OUR ENTREPRENEURIAL AND INNOVATION COACHES

Meet your coaches, the ones who will open the front door with a smile, offer a warm beverage, and a place to sit down… for a moment. Then they will get to work with you, exploring and structuring your dreams, at your side as you take every step on your journey.

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Richard Lasek

I am the Manager of Loan Servicing and Entrepreneurial Development at the Altoona-Blair County Development Corporation.  With more than 13 years of commercial banking and economic development experience, I am here to help get your ideas to the market.

My background includes over 10 years as a commercial loan analyst, underwriter & small business lender with FNB Corporation, a $30 billion regional bank.  My economic development experience includes serving as Assistant Director of Huntingdon County Business & Industry, where I managed accounting and oversaw the various business lending programs for the agency.

Growing up in Meadville, PA, I attended Allegheny College, where I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and a minor in Computer Science.  I moved to Blair County in 1992 and have made the area my second hometown.

I believe that how we live is as important as where we live.  It is my commitment to ensure that Blair County, our First Frontier, is a vibrant community, open to new ideas and opportunities.  My goal is to help entrepreneurs, so they can play their part in growing a community where we all prosper, and to create an environment where people want to live.  Our locally-born businesses employ more than 9,000 local-residents and contribute more than $100 million in economic impact each year.  The real key to economic development is through the support of local entrepreneurs and small businesses.

In my spare time, I enjoy rugby, good craft beer and hiking with my dog.

Rich Lasek

richl@abcdcorp.org

814-944-6113

Entrepreneur and Innovation Coach – Blair County

Altoona Blair County Development Corporation

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Jose Luis Otero

Born in Mexico City and raised in sunny San Diego, California, I had a wonderful childhood. Growing up in a diverse community that offered many opportunities at a young age allowed for me to experience the American dream from early on in life. I’ve lived in a variety of areas, but am glad to now call Johnstown, Pa home.

At a young age, I got my first job delivering newspapers. In high school, I had a supervisory role working for a major retail company. Throughout my college years, I gained experience in a number of jobs from washing dishes, cooking, working construction, and education. Working in various industries allowed for me to find my skills set, which is working with people. Since completing my B.A. in Business Management/ Economics, I’ve worked in the public relations, financial analysis, risk management, and health care sectors, and served as the District Director for a United States Member of Congress.

Midway through my career, I decided to return to school and pursue an MBA in Strategic Leadership. After completing my degree and graduating with honors, I’ve spent my time sharing my knowledge by volunteering in community service initiatives, working with Department of Defense contractors, financial institutions, school districts, law enforcement, non-profits, small and Fortune 500 companies all while mentoring our youth toward a sustainable and virtuous path. I am a firm believer that investing in our community and our children is a great Return on Investment (ROI). The ROI for developing and changing the lives of others in an impactful way is a future generation that is self- sufficient, makes smart decisions, and builds collaborative relationships. This creates a path toward a diverse, healthy and booming economy.

Serving a diverse population to help reach and exceed their business goals is another goal of mine. If you have a start-up company, facing adverse market conditions, financial distress, or looking to expand your existing business, please feel free to reach out to me so we can explore, develop and implement a purposeful/strategic framework that makes financial sense for a prosperous future.

Jose Otero

jotero@jari.com

814-535-8675

Entrepreneur and Innovation Coach – Cambria County

JARI (Johnstown Area Regional Industries)

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Daniel Parisi

Greetings from the Alleghenies!

My name is Daniel J. Parisi and I am a lifelong resident of Somerset County, I am thrilled to join Startup Alleghenies.  I consider myself extremely fortunate to now live and work where I grew up—a region overflowing with opportunity, resources, and talent.  I’ve worked in many different industries, for big companies, small companies, for-profit, non-profit, and startups.  I’ve traveled all over the world and met amazing people.  I even worked on a cruise ship in Alaska!  I am curious, ambitious, a bit disruptive, and hopefully—considered a servant leader.  I am addicted to TED Talks and absolutely love to golf, except for the whole putting thing.

For fifteen years, I’ve been making mistakes and trying my best to learn from each and everyone—thankfully, I’ve learned a lot.  I’ve learned that your community—whatever you consider to be your “home”—is much more important than most people realize.  I’ve learned that the basic characteristics that built our great country are even more valuable today, and separate good managers from great leaders.  But—of all the things I’ve learned—the most important, is what it takes to be a good parent.  Being a good parent is without a doubt, the most difficult job I’ve ever held, and also the most rewarding.  I’ve actually considered adding it to my resume!

Our community and the future communities we’re building depend on a lot of things.  I believe that our youth and our ability to encourage and inspire them should be at the top of the list.  As the Entrepreneur & Innovation Coach for Somerset County, it’s my responsibility to assist in the creation of an environment where our children’s ideas and dreams turn into fun projects, and these projects develop innovative solutions to the world’s biggest problems.  Throughout my life, I’ve often reminded myself that some of our most influential and impactful leaders have come from the most unlikely places—today, I never assume I know who or where they are; but rather, that they’re everywhere, surrounding me at all times…because they are.

I am so excited with what the next few years will bring and I hope to sit down with you and talk about ideas and ambitions very soon.

Daniel Parisi

startup@co.somerset.pa.us

814-445-1400 ext. 1569

Entrepreneur and Innovation Coach – Somerset County

Somerset County Government