Expert Coaches of Fall 2023



We are thankful to the New Enterprise Forum (NEF) Michigan Small Business Development Center (MI SBDC) for supporting us with professional coaching in this program. Several NEF board members have graciously volunteered as coaches.

 Winston Benedict

Winston is an Executive Coach of New Enterprise Forum. He has CIO, CTO and Executive Leader with technology strategy and delivery experience across Advertising, Automotive, Pharma, Utilities, Aerospace, Professional Services and Transportation industries. He has deep experience establishing scalable enterprise architectures and leading transformational and turn around initiatives. Results delivered through developing people, leading large-scale lean process changes and intelligently leveraging emerging technologies (when appropriate) to shave costs, boost revenue and maintain competitive advantages.


Dennis Carmichael 

Dennis is co-founder and President of Cimulus, Inc., a custom software company in Ann Arbor. With a BS in Electrical Engineering and Coherent Optics from Kettering University, the common thread across all of Mr. Carmichael's careers - which range from machinist, concert roadie, real estate investor, tech entrepreneur and more - is using software to solve problems in creative and efficient ways. Outside of work, he can be found climbing at Planet Rock, running on Michigan's many trails, or working on his home in Dexter.


Pierce Fitzpatrick

Pierce is a 2018 graduate of EMU's MBA program. He started his career with the outdoor retailer, Recreational Equipment Inc (REI), then interned in Reykjavik, Iceland for the outdoor camping retailer, Fjallakofinn. During his MBA program, he founded backpacking and expedition garment company High Route Gear and in 2019 helped German wearable tech company, ProGlove, enter the US market. Pierce is currently co-founder of No Dirty Earth, an environmentally sustainable product incubator, with products receiving international recognition from Fast Company Magazine as a 2021 World Changing Idea. He is also co-founder of the Portage-based company, Blu Technology, creating off-grid water treatment systems for vehicle-based adventures.

 Gary Hessenaur

Gary Hessenaur, President and owner of Hessenaur Associates, C.P.A., P.C.. The firm provides a full range of accounting, tax, consulting and part time CFO services. The firm focuses on small to mid-size businesses with a specialty in start ups and technology businesses. Start up business clients have been funded through owner funds, grants, angel and VC investors. Gary is board member and business coach for the New Enterprise Forum, helps counsel businesses through various other business organizations and regular speaker at SPARK business start up programs. He is very well networked in the startup and financing community. Gary is also a proud EMU alum.

Ravi Nigam

Ravi is the owner of the Law Offices of Ravi K. Nigam. He is a legal adviser and counselor for startups and small businesses assisting with company formation, business law, contracts, data privacy and security issues, immigration and business planning.

Alain Piette

Mr. Piette is the MI-SBTDC Technology Team manager. In his most recent assignment, Alain was president of an advanced manufacturing company. The company was a technology spinout from a large automotive supplier. Alain has also worked in Europe, Southern Africa, Central and South America for international corporations such as DuPont, Sherwin Williams and Kongsberg Automotive. He has also been involved with turn-around, startup and M&A activities. Alain brings his extensive experience in organizational development, manufacturing, R&D, market development, technology transfer and international expansion to the team.

Mr. Piette is also an avid farmer. He is passionate about agronomy and entrepreneurship in the agricultural field. He has taken a very visible position at the Michigan State University Agricultural Incubators and evaluates agricultural translational research projects which can be supported by MTRAC which is funded by the State of Michigan. He is also involved with AcreAGTech, an emerging independent business accelerator in the State of Michigan by providing strategic reflection and leadership guidance.

Alain earned and BSBA and MBA from Wayne State University.

Kory Scheiber

Kory Scheiber is currently a Business Consultant for the Greater Washtenaw Region of the Michigan Small Business Development Center. Whether it is one-on-one consulting or facilitating workshops, Kory works with all types of clients, through a spectrum of industries, to help them plan and grow their businesses. He has been teaching entrepreneurship with The Business Side of Youth for over ten years, and is part-time faculty at Washtenaw Community College. Kory also serves as the Board Treasurer for Digital Inclusion, a non-profit refurbishing technology for underserved communities in southeast Michigan. Recently, he was the Business Development Representative for the Detroit Micro-enterprise Fund Corporation where he assembled loan packages, presented to the Loan Committee, maintained relationships with the local community development corporations, local businesses, and training programs. He took applicants through the loan process from business planning through launch and growth. He holds four degrees through his MBA with undergraduate and graduate concentrations in Entrepreneurship. He has worked two and a half years in Retail as a Certified Lawn and Garden Specialist. He also spent twelve and a half years in Design and Build to Order Manufacturing where he served as; Assembly Technician, Tool Crib Supervisor, Shipping Receiving Manager, Project Manager, and Repair Department Manager.

Stefan Sysko

Stefan Sysko is an entrepreneur with a diverse background and 20+ years of experience, much of which has been spent advising small business owners on developing strategy and on executing at a high level. His career includes broad experience in strategic marketing planning, market development, new product and business development, and training. Sysko has been a consultant, advisor and mentor to dozens of start-ups and hundreds of small businesses. He advises startups, emerging, and turnaround companies with launch, growth, and rebuilding strategies. He helps founders discover and effectively tell their story, develop their value proposition, identify and avoid – or tear down – roadblocks, and turn their ideas into focused, viable business plans. Through a strategic partnership with metro Detroit-based Poco Labs, Sysko helps companies with concept development, consumer research and product design. He is a board member, past-president, and coach at New Enterprise Forum. Sysko holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Wayne State University and an MBA from Eastern Michigan University


Bill Taylor

Bill Taylor is an experienced Marketing, Sales, and Strategy executive with over 35 years in innovative marketing, product management, sales, and strategic operations for technology companies in telecom, information technology, life science, and healthcare. With engineering providing a solid technical background, he has achieved a consistent track record of developing strategies that drive consistent and managed growth for high technology companies. He has been successful in companies ranging from a 30 person start up, through mid-sized public companies, all the way to a two year assignment as an IBM strategist. He is a seasoned team builder, who has attracted, developed and retained high-performing marketing, sales and BD talent. His passion is helping technology companies achieve profitable, sustainable growth