Our Team

CAV Angels is headed by a group of individuals who have been successful as private investors, entrepreneurs, and executives.

LEGAL BOARD

Richard Crawford, JD/MBA
Co-Chairman of the Board

Richard Crawford is the Chairman of the Crawford Group, Inc., a multi-unit investment business with activities in agriculture, real estate, and advanced technology.

He is an experienced entrepreneur having started three companies and an experienced angel investor having made several personal angel investments and run the Virginia Active Angel Network. He has been a member of the Darden Faculty since 1988 and is currently a Visiting Executive Lecturer at Darden where he works closely with Professor William Sihler on the Finance of Small Business course. Richard has has been a member of the Law School Faculty since 2008 where he teaches a course in Finance of Small Enterprises. He holds B.A., MBA and JD degrees from the University of Virginia and is the author/co-author of five books.
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Jim Cheng, JD/MBA
Co-Chairman of the Board

Jim Cheng, JD/MBA, is a successful entrepreneur and venture capitalist. He founded, led, and successfully exited an IT services firm that he grew from 5 people to 550 people in 9 years, and has started and led additional ventures since.

He served as the Secretary of Commerce and Trade for the Commonwealth of Virginia for 4 years, contributing significantly to economic development, job creation, tourism, film, industry regulation and safety, housing, and a number of other commerce-related fields. He is currently of counsel at the law firm of Lee and Hayes and is working with several private equity and angel investment firms. He also teaches at the University of Virginia School of Engineering.
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Rich Diemer, CPA
Co-Chairman of the Board

Rich is a respected chemicals industry senior finance executive with a proven track record of working within leadership teams that have created significant shareholder value. He has served as the CFO at two public (Albemarle and PolyOne Corporation) and one private, now public (Trinseo, LLC) global materials companies..

During his tenure, Rich has played a key role in creating over $7 billion of shareholder value. After 17 years in public accounting at KPMG, Rich joined Allied-Signal Inc. He was VP-Corporate Controller during the merger with Honeywell, then became CFO of Honeywell's Specialty Materials segment. In addition, Rich spent four years at Honeywell Capital Management, overseeing equity managers and managing a $500 million+ equity portfolio. Rich is on the McIntire Advisory Board, is a board member and Audit Committee Chair of the Virginia Foundation for Public Media, and serves as a Senior Director at Seale & Associates, a Northern Virginia-based global boutique investment banking and consultancy firm. Rich graduated from the McIntire School of Commerce at The University of Virginia in 1980. He is the managing partner of Wickham Glen Holdings, LP, a family office
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Jerry Peng
Board Member

Mr. Peng is an investor and entrepreneur, living in Charlottesville, Virginia. Mr. Peng was most recently the founder and CEO of a greenfield project in Virginia applying leading innovative technology from China to produce eco-friendly products.

Mr. Peng’s career spans over twenty years in various senior roles across corporate finance, strategy and banking, with global institutions including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Standard Chartered Bank. Most recently he served as managing director with Goldman Sachs in Asia, managing corporate financing and derivatives business and corporate securities sales in China. Mr. Peng serves as a trustee on the University of Virginia Darden Business School Foundation Board, and as council member of Darden Global Advisory Council and Batten Institute Advisory Council. He is also a trustee of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges’ Board. He is co-founder and co-president of the China alumni clubs for Darden and UVA. He earned a BE in Engineering and Finance from Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics and an MBA from the Darden Business School.
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Jesse Ellington, MBA
Board Member

Jess has over 30 years of investment and business experience managing alternative assets and individual portfolios.

Through his experience as a portfolio manager, equity analyst, hedge fund manager and investment management consultant, Jess has been able to generate superior investment results with particular focus on risk management and portfolio diversification. Prior to joining Union, Jess worked for Solaris Capital LLC, FDSI (Wilshire Associates), and Wells Fargo Investment Advisors. Jess is a graduate of The University of Virginia and has an MBA from The Darden School of Business at UVA.
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Dr. Jim Aylor, Ph.D.
Board Member

Dr. James Aylor served for 11 years as the dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Virginia, having previously served as associate dean of academic programs and chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering.

