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John Emery

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John Emery is the founder and managing partner of Stone Circle Capital, a venture fund focused on a broad range of opportunistic investments, particularly in the leisure and hospitality industries. Formerly, John served as the chief executive officer of Great Wolf Resorts and Interstate Hotels and Resorts , leading its initial public offering in 2004. He was also the president and chief operating officer of a top independent hotel management company and began his career with a leading audit, tax, consulting and financial advisory company.

In 1998, John formed the Stone Circle Foundation, a nonprofit organization serving women and children in need that has committed more than $1 million to date. A Virginia Tech graduate and CPA, he serves on the Advisory Council for the Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business and has guest lectured at Pamplin, the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College and Macalester College.

Joel S. Williams

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Joel S. Williams, PhD, CIMA, CFP, is the founder and president of JSW Financial. JSW specializes in assisting wealthy families and privately-held business owners create customized, leading-edge solutions for their wealth and estate plans. For more than 30 years, Dr. Williams has based his success in the financial sector on close client-advisor relationships and a passion for education - both within the company and externally for clients.

At Purdue University, he focused his graduate research thesis on prudent investment strategies. He went on to earn a PhD in economics at the University of Florida. He further expanded his qualifications by earning certification as both a Certified Financial Planner and Certified Investment Management Analyst through the prestigious Wharton School programs. Dr. Williams' passion for education first emerged during his years as a Virginia Tech professor where he taught economics and consulted with agribusiness firms on financial management.

He is a contributing author of the book, Wealth: Enhancement and Preservation and a charter member of Advisors in Philanthropy and InknowVision. In 1997, Dr. Williams became independent after working with Dean Witter and founding Joel S. Williams & Associates. The firm has grown into JSW that leverages the power of connective wisdom to provide unparalleled access to specific expertise and capabilities needed to help business owners add value to their business and affluent families achieve their life goals.

David Abbott

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David Abbott has held positions of VP, Division General Manager, President, CEO, and Owner of nine companies in unrelated industries ranging from $0.5 million to $250 million revenue, most successful turn-around situations. In his early carrier he had a major role in the design/build of a manufacturing plant with 5 acres under roof and total responsibility for design of several state-of-the-art manufacturing processes.

Subsequently, he had total responsibility for the design of facilities, design of manufacturing processes using state-of-the-art technology, staffing, start-up, and operation of two companies, first in the Wood Industry and then in the Arms Industry as CEO and President respectively. In addition to facility design, process design, and senior level management, David has been heavily involved in product design and marketing, winning one national award for best design; he has two current patents.

David's involvement in VT Growth Partners is centered on product design, manufacturing, and coaching of senior level managers; he is a graduate of Auburn University with degrees in Engineering and Business, and maintains close ties with Virginia Tech where two of his children recently graduated.