Houston Veterans Business EXPO

Fri September 22 - Sat September 23, 2023 George R. Brown Convention Center
Houston, TX 77010 US

Breakout Session Sponsors




Breakout Selection is through Exhibitor Ticket Selection or General Andmission Tickets

8:00am Breakout Speakers

Tim Scarborough, US Air Force (Ret.)

Tim Scarborough is a procurement professional with 35 years of experience in government contracting.  In his current position as the Program Director for the University of Houston Procurement Technical Assistance Center, he educates and guides individuals in selling their goods and services to federal, state, and local government through one-on-one advising, educational workshops, and outreach events.

Prior to his current position, he was a small-business owner leading and managing procurement programs for the Department of Defense domestically and internationally.  Tim also served 24 years in the Air Force with the majority of his time spent in the contracting career field.  He held various leadership and contracting positions throughout his career.  He has broad experience in government procurement to include registrations, socio and economically-disadvantaged certification programs, locating opportunities, proposal preparation, and contract management.

Tim has a BS in Business Management and is certified through the National Contract Management Association as a Certified Federal Contracts Manager and the State of TX as a Certified Texas Procurement Manager.



Amy Reid, US Army

Amy Reid is the Director of the Galveston County SBDC. She has owned and operated a veteran - owned small business since 2010. With more than 20 years of experience in small business ownership, human resources, payroll, marketing, web design, management, and facilities operations, she is a resource to small business owners on a variety of topics. She has more than 10 years of experience in business coaching and advising. Reid is active in the community and often speaks at small business networking groups and serves on several community committees.

Scot Drysdale, US Army (Ret.)

Scott Drysdale received his commission through Army ROTC at Washington State University in 1975. He was a staff officer for two years at the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY. Following active duty, he was a planning manager for two railroads, earning an MBA in Finance from the University of Oregon in between the two. For the majority of his career, Scott was a stock analyst and portfolio manager working for firms including Columbia Management and Invesco. He managed over $5.5 Billion of assets at one point; and, his clients have included both individuals and institutions such as the Kuwaiti Investment Authority, Taft-Hartly pension plans, and foundations. During his career, he developed investment expertise in virtually every industry and asset class. Retiring in 2015, he devotes his time to volunteering through his church and, now, by being a mentor with SCORE.





Willy Verbrugghe

Willy was born in Belgium. He has been CEO of 6 Billion dollar International Industrial Manufacturing Technology companies and 4 Technology (non IT) startups in ten different industries. He has five Masters (Master in Electronics and Semiconductors, Master in Nuclear Science Technology and Radioprotection, Master in Finances, Business and Administration, Master in International Sales, Marketing and Business Development, and a Master in Industrial Manufacturing Process Optimization). He has spoken 8.5 languages during his career, lived in five countries, and worked for twenty thousand people as a servant leader and has had manufacturing plants and service centers in over 186 countries around the world. His nickname is Mr. International.

He created more than $ 100 Million dollars of shareholder value per year for every large organization he has run as a leader. He has been the chairman of the Belgian Chamber of Commerce of Texas and the Southwest, the Chairman of the Mayor of Houston International Trade and Development Council, a founding member of the World Chamber of Commerce of Texas and the Chairman of SCORE. He has been married for 45 year, and they live in the USA for more than 30 years and in Houston for 20 years They have 3 children and 9 grandchildren. He is now a CSO or Chief Spoiling Officer.

11:00 am Breakout Speakers

Greg Shigemasa, MBA, US Air Force

Greg Shigemasa is a business consultant with the Texas Veterans Commission’s Veteran Entrepreneur Program, where he assists veterans, family members, and survivors with starting, growing, expanding, and exiting businesses for positive economic impact. He has 20+ years of experience as a human capital performance management consultant, start-up/small/medium-sized business consultant, government management consultant, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) and FIRO-B Practitioner. Greg is a U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army veteran, entrepreneur, and former university faculty member of management and entrepreneurship. In addition, Greg served as a sub-committee member of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Advisory Committee on Veterans Business Affairs, and a project advisor to the Texas A&M University BattleGround to Breaking Ground program.





Moderated by: Ravi Brahmbhatt, HVC Board Advisor and Leadership Team Member & HCC Director of Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Join an information session and meet & greet with small business growth directors of the Houston Community College’s Economic Development office.  Learn about HCC’s Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business, Minority Business Development Agency, Open for Business Program, and MBDA Pandemic Recovery Center directly.  Learn of small business success stories that have grown with free and guided education and networking access from HCC Small Business Growth Programs.
Richard Ashe, US Marine

Rich served eight years in the United States Marine Corps, has more than 30 years of business development and marketing experience, and is the founder and president of Veteran Franchise Advisers.


