Join us on March 26 for a conversation with 8 leading start-up service providers

Every successful start-up needs competent service providers—from legal counsel and accounting to insurance and real estate professionals. Join us to learn about the types of services available to fledgling companies.

Eight of the region’s top services providers, who specialize in working with start-ups, will come together for a conversation about often overlooked or misunderstood aspects of forming your company. Vice Provost for Commercialization Linden Rhoads will moderate a lively panel discussion, followed by questions from the audience. Afterward, attendees can connect directly with panelists, and enjoy beverages and snacks, at happy hour.

WHEN: Tuesday, March 26, 4:00 to 6:00 pm

WHERE: C4C New Ventures Facility at Fluke Hall, 3rd Floor

Linden Rhoads, UW Vice Provost for Commercialization (moderator)
Rob Arnold, Entrepreneur
Geir Hansen, Silicon Valley Bank
Joe Whitford, Davis Wright Tremaine
Chris Dishman, Denali Financial Consulting
Doug Thorn, Moss Adams
Pat Pendergast, Washington Partners
Mark Ganley, AH&T Insurance
Shannon Swift, Swift HR Solutions


Linden Rhoads is the vice provost of the UW Center for Commercialization. Previously, Rhoads was a veteran executive in the Seattle high-tech community. She co-founded or served as an active director or interim CEO of several successful Seattle-based startups, including ChiliSoft,, AdRelevance, GBI, and Nimble Technology. A graduate of Smith College, Rhoads majored in geophysics. While working full time, she attended the UW School of Law, where she focused on intellectual property. Rhoads has been an active member of the UW community, serving on the board of the Washington Technology Center, the Dean’s Advisory Board at the School of Law, the steering committee for the school’s capital campaign, and the campaign committee for the Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering.

Rob Arnold is the former President and CEO of Geospiza, Inc., a leader in cloud computing solutions for genetic analysis. Geospiza was successfully sold to Perkin Elmer in May of 2011. Prior to Geospiza, Rob founded and served as Chairman and CEO of Crossport Systems, a leader in Internet security providing complete security solutions for broadband. In December 2001, Rob led the successful sale of Crossport to Lineo/Metrowerks, a division of Motorola. Before founding Crossport, Rob co-founded and was Chairman and CEO of ST Labs, Inc., which he built into a highly regarded and top-ranked software testing and quality assurance firm, employing 250 people. ST Labs customers included Microsoft, Intel, Hewlett Packard, Adobe and Countrywide Home Loans. After selling ST Labs to Data Dimensions, Inc. (DDI) in 1998, Rob served as its executive vice president for the newly-formed test center division until September, 1999. In that role, he led DDI’s transition to an Internet-centric testing and quality assurance firm.

Geir Hansen is a Senior Relationship Manager and Co-Manager of Silicon Valley Bank’s Seattle office, with a specific focus on serving emerging technology companies. Hansen has been a commercial banker since 1993 and joined Silicon Valley Bank in 1996. Prior to his banking career, he spent five years as a securities analyst with a Seattle-based investment firm. Hansen currently serves on the board of the Northwest Entrepreneur Network. He is also a member of NWEN’s First Look Forum, Breakfast Buzz, and Board Development committees.

Joe Whitford has over 30 years of experience in corporate finance and securities transactions and is a partner in the Seattle office of Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP law firm. Joe represents high growth companies in virtually all phases of their development, ranging from seed and venture investments through strategic partner arrangements and liquidity transactions in mergers and acquisitions. He also represents angel and venture capital investors which fund such businesses. Joe works closely in counseling Boards of Directors and executive officers in their ongoing corporate functions. He also assists clients with both domestic and international joint ventures and technology transfers and licensing. Joe is active in the local entrepreneurial community, serving as a Board member and General Counsel to the Northwest Entrepreneur Network.

Chris Dishman is the founder and President of Denali Financial Consulting. Denali provides part-time and project-based financial services to growing companies. Chris began his career doing auditing and M&A work as a CPA for two Big 4 accounting firms. Since then, he has spent 7 years as a CFO of a venture capital firm, 4 years as a co-founder of a SOX consulting firm, and full-time and part-time CFO/Controller roles with over 10 venture capital-backed technology companies.

Doug Thorn has practiced public accounting since 1981. He has an additional seven years of experience in private industry. Doug has significant experience working with clients on federal, state, and international taxation issues. He consults on accounting methods, equity compensation, deal structure, mergers and acquisitions, state and international nexus issues, and federal and state research credit opportunities. Doug’s industry background also provides a basis for consulting with clients on general business, financial, and operations matters. He is active in several technology trade associations and is a leader in the Technology Practice Group in the Seattle office.

Pat Pendergast is a founding member of Washington Partners, Inc. established in 1997. Today they are the most experienced office leasing specialists in the Puget Sound region. Pat has helped establish a reputation for service that is unsurpassed in the region. Today Pat and his partners negotiate more office leases on behalf of tenants than any other firm in the Puget Sound area. Pat uses his extensive market knowledge to turn roadblocks into opportunities, and has worked on highly complex assignments encompassing local fast-growing companies, national, and international work.

Mark Ganley started his insurance career in British Columbia, Canada. He moved to Seattle to join AH&T in 1999. He is a Senior Vice President and Principal at AH&T. Ganley is on the board and former Chairman of TechAssure which is an association dedicated to handling risk for technology and life science companies. He achieved a BBA from James Madison University. He maintains the Certified Risk Managers and Registered Professional Liability Underwriting designations.

Shannon Swift is the Founder/CEO of Swift HR Solutions, providing stage and culturally fitting outsourced HR products (SwiftHR-in-a-Box; SwiftLeadership-in-a-box) and services (SwiftHR Onsite and SwiftTalent). Shannon has held the top HR positions at Zillow, GoAhead Software, Nastech, and Health Team Northwest, along with executive roles in outsourcing firms TriNet VCO (Managing Director) and PMSI (Director, Business Development). She was named “Best Service Provider to Start Ups” by Seattle 2.0 and recognized as one of the Top 100 Women in Seattle Tech by Tech Flash in 2009.