Board of Directors
Bill Kirk, CEO & Co-Founder
Bill Kirk is CEO, Co-founder and Board member of Weather Trends International based in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania. He has 22 years. experience with a contagious passion when it comes to applying year-ahead weather intelligence for profitable business strategies in retail, manufacturing, utilities, media, consumer products, financial sectors and in the military. Bill helped WTI win 12 national and international business technology awards including Red Herring Technology Awards, American Business Innovation Awards and #5 on Forbes Most Promising Company Top 20 list out of 10,000+ companies.
This is the second company Bill has founded with the first sold for a 28X return on investment in 3 years and has worked with executives at dozens of Fortune 500 companies to help them minimize their weather exposure utilizing proprietary year-ahead global forecasting technology. Over the past 5 years Bill has raised $6.5 million dollars from several venture capitalists (Kodiak, Trestle Ventures, Innovation Capital and $750K debt services from Sand Hill Capital).
Bill served as a Captain in the United States Air Force and worked with NASA and the Space Shuttle Columbia Ferry Flights, briefed 1000s of F-16 fighter missions and saved the government millions of dollars in the procurement of a $100 million dollar Satellite Data Handling System.
He has published several business-weather and technical reports identifying winning strategies to capitalize on the weather and has identified how weather influences retail sales and the overall economy. Bill is regularly featured on Fox, CNBC and other national TV networks and quoted in Bloomberg, JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch, ICSC and Citigroup retail reports and other media outlets as an expert in weather and retail sales. Bill is also a consulting partner with the Gerson Lehrman Group (GLG) with leader status on their network of experts (Top 5%). He is named on four U.S. and U.K. patents as inventor and co-inventor for business-weather forecasting technology.
Bill graduated from Rutgers University as an Air Force Distinguished Graduate with a B.S. in Meteorology. Bill currently sits on the Advisory Board of Directors for Millersville University’s Business of Science masters program.
Jack Grum, Executive VP & Co-Founder
Jack Grum holds the title of Executive Vice President and is responsible for global marketing and business development for Weather Trends International’s suite of products. In addition, he manages all strategic alliances with WTI’s business partners. Jack co-founded the company along with Bill Kirk and sits on the Board of Weather Trends International.
He has over 25 years experience working in the retail sector providing service solutions to major retail, drug, and mass merchandising companies.
Prior to joining Weather Trends International Jack was President of a medical services company which serviced hospital and physician groups in the greater Philadelphia area. Previously, he spent 10 years with NPC (formerly JBS), a point of sales authorization company, as the Senior Vice President of sales. During this time frame Jack’s team was instrumental in securing key accounts which significantly contributed to the explosive growth of the company.
Jack graduated with honors with a B.A degree from Temple University.
Vince Menichelli, Board Member
Vince has been advising and investing in early stage and middle market growth companies for over 15 years. He is a co-founder of Trestle Ventures and is a member of its Board of Managers and Investment Committee. Vince represents Trestle Ventures on the boards of The Talk Market, Orpheus Media Research and Weather Trends International.
Vince is also Managing Director at ICG Group, Inc. (ICG) where he oversees ICG’s investments, providing strategic and operational guidance to their partner companies, and evaluating new acquisition opportunities. He has been a director, advisor or observer on the boards of numerous companies. Vince currently serves on the boards of SeaPass Solutions, Inc. Parchment, Inc. and GovDelivery, Inc.
Vince spent nine years with Coopers & Lybrand and Arthur Andersen, most recently as a Senior Manager in the technology practice. He provided management consulting services including financial analysis, market research, merger and acquisition transaction support, due diligence and business valuation. In addition, he worked with clients on numerous venture capital investments, acquisitions, initial public offerings and company sales. Vince holds an MBA in finance from Lehigh University and a BS in accounting from Bloomsburg University.
