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Luke Bruckner, Green Business Specialist - After several years in Northern Trust's Private Equity group in Chicago, Luke has been involved in a range of projects in renewable energy and sustainable business in Chicago, Seattle, Sweden and Kenya during and following his MBA at the Chicago Booth School of Business. He has worked in clean technologies from solar water purification and large scale wind to micro-hydro, solar, LPG and methane, as well as in forestry carbon offset development. Luke has also worked with community groups in rural Kenya to develop business plans for agriculture and has served as a mentor and tutor to refugees in Chicago. At University of Chicago, working with the Office of Sustainability, he developed a Green Building Policy financial feasibility report for the Trustees, leading to the adoption of a greener policy. He was also involved in an interdisciplinary working group on agriculture, food and the environment, and took courses across the University of Chicago's graduate schools, including environmental science and policy, and law, in order to develop his twin passions of ecological sustainability and entrepreneurship. He loves the opportunity to combine these passions at StartZone. Luke speaks French and Swedish and his personal interests include outdoor adventure, music and visiting friends in faraway places. Luke has an MBA from University of Chicago Booth and a B.A. in History from North Park University.

atish Gupta, Business Specialist - Satish migrated to USA in 1979 and obtained a Master of Science in Economics from University of Nebraska. He worked for a small manufacturing company for four years as a manager before starting his own custom cabinet manufacturing company in 1983. It became the largest custom cabinet company in Omaha metropolitan area. He sold the company in December 2000 and moved to Gig Harbor, Washington. He has taught Micro and Macro Economics at Tacoma Community College and Bainbridge Graduate Institute. He is currently teaching Macro Economics at Highline Community College. He enjoys helping budding entrepreneurs realize their dreams. He is also currently involved in funding and running 30 small schools for poor kids in Palampur, India.

Phon Sivongxay, Lead Business Specialist - Phon opened and operated a business in Renton for over six years. When she pursued her dream of business ownership, she had many questions: What's the best way to structure the business? How much will it cost to start? Where will I find the money to finance the start up? StartZone is an opportunity for Phon to share with others all that she learned. "To help others achieve their business dream and to have them become successful in their community is a great feeling of accomplishment for me," says Phon. Phon earned her degree in business management and has over 13 years experience as a real estate agent and mortgage broker. In addition, Phon is fluent in Thai and Laotian.

Shash Woods, Business ESL Instructor - Shash has been an English as a Second Language (ESL) and Adult Basic Education (ABE) teacher as well as a project manager and teacher trainer in community colleges and community based organizations for 20 years.  Her goal in adult education has always been to contribute to creating educational and economic opportunities for low income adults.  Currently, Shash is self-employed as a private contractor, working with Highline Community College, Seattle University, and the State Board for Community & Technical Colleges (SBCTC), giving her a personal understanding of entrepreneurial basics.  Shash’s favorite teaching challenges integrate reading, writing, speaking, listening and math skills necessary to be economically and socially successful in the US, with concrete vocational and technical skills in fields like culinary arts, healthcare, construction trades, and, of course, entrepreneurship.  Collaborating with students to achieve tangible outcomes beyond the classroom, such as founding and running the People’s Learning Center, training students to be peer tutors leading to employment as educators, and seeing students start their own businesses, bring her the greatest satisfaction.  Shash has a BA from Antioch College and a Masters in Adult Education from Seattle University.



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Page last updated: October 11 2013

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