I was super excited to have Reynolds Bish on Accelerate OC. He’s had an illustrious career in the technology industry, mainly here in Southern California, and we had a lot to discuss. He is currently the CEO and a Member of the Board of Directors of Kofax, one of the largest software companies in Orange County, and he also has employees in 35 countries and over 25,000 customers. He’s on his second tour of duty with Kofax, and we talked about that and the fun world of private equity. In an incredibly unique story, he shared how Kofax was sold 3 times in less than 3 years - what an experience!
Reynolds is super involved in our community outside of his company. He’s on the board of OCTANe, where we serve together, and he’s also on the board of Trustees at The Pegasus School in Huntington Beach, one of my kids’ rival schools. Ha. He’s is on and has been on other company boards as well, both public and private companies. And before Kofax he co-founded and was CEO of Captiva Software in San Diego, and successfully grew and ran it for many years. It was a NASDAQ listed company and was eventually acquired by EMC Corporation.
He’s been an E&Y Entrepreneur of the year and a corporate director of the year. And like me, he’s a Big 10 guy (Penn State) for his university alma mater.
Another one of the things I was excited to talk with Reynolds about is the pace of change he’s seeing now vs. earlier in his career in the software industry.
Charles Antis possesses energy and passion like few people I've ever met. It just makes me want to hang out with him more. We spoke about his leadership and life philosophies, his company and its mission and purpose, and the amazing other work he’s doing in Orange County.
He is the founder and CEO of Antis Roofing and Waterproofing, a company he founded here in Orange County over 30 years ago. Charles describes them as "a shepherd in the community, purposed by helping healthy families to have safe, dry homes." He has firmly embraced and lives by the principle of doing well by doing good. We talked a lot about that in our conversation.
Charles is super involved in our community outside of his company. He’s on the board of Ronald McDonald House, Habitat for Humanity, an advisor to OneOC, and the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) For the last 10 years Antis has donated every roof installation of every home built by Habitat here in the county.
What I’ve seen from Charles as well in the innovator’s mindset. He’s constantly learning, trying and thinking about what more he can do or impact. It’s inspiring. He’s taken what many might consider a boring business and elevated it to the top of its game nationally, and been recognized for it. He says what he thinks and shares what he believes.
One of the things that struck me when we met at his office was how cool it was. I felt like I might be in a tech startup. We spoke about why he did that – for most of my crowd you’d never expect that from an old school business like roofing.
He’s also embraced social media to share his impact with the community, we discussed the open, authentic life and sharing it with others.
Ike Kavas joined me on Accelerate OC to share his story, leadership philosophy and current company, Ephesoft, where he is the founder and CEO. It's a company he founded here in Orange County nearly 10 years ago. They have built the first document capture platform for the cloud and serve global customers in areas of automated data entry, compliance and document processing.
Before Ephesoft he was a senior technical architect and professional services manager at Kofax, a longtime technology company based here as well. Ike is a technologist through and through and has committed to becoming a great entrepreneur, CEO and people leader as well, which I greatly admire about him.
To me Ike epitomizes the modern entrepreneur and leader – he has great passion and deeply cares for all the constituents around a company – customers, employees, investors and his broader community. We discussed that during our conversation.
Ike has won awards like the High Tech Innovation Awards, a “Best Place to Work” for 2019, Top Workplace for 2018 and he was an EY Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist in 2019. Ephesoft was even in the INC 500 fastest growing companies a few years ago.
He’s a super busy guy, traveling the world for his company, so I felt fortunate to have him on Accelerate OC to share his story.
Peter Polydor is the founder of Eureka Building and Eureka Hub, a 3-acre event, office and creative campus that many of our community has enjoyed and visited in the last 6 years since it opened. Peter’s vision was to support the startup community here with it, and it has. Eurekafest is an annual celebration of entrepreneurship that is one of the few can’t miss events in Orange County.
Peter joined me for our first remote conversation on Accelerate OC, in front of an audience of several dozen of our friends - this one at the OC4 Venture Studio in Costa Mesa.
Peter is also the President of Ergo Holdings, an investment group focused on Property, Technology, Workspaces and Diversified Investments in the US and Canada. Peter is an honorary professor, a venture capitalist and real estate investor. And he started out at one of the few local venture funds based in Orange County, Sail Venture Partners, where he quickly rose through the ranks in his few years there.
He’s been a fast-mover for a long time, winning awards like Power 30 under 30 and the Greek 40 under 40. He’s built companies and a successful investment firm. He has strong ties and experience here in Orange County, and also a perspective we can learn from as he's spent considerable time in an innovative global city, Toronto. We talked about those similarities and differences in our conversation as well.
Neel Grover is currently the founder and CEO of Indi, a software as a service video platform to help brands engage their customers and enable "individual commerce" (where the name Indi comes from). He shared more about Indi and how the opportunity came to him in our conversation. Before Indi he was CEO for a couple well-known e-commerce companies, Bluefly and Buy.com, and he’s been a board member for several other companies and advisor to both companies and private equity firms.
Neel started his career as an attorney, and we talked about his transition from elite firm, Brobeck, to the tech startup world, and he always felt like he'd go into the business world.
Neel has also been in Orange County for awhile, and graduated from UC Irvine, where he played on the tennis team. He's still an elite level competitive tennis player. Neel is a great example of a world-class leader raised here in our back yard.
It was a lot of fun to welcome Lori Torres to Accelerate OC to share her amazing journey with Parcel Pending, a company she founded in 2013. She was the founding CEO and remains in the role today, and I could hardly imagine anyone else ever replacing her!
