Chris Gladwin, Board of Advisors Chair, Co-Founder and CEO Ocient
In 2004, Chris founded Cleversafe which became the largest and most strategic object storage vendor in the world (according to IDC). He raised over $100 million and led the company to a $1.4 billion exit in 2015 when IBM acquired them. The technology he started generated over 1,000 patents granted or filed, creating one of the ten most powerful patent portfolios in the world. Prior to Cleversafe, Chris was the Founder and CEO of startups MusicNow and Cruise Technologies, and led product strategy for Zenith Data Systems. He started his career at Martin Marietta, and holds a mechanical engineering degree from MIT.
Joel Krauss (MATH ’71), Board of Advisors Vice-Chair
Prior to his retirement in 2017, Joel Krauss served a Managing Partner at Market Strategy Group since 2005, a role in which he advised public company executives on growth strategies. In 1985 Krauss co-founded OmniTech Consulting Group, which was sold to a public company in 1999.
Krauss is a member of Illinois Tech’s Board of Trustees and a member of the Board of Advisors for the Kaplan Institute and Chair, Board of Advisors for the Lewis College. He is a past co-chair of the prior $250 Million Capital Campaign. Krauss was honored with Illinois Tech’s Collins Merit Award in 2018.
Krauss and his family are members of the Philip Danforth Armour Society, which recognizes philanthropic families who have given transformational gifts of $1 million or more in support of the university’s mission.
Krauss holds an M.B.A. from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Illinois Tech.
Rohit Prassad (M.S. EE ’99)
Rohit Prasad is vice president and head scientist, Amazon Alexa, the voice service that powers Amazon’s family of Echo products, Amazon Fire TV and third-party offerings. Prasad leads Alexa research and development in Artificial Intelligence technologies aimed at making interaction with Alexa a magical experience for customers. Prior to Amazon, Prasad was deputy manager and senior director of the Speech, Language and Multimedia Business Unit at Raytheon BBN Technologies. In that role, he directed U.S. Government-sponsored research and development initiatives in speech-to-speech translation, psychological health analytics, document image translation and STEM learning. Prasad is a named author on more than 100 scientific articles and holds several patents. He earned his master’s degree in Electrical Engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, and a bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering from Birla Institute of Technology, India.
Victor Tsao (M.S. CS ’80)
Victor Tsar co-founded Linksys in 1988 and made significant contributions to its successful transformation, as well as, the transformation of the entire home networking market. He grew Linksys from a garage entrepreneurship to a home networking leader. During the early expansion of WiFi, Linksys changed the playbook on home internet sharing and created a new lifestyle in home networking. In 2003, Linksys had grown to more than 300 employees with more than $500 million in annual revenue. Later that year, it was sold to Cisco in order to expand its global reach. Due to his accomplishments at Linksys, Tsao was inducted into the Consumer Electronics Association’s Hall of Fame in 2014. Prior to Linksys, Victor worked in various software programming and system integration jobs. He retired from corporate life in 2007 and remains active in technology through investments and philanthropy.
Tsao has been the Managing Partner of various family office investment entities since 2003. In this role, he is ultimately responsible for the assets under management which is allocated across the following asset types: cash, commodities, currency, fixed income, private equity, public equity, real estate, and venture capital. He has extensive experience in financial modeling and risk management, and allocates capital both directly and through private placement vehicles.
Tsao has been a longtime advocate and donor in giving back to the community through charitable giving. He created the Tsao Family Foundation in 2004 which was organized to support religious, charitable, scientific, literary, cultural and educational causes. The Tsao Family Foundation has made millions of dollars in grants to other 501(c) organizations in pursuit to make the world a better place.
Tsao holds an M.B.A. from Pepperdine University, an M.S. in computer science from the Illinois Institute of Technology, a B.S. in computer science from Tamkang University, and an Honorary Doctor of Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Jonny LeRoy was named Grainger’s Chief Technology Officer in April 2020. He is responsible for the technology systems, security and operations that underpin Grainger’s business model.
LeRoy joined Grainger after a 15-year career at ThoughtWorks, where as Head of Technology for North America, he led their technology organization, growing new offerings and capabilities, while also helping to progress their talent, culture and delivery expertise. In prior roles at ThoughtWorks, LeRoy served as Market Tech Principal for the West Coast and Lead Developer in the U.S. and UK. Earlier in his career, LeRoy was a founder and CTO of a successful UK start-up.
