Our Advisors

Our advisory board has decades of experience starting and running dozens of successful companies. With one Ph.D. and others trained in finance, law, and business, they regularly provide us with needed advice and direction as we seek to serve clients better. From running CEO groups to advising dozens of entrepreneurial clients, we are proud to have a team of experienced business advisors supporting us as we grow. We are also excited to connect our community to their work and passion for business.

Tom Lutz

Chair & Executive Coach


While planting several churches in the Baltimore area, Tom became involved in a small startup information services company that serviced the construction industry. Over the next 20 years, as Tom filled various senior roles including divisional President, the company grew to $120 million with 1600 employees in 18 countries. After the sale of CMD Group, Tom launched Vision Planners, LLC, a consultancy designed to assist visionaries in finding, planning, and executing their vision. Tom currently facilitates two Convene peer-advisory groups in the Atlanta area, including one where Ambactus is a member. With his unique background, Tom helps guide our company in the development of strategic plans and implementation designed to ensure the realization of our visions.

Java Hemmat

Founder & CEO

Hummus Chick LLC

Java Hemmat is our oldest client and one of our closest partners. She was born to Persian parents in the oasis of United Arab Emirates, surrounded by desert dunes and date-bearing palm trees. Growing up, her family constantly interacted with cultures outside of her own community by taking trips to exciting locations, making new friends from other countries, and creating family meals using colorful spices from the cultures they encountered. It was out of these cultural experiences that she started Hummus Chick, aiming to share her own experience and love of cooking with others. As an existing client and friend, we are thankful for Java’s continued support and feedback about how we are serving, how we are growing, and how we can improve.

Patrick Sneed

Davis, Pickren, Seydel & Sneed, LLP

Patrick is the managing partner of Davis, Pickren, Seydel & Sneed, LLP. He has considerable experience in the litigation, dispute resolution and trial advocacy practice areas, with emphasis and significant experience in commercial, construction, health care, catastrophic personal injury and real estate litigation. He also provides general corporate and business counsel for his clients with a broad range of experience in business formation and strategic planning, closely-held business issues, and other various commercial, transactional and business matters.

Melanie Zeman

North Georgia CFOs

Melanie has over 25 years of successful leadership as a financial executive. Her experience as a high-level Controller and CFO has made her a strategic visionary with sound technical skills, strong analytical ability, and sharp operational focus. She has a diverse background from working in various industries such as service, manufacturing, distribution, and construction. She has been instrumental in the development of many corporations’ business plans and programs as a strategic partner, a role she actively fills with Ambactus as our CFO.

John Thomas

Founder and Global Ambassador
Living Hope 

John Thomas is the Executive Director and Chairperson for Living Hope, a non-profit organization whose vision is to reach people for Christ, Bringing Hope and Breaking the Despair of poverty and disease. He was previously Senior Pastor of King of Kings Baptist Church in Fish Hoek for over 30 years and was also Living Hope’s founder and first executive chairperson back in 2000. Pastor John brings us a unique perspective on supporting Living Hope as well as a wealth of business experience and vision for growing that impact.

Ben Johnson, Ph.D.

Senior Manager, Decision Science

Ben is an engineer by training and a people person at heart. He brings us a unique perspective on economic development at the intersection of engineering and business. Trained as a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering at Georgia Tech, Ben translates technical expertise into general business understanding both in his work at Coca-Cola and as a board member for Ambactus.

Lori Chambers

Regional Representative
HOPE International

Lori holds an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has worked 15+ years in banking before becoming a regional representative for HOPE International. She is responsible for growing the vision of HOPE’s work in the Southeastern United States by increasing, strengthening, and diversifying HOPE’s funding sources in the region. She is also manager of HOPE Global Investments, HOPE’s impacting investing entity.

Eric Carter

Brady Ware & Company

Eric believes it is very important for him to help his clients better understand and manage their businesses to achieve success. He works with them on issues such as structuring the business appropriately, building strategic plans that focus on achieving the owners’ goals and evaluating opportunities to acquire other entities or sell an existing business. He has assisted clients with identifying tax minimization opportunities including Federal and State tax credits, real estate acquisitions, cost segregation studies, IC-DISC services, and obtaining financing.

Elise Karinshak

University of Georgia

Elise is a Goldwater Scholar and Foundation Fellow at the University of Georgia studying Marketing and Data Science, with a minor in Studio Art. She has conducted research with the Stanford University Social Media Lab exploring artificial intelligence in public health communication and persuasion, and with UGA’s Crisis Communication Coalition’s Crisis Research Group on how information evolves on social media. Elise served on our Ambactus Team for two years, including work on our marketing efforts, analytics efforts, and B Corp certification. 

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