Our Board of Directors
Ziad K. Abdelnour
Founder and Chairman
Ziad K. Abdelnour is Founder, President & CEO of Blackhawk Partners, Inc. a private “family office” in the business of originating, structuring & acting as equity investor in strategic corporate investments and co-Founder of Aeros-Blackhawk Partners; a trading platform focusing on the financing of real estate and project finance properties throughout the US.
Founder & Chairman of the Board of the Financial Policy Council ; a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization designed to give its select group of supporters the opportunity to have direct face-to-face dialogue with the nation’s quintessential power brokers and policymakers
A member of TIGER 21, a peer-to-peer learning group for super high net worth individuals and of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) – a private group of global chief executives whose companies employ 16 million people and generate 6-trillion USD in annual revenues
Author of the bestselling book “Economic Warfare: Secrets of Wealth Creation in the Age of Welfare Politics” and of the upcoming book ” Startup Saboteurs: How Incompetence, Ego, and Small Thinking Prevent True Wealth Creation” to be published in Summer 2019.
Mr. Abdelnour has over 30 year experience on Wall Street backing over 125 companies & serial entrepreneurs worth in aggregate over 20 billion dollars in the private equity, high yield bond and distressed debt markets.
He holds a MBA in Finance Summa Cum Laude from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania & BS in Economics, Summa Cum Laude, from the American University of Beirut
Today, Mr. Abdelnour continues to be featured in hundreds of media channels and publications every year and is widely seen as one of the top business leaders by millions around the world.
He was just recently been featured as one of the 500 Most Influential CEOs in the World https://richtopia.com/inspirational-people/500-ceos
Vice President - Founding Member
As Vice President of the Financial Policy Council, and with over 25 years of experience as a financial services IT professional, Mr. Eppanapally has been involved in directing and managing global technology initiatives including strategic planning, architecture, design, development and deployment. He has worked over the years at several Wall Street investment banks like Merrill Lynch, Blackrock, Credit Suisse, Alliance Capital and BNY Mellon.
Mr. Eppanapally is the Chairman of the board for Quibble Genomics Institute, Inc. (QuibbleMD.com), focused to bring a revolution in consumer genomics, personalized medicine, and population health. Quibble specializes in human genome modeling, analysis and visualization by transforms the bio samples to visually appealing Genomic insights based on Unity3D gaming technology.
Mr. Eppanapally is the Chairman of the board for the CIC Group, Inc., a management consulting and advisory firm for mergers and acquisitions. He has a keen interest in investing and promoting education, healthcare and energy sectors.
Mr. Eppanapally was the Vice President of Concepts in Computing, Inc., an IT services company providing specialized services to major Wall Street firms and global investment banks.
Mr. Eppanapally is the founding Chairman of the board for Lead India 2020 Foundation, Inc. a social transformation organization promoted by the former President of India Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam to educate, inspire and transform 640 Million youth of India into responsible citizens to develop the nation.
Mr. Eppanapally was the founding President of VT Seva, (Volunteering Together for Service), a global non-profit organization with over 100,000 volunteers dedicated to providing education to tribal and blind children, cancer screening for rural women and children, and disaster relief during floods/tsunamis and earth quakes.
Mr. Eppanapally received his B. Tech in Mechanical Engineering from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad, India, and M.S. in Computer and Information Science from New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, New Jersey.
Secretary - Founding Member
Mr. Ferguson has more than 25 years’ experience launching and managing several successful high technology ventures and designing complex information environments. Mr. Ferguson brings the business experience garnered from building a multi-million dollar defense contracting company, as well as a cutting-edge technical know-how, and the visionary acumen of a true futurist to the complex needs of solving today’s business problems. The sole founder of Crius, Inc., one of the founders of Intercom Consulting and Federal Systems, and a co-founder of Scarlet Fire Entertainment; Mr. Ferguson brings the business experience of founding and building a multi-million dollar defense contracting company, as well as a cutting edge entertainment technology firm to his high level of competence in solving the complex needs of today’s businesses. In the Washington Metropolitan Area, where technologists abound, Washington Technology magazine noted Mr. Ferguson as one of the area’s notable technology entrepreneurs and futurists. Of note is that Mr. Ferguson’s patented concept preceded market leader Apple Inc’s iTunes service by two years, and correctly predicted the rise of downloadable internet content which today represents an important and significant growth sector of the global economy today. Mr. Ferguson’s next patent in individual medical logistics predicted the rise of personalized medicine and information logistics.
