Michael Byrne

Michael Byrne, Chairman, Enterprise Development Corporation of South Florida board and CEO, Emphasys Software

Michael Byrne has been Chief Executive Officer, Emphasys Computer Solutions Inc. since August 2003. Mr. Byrne joined Emphasys in March 2002 as Vice President of Operations. Mr. Byrne served as a Director at Trapeze Operating Group, where he was in charge of product management and professional services. He has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McMaster University.

Emphasys Software provides an array of software solutions and related services to thousands of entities in the public and private sectors, including affordable housing agencies, local municipalities, real estate brokers and agents and financial lenders.

From its beginnings over 35 years ago, Emphasys has grown to encompass four divisions – Public Housing, Housing Finance, Treasury & Debt Management and Real Estate – with offices in California, Michigan, Florida and Ontario.




Carlos J. Abarca

Carlos J. Abarca, Partner and Corporate Lawyer at Foley & Lardner LLP

Carlos J. Abarca is a partner and corporate lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP where his practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions, commercial and corporate transactions, and cross border deals. He has extensive experience working along-side counsel from foreign jurisdictions, and has particular experience and familiarity with the legal systems, culture and business practices of Latin America. Mr. Abarca is fully bilingual in English and Spanish. He is a member of the firm’s Transactional & Securities, Private Equity and Venture Capital, and Latin America Practices.

Prior to his legal career, Mr. Abarca served as vice president of Corporate Finance at Chase Manhattan Bank where he was involved in structuring financings for acquisitions, working capital needs and long term assets both in the U.S. and in Latin America.

In his law practice, Mr. Abarca has worked with some of the largest firms in the country and has represented investors and owners in sales, acquisitions and raising capital, technology companies with corporate matters and lenders and borrowers in domestic and cross border transactions.


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Ron Antevy

Ron Antevy, President & CEO, e-Builder

Ron Antevy teamed up with his brother Jon in 1998 to lead the company.  Under his leadership,    e-Builder has consistently grown over 30% per year – profitably and without debt. Prior to e-Builder, Ron held various senior management positions in the construction and environmental services industries, including regional Director of Operations for Waste Management, where he managed 19 facilities with 200 employees and annual revenues in excess of $150 million. Ron is a graduate of the University of Florida College of Engineering, with a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering. He is member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Florida.  Ron is a member of the Board of Directors of the Enterprise Development Corporation of South Florida and the Software Division of the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA).


Howard Gitten

Howard Gitten, Counsel at Edwards Wildman Palmer LP 

Having worked both in-house at a cutting edge photonics company, and in private practice, Howard brings a unique perspective to technology law. He brings a business perspective to technology issues and his technology background to business issues. As a registered patent attorney, Howard knows how best to protect a client’s unique assets, make them marketable and use intellectual property for competitive advantage. Howard has advised his clients in instituting cradle-to-grave IP regimes, to licensing IP and building joint development programs around a client’s IP.

Howard’s clients have ranged from basement tinkerers to privately held start-ups to Fortune 100 companies throughout the world. He counsels across a range of technologies including cloud computing, lasers, fiber optics, nanotechnology including MEMS devices and manufacture thereof, toys, RF identification devices, laboratory support equipment, catheters and other medical devices, and computer software and hardware, including printer architectures, computer hibernation protocols, encryption techniques, and optical scanning and displays. In addition to protecting technology, Howard advises his clients when navigating the treacherous waters of other’s property rights through the conducting of patent and trademark validity and infringement investigations.

Howard is certified by The Florida Bar as a specialist in Intellectual Property Law. This certification is the first in Intellectual Property Law in the United States. He is a member of the first class of Board Certified Intellectual Property Attorneys in Florida.

Miami Marketing Agency

Jacques Hart

Jacques Hart, Co-founder and CEO at Roar Media

Jacques Hart is co-founder and CEO of Roar Media, an integrated marketing-communications and digital-communications consultancy. He specializes in helping traditional companies transform their legacy business operations and marketing programs into next-generation platforms that help increase market share, conversions and revenues.

