HPA’s Leadership Team institutes and executes the strategies and policies that drive investments, membership, partnerships, and community outreach.

Management Team

Pete Wilkins

Managing Director

Purpose-driven leader, investor, and entrepreneur. Leads the most active early-stage venture group in the Midwest.

Michael Sachaj

Senior Principal

Manages and oversees deal activity, from sourcing and due diligence to new and follow-on investments.

Heidi Craun

Director of Platform

Oversees brand communications and strategy and manages membership, partnerships, portfolio company support, and community engagement.

Stephen Ross


Supports portfolio companies, provides analytical insights into investment performance, and analyzes venture capital trends.

Bess Goodfellow


Manages and oversees HPA's sourcing activity, analyzes market data and trends, and captures investment performance.

Industry Vertical Co-Chairs

John Thode

Serial technology executive and entrepreneur. Led businesses at Motorola, Dell, and McAfee. Led the exit of two business as CEO of ISCO Inc. and President of DigitalOptics Corp.

Dan Murray

Serial entrepreneur, private investor, and a founder of Workiva, a business reporting software company.

Hardik Bhatt

Vertical Leader, Smart Cities and Mobility Business at Amazon Web Services.

John Higginson

Seasoned CTO and member of the Board of Directors of the Illinois Technology Association. John currently helps lead Chicago-based FinTech company, Enova, where he drives technology and product strategy.

Rob Eckardt

Enterprise sales executive and expert with deep domain knowledge of software landscape.

Neil Stern

Retail industry expert, international speaker, author and Chairman of Ebeltoft Group. 

Board Members

Bob Giammanco

Founded and operates an industrial supplies company with almost 50% market share in its vertical.

Corey Ferengul

Serial adtech executive who successfully exited two companies, one which he took public and another which he sold.

Chris Jensen

Telecom expert managing investments in wireless spectrum and telecom infrastructure.

Joe LaManna

Seasoned executive at one of world’s largest global investment banks and wealth advisory firms and active board member of multiple companies.

Chris McGowan

25 years of venture capital and private equity investing; Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship and Private Equity at Booth School of Business

Craig Vodnik

Co-founded a global ecommerce platform with a variety of clients around the world and leads its operations.

Susan Whiting

Seasoned executive who led Nielsen and now serves as an active board member of over a dozen companies.

Membership Committee Chair

Sapan Shah

Sapan Shah M.D., J.D. is the President and a founding partner of Flagship Healthcare, the fastest growing malpractice insurance brokerage in Illinois, representing over 700 physicians.

Portfolio Advisory Chair

Corey Ferengul

Serial adtech executive who successfully exited two companies, one which he took public and another which he sold.

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