Speaker: Andrew Steane

Global Director, Ecosystems and Channels Business Operations | SAP

Andrew is a change agent.  As a B2B expert in software sales channels for 25 years Andrew has consistently challenged the status quo to bring new ideas and process improvements to enterprise companies such as Microsoft, AOL and SAP as well as startup companies.  His experience at the country, region and global levels includes sales, marketing and sales operations functions.

Andrew is currently a 9 year veteran at SAP working in the North American Ecosystem and Channels organization where he focuses on “To:” and “Thru” partner marketing.  In 2017 alone he has built new business processes for partner recruitment, advocacy marketing and channel budget management which are being adopted as global best practices.  Andrew resides in Toronto, Canada with his wife, twin girls and their dog.


Speaker: Sam Matin

Director of Finance | Marketopia

Sam joined Marketopia in May of 2017. He oversees all aspects of the Marketopia finances, including the development and management of operations, human resource, preparation of financial statements and reporting to leadership. Sam brings to Marketopia nearly one and half decades of financial management experience in the private, public and nonprofit sectors, with a focus on developing policies and procedures to improve performance and productivity. Before joining Marketopia, Sam worked at MXB Group, a startup aviation firm, which was acquired by Blackstone, one of the largest hedge funds globally, for over 290 million where he served as Chief Financial Officer since 2013. He served as comptroller for Nationwide Insurance for South East Division from 2010-2012 over looking an asset of 600 Million USD. He helped these organizations define their strategic direction, prepare new business plans, streamline financial and procedural policies and create monitoring and accountability systems.

Sam is currently pursuing his Ph.D. and is writing his dissertation in Corporate psychology and development strategies. Sam holds a Bachelor of Science in Business and Finance from University of Florida. He also has earned his Master’s in Finance from University of Florida.


Speaker: Mark Winter

VP Sales | RapidFire Tools

Mark has over 25 years of experience in the IT field, with the last 15 years dedicated to providing software solutions to the VAR and Service Provider channels. During his time as a Sales and Account Manager with a Service Provider, he became familiar with the inner workings of MSPs. For the last 10 years, Mark has been with RapidFire Tools, delivering solutions to Managed Service Providers to help them better serve their clients and grow their business and revenues.


Speaker: Cameron Stone

Cameron Stone works with the managed service provider channel in the eastern half of North America.  Before Webroot, he managed the Canadian Business channel with Mercury Payments. He is enthusiastic about technology, security, snowboarding, and craft beer.


Speaker: Robert Howard

Rob Howard is a B2B sales, marketing and business development professional w/ 36 yrs. of experience, including 22 yrs. in mid-level, management and leadership roles including global responsibilities. Resided in Switzerland, 2009 – 2012. He has deep and diversified direct sales experience to OEM’s and 3rd parties within the Life Sciences, Energy, Semiconductor, Defense and Aerospace sectors, including many of the 100 largest global corporations in these market spaces. Rob is the principal of RC Howard & Associates, LLC – authorized Sandler Training Center located in Lake Carillon Park in north St. Petersburg, FL.

He developed a brand and reputation as a leader, coach and mentor who achieves sustained results with a team approach grounded in ethics, strong process orientation with commitment to strategy and empowerment, talent development and continuous improvement. He mentors / coaches many of his former direct reports. Rob is a dynamic public speaker with extensive applied experience and knowledge in strategic commercial processes including sales, recruiting, hiring, talent and team development, business development, business qualification, business strategy / strategy deployment, product launches, marketing, Voice of the Customer and Focus Groups. Rob’s top career accomplishments include: sales growth of 7.2% CAGR and 98% customer retention (1994-2006) at Parker Hannifin; 78% project win rate and sales growth of 3.4% CAGR (2007-2014) at IMI-Norgren. He has managed and led global commercial teams and staff sizes to 38 people. Rob has resided in Pinellas County, FL since 1984, with assignments in Switzerland (2009-2013) and Manchester, NH (2006).


Speaker: Christine Gassman

Partner Development | Datto

Christine Gassman has successfully revamped, implemented, and continues to manage a comprehensive Datto Partner Plus program, a resource that focuses on business development and support for more than 8,000 Datto partners worldwide. Christine represents Datto at numerous industry trade shows and other events throughout the year, connecting with partners face to face. She is passionate about working with partners to help them maximize their relationship with Datto and to help them grow their business.


Speaker: Dennis O’Connell

Dennis has been in the computer industry for over 30 years.  He served in the US Air Force for 5 ½ years where he flew computers.  He spent 20 years with Hewlett Packard in sales and sales management roles.  After retiring from HP, he worked for large and small VARs / MSPs.  As a business owner, he understands the demands placed on an owner so his role as Director of Business Development for Taylor Business Group is a perfect match for his skills and his passion.

