JEDCO Announces 2017 Pitch Competition Judges

Aimee Quirk

NEW ORLEANS – With less than one week from the 2017 JEDCO Challenge powered by First NBC Bank, event organizers with the Jefferson-Parish based competition announced the panel who will judge the five innovative startup companies pitching for a chance to win $20,000 in direct capital and additional in-kind services.

         Emceed by Mike Hoss, founder of Hoss Communications and former WWL Eyewitness News Morning Anchor, the JEDCO Challenge is scheduled for Monday, March 20, at Southport Hall, 200 Monticello Ave., at 1:30 p.m.

         JEDCO sought out five business leaders with expertise in entrepreneurship to help determine the winner of the fifth annual pitch competition. These business leaders serve a wide range of industries valuable to startup companies' development:


• Aimee Quirk, Chief Executive Officer


         Quirk is the CEO of InnovationOchsner (iO), an innovation lab and accelerator founded by Ochsner Health System in 2015 to reimagine and revolutionize the experience and delivery of healthcare in a way that creates value. Quirk joined Ochsner in 2015 with more than 15 years of experience in law, economic development and public affairs. She served for over four years as the Senior Advisor for Economic Development in the Office of New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Prior to her public service, Quirk was a partner at Jones Walker, where she practiced corporate and business litigation. She received her J.D. from Tulane University School of Law and her B.S. in Finance from Louisiana State University. She currently serves as Vice-Chair of the New Orleans Business Alliance Board, a partnership between business and government to promote economic development, and on the Tulane Law Review Board of Advisory Editors.

         For more information


• Daryl Schloz, Angel Investor

NO/LA Angel Network

         Schloz serves as a Board Member of the NO/LA Angel Network and he is the president of Fabricari LLC, a custom metal fabrication company located in the City of Kenner. Prior to his work in New Orleans, Schloz earned an engineering degree from Iowa State and spent 38 years working for John Deere in a variety of capacities, including Engineering, Manufacturing, Human Resources, Reliability, and General Management, which have taken him to 40 countries around the world. In his final years at John Deere he was the General Manager for the company's worldwide sugarcane harvesting equipment business, which brought him to Louisiana in 2002. Schloz has done a significant amount of business and management consulting during his time in the Greater New Orleans area.

         For more information


• George Raymond Seamon, Jr., Senior Vice President

First NBC Bank

         Seamon is a licensed pharmacist who, after graduation, founded IMR Corporation, a medical supply and safety equipment distribution company servicing the commercial and industrial marketplace. Seamon's marketing, administrative and managerial abilities have enabled him to establish and successfully grow several businesses throughout his career. He established Work Zone, Inc., a highway traffic control and guardrail contractor, in the 1980s, which contributed significantly to the rebuilding of roads in South Louisiana. The business grew to become the largest in the state. Seamon also founded Traffic Solutions, Inc. in the early 2000s and served as a managing partner in commercial and residential housing developments as well as restaurant and entertainment establishments. Seamon was the Executive Vice President/ Partner of Louisiana Landscape Specialty, Inc., one of the largest landscape contractors in Louisiana. Today, he serves as Senior Vice President with First NBC Bank.

         For more information


• Sherif Ebrahim, Director of Entrepreneurship & Innovation Education

Tulane University

         Ebrahim is Chairman of Strategic Management Group and Managing Partner of SMG Capital, nationally recognized Private Equity Firms. He is a Fellow of the American College Healthcare Executives and also Fellows of NAPH, NYU, and Health Systems. His PhD in Strategy & Innovation from Oklahoma State University focused on the moderating effects of context on strategic performance outcomes in Fortune 1000 innovative organizations. He is a recognized expert of Health Systems, Strategy and Innovation and has extensive CEO, senior executive, strategy, and operational experience with many large corporations, health systems, and organizations. He is a professor of Strategy & Innovation at Tulane University as well as the Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Education. Ebrahim served as CEO of several large corporations and in a senior executive management position in a Fortune 100 company. Two U.S. Presidents, the Secretary of the U.S. Department Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and a Fortune 100 Company, nationally recognized him for his work in healthcare and strategic leadership. He was also appointed to professional leadership positions by two Louisiana Governors, and recognized on several occasions for his health care policy, innovation and leadership by the President of the United States.

