Brian Ellerman, Rafael Tapia and Flora Tromelin with FORGE
FORGE (Finding Opportunities and Resources to Grow Entrepreneurs) is a unit of University of Arizona Research, Innovation and Impact. FORGE develops programs and events that engage students, entrepreneurs, researchers, mentors, and investors in entrepreneurial thinking and startup acceleration.
FORGE has three missions: cultivating entrepreneurial mindset in all students, advancing the entrepreneurial ecosystem where the University of Arizona operates, and driving the scale and launch of promising startups. Become part of the mission at forge.arizona.edu
Brian Ellerman founded FORGE (Finding Opportunities and Resources to Grow Entrepreneurs) in 2019.
Ellerman has over 25 years medical and health technology experience and has traveled the world connecting top incubators, accelerators, startups, and venture firms to critical business problems and corporate ventures.
Ellerman is active in the startup community, founding several companies and serving on the board of the Desert Angels.
He is a strong advocate for expanding access to expertise and capital for early-stage entrepreneurs. Ellerman holds degrees in Medical Technology; Management Information Systems; and Legal Studies.
Brian Ellerman is joined by FORGE Mentors in Residence Rafael Tapia and Flora Tromelin.
Rafael F. Tapia, Jr., of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, is the Native FORGE Mentor in Residence and Vice President of Programs at Partnership With Native Americans (PWNA) serving hundreds of reservation communities in 9 states and improving the quality of life of Native citizens residing in mostly remote and under-resourced communities.
Rafael’s experience is concentrated in human, economic, workforce, and community development. He served as the senior advisor to the office of the chairman of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, Arizona Department of Commerce Tribal Liaison to the 22 Arizona Indian Tribes, consultant, and is a small business owner.
Rafael holds an MBA from the University of Arizona and an Economic Development Certificate from Oklahoma University College.
Flora Tromelin is a FORGE Mentor in Residence and the founder and CEO of FCT Strategies, an LLC located in Phoenix, Arizona.
Flora is an expert in public affairs and communication, with over 20 years of experience in management, diplomacy, marketing, communication, international protocol, and event management, and many years of experience supporting local initiatives for non-profit organizations.
She received her master’s in marketing and management in Reims, France. Flora is the former Chief of Protocol to the U.S. Ambassador to France and Monaco where she was one of the Ambassador’s close advisors. She oversaw creating and implementing cross-cultural diplomatic events and projects.
She is passionate about building relationships that foster long-term partnerships on an international scale. She is the wife of a now retired U.S. Army officer and the proud mother of 2 teenagers.