Growing up in Pittsburgh, PA, his favorite memory is being in Three Rivers Stadium for the Immaculate Reception on December 23, 1972.  This is the play that fueled the four Super Bowl wins in the 1970s.  He is also happily married for 38 years with two beautiful daughters and a son-in-law.


Speaker: David Powell

David Powell is a twenty-one year veteran of the IT industry, the last sixteen spent exclusively in Managed Services. Named one of the “Top 250 People in Managed Services” by MSPmentor for over five years, Powell has worked for three of the Top 100 companies that rank in the MSPmentor 501 each year. He came to LogicMonitor from TekLinks, where he helped transition the company from a traditional VAR to an integrated solution provider with a nationally recognized managed and cloud services portfolio, as evidenced when TekLinks received the Top MSP Award at the CRN SP500 Conference in 2012. Powell was a member of the Birmingham Business Journal’s “Top 40 under 40” in 2011, and in 2013, he was named to the publication’s first ever “#40 to Follow List” of executives to follow on Twitter. Powell is a frequent speaker on technology and managed and cloud services, and for three years he co-hosted an engaging "Tech Tuesday" segment that aired each week on the local CBS42 affiliate in Birmingham.  Powell is actively involved in the Birmingham community as a Board Member of TechBirmingham, a Board Member for the Vestavia Hills Board of Education, and President of the Vestavia Lacrosse Organization.


Speaker: Thomas Stanton

Attorney | Stanton IP Law Firm

After spending 10 years in the IT field, and at the ripe age of 35 Tom decided to make a career change and become an attorney. He attended Stetson University College of Law and acquired an LLM in International Economic Law from the University of Toulouse, France. He is now a licensed patent attorney and focuses on cutting edge computer technologies and related intellectual property protection.

As former President of BrixTec, Tom is the classic example of a leader with an entrepreneurial spirit that took a risk for the American Dream, by starting a technology company with his friend and business partner Rolland Lucas before graduating from college and passing up lucrative corporate positions being offered. In 2010 he took advantage of a merger with IT Authorities where he ran the sales department until April 2013.

After graduating with a Computer Engineering degree from the University of South Florida in May, 2003, he decided to plant his roots in the Tampa Bay area, a long distance from his former home in Montana. He spent 7 years running BrixTec and growing it in the Tampa Bay business community.

Tom is constantly learning and training. He studied with Sandler Sales Institute in Clearwater and was a charter member of a group in The Renaissance Executive Forums. He was also the treasurer of the (International Association of Microsoft Certified Partners) IAMCP Tampa Chapter.

Tom was honored to be a member of the Tampa Bay Business Journals 30 under 30 Class of 2007 and a finalist for Tampa Bay CEO Magazine CEO of the Year in 2007. He was selected as one of Tampa Bay’s 100 most influential business leaders in 2009.

Tom is very active in the community and was involved with the New Tampa Rotary club from 2004 - 2010. He received the honor of Rotarian Rookie of the year, and then served on the New Tampa Rotary Board of Directors for 3 consecutive years. He served as Sergeant of Arms, Secretary and the International Service Director. He sat on the Weinberg Village Board and was President of YAD (Young Adult Division) of Jewish Federation for two years.

Tom has served as both Martinis for Moffitt Chair and President of Bay Area Advisors a non-profit that has raised over $1 million for Moffitt Cancer Center. He is on board of his HOA in Ybor City and is on both the Jewish Federation and Florida Holocaust Museum Advisory Councils. Tom has volunteered at the Joshua house, Mort Elementary School, Rotary Camp Florida and Freedom High School, as well as provided monetary support to a variety of different causes. He has also been “arrested” for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and volunteered for Diploma-see through Junior Achievement.

Tom had the honor of serving on the board of the Friends of the New Tampa Library for 2 years and helped fund projects that were desperately needed.

Being actively involved in the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and Carrollwood Area Business Association has provided him with great friendships and business associates, as well as a greater understanding and awareness of the community he serves.

Tom stays active through running, martial arts, and training at the gym.


Speaker: Aakash Patel

Entrepreneur Aakash Patel founded the fast-growing Elevate, Inc., a Florida-based strategic business consulting firm providing public relations, community relations, targeted networking and social media, in 2012, and he has quickly become well reputed for making connections and achieving client results.

A master networker and community leader, prior to Elevate, Inc.’s launch, Patel served as an Editorial Assistant at the Tampa Bay Times Tallahassee Bureau, the Public Relations Coordinator for the Westin Tampa Bay hotel and Aqua restaurant, and was the founding Business Development Director for Chamber.com (an application-based world-wide business networking website launched in 2010 with 5 members, and grew to 1.5 million+ members).

