Indiana’s unsung tech stars finally get the limelight

Photo by Paul D'Andrea
Tech 25 recipient Rachel Kilroy of PERQ (center) is joined on stage at the IMS Pavilion by (left to right) Stephanie Ragozzino, Muhammad Yasin, Marcia Deem, and Courtney Day.

TechPoint recognized the Tech 25 Class of 2017 at a unique event inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Pavilion on September 7, during the inaugural Indy Women in Tech LPGA Championship. The Tech 25 is a prestigious selection of twenty-five individuals who are critical and exceptional performers helping to grow our community’s tech and tech-enabled companies, but who — not being the CEO or other top executives — don’t get celebrated publicly as often as they deserve.

Read why the Tech 25 winners were nominated by executives and executive teams at their respective companies below.

See photos from the event on Facebook.

Mike Langellier, president and CEO of TechPoint, said “Growth only truly happens through the work of talented individuals — individuals driving our local companies to become market-leading major employers and doing remarkable work within our community. Many of these people doing remarkable work at our local companies, because they aren’t executives, often don’t get the the limelight. Thats why we created the Tech 25 awards in 2015, to recognize these exceptional performers helping to grow our tech companies and community.”

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Randy Dohse, SVP of Operations for Presenting Sponsor NextGear Capital, a Cox Automotive company, said that as a commercial lender that makes million dollar decisions daily, they have at least one thing in common with all 58 companies represented among the nominees for this year’s Tech 25 Awards.

“Like all of you, we are constantly looking for ways to evolve and to be a better business to impact more and more clients, and we do that today through technology, through our product and tech teams,” Dohse said. “From NextGear Capital and Cox Automotive, we’d like to congratulate our very own Tech 25 winner, Keith Willis, and congratulate all Tech 25 winners. Hats-off to you for changing the way we do business!”

Renaissance Electronic Services was the Underwriting Sponsor for this year’s Tech 25 Awards and TriNet was the Dessert Sponsor for the Tech 25 Luncheon.

Tech 25 winners represent a wide range of roles within tech companies, such as software developers, financial analysts, marketing directors and product managers. Executives could only nominate one team member for the Tech 25 Class of 2017, and a total of 58 Indiana technology and tech-enabled companies participated in the nomination process this year.

Winners were selected from three main role categories, reinforcing the core roles that building product and building revenue play. In addition to being star performers at their companies, winners are committed team players who build others up through mentoring, volunteering and positive example and are committed to contributing to the broader tech community.

See the above photos and many, many more from the Tech 25 induction ceremony and celebration on Facebook.

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT (11)

Virginie Adams

Sr. Technical Program Manager
Salesforce

“Virginie is someone teams and individuals gravitate toward. When she takes on an initiative, in or outside of work, she brings clarity, organization, energy, commitment, and a smile. Her work style is inspiring to other team members, which has given her the opportunity to influence others to look beyond their own role and blaze a trail that follows their passion. The Girl Develop It (GDI) Indy Chapter is 1,100 members strong in just two years thanks to the energy and passion of Virginie! In addition to her work with GDI, she has worked with Next Tech, Coding4Kindness and Alpha Omicron Pi.”Bob Stutz, Chief Strategy Officer, Salesforce

Chris Brown

Director of Product Development
MOBI

“Being the director of a software development team is a tall order in any context. Being the director of a software development team that delivers enterprise software to some of the most demanding, household-brand-name companies in the world requires someone extraordinary. Since Chris started at MOBI, his efforts and energy have resulted in impactful results that shaped our world-class culture and legacy. His time and dedication to the greater MOBI makes me most proud. A true mentor, he puts a humbling level of consideration into ensuring every member of his team is challenged and productive.”Eric Sendelbach, CTO, MOBI

Anna Eaglin

Senior Design Partner
Innovatemap

“Anna is an expert researcher, passionate designer, selfless advocate, and compassionate leader. As Senior Design Partner, Anna’s versatility and willingness to solve problems has led to incredible success for Innovatemap and its clients. She has carved out a unique role in helping these companies and visionaries ensure that their ideas come to life and benefit our state. Anna is passionate about her craft and driven by a higher mission to elevate innovation in Indiana while mentoring aspiring designers and female professionals. She is quickly becoming a leading woman in Indianapolis tech.”Christian Beck, Executive Design Partner, Innovatemap

