Meet the Experts

Below is a list of our expert mentors (in alphabetical order). You can engage with these people through our programs including Hours with Experts, Workshops and Company Launch. You may also make a special request to meet one of the expert below by using this meeting request form. If you want to become a mentor, please complete this interest form.


Matthew Bury

Micheal Best

Matt assists clients in preparing and prosecuting patent applications. His practice is built on a background in mechanical engineering, with firsthand experience with the complexities of project design and building. He also assists with matters regarding clearance, patentability, and validity options.

Joshua B. Erekson

Senior Counsel, Michael Best

As senior counsel, Josh advises clients in all realms of corporate law, including federal and state securities law compliance, the formation and financing of start-up businesses, and mergers and acquisitions. Prior to joining the firm, Josh served as corporate counsel at Huntsman Corporation, where his practice focused on SEC regulatory compliance and general corporate legal matters.

Dustin Howell

Intellectual Property Law, Workman Nydegger

Dustin Howell’s experience runs deep in the subjects of physics, optics, mechanics and mechanical engineering. He uses his background to help clients in the preparation and prosecution of the U.S and international patent and trademark applications as well as licensing and confidentiality agreements and other IP issues.

Plymouth D. Nelson

Partner, Michael Best, Intellectual Property

Plymouth’s practice includes the preparation of invalidity, non-infringement, and clearance opinions, as well as patentability analysis, and the drafting of license, confidentiality, and other agreements. In addition, he counsels clients on the acquisition and enforcement of patent rights and the avoidance of competitor patents. Plymouth worked as an attorney at an Intellectual Property firm in Washington, D.C., after serving in the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps of the U.S Army.

Timothy D. Nichols

Intellectual Property Law, Workman Nydegger

Timothy D. Nichols is a former engineer and federal law clerk who today represents companies of all sizes in patent, trademark and copyright matters. He regularly counsels clients regarding the procurement and licensing of their intellectual property, and guides them through the intricate nuances of online marketplaces to better manage, protect, and extract revenue from their intellectual property portfolio.

Ross Randall

Director, Innovation Management, Partners for Innovation, Ventures, Outreach & Technology

Randall manages the University of Utah’s IP portfolio and directs IP strategy at the Partners for Innovation, Ventures, Outreach & Technology (PIVOT) Center. He studied law at Emory University with an emphasis in business and intellectual property law, and is currently pursing an MBA in entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business. Prior to entering industry, Randall served in the United States Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer.

Todd Reece

Partner, Ballard Spahr

Todd A. Reece is an experienced transactional attorney who utilizes and combines his knowledge of legal, business, and accounting principles to provide comprehensive, practical, and creative business law services. He previously worked as an internal auditor at Arthur Andersen LLP in Silicon Valley and Salt Lake City. Todd advises clients on mergers, acquisitions, financings (venture capital and private equity), joint ventures, licensing matters, business formation issues, internal restructurings, and corporate governance. He regularly advises U.S. clients and non-U.S. clients on general business matters and M&A transactions. Todd is a Co-Practice Leader of the firm’s Emerging Growth and Venture Capital Practice Group. Todd represents clients in a wide range of business sectors, including high-tech, software, biotechnology, communications, professional services, retail, logistics, and manufacturing.

Judson Stelter

Micheal Best

Jud has experience representing clients before administrative agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board. His background also includes three years as an adjunct professor at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University, where his course focused on the drafting of transactional documents such as employment contracts and settlement agreements.


Brandon Burnett

Senior Audit Manager and CPA, Tanner LLC

Brandon has a passion for building/fixing things, and for being in the outdoors. Brandon went to school at BYU for his bachelor and master’s in accounting. During school, Brandon interned in DC with the PCAOB in their office of research and helped refine the models the PCAOB uses to select accounting firms for inspection. After school Brandon went to San Jose to work for a PwC as an auditor. After about 2 years Brandon left PwC to pursue an opportunity as an analyst at a semi-conductor company in the San Jose area where he enjoyed working cross department on new product introductions, forecasting and modeling, streamlining processes, improving monitoring, moving production offshore, and supporting other various ad-hoc financial requests. In 2015, Brandon found his way to Tanner and back in public accounting, where he has been ever since and works as a senior manager in the audit practice working on a variety of clients from manufacturing to technology, from audit to consulting and due diligence for M&A work.

Paul Burnett

Audit Manager and CPA, Tanner LLC

Paul Burnett is an audit manager and CPA with Tanner LLC who has almost seven years of public accounting experience serving a variety of industries, including not-for-profit, SaaS and technology, manufacturing, trucking, healthcare, and others. He enjoys being a team member of Tanner which allows him to work on mostly non-public companies with revenues ranging from $100,000 to $1 billion. He joined Tanner after graduating with his master of accountancy from Southern Utah University. He is a board member and treasurer of the Utah Nonprofits Association. Paul loves spending time with his family (wife and three kids), playing board games, watching movies, playing sports, and more.