In 2014 Governor Rick Scott appointed Patel to a 3-year term as Chairman, Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County. Similarly, Scott selected Aakash as a gubernatorial appointment to Florida’s Early Learning Advisory Council (ELAC). Patel often volunteers time to conduct TV interviews and write opinion editorials on behalf of the coalition in order to make a difference in awareness and action.

A driven life-long learner, Patel is a graduate of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Tampa, FBI Citizen's Academy, Tampa Police Citizen's Academy, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s Mayor’s Neighborhood University, Tampa Bay Public Leadership Institute, Leadership Tampa Bay (Executive Committee since 2014), Tampa Connection, and College Leadership Florida. He is a current class member in the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership St. Pete program and a member of the Society of International Business Fellows (SIBF) Leadership Academy.

Respected for his engagement, Patel was named a Florida State University Alumni Association top "Thirty Under 30" (2013). Aakash was cited as one of Tampa Bay’s Up & Comers by the Tampa Bay Business Journal (2008), and featured as a “Rising Star” by the Tampa Bay Times. Additionally, he was denoted in The Tampa Tribune as one of "Tampa's Networking Heavyweights”, in the Tampa Bay Business Journal as "Tampa's Master Networker”, and in Tampa Bay Metro as the “Face of Connectivity” (2015 & 2016).

In 2015 Patel was installed as an Honorary Commander to the 6th Air Mobility Wing Director of Staff for a two-year appointment, something Aakash takes seriously, as his love for Tampa Bay is only rivaled by his appreciation and respect for those who bravely serve our county.

Patel had voting rights as a UT Board of Trustee when he served as Chairman of The University of Tampa (UT) Board of Counselors in 2015-2016. Under his leadership, the organization grew from 62 to 105 members; the largest historical growth in membership and in revenue (2015-2016). The organization also rose over $50,000 which contributed to scholarships for University of Tampa athletes.

A community advocate, Patel serves as: Vice President, the Indo-US Chamber of Commerce, Advisory Board Member, Gasparilla Film Festival, Chair Elect, Centre Club Tampa Board of Governors (where he has been the Bell Ringer, bringing in the most new members 2013 – 2016), and Board of Directors Member, The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce (where he received the Top Performer Award for membership growth 2015 & 2016). Aakash serves on the Tampa Bay Regional Board of Advisors for the James Madison Institute, and currently is in Class 3 of its Regional Fellows Leadership Program. Patel was recognized as a Co-Founder, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Bucs Connection Young Professional Organization in 2016. He is actively involved in the Tampa Downtown Partnership, and Tampa Economic Development Corporation.

Aakash was a finalist for the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Deanne Dewey Roberts Emerging Leader Award. Additionally, Elevate, Inc. was a 2017 finalist for the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year.

An in-demand speaker, Patel has engaged with: The Florida Council of 100 - Florida’s top 100 privately held CEO’s, students at Saint Leo, The University of Tampa and USF, career-seekers at CareerSource Tampa Bay, PPN & TEN. He travels to present for numerous clients, companies and entrepreneur organizations. And his efforts are not only in Florida. Aakash traveled to Guantanamo and, LackLand Air Force Base in San Antonio, and Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, through MaDill Air Force Base, traveled to Dubai with The UT Sykes College of Business, and visited Israel with the Tampa Jewish Federation. Patel has attended six benchmarking trips with The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, and another one with the St. Petersburg Chamber Area of Commerce.

In 2009, Aakash co-founded the Leaders' Friday Luncheon group, an effort that, each month, connects young professionals with seasoned experts in industry, the community, and civil service in a way that forges not just introductions, but true contacts. The annual VIP reception has become a mainstay in Tampa Bay for those who have attended the lunches and those who look to be included.

Aakash has been humbled by the variety of opportunities he has received, prides himself on his pride and determination to succeed, and is unique in his world-wide connections. Aakash is acknowledged for his perseverance and resiliency. It’s Patel’s view that what others may perceive as obstacles, he perceives as challenges, and even opportunities. He is committed to networking and connecting people to others, to causes, to businesses, and to Tampa Bay, because he enjoys helping people and making a difference. Aakash is consistently surprised by how many people truly enjoy meeting new people, and yet often feel as though they cannot gain access to those with whom they seek acquaintance.

With all of the memorable experiences he has been fortunate to have had, Aakash will never forget serving on the Honorary Host Committee for the 2014 Indian International Film Academy (IIFA) Awards which were successfully held in Tampa to international acclaim, and serving as the youngest member of the College Football Championship Host Committee, where he was able to procure six-figure donations!

While at Florida State University, Patel was awarded the Milton S. Carothers Ethical Courage award for his Student Government leadership. A college highlight was spending a spring semester at the FSU London Study Centre. Aakash Patel holds degrees in both English Literature and Political Science.