John C. Whitaker
Founder, Inmar Enterprises, Inc.
John Whitaker is a highly experienced entrepreneur from Winston-Salem, NC and holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina as well as his MBA from Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. He has also served three years in the United States Navy as an officer in the Supply Corps. John’s career has involved start-up and development of new companies, primarily in service-related businesses. He was founder of Inmar Enterprises, Inc., a company with over 4,000 employees which provides promotional management and return goods processing to over 1,000 customers which was later sold to a private equity group in 2007. John’s rich business background also includes real estate development and construction. He is actively involved in several civic and business activities within the local community including Chief Executive Officer of INV located in Winton-Salem, NC. INV provides venture capital and management expertise to start-ups and early stage operations. John currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Winston-Salem Alliance – a strategic planning organization for Winston-Salem as well as the Board of Visitors, Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. Previous outside activities have also included serving on the Board of Directors of Wachovia Corporation; Board of Trustees of Wake Forest University; Board of Directors of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center; Board of Visitors of Babcock Graduate School of Management, Wake Forest University; and Board of Directors of Amos Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital (past president). John donated time and energy to fund raising for various organizations: Chairman of the $200 Million capital campaign for the Medical Center; the National Development Council, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; the UNC Alumni Association; the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce; Division Chairman for the Heritage and Promise Campaign of Wake Forest University; Campaign Steering Committee of The Children’s Center for the Physically Handicapped.
Chairman & CEO, Flow Companies, Inc.
Don grew up in Winston-Salem, NC, and in 1977 graduated from the University of Virginia where he received a BS in Commerce. In 1978, Don attended Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia and earned a Diploma in Christian Studies. In 1983, he received his MBA from Wake Forest University. Under Don’s leadership, Flow Companies, Inc. now operates over 40 automobile franchises in North Carolina and Virginia. Don is currently Chairman of the Board of Directors of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, and is former Chair of the Board of Trustees of Wake Forest University as well as former Chair of the Business School of Wake Forest University. He is also a member of the Board of the Institute of Advanced Studies in Culture and the McIntire School of Business at the University of Virginia. He serves as the Chair of the Winston-Salem Alliance and is on the Board of the Piedmont Triad Partnership. He is past Chair of Winston-Salem Business Inc., and was a previous member of the Board of Trustees of the UNC School of the Arts. He currently serves as a member of the North Carolina Governor’s Economic Council and the Governor’s Commission on Public Schools. He is married to Robbin and they have three children, Heather, Eric, his wife Meghan, Kristin and her husband Trey Finch.
President, Winston Starts
Steve Lineberger is President of Winston Starts and a member of the Winston Starts Board of Directors. Steve is a veteran senior executive from Winston-Salem, NC, and holds BA and MBA degrees from Wake Forest University. Steve’s educational focus and early career achievements were in the area of strategic marketing, and his combination of leadership excellence and strategic acumen led him into his first division President position at the age of 33. His accomplishments and responsibilities have crossed multiple industries and enterprise sizes, and his executive posts have included : CEO, Sara Lee Casualwear and Footwear (now HanesBrands) where his corporate division won a Walmart Vendor of the Year Award and multiple retail industry awards; Krispy Kreme President of US Stores in which he helped turn around a troubled and struggling public company; President, ABT Power Management in which he helped a small private and founder-owned company prepare for scalability and sale; and Chief Operating Officer for First Presbyterian Church in Winston-Salem. Steve now also serves as Academic Leader for the Wake Forest Summer Business and Entrepreneurship Institute; and CEO of Sneez, a startup mobile app that uses crowd-sourcing to track illness outbreaks. For the past 35 years, Steve has been at the helm for publicly held, privately held, startup, and non-profit enterprises with staffing from 2 people to 15,000 people, and knows the leadership challenges of building competent organizations and leveraging marketplace advantages in both small, thinly resourced environments and in large, highly resourced environments.