Tom Trone


Tom Trone is one of the founding Principals of Riverbend Angels.


Tom is an experienced global executive, entrepreneur, educator and consultant. He brings nearly 50 years of experience in business creation, development, and management to Riverbend Angels. 


Tom is a retired Sales, Marketing, and Business Development executive from a renowned Fortune 100 global company.


Early in his career, Tom started, owned, and managed multiple companies in several different industries.


Tom has taught strategy, entrepreneurship, and marketing at the University level for 40 years. He is currently a faculty member of the College of Business at a major State University.


Tom has been an active mentor, coach, and consultant to companies and entrepreneurs in many different sectors for over 40 years. His core advisory and consulting expertise is in new venture creation, strategic planning, business development, strategic marketing, and change management.  


Tom is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Business and the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management.

Aaron Tennant


Aaron Tennant is one of the founding Principals of Riverbend Angels. 


Aaron Tennant started Total Solutions, Inc. in January 2015. The Davenport, Iowa based company offers
Accounting, Payroll, IT, Co-Employment, and HR Services to small and medium businesses. In addition to
Aaron’s latest endeavors he has over twenty years of experience in the transportation industry. He is the
former CEO of Tennant Truck Lines, Inc (TTL). While with TTL Aaron held virtually every position with the company and ultimately purchased it in 2009. During his time as the owner, he expanded the
operations and services offerings of the company resulting in year after year double-digit growth.

In August of 2015, Aaron decided to sell TTL so he could work on growing Total Solutions along with his
other companies: Simplex Leasing, Inc., a trucking company he acquired in October 2014, asset leasing
companies (P2 Leasing, Tennant Logistics, and Centrux), Tennant Yard Management, a warehousing and
shipment consolidation company, B&B Truck and Trailer Service, and most recently, K’Nees Florist in
Moline, Illinois.

Aaron has been very active in the transportation industry having been an active member of several
boards and committees to help better serve the industry including Truckload Carriers Association,
American Trucking Association, Machinery Haulers Association, Illinois Trucking Association, Iowa Motor
Truck Association, and Trucking Profitability Strategies, University of Georgia.

Aaron is also well known in his community for his support of many local charitable organizations. He
currently serves on the board of directors for the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce, John Deere
Classic, Trinity Health Foundation, Community Foundation of the Great River Bend and the Putnam
Museum. He also is active member of the Young Presidents Organization and was a 2012 recipient of
Leaders Under 40 in the Quad Cities.

Doug Palmer

Doug Palmer serves as president of Tri-City Electric Co. and brings more than 25 years of experience in the electrical industry.


Founded in 1895, Doug took over as president of Tri-City Electric in 2005. Doug later became co-owner of the company in 2012. Tri-City Electric provides electrical services in residential, commercial, industrial and renewable energy. The company also provides high voltage testing services, engineering, and integration, low voltage structured cabling, audio visual, security solutions, business telecommunications, IT services, and Drone technology services. Today, Tri-City Electric Co. is ranked 40th in the nation among the top electrical contractors, according to EC&M Magazine. Tri-City has served customers in 35 states, 2 U.S. territories, and 6 countries. Doug has led the growth of Tri-City Electric, which has quadrupled in size in 7 years, today totaling approximately $200M in annual sales and 1200 employees.


Doug is also the President and/or Owner of eight other companies, which are in the industries of construction, engineering, equipment rental, manufacturing, real estate as well as business administrative services.


Doug is and has been active on many committees, boards and organizations in the community. Doug is a graduate of St. Ambrose University and he is a member of their College of Business Alumni Board.

A Quad Cities native, husband, and father of three, Doug loves the outdoors and is an avid golfer, hunter, and angler.

Mark A. Kleine

Mark A. Kleine is President of Kleine Companies, LLC which is the parent company of MAK Properties of Illinois, Yemm Ford, Lynn Center Equipment, Super Clean, and various other real estate investment companies.


