Why Smita Shah Is a Trailblazer

Business and community leader Smita Shah has always been a trailblazer. Ms.Shah’s illustrious career has spanned the technology, engineering, construction and political sectors. For instance, according to Crain’s Chicago Business Ms. Shah became the youngest person to serve as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1996. Not long after leaving graduate school Ms. Shah decided to become an entrepreneur. When most young professionals complete their graduate studies they search for the certainty of a full-time job at a company that is run by someone else. However sometime after completing her graduate studies Ms. Shah decided to strike out on her own and start her own business. 


Ms. Shah attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, Massachusetts where she graduated with a Masters in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Sometime after completing her master’s degree Ms. Shah decided that she would launch her own engineering and construction company in the late 90s. Today the company that she started is known as SPAAN Tech, Inc. and boasts dozens of employees and millions of dollars in revenue. Not only is Ms. Shah a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she has also attended the University of Oxford’s Said Business School as well as Northwestern University. These educational experiences no doubt prepared Ms. Shah to run a successful company and be an engaged member of Chicago’s civic and business communities. 


The milestones that Ms. Shah has reached as an engineering professional and executive in the construction industry illustrate her expansive business acumen. While Ms. Shah’s professional background shows her deep interest in mathematics and design her interests outside of the boardroom paint a picture of an ambitious person who is invested in making Chicago be the best city that it can be. Learn more: https://cee.mit.edu/tag/smita-shah/


In the midst of her busy schedule running a construction and engineering firm Ms. Shah somehow always finds the time to give back to the various communities that she is part of. Ms. Shah lends her expertise to a local professional association that is known as the American Society of Civil Engineers. Ms. Shah helps to promote the American Society of Civil Engineers’ mission by playing a role in planning programs for the organization. Ms. Shah has also spent nearly two decades as part of the Chicago Sister Cities International Delhi Committee. She is currently the chairwoman of the Chicago Sister Cities International Delhi committee and in her capacity as Chairwoman has overseen the organization of the Legacy of Mahatma Gandhi Luncheon. 


The Legacy of Mahatma Gandhi Luncheon is an event that is organized to commemorate the world-changing work that Mahatma Gandhi did during his life as an activist committed to non-violence. The year 2019 marked the fifth time that the Legacy of Mahatma Gandhi Luncheon was held and the first time that the legendary activist Mahatma Gandhi had been granted his own holiday by the city of Chicago. During the event Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued a proclamation that established the date of October 2nd as Mahatma Gandhi Day. Arguably the establishment of a day to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi’s life and legacy serves to both recognize Gandhi and the important contributions that people of Indian descent have made to the city of Chicago.

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Maarten de Jeu Gives Advice on Investing

Maarten de Jeu is a dynamic professional within the world finance sector. He is the CEO and founder of SVM Business Advisory, a company he established in 2012 as a need to use all of his skills to advise and consult with world-class CEOs of Fortune 100 companies. 

Maarten de Jeu has always worked within the finance sector and has gained experienced allowing him to use this expertise to help senior executives the world over glean financial know how to work on financing and funding for important projects they have. 

De Jeu is a financial strategist sought by fortune 100 clients for his eclectic mix of technical skills, industry knowledge and international business experience focused primarily on North America, Asia, and Europe. 

Despite the high echelons through which he moves Maarten de Jeu has put a short hold on his busy schedule to offer sound financial advice for investors of all sizes, including the very small investor. In a recent interview, he mentioned that commercial real estate was a sound investment and should be a part of the framework for all other investments. 

Commercial Real Estate Investing Is The Way To Go

Maarten De Jeu suggests that commercial real estate should make up a part of every investor’s portfolio in some way. He explains that adding commercial real estate investments is one of the safest investments to make. It represents little risk and a higher return because most commercial properties retain their value and are usually very inflation resistant. 

Available to Everyone

Best of all, he mentions, commercial real estate is available now to investors of all sizes, where just a few decades ago this type of purchase was only available to the larger corporate investor. Today, smaller investors can participate in the returns offered by commercial investments by pooling their money to purchase these more expensive properties. 

What Is Commercial Real Estate?

