Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies

The Board

The Kabara Institute has a diverse set of board members who contribute greatly to the direction of the organization.

Crescent Electric Supply Company was founded in 1919 in Dubuque, Iowa by Titus B. Schmid. Beginning with a single distribution facility in Dubuque, the family owned company has experienced strong and steady growth over time. Jack Schmid’s leadership has helped support the company’s more than 120 distribution facilities located across the country, including the Dubuque facility, which heads the company’s corporate inside sales and telemarketing departments. Jack Schmid continues to challenge and grow the long-standing family business, and his leadership skills continue to position Crescent Electric for sufficient growth and sustainability well into the future.
John Leaf is director of Shamrock Bank in Naples, Fla., and serves on the Board of Advisers for Eniva Corporation. Previously, Leaf was CEO of National TeleService, Inc. (NTI), which was a long-distance company co-founded by Leaf. He sold the company to IXC Corporation in 1998. Leaf also founded Videoland in the mid 1980s, with store locations in LaCrosse, Wis., Mankato, Minn., and previously in Winona. In 1978, he also helped found the Mister Donut Franchise. From 1971-1984, Leaf served as vice president of Leaf Services, Inc., a laundry cleaners and linen rental company. Leaf was on the Saint Mary’s Board of Trustees for 10 years, including two years as board chairman. He also served on the Board of the Winona Country Club for six years and was president for two of those years. Leaf is a member of the Hole-In-The-Wall Golf Club Board in Naples, Fla. He graduated from Marquette University in 1971.
Scott Schwalbe – Co-founder and CEO, Nimbelink (IOT Solutions) – History of building profitable businesses and successful teams. Executive Leadership, team building skills and experience, developed in the US Navy (20 Years Active Duty), Prior to founding Nimbelink, Scott held executive, operations and business development roles at Celestica and Logic PD. Scott is responsible for overall leadership of the company focusing on profitable growth.
Matt Bubala serves as president of Black Dog Radio Productions, Inc, which he founded in 2005. The Chicago-based company syndicates weekend radio programming to stations throughout the U.S. and Canada. Current Black Dog Radio program genres include home improvement, pets, and parenting. The company also takes part in website video production and corporate functions. Bubala hosts Good Parenting Radio, a program he also developed in 2005 that addresses a wide range of topics for parents of toddlers to teens and beyond. Bubala and his wife Colleen (Musial ’93) are the parents of Jack (8) and triplets: Michael, Anna, and Tommy (4). They reside in the suburbs of Chicago. Bubala was awarded the Saint Mary’s Outstanding Young Alumnus Award in 2009.
Rob Figliulo has served as CEO of SPR Companies since 1992. He was chairman and CEO of SPR Inc., during its tenure as a public company from 1997-2002 (Nasdaq: SPRI). Figliulo has held numerous positions within the company starting out as a software developer and engineer. He became a branch manager and executive during the company’s dramatic growth and during the many retooling cycles in the technology industry over the last 36 years. Figliulo has served on the Saint Mary’s Board of Trustees for 10 years, including two years as board chair from 2005-2007. He is a past member of the Advisory Board for DePaul University’s Charles H. Kellstadt Graduate School of Business. Figliulo is a member of the Board of Directors for San Miguel Schools of Chicago, which serves students from Chicago’s inner city and Misericordia Homes for disabled children and young adults in Chicago, where his daughter Katie is a resident. Figliulo graduated from Saint Mary’s in 1976 and received his master’s in business administration from the University of Chicago in 1987.
Meredith Speier has built a career around a passionate pursuit of bringing customers to the forefront. Invigorated by solving consumer problems and seeing opportunities where others see headaches, Meredith has honed the art of “hearing” between the lines. Speier’s unique approach to foundational research lays the groundwork for successful and inspiring strategies by allowing the customer experience to guide the process. In an omni-channel communications environment, Speier keeps the direction uniquely centered on the customer, whether devising a new brand campaign, an audience segmentation model or an engaging new digital experience.
Dan Arnold currently serves as the President of DCM Technologies, Inc. DCM designs, manufactures and markets two proprietary product lines: Industrial Grinders and Automotive Aftermarket Machine tools. Arnold currently holds positions as Chairman of the Board for Digital Telecommunications, Inc (DTI), Chairman of the Board for MinnErgy LLC, Director of Winona National Bank, and Director of PlastiComp LLC. Arnold earned his BSME degree from Iowa State University in 1985, and MBA from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota in 1997. Dan and his wife, Jeni, keep active in Winona, MN with their three kids Nick, Cora, and Mary.