top of page

Tom Tom Reveals 18 Honorees of “Founding Cville”

Festival celebrates Charlottesville founders who have made national, local, and global Impact Downtown Lamppost Banners and Public Award Ceremony at Fall Block Party.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – September 4, 2014 – Tom Tom Founders Festival today launched the 1st annual Founding Cville celebration, honoring 18 local founders chosen from a pool of 120 nominees. These eighteen Founders include artists, civic leaders, and entrepreneurs, all of whom have made outstanding contributions to the Charlottesville community through initiatives that they started and built. Each Founder will be featured on a separate lamppost banner along the Downtown Mall. Full details and an exclusive Q&A with each Founder can be found on Tom Tom will publicly thank the Founders for their work at a brief award ceremony during its Fall Block Party, September 26th at the McGuffey Art Center.

This is the launch of Tom Tom’s Founding Cville. Selected from a pool of 120 publically submitted nominees, Founding Cville recognizes the founders of global firms such as SNL Financial’s Jessica Nagel, RKG a Merkle Compay’s Alan Rimm-Kaufman, national successes like Crutchfield’s Bill Crutchfield and Starr Hill Brewery’s Mark Thompson, and local innovators such as developer Gabe Silverman and Charlottesville Investment Collaborative’s Wendy Brown.

“Founding Cville talks about the Thomas Jeffersons of today,” explains Paul Beyer, Director of Tom Tom Founders Festival. “The act of Founding transcends just having a good idea, because to realize that idea takes perseverance and teamwork. In that sense, Jefferson’s legacy as a revolutionary leader is more relevant than ever. The founders celebrated in this project show how Charlottesville’s extraordinary history sets the stage for an exceptional future.”

Tom Tom’s Fall Block Party on September 26th at the McGuffey Art Center will be Tom Tom’s 3rd annual end-of-summer bash. In addition to recognizing the honorees of Founding Cville, the event will feature award-winning funk bands, art workshops, aerialist acrobats, local food trucks, a New Belgium craft beer garden, and family activities. Full schedule at The McGuffey Art Center is located at 201 2nd St. NW, Charlottesville, VA 22902. Founding Cville: THE FOUNDERS Listed alphabetically, interview available upon request

  1. Wendy Brown, Cofounder of the Community Investment Collaborative (CIC) The CIC has connected 70 entrepreneurs, many from underprivileged communities, with the resources to found 14 businesses.

  2. Dr. Benton Calhoun, Cofounder of PsiKick One of the world’s foremost experts in ultra-low-power circuit design for semiconductors, Calhoun’s PsiKick commercializes wireless sensors that power themselves through ambient light, vibration, and energy for use in medicine and sustainable design.

  3. Sara Clayborne, Cofounder of the Charlottesville Ballet Drawing dancers from across the globe to Charlottesville, the Charlottesville Ballet also offers classes to adults, children, underprivileged youth across Charlottesville.

  4. Kate Collier, Co Founder, Local Food Hub The Local Food Hub delivers farm fresh food to over 50 schools, hospitals, and restaurants in Virginia. Its services have enabled over $3 million of purchase from local family farms.

  5. Bill Crutchfield, Founder of Crutchfield Corporation In 2007, Bill Crutchfield was inducted into the Consumer Electronics Association Hall of Fame alongside Paul Allen and Amar Bose. The Charlottesville firm has been a pioneer in online and mail order electronics. It employs nearly 500 people in Virginia with annual revenues of $230,000,000.

  6. Greg Fairchild, Founder of the Prison Entrepreneurship Project Ranked by CNN as one of the top 10 business professors on the globe, Darden Professor Fairchild also brings entrepreneurial and financial tools to incarcerated populations.

  7. Robin Felder, Founder of Global Cell Solutions A nine time “serial entrepreneur” and author of over 300 peer-reviewed publications, Robin Felder’s research has raised over $40 million dollars in grants and private investment. Global Cell Solutions synthetically replicates in vivo cell behavior. It has the potential to create body replacement cells and end animal testing.

  8. Matt Hantzmon, Cofounder of HelioSage Energy In 2006, Hantzmon played a part in Greenlight Energy’s acquisition by BP, which was one of the largest buy-outs in local history and put Charlottesville on the map for energy. HelioSage is currently developing over $750,000,000 of solar energy facilities in over 20 states.