We refer to commercial real estate such as apartment buildings, office buildings, warehouses, manufacturing buildings. These types of property are not as highly influenced by inflation, offer higher income possibilities and often increase in value the longer they are held. This type of investment is a bit more expensive than a single-family home but can also be more lucrative. 

Maarten de Jeu tells us that thanks to the JOBS Act of 2012, investors of all sizes can now use crowdfunding means to find the necessary investment capital for commercial property. Prior to this time, this type of investment was only available to large investors. Learn more: https://www.behance.net/maartendejeu

The Pros

Investing in commercial properties has a lot of advantages. It is less volatile than the purchase of stocks and bonds and the property offers more security and does not depend on market fluctuations. 

Property is a hard asset that is rarely affected by inflation. Savvy investors can protect themselves against the risks involved in investing by choosing commercial property. In addition, this type of property offers an income in the form of the monthly rent which can escalate over the long-term. 

Diversifying is Important to Investing Well

Maarten de Jeu informs us that investing is about diversification and the commercial property offers one of many options, but the benefit is that this is a relatively secure investment that does not fluctuate in price.

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Gulf Coast Western and Matt Fleeger

Matthew Fleeger

If you know much about the oil and gas industry, you’ve probably heard the name, Matt Fleeger. Fleeger is an executive at like Gulf Coast Western, LLC and other endeavors that are changing the way the industry works for the better. Fleeger got an education in finance and marketing at Southern Methodist University. After graduation, he dove straight into business pursuits that would make him as well known as he is influential.

He moved from one job to another for a few years, before finding an environment where he could put the whole of his talents to work. He quickly obtained his leadership role at Gulf Coast Western, LLC and began developing his own companies, such as MedSolutions, an organization that deals with the disposal and management of medical waste.

Soon Fleeger was approached by another major company that offered to buy MedSolutions for $59 million. Fleeger’s proven ability in leadership and negotiations soon earned him the title of President at Gulf Coast Western, LLC. When asked where he gets his inspiration from Fleeger explains that his father was a great source of inspiration.

Matt FleegerHe values spending time with his children. When asked, he talks about the importance of the vast resource of ingenuity that exists within the American mindset, and the technological possibilities that are poised to drive huge changes in the oil and gas industry in the coming years. He talks about the importance of organizing one’s time with lists of tasks and the need to find the right balance between work and personal life as early as possible.

When asked what his one secret to success might be if there were only one, Fleeger says, “I visualize a positive outcome first, then create a path to obtaining it.”

Smita Shah

Throughout mankind’s history, there have been a lot of incredible women who have played a huge role in shaping the world as we know it today. Unfortunately, most of their work went underappreciated and often unrecognized simply because of who they were. Luckily, times have changed since then, and in today’s world, women are not only recognized but also rewarded for the amazing work they have done. Smita Shah, president, and CEO of SPAAN Tech Inc. is also a woman who deserves acclaim for the remarkable work she has done in the field of engineering.


Ms. Shah received a degree in extensive engineering from Northwestern University, MIT, and business education from Oxford University. After receiving both degrees, she founded SPAAN Tech Inc. in 1998. SPAAN Tech Inc. is an engineering company that focuses on solving engineering riddles. In other words, it provides solutions to technical projects that can be quite difficult to solve. Ms. Shah was a guest at the Steve Cochran Show, where she had a lot to discuss.


Starting from her childhood, Ms. Shah said that she was always interested in Math and Science. Considering most of the children try to stay away from these subjects, this made her quite different from the rest of the children. But that didn’t bother her as she already knew what it was like to be different since she was a person of color. Ms. Shah further discussed that she didn’t have something big in mind when she started the company. Her focus was on one thing only: to form an organization where intellectual and brilliant people could work with each other on different projects. With the help of those people, she wanted to help people and make a difference in the world.