Mark began his career with John Deere Company as a computer programmer in the Computer Systems department at the John Deere Harvester Works in 1980.  He then moved on to the Marketing Division in the Dallas Sales Branch for John Deere in 1985. Between 1985 and 1993, Mark held positions with Deere in various locations throughout the southwest. In 1994, Mark left John Deere Company to purchase a John Deere Agricultural and Consumer Products retail dealership in Galesburg, Illinois. Over the next nineteen years, Mark built Kleine Equipment, Inc. into a $150M company with six retail locations and 150 employees. In December 2013, Kleine Equipment sold to Martin Sullivan, Inc. out of Roanoke, Illinois.


Today, Mark and his wife Jeannette own and operate Kleine Companies. The majority of their time is spent operating and managing a real estate portfolio in and around the Galesburg area. Over the past six years, they have taken a personal interest in the revitalization of downtown Galesburg, which includes the purchase and development of many properties. These developments have brought new businesses and jobs to downtown Galesburg.


Mark holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from St. Ambrose University, Davenport, Iowa. Mark has been very active in several organizations in and around Galesburg, including past President of Knox County YMCA, past board member of OSF St. Mary’s Medical Center, current board member of OSF Corporate Foundation Board, OSF St. Mary’s Foundation, Knox County Area Partnership for Economic Development, Board Chair of Galesburg Community Foundation, and Trustee of St. Ambrose University. Mark and his wife are active in many other civic and non-profit activities, and community supporters through the Kleine Family Fund. Most recently their $1.5M pledge to OSF Children’s Hospital helped form the Mark and Jeannette Kleine Pediatric Wellness Center in Galesburg.


Mark and his wife, Jeannette, reside in Galesburg. They have four children and three grandchildren whom all live in and around West Central Illinois.

James K. Thomson

Jim worked for 25 years at Deere & Co., where his final position was Director, Shared Services, at Deere’s worldwide corporate headquarters. Previously he held management positions in labor relations, human relations, and healthcare. He is one of the original developers of John Deere Healthcare, an eight-state, multi-delivery system that Consumer Reports magazine ranked first in customer satisfaction among all American HMOs in 1993.


In 2007, working with former colleagues from John Deere Healthcare, Jim developed Valley Health Services (VHS) as the CEO. VHS expanded to six Midwest markets before the plans were sold in 2018.


Recent projects include:

  • Minute Suites LLC: The Traveler’s Retreat, now located at four major U.S. airports

  • ChalkBites: cloud-based education tool used in employee training

  • Paradigm: Virtual reality equipment tailored to tutoring and employee training programs, and a 6,700-square-foot gaming center in downtown Davenport

  • TapOnIt: tailored databases made up of registered users who receive offers and promotions via text message

  • QC Fuel: Coffee and energy drinks created fast, thanks to a revolutionary touch-screen drive-through

  • LandJet: mobile office vehicles designed for business people on the go

  • Orangetheory Fitness: Fastest growing women’s fitness in the world


Jim is a 1973 graduate of Harvard University, where he majored in government and played intercollegiate ice hockey. “I owe my life to this sport,” he says. Jim is a founding member of the Quad City Sports Center and Quad City Hockey Association. He started the local high school team the Quad City Blues and was named Coach of the Year in the Midwest High School Hockey League in 2006. He also is an avid cyclist and exercise enthusiast.


Born in Waterloo, Iowa and married to Melinda Pearson. Well-known in the executive coaching industry, Melinda worked for Deere & Co. for 38 years and was the creator of Deere’s Executive Coaching program. The couple has three daughters (all of whom hold graduate degrees): Dr. Marnie, professor of cultural anthropology; Brie, a graduate of Tulane University and mother of four who works with her dad; and Hayley, who graduated from Drake University and teaches in Des Moines.

Greg Janes

Greg Janes is an expert in growth marketing and business development. Over the past 12+ years, he has helped three startups get to acquisition and has deep experience in SaaS marketing. His main focus has been with early and growth stage startup companies, and has additional knowledge of larger companies post-acquisition, including a Fortune 15 corporation. He spends the majority of his time working in healthcare, but also works with SaaS companies in various industries. As a growth marketer, he brings depth of knowledge in growing the revenue stream of companies.


Greg got his BA in Marketing from Iowa State University and his MBA in International Business & Marketing from the Monterey Institute for International Studies. In his professional life he has focused on defining and tracking the marketing and sales funnel, designing the entire customer experience journey, and developing marketing automation solutions to scale.

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