

Wes Sprecher - Community Engagement Chair

Wes Sprecher, Growth Strategist, DualBoot Partners (Tech Ecosystem Development)

Wes Sprecher is an entrepreneur, community builder, champion for technology in business, and regional growth advocate. He serves as the Director of Community Engagement on the SWFL Tech board, an Advisor to the SWFL Business Alliance, technology subject matter expert on the due diligence sub committee at the Tamiami Angel Fund, Member of the LeadershipNEXT committee for the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, a Growth Strategist for DualBoot Partners and Co-Founder of Swamp Cat Brewing Company. He is also a mentor and speaker for the FGCU Veterans' entrepreneurship program through the College of Entrepreneurship. He is passionate about discovering new ways of being in business through technology and stimulating regional growth as a connector of business, government, capital and ideas. At DualBoot Partners, Wes works with founders and technology leaders through software design, development, and delivery, as well as applying artificial intelligence and analytics capabilities in their growing businesses. Before engaging in the regional ecosystem's development, Wes served at Gartner Inc. as a Team Client Manager for the Executive Programs division, partnering alongside technology executives in an industry agnostic capacity. Wes obtained his Bachelor of Science in Economics from Florida Gulf Coast University.

Joe Chiarella - Startup Infrastructure Chair

Joe Chiarella, Entrepreneur, Advisor, and Futurist

Joe has been in tech since the early 1980s. He worked for a 1200 store national retailer and a Fortune 500 global confectionary company before he began building his own tech businesses in the late 1990s. Two companies for which he was part owner/founder were sold for 8 figures each and generated nearly a billion dollars in lifetime revenues. More importantly, the software products he shepherded to market for those companies protected hundreds of millions of computer users around the planet from malicious actors. In addition to cyber security, Joe has developed tech products for the academic, law, and publishing markets. He has been awarded three US patents (two in data encryption) and is published on topics ranging from IT to e-learning, innovation, and bio-ethics. His management model, Strategic Focus Alignment, not only helped he and his co-founders build their own successful companies, but as an advisor, coach, mentor or consultant, Joe has used it to help many other companies ranging from global wellness, to wine-making, distribution, federal contracting, US military, behavioral health software and more. A fan of CEO peer groups, Joe has delivered talks to hundreds of CEOs as part of the Vistage Speakers Bureau. Before relocating to the Gulf Coast, Joe worked with the Technology Council of Central Pennsylvania to help grow the tech eco-system there. He was one of the creator-leaders of the Founders Roundtable, mentored at several startup weekends, was one of the organizers of the annual UpNext Festival, and facilitated angel investment and/or M&A. Most of all, he rolled up his sleeves any way he could to help local tech companies be successful. He has also served on the Boards of Coder Kids and ExecuStar, was a member of the PA House of Representatives Emerging Technologies Taskforce, and was a member of the Commercialization Advisory Board for Penn State Hershey Medical Center. In his leisure time he carves sculptures out of marble and alabaster, is working on completing a book about Strategic Focus Alignment and, as a team with his amazing wife, perpetually seek that elusive 7 No-Trump contract in Bridge.

Holly George - Director of Marketing

Holly George, Founder, by George Marketing, LLC.

Holly brings a wealth of marketing and advertising experience to the table. A big picture strategist and master collaborator, Holly is expert at planning for growth, positioning companies in their perfect niche and brainstorming to unleash their potential with the next big promotions. Holly's fast and furious style was unleashed at Martin Williams, an agency in Minneapolis, where she led domestic and international multimedia advertising campaigns. Always charged by turning challenges into big ideas and profit, Holly has won awards for excellence in creative execution and increased revenue. She has launched and grown 2 successful marketing-related businesses well over the $1 million mark, but she is most proud of her work with owners, managers and executives who've worked with her to do the same! Holly holds Bachelor of Science degrees in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Kansas, is a Certified Guerrilla Marketing Coach, international speaker, media guest expert, and is the go-to guru for many small businesses and large collaborative projects. Holly is a gourmet cook and mom of 4 adult kids with her husband of 30 years. Add a thriving business, good coffee and fantastic pinot, and you get a sense of her high-energy style.

Other Leadership

Randy Mitchelson, APR, Co-Founder & Board Advisor

Randy Mitchelson, APR, is an award winning entrepreneur, writer and community leader. After holding leadership positions at KeyBank, Marketplace Bank and Bank of America, Randy founded National Web Leads and started an internet marketing and public relations career that evolved into becoming vice president of sales and marketing at iPartnerMedia, an award winning digital marketing agency and Google Partner. Randy’s expertise has been featured in Search Engine Journal, RackSpace, Adobe’s, Media Leaders, CMSWire, and Website Magazine. He has co-founded five non-profits including the Southwest Florida Regional Technology Partnership (now SWFLTech). Randy is a Golden Image Award recipient from the Florida Public Relations Association where he is also President of the Southwest Florida chapter. He also serves on the board of directors with the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce. Randy earned a Bachelor of Science and MBA at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.

Peg Elmore

Peg Elmore is the Business Services Director for CareerSource Southwest Florida. Although Peg has been in the workforce development industry since 1995, her previous employment has included work in the private companies within the travel industry and the oil and gas exploration industry. Her unique background with a start-up company as well as a Fortune 100 Company has proven valuable in understanding the needs of the business community. Peg works closely with business and community organizations in Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties. Peg is a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Southwest Florida board member and represents SHRM on the Horizon Council, Lee County’s public-private board which advises the Lee County Board of Commissioners on economic development issues. Peg also serves on numerous committees and advisory boards related to education and workforce development. She is a 2011 graduate of Leadership Lee and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration.

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