Michael C. O'Brien
Chief Executive Officer
Michael (Mike) O'Brien, CEO of Climber.com, was most recently co-founder and CEO of financialaid.com, a pioneer in providing college finance solutions online. Founded in 2000, financialaid.com became one of the most successful student loan companies in the U.S., capitalizing on Mike's direction and innovative Internet marketing strategies. Today, financialaid.com funds more than $45 million in student loans each month. At financialaid.com, Mike conceptualized and created CampusDirt.com (at the time, the number one online college search engine), RateYourCampus.com (online feedback community) and CampusClix.com (a college social networking website). In October of 2004, Mike sold financialaid.com and properties to Education Lending Group (now Student Loan Xpress) which in turn was purchased by CIT (NYSE: CIT) for $400MM in January 2005. He remained CEO/President of financialaid.com until his exit in December 05.
Utilized as a media expert in higher education finance and Internet marketing, Mike has been interviewed by numerous national television and print news media -- including The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, NBC Nightly News, Fox News Network, the Chicago Tribune and Kiplingers -- regarding the widening college affordability gap and the resulting growing demand for student loans, student loan consolidation and online marketing trends. Mike also has delivered speeches on Internet marketing trends and techniques at the CEO West Conference (Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization) and the National CEO Conference in Washington, DC.
Currently, Mike is an investor and Board Member of UnderstandSurgery.com, LLC and TopSwingLeasing.com, LLC and a consultant to College Player World Series. With his brother Matt, O'Brien owns OBI, LLC a small venture capital and real estate investment company. Mike received a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from California State University, Fresno. O'Brien is currently board member for the Fresno State Alumni Association.
Nicholas M. Jimenez
Executive Vice President
As Executive Vice President of Mingle.com and President of Climber.com, Nick Jimenez works directly with CEO Mike O'Brien and Executive Vice President Casey Gustus to develop the strategic business plan and unique product offerings all Mingle.com companies. In addition, Nick directly manages the product development and sales strategy for the Climber.com division.
Before joining Mingle.com, Nick served as Manager, Strategic Talent Acquisition for James Hardie Industries (NYSE: JHX) a high growth company in the building products industry with sales in excess of $1.4 Billion US. He helped to design and lead the Strategic Talent Acquisition function that fueled the company's 20%+ annual growth, across a diverse set of recruiting needs. Prior to his role at James Hardie Industries, Nick represented Management Recruiters International as an Account Executive. This Fresno, CA-based recruiting firm is consistently ranked as one of the top offices in the Pacific Region.
Nick holds a BA in Philosophy with a Minor in Criminology, from California State University, Fresno. He holds advanced certification via The Wharton School's Essentials of Management Executive Education Program (University of Pennsylvania) in January of 2005.
Casey R. Gustus
Executive Vice President
Before joining Climber.com, Casey Gustus was the Director of Web Marketing for financialaid.com where he was responsible for the company's marketing and business development activities that generate $45 million in student loan volume each month. Mr. Gustus was directly responsible for the creation and launch of CampusDirt.com (the number one online college search engine), RateYourCampus.com (online feedback committee) and CampusClix.com (a college social networking website).
As the business owner of CampusDirt.com, Gustus led campusdirt.com to become the #1 ranked college search website. Currently the website is visited by nearly half a million people each month. Casey was also responsible for making RateYourCampus.com into the most popular college survey on the web.
Gustus is a graduate of Gettysburg College where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management.