Mr. Ferguson’s clients include various Cabinet level Departments, and Inter-Agency working groups. Mr. Ferguson also served as CIO-level consultant to the Executive branch of the US Government, along with lead architect and technical leader for a number of major global information networks. Currently, his recommendations to a Cabinet level Department’s Strategic Planning Office are regularly reviewed by the Executive branch, Legislative branch, and other agencies. Mr. Ferguson founded Crius, Inc., providing system architecture and design services for both government and commercial clients. As an example of the level of work done by his companies, while heading up Crius, Mr. Ferguson played a lead role in restructuring architecting the changes that dramatically improved a US Government global network that was ranked as one of the worst in the federal government, and two years later was ranked one of the best.
Mr. Ferguson continued to build upon his early success, co-founded Scarlet Fire Entertainment, a content aggregator and music download service. Recently, he has also founded Dawn’s Light, a media company that is an executive producer and management team for multiple feature length films. In 2000, Mr. Ferguson founded Kaang, Inc. to provide strategic, enterprise-level consulting on the intersections of security, technology, and business alignment for major clients. Mr. Ferguson is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Owner/President Management Program. He also served in the 29th Light Infantry, and is a multi-decade practitioner of the martial arts.
Jinan Glasgow George
Chair, Public Events Committee
Jinan Glasgow George A Patent Attorney and former Patent Examiner with the US Patent & Trademark Office, JiNan Glasgow George is an IP practitioner with experience across a wide range of technology fields, serving clients in the US and internationally. She is a registered patent attorney with the North Carolina Bar and the USPTO and the founding partner of Neo IP (formerly Triangle Patents, PLLC) in Durham, NC, USA (www.neoipassets.com).
JiNan has worked with clients doing business or investing in the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Europe, India, Jordan, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, and Kenya for strategic patent analysis and the development of intellectual property rights including patents, trademarks, and copyrights for licensing and commercialization globally.
JiNan Glasgow George is also the CEO and co-founder of Magic Number, Inc., a business intelligence SaaS company that provides insights for investors and executives, serial entrepreneurs and innovation-based companies – giving vision ahead of market data using patent data and machine learning (www.magicnumberip.com).
She was founder & CEO of Neopatents, a patent research and analytics company that provided consulting services and software worldwide from the headquarters in Durham, North Carolina USA (www.neopatents.com). She is also the inventor of patent claims diagramming innovations (Patent Matrix software) and the co-inventor of proprietary patent mapping tools for analyzing patents across all technology fields – and using visuals that help communicate complex information about patent sectors.
Since 2007, JiNan has been working to leverage patent information to stimulate and accelerate innovation, particularly in developing economies. She introduced the Patent Free Zone model – applicable in most developing countries to leverage the world’s most cutting edge research & technology for commercial acceleration of in-country development, while providing an unparalleled opportunity to innovate in ways that are impossible in the US, Europe, Japan, and even China or India.
JiNan also founded the Eclipse IP Futures Conference in RTP/Raleigh-Durham, NC USA area – now in its 6th year. This invitation-only conference uniquely addresses the questions that entrepreneurs and investors have with patents as business assets, not simply legal issues. Patent strategy, competitive intelligence, valuation, and enforcement are key areas addressed by global experts in patents, technology & investment.
JiNan Glasgow George has built her career from engineering to patent law and investment by finding non-conventional approaches, streamlining the path, and creatively using resources to provide answers. She supports large companies and entrepreneurs alike in using intellectual property for creating economic value and sustainable development. She believes that everyone has the power to create – and her work globally has focused on transforming ideas into reality and creating positive commercial impact from them.
JiNan’s background includes software, mechanical & electrical engineering, energy, financial technology, polymer fiber science, biomedical devices, surgical/dental devices and applications, fiber optics, textiles, and pulp/paper science. Her educational background includes degrees in engineering, law and theology from NC State University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Duke University, respectively.
Vladimir Lounegov is co-founder and CEO of Mbanq, a Silicon Valley-based FinTech. In three short years Mbanq developed and brought to market the next generation digital banking core and became one of the fastest growing and most comprehensive Banking Service (BaaS) providers in the world.
Vladimir is an expert at the intersection of financial services and technology. He gained deep leadership experience through diverse projects involving FinTech startups, investment, consulting, and M&A due diligence. His key skills are the ability to assemble and inspire top FinTech teams and to build ecosystems of investors, partners, developers and advisors.
Previously, Vladimir had a senior role at PwC’s FinTech practice, where he led a research and analysis team that evaluated over 1,600 FinTech startups worldwide. He also held consulting roles at EY and KPMG in which he worked to optimize the inner workings of banks.
Throughout his career, Vladimir collaborated closely with the most influential financial institutions in the world such as Citigroup and Barclays, as well as FinTech leaders like LendingClub and cutting edge innovators including Google.
Vladimir is adept at spotting and cultivating star-potential new talent. He is founder and co-founder of several other FinTechs and also helps to mentor FinTech startups through Mbanq’s FinTech accelerator program.
