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BizBlitz 2016 Coaches

PETER DENBIGH - Denbigh and Associates

Mr. Denbigh (JMU ’02 and MBA ’11) is the principal at Denbigh and Associates, based in Staunton, VA.  In this capacity, he serves as a project manager for the alternative fuel vehicle industry and also pursues a number of startup ventures in fields ranging from alternative fuels to consumer products.  With Virginia Clean Cities and JMU, he served as director of the $30M Southeast Propane Autogas Development Program.  From 2001-2009, Mr. Denbigh started, built, and sold a successful 23-person IT firm based in Harrisonburg, VA.  In 2013, he co-founded SportStickers, an active lifestyle sticker company that is now distributed nationally in over 400 retail locations.  In 2015 he and a team launched an Kickstarter campaign that, despite notable press and effort, was ultimately not funded.    

He loves advising startups and helping to bring ideas to life.  He is very involved in the startup and innovation community in Staunton, VA where he lives with his wife, son, and fun-loving dog.


Tassie Pippert's diverse background in culinary arts, hospitality management and human resources development always takes a backseat to her first love – the performing arts. Having spent time “on the road” as a professional big band singer, Tassie spent her first retirement stint as a background vocalist in the recording studio. Her vocal talents are now confined to Muhlenberg Lutheran Church where she serves as a member of the Celebration Singers and occasionally plays guitar. Tassie also hosts a long-running cooking show on WVPT Public Television. She is past president of the Shenandoah Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and serves on the board of the Virginia Fundraising Institute. Tassie holds a bachelor’s degree in business leadership and management, and a master’s degree in human resources management. Married to Tom, Tassie has two grown sons who now reside in Oregon and North Carolina.

Trudy Cole - graphic design, JMU School of art, design, and art History

Trudy Cole has been a Graphic Design Professor at James Madison University for 21 years. She is the Graphic Design Program Coordinator and former Assistant Director of the School of Art and Art History.  Before coming to JMU, she was a Graphic Design Professor and Coordinator of the Graphic Design Program at Frostburg State University.

She has been a successful professional graphic designer since 1985. Although she has experience in many facets of graphic design from CDs to social issue posters, she specializes in logo design and corporate identity systems. Her work has been published in over 100 well-respected national and international juried competitions/exhibitions.

Some of her JMU logo and identity systems include: James Madison University, Madison Business Network, Here to Help, Art Auction, former School of Art and Art History, Summer art, College of Arts and Letters, and Dance of Art and Science. Some off-campus local solutions include: Mount Crawford Creamery, West Rockingham Daycare, former Arts Council of the Valley, Healthy Community Council, and most recently Able Solutions. Some of her other local public design solutions include: the Forbes Center Lobby Interlude Sculpture, the Flower Mural on Cantrell Avenue, and the former flag mural on the Harrisonburg City building.

Ron Rubin - Finance, JMU College of Business

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Over 25 years of management roles in the Telecommunications and Internet industry segments. Responsibilities and positions held covered Product Management, Strategic Planning, Budgeting and Capital Formation, Strategic Alliances and Executive Management. Firms ranged from Early Stage Start-up firms such as HIRE, USA up to the largest Telecommunications firm in the world NTT.


Jared Burden is an attorney with a diverse business and intellectual property practice and a special interest in entrepreneurs and emerging-growth companies. In his Harrisonburg-based law practice, Jared Burden PLLC, Jared advises clients statewide, in a variety of industries, in corporate law, technology law, contract law, employment law, venture capital financing, and real estate investment and development, as well as trademark, copyright, licensing, trade secret, confidentiality, and general intellectual property strategy. First licensed as a California attorney 28 years ago, Jared practiced in large law firms in San Francisco, Washington DC, and Tysons Corner and was General Counsel to a diversified corporation based in Harrisonburg as well as an executive with a retail real estate developer in the Washington, DC area. While practicing law in Washington, DC and Northern Virginia, Jared worked with early-stage, venture-capital-seeking technology companies during the Internet 1.0 era, which he has found is valuable big-picture experience for companies operating in the succeeding generations of the technology economy. Jared moved to Harrisonburg with his wife, Jenny, and children in 2002. He is a graduate of Duke University and UVA Law School. He is an appointee to the City of Harrisonburg’s Economic Development Advisory Committee and is a member of the Shenandoah Valley Partnership and the Shenandoah Valley Innovation Coalition. He enjoys being surrounded by members of the entrepreneurial class in his office in The Hub Coworking, across the street from the Ice House in Harrisonburg.

richard k. halterman, ii, Cpa - Murphy business brokers & appraisal
2010 Top 10 Producer; 2012 Multi-Million Producer

Richard is the owner of Murphy Business Brokers & Appraisal in Mount Sidney, VA. He is a CPA that has assisted clients in finance and accounting since 1975. Upon his graduation from Virginia Tech in 1974 with a degree in Accounting, he began his career in a Public Accounting firm. While there he achieved his CPA and worked his way to partner with a staff of over 10 in his 14 years at the firm. His exposure with the firm allowed him to see a myriad of different businesses as well as accounting systems.

His responsibilities included preparation financial statements and the preparation of individual, corporate, partnership and non-profit tax returns; it also included management advisory services, payroll services, monthly accounting services, gift and estate tax consulting.

In 1988, he along with two other investors created a start up wholesale electrical supply company that successfully grew during his eight years as a stockholder and controller for the Company.

In 1996, he became a partner in Old Dominion Business Associates, a merger and acquisition firm in the Shenandoah Valley. He acted as an Intermediary helping clients successfully value and sell their small and medium sized businesses. He also consulted with countless other companies to position their businesses in the most advantageous manner to maximize value. In addition, he has assisted many companies in debt restructure/refinancing, accounting services, tax return preparation and management advisory services.

In 2007, he became part of Murphy Business and Financial, a national business brokerage franchise, and started his own branch in Mount Sidney, VA. He along with his son are business intermediaries, commercial realtors, and merger and acquisition consultants. They also offer certified appraisal services for business valuation as well as machinery and equipment.

He was born and raised in the Shenandoah Valley and has always been an active member of a multitude of church and civic organizations. He and his wife Sally currently reside in Fort Defiance, VA.