  9. John Herr, Founder of SpermCheck Herr developed SpermCheck, the first at-home fertility test for men. As of this month, SpermCheck is available at CVS, Walgreen, and RiteAid. Herr holds 26 patents, he and his team have named over 30 genes in the human genome, and he has founded three Charlottesville biotechnology companies.

  10. Spencer Ingram, Cofounder of HackCville HackCville is an entrepreneurial clubhouse for students, located on Elliewood Avenue. In just two short years, Spencer has rallied U.Va.’s young entrepreneurs, artists, and alumni to create a launching pad for new ideas on Grounds.

  11. Marcia Invernizzi, Founder of PALS Marketplace In the mid-1990s, Marcia Invernizzi, a professor, author, and researcher, founded Book Buddies in the Charlottesville City School System. In the following two decades, her literacy screening tools have become standards in 131 of Virginia’s 132 school divisions and in thousands of schools across the nation.

  12. Dr. Marcus Martin, Founder of U.Va.’s Emergency Medicine Center Marcus Martin’s commitment to justice and opportunity has made him not only a national authority on emergency medicine, but also a great champion of diversity at the University of Virginia. Dr. Martin established the Emergency Medicine Center for Education, Research, and Technology (EMCERT) and the Life Saving Techniques course for medical students at UVA.

  13. Jessica Nagle, Cofounder of LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph & SNL Financial Nagle has major achievements in both culture and business. The LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph is an international gathering of renowned photographers in Charlottesville. SNL Financial is an global financial reporting firm with 400 employees on the east end of the Downtown Mall, and 2,800 employees worldwide.

  14. Brynne Potter, Cofounder of Maternity Neighborhood Five years ago, Brynne was a practicing midwife who noticed every pregnant mother’s trip to the hospital was deemed an “emergency” because doctors and patients were unable to easily reference any data about the general health of the mother. Brynne developed an app to empower mothers to maintain their own records and has quickly entered the vanguard of thinking about patient empowerment and data access.

  15. Alan Rimm-Kaufman, Founder of RKG (In memoriam) In 2013, RKG bought $300,000,000 of Google ads on behalf of clients such as Urban Outfitters and Express, making it the largest ad buyer among independent agencies. Recently acquired by Merkle, the firm is maintaining its headquarters and 175+ employees in Charlottesville. Alan died from leukemia in 2009.

  16. Gabe Silverman, Architect & Developer (In memoriam) An architect, real estate developer, and patron of the arts, Gabe arrived in the early 1980s from San Francisco, and left an indelible imprint on the City through his built projects, and the creative culture he helped incubate. His most visible projects include the Michie Building, the IX complex, and the Main Street Market, the thriving, purple-hued retail complex on West Main. In a broader sense, Downtown Charlottesville’s current prosperity and cultural vitality is a tribute to Silverman’s vision and persistence.

  17. Mark Thompson, Cofounder of Starr Hill Brewery Mark Thompson was one of the pioneers of Virginia’s exploding craft beer scene, building Starr Hill into Virginia’s largest and most award-winning brewery. The Crozet brewery boasts a capacity of 55,000 barrels and has won 17 Great American Beer Festival medals and 3 World Beer Cup medals, and was a founding member of the Blue Ridge Trail of craft breweries.

  18. Rob Vaughan, Founder of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities Since its founding in 1974, VFH has raised more than $160,000,000 for more than 40,000 humanities programs serving communities large and small throughout Virginia. It is a national benchmark for cultural foundations, and its programming is experienced by millions nationwide.


Tom Tom is a weeklong, nonprofit spring festival of music, art, and innovation in Charlottesville, VA. It celebrates the world-class ideas, wide-ranging creativity, and the outstanding quality of life that Charlottesville offers. A majority of the programming is free, and connects diverse audiences with the resources to found new visions.


  1. W.L. Lyons Brown III Innovation Laboratory

  2. The Batten Institute at U.Va.’s Darden School of Business

  3. New Belgium Brewing Company

  4. U.Va. Arts

  5. R.L. Beyer Custom Homes

  6. Charlottesville Tomorrow

  7. C-Ville Weekly

  8. Galant Center for Entrepreneurship at the McIntire School of Commerce

  9. Charlottesville Newsplex


bottom of page