Vladimir gained international recognition in this capacity and served as a judge at the Citigroup Citi Mobile Challenge program.
As a graduate of the London School of Economics, holding a BSc in International Relations, Vladimir keeps up-to-date with global affairs and markets. In his spare time he also enjoys travel, skiing, good food, spending time with his family and the occasional trip to the gym.
Special Events Committee
Barry Moniês serves as President and CEO of Computronix, LLC an 18 year old technology solutions company that designs, implements and manages data networks and communications infrastructures for small to medium sized businesses in the financial, legal and medical industries.
Almost consecutively, from 2008 through 2015, Computronix has been included in the MSP mentor 501 list, a distinguished list of the world’s top managed technology service providers. In addition, From 2012 through 2015, Mr Moniês has been included in the yearly MSP mentor 250, a global list of the top 250 worldwide executives in the technology managed services industry.
Through Mr. Moniês leadership, Computronix has become one of the forefront managed technology service providers in the New York metropolitan area. Computronix specializes in Microsoft based server environments, multi-office networking (including international implementations), Communications/Exchange server implementation, network security assessment & implementation , data backup & recovery, remote services/VPN implementation, Cloud services, 24/7 monitoring and remote support/maintenance.
Mr. Moniês is also noted for his expertise in the area of internet security and the protection and recovery of electronic data. Several years ago, he was invited to participate in a Congressional Conference in Washington, D.C. with Homeland Security on issues relating to internet security and electronic terrorism. Mr. Moniês has also worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation on matters related to electronic security, internet forensics, and issues related to network intrusion.
In 2000, Mr. Moniês spun off Computronix’ security division as a separate incorporated entity. Under the name Computronix Security Systems, Inc. (CSSI), the new company built a state-of-the-art security operations center (SOC) and monitored more than $4 Billion in annual transactions & 50-100 hacker incidents per day. In 2002, Mr. Moniês successfully forged a strong alliance with Sony Electronics to jointly offer an Internet security service for small to medium sized businesses nationwide. In 2004, Mr. Moniês purchased CSSI from the investors and incorporated the business as part of Computronix’ managed services offering.
As a consummate entrepreneur, Over the years, Mr. Moniês also started and/or participated in various businesses including an exotic automotive sales and service business, a day-trading & stock advisory service, a commercial real estate investment firm, an international importing business and several Internet based ecommerce businesses.
Mr. Moniês is an active participant in local, regional and national business organizations. He has served on many Boards and continues to serve as Chairman of the Board of The Soundview Club, a private regional business club located in Stamford, CT. Mr. Moniês and his companies have received media attention in many publications including Forbes magazine, the Connecticut Business Magazine, the Fairfield County Business Journal and various other news outlets.
Mr. Moniês believes strongly in community involvement and has actively participated in several non-profit organizations including Stoneage Incorporated, where he held a position of Chairman of the Board, the United Way, the Outreach Program for the blind, the Special Olympics and many others.
Mr. Moniês enjoys spending time and traveling with his wife Indira and sons, Eric, Brandon and Julien. He also enjoys fishing, day trading and starting new businesses.
Jon Rappaport is the COO & co-founder of cybersecurity firm SPARQ Global, the commercial affiliate of Global Technical Systems (GTS), a national security and defense technology company headquartered in Virginia Beach, VA. SPARQ delivers all the benefits of classified-grade, military-proven solutions and services to protect our nations Department of Homeland Security designated critical infrastructure sectors and all mission-critical businesses from the exponential growth in cybersecurity related risks.
Mr. Rappaport is a technology executive and entrepreneur with over 30 years of international experience across diverse roles in senior management from early stage market-making technology ventures to multi-national sector leaders. He serves on SPARQ’s board of directors and is responsible for overseeing corporate operations, strategy, strategic partnerships, business development, and risk management.
Mr. Rappaport has a passion for anticipating market trends, then creating and converting innovative disruptive technologies into commercially successful enterprises, having co-founded multiple ventures, received multiple patents, and enjoyed multiple exits in the process.
Notable leadership roles include: CEO & Co-founder of CIRPLE (social business networking platform), CTO of AGL New Energy (Australia’s largest public electric utility), CSO & Co-founder of ZOME Energy Networks (MIT spin-out using AI to balance supply/demand on the electric grid), VP of Sales & Marketing for GridSense (smart grid sensor networks), VP & Co-founder of 4Home (early global IoT platform leader, acquired by Motorola), COO & Co-founder of KUBE (intelligent touchscreen controls), and Chairman & Founder of U-SNAP Alliance (501 (c)(3) non-profit standards organization).
