March 2016 – New Mentor of the Month – Dave Hartman

Some Background on Dave…..

Born in New Jersey, but having lived most of my life in the western states, I graduated college in San Diego, raced bikes for a bit in Boulder, CO, and eventually found myself in Seattle where I planted some roots in starting my professional career.  As the country was in recession at the time, I took a few odd jobs, one of which was a temp role within Microsoft’s Inside Sales department. Shortly after I became a team lead and then was converted to a full time position after which I never looked back.

Upward mobility came quickly and when the opportunity presented itself to move to Reno to open their North American Operations Center I jumped at it.  From inside sales, to anti-piracy, to security and compliance, the move gave me the opportunity to work in a global supply chain operations capacity and, in the process, allowed me see the world. Twenty countries and 110 cities later I decided to shift my focus to project management oversight in the areas of fulfillment and transportation wherein experience gained brought the opportunity of Chief of Staff for to a General Manager.  I ended my tenure with Microsoft as a senior manager within the launch and capability licensing segment having gained extensive expertise in operational responsibilities to include organizational restructuring, strategic planning, budgeting oversight and a relentless commitment to continuous improvement.

My diverse experience base has allowed me to be particularly effective in the areas of programmatic development and implementation, increasing efficiencies, lowering costs and ensuring compliance to programmatic and industry standards.  One of my many strengths is my passion for growing, motivating, and leading global fast-paced talented teams, including remote domestic and international employees. The path taken above led me to the decision of making the shift from corporate America to that of an entrepreneurial upstart of my own through Dogma Consulting, LLC; of which I am the founder and CEO.

As the firm continues to grow, my partner and I enthusiastically look to leverage our collective backgrounds in assisting start-ups, small, and medium businesses in the greater Reno area in realizing their full potential through sound and proven business principles; focusing on strategic optimization as well as customer and compliant business excellence.  At the same time, we take great pride in building long-term, positive, and professional relationships across the community. Having deeply integrated myself into the community over course of 18+ years, my aim is to assist the business community to succeed within and throughout the growth cycles we are recently seeing come to fruition.

This is an exciting time in Reno, as the Biggest Little City is poised to become the Best Little City in the west.  – Dave lives in Reno with his wife Melissa, son Chase and heads up the Audi Reno-Tahoe cycling team. Most recently he has been appointed to the board of Tour de Nez Outreach. In his down time, Dave enjoys cycling, skiing, hiking, tennis, travel, and all that the area has to offer.

Why Reno and being a VMS mentor?

Having lived in 5 states and a multitude of locations in each, I came to Reno in January of 1998 and I’ve been here longer than any other place I’ve known. What started as an opportunity 18 years ago has become a home, and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. From its location surrounded by majestic mountains and Lake Tahoe, to its access of endless outdoor pursuits, Reno is a diamond in the rough that’s about to shine like never before. While at Microsoft, and having served as the site lead for both the intern and mentorprograms, and having a passion for growing, motivating, and leading people, I was thrilled to be approached to participate in the Summit Venture Mentoring program for entrepreneurs and new ventures.  What better way to help others than leveraging my 25+ years of corporate experience for a grass roots and organic community outreach.  I look forward to the possibilities.

January 2016 – Mentor of the Month

Rob Armstrong is an executive in the Advertising Technology industry (AdTech), having built his career over the last 8 years developing products for digitial ad agencies, publishers, and advertisers. Rob is co-founder and head of R&D for Bombora, a B2B data startup that is changing how sales and marketing work by infusing data-driven behavioral intelligence into every aspect of the campaign cycle.

Bombora is a bootstrapped startup without VC investment. The company has achieved profitability within 1 year of launch and is now projecting 8-figure revenues in 2016.

Rob’s move to Reno was a collision of two competing objectives: 1) be closer to customers, many of which are in Silicon Valley, and 2) diversify Bombora’s R&D talent pool by launching a satellite office in a 2nd tier city where talent is more affordable than Manhattan or San Francisco.

Rob and his wife decied to move from NYC to Reno without ever visiting the town, as a 1 year ‘experiment’, in June 2015. They have not looked back.

Reno’s growing tech talent and the strong support of the community, most especially EDAWN, Summit VMS, and UNR, has led Bombora to plan at least 6 full-time Reno-based hires by July 2016. And this is just the beginning.

Reno: The Biggest Little Startup Community

What do you get when you mix 300 days of sunshine, hundreds of miles of trails and a vibrant art scene with active venture capital firms, a slew of coffee shops, and a top-tier university? You get Reno, Nev., a place the Kauffman Foundation calculated has the most start-ups for a city of its size in the nation.

Reno has a unique geographic advantage — it is half-day’s drive from Silicon Valley and the Bay Area, but its traffic and housing prices are a world away from the gridlock and high rent of the Bay Area. Its world-class international airport and rail system allow businesses to reach millions of customers within a day’s distribution.

