First Beacon Business Advisors

First Beacon Business Advisory Group is a comprised of a multidisciplinary and experienced group of business advisors who use their hands-on experience to provide in-depth and comprehensive advisory services to business owners.

Principal Business Advisors

Ann Coffou

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Chief Operating Officer
Biography

Ann is an accomplished entrepreneur with more than 30 years’ experience in technology-based businesses. Beginning her career selling for IBM she transitioned to internal IT management positions at two multi-billion dollar enterprises. In 1993, Ann co-founded J. Hammitt Group (JHG), a consulting firm specializing in IT project management and organizational issues for F500 companies. In 1995, she sold JHG to Giga Information Group where she created, launched and managed the global Y2K practice, joined the senior management team and became the Vice President of Marketing and Business Development. She expanded the company into Southeast Asia by establishing partnerships with technology companies in Japan. Giga went public in 1998 and was sold to Forrester Research in 2003.

Following Giga, Ann co-founded JEMM Corp., a developer and marketer of proprietary SaaS products for small business financing, valuation, growth and transition planning. Recruited by a healthcare data analytics company in 2007, Ann renamed, rebranded and relaunched the company to enable them to compete in new markets. Ann is a published author, experienced public speaker and company evangelist. She holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Winona State University.

Frank Collins

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Cost Reduction Consultant
Biography

Frank is a passionate environmentalist with 33 years of experience in both Corporate and Small Business arenas. His background includes technology design, customer support, marketing, sales, and management. Frank is the recipient of numerous awards including Salesman of the Year for a Fortune 100 company, President’s Award, and several Customer Support awards. Frank helps businesses improve profitability and curb appeal via multiple energy efficient solutions. Frank works with local utility companies to access free rebate money, to design the efficiency upgrades (LED lighting, HVAC retrofits, Refrigeration retrofits, VFD’s, Controls, Solar Window Films, etc) and to manage the installation.

Frank has an Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Maine-Orono, and an MBA from Babson College, specializing in Entrepreneurship. He is on the Board of Directors for the Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce (550 members), the Leadership Committee for BNI, and manages the Angel Fund philanthropy efforts for the Masons in Marlborough.

Frank is a 30 year resident of Marlborough, having spent 10 years coaching youth sports, on the Board of Directors for youth sports, and founding the Robotics program at the IC School. He has two college age daughters and a wife of 24 years, Joanie.

Bob Gustafson

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Co-Founder & Certified Financial Planner
Biography

Bob is a serial entrepreneur and has been involved in the financial services industry for more than 25 years. He began his career in 1991 with a Denver-based investment banking firm, went on to work for a major financial services firm and, subsequently, founded his own independent, fee-based advisory firm in 1995.

Bob holds the certified financial planner (CFP©) designation and works with individuals and business owners in a fiduciary capacity to help them grow and protect wealth.

Past Chairman of the Marlboro Chamber of Commerce board of directors, Bob has also served on the board of directors with the Northern New England chapter of the Financial Planning Association.

Bob graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in general business finance. He is a radio talk show host for the “Financial Focus” show heard on WCRN and is one of the founding members of First Beacon Business Advisors. Some of Bob’s interests and passions include fishing, kayaking, and softball.

Larry LaChance

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Co-Founder
Biography

Larry has been an entrepreneur for more than 30 years, owning and managing several successful businesses, primarily in the finance Industry. He has been in the equipment leasing industry since 1983, financing commercial equipment for small start-up, privately-owned companies up to Fortune 500 corporations.

Larry has advised, consulted and provided financing for many different businesses who could not get conventional financing or who needed to get alternative financing for privately-owned businesses. Larry’s experience dealing with banks spans 30 years. He has borrowed and loaned millions of dollars over that period of time.

As a business professional, Larry has been on both sides of the table. He understands what a business owner needs and how to prepare a business for the appropriate financing based on their particular situation. Larry is a co-founder of First Beacon Business Advisors.

Debra Murphy

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Marketing Coach & Consultant
Biography

With more than 25 years of experience in marketing, Debra specializes in helping businesses create a powerful web presence. Her extensive background in computer science and marketing enables her to help business owners better understand the complexities of online marketing, including search, social and content marketing.

Debra worked in corporate marketing at various high technology companies, holding positions in product management and marketing. She has held the position of Director of Marketing & Business Development at a company producing content management software and was VP of Marketing at a software security startup.

Debra holds a B.S. in Computer Science and Mathematics from Framingham State University and an M.B.A. from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. She frequently blogs and contributes to thought-leading resources like Business2Community and Social Media Today. Debra is a marketing coach, author and trusted advisor for the small business community.

Gregory Panagiotou

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IT Consultant
Biography

Gregory has more than 15 years of experience in information technology. He started a consulting business while still in college at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. In 2009, he founded Astari Networks, an IT outsourcing and consulting company which provides services to small and medium businesses. Through his experience working in government IT, large enterprise IT, and small business IT, Gregory focuses on providing secure, enterprise class solutions to the SMB market.

Gregory has a BS from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Electrical and Computer Engineering. He also serves on the board of directors for a local charity, Urban Missionaries of Our Lady of Hope, which provides a range of volunteer services and assistance for people in need.

Steve Powers

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Co-Founder
Biography

Steve has more than 20 years of experience in the field of research and development, particularly in the areas of mechanical and electrical engineering, plus software development. In 2001, Steve joined Intrepid Advisors. He spent 14 years as Vice President of Engineering at O.S. Walker Company of Worcester, Massachusetts. He served as the firm’s Managing Director while the company operated as a subsidiary of Carlin Charron & Rosen LP and became President after acquiring the business in early 2009.

Steve holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and an M.B.A. from Anna Maria College. He is a member of Tau Beta Pi Engineering Society, Society of Manufacturing Engineering and the Society of Plastics Engineers. Steve is a co-founder of First Beacon Business Advisors.