Board of Directors

Ben Dachepalli (Chairman of the Board) -Shareholder at Hill Ward Henderson

Ben is a Shareholder and practice Co-Chair in the firm’s Construction & Design Group. As a Board Certified Construction Attorney, his practice primarily involves the negotiation and drafting of construction related agreements and complex construction litigation claims involving contracts, construction defects, design errors, and construction liens. Ben represents owners, developers, contractors, construction managers, design professionals and subcontractors in all phases of the construction process. Active in both professional and bar-related activities, Ben is a member of the Construction Law Section for the Hillsborough County Bar Association. He has authored articles and spoken at seminars on various construction law topics, and is also an active member of the Forum on the Construction Industry for the American Bar Association.  Ben recently completed his gubernatorial appointment to the Construction Industry Licensing Board in June 2014, and is a member of the Florida Council for Public Private Partnerships.

Representative experience as counsel for:  • Publicly-traded real estate investment trust and general contractor against associations, insurers and subcontractors in several multimillion dollar construction defect cases regarding construction of apartment and/or condominium projects • Construction manager regarding extra work and delay claims for the construction of $107 million waste-to-energy facility • Publicly-traded national home builder in $10 million arbitration regarding construction defect and fiduciary claims for a subdivision of 1,500 single family homes • Publicly-traded manufacturer of construction materials in $60 million delay claim case regarding design and construction of a manufacturing facility • Publicly-traded supplier of raw water transmission pipe products in $20 million construction defect and delay claim case regarding the expansion of a county government’s water treatment facility • Private developer regarding the construction of a $70 million luxury beachfront hotel and resort.

Ben serves as Chair of the Board of Directors for the Children's Dream Fund, a nonprofit organization which fulfills the dreams of children suffering from life-threatening and debilitating illnesses. He is also an active member of Leadership Florida (Class XXXI) and served on its Board of Directors (2013-2014).


Vivek Seth (Past Chairman of the Board)


Vivek has more than 25 years of corporate finance and real estate experience in the USA and India, with involvement in over 325 transactions worth more than $80 billion. He is Vice Chairman of Investment Banking at Raymond James and Managing Director of the real estate investment banking group which is involved with public and private offerings and mergers and acquisitions within the real estate, hospitality and home building industries.Prior to joining Raymond James in 2001, he was a senior member of the real estate investment banking group at J.P. Morgan, where he was involved in several landmark real estate transactions in the United States, Europe and Latin America. Prior to J.P. Morgan, Mr. Seth was one of the three founding members of the real estate group at CIBC World Markets and previous to that spent eight years at Salomon Smith Barney focusing on the real estate, hospitality and healthcare industries. He received a Bachelor of Science in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Notre Dame.
He also serves as a board member of E-Line Media, an entertainment and educational publisher, and board member of July Systems, a widely acknowledged mobile platform. Additionally, Vivek is an associate board member of NAREIT, board member of the YPO Florida and member of Urban Land Institute.

A native son of Bangalore India, Vivek has maintained a personal connection to India since moving to the USA in 1986 and is involved in numerous charitable and cultural organizations. He is co-founder of Children Across Borders, a public charitable organization that provides financial and non-financial support to children focused non-profit and grass roots organizations primarily in the areas of education, health, housing, and wellness across the United States and India.

Paresh Patel  - Homeowner's Choice, Inc.

Mr. Patel is a founder of HCI Group, Inc. He has been a director of the company since its inception and has served as the Chairman of the board since May 2007. His analytical and technology skills were developed through experience with international financial, telecommunications and consulting positions. As a private investor from 2000 to 2006, Mr. Patel used statistical and probability techniques to develop and implement a system for managing money as a business to generate cash flow. Prior to that, Mr. Patel was director of customer care and billing with Global Crossing from 1998 to 2000. In that position, Mr. Patel defined business processes and systems, hired and trained department staff and led the merger of the customer care and billing systems with those of the company’s acquisitions. As an independent consultant from 1991 to 1998, Mr. Patel worked with large international telephone companies. He also served as a director of NorthStar Bank and was one of its founders.

Mr. Patel received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Electronic Engineering from Cambridge University, England.

Dilip Kanji

Dilip is President and CEO of Impact Properties, Inc. A company he originally founded in 1981, Dilip has guided Impact to an extensive track record spanning over 30 years of experience and success in the hospitality industry and winning numerous awards during the process. Impact’s humble beginnings started off with a focus on economy brands in emerging markets across Florida, acquiring and developing over $10 million in hotels in its first few years of operation. Since then, Impact has expanded into the mid-scale and upscale product segment in high barrier to entry locations across the state, acquiring and developing over $200 million of hotels in the process.  His business achievements have been well recognized in the hotel industry.

