Board Member Biographies
Brenna Berman serves as executive director of the City Tech Collaborative, an IoT urban infrastructure lab that transforms cities into testbeds for new ideas. City Tech remakes essential services and infrastructure, from skills to skyscrapers, and expands those solutions to other cities, thus increasing the world’s odds of solving big, urban problems. City Tech is currently easing subway congestion during large events; creating a digital map of Chicago’s underground; and launching a digital directory of public health services in Chicago.
Prior to joining City Tech, Berman served in former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration, which she joined in 2011. She served as the chief information officer for the city and commissioner of the Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) from 2012 to spring 2017. In that time, she focused on transforming the team at DoIT to provide the skills and expertise to implement the mayor’s vision of data-driven resident services and of a more efficient, effective, and innovative city government. This meant adding new skills to the team to increase the focus on software engineering and analytics, improving the department’s commercial partnerships to drive savings for the city, and identifying groundbreaking civic partnerships.
During her tenure as CIO, Berman delivered on the mayor’s commitment to a robust open data program, integrated advanced analytics into many city departments, drove IoT innovation for the city through unique partnerships at UI LABS and the founding of the Midwest IoT Council, and, in partnership with the University of Chicago, realized the vision of urban-scale sensing with the array of things.
Prior to joining the Emanuel administration, Berman built a career promoting government innovation over 10 years at IBM, where she worked closely with government agencies in cities and countries across the world to leverage technology and analytics to improve the services they provide to their residents. She advised governments on a variety of issues, from targeting personalized services through analytics to normalizing program offerings to simplify the delivery process and make them understandable to residents. Throughout her time at IBM, Berman tailored cutting-edge business and data models, from processes to analytic algorithms for large government organizations in order to accelerate their own modernization efforts, providing an incredibly valuable skill set for the work she continues at UI LABS.
She earned her bachelor’s degree and master's degree in public policy from the University of Chicago.
Andrea L. Berry (CS ’84)
Andrea Berry is chief executive officer at G.A.P Media Group. Formerly, she was the senior vice president of media services at Fox Network Engineering and Operations, where she oversaw all aspects of digital media management for Fox, the Fox Sports Media Group, Fox Networks Group, Twentieth Television, and MyNetworkTV. Her career has also included stints at CBS and NBC. Berry’s honors include several Emmy Awards for outstanding technical team remote in sports. In 2016 she was inducted to the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame. She was also the recipient of the 2012 Women in Technology Leadership Award, presented by TVNewsCheck.
Berry is a member of Illinois Tech’s Board of Trustees and a member of the Board of Overseers for the College of Science. She is a past chair of the Alumni Association Board of Directors. For her outstanding work, Berry was honored with Illinois Tech’s Professional Achievement Award in 2010.
Cobham is the development director at DevMynd, a custom software consultancy based in Chicago, with additional offices in San Francisco. For the past six years he has led teams delivering web-based and mobile software products that help solve challenging problems for DevMynd clients. In addition, he provides supervision and mentorship to DevMynd’s junior developers to promote their professional growth. Prior to joining DevMynd, he was a senior developer for Obama For America 2012, one of the most successful political campaigns in history. His role on the OFA team was to find and implement solutions that would make it easier for people to manage their account, contribute to the campaign, and organize within their communities.
Prior to his development career, Cobham advised estate planning and litigation clients as an associate at Schiff Hardin LLP, a Chicago-based full-service law firm. He joined Schiff after a two-year judicial clerkship with the Honorable James B. Zagel in the federal district court for the Northern District of Illinois. He received his J.D. from the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, and his B.A. in political science from Yale University with a concentration in computer science.
Jack J. Dongarra (M.S. CS ’73)
Dongarra holds appointments at the University of Tennessee, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the University of Manchester. He specializes in numerical algorithms in linear algebra, parallel computing, use of advanced-computer architectures, programming methodology, and tools for parallel computers. He was awarded the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers' Sid Fernbach Award in 2004; in 2008 he was the recipient of the first IEEE Medal of Excellence in Scalable Computing; in 2010 he was the first recipient of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics Special Interest Group on Supercomputing's award for career achievement; in 2011 he was the recipient of the IEEE Charles Babbage Award; and in 2013 he received the Association for Computing Machinery/IEEE Ken Kennedy Award. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, ACM, IEEE, and SIAM, and a foreign member of the Russian Academy of Science and a member of the United States National Academy of Engineering.
Eden is the executive vice president, technology at Weber Shandwick Chicago.