Ms. Shah talked about how, during the early days, whenever she used to walk in a room full of people, everyone thought that she was an employee of the company or someone from the marketing department. She revealed that she goes through the same situation even today. Ms. Shah was all praise for the STEM program. She also emphasized on the fact that America needs more minorities in the field of Math and Science as they happen to be quite good at it. Talking about Indian people, Ms. Shah said that they have slowly started breaking stereotypes. In the early days, a person belonging to India would only belong to one of the two professions: doctor or engineer. But now they have started doing more by working in legal works and public service. Learn more: https://cee.mit.edu/tag/smita-shah/


Ms. Shah further went on to talk about her personal life. She said that she got married while she was managing her company. She has two children now, a boy and a girl. She said that people could easily manage their personal and professional lives. Ms. Shah concluded the show by saying that women should support other women. In her company, there is no such thing as women being harder on women. The only way for women to move forward is by helping others rise.

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Corporate Strategist Maarten de Jeu on Commercial Real Estate Investing

A successful business will need to eventually expand two new offices. A successful landlord may want to add more apartment buildings to their portfolio. Investing in commercial real estate is done so with the expectation that there is some profit and it. Though it’s generally considered a safer form of investing, corporate strategist Maarten de Jeu knows that there are many things that go into real estate investment at this level to avoid certain risk factors and increase the potential for returns.


In the case of commercial real estate, revenue either comes from waiting for the property value to increase over time or renting. Whatever avenue is chosen, many investors prepare for eventual renovations by fixing things like lighting, addressing cosmetic concerns by painting and replacing certain fixtures, and getting new appliances to increase that value or raise the rent.


These are tactics applicable to corporate and residential properties, but de Jeu points two key differences between the two. When looking at commercial properties, for instance, renovations proved to be more challenging, both in cost and labor. This makes for fewer competitors, but the investment is generally higher. Rent is also higher in commercial properties due to longer leases, and that high price contributes to taxes, insurance, and general upkeep that might not occur in residential buildings.


So, how do investments like these get started?


For de Jeu, all business is dependent on interpersonal relationships. More important than knowing certain figures, investors need to know how to relate to people and make them more open to collaboration. As investments get more pricey, the number of people investors will have to reach to in order close on a property will increase. 


Networking is an ideal solution to this. Such events bring new investors to the local players in real estate, and de Jeu says that the relationships formed here serve many business purposes. In time, with enough experience and name recognition, de Jeu suggests hosting your own events. It’s an opportunity to curate the guest list, decide which relationships deserve further investment and establish new ones.


These relationships will pay off in, de Jeu notes, but only if an investor can display their bona fides. Being informed about a property, the current state of the market and the local area help an investor make the right decisions and decide who to reach out to for assistance when needed. The building that network of professional allies will help an investor further consider the value of an investment, the potential risk their taking on, and how to proceed.


Those risk assessments will comprise the physical area of the property, damages, potential renovations, area value, and other factors that only be determined by attending open houses, surveying a neighborhood, and consulting projections concerning property value.


Comparables will demystify purchasing decisions some times, de Jeu says. This is data that looks at the property in similar areas and of a similar size and use it to see how far a deal an investor is getting.


Whether residential or commercial, real estate is investors’ dream because it promises steady and high returns. not to mention it’s a good asset for any portfolio. De Jeu, however, wants investors to be cautious in their approach, take risk assessments seriously, plan within their financial means, and make the right friends to better secure investments that pay off. Learn more: https://www.crunchbase.com/person/maarten-de-jeu


About Maarten de Jeu:


Maarten de Jeu is a corporate development strategist known in Europe and North America. Holding an MBA from the University of Oxford, de Jeu was recruited by Aviva plc as a Director of Strategy and Corporate Development. Success there brought him back to London to serve as their International Strategy Manager. When it was time for a change, de Jeu want to TVDK Management Consultants, allowing him the opportunity to guide corporations like Heinz, ING, and Sara Lee through complicated international expansion projects. He’s also the founder of SVM Business Advisory in Chicago, extending his business experience to growing businesses looking to follow in his footsteps.

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Gulf Coast Western, and the Oil and Gas Industry, Continue to Surge

Lately, the oil and gas industry has been doing quite well. Gulf Coast Western is one of the companies that has taken advantage of this. They have grown by creating partnerships with other companies, acquiring other companies and expanding their resources in the oil and gas industry.

Gulf Coast Western

Due to Gulf Coast Western’s acquisitions, it is now has a great combination of talent, resources, industry know-how and experience to continue to grow in the oil and gas industry. The company is focusing on its geological properties as well as the physical structures that it has to go along with the properties.