Mr. Rappaport has learned invaluable lessons from both his successes and failures and is a firm believer that fierce commercial competition among innovative entrepreneurial enterprises forms the foundation necessary for a thriving economy and a financially secure future.
He is a devoted family man committed to giving back to his community and country, having served in numerous board and advisory roles for both start-up ventures and non-profit organizations. In his spare time Mr. Rappaport spent years as a talk radio host and actively supports and participates in various national security and foreign policy organizations.
Stanford Silverman is President of Silver Betty, Inc./Devotion Internet, Inc., Advertising and Marketing Agencies located in New York, N.Y. Silver Betty, Inc. is one of the largest proprietary education marketing and advertising companies in the United States. The agency has represented over 200 private and publicly traded universities, colleges and schools. The success of an investment in the Education Space requires the ability to leverage social media, search engine optimization, web site design, pay per click and pay per lead advertising to generate new student leads which translates to students in chairs and revenue. Stanford is an authority in these areas.
Stanford is a sought-after authority and is a contributor to Prentice Hall, Advertising Proceedures-7th. Edition-by Otto Kleppner, a contributing columnist in Advertising Age, Media Decisions & Radio-Television Age, and a guest lecturer at NYU, Pace, Hofstra & Cornell Universities on media negotiation and target marketing. In addition, he has served as a panelist on NBC Network-Demographic Marketing in the U.S. and as a radio personality with various stations on Marketing & Demographic Studies.
Stanford’s experiences have brought him to his present position and visionary of Minerva Capital Management. His attention has been focused on bringing together a powerful operational education management team headed by his colleague and co-founder, Dr. Jon Coover. The team has an impressive track record of R.O.I for its investors over three decades and continues to generate a significant rate of return for new investors.
Stanford holds his B.S. in Economics from Hofstra University and graduate, MBA work at Hofstra and at New York University.
Public events committee
Naia Toa is an independent trader, and aspiring portfolio manager. She is trained by the Institute of Trading and Portfolio Management, where she successfully completed master courses with distinction grades in both professional trading, and forex.
A NYC transplant, she moved to the financial capital of the world in January 2019 to immerse herself in the realm of finance, with the goal of building long-lasting relationships in the industry, and working to empower others. Naia has previously lived in Los Angeles, American Samoa, and the Midwest. She is very happy to now call New York City her home.
Naia has a diverse and unusual background. Syrian and German ancestry on her mother’s side, and Polynesian on her father’s. She became a ward of the court as a young child due to her mother’s passing. She has overcome great odds which developed in her grit and resilience, which are a benefit to her in her professional pursuits. It is her intention to be an example to others aspiring to tremendous goals, who are seeking to beat all the odds and attain immense success.
With a seasoned career in professional administration, where she served as a strategic business partner helping executives successfully reach their goals and in leadership and mentoring roles, Naia deeply believes that success is all about empowering others, and in the power of a community of success-oriented individuals. She is a participant and contributor to two global networks of high-performers in the fields of independent trading and professional administration.
Naia is a life-long learner and a voracious reader. She enjoys early morning workouts, kundalini and raja yoga, and she values building deep, long-lasting professional relationships.
Chair, Publications Committee
Paul Vancea is an aggressive entrepreneur and our youngest board member.
Paul started his career as a financial analyst for Lightower Fiber Networks, a $5B telecommunications company in MA. After 1 year, Paul decided it would take way too long to achieve his potential in the corporate world, so he quit his job and partnered with a couple of serial entrepreneurs and investors in Boston. He helped create and operate a few companies, as well as a startup investment fund. Paul also worked with Northeastern University’s Center for Research & Innovation to evaluate the market fit for 10 patents (biomedical, electro-magnetic, medical devices, etc.).
Most recently, Paul partnered with a retired transactions partner from Ernst & Young, to form a dental service organization (DSO) through which to consolidate the U.S. dental office industry.
Paul moved to San Diego, CA, from Romania with his family when he was 14. In high school, Paul was MVP of his football, wrestling and track teams while maintaining a nearly perfect GPA. His original plan was to win a football scholarship, but when learned in his junior year that he could win a scholarship for academic achievement, he quit all sports and focused on school.
Paul graduated Magna Cum Laude from Brandeis University, where he earned a triple major in Economics, Business, and Film Studies
Paul is currently working with the Massachusetts Corrections Institute (MCI) where he teaches FDIC’s “Money Smart” finance class, to both minimum and maximum security inmates. He is also a member of Toastmasters International, where he delivers frequent speeches and serves as Treasurer.
Paul likes to hike, box, work out, and be deliberate about doing something that scares him every single day. He has 11+ years’ experience of martial arts, including Tae Kwon Do, Jiu Jitsu, Wrestling and Boxing.