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Wayne has been an active leader in global commerce for many decades. He was Vice President of GM Overseas Development Corporation & Director of New Business Development for Africa and the Middle East during the early nineties, and later led Strategic Planning and Marketing Planning for GM do Brasil in Sao Paulo. Wayne was appointed to the Global Chevrolet Brand Board in 1998 and served in that forum for the balance of his time with General Motors, becoming the senior voice of the Chevrolet brand globally for many years. Wayne also served as Regional Director, Sales & Marketing for GM’s South America, Africa & Middle East region and was an executive member of the Regional Strategy Board. In 2006, Wayne was appointed President & Managing Director of Chevrolet Europe to re-launch the brand across 37 countries and turn-around a struggling business. During this time, Wayne also held the titles of Vice President GM Europe, VP of GM International Operations, CEO of Cadillac Europe, and in 2010/11, CEO of GM Europe.
Today, Wayne is the Founder and CEO of Gr8Road Partners based in Naples, Florida, which is focused on global business strategy, management consulting, executive coaching and new business development. In addition, he has advised and supported multiple automotive marketing companies which provide services ranging from digital, direct & probability-based marketing solutions for automotive retailers, to social media and showroom selling tools for the automotive market in the US. In 2013, Wayne served as Chief Marketing Officer of VW of America, and is currently on the executive team and advisory board for Akervall Technologies Inc., a world-class producer of SISU mouthguards & SOVA night-grinding mouth guards. When possible, Wayne donates his time as a mentor and advisor to individuals, start-up companies and organizations in North America, South America and Europe.
Kathy Capelli has a passion for people, creating a positive work environment and establishing processes to enable companies to gain a foothold in organizational structure, processes and systems to sustain future growth. She has several years of experience in bringing stability and organization to companies going through growth and internal change. Areas of focus include accounting and operations with solid experience in the manufacturing environment and system integrations.
Kathy’s golden rule to success: Genuinely care for and serve the people that work for you. They are vital to the company’s success.
“When a person feels cared about, they care back – it’s as simple as that”, says Kathy Capelli. “…this translates to quality products and happy customers and all other things being equal, a bottom line that you can feel good about!”
Mark Ish is an accomplished sales veteran with leadership experience in business development, strategic planning, and marketing both internationally and domestically in the consumer product industry specializing in sporting goods. Before joining Akervall Technologies in February of 2017, Ish worked in Senior Executive roles with several of the most recognized marquee brands in the world, including Wham-O, Trigger Point Performance, and Black & Decker. In April of 2013, Ish was named to the Sporting Goods Business Journal as one of the “Top 40 Sporting Goods Executives Under 40” by SportsOneSource, a prestigious honor that recognizes trailblazers within the sporting goods industry. Mark attended San Diego State University on a NCAA Division 1 soccer scholarship where he played in the premier college soccer league in the country. Ish graduated from SDSU with a BS in Business Administration, specializing in Marketing. When away from work, Ish enjoys running, traveling, and spending time with his wife Amanda, and two children, Avery and Asher.
Johannes Schwank, Ph.D., co-founder and Chief Science Officer of Akervall Technologies, Inc., holds the James and Judith Street Endowed Chair Professorship in the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Michigan. He has served for several years as director of EMAL, the University’s materials characterization facility. He oversees a large research program exploring structure-performance relationships in catalysts, sensors, nanomaterials, and polymers. The results of his research have been published in over 200 peer-reviewed articles.
“Working on the SISU Mouthguard has been one of my most exciting scientific endeavors, as we are creating a paradigm changing technology based on deep scientific understanding of materials properties and the physics of impact energy absorption and dissipation.”
Sassa Akervall has a BA in communication from the University of Lund, Sweden. Before becoming CEO and the majority owner of Akervall technologies Inc. (ATI) she worked as a copywriter, TV host for her own shows, TV producer, writer/reporter and children’s books author. She has taken ATI from the kitchen table with $5k in revenues 2009 to 24 employees in 2017, a consistent 50% annual growth rate, owning her own plant, and with global partners like Reebok/CCM and a Swedish subsidiary. She has won several awards for the company, e.g. 50 Companies to Watch in Michigan 2014, Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition – Advanced Materials in 2014 and 2015, Enterprising Women of the Year nominee 2015 and STEP Ahead Award 2016. In 2017 Sassa, and her husband Jan were both finalists in the E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year competition. She is a member of SBAM’s Board of Directors, Saline Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and on the Advisory Board of Enterprising Women Foundation for the second year in a row.
In her spare time, Sassa enjoys spending time with her husband, Jan, the co-founder, president and inventor of ATI’s products, and their two adult children. She also enjoys entertaining guests for dinner, and of course hanging out with her two large dogs, Stella and Artie, both are Black Russian Terriers.
Jan Akervall, MD, Ph.D., founder and President of Akervall Technologies Inc. has been ranked top 1% ENT surgeons in the USA since 2014 by Castle Connolly. He has pioneered trans oral laser and robotic surgery for head and neck cancer in Sweden and Michigan for the last 15 years. He developed Intuguard™ to protect the teeth of his patients during these procedures, where heavy equipment is used to access the throat. He has performed 1,500 endoscopic procedures using the Intuguard technology and has yet to see the first dental injury. He soon discovered that the same material made an excellent mouthguard for use in sports when his daughter began playing field hockey. He began making mouthguards for the team and decided the demand was great enough introduce this new polymer into the sports market, now called the SISU™ Mouthguard.
“The team is fantastic and extremely dynamic. We have a great scientific approach to dental protection and every day we see new possibilities for our mouthguards and for the cutting edge materials we are developing.”