David J. Freschman, Board Member
Mr. Freschman is a Managing Principal of Innovation Capital Advisors, LLC (ICA). ICA serves as the management company of Innovation Ventures, L.P. (IV), a licensed SBIC, and the Delaware Innovation Fund (DIF), a state and community sponsored economic development venture capital firm. Mr. Freschman has been responsible for all aspects of IV’s and the DIF’s management since its inception, including the business strategy, fiscal and operational management, raising investment capital, and evaluating all investment opportunities and portfolio company management. He served as the President and CEO of the DIF since its establishment in 1995. The DIF is a seed and early stage venture capital fund that focuses on entrepreneurial ventures in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Mr. Freschman is active in the venture and entrepreneurial communities, sits on a number of Boards, and has been a lecturer on such topics at The White House Conference on Small Business, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, the University of Delaware, Goldey-Beacom College, and Loyola College in Baltimore. He is the creator and founder of Early Stage East – the premier early stage venture capital fair on the East Coast. In 2001, Mr. Freschman was appointed by Gov. Ruth Ann Minner to chair the venture capital study of the state’s Strategic Economic Council. Mr. Freschman was appointed and served a three-year term representing New Castle County, Delaware on the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Mr. Freschman was awarded Small Business Financial Advocate of the Year by the US Small Business Administration.
Mr. Freschman has served on various boards of directors of companies including Foxfire Printing and Packaging, Business Intelligence International, Skill Survey, Smart Button, Market Data Insite, Solstice Software and Maverick Network Solutions, among others. He is also actively involved in community activities and has served on the boards of the Kutz Home Nursing Home, New Castle County Chamber of Commerce, Junior Achievement of Delaware, Delaware Society of CPA’s, and the American Israel Chamber of Commerce, among others.
Prior to establishing the DIF, Mr. Freschman was responsible for the formation of the corporate finance advisory division of McBride Shopa and Company, one of the largest certified public accounting and consulting firms in Delaware. Mr. Freschman began his career with the Enterprise Group of the Philadelphia office of Arthur Andersen, LLP, from 1984 through 1989. Mr. Freschman graduated with honors with an MBA from Loyola College of Maryland and cum laude from the University of Delaware with a B.S. in accounting, where he was a John B. Lynch Scholar. He is also a member of Beta Gamma Sigma – the National Honor Society.
Rich Woolley, SVP Operations
Richard has more than 23 years of applied meteorological forecasting experience for a wide variety of both public and private industries. His extensive experience and common sense applications of how meteorological variables influence the decision-making process make him a valuable asset.
Richard’s most recent experience has been providing his services to support the federal wildland fire fighting efforts across the western United States. He has spent the last three years as the Program Manager for Predictive Services in Nevada managing a team of professionals bringing together historical fire and weather analysis to develop new methods of forecasting future fire occurrence.
From 1999 through 2001, Richard was the Director of Retail Operations for Planalytics, Inc., managing a team of meteorologists responsible for the development of numerous customized deliverables for several Fortune 500 companies.
Previous to this, Richard held various positions as a Meteorologist for several private contract vendors providing meteorological and emergency planning support to the electric utility industry, U.S. Army’s chemical weapons program, and radio and television station clients while at Accu-Weather.
Richard holds a Master of Science degree in Environmental Engineering from Syracuse University, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology from the State University of New York.
Bruce Firth, SVP Technology Integration
Bruce has 26 years of experience in retail, grocery, and predictive information technology, including a 17 year career at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. At Wal-Mart, Bruce held many positions assisting their Predictive, Planning, Merchandising, Distribution, Transportation Logistics, and Budgeting Systems groups responsible for advanced analytics of Wal-Mart’s data warehouse. He implemented purchasing and replenishment strategies to capitalize on long range weather forecasts to assist Wal-Mart merchants with buying, allocation and marketing activities. In 2002, he was the Foreign Acquisition Conversion Specialist for ASDA Stores in Leeds, England and was awarded the Wal-Mart International Expatriate Award in recognition for contributions in the ASDA conversion. Here he implemented a new Warehouse Management System for stockless general merchandise distribution and a reverse logistics supply chain.
Prior to joining Wal-Mart Bruce was a procurement Analyst for Wakefern Food Corporation in Elizabeth, NJ. While at Wakefern he implemented an INFOREM sales forecasting and reordering system to better manage 1,400 stock keeping units in three DCs.
Bruce has an MBA in Marketing from Seton Hall University and a BBA in International Business from James Madison University.