Eden is responsible for the creation and implementation of strategic public relations and executive visibility plans for technology, manufacturing, and government clients. He also has a proven track record of advising and counseling companies on media relations strategies to insure media coverage that successfully raises awareness, visibility, and understanding of their products/services and favorably supports their overall business objectives.
Eden has solid media relationships with outlets including CNBC, CNN, Bloomberg TV, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and major dailies throughout the U.S. He has worked with IBM, Motorola, Mattel, Lenovo, Google, Gogo Inflight, Qualcomm, and the City of Chicago’s Department of Innovation and Technology, among others.
He is an advisory board member of the Illinois Technology Association’s Midwest Internet of Things Council. Eden is also an oversight committee member of The Array of Things Project, the world’s first urban sensing initiative based in Chicago. In 2016 he was named to Chicago Inno’s 50 on Fire honor roll for outstanding contributions to Chicago’s tech and innovation ecosystem. Eden received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan.
Brian W. Fitzpatrick
Fitzpatrick is the founder and CTO of Tock.
Fitzpatrick started Google's Chicago engineering office in 2005 and led several of Google's global engineering efforts, including the Data Liberation Front and Transparency Engineering. He also served as internal advisor for Google's open data efforts, having previously led the Google Code and Google Affiliate Network teams. Prior to joining Google, Fitzpatrick worked as an engineer at CollabNet, Apple, and a local Chicago development shop.
He first started contributing to open source software in 1998, and was a core Subversion developer from 2000 to 2005, as well as the lead developer of the cvs2svn utility. He is a member of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) and former vice president of public relations for ASF. He has written numerous articles and given dozens of presentations, including co-writing Debugging Teams: Better Productivity Through Collaboration, Team Geek: A Software Developer's Guide to Working Well with Others, Version Control with Subversion (now in its second edition), and chapters for Unix in a Nutshell and Linux in a Nutshell.
Fitzpatrick has an A.B. in classics from Loyola University Chicago, with a major in Latin, a minor in Greek, and a concentration in fine arts and ceramics. He resides in Chicago.
S. Christopher “Chris” Gladwin, Chair
Gladwin is the co-founder and CEO of Ocient, a company that is creating the technology to analyze the world’s data. In 2004 Gladwin founded Cleversafe, which became the largest and most strategic object storage vendor in the world (according to IDC). He raised $100 million and led the company to a $1.3 billion exit in 2015 when IBM acquired it. The technology he started generated over 1,000 patents granted or filed, creating one of the 10 most powerful patent portfolios in the world. Prior to Cleversafe, Gladwin was founder and CEO of startups MusicNow and Cruise Technologies, and led product strategy for Zenith Data Systems. He holds a engineering degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Jablonski is a technology-based serial technologist and entrepreneur that has founded several companies. He is currently co-founder and CTO of Ocient, a company that is building a relational database management system designed to analyze the world’s largest datasets. Previously, Jablonski founded software companies including WeGather and Acumence, He was also on the startup team for Falcon Insurance.
Jablonski holds an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Klu joined Google as a software engineer in 2013 after graduating from Illinois Tech. He works on site reliability engineering for Google App Engine, a Google Cloud Platform product. He leads a team that builds and uses software to simplify how services are managed in the production environment. Prior to his current role, he was the technical lead of a team that built a data pipeline management platform from scratch. He is actively involved in diversity and college recruiting at Google, and is passionate about mentoring the next generation of engineers. He volunteers as a mentor with the FastForward accelerator in San Francisco.
Biju Kulathakal (AE ’98)
Kulathakal is a serial entrepreneur and venture partner at OCA Ventures. He is the founder and chair of Trading Block Holdings, Inc., a financial services holding company based in Chicago. Kulathakal was a partner at GetAMovie, which was sold to McDonalds and subsequently became part of RedBox, now one of the largest movie rental companies in the United States and the fastest growing in terms of revenue. He also was a founder of Enterprise Logic Systems, a software development firm that specialized in developing technology solutions for the financial services and trading industry.
In addition to his leadership role at Trading Block, he is the founder of the Vidya Foundation, which provides scholarships to underprivileged children in third-world countries. He previously served on the board of the Beck Foundation, Chicago Charter School Foundation, Civitas Schools, Leap Learning Systems, and the Heartland Institute.
Kulkarni serves as faculty and managing director at Singularity University (SU)—a Palo Alto, Californi- based benefit corporation whose mission is to educate, inspire, and empower a generation of leaders to apply exponential technologies to address humanity’s grand challenges. Her areas of teaching include technology strategy, innovation, enterprise transformation, and SU's core focus on 'exponential technologies' to help organizations thrive in the future.
