As Indiana’s tech community continues to grow and mature, it’s getting harder and harder to narrow down the winners for our annual Tech 25 Awards program. There is a wealth of tech talent in the Hoosier state, and they are making incredible moves. Join us in celebrating the Tech 25 class of 2021 through this profile series and learn a bit more about each winner.

Phil Tarnowski is a product enthusiast, certified personal trainer, and dad-joke connoisseur. After graduating from IU’s Kelley School of Business, Phil was selected to join the Orr Fellowship at PSI Talent Measurement. During his time at PSI, Phil discovered his love for product management. 

After discovering his passion, Phil worked with numerous Indy tech companies—even serving as the sr. product manager at Innovatemap—and earned his master’s degree in human-computer interaction from IUPUI. 

Today, Phil works at Elate as the director of product. In his free time, he volunteers through Big Brothers Big Sisters, is on the Alumni Board for Orr Fellowship, and loves spending time with his wife and pup.

What led you to the tech industry and this occupation? What was your first job in tech?

I was introduced to tech through a fantastic Indianapolis program called the Orr Fellowship. I graduated with a marketing degree and ended up in a rotational program at an HR SaaS company called Performance Assessment Network (PAN), which was later acquired by PSI Talent Measurement. I worked on the marketing team before eventually moving into my first product management role at PAN.

When you think of a day in your life, what are the main work activities you do or responsibilities you have?

As I’m sure most people in a startup will tell you, there isn’t really an average workday. Things move really fast at Elate! First and foremost, I work on defining features and making sure we are building the highest priority initiative aligned with our company strategy to help us have the best product in the market. 

This involves listening to users and buyers, researching the market, and looking at product analytics. When we have our priority set, I work with our design and engineering teams to bring those features to life. Additionally, I help communicate what we are building, why we are building it, and who we are building it for both internally and externally. I also work on our website and marketing content.

What resources would you recommend to those who want to learn more or advance their skills in this occupation?

Some books I’ve really enjoyed on my product management journey are:

I also recommend checking out Lenny’s Newsletter, as well as the OpenView blog, to stay on top of product trends.

Phil Tarnowski is a Tech 25 winner who is helping to grow and improve the tech landscape of Indiana. He was nominated by his CEO, Brooks Busch. 

Visit the Indianapolis Business Journal website to see the full listing and celebration of the 2021 Tech 25 honorees in the joint CTO of the Year and Tech 25 Awards supplement. You can also watch a video of the livestream from the CTO of the Year and Tech 25 Awards virtual event.

Read more coverage of the Tech 25 in this Index Feature Story and view and tag the gallery of photos from the event on Facebook.