He is currently Louis T. Rader Professor and Dean Emeritus. His research has focused over the years on computer system design, including computer-based assistive devices. His accomplishments include participating in the development of the VHSIC Hardware Description Language (VHDL), the development of a new "mixed-level" modeling technology to support the early phases of the computer systems design process, and the development and implementation of automatic test pattern generation techniques. Dr. Aylor has also been extremely active in professional activities both in technical and administrative capacities. He served as the president of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Computer Society and served as a division director (and a board of directors member) of IEEE. He is a past Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Computer, received by the more than 100,000 IEEE Computer Society members. He served as president of the Electrical & Computer Engineering Department Heads Association. He is a fellow of IEEE and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is a member of the Virginia Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine. Dr. Aylor received the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Virginia.
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Paul Nolde
Board Member

Paul Nolde has over a decade of experience in the banking and finance industries serving in multiple sales and management roles for large and small institutions.

As a director at NRV, an early stage venture capital firm in Richmond, VA, Paul co-leads their overall business development strategies and their discernment process around new investment opportunities, as well as supporting several portfolio companies. Prior to arriving at NRV, he served as the Small Business Capital Strategist for Virginia Community Capital, Virginia’s largest community development financial institution. In this capacity Paul was responsible for building the firm’s venture debt portfolio focusing on growth companies, social enterprises, and healthy foods. Before coming to VCC he was Managing Director of a family office in Richmond, VA, preceded by positions at Wells Fargo, Union First Market Bank, Bank of America, and Wachovia. He is an active participant in, and advocate for, Central Virginia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, serving on the boards of several local organizations and various departments at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Virginia. Paul graduated from UVA in 2001 with a B.A. in Foreign Affairs, complimented by post-grad business studies through the McIntire School of Commerce Business Institute. He lives in Richmond, VA, with his wife, two young boys, and Alaskan Husky. Logo Logo Logo Logo Logo Home About Info Membership Angel Group Contact Our Team CAV Angels is headed by a group of individuals who have been successful as private investors, entrepreneurs, and executives. BOARD MEMBERS Richard Crawford, JD/MBA Co-Chairman of the Board Richard Crawford, JD/MBA Co-Chairman of the Board Jim Cheng, JD/MBA Co-Chairman of the Board Jim Cheng, JD/MBA Co-Chairman of the Board Rich Diemer, CPA Co-Chairman of the Board Rich Diemer, CPA Co-Chairman of the Board Jerry Peng (Darden ’03) Board Member Jerry Peng (Darden ’03) Board Member Jesse Ellington, MBA Board Member Jesse Ellington, MBA Board Member Dr. Jim Aylor, Ph.D. Board Member Dr. Jim Aylor, Ph.D. Board Member Paul Nolde Board Member Paul Nolde Board Member Bryan Simms Board Member Bryan Simms Board Member Greg Fairchild, PHD Board Member Greg Fairchild, PHD Board Member
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Greg Fairchild, PHD
Board Member

Gregory Fairchild is the Isidore Horween Research Professor of Business Administration at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business and Associate Dean for Washington, D.C. Area Initiatives and Academic Director of Public Policy and Entrepreneurship.