As a senior executive and an ‘accidental academic’, Kulkarni has spent nearly 30 years working for and advising leading global organizations. She has held various strategic, operational, and engineering roles at Motorola, serving as a corporate officer and vice president of technology partnerships and as senior director of corporate strategy in the CEO’s office, in addition to roles at Deloitte Consulting, BellSouth International (now AT&T), Sprint, and Verizon.
Prior to joining SU, Kulkarni was the chief executive and associate dean of executive education at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago and previously as an associate vice president, strategic initiatives in the Office of the President. At Booth, the division she led offered education programs for executives at the university’s global campuses, in addition to client locations worldwide. At Georgia Tech, as founder and executive director, she built a university-wide initiative called FutureMedia—an interdisciplinary research and economic development program exploring and shaping the future of digital, social, and mobile media connecting universities, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and industry.
Kulkarni serves on the Board of Regents of Loyola University in Chicago, as a judge of the New Venture Business Challenge at the University of Chicago, and an advisor to startups in the tech sector. She has served on the Technology and Media Committee at the World Economic Forum and lectured at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business, Georgia Tech, and Emory University. She holds an M.B.A. degree from Emory University, bachelor of science degree in industrial systems engineering/management science from Georgia Tech, and an executive management certificate from Booth School of Business.
Liew is the chief technology officer of Orbitz, LLC. He was promoted from vice president of technology in November 2010. This is Liew’s second stint at Orbitz, having worked there from 2000–04. Between 2004 and 2010, Liew was chief technology officer of G2 Switchworks, a provider of travel distribution solutions, and Milestro, a leisure, travel, and tourism company. Earlier in his career, he was a lead developer for Neoglyphics Media Corporation and a software engineer for Motorola’s Cellular Subscriber Group.
Liew studied mathematics and computer science at the University of Chicago.
Sherrie Brown Littlejohn (M.S. CS ’82)
Littlejohn is a recognized expert in leading successful large-scale, technology-based transformation initiatives in regulated industries. She brings over 30 years of experience in strategy, architecture, development, and operations, enabling business opportunities in financial services and telecommunications industries with a keen eye to culture shifts and change management. She is a catalyst for designing and implementing innovative technology solutions with a customer and end-user focus. She is valued for her expertise in assessing overall information technology programs for manageability and capability to improve customer service for the enterprise and its customers.
Littlejohn joined Wells Fargo in July 2002 and currently leads the Innovation Labs, Technology Business Development, and the Enterprise Patent Office teams within the Innovation Group. Her key responsibilities include driving enterprise technology idea generation as a catalyst for transformative change across the company, as well as steering technology business development to grow and manage relationships with IT industry leaders, universities, venture capitalists, and private equity firms. Additionally, she leads the team that guides the company’s patent strategy, which includes developing, licensing, and acquiring patents.
Littlejohn sits on the Illinois Tech Board of Trustees, Alumni Board, Audit and Compliance Committee, Academic Affairs Committee, Computer Science Advisory Council, and is the Alumni Admissions chair. Furthermore, she sits on the Board of Advisors for CTO Forum and the LEMO Foundation Advisory Board. She received her Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Xavier University of Louisiana and her Master of Science in Computer Science from Illinois Tech. She completed the executive business program at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.
Peter Morowski (B.S. FPSE ’81)
Morowski is executive vice president and CTO for CCC Information Services, where he is responsible for product development, computing infrastructure, data science, and research and development. CCC is a Chicago-based provider of B2B software solutions for the automotive and insurance industries.
Prior to his position at CCC, Morowski was the SVP of technology at Sabre Airline Solutions, where he was responsible for e-commerce, revenue management, and flight operations solutions for over 300 airlines worldwide. In his 30-plus year career in technology, Morowski has also held senior executive positions at Novell, Borland, IBM, and Dell Computers, where he built the company's software organization. He started his career as a software developer in the aerospace and defense industry.
Morowski holds a bachelor's degree in fire protection and safety engineering from the Illinois Tech (1981). He also served as a captain in the United States Marine Corps, obtaining his commission from Illinois Tech's NROTC program. Furthermore, Morowski served nine years on the advisory board of the College of Natural Science at the University of Texas at Austin.
