Accelerate Kitsap Vision Statement
Accelerate Kitsap (XLR8) is dedicated to the cultivation and development of entrepreneurs through business education services and support.
Accelerate Kitsap History
XLR8 was founded in September 2012 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, serving the greater Kitsap Peninsula business community. XLR8 provides business education with a focus on small businesses and local sustainability. Accelerate Kitsap collaborates with co-working businesses, economic development organizations, and local municipalities to support and deliver programs, events, and resources throughout Kitsap County. Our partners and other community leaders help grow and nurture the business future of Kitsap County and the West Sound.
Accelerate Kitsap Goals
- XLR8 strives to help business owners develop a solid foundation and business strategy, so they can be successful. We will work to help entrepreneurs build strong sustainable business enterprises by providing training and resources
- XLR8 encourages and supports the cultivation, development, and growth of local non-profit organizations.
- XLR8 seeks to partner with local non-profits in the creation of educational programs related to the business needs of regional non-profit directors, leaders, and employees/volunteers.
Board Of Directors
Jason Omens, President
Co-Owner, OfficeXpats Coworking & Conference Center. "I'm a network and IT infrastructure consultant based on Bainbridge Island. I modernize IT infrastructure by consolidating and virtualizing servers (on premises or in the cloud), decommissioning unnecessary or outdated equipment, and securing them with up-to-date software and reliable backups. I set up cloud file storage, and I've helped a lot of companies (including many law firms) migrate their employees' email/contacts/calendars into Office 365. I help set up strategies and best practices for cloud-based files and even applications, such as line-of-business apps that used to run on a server. I'm also one of the founders of OfficeXpats, a coworking space where you can grab a desk, reserve a meeting room, or connect with other professionals. The journey to OfficeXpats started with a desire to help work-from-home "solopreneurs" with their technology needs!"
Rebecca Villareal, Board Vice President
Rebecca Villareal has been a business consultant for over 25 years starting her consulting career working for a nonprofit. As the Director of the Women's Business Center (an SBA program), she provided counseling to over 3,000 entrepreneurs annually. She then left that organization to begin her own business consulting practice. She now teaches entrepreneurs using her book "Business BootCamp" to cover topics like business licensing requirements, legal structures, basic bookkeeping/ record keeping, and marketing strategies, just to name a few.
Karla Smith, CPA, Board Member
QuickBooks ProAdvisor. Innovative, self-directed and highly-motivated professional with thirty years of experience in financial services, including private industry and public accounting. Accurate and efficient accountant with a well-rounded background and broad experience base. Talented in providing practical and appropriate financial guidance and solutions. "Properly presenting your accounting tells a story about your business’s past, present and future. I help in validating and illustrating your financial story for you and your readers -- bringing peace of mind to your financial world!"
K. D. Kragen, Secretary
KaveDragen Ink LLC. Dave Kragen is a philosopher, writer, teacher, editor, husband, father, and grandfather, and he owns and manages KaveDragen Ink LLC, writing, copy-editing, and word-smithing for local businesses. Dave served four years in the U.S. Coast Guard from 1973-77 doing SAR (search and rescue) and ATON (aids to navigation).He has a BA and two graduate degrees in philosophy. Dave recently finished his 7th novel, 3rd in the series of "The KillWare Chronicles" published, along with "Plagueman" (historical fiction). Dave has also edited, transcribed, and ghost-written material for other local writers and artists, and periodically managed numerous newsletters for non-profits, local organizations, and a public utility. Member: BBC – Bainbridge Business Connection; OfficeXpats – Business Coworking & Conference Center; Bainbridge Island Chamber Of Commerce.
Kevin Dwyer, Board Member
Principle Consultant for Kevin Dwyer & Associates. Kevin Dwyer has spent nearly 20 years in the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development fields in Oregon and Washington State, including 10 years at the helm of the Bainbridge Island, WA. Chamber of Commerce. During his tenure on Bainbridge Island, Dwyer tripled the Chamber's revenue and added 325 new members, pushing the overall membership to more than 1,000 members! Dwyer accomplished this feat by employing innovative member benefits programs and adding new events that excited Members and made the Chamber money. Likewise, in a 2.5 year stint as Executive Director of the Corvallis, OR. Chamber of Commerce, Dwyer helped turn around the financial fortunes of the organization by solidifying its balance sheet, increasing revenue and upping the Chamber's net income by nearly 30 percent from when he first arrived. In addition, he helped raise the Chamber's community profile and initiated a more aggressive Business Advocacy and Governmental Affairs strategy. Dwyer also has a background in publishing and was previously a business writer and editor. He is the former Editor of the Puget Sound Business Journal in Seattle, WA., and founding Editor of Washington CEO Magazine, a statewide monthly that covered business trends and personalities in the Evergreen State.
Leslie Schneider, Registered Agent
Bainbridge Island City Council. Co-Owner, Office OfficeXpats Coworking & Conference Center. "The common thread of my career has been as a writer and strategist in many marketing and communications roles. My personality favors the strategic and visionary, but in the process of working for many startups--including OfficeXpats--I have honed the discipline for planning and managing projects and events of significant complexity, including recruiting presenters and promoting a weekly business skills seminar for over 2.5 years. One of my favorite accomplishments is producing a once-a-year community festival of ideas called Ignite Bainbridge, which puts about 15 speakers on stage for 5 minutes each, with the goal to "enlighten us, but make it quick." We draw audiences of over 200, and we promote 5-10 sponsors each year. I'm also a community geek with a love for transforming spaces into infrastructure for interaction and collaboration. I started a coworking company with my partner Jason to provide a shared work environment for independent professionals, which I still help to run. I'm very proud of my track record of making a difference in the Kitsap business community."
Kevin Wiley, Wiley Invest
William Ruddick, Ruddick Consulting