Our Team

Bob Cohen, Business Advisor

Bob Cohen has been at Braintree since 2004. He is a Certified Business Advisor (CBA®), a Certified Global Business Professional, and completed the Incubator Management Certification Program of the International Business Incubation Association. As part of the StartupNEO regional network, Bob has worked with hundreds of startup entrepreneurs. He has a Ph.D. in Higher Education from Ohio University, an MBA from Franklin University, and a B.A. from the University of Akron. His entrepreneurial background is in insurance and broadcasting.

Bob has been on the faculty of Ashland University's Dauch College of Business and Economics and The Ohio State University at Mansfield.

Bob Leach, Business Advisor

Bob Leach is a business advisor and mentor, heading up our community effort to assist startup and disadvantaged entrepreneurs. He also works with Braintree’s tenant companies, and several other Northeast Ohio business clients. He serves as a mentor in the I-Corps Program of the National Science Foundation and the University of Akron Research Foundation.

His entrepreneurial background is in the retail and construction industries. He is a graduate of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program and completed the Incubator Management Certification Program of the International Business Incubation Association.

Jack Stewart, Legal Mentor

Jack Stewart is a practicing attorney, a CPA, and a financial planner in Ontario. He advises Braintree clients on business structure, legal compliance, contract law, distributor agreements, and other decisions and basic legal concerns for startups and relatively new businesses.

Jake Ward, Intellectual Property Mentor

Jake Ward is a registered patent attorney in Tiffin. He is admitted to practice in Ohio, Michigan, before the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and as a non-resident agent in Canada. He is also the founding author of the Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog, which provides light commentary on the practice of patent law, trademark law, and science & technology. He works with Braintree clients who need to make decisions about the intellectual property challenges that startups face.

Jay Miller, Digital Marketing Mentor

Jay Miller is the CEO of DRM Productions, a full service video production and digital marketing company. He understands the "messaging" needs of startups. He can help companies get their ideas out to employees, customers and suppliers. He represents a creative team that is experienced in Video, Animation, Web Design, Programing, Graphic Design, Print, and Digital Signage. 

Jackie Williams, ESP Market Research Mentor

Jaclyn works with entrepreneurs to validate product and target market assumptions across varied industries and technologies. She assists Braintree clients in planning and conducting both primary and secondary market research. She also works closely with internal stakeholders across the organization as well as external customers, clients, and partners to understand, document, and analyze data. She has been with JumpStart, the Entrepreneurial Signature Program, and StartupNEO since 2015 and holds a BBA in marketing from Cleveland State University.

Russ Donda, ESP Bioscience & Medical Device Mentor

Russ Donda is a regional Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) at StartupNEO for medical device and bioscience technologies. He has more than 25 years of management experience at both executive and entrepreneurial levels. As an EIR, he helps Braintree clients assess the commercial feasibility of their technology; with that feasibility confirmed, he assists in creating and implementing their development plan and ushers them through the local seed funds. Russ was the founding CEO and chairman of the board for ViewRay Incorporated, a that company developed a novel form of radiation therapy.

Dana Allender, ESP InformationTechnology Mentor

Dana Allender is a regional Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) at StartupNEO for information technology companies. He has considerable experience working with emerging technology startups and small businesses to build "revenue roadmaps" to create scalable and sustainable growth. He also provides sales strategy and leadership advice. He has worked with fintech and regtech companies like Clinc and HEXANIKA. He is a mentor with JumpStart's Burton D. Morgan Mentoring Program and has worked with cohorts at Bounce Innovation Hub and Fintech 71.

Bob Sopko, ESP Information Technology Mentor

Bob Sopko is also a regional Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) at Startup NEO, specializing in mentoring Information Technology startup entrepreneurs throughout northeast Ohio. He also works for Case Western University where he can give Braintree clients an opportunity to work in "think[box]" which is a “maker space” on the campus of Case Western Reserve University. Sopko got into the startup world himself after CVS bought his former employer, Revco. In 1998, he joined 1-Jobs.com, which ran career fairs and websites for recruiting. He briefly worked for Things Remembered and OverDrive before joining Case’s information technology department in 2003.

Tim Byrd, Sales and Marketing Mentor

Tim Byrd brings more than 25 years of successful leadership experience in the corporate world. He assists startups develop the sales and marketing strategies that can create revenue for sustained growth and viability. He works with companies to develop compensation plans and sales management structures.


Dave Lorz, Sales and Marketing Mentor

Dave Lorz is president of Level Up Sales Solutions. Through the Sales Xceleration Program he provides tailored solutions to help small to mid-sized companies rapidly improve revenue and bottom-line results. He has extensive experience in an array of areas delivering targeted solutions for accelerated business growth and sustainable commercial transformation. His expertise can position startups to "Level Up" their sales functions so that they can focus more on managing their business most effectively.

Jared Dosch, Insurance Mentor

Jared Dosch can help small businesses lay out a good finaincial blueprint to position themselves for future growth. He is an employee benefits specialists who can help company owners provide themselves and their employees appropriate health care insurance.

Michael Cohen, Insurance Mentor

Michael Cohen has been with Northwestern Mutual for nearly 20 years. He is a disbility income specialists and works with the type of "key person" insurance that investors oftwen require of company founders. 

Jon Grimm, ESP Financial Mentor

As Chief Financial Officer-In-Residence, Jon provides experience and expertise to high-growth, early-stage companies. He advises entrepreneurs on a broad spectrum of business matters to help companies progress, develop and increase in value.                                                                                     Prior to JumpStart, Jon was a software Entrepreneur-In-Residence (EIR) for the state’s Northeast Ohio Entrepreneurial Signature Program based out of the Youngstown Business Incubator.  Before the EIR role, Jon was the CFO/COO and an investor in Knotice, which was sold in March of 2014.  Knotice was a digital marketing software and services firm in the data management arena which grew significantly over a ten year period.  Prior to Knotice, Jon was an investment banker, private equity investor and management consultant.

Ed Klesack, Financial Planning Mentor

 Ed Klesack specializes in estate planning, retirement planning, pension planning, and business continuation planning. He has conducted a number of farm succession planning workshops around Ohio, and is a frequent speaker for financial services industry seminars and educational programs. He has an undergraduate degree in business and an MBA from Ashland University.

crossmenu linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram