Point Positive, Inc. is a non-profit organization governed by a Board of Directors. Our Founding Board of Directors included Adele Connors, Mark Dzwonczyk, William Grabe, James Herman, Lee Keet, Dan Leff, and David Mason.
Following several years in engineering and construction with Turner Construction Company in San Francisco, David enjoyed a 35-year career with BNP Paribas, the multinational French bank, where he held a number of leadership positions with assignments in the U.S. and Europe, during the later years as CEO of the firm's U.S. brokerage and capital markets subsidiary. In 2015, he moved full-time to Au Sable Forks where he and his wife, Rhonda Butler, own and operate Asgaard Farm & Dairy, a diversified farmstead producer of cheese, livestock, and poultry, using regenerative practices. Asgaard also manages sustainable timber forest and a growing portfolio of investments in agriculture, renewable energy, and local economic development. David is currently a Board member of the Adirondack Foundation, the Adirondack Land Trust, and the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Essex County. Past affiliations include the Adirondack Nature Conservancy, Board member; the Church of the Heavenly Rest, New York City, Vestry member, and Warden; and the National Building Museum, Washington, D.C., Board member. LinkedIn Profile
Shipley Center for Innovation at Clarkson
Represented by Director, Jamey Hoose. LinkedIn Profile
Doug owns and operates a group of building supply companies based in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and is the President & CEO of Dorset Capital Partners, a boutique business advisory firm focusing on small and medium-sized businesses looking for support in acquisitions and divestitures, product development, distribution management, and other business strategy and implementation challenges. Doug is also an investor in Search Fund Partners, a micro-private equity investment fund based in Silicon Valley. Doug served as Director of the Manchester (VT) Youth Soccer program and coached youth soccer for 15 years for both the MYSL and Southern Vermont Soccer Club. He is a life-long soccer player and fan with a preference for Chelsea. He also served as Treasurer of the Dorset Education Fund, raising money to offset the Vermont Act 60 School Budget funding penalty. Doug is a founding Board Member of The BOMA Project and has been intimately involved in the organization's growth from a small non-profit working in Kenya to an award-winning global thought leader in poverty alleviation and humanitarian aid delivery in Africa. Doug is a graduate of Princeton University with a BSE in Chemical Engineering. He and his wife, Kathleen, after twenty years in Dorset Vermont, now live full time on Upper Saranac Lake. LinkedIn Profile
Adele is a principal and co-founder of Workshop, both the first advertising agency and now the first employee-owned company in Lake Placid. With an intimate knowledge of the economic landscape of Northern NY, Adele has managed integrated campaigns through the I Love NY program for the Adirondack region and the 1000 Islands and has done cooperative programs with a number of economic development agencies in the same regions. She has served on numerous boards over the years, including as Co-chair, Adirondack Foundation (formerly ACT); as an executive and advisory board member, LPCA; and as an executive board member, Adirondack Medical Center Foundation.
Mark lives in Silicon Valley, and until recently was commuting to New York's North Country for about 50% of his time in his role as CEO of Nicholville Telephone Company, a local incumbent provider that is installing the fastest broadband in the nation to sections of otherwise-unserved rural NY. For 20 years prior to his work with this legacy telephone company, Mark built a number of new telecom businesses, in various roles as founder, CEO, and in Board or advisory seats. With a focus on communications technologies, Mark has grown companies from scratch using conventional angel and venture capital investments, though he bootstrapped his first company from his garage. Mark received a BS in Electrical Engineering from Tufts University and an MS in Aeronautical Engineering from MIT. After working in the Cambridge, Massachusetts area for 10 years, Mark migrated to Silicon Valley in the early internet days to attend Stanford for a Ph.D. But the entrepreneurial bug was more infectious than academia, so he left Stanford to pursue his real passion of growing businesses that provide value to the investors and meaning to the employees and the community. Mark is active in local North Country economic development and is a member of the Board of Trustees of Paul Smiths College. LinkedIn Profile
Melinda ("Lindy") Ellis (co-investor with spouse Rich Shapiro – see bio below)
Lindy has 40 years of manufacturing leadership experience, including international project management, materials, and problem-solving. During her tenure as Director of Advanced Process Engineering & Materials Engineering with Corning Inc. (1997-2009), Lindy was recognized with the 2006 Manufacturing Technology and Engineering People Development Award, the 2007 Diversity and Development Award, and also in 2007 was named Woman Leader of the Year. She has trained over 1000 people in the US, Asia, and Europe in leadership, manufacturing, project management, team, communications, facilitation, and organizational skills. She currently serves as a Member of the Franklin County IDA Board of Directors, the Franklin County Traffic Safety Board and as a Franklin County Legislator. She's also served as a Board Member of Homeward Bound Adirondacks and the Saranac Lake Local Development Corporation. LinkedIn Profile
Christopher is the Co-Owner of The Adirondack Store in Lake Placid, which recently opened an additional showroom in Tupper Lake. Christopher has spent his professional lifetime seeking and trading high-end art, antiques, and taxidermy. His partner, Stephen Dori Shin, started his career as an acclaimed professional dancer. Before buying The Adirondack Store, the duo founded and operated Antediluvian - an Antiques & Oddities store in Lake Placid NY. Now, three years after buying a 60-year-old company, they place emphasis on highlighting the brand's forgotten history, making special efforts to create future history. Their unique backgrounds lend themselves well to creating a truly unique retail experience.
