Jamie Thinglestad is CTO of SPS Commerce, the retail industry’s most broadly adopted cloud services platform. Previously, he served as CTO for leading financial publishers including the Wall Street Journal Digital Network, Enterprise Media Group of Dow Jones and MarketWatch, Inc. He was the founding CTO of BigCharts, the leading provider of financial tools and information to consumers and financial services companies via the web. In 1999, BigCharts was acquired by MarketWatch and the technology is still used by Dow Jones & Company today. In addition, Jamie has developed and managed products and technologies for properties including Barron’sVirtual Stock ExchangeDow Jones Newswires and Dow Jones Indexes.  Jamie is excited to leverage his fifteen years of technology industry experience to further minne✱’s mission of helping to seed innovation in the technology community throughout the Twin Cities and the region.

Kevin Spreng is a partner at Robins, Kaplan, Miller, & Ciresi. Kevin’s practice focuses on helping entrepreneurs and investors build technology based businesses by providing experienced, practical and tech savvy counsel in the areas of corporate finance, general corporate matters, mergers and acquisitions, strategic intellectual property monetization, and technology transactions.


Jim Bernard is Senior Vice President for Digital at the Star Tribune with responsibility for all the company’s digital operations, including Bernard, who joined the Star Tribune in 2010, previously was General Manager of, a highly successful national financial website that is a division of the Dow Jones Digital Network. During his tenure, he oversaw a complete redesign of the site and a 35 percent increase in site traffic and visitors, as well as a doubling of search traffic. Prior to becoming General Manager of MarketWatch, Bernard held several executive positions with Dow Jones, including Vice President of Customer Quality, Vice President of Strategy and Planning and Vice President of Strategy and Market Intelligence for the business-to-business division.  Born in Detroit, MI, Bernard has worked his entire professional career in the Twin Cities market. He has an MBA from the University of Minnesota with a concentration in entrepreneurship and a BA in English from the University of Iowa.

Sona Mehring is the founder and CEO of CaringBridge, a nonprofit providing a caring social network with services for those going through a health journey. Since creating CaringBridge from a personal experience in 1997, CaringBridge has grown to serve more than 44 million people – helping them connect and provide support worldwide. Sona is frequently recognized and honored for her passion and visionary leadership. She was named one of 2011’s “Most Influential Women in Technology” by Fast Company. In 2010 she received the Health Care Heroes Award from Twin Cities Business magazine. She also has received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition in recognition of outstanding and invaluable service to the community, was recognized and highlighted by as one of the nation’s leading Women Working for Change.

Adrienne Peirce, taskmaster and community catalyst. Adrienne brings solid project management from her time as an engineer in the medical device world, and strategic business development from her MBA at Carlson to match her genuine interest in building the technology community. She has a particular interest in technology for non-profits and general social good. Adrienne attended a few MinneBars and MinneDemos before joining Ben and Luke in maintaining the great momentum and moving the organization forward.

Justin Porter has numerous years of experience in a variety of technology and business roles. His most recent position was working in an environment where he was responsible for launching high technology-based start-up companies. He previously worked with a variety of consulting clients in a professional services role. He has a balanced mix of consulting, industry, and technical experiences, allowing him to be leveraged in all phases of a company. Mr. Porter has experience across many technology sectors including life sciences, physical and engineering sciences, software and information technology, and agriculture. Mr. Porter holds a BSB in Management Information Systems and Entrepreneurial Studies from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and an MBA from the University of Minnesota – Carlson School of Management.

Casey-helbling-2014Casey Helbling is an entrepreneur and agile web architect with over 15 years full life-cycle experience in design, development and implementation of web based software systems. Mr. Helbling began his career building web applications for Imaginet and then as a consultant for the St. Paul company Fourth Generation. In late 2003 he founded Clear Consulting, an agile web development firm focused on delivering successful software projects through effective communication. In 2010, he founded Software for Good, a web and mobile development firm focused on making the world a better place by building software for companies doing great things.

bill-macleslieBill MacLeslie is the Chief Executive Officer of ipHouse and Technology By Design. With over 30 years of online community and Internet experience, he is known to have a strong reputation for getting things done.

He started his online career by operating a BBS out of my house from 1984 to 1994 while at the same time working at the University of Minnesota operating networks for the Biochemistry Department. In 1994 he also joined and after 10 years there, started ipHouse in 2004. And in 2014 he started a technical support services company, Technology by Design. There appears to be a pattern here.