Jacques is nationally known in digital and earned media for his focus on delivering winning results during more than 15 years of providing strategic counsel to leading Internet enterprises and Fortune 500 companies. For Jacques, the key is a bias for media-agnostic programs, focus on quality customer and user experiences, along with innovative ideas, quantitative analysis and effective communication.

As CEO of Roar Media, he integrates advanced Internet marketing strategies, including social marketing, search engine optimization and blogger relations, into clients’ traditional marketing programs.

A graduate of the University of Washington’s School of Business with a degree in marketing and advertising, Jacques served in the U.S. Peace Corps as a business-development volunteer helping establish local businesses. His hobbies include exercise, skiing, road-biking, cooking, travel, playing electric guitar, social networking and staying abreast of Internet developments. Jacques is a board member of the MIT Enterprise Forum and The South Florida Technology Alliance, and an honorary member of the Wharton Club of South Florida.

To learn more, visit Roar Media.


Jack Karabees

Jack Karabees, Vice President of Sales and Marketing

Karabees has spent the past 25 years successfully establishing and executing high-growth sales and marketing plans for enterprise analytics and automation-focused technology companies, initially in manufacturing and supply chain and growing to encompass healthcare, hospital and large commercial real estate operations. Jack currently serves as Vice President of Sales and Marketing with Entic, a unique energy-specific technology platform designed to analyze and optimize consumption in all energy-consuming systems within any large enterprise.

Most recently, Jack was Executive Vice President of Operations and Sales with Itopia, www.itopia.us, a cloud-based, rapid deployment platform for both cloud-enabled infrastructure and enterprise software applications. Prior to joining Itopia, Karabees was President and CEO of Consult A Doctor, www.consultadoctor.com, an enterprise healthcare technology and services company from start-up through their successful acquisition by Kleiner Perkins-backed Teladoc. Mr. Karabees previously held the titles of Executive Vice President for Hudson Capital, www.hudcap.com, a $1 Billion+ investment and real estate development firm, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing of eLabor, from start-up through acquisition by ADP, as well as Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Enterprise Project through its acquisition by Microsoft.

Mr. Karabees served honorably in the United States Air Force and is a contributor to and Board Member of the Enterprise Development Corporation of Florida, www.edc-tech.org. He is also the Co-Founder of the Miami Innovation Fund, dedicated to funding seed-stage companies in Miami and Dade County, FL.

Mr. Karabees served honorably in the United States Air Force and is the Co-Founder of the Miami Innovation Fund, dedicated to funding seed-stage companies in Miami and Dade County, FL.


Gregory A. Nelson

Gregory A. Nelson, Partner at Novak Druce Connolly Bove + Quigg

Gregory A. Nelson represents clients in all phases of patent, trademark and copyright law, including prosecution, licensing and litigation. Mr. Nelson’s clients include a number of Fortune 100 companies and universities whom he assists in developing patent strategies related to biotechnology, chemistry, materials science, and computer and internet technology.

Mr. Nelson has extensive experience in the biosciences area, where he represents a number of universities and a national laboratory in obtaining, evaluating, and licensing patents. Mr. Nelson is also very active in BioFlorida, Florida’s independent statewide bioscience organization, serving on the Board of Directors and as the Secretary and General Counsel of the 2007 Executive Committee. He also co-chaired BioFlorida’s 2005 and 2006 AnnualConference SteeringCommittees and is a past chair and member of the Executive Committee of the Enterprise Development Council. Mr. Nelson is a founding member and past chair of the Florida Chapter of the Licensing Executives Society and a frequent lecturer, panelist and moderator on intellectual property topics. For the third consecutive year Mr. Nelson has been named a Florida Super Lawyer for Intellectual Property Law, 2010-2012 and has been listed a Best Lawyers in America®, 2011.

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