All of the mentors featured below, in addition to giving of their time and knowledge, have given a minimum of $5,000 in support of the program.
Rick, a lifelong entrepreneur, started his first business - a bicycle repair shop - after his father died, when he was 13. Since then, he started 20+ companies. Rick is 7th of nine children raised by a mother with serious, life-long mental issues. Since 1994, he’s been the founder & CEO of a financial holding company, which made 120 investments. He is the co-founder and five-time Chairman of the Gathering of Titans Program, an annual, CEO-only event held at MIT. He graduated from Rutgers with a degree in engineering; and resides in Dallas with his wife and four children.
As a Partner, Alan Dreeben has played a major role in taking the family-owned business, Block Distributors of San Antonio now operating as Republic National Distributing Company, from a company with revenues in the middle double-digit millions to current annual revenues of well over $6 billion. And it’s standing well up in the list of 100 largest privately-owned companies in the U.S. His story of that growth and the road ahead is both fascinating and inspirational. His contributions, both past and present, to the community, the Texas Educational System, and the wine and spirits wholesalers’ industry require several pages, but among them are:
- Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) – Regional Board of Directors
- San Antonio Symphony Wine Auction – Co-Chairperson/Founder
- Santa Rosa’s Children’s Hospital Foundation – Board Member
- Alamo Heights ISD – Board of Trustees/President
- Texas State University System – Board of Regents/Chairman
- UTSA – College of Business/Advisory
- State of Texas Comptroller’s Business Advisory Council
- Texas Tech – Texas Wine Marketing Research Institute, Director
- Wine & Spirits Wholesale of America – Chairman of the Board (2014-2015)
- Wine Market Council – Director, Executive Committee/Chairman
- New World Wine & Food Organization – Man of the Year
- University of Texas at Austin – McCombs School of Business – Foundation Trustee; and Member of the Advisory Council
- University of Texas Development Board
- University of Texas/Texas System - Chancellor’s Council
Mr. York put it “all on the line” to start Paycom DFW in 2002. Cashing in all of his assets and taking on debt, he states “those early start-up days with my business partner were some of the most memorable and exhilarating times of my life.” Within five years, Mr. York accomplished a successful merger with Paycom and a highly lucrative Private Equity event with Welsh, Carson, Anderson, and Stowe. (One of the nation’s oldest and largest private equity firms). In April of 2014 Paycom Software, Inc went public on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol (PAYC). Today it has a Market Cap of over $3.5 Billion. Paycom has over 2,500 employees, and continues to be one of the highest growth enterprises in the nation with a 5 year compound annual growth rate of 44%. Mr. York holds the position of Chief Sales Officer and Leads a sales force of over 500 remarkable Executives.
Before Founding Paycom DFW in 2002, Mr. York had a long and successful career at a legacy HCM and Payroll provider. Holding many management positions including Vice President of Sales for the Major Accounts Division, Mr. York was a top performer and hired and developed many highly successful and decorated executives.
He earned his Masters of Business Administration from Baylor University and his Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from Texas Tech. He Lives in Double Oak Texas.
Doug Renfro is President of Renfro Foods. He oversees new product development and helps manage a number of administrative areas of the business, including purchasing, legal, information systems, human resources and sales. Reared in the family business, Doug has spent a majority of his career working in a number of different capacities at Renfro Foods. As a teenager, he worked in production, while in college he weighed out all the spices for daily production. Doug currently serves on the executive committees of Casa Mañana, a not-for-profit theater organization and the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, a non-profit conservation and preservation institute. Doug is also on the McDonald Observatory Board of Visitors, the Chile Pepper Institute’s Advisory Council and TCU’s Neeley School of Business Entrepreneurship Advisory Board.
Norm Brodsky, an out-of-area mentor for the Biz Owners’ Ed program, is a successful long-time entrepreneur who has started and developed numerous companies, including a three-time Inc. 500 company. Norm began writing the Street Smarts column in Inc. magazine with Bo Burlingham in 1995. The column has proved to be enormously popular with readers of the magazine and has received many awards. Norm co-authored the book Street Smarts, published in 2008, with Bo Burlingham.
In 1979, he started Perfect Courier, a messenger service based in Manhattan. Within a few years, it was a thriving enterprise with offices around the country, appearing on Inc.'s annual listing of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in America for three consecutive years.
