our team

Kevin Combs


Kevin Combs thinks globally but acts locally in his leadership role with the Country Roads Angel Network (CRAN). A native of Ansted, West Virginia, Kevin has not forgotten his roots. His decades of business and investing experience shapes the structure of new business start-ups in the Mountain State and helps close the gap by identifying much-needed capital for home state entrepreneurs.

He is an accomplished founder and entrepreneur with a successful track record of building operating companies that produce outsized value, while maintaining core values of integrity, passionate pursuit of purpose and consistent sustainability. Kevin has created more than $2 billion dollars in returns to investors and himself as a founder, with the four largest being in the pharma/biotech sector (commercial lead for Lanoxin Canada post 2001 acquisition from GlaxoWellcome and acquisition of world-wide commercial rights to Cycloset in 2005-2006 sold to Valeant, sale of PBM Pharma in 2014, sourcing and closing of substantial equity position in Avexis in 2014 leading to its ability to perform ph I trials with a gene therapy for SMA and leading to their Nasdaq listing in 2016 and sale to Novartis for $8.7 billion in April 2018, buildout of Flourish Health Solutions to initially serve as commercial outsourcing partner to PaxVax prior to its acquisition by Emergent Biosciences and currently managing all aspects of Molecular Biologicals Keratin based portfolio).

In addition to these robust scenarios, Kevin was instrumental in building out several successful commercial teams at GSK, AZ/MedImmune and Novartis Vaccines, leading to both value creation for the company/investors and career growth for the employees associated. More recently, Kevin helped co-found an affordable housing startup in North Carolina; an exciting game tech company in Charlottesville, Va., and a digital/social media company in Charlottesville, Va.

He is a founding member for the Charlottesville and Country Roads Angel Networks and is an advisor to the CIT Gap Life Science Fund. He has also been invited to join the boards of ArcheMedx, Ubicabus, Palvella, WV Hive Network and is the initial Entrepreneur in Residence for the University of Virginia Seed Fund.

Kevin earned his degree from West Virginia University.

Frank Vitale


Frank Vitale believes West Virginia is poised for tremendous investment and growth in the start-up and early stage space. Says Frank, “Rest assured that CRAN will be a lightning rod for this.” 

Frank Vitale is President and CEO of Forge Business Solutions, a certified Veteran-Owned Small Business focusing on strategic planning, project management, and business development.

Vitale has more than two decades of experience in banking, entrepreneurship, and government service. Prior to starting Forge, Vitale served in senior roles at Centra Bank (United Bankshares) and Clear Mountain Bank. As senior vice president of private and executive banking, Vitale was responsible for loan and deposit generation for the bank’s business and professional programs. In the early 2000s, Centra Bank was the fastest-growing bank in West Virginia.

Following graduation from Valley Forge Military College, Vitale earned a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) and a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University. He attended and received certificates from the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and the Cannon Financial Trust School at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.

A former U.S. Army officer, Vitale has dedicated himself to championing the entrepreneurial dreams of veterans and their families. For his efforts, he was recognized by Admiral Mike Mullen, the 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

In addition to his role at Forge, Vitale holds an appointment as an assistant adjunct professor for the West Virginia University School of Medicine – Graduate Medical Education. He serves on the Board of Directors for Leadership West Virginia and the West Virginia Public Education Collaborative. He is the past chairman of the board for the Morgantown Area Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties.

Vitale and his wife, Ashley, reside in Morgantown with their son, Maxwell, and daughters, Isabella and Cecelia.

Xavier Staggs


Member of the CRAN board

Xavier Staggs is an entrepreneur with legal experience in the areas of startup financing and mergers and acquisitions.  He currently sits on the boards of several for-profit and not-for-profit entities.  Xavier resides in the Huntington area and assists in the operation of businesses in Ohio and West Virginia. He is a member of the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson PLLC.

Monika Jaensson

CRAN Legal Counsel

Member of the CRAN board

Monika is a seasoned business attorney based in West Virginia, holding a license to practice before the US Patent & Trademark Office. With an impressive three-decade legal background, she contributes her expertise to the CRAN team as Counsel, offering valuable support to countless startups and entrepreneurs. Moreover, she has successfully represented several venture capital firms in their investment dealings.

As a skilled patent practitioner, Monika has been instrumental in devising effective patent strategies and evaluating patent portfolios for both investors and their targets. Beyond her professional pursuits, she embraces a spirit of adventure and finds joy in traveling, especially to visit her sons, John in Tampa, FL, and Kristian in Sewanee, TN.

Marc Halbritter

CRAN Board Member

Marc Halbritter is a native West Virginian who has degrees from both West Virginia University and West Virginia Wesleyan College. For about half of his 35+ year oil and gas company executive he lived and worked in West Virginia.  Even when his job took him elsewhere, he remained active in West Virginia businesses, trade associations and charitable and civic boards..  A lawyer and accountant by training, he has built businesses for himself and for his employers.  Currently he provides consulting and advisory services through Hydrocarbon Consulting to a variety of energy and start-up businesses. 

Jeffrey James

CRAN Board Member

Jeffrey James brings 24 years of business experience in business development, acquisition and divestitures, human resources, and commercial and corporate strategy from the upstream and midstream energy sectors. He currently serves as a Regional Vice President for a private energy company and previously worked for a leading Appalachia energy producer.

Jeffrey grew up in Texas but, like his parents, chose to attend West Virginia Wesleyan College where he obtained a degree in Business Administration. He also holds an MBA with a concentration in Marketing from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas.

Jeffrey serves as the deal lead for CRAN’s 2022 investment in Parthian Battery Solutions and is passionate about working alongside West Virginia’s entrepreneurs as they seek early-stage capital to start and grow their businesses. Jeffrey served as a judge in the 16th annual West Virginia Business Plan Competition.

Jeffrey currently resides in Houston, Texas with his wife Allason who he met at college in West Virginia and their two sons Alexander and Caden.

Scott Widmeyer

CRAN Board Member

Scott Widmeyer has a distinguished career providing strategic counsel to leading decision-makers from presidents and governors to Cabinet secretaries, CEOs and college presidents.  A native of Martinsburg, WV and a 1975 graduate of WVU’s Reed College of Media, Widmeyer’s professional career began as a reporter for the Charleston Daily Mail.  Scott later served as Press Secretary to Governor Jay Rockefeller and held similar positions with President Jimmy Carter, the late Vice President Walter Mondale, the late Geraldine Ferraro and the late Albert Shanker. 


He launched Widmeyer Communications in 1988 and grew it to become one of the largest independent nationally recognized firms focused on education, health, public affairs and crisis management. In 2013, in its largest acquisition to date, Finn Partners acquired the Widmeyer agency where Scott continues to serve as a founding managing partner. 


His deep commitment to making a difference in the world comes through very clearly in Scott’s board service and philanthropy.  Widmeyer now chairs The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs National Council and, in addition to CRAN, holds seats on the boards of WomenHeart, the Leadership Academy, the Stubblefield Institute for Civil Political Communications, St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church, the Catskill Mountain Foundation and the Education Writers Association.


Scott and his family have long been supporters of the College of Media at WVU where they endowed the Widmeyer Professorship of Public Relations currently held by Dean Diana Martinelli. Additionally, the family has provided scholarship support to dozens of College of Media students.


In May, Widmeyer was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from WVU.  He also holds honors in many circles including being named a David Rockefeller Fellow, inducted into the WVU Academy of Distinguished Alumni and the PR News Hall of Fame as well as receiving PR Week’s Diversity Distinction Award, the P.I. Reed Achievement Award at WVU and the Distinguished West Virginian Award from then Governor Bob Wise.