Merging Traffic's team consists of investors, researchers, geeks and entrepreneurs with decades of experience building, scaling and selling companies. They understand what it takes to succeed in the new economy.
David Metcalf is the Director of the Mixed Emerging Technology Integration Lab (METIL) at University of Central Florida's Institute for Simulation and Training. Dr. Metcalf has more than twenty years of experience in the design and research of web-based and mobile technologies converging to enable learning and healthcare. His approaches have saved companies millions of dollars while guiding business transformations for learning organizations. Specific areas of Dr. Metcalf's focus include learning business strategy, performance measurement, operational excellence, outsourcing, blended learning and mobile learning. His current research topics include simulation, mobilization, mobile patient records and medical decision support systems, visualization systems, scalability models, secure mobile data communications, gaming, innovation management, and operational excellence.
Max Hooper is responsible for the management and growth strategy of Merging Traffic, serving as the corporate liaison to multiple industries and various capital formation groups. Prior to starting Merging Traffic, Max was co-founder of Equity Broadcasting Corporation -- a media company that owned and operated more than one hundred television stations across the United States. Dr. Hooper was responsible for activities in the cable, satellite, investment banking and technology industries, , and during his tenure, it grew to become one of the ten largest broadcasting companies in the country. Dr. Hooper has started multiple businesses in the technology, lodging, internet and service industries. Additionally, he served as President of Mergers and Acquisitions for a national financial services company. Max has served on the investment committee of several venture capital and angel funds, and has completed "work out" transactions as a Certified Debt Arbitrator representing banks and private transactions. A lifelong learner, Dr. Hooper has earned five doctorate degrees, Ph.D, D.Min, Th.D, Ph.D, D.Min, from a variety of institutions. As an avid runner, he has completed more than one hundred marathons, an additional twenty ultra-marathons, which are fifty or one hundred mile runs, and the Grand Slam of Ultra Running. Dr. Hooper is committed to his family and is a husband, father to five children, and grandfather to seven grandsons. He is active in many organizations and serves on various boards of directors, and works globally with several ministries and non-profit aid groups. Max had the honor of speaking at the United Nations in New York in 2015.
John Lessel is an attorney with a solo practice in Little Rock, Arkansas. He and Dr. Hooper have been involved in dozens of projects involving the raising of funds, acquisitions and dispositions of businesses and general corporate matters since the mid-1980s. John holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Oklahoma, and a Juris Doctor, Cum Laude and a Master of Laws in Taxation from the University of San Diego. Mr. Lessel is admitted to practice in Arkansas and California. He has been listed in Best Lawyers in America since 1993. Mr. Lessel is married with two adult sons and six grandchildren. For recreation, he is a certified instructor for the Porsche Club of America and the BMW Car Club of America high-performance driving schools.
A.J. Ripin has more than a decade of experience in research, design and implementation of mobile/social technology convergence. He has a deep understanding of global data privacy and protection requirements. Mr. Ripin brings experience in entrepreneurship, business, development, marketing, product management, instructional design, mobile learning and emerging technologies. He is active in the South Florida technology space. A.J. is a committed husband and is a father to two daughters. He participates in many organizations and serves on a board of directors.
Mr. Hooper has spent the past twelve years in project management and system design within the entertainment industry. He joined Merging Traffic after a career change that had led him to Partners Advisory Group, where he managed the back office systems and support processes. Earlier in his career, Griffin was a warehouse lead and Show Technician for CTS Audio. He was later recruited by Vision360 to become the Technical Director and Facilities Manager of their National and Global Headquarters located in Central Florida. After traveling extensively with Seabourn Cruise lines across the Americas and the Mediterranean, where he was the sole Audio Engineer aboard, Mr. Hooper took on a Lead Technician role and functioned as a Project Manager for PSAV®, a leading company that provides event technology services for the hotel, resort and conference center markets.
Dr. Rabenou brings to Merging Traffic more than 20 years experience in the Israeli high-tech and health-tech industries. She has a proven record of identifying and developing opportunities for growth and expansion, taking companies through the entire life cycle, from inception to sustainability, profitability, and ultimately, an IPO. Her successes include VCON Videoconferencing, where she served as Vice President from launch through IPO, and management of Rad BioMed, an Israeli biomed incubator specializing in promoting early-stage life-science startups.
Propelled by her success founding the Rad Biosciences Group and winning the prestigious government tender to establish and run the biomed incubator, Dr. Rabenou was selected by the Office of the Chief Scientist of Israel’s Ministry of Economy to serve as a director on the bio-tech and high-tech Incubators Investment Committees. In this role, Dr. Rabenou vetted hundreds of startups seeking government funding to identify which promising companies would receive the funds.
Dr. Rabenou received her MD degree from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel, later serving as a practicing OB/GYN at Hadassah Medical Center there. Vicki was born and raised in Jerusalem, has dual Israeli-U.S. citizenship, and is an avid horseback rider. Passionate about animals, her nonprofit activities include supporting several animal shelters and organizations. Vicki currently resides in the Tampa Bay area with her husband. She has three children, four dogs, and three horses.
Matthew specializes in delivering innovative solutions with an intense focus on bottom-line results. Matthew spent 15 years leading and delivering complex technology projects in academic institutions and corporate enterprises. He has worked across multiple industries where he translated executive vision into strategies that drive business performance. Matthew holds a B.S. in Computer Science from North Carolina State University.
Phillip Harbor has more than a decades’ worth of experience in the Israeli high-tech landscape consulting for and helping build and scale startups and marketing agencies. Mr. Harbor has also spent time on business development projects in Yangon, Myanmar, and in Wellington, New Zealand. He continues to advise startups in the finance, media, social and real-money gaming sectors. A serial entrepreneur, Phillip brings experience in business development, marketing, communications and mobile and technical knowledge.
Mr. Harbor holds a degree in Economics and International Business from The Ohio State University.