Sairam Rangachari (M.S. CS ’02)
Rangachari is chief innovation officer and senior vice president at optionsXpress, Inc. His responsibility is in product strategy and innovation. Under Rangachari’s leadership, the company launched several products that solidified the world-class optionsXpress trading platform, which has won awards from Barron’s, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, SmartMoney, and other leading industry publications. Part of the original team that built the optionsXpress platform, he played a key role through its initial public offering in acquiring and executing the integration of XpressTrade, a futures brokerage. Recently, Charles Schwab acquired OptionsXPress for $1 billion.
In addition to his Illinois Tech degree, he has a bachelor’s degree in engineering and computer science from the University of Madras.
Reed is an hacker/engineer who builds paradigm-shifting tech and leads others to do the same. Reed loves using the vastness of the internet to bring people together, whether as CTO of Obama for America, CTO at Threadless.com, or on his own projects.
Through the acquisition of his company, Modest, inc, Reed is helping to define the future of commerce at PayPal.
You can often find Reed playing with new technologies, looking for something to hack, or enjoying life in Chicago with his amazing partner, Hiromi, and their bizarre poodle, Lulu.
Seedman is an executive partner at the private equity firm Siris Captial, and has been working with its founders for 18 years. Prior to Siris Capital, Seedman was senior vice president and general manager of U.S. Robotics, a Chicago-based manufacturer of modems. He founded and served as the CEO of Practical Peripherals—a computer peripheral designer and manufacturer that was later sold to Hayes Microcomputer Products—and Entrega Technology, which was sold to Xircom and later Intel. He has historically served on various private and public boards, and is a member of the Adler Planetarium Board of Trustees.
Stojka is chief executive officer of Chicago-based Agentis Energy, an energy technology company delivering wireless energy management systems for commercial and industrial applications. In addition to Agentis Energy, Stojka has served as the CEO of Fast Heat, a designer and manufacturer of heating elements, sensors, and controls. Prior to his times at Fast Heat, he was co-founder/chairman and CEO of Commerx. A pioneer in the development of internet e-commerce systems, Stojka is responsible for helping to direct and communicate the vision and growth strategies of Commerx.
Stojka has been featured in a variety of top business publications such as BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, Crain’s Chicago Business, and Business 2.0, and is a frequent guest speaker at tech industry conferences. In early 2000 he was named one of 25 “E-Champions” by BtoB magazine and was a top-10 finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.
Stojka has a bachelor of science in industrial engineering from Northwestern University and has attended the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. Stojka serves on the Illinois Tech Board of Trustees.
Tony L. Toulouse
Toulouse is vice president of the IT Infrastructure organization for The Boeing Company, where he is responsible for the computing and telecommunications infrastructure that serves Boeing’s 160,000 employees and their customers worldwide.
Since joining Boeing in 1989, Toulouse's responsibilities have included oversight of IT Global Network Engineering, where he was responsible for providing the connectivity infrastructure that enables all internal Boeing applications and delivery systems to integrate, communicate, and pass data throughout the company and beyond. He was also the director of Business Integration for Engineering, Operations, and Technology after spending two years in the Executive Development Program, which prepares managers for assignments of increasing responsibility through cross-disciplinary rotational assignments. Before joining the EDP, Toulouse managed International Program Development for Delta Launch Services, the marketing arm for Boeing's expendable launch vehicle program, and served as the test director for Aero-Optic and Aerothermal Effects in Hypersonic, Turbulent Flows.
Toulouse holds a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from Boston University, a master's in mechanical engineering technology from the University of California Irvine and an executive M.B.A. from the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business. He serves on the Board of Directors for Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo and Adler Planetarium.
Victor Tsao (M.S. CS ’80)
Tsao and his wife are principals of Miven Holdings, a multi-stage venture capital firm with the goal of investing in startup companies in the consumer and media space. The Tsaos also founded Linksys Group, the wireless and broadband networking company that was acquired by Cisco Systems in 2003. After the sale, the Tsaos worked for Cisco for a few years, developing new business opportunities in China. Prior to Linksys, Tsao was a software engineer, system manager, and strategist of various information technology positions with different firms.
In addition to his Illinois Tech degree, Tsao has an M.B.A. and a B.S. in computer science from Pepperdine University and Tamkang University, respectively.
Verma, senior managing director, United States-Midwest, is responsible for overseeing Accenture’s business across 13 states including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. With more than 10,000 people in the region, Verma focuses on bringing innovation to clients, attracting top talent, and strengthening the company’s impact in its local communities.
