How American Progress Really Works

Venture Capital Fund Targets American Jobs and Prosperity

“The growth of employment through targeted investment, strategic partnering, and resources that reduce the challenges small businesses face when seeking job creation capital.” ProgressWorks

In 2012, coming out of the Presidential election, I remember thinking how profoundly divided the country was. President Barack Obama had just soundly beat the Republican candidate and former governor Mitt Romney with surprise victories in those battleground states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Virginia. In 2016, the opposite scenario played out with businessman Donald J. Trump roundly defeating Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the electoral college map in the exact same battle ground states with the exception of Virginia. Those states all have one chief concern guiding their choice at the ballet box: American job creation. I remember thinking then, as I do now, that the answer was not political but local and within the enterprising spirit of Americans across the country.

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As part of its initiatives, ProgressWorks hosts The ProgressWorks Opportunity Expo at the Disneyland® Resort. The Expo brings together capital sources, investors, public companies, private companies, start-ups, executives, professionals, employers, job seekers, and resource providers all together in over 28,000 square feet of exhibit hall space at the Disneyland® Resort.ProgressWorks

My group, the San Diego Investment Conference (SDIC), reached out to such American leaders as former SEC Chair Christopher J. Cox and former US Labor Secretary Robert Reich, Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido, Texas’ Chuck DeVore and US Labor Secretary Hilda Solis. We worked with American small business leaders and capital market experts across the country and produced an event, American Prosperity and Jobs which was hosted at the Pacific Club in Newport Beach. The former keynoted the event and the latter participated in editorials for our conference’s signature California Financial Times. OTC Market’s Cromwell Coulson, Greenberg Truarig LLP’s Daniel K. Donahue and Roth Capital’s President Ted Roth sat on a panel to discuss the 2010 Jobs Act and sponsored the symposium.

Around that time, another capital markets veteran, SDIC advisor and friend Brian Jue was managing an investment he had made in a sports memorabilia gallery in Newport Beach’s Fashion Island (one of many entrepreneurial ventures Brian has shepherded to maturity). Brian learned that I had an avid Lebron James fan at home, and in spirit of being a true Golden State Warrior (California ultimate sports fan), he gifted an early Cleveland Cavaliers Upper Deck card of Lebron James to my son. Since then, Brian has come to my home in Carlsbad and we have shared a warm rapport, primarily over doing business the right way: passionately and with a heart of service to others (i.e. win-win-win). Both stories represent what we like to call no-nonsense networking where a singular focus with purpose brings together people of very different deeply held beliefs and from different backgrounds for a common purpose.

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“ProgressWorks was created by and is operated by investment banking and venture capital professionals with experience in investing and operating businesses from technology to logging. Our goal is to do good for our country by creating a legacy that continues to infuse capital into the lifeblood of the American Dream: small business;es.” ProgressWorks CEO Roy Y. Salisbury

Since then Brian has co-founded ProgressWorks, a 501(c)(3) non for profit venture capital fund with Roy Salisbury, a former US Marine and Senior Managing Partner of RYS & Co. Brian continues to build teams on consensus of possibility and with widely different talents and backgrounds. In the case of Progressworks, the team consists of: Jim Jenkins, President of RYS & Co. and a Floridian; Barbara Bickham, an African American pioneer in cellular communications and start-up specialist who has been a technologist for over 20 years; Brian Johnson, a former Stanford quarterback and San Francisco Giant;and John Chi, an Asian-American tenured biotechnologist, engineer and scientist who makes Macgyver or James Bond’s Q look like Nickelodeon cartoons. Sounds like a joke, right? What do a Maine former Marine, Asian American investment banker, African American technologist, Asian-American biotechnologist, African American banker (myself) all have in common? Aside, from Brian Jue? Yes, the United States of America. And the seasoned team has spent nearly a combined 300 years working the front lines of capital formation and emerging business growth across diverse industries.

On August 18, 2017, the first ProgressWorks Opportunity Expo will be held at the Disneyland Resort in Southern California. The Expo will bring together capital sources, companies, executives, and professional resource providers. Companies seeking capital will have three minutes to present to a panel of judges and investors at PitchFest competitions. There will be three categories, with the grand prize winner in each category receiving $10,000 prizes.

The venture seems to be right up Brian’s proverbial alley combining small business development with capital markets creation and the desire to help others do well. As long as I have known Brian, well over 10 years he’s been passionate about the capital markets, bringing people together around these endeavors and doing business the right way. He has done this as CEO of ProFormance Capital, a boutique investment bank from 2002 to 2014 specializing in early stage and emerging growth companies. He has done this as a member and investor to the Keiretsu Forum from 2003 to 2009. He will do it again at his highest levels with ProgressWorks on August 18th where Americans will come together to bring prosperity, jobs and capital for all to the forefront of the American Dream.

“The growth of employment through targeted investment, strategic partnering, and resources that reduce the challenges small businesses face when seeking job creation capital.” ProgressWorks

Brian also loves to have a lot of fun while putting all these pieces together. That is why Disneyland makes perfect sense for the launch of the ProgressWorks Expo. He is harnessing the spirit of American entrepreneurism, capital markets and small business for the bringing together finance, corporate and leadership communities in Southern California and across the nation. Directly below is a video supporting myself and our San Diego Investment Conference this past winter in Newport Beach as Director of DPOUSA, a financial platform providing visibility to an investor base of over 30,000 accredited investors and financial institutions.

The Expo is structured as a vacation-destination event, with discounted hotel rooms, and park tickets, and the chance for sponsors, exhibitors, and attendees to bring their families and find new opportunities while enjoying a tax-deductible mini-vacation.

For more about the Expo, go to

Thank you Josh Bois of 2020 Ventures for your exceptional work on the video.

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