Jon Fuller

Director of Software Engineering
Software Engineering Professionals (SEP)

“In his nine years with Software Engineering Professionals (SEP), Jon has been a force of nature at work and the community. He has been instrumental in major internal initiatives including SEP’s Intern Experience and SEP Makes Hackathon Weekend, as well as active in mentoring and coaching dozens at SEP. The programs Jon has helped create have made a huge difference in the lives of our employees. In a company full of technical rock stars and amazing people, Jon stands out with his generosity, talent, and enthusiasm to makes things better.”Raman Ohri President, SEP

Tom Gorup

Director of Security Operations
Rook Security

“Tom’s unique and deeply ingrained drive to defend and protect led him to enlist in the U.S. Army when he was 20 years old; it’s that same desire that drew him to Rook Security. Tom’s significant contributions to our R&D initiatives have been instrumental to the success of the organization and have resulted in several technological and industry firsts. He’s passionate about making a difference in the lives of young adults and mentors students interested in tech careers. Tom’s a man of many trades, a supportive mentor, a security genius, a family man, patriot, and leader in Indy’s tech industry.”J.J. Thompson, CEO, Rook Security

John Harden

Principal Software Engineer
Axia Technology Partners

“John has been with Axia Technology Partners, since high school when he was offered a paid internship after placing second in a national coding competition. During his early years, he built several of the internal systems that drove the behind-the-scenes aspects of the company and has excelled as the lead developer for what is now the company’s flagship software product, Kerauno. John is steeped in the Indy technology community in many ways including attending various tech events, speaking at conferences as often as possible and serving as an Executive Board Member for Eleven Fifty Academy.”Josh Ross, Managing Partner, Axia Technology Partners

Rachel Kilroy

Sr. Product Manager
PERQ

“Rachel is an outstanding product leader with 19 years of experience who has left her mark building some amazing marketing technology products at PERQ and Aprimo. Rachel is a stand out employee who is sees business needs, looks at solutions through the user’s perspective, steps out of her comfort zone and is always goes above and beyond to help PERQ design and deliver innovative product solutions. She has a heart for those less fortunate and is a great example of not waiting for someone to ask, but takes initiative to seek opportunities and engage others to make a difference in our community.”Stephanie Ragozzino, EVP Product, PERQ

Aaron Lerch

Senior Software Architect
DemandJump

“Aaron is a senior software architect at DemandJump. His technical skills and general business acumen are above and beyond. His mentorship and leadership skills are even greater. If you ask any one colleague, they’ll tell you that it is a privilege working with Aaron. He makes everyone around him better – and not just those who are on the development team. The story is simple. Aaron makes all of us better: as a developer, as a leader, as a mentor, which translates to the product, to the customers, to the culture and hopefully, to the greater tech community. We are all lucky to have Aaron.”Christopher Day, Co-Founder & CEO, DemandJump

Megan McNames

Product Owner
Emplify

“As Director of User Experience, Megan has fundamentally changed how Emplify thinks about the importance of UX and how our customers have a consistent journey from prospect through contract renewal. She continually tackles some of the hardest and most challenging areas in our product, relying on her tenacious thirst for knowledge and understanding to drive her to develop a mastery of the area. Her peer shared: ‘This girl is on fire! What can’t she do? She doesn’t wait for other people to ask things of her, she takes action and does it herself and in doing so, she inspires me to do the same.'”Mitch Shields, CTO and Co-Founder, Emplify

San Pathak

Vice President of Technology
Element Three

“A youth mentor and two-time TechPoint hackathon winner, San Pathak is an active contributor and role model within our community. Not only does he have the technical ability to execute a wide range of projects at Element Three, but San carries the capacity to empower and lead his team by recognizing and cultivating the potential in others. Through his church, San works with at-risk youth, encouraging them to learn more about technology careers. As a participating member, mentor, and achiever within the local tech industry, San helps cultivate an inclusive culture to propel Indianapolis forward.”Tiffany Sauder, President, Element Three

