Judges & Hosts

Host

Ashley Mengwasser (Co-Host)

Ashley Mengwasser is a three-time Emmy-winning lifestyle and travel host, writer, and producer for television. She is best known as the quirky, daredevil co-host of Georgia Public Broadcasting's popular series Georgia Traveler. Behind the camera, Ashley enjoys writing and producing powerful educational content. During 2015-2016, she served as Writer, Co-Director, and an Executive Producer of the hour-long GPB documentary Chinese Tea: Elixir of the Orient. Today, Ashley contributes weekly to her lifestyle blog for health and happiness, Laughter's What We're After.  A Buford, GA, native, Ashley acquired her passion for people and communicating their stories during undergraduate study at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta. She went on to graduate Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude from Agnes Scott in 2009, where she holds a B.A. in English Literature.  Ashley currently resides in Atlanta. When she isn't writing or hosting, she enjoys luxurious baths, lengthy naps, and quality time with her zany basset hound Rosie.

 

Faith Salie (Host)

Faith Salie is an Emmy-winning contributor to CBS Sunday Morning, a panelist on NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, and host of the PBS show Science Goes to the Movies. She’s the author of Approval Junkie: My Heartfelt (and Occasionally Inappropriate) Quest to Please Just About Everyone, and Ultimately Myself.  She also hosts the Audible series Authorized.  She grew up in Atlanta and received her BA from Harvard, aka “The Georgia Tech of the North.” She attended Oxford University as a Rhodes scholar. Faith lives in Manhattan with one husband, two expensive kids, and her husband’s dog.

Judge

David Frakes

David H. Frakes received his B.S. degree in electrical engineering, two M.S. degrees (electrical engineering and mechanical engineering), and his Ph.D. degree in bioengineering, all from the Georgia Institute of Technology.  In 2008 he joined the faculty at Arizona State University (ASU) where he is the Fulton Entrepreneurial Professor and a jointly appointed associate professor in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering and the School of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering. He received the 2009 ASU Centennial Professor of the Year Award, the 2012 National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the 2014 Innovator of the Year Award in the state of Arizona, and the 2014 World Technology Network Award in Health and Medicine. His general research interests include computer vision, medical devices, and fluid dynamics.  Dr. Frakes’ work is currently funded by Google, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, and Mayo Clinic, among others.  Dr. Frakes is also currently serving as a Program Leader in the Advanced Technologies and Projects group at Google.

Lara Hodgson

Lara serves as President & CEO of NOW Corp, a company she co-founded to free small businesses from the burden of funding trade credit and to enable small business growth.  The concept for NOW Corp’s NOWaccount stems from the challenges Lara faced when growing her manufacturing business, Nourish.  Lara co-founded Nourish Inc, and introduced its first patented products for children, in airports, hotels, entertainment venues and retail outlets across the US.  Lara experienced the challenge of managing cash flow in a growing business and having to fund the trade credit required to support growth.  Not finding a solution that worked, she partnered with John Hayes and launched NOW Corp and NOWaccount, the first payment solution for B2B.  NOWaccount enables businesses to get paid immediately in a way that is not a loan or factoring, feels like but costs less than taking a credit card for payment and is largely invisible to their customer.  

Lara received an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a BS in Aerospace Engineering with highest honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She was featured in USA Today as one of the top 20 students in the US and was the ODK National Leader of the Year. Lara was a scholarship member of the varsity Track & Field team at Georgia Tech. 

Partha Unnava

Partha Unnava was born and raised in Columbus, OH. After graduating from Dublin Coffman High School, he attended Georgia Tech to study biomedical engineering.  During college, he broke his ankle and spent six weeks on crutches, leading him to found Better Walk to create a crutch that didn't hurt a user's armpits and other revolutionary medical devices.  Since founding the company in May 2013, Partha has been invited to the White House to present to President Obama, been named on the 2015 Forbes 30 Under 30, been featured on CNN, and received numerous entrepreneurship awards.  He is also well known as a public speaker, having spoken at dozens of conferences and events, where he shares his story, while educating audiences on fundraising, product development, and business strategy and mindsets.  With a passion for fashion and culture, Partha has also been featured in several fashion magazines, including Elle Magazine and Jezebel, as well as in several runway shows.  He spends his free time listening to hip hop music and playing basketball and club-level ultimate frisbee.