Rich served in the Marine Corps from 1976 to 1984 in the infantry and then as part of a joint Marine, Navy, and Air Force intelligence project. After his tenure in the Marine Corp, Rich attained a degree in Marketing and Business Management. Rich has worked for Fortune 500 companies such as Chase, Xerox, Compaq, and Hewlett Packard to expand or start new businesses as well as being part of two software companies. Rich hard work and accomplishments eventually provided the
opportunity to serve as vice president of global marketing for an international software company. During his 30 years, Rich helped to launch three software start-ups and participated in two successful IPO’s. As an entrepreneur, Rich started two businesses of his own; a computer training service and an IT Network consulting firm. Rich also operated two franchises before starting Veteran Franchise Advisers.


Rich became a Certified Franchise Consultant and founded Veteran Franchise Advisers in 2011. A member of the Franchise Brokers Association, Texas Veterans Chamber of Commerce, Lone Star Veterans Association, he works along with the SBA and SCORE teaching courses on business startups. Rich served on the International Franchise Association VetFran committee from 2011 - 2013. Rich founded Veteran Franchise Advisers to assist veterans, past, present, and future, interested in exploring franchise business ownership. Over the last ten years, he has served veterans across the nation to launch franchise businesses in multiple industries.


1:00 pm Breakout Speakers

Winston Labbe', US Army

Winston Labbe' joined the U.S. Small Business Administration in May 2020 as an Outreach & Marketing Specialist.  However, in July 2021 he was promoted to Lead Lender Relations Specialist.

Prior to joining the SBA, Winston was the Chief Lending Officer for a local community bank, and he has over 25 years of commercial lending experience, specializing in SBA, C&I, not-for-profit, and real estate lending.

Winston is a native Houstonian and an honor’s graduate of Texas Southern University, where he graduated with a degree in finance.  He also attended Houston Community College where he earned an associate degree in real estate.  Prior to attending college, Winston served four years of active duty in the U.S. Army.

Winston has served on several boards including the Boy Scouts of America, The Furniture Bank, the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce, and the Lone Star Certified Development Company, respectively. He is also a graduate of the Fort Bend Chamber Leadership Forum.

Winston lives in Missouri City with his wife Tammy and is an active member of the Fort Bend Church in Sugar Land.



William Garay, US Army

William Garay, Jr is the Transition Strategist, helping veterans discover their next mission.  The owner of Garay Marketing, LLC, with his wife Jessica, they are serving cold treats with warm smiles. 

Native Houstonian, he served from 2005-2018 in the US Army as an Infantryman and was medically retired because of an injury sustained while jumping from airplanes.  The transition home was difficult, having overcame the same obstacles many veterans face: Direction, Discipline, and Dollars.  These can be weaknesses and strengths.  Veterans need to reorientate themselves to a clear direction (goal) that they want to head.  Their Dollars will affect their direction and how fast they can move in that newfound direction.  What will keep their budget (dollars) in check and make sure they are on the right azimuth (direction), is their Discipline.

William firmly believes leadership development starts with self-development and veterans have many resources to continue their self-growth, if they are open to taking them.

After the military, William found a passion for serving others and became the Director of Programs for Impact A Hero, a Veteran Service Organization whose mission is “making a positive impact on the lives of veterans, active service members, and their families through advancing leadership and personal development, strengthening community and encouraging esprit de corps”.  He took and facilitated leadership and financial programs, lead community outreach, and ran the grant program for veterans.  Although, no longer working with IAH, he continues to serve the veteran community and shares the story of veterans overcoming adversity on Charlie Mike The Podcast.


Ariel Lara, US Army

Ariel Lara is currently the Communications Specialist for Dow Texas Operations -Public Affairs, on assignment to Dow. There she is responsible for writing and designing employee communications that support the site strategy, employee engagement, and overall company reputation.

Ariel is also the Community Relations Director at The Warriors Refuge in West Columbia, a non-profit organization that provides shelter, counseling, and training resources for Veterans. She has been working and volunteering in the non-profit and chamber of commerce sector for more than 8 years.

Ariel has completed training through the River School of Government in Tampa FL, and the Leadership Institute. She served in the US Army Reserve as a 12B Combat Engineer. Currently she chairs the End Veteran Homelessness Committee for the Texas Homeless Network, is a Rotarian with the Brazosport Rotary Club, Pathfinder for the Houston Regional Veterans Chamber of Commerce. She is also a member of the Lake Jackson Development Corporation.

Ariel is a Brazoria County native. She currently lives in Lake Jackson with her husband and their three children. The Lara family enjoys volunteering with local nonprofits and visiting farmers markets.

Emily’s Bio:

A former educator passionate about meeting others’ needs in an efficient, inclusive, and all-around engaging way! My hope is that you leave my trainings with new tools to help both you and your staff achieve more!

Marcus’ Bio:

A passionate learner of life and experiences. Excited to share and gain knowledge and understanding of how to become better at using technology to achieve their dreams.

3:00 pm Breakout Speaker

Trisha Stetzel, US Navy

Trisha’s experience is both wide and diverse.  She served our country for 8 years in the US Navy, worked 10 years in corporate America working for a global IT company, and established her first business 13 years ago.

She is a coach, confidant, and accountability partner.  She serves her community through volunteer work and board of directors service.  Trisha is a multi-business owner, podcaster, speaker, and educator.

