Greg Biersack is a multi-disciplinary senior executive, able to lead and collaborate across numerous functions. Greg is the CEO and Founder of Reach Service LLC, (reachforservice.com) a company dedicated to helping service technicians succeed and eliminating stress for clients associated with dental equipment. He is responsible for providing the vision and direction for the company. He also manages the company’s finances, marketing efforts and technology direction. The company currently serves dental offices in OR, WA, CA, MO and KS, with a goal to serving practices nationwide within the next 5 years.
Prior to starting his own company, he was VP of Operations at Burkhart Dental, acting as both the COO and CFO. As the VP of Operations, Greg led and developed deep expertise in multiple functional areas, including finance, marketing, human resources, information technology, legal, and operations. His efforts resulted in continued operational improvements and increased profitability. His leadership helped to shape a positive culture that resulted in Burkhart being rated one of Washington’s Best Places to work. Earlier, as VP of Sales, Greg led and accounted for 15 branch locations, guiding the company to six consecutive years of record setting sales growth.
Greg has served as a Marketing Professor at UW Tacoma since 2017. He brings real life experiences and practical knowledge to the classroom, creating excitement for his students about becoming a business leader in the community. His students view him as a caring coach and mentor for their college experience and in preparation for professional career success.
Dedicated and service-minded, Greg spent his early career serving nine years of active duty in the Navy, including serving as a Naval Flight Officer during Desert Storm and Desert Shield.
Greg has been a part of several nonprofit and community boards, including the Goodwill Heritage Foundation, University of Washington—Tacoma Milgard Executive Council (receiving their Business Leader of the Year Award), and the Tacoma/Pierce County Economic Development Board. Greg holds a BSA and MBA from the Fisher School of Business at The Ohio State University.
Markiss is a longtime resident with deep roots in Tacoma. His earlier career centered on youth mentorship in addition to sports coaching and leadership development. He provided youth services to large organizations including Metro Parks, YMCA, and The Boys and Girls Club of the South Puget Sound. He is also one of the founding Peer Support Counselors at SOAR Academy (Tacoma’s first Public Charter School). Markiss studied business management at Evergreen State College. Alongside his education, he's used his network and relationships in the community to help grow IHAUL into a local business that seeks to employ local workers.
Ashley has spent more than a decade of her career in event planning and logistics. She's worked with numerous local organizations and companies including Trendy Events, Pacific Grill Events, Lemay, Tacoma Art Museum, and several local Masons. In 2012, Ashley shifted her career path to work for the government, which enabled her to spend more time on the family business to help get it launched and growing.
When Markiss and Ashley met in college, they knew they'd met their match. Each has a passion for their community and for uplifting those in need. As their family and careers grew they began building a plan for their own business in a effort to do more. By the start of 2018, iHaul was established in Tacoma, WA. Since its start, IHAUL has grown quickly from small residential contracts to streamlined commercial accounts.
Co-owner and CEO, Campfire Coffee
Quincy is a former touring musician, turned marketer for cool brands, turned PhD, turned coffee roaster. Well, almost PhD. He wrote his dissertation on How Arts Entrepreneurs Create and Exchange Value in a Digital Economy just before the pandemic. Fair to say, Quincy is not a coffee lifer. He didn’t live and breathe coffee the same way he did music for all those years but it’s by far the most fun career choice he's made in that he gets to use all of his experience in one place everyday.
Director of Investments, Tacoma Venture Fund
Serves as Director of Investments for Tacoma Venture Fund handling interaction with multiple portfolio companies. He is on the board of TVF portfolio companies, Humming and Brightly.eco as well as the William Factory Business Incubator. Prior to TVF, Dennis was an independent angel investor serving on the screening committee of the Alliance of Angels and on the advisory board for the Puget Sound Venture Club. As an angel, Dennis made 23 investments; 17 of which were led by teams consisting of at least one underrepresented founder. He previously sat on the board for the Washington chapter of Defy Ventures which provides resources to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated inmates. He is intentional about providing greater access and opportunity to female and minority-led teams.
Current Student, Milgard School of Business
Jada Simpson (she/her/hers) is a sophomore studying Business Administration with a focus in marketing at the Milgard School of Business. On campus, Jada is the Gray Pack Advisor, a Multimedia Specialist for ASUWT and the Marketing Coordinator for PISA. Jada has also pursued marketing internships and is in the process of starting her own nonprofit business to help students. Jada loves any form of art, shopping and food!
Owner, Bite Me, Inc.
Co-Owner, Seattle Shortbread
Majority Owner, Bite Free Cookies
Deborah Tuggle didn't plan to open a bakery. As a single mother, she desired to get an education that would allow her a job with the security she craved to take care of her young son, so she enrolled in college. To help her make ends meet, she started selling cookies to her classmates. The cookies were so popular that she started selling them every Friday.
After college, Deb tried the corporate world and decided it was not for her. She had an entrepreneurial spirit and knew how successful her cookies were at school, so she decided to go all in on starting her own business. Without looking back, she opened her first bakery in Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood on MLK Jr. Way, and aptly named it “Friday’s Cookies”.
Deb soon sought a mentor in the cookie business and became quick friends with the owners of Bite Me Cookies. She later purchased the company and merged her two brands under one cookie roof, Bite Me, Inc. Today, Bite Me is a wholesale bakery, producing cookies under the Bite Me, Friday’s, and Bite Free brands. Bite Me products can be found in high-end grocery stores including Metropolitan Markets, Pavilions, Whole Foods and AJ’s Fine Foods as well as coffee shops, gift companies, QVC and other retailers. Bite Me also produces private label cookies and is a third-party manufacturer for many bakery items sold throughout the country. Deborah is also co-owner of Seattle Shortbread, a gluten free cookie company and majority owner of Bite Free Cookies, a vegan, paleo and keto-friendly cookie company.
As a board member for Culinary Arts at Clover Park Technical College and WorkForce Central, Deb stays actively involved in the local community to help support the next generation and help ensure economic vitality across the region. Deb believes in empowering woman and immigrants through job creation and skill development, this is what drives her to make cookies that make jobs that change lives.
Evy Shankus will moderate today's panel. Evy is an Associate Teaching Professor in the Milgard School of Business and has deep roots within the program. She began her career at the UWT in 1995 and has successfully developed and taught many courses in management, communications, DEI, human resources and others at the UWT in her 27 years of service.
Evy is very active on campus and holds leadership positions with the Entrepreneurship and Small Business Initiative and the Undergraduate Program Committee. She has led students on two study abroads including to Rome, Italy and Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Evy is the owner and operator of EvyDaywear a thriving online jewelry design and wholesale jewelry supply business. EvyDaywear was founded in 2002 and has been a continuous joy and a creative outlet that connects Evy with jewelry designers all over the world.