He’s a former president of the Minnesota Internet Services Trade Association. He monitors public affairs and regulatory issues relating to telecom and the Internet in Minnesota, as a member of MHTA government affairs committee. He has advised lawmakers on technical legislative issues, helping draft the Minnesota anti-spam bill.

Prior to joining the 9 to 5 world in 1994, he spent a decade mastering the technical challenges of live theatre and recorded performance as a stage and sound technician. He spent three years with the Guthrie Theater and toured nationally with such acts as The Replacements, REM, The Jets, and Rod Stewart.

9a784dcc-8a61-484b-9db8-d6abe5f7a76fJenna Pederson is an engineer, a leader, and a catalyst. She has built and led local and international technical teams. She wears many hats and has experience in a range of technologies and business domains. Today,Jenna is the founder of 612 Software Foundry where she helps small businesses and startups with technical strategy and implementation.

Jenna is passionate about creating a welcoming and supportive tech and startup community for everyone. Since early 2014, she has led the Twin Cities chapter of the Geekettes. She facilitates workshops, networking events, and co-founded the Twin Cities’ first all-women hackathon, Hack the Gap.

Jenna also holds a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Minnesota Duluth and a M.S. in Software Engineering from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.

Jim_Headshot_Aug2015Jim Dahline (LinkedIn | Twitter) is Director of Marketing at Sport Ngin, a Northeast Minneapolis based sports technology company serving the coaches, volunteers, administrators, and families of youth sports organizations around the world. During his nearly 15 years of SaaS marketing experience, Jim has led product, marketing communications, and brand building teams.

Born and raised in Minnesota, Jim is passionate about connecting young Minnesotans with opportunities in technology through university engagement, mentoring, and networking. Jim holds a BBA in Marketing from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and an MBA from the University of Nebraska.


jeff-sellnerJeff Sellner is a principal at CliftonLarsonAllen LLP. Since joining the firm in 1998, Jeff’s practice focuses on providing consulting, tax and assurance services to software developers, life sciences, technology and other high growth businesses. He has experience working with entrepreneurs on various issues including business strategies, profitability modeling, capital planning, intellectual property management, risk mitigation and succession planning. Jeff leads the firm’s technology industry group and has been a speaker on topics such as strategic and business planning, raising capital, entrepreneurship and starting a business.

Advisory Board

Michael Gorman: Michael Gorman is a founding Managing Director of Split Rock Partners. He is an active supporter of the local entrepreneurial community, and works closely with organizations providing guidance to emerging companies. In addition, Michael served as president of the Minnesota Venture Capital Association in 2000 and 2001. Michael holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Duke University, as well as MBA and JD degrees from Harvard University.

Robert Stephens: Robert founded Geek Squad in 1994 with $200. In 2002, The Geek Squad acquired Best Buy and opened Geek Squad precincts in all Best Buy US and Canadian stores. Now, with over 25,000 Agents, The Geek Squad is now the world’s largest technology support company offering phone, in-store, and in-home, and online support. In 2010, Robert was appointed as the Chief Technology Officer for Best Buy.

Robert Weber: Rob has been a successful entrepreneur since the age of 16 when he, along with his brothers, launched their first e-marketing business. By the age of 20 the Weber brothers had turned their basement endeavors into a multi-million dollar business, and Rob became CEO. Today, Rob leads Business Development and works with App Developers to create great apps, build audience, and monetize them. NativeX’s current partner set includes many of the world’s most popular developers, such as Imangi Studios, maker of Temple Run. In 2006, Rob shared the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award with his twin brother, and business partner, Ryan Weber. Rob was also named to the 2007 Inc. 5,000 CEO’s Under 30 list.

Ben Edwards: Ben Edwards, founder and community catalyst. Ben is a partner at Refactr, a forerunning agile software consultancy specializing in developing custom software for demanding clients. After Refactr’s work with CloudProfile resulted in an acquisition by ReachLocal, Ben and the Refactr team joined ReachLocal as a crucial part of that company’s IPO. Ben started MinneBar as “BarCamp Minnesota” after talking with the founder of BarCamp at a conference in California.

Luke Francl: Luke Francl, founder and community catalyst. Luke has been a professional software developer for over a decade. In that time, he’s worked with nearly every web technology out there (including Tcl). After a brief fling with the crushing poverty of Silicon Valley startup life, he became an independent consultant specializing in building awesome software at exorbitant rates. Luke attended the first MinneBar in 2006, where he met Ben. He started MinneDemo that fall and has been at it ever since.