Fairchild serves as an academic director for Darden's Institute for Business in Society (IBiS). He teaches strategic management, entrepreneurship and ethics in Darden's MBA and Executive Education programs. He has received a number of awards for teaching excellence at the Darden School. His research is likewise renowned, as he was recently the lead investigator studying business models and public policy issues in the field of community development finance, an initiative supported by a three-year $850,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Fairchild was named one of five high impact research professors and the sole scholar focused in entrepreneurship by the Financial Times in 2010. In 2009, he received a faculty Pioneer Award presented by the Aspen Institute's Center for Business Education for his leadership and risk taking in integrating ethical, environmental and social issues into the MBA curriculum. In 2011, he was the only academic named as one of "25 Virginians to watch" by Virginia Business Magazine. In 2012, Fairchild was named one of the Top Ten Business School Professors in the World by CNN/Fortune and one of the 50 Best Business School Professors by Poets & Quants. His multidisciplinary work has been cited by Inc. Magazine, The Economist, National Public Radio (NPR), USA Today, New York Times and the Washington Post, among others. Fairchild worked in marketing positions for such industry leaders as Kraft General Foods, Procter & Gamble and Saks Fifth Avenue before embarking on his doctoral studies. Fairchild served on the investment advisory of the Virginia Retirement Service (VRS), the Commonwealth's public pension fund from 2009 to 2012. Governor McAuliffe appointed Fairchild was to the board of Virginia Community Capital, the Commonwealth's largest community-development bank, where he served from 2015 to 2017. University of Virginia President Terry Sullivan appointed Fairchild to the board of University Physician's Group, the University Medical Center's practice plan, where he served from 2012 to 2017. In 2017, Fairchild became a Trustee of Union Square Capital Core Real Estate Fund, a mutual fund; and was appointed by Governor McAuliffe to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Commonwealth's economic development authority. In addition to his teaching and research, he is a consultant to corporations, nonprofits and governmental agencies. Fairchild and his wife, Tierney Temple Fairchild (D '94) are the founders of Resilience Education, an organization committed to providing high quality Socratic education to those that might not otherwise afford it ( www.Resilience-Education.org). This is the conduit through which the Darden Prison Program is administered, among other initiatives. Logo Logo Logo Logo Logo Home About Info Membership Angel Group Contact Our Team CAV Angels is headed by a group of individuals who have been successful as private investors, entrepreneurs, and executives. BOARD MEMBERS Richard Crawford, JD/MBA Co-Chairman of the Board Richard Crawford, JD/MBA Co-Chairman of the Board Jim Cheng, JD/MBA Co-Chairman of the Board Jim Cheng, JD/MBA Co-Chairman of the Board Rich Diemer, CPA Co-Chairman of the Board Rich Diemer, CPA Co-Chairman of the Board Jerry Peng (Darden ’03) Board Member Jerry Peng (Darden ’03) Board Member Jesse Ellington, MBA Board Member Jesse Ellington, MBA Board Member Dr. Jim Aylor, Ph.D. Board Member Dr. Jim Aylor, Ph.D. Board Member Paul Nolde Board Member Paul Nolde Board Member Bryan Simms Board Member Bryan Simms Board Member Greg Fairchild, PHD Board Member Greg Fairchild, PHD Board Member
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Bryan Simms
Board Member

Bryan is a Senior Vice President and Private Banker with USTrust with over 25 years of experience helping entrepreneurs navigate the complexities of company exits and managing the resulting capital. He started his career with JPMorgan in the early 1990’s and has been a founding member of the team that created a wealth management business at Lazard Freres. 

Bryan is a member of the Darden Class of 1994 and has served Darden as the President of the NY Area Alumni Chapter, Chairman of the Global Alumni Association Board, and as a Trustee of the Darden School Foundation. Bryan is also active with his undergraduate Duke University Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Alumni Steering Committee and has been recognized for his professional achievements in the National Black MBA Alumni Association 2006 “Top 50 Under 50”. Bryan has Black Belt status in two martial arts styles and is working on his third. Currently a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Brown Belt and teacher of children’s martial arts classes, he, his wife Laura, and their three children live in Atlanta, GA
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Brian Plum
Board Member

Brian K. Plum is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Blue Ridge Bankshares, Inc. (Ticker: BRBS) and its wholly-owned bank subsidiary Blue Ridge Bank, National Association.  He has been with the company since August 2006. 

Prior to joining the company he was in public accounting, and has been named a Super CPA three times by Virginia Business and the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants. He is currently Chair-Elect of the Virginia Association of Community Banks, and involved with various civic and charitable groups as a board member and volunteer. He holds a B.S. in Economics and Accounting from Eastern Mennonite University, an MS in Accounting from James Madison University, and an MBA from the Darden Business School at the University of Virginia. He is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
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Clare Lewis, JD/MBA
Board Member

Clare represents venture capital and private equity fund investors, as well as emerging growth and middle market companies generally and in connection with mergers and acquisitions, equity financings, corporate governance, intellectual property, data privacy and security, executive compensation, and tax matters at McGuireWoods.