 Mr. Kanji received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Biochemistry from Leicester University in England and remains an active participant within the local business community. He is a member of the Florida Hotel/Motel Association, the American Hotel/Motel Association, the Asian American Hotel Owner’s Association, the Tampa/Hillsborough Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Indo-US Chamber of Commerce (Founding Board Member/Chairman). He is also a member of the Regional Executive Council for 1st United Bank.

Santosh Govindaraju

Santosh Govindaraju is the Portfolio Manager of Convergent Capital Partners LLC, a real estate private equity firm focused on opportunistic real estate investments primarily in Florida.  Since founding the firm in September 2008 through 2014, Santosh has led the team in the acquisition of approximately $550 million in commercial real estate assets.  Santosh is responsible for sourcing the acquisitions, defining exit strategies, negotiating workouts, and overseeing strategy.


Mr. Govindaraju has been investing as a principal in commercial real estate since 1999.  Santosh began his career at Lehman Brothers in 1997 in New York as a trader of fixed income derivatives, including various U.S. Dollar interest rate products such as swaps, caps and floors.


Mr. Govindaraju was named Indo-US Chamber of Commerce Businessman of the Year for 2002. He is past President of the Asian American Chamber of Commerce.  Mr. Govindaraju is a member of Leadership Florida, Committee on Foreign Relations, and the Zell Lurie Institute at the Wharton School.

Mr. Govindaraju graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology (M&T), with a Bachelor of Science in Economics with concentrations in Finance and Entrepreneurial Management from the Wharton School and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Systems Engineering from the School of Engineering & Applied Science and minors in Theatre Arts, Mathematics, and South Asian Studies.

Dilip Patel - Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC


Dilip is an attorney and has practiced law in the Tampa area since 1990.  He is well known for his Immigration expertise but also handles sophisticated business transactions.

He is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Florida Bar.

Dilip is with Tampa office of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, a nationally recognized firm.

Dilip previously served as General Counsel for an international IT services and outsourcing company. While there, he oversaw the company’s initial public offering (IPO) and managed all legal aspects of the company’s many acquisitions, including companies in the U.K., France, Northern Ireland, Australia, Japan and the U.S.

Dilip graduated with his LL.B law degree from the London School of Economics and practiced law in London as a Solicitor for five years before moving to the United States.  He received his J.D. law degree from Florida State University College of Law in 1990. He has been rated A-V by Martindale Hubbell and selected for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America, Immigration Law. Mr. Patel is an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Dilip was born in Uganda and moved to England at age 10. He has lived in Florida since 1988.

Minesh Patel - PBP International, Inc.

Minesh Patel is the CEO of PBP International, Inc, an International Business Development Consultancy . He is also a Director for Business Development and Investor Relations for a Private Multinational group operating in 4 continents.He is also an investor in several Start Ups, established ventures and Real Estate Development companies in Florida.
He is Past President of Tampa West Rotary Club and Rotary GSE Ambassador.
He is also a Charter Member of TieCon TAMPA BAY Chapter and recipient of several Community Service and Business Achievement Awards.
He has been a resident of Tampa for last 20 years.

Ray Ifert

Raymond E. Ifert

President & CEO REI Wealth Management, LLC

5300 West Cypress Street, Suite 295 Tampa, FL  33607

Raymond E. Ifert is the President and Founder of REI Wealth Management, LLC.  Ray has been managing client relationships since 1986.  He successfully built a Corporate Trust business for predecessors of Bank of America from 1986 from less than $100,000 in revenue to running three states and over $10 million in annual revenue in less than 10 years.  In 1995, theCorporate Trust business was sold.  Ray was then selected to manage the combined Private Banking and Trust divisions in 1995 for NationsBank in Tampa Bay.  Ray was selected to move to Seattle in 1999 to lead the Northwest Region consisting of eleven offices in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.  In 2002, he returned to Tampa as the Tampa Bay Market Executive and then retired from Bank of America in 2006. In 2008, Ray led a team of seven to start an office for BNY Mellon in Tampa.  In six years, the office became the 2nd largest out of six offices in Florida and the fastest growing in three of the last four years.  Ray received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Valdosta State University.  He currently is President of the Tampa Museum of Art Foundation and sits on the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee.  Ray is currently chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Academy of Holy Names, and a Board Trustee for Tampa Community Hospital.