Kyle Graham

Audit Manager, Tanner LLC

Kyle is an Audit Manager with Tanner LLC who has close to 8 years of experience in public accounting. He joined Tanner after graduating with his Master’s of Accountancy from Southern Utah University. He’s a recent graduate of the AICPA’s Leadership Academy. He enjoys being a team member of Tanner which allows him to work on mostly non-public companies with revenues ranging from $1M to $600M. He’s also very involved in the firm’s recruiting efforts, internal training, and the firm’s consulting practice in areas of due diligence and business transactions. He’s an avid outdoorsman enjoying any activity that gets him into the mountains or on a river.

Kyle Hepworth

Tax Manager, Tanner LLC

Kyle is a tax nanager at Tanner LLC. He received his master’s of accountancy from Utah State University and joined Tanner after completing his degree. He has five years of experience in public accounting and has experience in various industries and sizes of clients. Kyle enjoys helping Tanner with training new employees as well as the firm’s recruiting efforts. Kyle is excited to help Lassonde’s businesses with any tax or accounting questions they have. Kyle enjoys basketball, golf, spending time with his two young kids and wife, and helping his dad on the family farm in Idaho.

Areas of expertise: tax, accounting

Jodie Hewitson

Tax Partner, Tanner LLC

Jodie has 21 years of public accounting experience. Prior to joining Tanner, Jodie spent 10 years with a Big 4 firm. She has extensive experience in all phases of tax compliance and consulting, consolidated and multi-state filing issues, international tax, partnerships, S corporation, individual and expatriate tax. Jodie graduated from the University of Utah with a master of professional accountancy and a bachelor of science in accounting.

Matt Orton

Senior Tax Manager, Tanner LLC

Matt has 18 years of experience in public accounting. He has extensive experience handling the tax and accounting needs of companies and executives within many different industries, including SaaS, software development, manufacturing, technology, services and real estate. Matt specializes in helping companies with their federal and multi-state tax compliance, tax planning, cash flow planning, capital expenditures, entity structuring and M&A and transaction planning.

Darin Pierson

Tax Manager, Tanner LLC

Darin is a tax manager at Tanner LLC. He has 6.5 years of public accounting experience in a variety of industries. His primary focus throughout his career has been in corporate tax and accounting for income taxes under ASC 740 for public and private companies. Prior to joining Tanner, Darin was a tax manager at Ernst & Young in Dallas. While in Dallas, he focused mainly on healthcare, technology, and real estate clients, including several Fortune 500 companies. Darin received his bachelor’s and master’s in accounting at Brigham Young University.


Tony Passey

Founder and CEO, Firetoss

Tony Passey is founder and CEO of Firetoss, a marketing and web development firm in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is also an Assistant Professor, Lecturer in the Marketing Department of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah. Firetoss provides SEO, marketing and creative services to firms across the nation. Firetoss’ integrated approach to strategy, creative development and marketing execution provide a unique advantage over other agencies. Tony created a new digital marketing curriculum for undergraduate and graduate students that applies marketing strategy to project-based assignments. Students learn through a mixture of lectures and hands-on group work for local non-profits and small businesses. Tony has engaged in various start-ups ranging from tech companies to retail to manufacturing, including the creation of an elite brand of energy efficient products, Thermaglass Windows, and the west coast’s first fully custom fiberglass door manufacturing company, SureFit Door Co. Tony Passey received a B.A. in Economics and an M.S. in Finance from the University of Utah. He has received several business awards including being named to the Utah v100, top CEOs in technology.

Josh Webber

Big Red Jelly

“Only entropy comes easy” – Anton Chekhov. In short, I feel a deep sense of satisfaction from building something long-lasting and valuable with people I love. Big Red Jelly represents a team, product, and bundle of world-class services that we built together, and I enjoy seeing it grow and provide value to fellow business owners.


Tami Steggell

Founder, RubySnap

Tami Steggell is a former architectural designer who founded RubySnap Fresh Cookies in 2008, an exceptional cookie company famous for using fresh ingredients in innovative flavor combinations. Admired for being a tastemaker and leader in recipe development, Tami focuses on the use of clean and natural ingredients to deliver amazing flavor that your body can celebrate eating. Tami has appeared in Where Women Do Business magazine on Truth in Building a Brand, been a guest speaker on Harvesting Happiness for Hero’s Talk Radio, American Underdog Radio, NuSkin and been appointed in many teaching and speaking engagements at the University of Utah, Westminster College, BYU Hawaii, LDS Business College, other venues and podcasts on topics such as: trademarking, branding, small business strategies, entrepreneurialism, leadership and social media. Hobbies include photography, cycling, and travel.