Partnering with her husband Dennis in their business coaching practice, ResultsXtreme Business Solutions, she specializes in working with small business owners on growth and exit strategies, industry group coaching, and building successful businesses with partners. 

Co-Chairman of the Business Mission at the Houston Regional Veterans Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Sabeeta Bidasie Singh

Sabeeta is a true case for diversity having lived and worked in several continents over the last 25 years. She is visionary, resourceful, pro-active, and a proven business executive with a record of driving transformation and growth for companies. Sabeeta was nominated in the category of “Woman to Watch” by the Houston Business Journal for their Women Who Means Business awards 2022. Having held senior leadership positions across Asia, Australia, North America, and the Caribbean has institutionalized my cross-cultural communication skills, built excellent networking and collaborative abilities, fostered adaptive thinking skills, resilience, and a significant level of emotional intelligence.

Her vast experience overseeing and developing innovative and meaningful solutions for complex organizations and projects coupled with her expertise expands several corporate functions including diversity; business development; disruptive technology; event and project management; global supply chain management; minority business development and learning and development. Because of her life experiences both on a professional and personal level the subject of diversity is important to her. “All my work, in operations, marketing, sales, for-profit and non-profit organizations, is fuelled by an unwavering commitment to make a difference in the lives of the people I work with, the customers I serve and the community I live in. As Operations Director I lead the operational strategy, legislation, and governance, and I am responsible for all aspects of the company’s marketing efforts including company brand, proactive demand generation, and enhancing member engagement.” Sabeeta’s promise to the members of HMSDC at the 2022 Annual Meeting was to use data to make informed business decisions that can impact change in the areas of minority business development for the areas served by the Council. Managing by measure are Sabeeta’s watchwords for the
strategy of HMSDC service offerings. Sabeeta is responsible for planning the operations of MBE services, in this area HMSDC really nurtures and hones the minority members of the council through program planning, networking, ambassador and mentorship opportunities, access to Industry days and “How to Do” business with corporate members so that the MBEs really understanding how to pitch their business to the opportunities in the marketplace. Sabeeta is the staff liaison for the Marketplace Committee at HMSDC and drives all the integration efforts for collaborations between Corporate and MBEs. HMSDC has 5 signature events: Annual Meeting, Emerging-10 Awards, Scholarship Fundraiser, Annual Expo and Chief Procurement Officer Summit which are under her stewardship.

Outside of this Sabeeta has been an adjunct lecturer and program manager for diversity studies at North American University in Sugarland. During her 6 plus years in Malaysia, Sabeeta spent a lot of time developing key STEM initiatives between IBM and Inti International University as well as the introduction of Adult Continuing Education programs bringing in academic credit for workplace experience to matriculate adult learners. Prior to that Sabeeta spent 4 years in Australia and held various developmental leadership roles within Campus Operations Management including the introduction of hybrid and online learning for vocational
and academic programs. In the years before Sabeeta worked throughout the Caribbean and developed key markets in Cuba, Costa Rica, Guyana and the smaller islands. Sabeeta is a recognized leader, known for being an effective communicator; writer; public speaker; and strategic thinker with exceptional interpersonal, analytical, and problem-solving skills. She has excellent

Charles Pulliam, US Air Force

Charles Pulliam is the CEO and Senior Partner of Solushiens (Solushiens is a Texas based professional services company specializing in workforce performance consulting). In collaboration with Solushiens’ partners and advisors, his diplomatic personality and Socratic leadership helps to provide calm and clarity to every engagement.
Charles is a patriotic United States Air Force veteran. His diverse business perspective and passion for people is sought after by organizations to help architect systems for the realization of mission critical objectives. Because of personable and inspirational communication style, he is often a featured speaker on a wide range of topics related to helping people and companies reach their full potential.
He is a Talent Optimization expert with emphasis on quantitative and qualitative people-data gathering and analysis. He uses a growth mindset to teach leadership attributes as part of an acclaimed multi-discipline leadership development program. His practical thinking led to the development of a "Pivot Planning" framework, which is changing the way progressive companies plan and execute strategies. His experience with and ability to work with all people has brought him notoriety as a diversity, equity, inclusion, and access thought leader. He utilizes a systems approach, unique frameworks, and customizable methodologies to improve mastery and performance-based staff development outcomes.
Charles earned his Bachelor of Business Management degree from LeTourneau University and his MBA from Dallas Baptist University. His workforce performance industry experience includes: consulting, professional services, application development, healthcare, health information systems, legal information systems, warehousing and distribution, retail, oil & gas, nonprofit, and K-12 education (public, charter, and private schools). He is a Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC), A certified behavioral specialist, and a certified Texas educator.
When he is not serving clients, mentoring, playing golf, or enjoying his family, Charles serves the community as part of Houston Methodist Hospital Board of Trustees, League City Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors; Houston Veterans Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors; and Sanctuary Foster Care Board of Advisors. He loves horses more than dogs and WAY more than he loves cats.

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