Keith Willis

Development Manager
NextGear Capital

“Keith joined the newly formed technology team at NextGear Capital three years ago as a Scrum Master and was quickly promoted to Development Manager. He puts the highest importance on developing himself and others; he does a 1:1 with each of his 12-full time team members every week no matter his other commitments. This is just one way he provides team support and shows his commitment to helping them grow. Outside of the time spent growing himself and his team, Keith provides coaching to his peers and is also seen as a mentor, including mentoring a Providence Cristo Rey student weekly.”Bryan Everly, Chief Technology Officer, NextGear Capital

MARKETING & SALES (7)

Kelsey Briggs

Engagement Manager
Octiv

“Kelsey’s success is founded in her ability to understand complex problems, then passionately and aggressively pursue solutions to address those problems. In the past six months, Kelsey has literally transformed the way we think about our customers. Kelsey has gone above and beyond in her community commitments, as she not only participates in Octiv company-sponsored volunteer events but also helps advise future generations of women as a chapter advisor to her sorority. Kelsey is a ROCKSTAR in every sense and deserves this recognition.”David Kerr, CEO, Octiv

Jon Corwin

Director of Growth
One Click Ventures

“All together, Jon Corwin is an exceptional human being. As a leader, Jon encourages his team to embrace failure all while trying new things. His team’s role of experimentation has truly reframed how One Click views growth and how the company validates new marketing initiatives. Jon’s team has enabled One Click to explore and understand new areas that otherwise may have gone unlooked. As an individual, volunteering holds a high priority in Jon’s life. One of his biggest accomplishments and something that brings excitement to his career is his involvement in Verge for the past seven years.”Randy Stocklin, CEO and Co-Founder,One Click Ventures

Claire Couch

Director of Strategic Marketing
Torchlite

“After just one year at Torchlite, Claire has made an impact on all aspects of the business. She emulates our brand and builds demand in everything she touches by putting the customer first and creating unprecedented customer experiences that have resulted in tangible results. Most importantly, she serves as a natural mentor to each individual on her team and has a deep passion for engaging and empowering herself and her peers to meet their full potential. Her passion came to fruition when she founded an Emerging Marketing Leaders Program, which connects marketing leaders in meaningful ways.”Susan Marshall, CEO and Co-Founder,Torchlite

Elizabeth Friedland

Senior Director of Corporate Communications
Appirio

“Throughout her time at Appirio, Elizabeth’s directed communications for pivotal moments in the company’s history, including the half billion dollar acquisition of Appirio by Wipro and was praised by national tech leaders and media as one of the smoothest and most organized acquisition announcements in the tech space. Elizabeth also is a leader for Appirio’s Lean In Circles and is a frequent speaker on topics surrounding communications and worker experience. She also earned her APR designation, which is a highly-respected credential awarded to executive-level communication strategy leaders.”Steve Pruden, SVP of HR, Appirio

Joe Ignatius

Client Executive
Matrix Integration

“Joe’s passion for a child’s education and development transcends his professional and community commitments. As a sales executive for Matrix Integration, Joe has the opportunity to work with school districts across Indiana to improve classroom learning with technology. Being a huge advocate for STEM, economic empowerment, health and wellness, and a better quality of life for kids are key factors for Joe’s motivation and spirit. Joe’s energy and positive attitude, combined with his passion for technology and education, is a force driving the future success of Indiana for generations to come.”John Emard, Vice President – Sales, Matrix Integration

Andrea Massimilian

Multi-Channel Marketing Manager
ClearObject

“As the Multi-Channel Marketing Manager at ClearObject, Andrea’s presence as an Orr Fellow and employee have been invaluable. In 2015, she planned Indiana’s first IoT conference, IndyIoT, and went on to plan an even more successful event in 2016, which earned the first-ever People’s Choice Mira Award for Best Tech Event. Andrea has brilliantly researched and executed ClearObject’s representation at conferences, trade shows and our annual company meetings. Additionally, she makes her mark by connecting to causes that matter and giving back to the community to enrich the lives of Hoosiers.”John McDonald, CEO, ClearObject

Elliott Shultz

Sales Development Manager
BidPal

“It takes deep passion and perseverance to build something from scratch, especially when it’s your first time. These are two characteristics that Elliott Shultz , brings to BidPal every single day. His progressive thinking, motivation of the team, and hands on contributions have led to implementation of multiple technology solutions that are driving the collective productivity of the sales team. His injection of humanity into his daily routine bleeds into the personal and professional habits and represents an embodiment of BidPal’s belief that technology can and should be used for good.”Parrish Snyder, VP of Sales, BidPal

