Business Pitch Judges

Mark Hutchison
Lieutenant Governor

In 2014, while serving as State Senator, Mark Hutchison convincingly won the general election to serve as Nevada's 34th Lieutenant Governor. Mark is a third-generation Nevadan. He and his wife Cary have six children and four grandchildren. Both Mark and his children were educated in Nevada's public school system.

After graduating from Bonanza High School, Mark earned a business administration degree, Phi Kappa Phi, from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and received his law degree, magna cum laude, from Brigham Young University. He is a small business owner who build his law firm, Hutchison and Steffen, from the ground up starting in 1996, which is now one of Nevada's largest law firms, employing nearly 100 Nevadans.

As Lieutenant Governor, Mark is a member of Governor Brian Sandoval's cabinet and serves s President of the State Senate. He is also the chairman of the Commission on Tourism, vice-chairman of the State Board of Transportation, and a member of the board of the Governor's Office of Economic Development.

Mark is deeply honored by the trust Nevadans have placed in him to serve as Lieutenant Governor and since his election has been focused on being the hardest working and most effective Lieutenant Governor possible. His time is dedicated to promoting economic development and job growth and Nevadan's world class tourist destinations along with supporting policies to strengthen families and improve educational opportunities for Nevada students.

Tanya McCaffery
Founder and CEO

A CPA with over 20 years of accounting and finance experience, Tanya McCaffery graduated from UNR with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting.  Her passion for accounting led to the creation of The CFO Group in 2002 and most recently to her outsourced accounting solution called VAST.  VAST, which stands for Virtual Accounting Services Team, offers virtual accounting for small businesses.

Tanya works closely with clients in the areas of outsourced CFO services, financial statement audits, financial analysis and budgeting.  Her experience includes turnaround management, forensic accounting, financial reporting, cost review/control, and cash flow forecasting.  Her educational platform called VAST:Track offers seminars, video courses, articles and newsletters to entrepreneurs, to help take their companies to the next level of success.

Tanya is very involved in her community and with her sons, volunteering with the Great Basin Youth Soccer League, Reno National Little League and Caughlin Ranch Elementary School.

David Schmall
Business Sales Specialist

David is the one point of contact for all things business in Nevada. He has decades of business to business experience in the technology industry. As the first and only business sales specialist in Nevada, David connects local business with Microsoft solutions, partners and community. He previously worked for Apple as a business manager, providing business solutions for local small businesses for 3 years.

Since joining the Microsoft team, David has been instrumental in training and onboarding of other BSS's company-wide. Because of his success in his role and ability to share that with others, he was chosen to join the READY Training Team at the corporate retail offices to help train all new business sales specialists and community development specialists in the company's retail stores. He has helped bridge the gap between Microsoft Solutions and education in both Washoe and Clark counties, and in partnership with his community development specialist he has changed the way business and community work together at Microsoft. In his free time, David enjoys spending time with his wife Caryn and their five children.

Stephanie Tyler
Nevada and Western Region President

Stephanie serves as the State President of AT&T Nevada as well as overseeing the External Affairs operations for the 14-state western region.  In this role she manages the state and local government relations, community affairs, regulatory, and legislative activities.  

Stephanie has been in External Affairs with AT&T for 18 years, 5 in California and the last 13 in the Western Region. In 2003, she took a one-year leave of absence at the request of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to serve as the Political Director to his successful re-election campaign. 

Prior to joining AT&T, Tyler was appointed to fill a vacancy in the Nevada State Senate representing Northern Nevada. She has been an active member of numerous community boards and commissions in both Reno and Las Vegas.  A native Nevadan, Stephanie spent the early years of her career in a variety of political jobs including serving as staff to U.S. Senator Paul Laxalt in his Washington D.C. and local district offices. 

Stephanie is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno, with a degree in political science.  


Abbi Whitaker
President and Co-Founder

Abbi Whitaker is the president and co-founder of The Abbi Agency, an integrated marketing communications firm with offices in Reno, Las Vegas and New York. Abbi is a board member of the Northern Nevada Chamber of Commerce, co-founder of the Biggest Little City Movement, and a board of advisors member for Nevada’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology.


A graduate of Churchill County High School who remains close to her small-town roots, Abbi Whitaker earned a degree in journalism from the University of Nevada, Reno.


After working several years with regional marketing agencies, Abbi joined with her husband, Ty, to launch The Abbi Agency in 2008. Initially, she worked from her kitchen table as she kept an eye on two young children.


Abbi received the University of Nevada Young Alumni award in 2016. She was also honored with the President’s Award from Nevada’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology in 2014 for her work on behalf of the community, was named “Influencer of the Year” by the American Marketing Association Reno/Tahoe in 2013, and was a finalist for the Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the Reno Gazette-Journal.


Abbi is passionate about Reno’s future and regional entrepreneurship. She volunteers with many local and regional organizations that are shaping Northern Nevada’s future. Abbi is currently on the board for the Nevada Women’s Fund, the Co-Chair of the Economic Vitality Committee for the Regional Alliance for Downtown, on the speaker committee for TEDxUniveristyofNevada and a Foundation Board Member of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada and currently sits on the Deans Advisory Council for the School of Journalism at the University of Nevada Reno.