Gulf Coast Western was founded in 1970 as a family-owned business out of Dallas, TX. It also has locations in Colorado, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Louisiana. The company has expanded its footprint in southwestern Louisiana through some of its partnerships. Through these partnerships, it has acquired property rights as well as a large amount of 3D seismic data in southwestern Louisiana. They also have a share of 13 wells and 140 planned drilling locations that have around 30 million barrels of oil potential.

Other parts of their agreements will allow them to operate a large number of development wells in Louisiana, this is expected to produce around 800 barrels of oil daily. They have also acquired some 3D seismic data that will span around 42 square miles and will allow them to maximize production in that area. This is only a portion of the agreements and partnerships that they have going. They have many more that are truly helping to expand their business.

Gulf Coast Western

Aside from their current acquisitions and partnerships, which focus on exploration and leasing of existing activities in the Gulf Region, they are also looking to start operations in other parts of the United States. The company has already worked with over 1000 other companies and organizations, collaborating and partnering to explore, find and get oil and gas efficiently. With this work, they have all made a large contribution toward the current boom in the United States oil and gas industry.

Sergey Petrossov and His JetSmarter Success

Sergey PetrossovSergey Petrossov is the 28-year-old founder of JetSmarter who says “when you go all-in as an entrepreneur, you don’t look back.” This may be true because today the company has 260 employees compared to the messily 50 they had just in 2015. JetSmarter offers four different flight routes, both scheduled and on-demand so people can make flights depending on their life schedules.

The basic idea of JetSmarter came to Sergey Petrossov back in the year 2009. He and some friends were taking a flight to South Florida and he was completely shocked that the only way to reserve the flight was to call the company directly. He noticed that the system that most of the companies were using was really complicated and confusing for the customers. That’s also when he says that he realized that your average plane was only flying about 200 hours a year when they could be flying closer to 1,200 a year. This is when it was also figured that if everything was broke up by how many seats were on the plane then the cost of the flight could be significantly cheaper for the customer.

When people ask Petrossov at what time does a JetSmarter membership become convenient for a business or frequent flyer? His response to this often asked question is “with our clientele, the financial numbers don’t always attract them to our services, its the lifestyle.” People have also asked about the New York and New Jersey area airports to figure out which ones are compatible with JetSmarter to which his response is “the most prominent private aviation airports in New York City are Teterboro and the Westchester County, White Planes.”

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Powerhouse Businesswoman Smita Shah

In a male-dominated industry, world-renowned engineer, Ms. Smita Shah shares her empowering story motivating female entrepreneurs entering or affiliated in the engineering industry. Ms. Shah boldly exposes the impediment women face, confidently addresses the issues in the industry, and proves that women are just as much a CEO as their male counterparts. In only ten steps, Ms. Shah seamlessly guides Female professionals to their better business self. 


In Ms. Shah’s youth, she occupied herself with math problems later using her gift in “math relays” at university. Now Ms. Shah is President and CEO of SPAAN Tech, Inc., an engineering firm that supplies alternative solutions for the most challenging technical projects. The company was founded in 1998, Ms. Shah’s company rated one of the top businesses that address intricate technical projects with mastery. 


As an Indian-American woman, Ms. Shah states “the room for error is tiny” in the engineering industry, and it was not a walk in the park landing big projects. Ms. Smita Shah was courageous, determined to preserve, and did not settle for mediocrity. This powerhouse businesswoman even embraces opportunities to mentor young professionals. Ms. Shah also advocates for the elevation of small engineering companies. With her passion and commitment to parent entrepreneurship, Ms. Shah helps guide other females to their better business self.


It is false to perceive female entrepreneurship as impossible; however, many women doubt this notion due to poor self-image, which cripples their business life. Ms. Shah explains, due to the deficiency of mighty female idols in the business industry, some women can’t fathom themselves as inviolable or overpowering. Although there are 100 million female-owned businesses, men still dominated by a landslide, but that is not an excuse to shy away from your company. Learn more: https://shiakapos.com/long-before-stem-was-chic-there-was-smita-shah/


Ms. Smita Shah seamlessly identifies ten steps to help direct other businesswomen. To recap all ten, She states that women need to believe in themselves and should connect with their inner voice. She stresses to know your skills are worth respect and not to be afraid to “get dirty.” Present yourself with traits typically associated with male assertiveness and assume the commanding presence.


