Board of Directors

BOARD CHAIR: Karen LeVert – Co-Founder & CEO, Southeast TechInventures

Karen LeVert is President and Co-Founder of Southeast TechInventures and CEO and Co-Founder of Ag TechInventures, Inc. Karen’s business experience encompasses both corporate and entrepreneurial worlds with over twenty five years of successful leadership experience in startups, technology commercialization and executive management. She started her career at a Fortune 500 insurance company in positions of increasing responsibility from computer programmer, to controller, to general manager of a 500-person Property & Casualty service center. Her first entrepreneurial venture was launching a franchise bioremediation company in 1998 that she later sold in 2001. Before co-founding STI, Karen co-launched a Silicon Valley venture-funded software company where she served as Executive Vice President of Business Development. Along with her professional duties, she serves as a Board member for Ag TechInventures, Southeast TechInventures, North Carolina School of Science and Math, NC IDEA FOUNDATION and LCBA Life Insurance company.

Peyton Anderson – CEO, Affinergy

Peyton Anderson is CEO of Affinergy, a Duke spinout commercializing peptide linkers as coatings for medical devices. Previously, Peyton was founding CEO of SciQuest, Inc. and raised over $175 million in capital prior to the company’s IPO in 1999. Peyton currently serves on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center and the NC Biosciences Organization. Previously, he served on the executive committee of the Board of Directors for the Council for Entrepreneurial Development. He is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence with Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network where he mentors early stage entrepreneurs; and is a frequent speaker at entrepreneurial conferences and MBA classes.

Greg Brown – President and Owner, Cardinal Finance

Greg Brown is President and Owner of Cardinal Finance which provides fractional CFO and other financial advisory services to small and mid-sized businesses. He is also the Administrator of Charlotte Angel Fund, one of the most active angel investor funds in North Carolina. Greg has served as the Chief Financial Officer of multiple venture capital backed private and early stage public companies, as well as having ten years of experience in the venture capital industry. His career has been devoted to serving entrepreneurs and the companies that they create as a trusted business partner and investor.

Walter Frye – Executive Director, Charlotte Regional Fund for Entrepreneurship (CRFE)

Walter Frye is currently Executive Director for the Charlotte Regional Fund for Entrepreneurship (CRFE), a public-private partnership established to strengthen the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the Charlotte region. He most recently launched Innovate Charlotte, as the operating entity for the CRFE. Frye serves as a director, advisor, mentor, board member, volunteer and angel investor in organizations and companies within Charlotte’s thriving entrepreneurship ecosystem, with particular interests in social impact investing and FinTech. He is a career financial services and technology executive with over 15 years of executive experience in large financial services and technology companies to include Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, Ally Financial and Fiserv. In addition to joining the NC IDEA board, Frye serves on the Charlotte Advisory board for Truliant Federal Credit Union and the advisory board of SP3 Capital.

Patti Gillenwater – President and CEO, Elinvar

Patti Gillenwater is President, CEO and owner of Elinvar, a highly innovative executive search firm. She is an experienced business leader who has extensive nonprofit and professional association board experience. Patti’s experience as an entrepreneur is highlighted by her successful navigation of major changes in the industry and her creative approach to reinventing the business model of her firm with the result of sustaining business success while evolving and growing the firm’s capabilities and focus. As a trusted advisor to executives of entrepreneurial and middle market companies in the Triangle, many organizations have benefited from her business savvy. Her firm is frequently selected to conduct key leadership searches for organizations that have significant impact on NC and its residents. As a result, Patti has an extensive network of relationships with leaders in our state.


Dr. Garrett Hinshaw, President, Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC)

Dr. Garrett Hinshaw currently serves as president of Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC). Under his leadership, CVCC has continued its history of empowering individuals to aspire, dream and achieve. The College serves as a leading entity in redefining the region’s economy through his collaborative efforts to develop partnerships at the local, state and national levels. In 2015, Dr. Hinshaw was named as President of the Year by the State Board of Community Colleges. In addition to joining the NC IDEA board, Dr. Hinshaw serves as a presidential representative on the National Junior College Athletic Association and serves on the boards of the National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) and the Catawba County Economic Development Association Board, among other organizations.

Sean O’Leary – CEO, FoodLogiQ

Sean O’Leary is the CEO of FoodLogiQ, a company that provides traceability, food safety compliance and supply chain transparency software solutions. Previously, he was President and CEO of KnowledgeTree. Prior to KnowledgeTree, Sean was CEO and President of RTP-based StrikeIron, acquired by Informatica in June 2014. Sean has over twenty years of technology sales and operations related experience with a proven track record in building and leading global organizations for both Fortune 500 companies and venture-backed enterprises. Sean currently serves as a Board member for KnowledgeTree, inMotionNow and NC IDEA FOUNDATION.