Plans are underway for the fourth annual Scott County FAST-TRACK business challenge, which will be held on October 22, 2020.
Entrepreneurs and existing businesses with new products and services will compete for start-up cash and professional services to help jump start their business. Interested parties may apply on-line at www.ScottCountyFASTTRACK.com until August 31, 2020. At this time, the event is being planned as a virtual competition.
This year’s finalists will be able to connect with industry leaders who will be serving on the Judges Panel. The 2020 Judges include: Bill Gray, President of Uponor North America; Joseph J. Fittante, Corporate Practice Chair at Larkin Hoffman (Silver Sponsor), Kristin Haugen, Vice President, Legal at Morneau Shepell; Charles Shannon, Vice President of Corporate Development, Merrill Corporation and Angela Heikes, President and CEO of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) Gaming Enterprise.
About the Judges
Bill Gray serves as President of Uponor North America, an Apple Valley, MN-based manufacturer which has undergone numerous expansions. Uponor has been recognized as best in class for manufacturing, sustainability, and economic development as well as being a top workplace in the state.
Gray joined the company in February 2008 as the general manager of Uponor Canada. In June 2011, he became vice president of sales for Uponor North America. He took over as president in February 2012. Gray has 25 years of experience in the HVAC and industrial supply business, and over 20 years in sales and marketing.
An active member of the local business community, Gray serves on the strategic advisory board of the Minnesota Manufacturers Alliance, as well as with the GREATER MSP Partner Advisory Council. He volunteers as a foundation board member for the Minnesota Zoo and the Bob Allison Ataxia Research Center at the University of Minnesota.
Gray holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in finance and management from Dalhousie University, and a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from the University of King’s College.
He resides in Prior Lake, Minn., with his wife, Heather, and two teenage daughters, Fiona and Naomi.
Joseph J. Fittante is the chair of Larkin Hoffman’s Corporate and Finance Group and a member of the firm’s Board of Directors and Management Committee. He routinely represents companies in all aspects of their work, including the buying and selling of businesses. He is nationally known for his work in franchising, counting some of the most well-known brands in the country as his clients. He advises franchisors on various topics, including structuring the franchise relationship and registration and disclosure issues. He also advises manufacturers on creating and managing distribution networks.
Joe earned his J.D. at Mitchell Hamline College of Law where he served as an Editor of the Law Review. He is a past chair of the American Bar Association’s Forum on Franchising and is a frequent author and lecturer on issues important to the franchise industry. He has been named a Leader in Franchise Law by Chambers USA, a Legal Eagle by Franchise Times, a Super Lawyer, a Best Lawyer in America and is listed in the International Who’s Who of Franchise Lawyers. In his spare time Joe coaches girls fastpitch softball and has been the Head Varsity Coach at Shakopee High School for the past 3 years.
Kristin Haugen is Vice President, Legal for Morneau Shepell. Morneau Shepell is a global provider of technology-enabled human resources services supporting mental, physical, social, and financial well-being through employee and family assistance programs (“EFAP”), health and wellness services, recognition tools, pension and benefits administration, retirement consulting, and actuarial and investment services. Prior to joining Morneau Shepell, Kristin operated her own firm and served as outside general counsel guiding startups and entrepreneurs throughout the business lifecycle from inception through exit. Kristin also previously founded a consulting business focused on business development, leadership and diversity, equity and inclusion. Kristin was a Shareholder and Associate Attorney with Briggs and Morgan, PA (now Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP).
Kristin serves on various national, state and local boards. Haugen was selected as an American Bar Foundation Fellow in 2019, MNAPABA Attorney of the Year in 2018, a Rising Star Super Lawyer in 2011 and has received the President’s Volunteer Service Award. She attended the University of Illinois College of Law and Cornell University. Kristin has been a Professional Service Provider for the FAST-TRACK Challenge the past three years and is serving as a third-year judge for the event.
Charles Shannon currently leads corporate development, at Merrill Corporation, with an initiative to grow the business inorganically. He shares the vision with the CEO to build upon DatasiteOne’s worldwide leadership position in VDR with a new cutting-edge technology platform. Charles also serves as the Vice President of Business Development at Surgical Information Sciences, a company he helped launch in 2013 and lead efforts in raising multiple rounds of financing from angel investors. Previously Charles served as the Vice President of Corporate Development for Equus Holding, where he funded, purchased and sold technology companies inside leading investment banks, venture capital funds and private equity. Charles enjoys spending time with his wife and two young daughters and is an avid golfer. He has a BA in Corporate Finance from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management. Charles served as a judge for the inaugural FAST-TRACK Challenge in 2017 and again in 2018 and 2019. We welcome Charles back to the panel!
Angela Heikes is the President and CEO of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Gaming Enterprise. She is responsible for both Mystic Lake Casino Hotel and Little Six Casino. She is also Chief Operating Officer for Hotel Development LLC, an SMSC enterprise which owns the JW Marriott hotel at Mall of America. She previously served as the Chief Operating Officer of the Gaming Enterprise and the VP of Strategic Planning and Analysis. Heikes has worked in the gaming industry for over 25 years. Her career includes work for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe where she oversaw Grand Casino Mille Lacs, Grand Casino Hinckley and a number of small businesses. Heikes is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of St. Thomas with a Business Administration degree in Finance and was named one of Twin Cities Business Magazine’s “100 People to Know in 2017” is a 2015 “Women in Business” honoree of the Minneapolis /St. Paul Business Journal, one of Global Gaming Business’s “25 to Watch” and a 2010 recipient of Finance and Commerce’s “Top Women in Finance” award. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.