PRESS RELEASE: New Board Members and New Focus for Nerds Abroad

Effective Immediately, Nerds Abroad President and CEO Stephen Hodges is transitioning to organization Secretary, to be succeeded by Stanley H. Salot, Jr. of Monroe, Oregon. Stan will oversee the transition of Nerds Abroad to a more locally-focused organization over the next several months. After acting as President and CEO for the organization since founding it in 2014, Stephen is focusing more time on his teaching role at Oregon State University and his digital marketing company. 

Stan is the CEO of Business & Quality Process Management, a company that consults for and trains companies on quality, environment, and health & safety management processes,  hazardous material mitigation and avoidance processes, counterfeit product identification and avoidance, and sound business processes. He is a published author and speaker, and a veteran of the U.S. Army serving for 10 years both domestically and abroad. We are excited to have Stan on board!

In addition, we would like to welcome Ariel Ruben as the new Vice President of the organization. Ariel is an experienced entrepreneur who currently specializes in food systems development at her family’s business, Hummingbird Wholesale. There, she wears many hats from sales and marketing to strategy and product creation. Ariel also works as a Rural Venture Catalyst at Oregon RAIN to mentor and support high growth startups in rural communities. As an entrepreneur herself, she dreams big, never taking no for an answer.

And finally, we welcome the addition of Corey Wright to the Nerds Abroad board. Corey is currently serving as the dedicated Venture Catalyst for Linn and Benton counties. He supports regional entrepreneurs by connecting them to strategic resources for launching and scaling high-growth business ventures, including making mentor connections, hosting various educational programs, and helping regional startups get ready to raise capital. Corey is an inventor and entrepreneur with strong local roots and has successful experiences as the CEO of Massif Games, and is currently known as having the most successful Kickstarter funded in the Corvallis area ($145,148 / 1,686 backers).

This new leadership team will be working on our new initiative entitled “The Empowerment Grant” – a project in partnership with Oregon RAIN to develop a microgrant program “The Empowerment Grant” to provide early-stage funding to financially disadvantaged entrepreneurs, as well as refurbished technology, focusing in first in Linn, Benton, and Polk counties of the WIllamette Valley. More information to be released about this program, soon.

Thanks for your continued support for our organization – we look forward to continuing to serve our state!


Stan Salot
Ariel Ruben
Corey Wright
Ashley Hodges
Stephen Hodges