Matt Alonso, VP Information Technology
Matt Alonso is one of the original employees to start at Weather Trends International (WTI) and currently holds the post of Vice President of Information Technology. Matt is responsible for managing a team of contagiously passionate IT developers, programmers and meteorologists to ensure uninterrupted availability, and redundancy from 66 in-bound sources of data across all IT infrastructures across multiple states. Matt oversees all end-to-end automated client deliverable processes, and assists with custom integrations of WTI’s product suite into client planning and forecasting systems. Matt and team spent 4-years building a one-of-a-kind historical/year-ahead global gridded forecasting system that encompasses 5+ million lines of proprietary computer code to generate hour 1 to day 360 year-ahead forecasts for over 6.4 million locations (every spot on Earth) requiring upwards of a quadrillion calculations.
Prior to joining WTI, Matt worked for a weather company that specialized in environmental modeling for clients ranging from wind energy providers to the U.S. Air Force. While there, he was regularly called upon to incorporate their models into some of the World’s largest supercomputers as well as supporting the company’s internal datacenter operations.
Matt has a Masters in Technology Management from the University of Pennsylvania / The Wharton School. He also has a Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology from Millersville University where he was one of the first undergraduates to have access to and operationally run the Weather Research and Forecast numerical weather model from NOAA. Matt’s dedication and leadership resulted in a 20 under 40 Award for Eastern Pennsylvania.
Rebecca Skrzat, VP Consumer Development
Rebecca Skrzat joined Weather Trends in 2011 with more than 10 years of business development experience. Rebecca is responsible for managing and expanding the weathertrends360 consumer brand in online, television, mobile, and print applications worldwide. Current partnerships include FOX Television, The Travel Channel and AAA Mid-Atlantic with many additional partnerships in the works. Rebecca also coordinates advertising optimization strategies with ad agencies across the country.
Prior to joining WTI, Rebecca worked for a number of design firms specializing in design and business development. Rebecca also came to WTI with experience in online and print advertising. She has a Bachelor of Science in Technology from Bowling Green State University where she graduated summa cum laude and with University Honors. Rebecca also obtained a Bachelor of Architecture from Drexel University.
Advisory Board of Directors
Steven C. Rockefeller Jr., Advisory Board
Steven C. Rockefeller Jr. is Chairman and CEO of Rose Rock Partners where he is recognized internationally in real estate, commercial banking, mobile technology and renewable energy. Rockefeller is also the owner of Re-echo Holdings and previously managing director at Deutsche Bank Private Wealth Management. He received the United Nations Fulbright Award for his dedication to poverty alleviation around the world. Steven has a bachelor’s degree from Fairfield University and a Masters in Public and Private Management from Yale University. He is the grandson of the 41st U.S. Vice President Nelson A. Rockefeller.
Edward P. Carroll, Advisory Board – Retail
Ed served as a Chief Marketing Officer and executive committee member for over 30 years at The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc, Saks Incorporated, Carson Pirie Scott & Co , P.A. Bergner & Co. and Supermarkets General Corp. This diverse experience and a consistent willingness to re-engineer and innovate have uniquely qualified Ed to assist others in optimizing business performance through a combination of organizational collaboration, strategic vision and marketing expertise. Ed specializes in building market share and comparable store growth with unique and sustaining promotions; multi-variable factor testing; merger and acquisition planning and execution; internal staff development; marketing systems innovation and implementation, analytics management development, Loyalty program development/implementation, proven sales promotion successes, Cause Marketing Branding, CRM systems development, and strategic planning framing and implementation. Ed has first hand knowledge of how to integrate WTI’s past and predictive analytics into retail systems for significant ROIs.
Ed is Board Chair for the National Retail Federation (NRF) Retail and Advertising Marketing Association (RAMA) and Director/Former Board Chair for Goodwill Industries of SE Wisconsin & Chicago Area. He is recipient of several awards to include Retail Advertising and Marketing Assn. Hall of Fame award winner voted on by the advertising and marketing professionals in the retail industry; National Retail Federation’s Silver Plaque award winner given to the senior level executive who exemplifies the quality of leadership and positive contribution to the retail industry.
Ed received an MBA in Marketing and Finance from the University of Notre Dame – Mendoza College of Business and a B.A. in English from CanisiusCollege.