         For more information


• Todd Tournillon, Director

Postlethwaite & Netterville

         Tournillon, CPA, is a Director in Postlethwaite & Netterville's Accounting and Assurance Services Group. Tournillon joined the firm in 2000 and became a Director in 2007. His public accounting experience includes providing assurance services for clients in a variety of industries, including construction, hospitality, gaming, transportation, government, oilfield services, auto dealerships, and non-profit. Tournillon is heavily involved with P&N's college recruiting programs and is involved with professional organizations at various local universities.

         For more information



         "We are grateful for the support of the business leaders serving on our 2017 JEDCO Challenge judges' panel," says Jerry Bologna, JEDCO president and CEO. "These individuals represent the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Greater New Orleans region. Their experiences starting a business or working with entrepreneurs on a regular basis ideally positions them to help us choose our 2017 JEDCO Challenge winner. This competition could not happen without support from business leaders like the ones serving on our panel this year."

         More than 20 companies applied to participate in the 2017 JEDCO Challenge. It is the only Jefferson Parish-based pitch competition held during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW) presented by IBERIABANK, which is produced by The Idea Village in partnership with the Solomon Group.

         The five startups chosen to compete will have just seven minutes each to present a live pitch in front of the business panel. They will be scored based upon the live pitch, a condensed business plan submitted in advance of the competition, and a crowd vote. Crowd vote makes up 25 percent of the score, so be sure to join us to vote for your favorite startup company.

         The startups competing in the 2017 JEDCO Challenge span a diverse range of industries. JEDCO interviewed each of the company founders. Watch their videos below to learn more:


• BioAesthetics: Nicholas Pashos

         This Tulane University spin-out developed a tissue-engineered nipple-areolar complex to improve reconstruction options for breast cancer patients after they undergo mastectomies.

         Watch the video here

         For more information


• Chosen Diagnostics: Sunyoung Kim

         Chosen Diagnostics' developed a biomarker test to diagnose a common and life-threatening  gastrointestinal disease, called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), in preterm infants with low birth weight.

         Watch the video here

         For more information


• Drone Party Planet: Phil Taylor

         Drone Party Planet offers onsite "Drone Birthday Parties," engaging drone-build classes and flight rentals to drone-flyers of all ages. The on-the-go modular enclosure allows multiple people to fly drones at the same time in a safe environment.

         Watch the video here

         For more information


• IDIYA: Domenic Giunta

         IDIYA is leading the "Makerspace" movement in the Greater New Orleans region, allowing anyone to access 21st century machines and tools with a membership. Additionally, IDIYA outfits schools with "Makerspace" classrooms, so students can learn the skills they'll need to be an asset to the workforce down the road.

         Watch the video here

         For more information


• Southern City Farm: Andrew Prat

         Southern City Farm is a local urban farm located in a 1,100 square foot, climate controlled warehouse in Elmwood, LA. The company provides the freshest specialty produce available on a consistent basis to chefs, restaurants, and markets throughout the Jefferson and Orleans Parishes.

          Watch the video here

         For more information


         2017 JEDCO Challenge Sponsors include First NBC Bank, 365 Connect, Ardyn Thriffiley and Associates,  Biz New Orleans, Carver, Darden, Koretzsky, Tessier, Finn, Blossman & Areaux, LLC, Connect2Sell, Gillis, Ellis & Baker, InnovationOchsner, Jefferson Chamber of Commerce,

Louisiana Small Business Development Center, and Postlethwaite & Netterville.

         2017 JEDCO Challenge Supporting Partners include Jefferson Parish, Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, The Idea Village, The Louisiana Small Business Development Center, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, Greater New Orleans, Inc., and the New Orleans BioInnovation Center.

         Register for the JEDCO Challenge here


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