Since joining Accenture 31 years ago, Verma has built a reputation as a trusted and strategic client advisor, a dynamic and genuine leader, and has driven significant business growth for the company. Prior to overseeing Accenture’s Midwest business, she served as senior managing director of the State, Provincial and Local Public Service practice in North America—working with many clients across public-sector entities and higher-education institutions to help them transform their organizations
Verma serves on Accenture’s North America Leadership Team, Global Leadership Council, and is the vice president of the board of directors for the Accenture Foundation. She’s on the board of the Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Democracy Prep Public Schools, a national charter network, as well as a trustee for Illinois Tech. She’s also a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago, Economic Club of Chicago, International Women’s Forum, and the Chicago Network
Verma was named to Crain's Chicago Business's Most Powerful Women in Business and its Tech 50 list in 2018. In December 2016 she was named by the Chicago Tribune as one of its “10 Business People to Watch in 2017." In 2011 she was a recipient of the Top 25 Consultants award from Consulting Magazine, which are selected from more than 400 nominees.
Throughout her life, Verma has lived in more than 12 cities—both in and outside of the U.S.—which has given her the ability to quickly adapt to varying cultures and business environments. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and resides in Chicago.
Walker is vice president, digital architecture and operations for W.W. Grainger, Inc., North America's leading broad line supplier of maintenance, repair, and operating products. The company also has operations in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. He was named to his current role in September 2017.
Walker leads Grainger’s digital solutions, including the industry-leading website Grainger.com, as well as the company’s newest digital offering, Gamut.com. Prior to taking this role, he led the development, launch and operations of Gamut.com.
Since joining Grainger in 2006, Walker has held several roles with increasing responsibility. While headquartered in London, he served as vice president of strategy and marketing for Grainger’s Online Business that has operations in Canada, Germany, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States. He has also led teams responsible for corporate strategy, product management, and pricing for Grainger's U.S. business.
Prior to joining Grainger, he led teams in warehousing, logistics, supply chain, and sales operations at McMaster-Carr Supply Company.
Walker earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Wesleyan University, a Master of Science in Applied Statistics from DePaul University, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. He serves on the Board of Trustees of Illinois Tech. He is also a member of Wesleyan’s President Council and has served as a founding board member for Wesleyan’s Quantitative Analysis Center.
Willer is a partner at Chicago Ventures, a seed-stage venture capital fund. He oversees all aspects of Chicago Ventures, including fund management, deal sourcing, and investments, and he works directly with portfolio companies. He joined the fund in June 2013.
From 2011 to 2013 Willer was the president and chief executive officer of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC). The CEC manages, operates, and programs 1871, a leading co-working center serving hundreds of startups that are building their early-stage businesses and is located at Chicago’s famed Merchandise Mart. Since opening in May 2012, 1871 has welcomed thousands of visitors to events and curated hundreds of workshops and office hours with mentors for entrepreneurs. High-profile visitors have included former British Prime Minister David Cameron, former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, former Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, AOL Founder Steve Case, Sun Microsystems co-founder Scott McNealy, and YouTube co-founder Steve Chen—of which shines a spotlight on Chicago’s growing startup community, both nationally and globally. During this time, Willer was also a venture partner at Pritzker Group Venture Capital, overseeing its early-stage seed Investments.
Previously, Willer co-founded the Google Chicago office in late 2000. In his over 10 years with Google, Willer helped grow this office to more than 400 professionals and led relationships with some of Google’s largest marketing partners that are based in the Midwest. Before Google, Willer held business development positions at CMGI, an early internet incubator, and USRobotics, a pioneer in modem technology.
Willer is actively involved in several civic and charitable organizations. He was named to Crain’s Chicago Business's 2011 40 Under 40 list as well as Crain’s 2012 Tech 50 list. He is a director of The Economic Club of Chicago and is a trustee of his alma mater, Loyola Academy. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Loyola University Chicago and of Illinois Tech. He served on the steering committee for Emanuel’s Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs, and was a member of the mayor’s technology council, ChicagoNEXT. He serves on the boards of NorthShore University HealthSystem, the BigShoulders Fund, World Sport Chicago, the Future Founders Foundation, the CEC, and the inaugural Development Council for USA Soccer.
Willer earned his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, where he sits on the Executive Advisory Board for the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship. Willer was honored to deliver the 2013 commencement address at Illinois Tech and the 2011 address at Loyola University’s School of Business. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Boston College and studied at the London School of Economics. Willer, his wife Victoria, and their children, Jacqueline, Max and Lizzie, reside in Winnetka, Illinois.