President & Board of Directors

New Mexico Angels has an active volunteer Board of Directors.

Chairman: J.T. Michelson | President: John J. Chavez

Board Members:
John Friesinger | Lem Hunter | Lisa Kuuttila | Sherman McCorkle | Deborah Peacock | John R. Rice | George Richmond | Randy Wilson


John ChavezMr. Chavez is the President of the New Mexico Angels. President since 2008, he has been an angel investor since 2003. Mr. Chavez is also the Managing Director of Phase One Ventures, a start-up fund out of  Santa Fe, NM. Outside of the Angels, he is the President of Tafoya and Brainerd Partners LLC, a nationwide business development consulting firm. Prior to his work in consulting, Mr. Chavez was appointed Cabinet Secretary of the Taxation and Revenue Department by by New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. During his six year tenure as Tax Secretary he also served as the President of the Federation of Taxation Administrators for one year.

Mr. Chavez is a Member of the Board of Directors of the University of New Mexico Anderson School Foundation.

Mr. Chavez received the following degrees from New Mexico State University.
Master of Business Administration
Bachelor of Art in Economics
Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance


Lem HunterLem Hunter was born in southern California and worked various jobs after high school in the trades and industry before pursuing and engineering degree in 1989. Mr. Hunter graduated from the University of New Mexico with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1991, and obtained his Professional Engineering License in the State of New Mexico in 2000. In 1993 he founded an engineering consultancy, which has grown into the engineering and manufacturing firm Mechtronic Solutions, Inc. (MSI).

MSI is a four time Flying 40 award winner, has twice been awarded the Fast Tracker award, and is a Strategic Supplier to Sandia National Labs. In 2005, as the CEO of MSI, Mr. Hunter received the Maxie Anderson Small Business Person of the Year award. In addition to his work with MSI, Mr. Hunter has participated in four New Mexico based start-ups, including leading the spin-out of Vibrant Corporation from MSI in 2007. He lives with his wife of 11 years, is the proud father of three, serves on the Board of the New Mexico Angels, and sits on the St. Charles Borromeo School’s Parent Advisory Council.


Elizabeth KuuttilaMs. Kuuttila joined Science and Technology Corporation in 2003 with more than 20 years of leadership experience in technology commercialization and licensing. This includes positions as Assistant Vice President for Technology Commercialization at Purdue Research Foundation; Director, Technology Commercialization, University of Georgia; Director, Office of Technology Commercialization, Center for Advanced Technology Development, Iowa State University. Her prior experience includes a consulting practice that provided strategic marketing and technology transfer consulting services for a wide variety of well-known technology corporations, universities and foundations, including Stanford University. Lisa began her career in industry in several engineering and technology marketing positions.

Ms. Kuuttila has exhibited exceptional skills in the marketing and start-up company aspects of technology commercialization, having significantly increased the number of spin-off companies at each university she has served. She has substantial expertise in university-based equity transactions. She managed the seed capital venture fund on behalf of Purdue Research Foundation, making investments in Purdue start-ups. She has published extensively in her field and has made presentations throughout her career at AUTM, AURRP, the Licensing Executives Society, the Association of University Related Research Parks and other regional and national conferences and forums.


Sherman McCorkleSherman McCorkle is President and Chief Executive Officer of Technology Ventures Corporation and has served in this capacity since the company’s inception in 1993. He is a founder and Charter Director of New Mexico Bank and Trust. He currently serves on several boards including: United Way of America; National Trustee, National Jewish Medical Research Center; Chairman of the Board, Albuquerque Economic Development; Chairman of the Board Kirtland Partnership Committee; Chairman of the Board, Science and Technology Park Development Corporation and Vice Chair of the Board and Director, Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce.

He is the recipient of several awards including: Arthur Spiegel Lifetime Achievement Award; The New Mexico Distinguished Public Service Award; Industrial Developer of the Year, New Mexico Industrial Development Executive Association; The Albuquerque People’s Choice Favorite Community Leader Award (1997, 1999 and 2000) and The Martin Luther King Freedom Award to name a few.