Lori grew the company to over 150 people and thousands of customers around North America. She sold the company in January of this year to Neopost, a global company based in Paris. Prior to Parcel Pending she was an executive at The Irvine Company, where she oversaw a huge apartment portfolio. Lori had a very successful career in commercial real estate before becoming an entrepreneur.
Lori also has a great story in that she raised a significant amount of her early investment from a group of local investors, particularly folks in Tech Coast Angels here. They were greatly rewarded when she sold the company! Lori and Parcel Pending are a great example of a local entrepreneur and local investors working together to build a great company and achieve a great outcome. And hopefully they’re now reinvesting here in Orange County in the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Lori learned a ton through this process, as she’s shared with me, and she also had a lot of help along the way, which she talked about during our conversation. She’s also continued to grow Parcel Pending post-acquisition, so we talked a bit about life inside a bigger company after an acquisition.
She’s a great example of a world-class leader here in our community, accelerating things in her industry, her business and in Orange County.
Dan Heinfeld is currently the President of LPA, a leading national architecture firm, and he has been there for over 30 years. He leads their design and sustainability initiatives as well. LPA has more than 400 people in 6 offices in California and Texas. Their Orange County office, in Irvine, is right in the middle of one of the "innovation" areas here - University Research Park - and right next to Acorns, CloudVirga, Ready at Dawn, and the Beall Center for Applied Innovation at UCI, to name a few of his neighbors.
Dan is an architect with a strong sense of duty to leave a lasting impact on the built environment and has been focused on sustainability long before others did, combining that with design excellence. LPA has one of the largest portfolios of LEED certified projects in the US and has earned hundreds of awards for their designs.
LPA has led the way in adopting energy reduction and efficiency in their buildings, even creating their own Irvine office as a living laboratory for design, redevelopment and energy reduction. Dan was the recipient of the 2018 President’s Award from the American Institute of Architects-Orange County chapter in recognition of his contribution to local architecture.
Dan clearly leads by example with his innovative spirit. And while I tend to focus on innovation here in Orange County in areas like software, technology has infiltrated architecture in so many ways that I bet I can’t even appreciate. Dan and I talked about that and how technologically savvy today's talent is in his business. He is another great example of a world-class leader here in our community, accelerating things in his industry, his business and in Orange County.
Kurt Johnson is currently the founder and CEO of FreightPop, a cloud-based software that makes logistics simple. They give one login for all transportation management, including inbound and outbound freight management across all different freight types.
Kurt is a grizzled startup veteran, with six startups. He’s gone from his garage to $100M in revenue. He’s had 2 two exits and two acquisitions. He’s received the E&Y entrepreneur of the year award. And he tells me that with FreightPop, this is his last one. And to him, his most important.
He founded Horizon Technology over 20 years ago in his garage and did PC refurbishing and parts distribution, and guided the company to twenty years of consistent growth and profitability. He also reached $100M in revenue with it, as I mentioned earlier.
Kurt is passionate about building an inspiring culture and builds an environment of opportunity and engagement. He’s created an employee Hopes & Dreams program, he requires all new staff to complete our ten-week leadership training class and gives all employees paid time off to volunteer in their community.
He’s also a smart guy and learner, having graduated college with high honors and recently taking a data science class at UC Irvine. There was so much to learn from this conversation!
Scott Duffy is driven by one simple idea: helping people live their dreams through entrepreneurship. He uses his media channels, speaking and best-selling books, to help people breakthrough in their lives and businesses. He’s worked with many of the world’s top entrepreneurs and innovators, and he lives in our back yard here in Orange County.
Scott started his career working for Tony Robbins, and went on to work for companies that became big media brands like CBS Sportsline, NBC Internet, and FOXSports.com. He then founded Smart Charter, an online booking tool for private aviation, which was acquired by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group.
Entrepreneur Magazine has listed him as a Top 10 Keynote Speaker. He’s often asked to join discussions on TV and radio stations like CNBC, FOX News, and CBS Radio. Scott is also Co-Host of “Business & Burgers, Presented by Microsoft”.
Scott has worked with and interviewed countless other world-class businesspeople and athletes – he’s way more qualified to be on Accelerate OC than I am! I tried my best to be a good interviewer. I’m grateful that he joined us; once again it showcases just how many amazing people call Orange County home.
Dawn Reese joined me for a great Accelerate OC conversation, and we explored her early career in the technology industry and then her transition to helping establish the Software Council of Southern California (now Technology Council Southern California) and eventually joining amazing non-profit, The Wooden Floor in Santa Ana.
She is an author, consultant, mentor, and national speaker in the areas of board governance, strategic planning, fundraising, and creative youth development. For the last 10 years she’s been with The Wooden Floor, with most of those years as CEO. She shared much more about this organization and its mission and impact during our discussion.
What Dawn won’t share, so I will, is that she and this organization are often honored - 2019 Women Breaking Barriers Award from Women of Influence, the 2018 Founders Award from the Institute for Community Impact, the 2016 Center for Leadership Award for Innovation from Cal State Fullerton and a Difference Makers Award from the Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce to name a few. She’s also on a bunch of other boards – they want her energy and impact there, too; such as One OC, Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce, The Board of Advisors at Mihaylo College at Cal State Fullerton, and Orange County Business Council Latino Education Attainment Committee. The Wooden Floor has also been awarded as a Best Place to Work here in Orange County.
Dawn also continues a trend of guests with leadership positions in their college greek house – I’m going to have to study what it is about chapter presidents that leads to leadership and innovation later in life.