Meet Our Advisory Board.

Tony Riffel

Tony Riffel is an entrepreneur and a co-founder of the Octane Coffee Company, the Elevator Factory co-working space and the Pancake Social restaurant, all based in Atlanta. He has a passion for building community and culture by creating spaces for people to gather around the social aspect of beverages, food and an atmosphere that fuels creativity.

As its CEO, Tony helped grow the Octane Coffee Company to a regional coffee roaster and retailer with six locations and two production facilities in Atlanta, GA and Birmingham, AL, and facilitated its sale in 2017. For more than a decade, Octane was a pioneer and innovator in helping to build the coffee culture in the southeast and has fostered the development of some of the best baristas in the country. Octane competed nationally and internationally in industry coffee competitions. The Elevator Factory co-working space is a creativity-focused workspace based in Grant Park, Atlanta and the Pancake Social restaurant is now open at Ponce City Market in Atlanta.

Outside of the food industry and community initiatives, Tony and his wife Diane enjoy all things travel and food with their two daughters, Simone and Sylvie.



Ben Damiani
Ben Damiani received a PhD in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2004. His thesis concentrated on degradation of silicon solar cells. Ben also studied for six months in Germany, at the Fraunhofer Institute in Freiburg. After finishing his PhD, he joined Intel Corporation in the Technology Transfer group, where he conceived, developed, manufactured and sold megawatts of US solar module technology. Ben has also successfully funded innovative solar companies as a founder and co-founder, winning over $1 million from the Department of Energy and resulting in patented products that are being prototyped around the world. Ben has worked domestically and internationally in all parts of the solar module manufacturing supply chain, developing equipment and devices. He is currently the Chief Technology Officer of Cherry Street Energy and Solar Inventions.