He next launched CitiStorage out of a rented warehouse in Long Island City, N.Y., later moving it to the Brooklyn waterfront where he began building warehouses of his own.
In 1999, Brodsky launched a secure document destruction business, U.S. Document Security, as an adjunct to CitiStorage. In December 2007, he sold both those companies, plus the delivery business, to Allied Capital for a reported $110 million. The combined entity is still run by the management team hat Brodsky and his wife, Elaine, developed over the years.
Barron's has ranked Ken as one of the top financial advisors in America in the last two years. He believes that integrity and dedication to each client is a top priority and he greatly values building long lasting personal relationships with his clients. Ken and his wife Fay have been married since 1985 and have three beautiful daughters. He is passionate about his business, loves tennis, skiing and traveling. Ken and Fay have enjoyed the relationship they have developed with The Boys and Girls Club of Collin County and other philanthropic organizations.. He graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science degree and from Southern Methodist University with an MBA.
Rex Kurzius is a serial entrepreneur. Since the age of 23, Rex has started and sold numerous companies. Rex’s expertise is in staffing services and software. His vision has resulted in tremendous growth and recognition for his companies including: Deloitte & Touche's "Technology Fast 500," Deloitte & Touche's "Texas Crescent Technology Fast 500," Southern Methodist University's "Dallas 100 Fastest-Growing Private Companies," Metroplex Technology Business Council's "Tech Titans," Inc. Magazine's "500 Fastest-Growing Private Companies" and Inc. Magazine's "Hire Power Award 2012." Rex is also the former President of the Dallas Chapter of Entrepreneurs' Organization and former Chairman of the North Texas Young Presidents' Organization. Today, Rex focuses his time working as an investor in LRK Partners, a holding company that makes investments and operates several businesses. Rex currently serves as Founder and President of the Timberhorn family of staffing companies as well as a SAAS software company called Asset Panda. In addition, Rex serves on the board of, and is an investor in, several other operating companies. Each business is a wholly-owned subsidiary of LRK operating under its own management, production and sales teams. Rex is passionate about entrepreneurship. He is a sought-after speaker and donates a significant amount of his time to mentoring entrepreneurs. Rex is a graduate of Southern Methodist University and lives with his wife and three children in Frisco, Texas.
Fresh out of the military with a lot of ambition and very little money, Joe Kesterson, his brother and a couple of friends scraped together enough money to open one mobile home sales lot under the name "Magna Homes." The four entrepreneurs developed a great sales training program and, with a lot of hard work, Magna Homes grew to 23 lots in carefully-selected locations throughout Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. After only 11 years, Joe and his partners sold out to Palm Harbor Homes for 54 Million Dollars. A good deal of the consideration was in Palm Harbor Homes' stock which subsequently split three times. Over the past 20 years, Joe has established an outstanding track record as a successful entrepreneur in banking and other ventures. Currently, Joe is in the process of launching another mobile home sales company in the Southwest. His company is Titan Homes Inc., and Joe is a major partner and President of this newest venture.
Ron Hellstern has more than 40 years experience in medical practice management, both in hospital-based and office-based practices. He has held many Emergency Department Medical Directorships, as well as having been the Founder, President, and Chairman of a 17-unit urgent care network, a 23-hospital regional emergency department staffing group and a 500-provider multi-specialty group. Ron is currently the Principal and President at Medical Practice Productivity Consultants in Dallas. He also serves as the Principal of Hospital Practice Consultants LLC. He graduated with Honors from the University of Missouri School of Medicine. Furthermore, Dr. Hellstern engages in practice management consulting as a way to give back and stay active in the field.
Tony Hartl founded Planet Tan in 1995 with three locations. In 2008 he sold Planet Tan with 17 locations and 160 employees. Tony Hartl is the CEO of PAH Capital. In addition to his contributions to the community, Tony has a passion for mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs. He currently sits on the board of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), an organization dedicated to helping young people from low-income communities build skills and unlock their entrepreneurial creativities. Additionally, Tony has been a guest lecturer at The Caruth Institute of Entrepreneurship at SMU’s Cox Business School. His achievements have been published in numerous well-known print media, including Inc. Magazine, Fortune Small Business and The Dallas Morning News.