Sherman was President and CEO of Sunwest Credit Services Corporation and a founder and Charter Director of Plus System Incorporated, the World’s largest retail electronic banking corporation. He served three years for the American Bankers Association on the Select Committee on the Uniform Commercial Code of the United States. Sherman is an Honors Graduate of the Colorado Graduate School of Banking at the University of Colorado. Active in the outdoors, he is an avid snow skier, speedboat pilot, Harley rider, and marathon runner, and can be found on horseback in the Manzano Mountains. Sherman is married to the former Cathy Weaver and father of two- Ashley and Shelby.


J.T. Michelson is a native New Mexican. He graduated with a BS in Chemical Engineering from UNM and a MBA from Harvard Business School.

He has been an entrepreneur in New Mexico in three different sectors of the economy for his entire business career. From 1964-80 he was involved in a family business, SunBell Corporation, manufacturing and selling jewelry, moccasins, and copper giftware nationwide to the tourist industry.

Next, from 1981-89 he was an employee of Lovelace Medical Center. First as a Vice President of Planning & Development, then Vice President of the Lovelace Health Plan, and finally Chief Operating Officer of the Medical Center.

In 1989 he purchased Sun Country Industries, an Albuquerque machine shop, Adding systems and technology, Sun Country became a Aerospace Manufacturer to GE Aircraft Engines, Boeing Commercial Aircraft, and Eclipse Aviation. He sold his interest in 2005 and is currently “in between accomplishments”.

Civic activities have included Board memberships at UNM Anderson School Foundation, Lovelace Medical Foundation, National Park Foundation, Manzano Day School, & June Music Festival.


Deborah PeacockDeborah A. Peacock received her B.S. in Metallurgical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines in 1978 and her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1985. Deborah was admitted to the New Mexico Bar in 1985 and the Colorado Bar in 2001. She is a Registered Patent Attorney with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and is also a registered Professional Engineer in New Mexico and Colorado. Since 1988, along with Jeffrey D. Myers, Deborah has headed the largest group of intellectual property attorneys in private practice in New Mexico at Peacock Myers, P.C.

Deborah is a well-known and experienced intellectual property practitioner, and has been so recognized by inclusion in Best Lawyers in America and is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell (certifications derived from national lawyer survey). Her primary areas of practice include licensing and other intellectual property agreements, intellectual property and business strategies, angel and venture capital investment in technology companies, patents, trademarks, and copyrights (U.S. and international), representing major universities, Sandia National Laboratories, museums, numerous companies, venture capital groups, and individuals for all phases of business and intellectual property work.

Prior to practicing law, Deborah worked in the mining industry in the United States and Tasmania (Australia). She was employed as a metallurgical engineer and front-line foreman at several mining and metals processing facilities.

Deborah is past President and on the Board of Explora, and is also on the Boards of the New Mexico Angels, the Association of Commerce and Industry, the International Women’s Forum (New Mexico), and The Nature Conservancy. She has received the prestigious Governor’s Award for Volunteerism, the YWCA “Women on the Move” award, and the New Mexico Business Weekly Power Broker award. Deborah is also a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers, Albuquerque Economic Development, and New Mexico Amigos. She has served as an Advisor to the Technology Ventures Corporation since its inception (15 years). And, in her spare time, Deborah is a percussionist with the Albuquerque Concert Band.

Deborah and her husband, Nate Korn, have invested through the New Mexico Angels and privately, in approximately 10 angel and venture capital deals. Nate keeps saying “Not another one” but then ends up being quite enthusiastic.


John RiceJohn Rice is President of ASiQ, a firm specializing in executing business turnarounds, launching successful startups, and positioning firms for exit through sale to strategic merger or acquisition. He is an experienced serial entrepreneur, executive, and venture capital investor. He frequently serves as CEO of start-up or turnaround ventures. His companies have provided capital and management assistance to start-up and/or under-performing companies and have negotiated spin-offs and sales for investor exit.

Successful companies have included enterprises in manufacturing of electronics, jet engine test equipment, black boxes, and industrial overhead cranes, as well as in radio, television, cable television, print media, home health care, electronic medical claims filing, Internet accessible medical information and services, distribution of foods, home improvement products, industrial security, and regional satellite communications. He received his BA with honors from Harvard University.

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