OTHER (7)

Tim Butler

VP Customer Success
Lumavate

“Throughout his career, Tim has been an exceptional leader in software engineering and customer success. While Tim’s resume is clearly impressive, what really sets Tim apart from the rest is his heart; he embodies the values of servant leadership, is a committed team player and his optimism is contagious. His co-workers say it best: ‘Tim is a man of humility and unshakeable optimism that is never too busy to lend a hand’ and ‘I’m beyond fortunate to work alongside him and soak up all of his wisdom so early in my career.’ Tim is definitely a shining star in the Indy tech community.”Stephanie Cox, VP of Marketing, Lumavate

Kristi Kennedy

Director IT PMO
NCAA

“Kristi is easy to describe as a star performer, given her role and attitude. She started working for the NCAA IT Department four years ago and has been instrumental in all of the success the IT Department has been recognized for. Kristi accomplishes each task through her humility, persuasiveness, and leadership. She actively cares about her team and fosters a “we are in this together” culture with everyone she meets. With all the Kristi has done professionally, she is better known for her community engagement including Women & Hi Tech, IUPUI Women in Technology, and Project Lead the Way.”Judd Williams, Chief Information Officer, NCAA

Kolby McElvain

Senior Designer
High Alpha

“Kolby has emerged as one of our most promising young leaders in the High Alpha family and the broader Indianapolis design community. She has worked with High Alpha since our launch and has proven herself to be an amazing design leader – building beautiful brand identities, websites, and product experiences for many of our portfolio companies. Kolby is a “player coach” who possesses an incredible work ethic, doing whatever is necessary to get the job done with excellence. She is universally admired and respected by both peers and senior leadership alike and serves as a role model for other young women who aspire to a career in tech.”Kristian Andersen Partner, High Alpha 

Greg Slisz

Finance & Analytics Manager
Kinney Group

“His colleagues call him ‘the Michael Jordan of Excel,’ but beyond that, Greg Slisz is a business athlete and an overall good person. In 2016, Kinney Group set out to raise its first round of capital investment; he was the man behind the curtain leading the charge on multiple iterations. Greg puts in the time and effort to get the work done, train up on new skills and teach others along the way. He is brilliant at finance and analytics, loves helping businesses understand the ROI of technology, and he volunteers time to community development in Indy by tapping into his passion for basketball.” ~Sarah Nelms, Chief Operating Officer, Kinney Group 

Matt Tyner Jr.

VP Finance & Operations
SmarterHQ

“Since starting at SmarterHQ in 2012, Matt Tyner has been one of the top leaders in the company which has resulted in his recent promotion to VP of Finance & Operations. One of the key components to SmarterHQ’s recent capital raise can be attributed to his leadership in launching a Financial Planning and Analysis framework and deploying the first budget and forecasting methodology to help scale the business for growth. Matt’s leadership extends beyond the walls of SmarterHQ; he is an active volunteer in the community, involved in the tech space, and also a founder of several organizations.”Michael Osborne CEO & President, SmarterHQ 

Josh von Schaumburg

Customer Solutions Lead
Trek10

“Josh is an extremely dedicated and hardworking member of Trek10 who has achieved a high level of professional competence while also being a fun, energetic member of our team.  He is the definition of a star performer: the person who consistently gets more done than just about anyone else on a daily basis. Josh has been critical in transforming the way we sell and deliver projects to enterprise customers and as a key member of Trek10 he is someone we continue to lean on as we rapidly scale up.”Jim Abercrombie President, Trek10 

Meredith Yonker

Audit & Risk Manager
The Mako Group

“Meredith excels as a woman in the IT and cybersecurity industry and is mentoring other women within The Mako Group to break through the glass ceiling. Meredith’s consulting expertise is second to none; her attention to detail in regard to our client’s risks and controls is unlike any I’ve encountered. Her extensive work with the Internal Auditors Association demonstrates her tireless efforts to our profession. She is an outstanding employee and someone both men and women can look up to in the cybersecurity risk and controls realm. We’re lucky to have her as part of the Indy tech community.” ~  Shane O’Donnell Chief Audit Executive, The Mako Group 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Staff Report. TechPoint is focused on strengthening the tech community in Indiana.