Ms. Shah further explains that it is easy to lose your spotlight to a more assertive male co-worker, but she reminds us to stay focused. Keep your eye on the prize and don’t present or receive special treatment from your male counterparts. Women have to exert more effort to get acknowledgment; that’s why female entrepreneurs must jump outside their comfort zone.

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HCR Wealth Advisors Helping Organize Your Assets

HCR Wealth Advisors

HCR Wealth Advisors are dedicated to getting you ready to plan your estate out for the rest of your life. HCR Wealth Advisors help people plan out how their assets will be spent, where and how it will get saved away, and how their assets will get distributed when the day comes that they are no longer able to take care of their assets or after they pass away. The goal that HCR Wealth works toward when helping you plan out your estate is making sure your assets are squared away neatly as quickly as possible and in the most tax-efficient manner as possible. Doing this kind of planning can be difficult as it causes a person to think about what they want to be done with their things after they die, but it is vitally important to take time to plan for these things so that it is one less thing for your family to worry about in the event of your death. There are a few documents that you will need to work on to properly take care of when making your estate plan and HCR Wealth Advisors are here to walk you through every part of it.

Write your will

You need to have a will so that you can have what you want to be done with your assets written down on paper in the case of your death. The will also include what you want to happen to your children if you and their other parent pass away so you know they are going to be taken care of. When making a will, you want to pick out a primary and a secondary representative who will be in charge of making sure your will is carried out properly.

Power of attorney for finances

This document grants one person to make the financial decisions for you in case you become incapacitated. This document will give the person the power to act in your best interest and take care of you and your assets as best as they can.

Health care directive

HCR Wealth Advisors will help clients write this living will which will give a person the power to make the decision for how your health care should go if you can’t make that decision. For example, they will follow out your wishes if you want feeding tubes, life support, etc.

It is important to start this process sooner rather than later and begin at least writing a draft so that you can ensure your assets, health, and finances are squared away and organized.

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HCR Wealth Advisors is not affiliated with this website.

Marc Beer

One of the co-founders of a company called Renovia is Marc Beer. He also holds the position of chief executive officer and he currently sits on the chairman of the board as well. Marc Beers company Renovia is a pharmaceutical company. Marc Beer has experience in the areas of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, devices, and diagnostics. He has done developmental and commercialization work in all of these industries. The two other co-founders who had a hand in founding Renovia with Marc Beer is Ramon Iglesias MD and Yolanda Lorie. The three of them open the doors for the company in 2016. Marc Beer has a successful track record for founding companies. In 2000 of April he founded a company called Via Cell and he was also the chief executive officer of this company.


The company’s focus and specialization were in collection, preservation, and development of umbilical cord blood stem cells. It took Marc Beer seven years to grow the company to more than 300 employees. Marc Beer is a proven leader and has shown the ability to build and grow a successful company. Marc Beer has just been recently appointed to the chairman of the board of a surgical device company called LumeNTX. The specialty of LumeNTX is that they develop a proprietary surgical illumination product line for minimally invasive surgery. The company appointed Marc Beer because they were impressed with his experience and leadership capabilities in his 25-year career. Marc Beer humbly accepted the position and was honored to be working with such an accomplished group of surgeons and engineers. Marc Beer also sees the necessity of LumeNTX this company will make more the minimally-invasive surgeries available. 


When surgeons were interviewed after using this new targeted illumination technology they stated that it improves a visualization, flexibility, and precision during a surgical procedure. LumeNTX is a unique technology because it reduces heat during surgery and it is low cost. The co-founder of LumeNTX states that they hired Marc Beer because he has extremely high levels of success when it comes to expanding companies globally and a creative high profitability margins. Marc Beer also launched commercial businesses that addressed the areas of rare disease and took these companies globally. The goal of LumeNTX is to improve surgical precision, workflow efficiency, and safety through enhanced and visualization. Learn more: http://inspirery.com/interview-with-marc-beer/