Meet the Judges Panel
After graduating from UCLA Jamie Christopher joined the Navy. He served as an Intelligence Officer, specifically as the Strike Planning Officer and Division Officer on the USS Kitty Hawk during Operation Southern Watch. He managed a division of 31 sailors, and prepared and delivered a daily intelligence brief to the Battle Group Commander. Unfortunately, he was injured in heavy seas (Indian Ocean 1997), and he was honorably discharged as a Disabled Veteran. After the Navy, he attended USC Law School. He was involved in student government, on the law review, and graduated in the top-15 of his class. He went to work at a law firm in San Diego, California. He did a lot of venture financing deals, several mergers and acquisitions, public filings (SEC work), corporate formation and governance, and general corporate work. After several years of practicing law, he and wife his wife decided to start a distribution business in Eugene, Oregon. The business grew rapidly, and reached a point of limited additional growth. After selling the business, he went to work at a local manufacturing company, and helped to grow a new product from zero sales in the first year to nearly 395,000,000 units sold in the sixth year. Currently, Jamie serves as the Director of Business Relations, and is responsible for running Lane Community College’s Customized Training Department. He engages with Lane County employers to provide for their individual training needs. He has been married for 14 years, and he has an amazing 8-year old son.
Michael is a referral-only small business and not-for-profit business consultant after retiring from Intel Corporation. He started at Intel in 1997 as a teacher intern with the Business Education Compactafter teaching special education in the Beaverton for 6 years. At Intel, he held positions in operations, program/product management and engineering management in several divisions, i.e., Information Technology, Manufacturing, Product Development and Opensource Software Research & Development. He was often used as an internal consultant to guide teams in complex problem solving and transformation activities; he also participated in two internally funded startups focusing on data center products and services. Michael managed globally distributed teams ranging to 150 engineers and support staff. He ended his Intel career as Director of Enterprise Cloud Engineering in the Open Source Technology Center. He has a B.A. in Philosophy from Kalamazoo College and a M.S. in Special Education from the University of Oregon; he also studied history and literature at the University of Dakar (Senegal). Michael lives with his wife of 30 years in Eugene, where he spends his free time on mid-distance running, playing guitar and reading well researched historical fiction. He also blogs at https://plansandclues.org/blog.
Peter Thorsson leads business development, sales, and strategic partnership work at Palo Alto Software (maker of LivePlan and Outpost.co), where he creates relationships and programs that help entrepreneurs succeed. He has also started and sold a successful business with more than $1 million in revenue, directed strategic partnerships for Nickelodeon and Comedy Central, organized local Startup Weekend events, and judged business competitions for Rice University, Princeton University, University of Notre Dame, and others. Thorsson has taught contemporary business planning for many years in venues such as Lane Community College, University of Oregon, Oregon Small Business Development Center, and Oregon SCORE. Thorsson is the past president of the Committed Partners for Youth in Lane County’s board of directors and board director of the Boys & Girls Club of Emerald Valley. He has also mentored individual local youth and local small businesses.
David is a business lawyer with Endeavor Law in Eugene where he represents start-ups companies of all kinds. His practice includes advising clients on entity formation, founder agreements, equity-based compensation, raising funds from angel and venture capital investors, commercial contracts and exit strategies (sale of the business). Before moving to Eugene in 1996, David was a partner in a large Kansas City law firm where he represented entrepreneurs with a focus on mergers and acquisitions. David has been a fulltime resident of Cottage Grove since 2014.