LeRoy holds CPE from Westminster University, and a MA, Literae Humaniores from the University of Oxford.
Sherrie Littlejohn (M.S. CS ’82)
Sherrie Littlejohn has led successful large-scale, technology-based transformation initiatives in two highly 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, change management, and talent management. She is a catalyst for designing and implementing innovative technology solutions with a customer and end-user focus.
After a successful career as a corporate executive and a passion for leadership development, Sherrie is currently pursuing her purpose, as an IPEC* and ICF certified executive leadership coach and energy leadership (ELI) master practitioner, to help cultivate more caring, confident, and courageous leaders. She has lived her passion as a mentor, coach and advocate through the years motivating, inspiring and promoting many women and men who continue to thrive in their careers.
Sherrie currently serves on the board of Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) as a Trustee, member of the Executive Committee, the Academic Affairs Committee, Chair of the Alumni Association Board, and member of the Advisory Board for Computer Science. Her board experience began on the advisory board of a startup, Noemix Corporation, followed by the Cisco Customer Advisory Board, the CTO Forum, YMCA, The Seven Hills School, and the LEMO Foundation. Other affiliations include leadership roles with the Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF) piloting a Diverse Women in IT series that is now an ITSMF Academy (Emerge) and president of the Wells Fargo Black/African American and Women’s Team Member Network Councils.
Peter Morowski (FPSE ’81)
Peter Morowski is currently the EVP and Chief Technology Officer of Chicago based CCC Information Services. CCC is the provider of advanced AI, Connected Car, and Workflow software solutions for the automotive and Insurance industry.
Prior to joining CCC, Peter was the Senior Vice President of Technology for Sabre Airline Solutions, where he was responsible for delivering SaaS-based e-commerce, commercial planning and airline operation solutions to over 350 airlines worldwide and boarding 375 million passengers a year.
In his 35+ year career in the software and computing industry, he has also held senior executive technical positions at Dell, IBM, Borland and Novell.
Peter also served as a Captain in the United States Marine Corps, receiving his commission from the Illinois Tech NROTC program. He graduated from Illinois Tech in 1981 with a BS in Engineering.
Robert Blackwell Jr.
Robert Blackwell Jr. is and has been on several boards, helped a number of young entrepreneurs start businesses and enjoys reading and writing about math, economics and history. Robert is an advisory board member of the Illinois Tech School of Computing, Chair of the US Black Business Participation Taskforce and a board member of the Business Leadership Council, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and the Field Museum. Robert has written several white papers on algorithmic trading and the application of the quantitative method to improve technology delivery success. His business credentials include:
EKI-Digital, is a leader in quantitative digital strategy and execution.
Killerspin L.L.C., the world’s leading table tennis engagement brand.
Urban Fishing Development, a Real Estate development company that helped to facilitate the development of economically and technologically integrated communities in transitional Chicago neighborhoods.
Co-founded Blackwell Consulting Services with Robert Blackwell Sr., which established and managed key business practice areas and dealt with financial services and pharmaceutical industries.
Bytewise International, a technology company that specialized in the development of complex financial planning systems for large organizations and options pricing, trading and portfolio management systems for the OEX, S&P 500 and foreign currency markets.
Frederica Darema (M.S. PHYS ’72)
Frederica Darema retired as Senior Executive Service (SES) member and as Director of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research in Arlington, Virginia, where she led the entire basic research investment for the Air Force on science and technology for future Air Force capabilities and transitioning the discoveries to defense industries and broader commercial sector. She also served as Research Director in the Air Force’s Chief Data Office and as Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary the Air Force Office for Science, Technology and Engineering. She previously served in research staff positions at the University of Pittsburgh, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and Schlumberger-Doll Drama was employed in management and executive-level positions at the T.J.Watson IBM Research Center and the IBM Corporate Strategy Group, the National Science Foundation and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and Director of the AFOSR Directorate for Information, Math, and Life Sciences. Darema earned a Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics at the University of Athens, Greece, and previously studied at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and University of California at Davis, and was a Fulbright Scholar and a Distinguished Scholar. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), among other professional recognitions. She pioneered the DDDAS paradigm and since 2000 she has organized and led research initiatives, programs, workshops, conferences, and other forums to foster and promote DDDAS-based science and technology advances.
