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Board of Directors

Bradford R. Higgins, Chairman and President

Brad Higgins joined JumpStart in March 2009 as Chairman and President, bringing a wide range of relevant experiences from both the private and public sectors to this role.  He is currently a Managing Partner at SOSventures International, a private venture capital fund whose primary investment focus is on energy efficiency and the environment.  Prior to SOSventures, he served as the Assistant Secretary for Resource Management and Chief Financial Officer to the U.S. Department of State from February 2006 to January 2009, where he was responsible for the State’s $34 billion operating and foreign assistance budgets.  In that capacity, he traveled to over 50 countries and instituted a number of major initiatives at State, including the creation of their Global Partnership Center which seeks to significantly expand and improve the USG’s public private partnerships efforts both in Washington and at US missions around the world.  As State’s CFO, Mr. Higgins also served as the Chairman of the Audit Committee to the Organization of American States (OAS), where he played an important role in addressing the OAS’s serious financial problems.

Prior to his confirmation as Assistant Secretary, Mr. Higgins served in various capacities in the US Government, first as the CFO to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad, Iraq, then staying on with the State Department as the Chief of Planning to the Iraq Reconstruction Management Office in 2004, where he played a key role in the comprehensive review and major restructuring of the US reconstruction efforts in Iraq.  He then served as a senior advisor to the State Department’s CFO in Washington, DC, where he lead NSC assessment teams back to Iraq, developing numerous action plans to improve our reconstruction and aid efforts in that area.  He returned to Iraq for an extended stay in mid-2005 to serve as the strategic advisor to the US Ambassador and as the first director of the US Mission’s Strategic Planning Office in Baghdad.  It was in Iraq that he first came in contact with JumpStart, greatly admiring as well as seeking to support their novel and highly cost effective efforts.

Prior to his public service, Mr. Higgins spent over 20 years on Wall Street, were he was a Managing Director and head of the public power and infrastructure groups at CS First Boston’s public finance department.  Prior to CS First Boston, he was co-head of the tax-exempt energy group at Goldman Sachs.  As a public finance investment banker, he worked on many of the largest and most complicated financings in the US municipal market.  Trained as a lawyer, Mr. Higgins started his career as an associate at the international law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.  Mr. Higgins is a graduate of Columbia College and Columbia Law School and lives in New Canaan, CT.

Richard Ebel, Board Member

Richard Ebel is currently Vice President at ECC (Environmental Chemical Corporation), where he has worked for more than 20 years in various roles including Sr. Project Manager, Program Manager, Program Director and Vice President.  He has concurrently managed up to 200 multidisciplined management employees performing cradle-to-grave construction and remediation/recovery services.  In addition, he has managed ECC’s cost reimbursable work for government contracts as well as other private and public clients.

Ebel’s primary focus over the past three years has been in a direct management role of $700 million of contracts in the Middle East focused on reconstruction, stabilization and recovery efforts in Iraq. Most recently, he has been working with senior government officials to assist in moving the economic recovery forward in unstable or post-conflict arenas.

Ebel arrived in Iraq in January 2004 to establish business for ECC with the CPA and other US mission areas. It was quickly realized that a business model based upon supporting Iraqi small businesses would help bolster economic development, alleviate the black marketers, and provide security for his company and the communities in which they worked. The model has evolved and changed but the underlying premise remains the same at its core value structure, and is based upon supporting local and regional Iraqi companies to succeed in providing long-term stability and sustainability to the Iraqi business community.

Ebel earned his degree from Washington State University in Environmental Science. His early career was founded in emergency response actions with the US Environmental Protection Agency where he learned how to work within incident command systems, and multi-discipline teams of professionals brought into a community to address a public health crisis. Working in troubled areas, he learned how to incorporate diverse and sometimes aggrieved stakeholders into a mosaic framework that assisted to resolve the crisis and bring stability and growth back to disrupted communities.

Ebel’s generalist background and insatiable curiosity got him into some very unusual management situations and allowed him to explore new ways to approach solutions to complex problems, including a “holistic” method wherein local resources and ideas were sought out and incorporated into programs for implementation.

Jon Hancock, Board Member

Jon Hancock has spent the last 20 years as an IT entrepreneur. His experience ranges from tech lead on $250M projects to wearing all hats bootstrapping on $20K. Most of the last 10 years, Jon has lived in Shanghai. He started an R&D center in Shanghai in 2000 to build Internet banking systems with Chinese banks. In 2002, Jon was chosen by the Shanghai government to serve on its Science and Technology Counsel and as such became the first foreigner to be an official adviser to the government. Shanghai became a home as much as a place to do business. Over the years, Jon started bringing together the tech community by creating the BarCamp’s in Shanghai and Beijing as well as creating Linux, Ruby, and Drupal user groups and conferences. These activities have had a lasting effect to connect Shanghai’s IT and startup community.

In 1994, Jon founded patternWare Systems, Inc. patternWare built Application Frameworks. These frameworks are a collection of middleware in support of large enterprise applications. patternWare had many successes with: Insurance (State Farm Insurance, USAA, Assurant), Finance (American Express Financial Services, Kemper Mutual Funds), Health Care (Medicus), Banking (Bank of America, UBS, China Everbright), Utilities (Duke Energy, ABB), Transportation (Sampoerna, OOCL, GemStone Systems) and Agriculture and Trade (Cargill).

By 1998, patternWare’s business landscape merged into the unavoidable world of the Internet. During the height of the dot com boom, while still running patternWare, Jon was CTO of NextEra (NASDAQ: NXRA) an incubator to 20 Internet startups.

Jon Hancock studied Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Georgia Tech from 1987 to 1992. Much of the technology invented through his career traces back to Jon’s invention of the first object-relational mapping framework (ORM) in 1988 while a co-op student with IBM.

Sarah Humphrey, Board Member

Sarah Humphrey has served as the Executive Director of Presbyterian Answer to Hunger (PATH) in Atlanta for over 20 years. PATH was initially a grant-giving organization, but shifted to one focused on relationships and strategy-based partnerships for programs that address systemic roots relating to issues around and support of hunger projects and social justice.

Prior to working with PATH, Humphrey had experience in Ghana (W. Africa), and worked on social issues relating to youth, homelessness, and urban poverty in Atlanta.

Humphrey is still involved in PATH’s international programs in Israel/Palestine, Haiti, Kenya, and  Guatemala (in cooperation with Joining Hands Against Hunger, a partnerhsip network in different countries),and supports community education and awareness on poverty, hunger, and democracy/worker’s rights.

Humphrey has also been involved with Friends Service Middle East Peace Education program and travels with groups to the Middle East and Central America every year.

Ana Keshelashvili

Ana Keshelashvili, program director at Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA), School of Journalism and Media Management in Tbilisi, Georgia, where she leads the multimedia journalism direction, teaches reporting, blogging and online campaigning. She is moving to Columbia, SC in August to continue studies in the PhD program in Mass Communication.

Journalism and communication has been the biggest part of her educational and professional background. She has worked for GIPA for over five years, after gaining the master’s degree in Mass Communication from Louisiana State University. Before that Ana has worked for several years as a print and TV reporter, as well as a public relations officer for non-profit organizations.

She has years of experience working for non-profit organizations in different roles; has lead several start-up projects in the country (leader of eRiders project and team, providing information and communication technology consulting and assistance to grassroots non-profit organizations; director of Free Open Source Software promotion project). Her involvement with the international InfoActivism camp (activists using technology for change) led her to the open maps project initiated in Georgia, where she served as a board member, in most cases as an advisor on local context, helping in raising visibility of the organization among donors.