Companies like Apple, Microsoft Licensing, Patagonia and aerospace technology developer Sierra Nevada Corporation have already put down roots here. Here, in an infographic developed by The Abbi Agency for the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada, is a reason why many other start-ups and established companies are sure to follow suit. – The Abbi Agency

Reno Infographic

Governor Celebrates Entrepreneurial Job Growth in Downtown Reno

RENO, Nev., February 28, 2014The Reno Collective and the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN) recognized 4 new startup companies located in Downtown Reno for their innovative ideas and job growth. Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval joined Mike Kazmierski, CEO of EDAWN, at the Reno Collective co-working space to congratulate these startups on creating new businesses from scratch. Between the 4 companies over 20 jobs have been created within the past year and all are projected to double their employment in the coming year.

“This is the first ever press conference for entrepreneurial job growth in our community and it signifies a shift in economic development. With the community commitment to entrepreneurial job creation we can truly become the place for ‘entrepreneurs with a life’,” said Mike Kazmierski of EDAWN.

With 90 members in the Reno Collective, a co-working space for web developers, designers, entrepreneurs and other freelancers, new companies are being formed by the serendipitous interactions of its members. Some of those new startups are growing out of the Reno Collective and finding office space along First Street which has been dubbed “Startup Row“,  which now has its own website identifying other startups in the area. The 4 companies recognized at the event were UsTyme, an app for families to read books and play games virtually using web conferencing. Trainer Road, a software company that uses bluetooth power meters to monitor and create custom indoor workouts and training programs for the cycling community. designs and manufacturers wireless micro-controllers for the “internet of things” and Inqiri uses collective intelligence software to help companies improve decision making and problem solving.

“What I have seen is very encouraging” said Governor Brian Sandoval. “Plenty of companies have started with just two guys in their garage and became huge successes. Somebody in this room is going to start one of the next big things that will change the lives of Nevadans.”

With 17 new entrepreneurial events occurring regularly that did not exist two years ago the community has seen a surge in entrepreneurship and new company formation. In addition to the dozen or so companies that are a part of Startup Row there are many throughout the region that are contributing to making Northern Nevada known as a location to start or build new companies. The Kauffman Foundation recently identified Reno-Spark as the most populous and highest startup density for the MSA class size.

1.8.14 – Globally Recognized Team Mentoring Program Coming to Region


The newly formed Summit Venture Mentoring Service (VMS) is modeled on the highly successful methodology developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to mentor high potential startups.

RENO, Nev. (Jan. 8, 2014) – Early in 2014, the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN) in concert with business leaders from Carson City, Reno, Truckee and Lake Tahoe, will rollout Summit Venture Mentoring Service (VMS)–the first regional high performance mentoring program based on the proven success of the MIT Venture Mentoring Service.   Summit VMS is an initiative of EDAWN and the broader business and academic community of Northern Nevada.

The program was formed to support innovation and entrepreneurial activity throughout the region by connecting emerging high potential entrepreneurs with a team of experienced mentors. “This program is a  a key component of growing our entrepreneurial ecosystem and creating the jobs of the future,” said Mike Kazmierski, President & CEO of EDAWN, “If our young companies have the resources they need to grow and succeed they will help the entire economy and contribute to a vibriant community.”

“Mentoring has proven to be very powerful in influencing the course and success of startups. This program will pair innovators with experienced professionals who are eager to commit their intellect and heart to help ventures navigate business decisions, stay motivated, connect to clients and investors,” said Jay Johnson, the new executive director of Summit VMS.

Building on the highly successful model of the MIT Venture Mentoring Service, Summit VMS uses a team-based approach to mentoring. Entrepreneurs are paired with a team of 4-5 experienced volunteer mentors who offer a wealth of knowledge, entrepreneurial business experience, and extensive professional networks. “Over the past 14 years, more than 1,200 ventures have gone through MIT’s venture mentoring program,” said Jerome Smith, Co-Director of MIT VMS. “In the process, we’ve really honed in on best practices, learning every venture is unique in its status, needs trajectory, and priorities. We are pleased to be working with organizations like Summit VMS, which bring its own expertise, and can create a customized program suited to the needs of entrepreneurs in Northern Nevada.” Summit VMS will build a network of recognized leaders in technology, innovation, design, finance, marketing, law, and entrepreneurship.

Summit VMS will begin its pilot program in the next 60 days amid Northern Nevada’s rapidly expanding startup community.  The program will invite both mentors and ventures to participate after an extensive review process and is designed to grow organically—expanding and enhancing mentoring services to meet the needs of the community.


The Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada is a private/ public partnership established in 1983 committed to recruiting, expanding and supporting newly forming quality companies that bring jobs to the region and have a positive impact on the quality of life in Greater Reno-Sparks-Tahoe.

About MIT Venture Mentoring Service
Founded in 2000, the MIT VMS supports innovation and entrepreneurial activity throughout the MIT community by matching both prospective and experienced entrepreneurs with skilled volunteer mentors.

For more on Summit VMS, please contact Summit VMS Executive Director Jay Johnson at (775) 229-7841 or