Reg has 35 plus years of mentoring, working for, investing in, and selling seed, early and more advanced stage companies. Extensive angel/VC investor involvement for his own account and others. LinkedIn Profile
Lee is CEO and Co-founder of Vanguard Atlantic Ltd., a Saranac Lake-based firm that has been making private equity investments in American and European high-technology companies since 1985. The firm's philosophy has been to look for situations where their funds could be leveraged by experience, talent, and a strategic approach to markets. Their specialty has been very early-stage funding of software-leveraged startups. Lee is on several Adirondack non-for-profit boards, including the Adirondack Council, the Adirondack Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates, and the Lake Colby Association. He was formerly on the Board of the Trudeau Institute and AdkAction.org. Lee and his wife, Nancy, live on Lake Colby in Harrietstown. LinkedIn Profile
Dan Leff has extensive operating experience building, leading, and restructuring global energy services businesses. He has recently served as executive chairman and CEO of energy software and technology companies. Previously, Dan was an Advisory Partner at Clayton, Dubilier & Rice; co-COO of Invensys plc, a global manufacturing, and services company; selected to be chair and CEO of Enron Energy Services by the creditor-appointed management team to help lead the parent corporation following its 2001 bankruptcy filing; founder of a forward-looking energy services company which he sold to Enron in 1997 and where he eventually became COO of Enron Energy Services. Dan serves on the boards of a private company and non-profit organizations. Dan and his wife Pam live in Lake Placid, NY. LinkedIn Profile
Ed is a conservationist, ocean sailor, pilot, airplane builder, and filmmaker. A retired partner of The Pioneer Group (developer/builder of office buildings in NY), Ed has served on the boards of several organizations focused on conservation, including the Adirondack Nature Conservancy, the Adirondack Land Trust, the Nature Conservancy New York State Board, and The Northern Forest Atlas Foundation. Ed is a life member of the Joshua Slocum Society (Slocum was the first person to sail around the world single-handedly in the late 1890s), which was established to honor all solo, long-distance sailors. He is also a seaplane pilot and aircraft builder. Among his many publications and films are:
Three Lakes to the Ice Age, Water Flying, Jan/Feb 2004
Invasive Species, co-authored with Dr. David Strayer, Water Flying Mar/Apr 2009
Avoiding Transport of Invasive Species by Seaplane, co-authored with Dr. David Strayer, Images of Alaska, flying film of Alaska, 2005
A New View of Adirondack Lakes, filmed 2006, and 2012.
The Kamichak Bears, grizzly bears on the Kamichak River of Alaska, 2009
Ed has served as chair of the Crouse Irving Memorial Hospital Foundation, vice-chair of the Everson Museum of Art, chair of the Syracuse Stage, and trustee of the Manlius Pebble Hill School.
One of our newest members, Doug has been coming to the Adirondacks since his youth in the late 1960s and has a home at the Ausable Club in Keene Valley. He's married to Laura Rumbough and they have two adult children. Doug has always had an entrepreneurial spirit when it comes to business, and during his career has worked for smaller companies and new business ventures. His focus has been on consumer products, and he spent almost 20 years with Swiss Army Brands, where he was a General Manager. During his career at Swiss Army revenues grew from $4M to $150M and the Company went public along the way. Following that, he was involved in a dot com venture, then started a pharmaceutical division for a sales promotion agency called GMPC. The business grew to $10M in 5 years, at which point he sold his interest, and moved from Connecticut to Middlebury Vermont.