Prior to joining McGuireWoods, she was an associate in Technology Investment Banking at Wells Fargo Securities and held FINRA Investment Banking Series 79 and 63 Licenses. Clare is lecturer at the University of Virginia School of Law, where she teaches corporate law and entrepreneurship. She holds the CIPP/US certification as a Certified Information Privacy Professional from the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP). Clare is a 2005 graduate of UVA, a 2011 graduate (MBA) of UVA’s Darden School of Business and a 2011 graduate (JD) of UVA’s School of Law; she is a member of the Bar in New York and Virginia.
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Kenneth Shea
Board Member

Kenneth Shea is a Senior Managing Director at Guggenheim Securities, LLC, where he manages the real estate, gaming and leisure investment banking practice. Prior to joining Guggenheim in 2014, Mr. Shea was the President of Coastal Capital Management LLC, an affiliate of Coastal Development, LLC, a private developer of resort destinations, luxury hotels and casino gaming facilities.

From 2008 to 2009, Mr. Shea was a Managing Director for Icahn Capital LP, an investment fund company controlled by Carl Icahn, where Mr. Shea was responsible for principal investments in the gaming and leisure industries. From 1996 to 2008, Mr. Shea was employed by Bear, Stearns & Co., Inc., a global investment bank, where he was a Senior Managing Director and global head of the Gaming and Leisure investment banking department. At Bear, Stearns, Mr. Shea played an active role on over $55 billion of mergers and acquisitions and capital raising transactions for many of the leading public & private companies in the gaming and leisure sectors. Mr. Shea currently serves on the Board of Directors, Audit Committee and Conflicts Committee of CVR Refining, LP (NYSE: CVRR), a publicly-traded energy company, and on the Board of Directors of Equity Commonwealth (NYSE: EQC), a publicly-traded Office REIT, where he serves as the Chairman of the Compensation Committee. Mr. Shea previously served on the Board of Directors of Hydra Industries Acquisition Corporation, a special purpose acquisition company (“SPAC”), which successfully completed the acquisition of a UK-based gaming technology company in December 2016. Mr. Shea received his M.B.A. from the University of Virginia’s Darden School, and his B.A. from Boston College.
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James Small
Board Member
James Small is a partner at Southern Engineering Corporation (real estate development firm) and partner in various commercial and residential real estate partnerships throughout the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
Previously, James was a senior foreign service officer at the U.S. Agency for International Development, where he served in leadership positions at country missions in Afghanistan, South Sudan, and Mali, and provided technical guidance to dozens of other USAID country missions in Africa, Central Asia, and Latin America, on matters related to private sector development, economic growth, and public-private-partnerships. James received his MA and PhD from the University of Virginia, MBA from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, JD from Georgetown University Law Center, and BA from George Washington University.
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Rob C. Masri
Board Member

Rob C. Masri is an attorney and entrepreneur with extensive legal, finance and business experience. Mr. Masri currently serves as Chairman, CEO and President of Sportlife Europe, a leading franchisor and operator of fitness centers in Europe.  

Prior to leading Sportlife, Mr. Masri was Of Counsel at Woods Rogers, PLC, where he was a member of the firm’s Emerging Growth team and advised startups and early stage companies in all phases of the life cycle. Before Woods Rogers, Mr. Masri was the founder and CEO of Cardagin Networks, Inc., a mobile marketing company that builds customer loyalty and business rewards programs. Mr. Masri raised more than $5 million in financing for Cardagin and was featured in the Financial Times, Inc., Wall Street Journal and C-Net as a market leader and mobile loyalty pioneer. Prior to founding Cardagin, Mr. Masri served as the Chief Development Officer for the University of Virginia Law School Foundation during the Law School’s $150 million capital campaign. Prior to joining the Law School Foundation, Mr. Masri was executive vice president of corporate development and general counsel of Multicity, Inc. and a corporate attorney with Cooley LLP and Hunton & Williams LLP. Mr. Masri received his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he currently serves as an adjunct member of the faculty and teaches: the Entrepreneurial Law Clinic, Law and Finance of Venture Capital-Backed Firms and the J-Term short course Legal Practice and the Startup Company: An Inside Look.
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EDUCATIONAL ADVISORY BOARD

John May, MPA
Advisor

John May, MPA, is a successful venture capitalist that specializes in angel group formation. He has been actively involved in the venture capital space for north of 25 years, has co-authored and co-edited multiple books on the subject of angel investing, and has received numerous honors and awards validating his high degree of knowledge and success in the venture-investing arena.

