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2021 NACCE Pitch for the Trades Presents Panel of Distinguished Judges

By: PRLog

CARY, N.C. - Aug. 31, 2021 - PRLog -- NACCE is honored to welcome a distinguished panel of judges for the 3rd annual NACCE Pitch for the Trades presented in partnership with the Philip E. & Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation. Scheduled for October 5 in conjunction with the #NACCE2021 Annual Conference, Pitch for the Trades brings together community college teams competing for funding to support entrepreneurial projects in the skilled trades.

Our distinguished judges include experienced and respected leaders from foundations, education, business and industry. Their insights, entrepreneurial expertise and insights are invaluable to the pitch teams who are contending for their share of $135,000 in the final round of competition.

Rachel Jagoda Brunette, Program Officer at the Lemelson Foundation
Rachel coordinates The Lemelson Foundation's regional focus within the state of Oregon, working to drive lasting social, economic and environmental benefits by fostering a local ecosystem that inspires inventors, increases access to invention and entrepreneurship education, and supports the launch, early incubation and mentoring of invention-based enterprises.

Carlene Cassidy, CEO of the Philip E. & Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation
Carlene has over 30 years of experience in business, management, and higher education. She has worked in a variety of industries including health care, retail, computer information systems, and education. Carlene retired from Anne Arundel Community College after 18 years of service where she was a tenured full Professor of Business Management and Entrepreneurship, and founding Director of Anne Arundel College's Entrepreneurial Studies Institute. In 2009, Carlene received the NACCE Entrepreneurship Faculty of the Year Award.

Jerry Edmonds, VP of Workforce Development and Community Engagement, Vance-Granville Community College
Dr. Edmonds oversees training programs that respond to community needs and prepare students for workforce success, including apprenticeship programs, and economic development support for the region. Additionally, he leads the development of partnerships with businesses and government agencies, and coordinates outreach and marketing for the entire college. Dr. Edmonds serves on the inaugural North Carolina Black Entrepreneurship Council (NC BEC). Prior to entering the field of higher education, Edmonds worked in the private sector for International Business Machines (IBM) and Johnson and Johnson.

Erica Lock, Vice President, Blackstone Charitable Foundation
Erica leads Blackstone's Entrepreneurship Initiative, the firm's philanthropic commitment to create and support programs that launch and accelerate entrepreneurs. Before moving to Blackstone in 2019, Erica worked at Echoing Green, the world's leading leadership development accelerator for social impact entrepreneurs. There, she managed partnerships and strategy for their inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystem work. Erica also led the Echoing Green Fellowship Program, where she oversaw the team managing the venture portfolios and producing global social innovation conferences. During the Bloomberg administration, Erica worked at the NYC Mayor's Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability.

Bryan Mattimore, Cofounder and Chief Idea Guy of The Growth Engine Innovation Agency
Bryan specializes in ideation and innovation process, front-end marketing research, branding, creating and developing new products and services, and innovation strategic planning. He is Cofounder and "Chief Idea Guy" of The Growth Engine Innovation Agency, an innovation agency founded in 1999 and based in Westport, Connecticut. Prior to cofounding Growth Engine, he was president of the Mattimore Group, a fifteen-year old ideation facilitation and creativity consulting company. He is also an innovation instructor at Caltech and the author of Idea Stormers, 21 Days to a Big Idea and 99% Inspiration.‚Äč

Ron Thomas, Leadership Advisor and Retired College President
Dr. Thomas served for 17 years as president of two-year colleges. He joined NACCE in 2003, serving as a board member and chair for two years. During his tenure as chair, Dr. Thomas was instrumental in the launch of the Presidents for Entrepreneurship Pledge (PFEP) in 2011. He is co-editor of NACCE's Community Colleges as Incubators of Innovation: Unleashing Entrepreneurial Opportunities for Communities and Students (Innovative Ideas for Community Colleges Series) published in 2019.

NACCE is thrilled to include additional funding for skilled trades entrepreneurs through the Everyday Entrepreneur Venture Fund (EEVF) at NACCE in this year's Pitch for the Trades. The innovative EEVF 2.0 funding model breaks barriers to access and supports entrepreneurs with access, education, and mentorship. This EEVF 2.0 expansion creates a pathway for every NACCE member college that completes an application to participate and pitch to gain access to funding designated for skilled trades entrepreneurs.

"We are excited to see the innovative ways that our community college faculty and administrators are working to infuse entrepreneurship into the skilled trades, and grateful for the continued funding and support of the Philip E. & Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation. The investment we're able to make in these colleges and communities as a result of this partnership is transformative to these colleges who are actively cultivating a culture of resilience and working to support economic recovery in their communities," said Rebecca Corbin, President & CEO of NACCE.

Thank you once again to our team of extraordinary and talented Pitch for the Trades judges. The application cycle for the third annual Pitch for the Trades competition is currently open to all NACCE member colleges. The last day to submit is September 8, 2021. Detailed information about the full timeline is available at:


NACCE is an organization of educators, administrators, presidents and entrepreneurs focused on igniting entrepreneurship in their communities and campuses. NACCE has two main goals: to empower college leaders to approach the business of running a community college with an entrepreneurial mindset and to grow the community college's role in supporting job creation and entrepreneurs in their local ecosystem. NACCE unites a dynamic network of community colleges. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter at @NACCE, like us on Facebook, and join our LinkedIn group.

About the Philip E. & Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation
The Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation is a charitable organization designed to encourage and reward entrepreneurship, create jobs, and expand economic opportunity. Based in the Annapolis, Maryland, the foundation provides funds to institutions to encourage entrepreneurship in non-traditional business fields such as the arts, design, health care, environmental science, aquaculture and skilled trades. The Ratcliffe Foundation strives to integrate its programs with local communities through mentorships and business involvement. Visit:

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