In 2010, Doug co-founded ADK Packworks and developed and patented a multifunctional structured bag that was a reinvention of the Adirondack Packbasket. They raised money to help finance this venture from both North Country Angels, and later Point Positive. The product was initially sold in several regions of Whole Foods and grew to over 300 retailers. Although they had a loyal consumer following, they encountered some challenges growing the business and in 2017 ADK Packworks was acquired by M Block a large consumer product logistics company in Chicago. LinkedIn Profile
Rich Shapiro (co-investor with his spouse, Lindy Ellis)
After 14 years in the manufacturing sector, as Manager of Corporate Quality Assurance at Thatcher Glass Corporation, and Project Manager for Corning Inc., Rich founded Gear-To-Go Tandems, NY State's largest Tandem Bicycle shop, providing sales and service and Tandem Bicycle Tours in NY, VT, Quebec, and Ontario. Rich currently serves as a Trustee for the Village of Saranac Lake and a Board Member of the County of Franklin Solid Waste Management Authority. He also had a key leadership role in the establishment of the Saranac Lake Skate Park and is still part of the Committee which oversees it, and most recently, was one of the organizers of the World Snowshoe Championship hosted by Saranac Lake.
With over 25 years of experience working as an expert litigator, arbitrator, mediator, and appellate lawyer in Central and Northern New York, Jim excels at solving complex legal problems for his clients, including individuals, businesses, organizations and government offices. Currently, a Member of the law firm, Bousquet Holstein PLLLC in Syracuse, NY, Jim operated his own law firm for over 20 years. He has been on the board of numerous charitable and professional organizations in the region and is currently a Board Member of the Adirondack Council and President of the Adirondack North Country Assn. Jim and his wife, Marcie, spend as much time as possible at their home in Saranac Lake. LinkedIn Profile
Charlie is a member of Brock Capital Group LLC. The focus of his work at Brock has been private equity and investment banking services related to energy, alternative energy, project finance, and transportation. Charlie began his career as a corporate and securities lawyer at Dewey, Ballantine, Busby, Palmer & Wood, where he specialized in lease and project financing. He subsequently served as Managing Director of Project Finance at Goldman, Sachs & Co. specializing in Lease Financing, Energy, and Maritime Transportation. Charlie was also Managing Director and head of project finance at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. Charlie is currently serving as Co-Chairman of the Investment Committee at Hamilton College. He also holds a number of positions at various not-for-profit organizations including The Harvard Law School Association, The South Street Seaport Museum, and The Natural Museum of the Adirondacks. LinkedIn Profile
Kip has enjoyed a 30-year career in investment banking, trade finance, risk management, and capital markets, with major financial institutions including Manufacturer's Hanover Trust, UBS Securities, and most recently as head of Fixed Income in the Americas for BNP Paribas. Kip is now active as an investor in and advisor to small start-up or early-stage companies. His most active advisory roles are with the sales organization of an early stage, software delivered, credit rating firm, Rapid Ratings International, and as a financial advisor to a start-up airline seat manufacturer, Molon Labe. Kip is involved at the board level or as a volunteer with several non-profit organizations including a nature sanctuary, and an organization dedicated to expanding financial literacy among our nation's young people. Kip and his wife, Julie (a professional photographer) split their time between Katonah, NY, and their home on Mirror Lake. They have three adult children. Kip enjoys skiing, fishing, hunting, and supporting the University of Wisconsin Badgers and the Green Bay Packers. LinkedIn Profile
Rob is the Managing Partner of Capital Partners. He has been dedicated to private equity investing for 29 years and has served on the Board of Directors of many families and management-owned businesses. He co-founded Capital Partners' lower-debt, cash-yielding buy-out model in 2004 and has led efforts to raise over $1 billion in equity for the firm since then, including its most recent committed fund of $600 million. Previously, Rob was a Partner with Saugatuck Capital and Rutledge Capital in Connecticut and he began his career with Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. in New York. Rob holds a B.A. from Middlebury College and an M.B.A. from Columbia University. LinkedIn Profile