Advisory Board.

Protege is very lucky to have such a powerhouse Advisory Board. Protege values their opinions and foresight to make sure we as a company are making the correct steps for the future and for the brands we represent. On the average project, at least one of our advisors assists in the direction of action items needed to complete the project. Just know that these industry specific individuals have our backs and yours.

Brad Larson

76521_10150096753632107_2198796_nBorn in Mesa, AZ and raised in Ventura County, CA. I love sports, the outdoors and being with my family. I played baseball at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, CA and studied Business Administration  at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK. I spent each and every summer coming to Scottsdale to spend time with my grandparents and dad. My grandfather, Vincent “Van” Bocchini, was the founder of Van’s Pro Shop and Evergreen Golf Course. I loved those summers and gained a passion for local business by watching his interaction and connection with each person that came through his stores.

I guess you could say I am a visionary and passionate individual with a flair for creativity and an optimistic drive to create change globally (locally and globally). I have spent time doing various philanthropic work all over the world: drilling water wells in India, serving the poor and needy in Haiti, Peru, Honduras, and gaining a better understanding of the world by traveling to over 16 countries: Belarus, Russia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and more. I am currently a board member for an organization called Both Ends Burning ( alongside an impressive team who is working to revolutionize international adoption and provide hope to orphans all over the world.

About 7 years ago I moved to Scottsdale with my wife and newborn daughter to be closer to my family. I stumbled upon an up and coming start up business called and went to work shaping the technology industry and domain investing world. It was here that the culmination of my journey and my passion began to synergize into a concrete plan of action to connect the community. My understanding of the internet, ability to simplify and breakdown the daunting details of Social Media, Video Content for the web, website design and development, search data aggregation, keyword research and analyzation, SEO, SEM, CPC, and Lead Gen to the lay person in understandable terms to produce an ROI for their business is what has allowed me to be a leader in the domain name investment/advisory field and allowed me to consult with thousands of clients year after year with unparalleled success.

Chris Barski

Barskiphoto2Chris D. Barski is a managing partner of Barski Drake, PLC. Mr. Barski’s practice is concentrated in complex commercial litigation with an emphasis on construction and contract disputes, real estate, business and financial litigation. Mr. Barski also practices extensively in bankruptcy and related state and federal court litigation, such as stay relief, nondischargeability, preference, fraudulent conveyance and plan confirmation work. Mr. Barski also has extensive experience in employment litigation (wrongful termination and discrimination matters, ADA, FMLA, and FLSA compliance, and enforcement and defense of covenants not to compete and confidentiality/trade secret issues).

Mr. Barski graduated from Arizona State University College of Law, cum laude. During law school, Mr. Barski was the Associate Editor for the Arizona State Law Journal and interned for the Honorable Michael Daly Hawkins, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Mr. Barski is a former professional baseball player with the Anaheim Angels.

Erin Johnson

19680_1325085282140_2718430_nErin-Michael Johnson is a software developer with 10+ years building complex, data-driven, enterprise level web applications across a broad range of industries – including semiconductors (Intel), financials (Thomson/Reuters), and e-learning (Pearson Digital). He is the Co-founder and Principal Developer at Professional Connections (i.e., a hyper-local event discovery and business matchmaking platform, which he has taken from bootstrapping Startup to a growth phase company (attracting strong attention from AZ’s tech investment community and even recently accepted and graduated from the coveted Tallwave Venture Accelerator).

Erin-Michael also has a strong academic background with degrees in Computer Science and Computer Engineering (minor in Mathematics) from Arizona State University; in his masters studies, his program emphasis was on Artificial Intelligence, Data Mining, and Data Analytics. He is a strong advocate for customer facing development teams with frequent release cycles, generating short feedback loops, in order to validate product development and inform business decisions.

Gelie Ahkenblit


Gelie is the CEO & founder of, a tech start-up and an online resource that has become Phoenix’s leading resource for professionals, entrepreneurs and business owners looking to network and connect locally. The website has an online calendar that lists approximately 600 networking events, mixers and business seminars in the Phoenix metro area on a monthly basis.

Since its inception in October 2008, has skyrocketed in popularity quickly becoming one of the most visited websites local to Arizona, and even making a global imprint as one of the top 1% most visited global websites. To date, over 25,000 members have joined and the website’s growth still shows no signs of slowing.’s Signature Event occurs 3-4 times a year and is one of the best attended networking events in Phoenix – with over 1,500 professionals in attendance. The event format is a big open mix & mingle.

In addition to her website business, Gelie presents on strategic business networking, running a tech start-up, entrepreneurship and social media.

Gelie is a 2012 honoree of Arizona Foothills Magazine’s 10 Women Who Move the Valley; Selected as one of’s 2011 Intriguing People in Arizona Business; 2011 Young ATHENA finalist; recipient of the 2011 Social Media AZ Award (SMAZZIE) in the category of ‘Homegrown Can of Awesome’; NAWBO’s Emerging Visionary 2010 Award; AZ Magazine’s 35 women entrepreneurs under 35 who are helping elevate Arizona’s business community 2009 recipient; Is on the board of the Suns Nite Hoops charity organization; And is also a Greater Phoenix SCORE Certified Mentor where she helps small business owners with networking.

Robert Basham

Basham HeadshotA graduate of the University of Richmond, Robert Basham played seven seasons of professional baseball before returning to Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management and obtaining his MBA. After graduation, he worked at a Fortune 500 medical technology company doing marketing strategy and subsequently becoming the product leader for a 70 MM global business. He returned to the baseball world in 2012 and currently works in the front office of the Chicago Cubs.


Thomas Pauly

Thomas Pauly

Water Street Capital-August 2011 – Present: Jacksonville, Florida Area

Long/short equity, generalists, that’s all I’m allowed to share.

Senior Research Associate- Raymond James – Energy: June 2008 – July 2011 (3 years 2 months): Houston, Texas

From the CV: Fundamental analysis of exploration and production energy companies, oil, and natural gas. Create and maintain comprehensive financial models for revenue and income forecasts, cash flow analysis, balance sheet projections, and overall company valuations. Perform qualitative and quantitative analysis on macroeconomic variables that affect the energy space.

Neil Vibhakar

neil-vibhakarMorgan Stanley Investment Banking Associate: August 2010 – present, Financial Sponsors Group

— Evaluate market, industry and company trends to assist clients to identify / evaluate investments, optimize portfolio company performance and maximize investment returns — Experience executing equity and debt financings along with both buy- and sell-side M&A advisory assignments — Experience across industries, particularly Healthcare, Business Services, Consumer / Retail and Transportation

Kellogg School of Management – Northwestern University, MBA, 2010, Concentrations: Finance, Accounting

Pre-MBA experience: 3+ years as a Management/Strategy Consultant with experience in Healthcare Provider (~3 years) and Life Science (~1 year) industries

Stanford University, 2004, BA, Human Biology, Concentration: Health Policy / Economics