Keiretsu Forum Midwest Committees serve as Centers of Excellence in their respective industries. These committees foster thought leadership, promote mindshare and are responsible for screening candidate companies before being selected to present at the Forums.

Manufacturing remains a critical and vibrant force in both advanced and developing economies. Perception of decline in this sector is completely unfounded. Manufacturing still contributes disproportionately to exports, innovation and productivity growth. Yet the role of manufacturing is changing and challenges traditional views, for example, that manufacturing and services are completely different sectors. In the U.S., every dollar of manufacturing output requires 19 cents of services. Keiretsu Forum Midwest members are interested in the changing growth dynamic of this sector and in exploring and contributing to new manufacturing approaches, policies and capabilities.


Kermit Lovelace

Advanced Manufacturing Committee Chair

Kermit is an executive in product, business development and operations with extensive experience in communications/technology leading the development and implementation of products, programs and processes. Kermit’s strengths include leadership, analysis, problem solving, relationship building and team management. He is known as a driven and dedicated leader who thrives on leading the way in solving challenging problems and delivering bottom line solutions.

We are living in the times of nearly every appliance and device in our home having a tiny micro computer inside and an app that can control them; door bells, security cameras, thermostats and lighting controls… this is the Internet of Things (IoT). The common thread of IoT devices is a want and need for convenient control and efficient automation of our lives. IoT devices are the building blocks of many other technology trends, such as Smart Cities, Autonomous Vehicles and Connected Homes—and the list of applications and providers is growing rapidly.


Matt MacBeth

IoT Committee Chair

Matt has designed several electronics products having sold in excess of one million units and has over 1 Million app downloads on the iTunes Store. He is passionate about educating the next generation through smart toys. His strengths are in product development, testing, procurement, inventory control and creative problem solving.

In the mature and saturated $760-billion Consumer Packaged Goods marketplace, CPG companies are aggressively seeking new growth drivers amongst a changing landscape. With consumer shifts in buying behavior, demand for sustainable products and purchase preferences for responsible, mission-based companies, there’s an unprecedented need for CPG investment in emerging markets and early stage start-ups. The Keiretsu Forum CPG Committee will focus on investments within early stage CPGs across food, beverage and durable goods, all of which align to CPG acquisition trends that can drive triple-bottom-line returns for people, planet and profit.

Ross keiretsu Head Shot

Ross Vangalis

Consumer Products Committee Chair

Ross is founder and CEO at Queue, an agency specializing in business transformation and President at Lamps Global, a network of agencies across North and South America. Fueled by 20+ years of experience, he has transformed emerging markets and consumer macro-trends into scalable CPG businesses, driven top-line growth across Fortune 500, mid-cap and venture-backed companies.

Experience metrics: 100+ CPG brands, 50+ companies, 20+ industries, 13 countries, 10+ M&A exits, 40+ industry awards, managing cross-functional teams of 30+ and $50K to $10M+ in MarCom P&L.

Worldwide life expectancy has increased significantly since the turn of the century. Improvements in medicine and life sciences has played an integral role in this important achievement. Science, and especially medical technology, has advanced radically in the last 10 years, creating an opportune environment for change and innovation. The Keiretsu Forum Midwest Chapter is focused on investments in medical devices, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and digital health that utilize emerging technologies to improve health and wellbeing. We can make a difference.


Dr. Navkaran Singh

Life Sciences & Medical Device Committee Chair

Dr. Singh earned his undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and his medical degree from Ohio State University. He completed his residency at the University of Cincinnati and is board certified by, and a fellow of, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. He is a robotics surgeon who leads the way in his field with exploratory, innovative medical devices that span numerous sectors.

Therapeutics is a branch of Life Sciences that focuses on the treatment of disease and the art and science of healing. From a pharmacological perspective, the therapeutic industry focuses of the development of drugs for the administration and treatment of all diseases. In recent years, we have seen a surge in digital therapeutics. The industry as a whole has seen an increase in investments from $134.3 million in 2015 to $1.2 billion in 2019, according to a recent Pitchbook report. With some of the largest medical research institutions in the Midwest, the therapeutics industry is thriving in this region of the United States, and drawing significant investment interest.


Adam Elhofy, PhD, MBA

Therapeutics Committee Chair

Adam has 20 years of scientific background with multiple publications and grants. His various roles range from Principal Investigator of a Nanotech start-up to Chief Science officer. Adam invented and patented the core technology for the Ess line of products.