He is currently the Investment Director and General Partner at a UK venture capital firm; a guest lecturer at the Darden School of Business; and the owner of an organization that innovatively organizes early stage private equity for entrepreneurial ventures.
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John Huston
Advisor

During his 30-year commercial banking career, John’s positions at banks in five states ranged from Chief Lending Officer to Chief Credit Officer to CEO.

After retiring from banking in 2000 he commenced his business angel activities, and has now provided capital to 60+ Ohio entrepreneurs. John has served on the Ohio Venture Capital Authority and the Ohio Third Frontier Advisory Board, having been appointed by Governors of both political parties. He is a Founding Director of VentureOhio, the trade association providing the unified voice for Ohio’s innovation community. When John launched the first Ohio TechAngel Fund (OTAF) in 2004 with 50 investors, the group became a founding member of the Angel Capital Association (ACA). Now with five funds and 300+ members, OTAF is one of the world’s largest angel groups. John is also a member of the North Coast Angel Funds (Cleveland), and the East Central Ohio TechAngel Funds (Athens). He is a founding member of Columbus-based X-Squared Angels, a group that invests nationwide in start-up ventures with diverse management teams. Internationally, John is well known as the past Chairman of both the ACA and the Angel Resource Institute (ARI) and as the recipient of the Hans Severiens Award for angel leadership. Upon graduating with a BA in economics from UVA (Class of 1967) John received his US Navy commission. While stationed in Georgia and flying planes for the navy he received an MBA from Georgia Southern University. He and his wife reside in Columbus, Ohio and have children and grandchildren in Cleveland and San Francisco.
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William W. Sihler
Advisor

William W. Sihler retired in 2015 after teaching corporate and institutional finance for 48 years at the University of Virginia's Colgate Darden Graduate Business School where he held the Ronald E. Trzcinski Professorship in Business Administration. 

Before coming to Darden, he taught for three years at the Harvard Business School, resigning to accept a tenured appointment at Darden. From 1977-1994 Sihler was also the Executive Director of the Center for International Banking Studies. In 1982, he received the University of Virginia's Alumni Association's Distinguished Professor Award. He has served on several corporate boards including three NYSE companies, two of whose audit committees he chaired. He authored and co-authored seven books and two books of cases, usually working closely with Richard Crawford. He earned an A.B., MBA, and DBA at Harvard University.
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VC ADVISORY BOARD

Randy Castleman, MBA
Advisor

Randy Castleman has been operating and investing in hardware, software and services companies built on technology-driven innovations for nearly three decades and across several industries, including communications, media and information technology.

He is currently the Investment Director and General Partner at a UK venture capital firm; a guest lecturer at the Darden School of Business; and the owner of an organization that innovatively organizes early stage private equity for entrepreneurial ventures.
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STAFF

Maddie Withrow
Director of Marketing and Membership

Maddie Withrow is a recent graduate of the University of Virginia with a B.A. in Media Studies.

She joined the CAV Angels team in early 2018 after spending much of her college career as an assistant marketing intern with the ITS Department at UVA and as a Miller Art Scholar. Maddie is responsible for marketing and membership coordination within CAV Angels.
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Kyle Guzik
Venture Intern

Kyle is currently a third year at the University of Virginia majoring in Economics and Art History. For CAV Angels he is performing due diligence as well as assisting in growing the group's membership.

In his time at UVA he has taken great interest in the entrepreneurial community serving as a consultant for startup companies in fields ranging from ad-tech to food and beverage through the Virginia Consulting Group where he also serves as the director of external relations. Additionally, Kyle is the treasurer of the Virginia Venture Fund (VVF), the university's only undergraduate club focusing on venture capital and private equity. Within the club, he manages the club's finances through allocating funds to its yearly venture capital competition as well as the fund's accelerator, VAcclerate. Previously, he has helped a growth equity firm in the D.C. area source and perform due diligence on potential investments. In his free time, Kyle enjoys exploring Virginia on hikes, mentoring startups, and researching the newest trends in consumer technology
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