Suleman Makhani - Suntrust Bank

Raj S. Ambay, MD, DDS - Plastic Surgeon

Raj S. Ambay, MD, DDS, is a double board certified plastic surgeon, executive business leader and a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army. He is the founder of Ambay Plastic Surgery, a boutique cosmetic surgery practice, and the co-founder of the Institute of Advanced Breast Reconstruction focusing on complex breast cancer reconstruction and lymphedema in Florida, Texas and Dubai, UAE. In October 2014, at the national meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Dr. Ambay was presented with the Presidential Award for outstanding contributions to the field of plastic surgery. Dr. Ambay sits on the Commercial Ventures Advisory boards of Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland (The Alliance).  He is also the Chief Medical Officer for TISTA Science and Technology Corp in Rockville, MD. Past executive positions include being Chief Medical Officer for IDL Solutions which was acquired by CACI International Inc. in 2012. He has served on an advisory board to Optum Corp, the nations largest health data analytics firm. He has been elected as a Trustee of the American Medical Association and served as a member of the Board of Directors, National Board of Medical Examiners®. In 1993, Dr. Ambay was elected as an Alderman (city councilman) of a Chicago suburb becoming the first Indian-American to be elected in the state of Illinois. In 1995, Dr. Ambay recognized the future impact of the Intternet, and was credited for running the first internet-based political campaign in the State of Illinois.

As a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army Reserve for 18 years, Dr. Ambay has been deployed in support of missions with infantry and special operation forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Dr. Ambay has been awarded numerous Army and NATO medals, commendations, including the coveted Combat Action Badge for performing life-saving surgery while being actively engaged by the enemy.  In 2014, while in Afghanistan, Dr. Ambay was injured by a enemy rocket that landed in his compound.   Dr. Ambay received training in general surgery from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and completed his residency in plastic surgery at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He has also completed a National Institute of Health Physician-Scientist research fellowship and second fellowship in microvascular surgery at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.  Dr. Ambay has also completed executive education at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.  In addition to being a board certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Ambay is a graduate of Northwestern University Dental School and is also a board-certified dentist. Dr. Ambay is an active member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American College of Surgeons, American Medical Association and American College of Healthcare Executives and has held numerous positions. His community service and scientific research has been recogniized through numerous national awards and city council resolutions.  He has won first place research awards at prestigious organizations such as the Plastic Surgery Research Council, The American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, Midwest Association of Plastic Surgeons, American Medical Association, Pfizer Humanities, and the National Institutes of Health. He has delivered commencement addresses and more than 700 presentations, many as a keynote speaker. Dr. Ambay is married to Aparna Ambay, MD, MBA, MPH a dermatologist in Tampa for 20 years and they have one daughter together.


Dipa Shah - Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick

Dipawali (“Dipa”) S. Shah is Of Counsel with the Tampa office of Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick.  Dipa has experience in and focuses her practice on Health Care law, Corporate law, and Educational issues.  Dipa’s clients include health care professionals and educational institutions.  

Dipa offers a wealth of legal and business experience insights into the challenges presented at the intersection of business and health care.  Dipa is a trusted advisor and counselor to physicians, medical practices, pharmacists, pharmaceutical companies, and other health care professionals.  

Dipa has a passion and commitment to education and has experience in education policy and educational administration and management.  She serves as the Vice Chair of the Hillsborough Community College.

Irene Hurst - Director, MBA Programs, University of South Florida 

Ms. Hurst is the Director, MBA Programs, responsible for the MBA and Executive MBA programs.  She has worked for the University of South Florida for over 25 years – previously she was the Director of the Small Business Development Center for eleven years, specializing in Women/Minority Business Development, Start-up, Business Planning, and Leadership.   She is passionate about women professionals and business owners in supporting each other, developing strong network and work-life balance issues.  She was a small business columnist for the Maddux Business Report.  Ms. Hurst was named “2006 Business Woman on The Year” by Indo-US Chamber of Commerce of Tampa Bay for her community involvements in general and her contributions to the Asian business community in particular.  Ms. Hurst graduated with a Masters degree in Business Administration from the University of South Florida.  Her current community involvement: Board of Directors – Asian American Chambers of Commerce Foundation, Inc. – President

Board of Directors – USF Federal Credit Union – ALCO and CARE Committees

Board of Directors – Tampa Bay Economic  Development Corporation (TEDCO) – Loan Committee Board of Director – the Minority Enterprise Development Corporation of Tampa Bay – Treasurer Small Business of The Year at the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce – Committee member

Board of Directors –Tampa Bay Innovation Center – Vetting Committee


2018 Golf Tournament
Indo-US Chamber of Commerce