Data, the cloud and AI are already reshaping certain industries—and the ripple effects are poised to grow and cause significant disruption in the decade ahead, extending into new sectors and many parts of society. Natural language processing, machine learning and deep learning capabilities are beginning to touch nearly every type of human and machine interaction. Both the opportunities and the risks are great. Organizations that are able to harness these capabilities effectively will be able to create significant value and differentiate themselves. Keiretsu Forum Midwest members are interested in investing in such organizations.


Ted Westerheide

Big Data Committee Chair

Ted is a successful entrepreneur, having recently founded his fourth tech startup, Talinity, a hire-by-referral community and app. Interleaved between start-ups, he served as a venture partner for an early stage incubator/seed stage fund and lead IBM’s Global AI Offerings for consumer and retail markets. Ted’s education includes degrees in electrical engineering and management from Rice University.

Shorthand for financial technology, FinTech is a rapidly growing industry where new technology seeks to improve and automate the delivery and use of financial services and products. At its core, FinTech is utilized to help companies, business owners and consumers better manage their financial operations, processes and lives.

FinTech companies range from companies developing specialized software and algorithms used to offer new financial products, revamp old and stale processes and improve the quality of user experiences and outcomes. From payment processing to online lending, alternative data to cryptocurrency, FinTech covers a large swatch of businesses including education, retail banking and investment management.

Despite the setbacks of 2020, the global FinTech market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of around 20 percent between 2020 and 2025 and is expected to reach a market value of around US$305 billion in that time. Growth in venture capital investment, investor interest and private equity investment have all helped fuel innovation and investment in FinTech.


Randy Rivera


Randy Rivera has spent nearly two decades leveraging his experience in financial services to help entrepreneurs solve complex problems. Randy is Executive Director of FinTEx, a trade association focused on expanding Chicago’s role as an epicenter of innovation in FinTech. As Executive Director, he is responsible for leading FinTEx as the organization continues to fuel Chicago’s FinTech ecosystem and supports start-ups, corporate innovators and investors interested in supporting the FinTech space.

Randy is the founder and principal of keen advisors, where he works with companies on strategies for growth and innovation. He is also co-founder of quointec, a RegTech company that leverages tech to automate legal and compliance advice.

Prior to his current work, Randy was at BBVA Compass and JPMorgan Chase. He focused on providing advice, support, resources and capital to business owners, founders and family-owned businesses.

Randy is a graduate of Georgetown University with a BS in English and Government. He graduated from the University of Chicago’s Booth School with an MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurship. Randy sits on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Public Library Foundation and at ACCION Chicago and volunteers as a mentor at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship.

Smart Cities are no longer a thing of the Jetsons. We are seeing technologies permeate into our homes, our streets, our airports and our cars. All these technologies have baseline interests in common: to simplify and streamline the way things are done in our cities; to increase sustainability and efficiency; and to improve our quality of life. Keiretsu Forum Midwest members are interested in establishing a platform for growth of companies drawn to this space and promoting their rapid advancement in the ecosystem.


Sotiris Pagdadis, PhD

Smart Cities Committee Chair

Sotiris is a strategist, problem solver and entrepreneurial investor. He is president of Keiretsu Forum Midwest and Lambousa Enterprises. He previously served as a Principal at PwC in a variety of global and national roles and Managing Director at the law firm of MLA, focusing on procurement advocacy, governmental affairs and PPPs. Earlier he was Global VP of public sector strategy at CA Technologies, Inc. He began his career as a university professor at the Polytechnic Institute of NYU, where he created his first technology innovation lab.

Ever since the Wright Brothers took to the skies, aviation has captured our imagination. The world has become much smaller and accessible. Private rockets cost 1/20th of their predecessors. Jets burn half the fuel as before while creating a minuscule noise and pollution footprint. Engines come with intelligence that can mitigate disasters and significantly decrease operational cost. Drones are being used in ways that were unimaginable 5 years ago and tourists are orbiting the earth. Keiretsu Forum Midwest members are interested in supporting high-growth technology companies drawn to this space and promoting their rapid advancement in the ecosystem.


Park Burrets

Aerospace Committee Chair

After Park wrote the instructions for astronauts to deploy 11 satellites from the Space Shuttle and monitored their activities as the youngest NASA front room Mission Controller, he moved into the commercial arena where he assumed leadership roles on a multitude of projects with a special interest in those that were declared impossible by the experts, had an entrenched competitor and those that others couldn’t seem to finish.

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