Brad Henderson is the founding CEO of P33 where he is leading the nonprofit organization to drive global technology leadership for Chicago and inclusive economic growth for all. He brings twenty-plus years of professional experience and brings a deep understanding of how to unlock economic opportunities that benefit businesses and individuals to P33’s efforts.
Brad is an active leader in the Chicago community, serving on the board of trustees for the Chicago History Museum, the Association House in Humboldt Park and Interfaith Youth Core. He also serves on the board of ACCION US Network and Impact Engine. He was a BCG Bruce Henderson Institute (BHI) Fellow and is a member of the World Economic Forum Young Global Leaders program.
Bob Kress is a managing director, Group Operating Officer, and the global Quality & Risk Officer for Accenture Security. He also has served as the managing director of Global IT Audit in Accenture’s Internal Audit organization and as COO of Accenture’s Internal IT organization. Kress chairs the board of i.c.stars, a social enterprise that provides workforce development training to low- income adults in Chicago, and the advisory board for the College of Engineering at the University of Iowa. He is a National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Board Leadership Fellow, and a multi-year awardee of the NACD Directorship 100. Kress holds leadership roles in The Economic Club of Chicago, The Executives Club of Chicago, the Private Directors Association (PDA), and is a founding sponsor of the Digital Directors Network (DDN). He has published two books, Running IT Like a Business and IT Governance to Drive High Performance, and holds patents for artificial intelligence technology for identifying risk trends. He has published numerous articles on cybersecurity, emerging technology, and risk management.
Kai Liu (M.S. CS ’01)
Kai has been responsible for investment research, risk management, and statistical modeling at Bridgeway since 2011. He began his career in quantitative investing at Citadel Investment Group before joining Chicago Equity Partners in 2005.
Kai holds an MS in Financial Mathematics from the University of Chicago, an MS in Computer Science from the Illinois Institute of Technology, and a BS in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a CFA charterholder. He volunteers with Living Water International, meeting the need to provide basic infrastructure for rural areas, and with the Prison Entrepreneurship Program, which reduces the prison recidivism rate.
Michael McCourt (MATH ’07)
Michael McCourt is the head of engineering for the SigOpt team within Intel, developing computational statistics and AI tools to power efficient model development and experimental design. He also serves on the SIAM career opportunities committee.
Mike was an undergraduate student in Applied Mathematics at Illinois Tech, and pursued his Ph.D. at Cornell University. His research brought him back to Argonne National Laboratory, during which time he also taught some classes in the math department. Jointly with Illinois Tech Applied Math Professor Gregory Fasshauer, Mike wrote a research text on computational kernel approximation methods. After a joint postdoc between University of Colorado and International College of Beijing, Mike joined SigOpt in 2015 as its first employee. He remained with SigOpt until its acquisition by Intel in late 2020. This shift from the academic math community to the venture capital funded AI startup world was an exciting opportunity to bring tools developed in his earlier research life to work on significant problems in application of the machine learning.
During his time at Illinois Tech, Mike developed a great love for mathematics and the math department and looks forward to contributing to the growth and excellence of the new college of computing in which it lives.
Bruce Meier (MATH ’07)
Bruce Meier has more than 35 years of experience in data and analytics systems in support of marketing, finance, and sales, holding director and manager positions at Mondelez International, Kraft Foods, Ralston Purina, SC Johnson and Miller Briewing Company. He currently volunteers at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Mount Prospect, IL – Missions and Stewardship Ministries, Elder; Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois - Foundation Board Chair; Illinois Tech – College of Computing Advisory Board member and Chicagoland Alumni Affinity Group Chair.
STEM education and assisting families in need are Bruce's special interests, including preparing children and their families for a successful college experience. Bruce's interest in computing and Illinois Tech began with computer programming in high school math class. His teacher took students' coding forms to Illinois Tech's computer center to be key-punched and read into the computer, then he returned the printed results.
Bruce holds a B.S. degree in Mathematics (1976) from Illinois Tech and an M.S. degree in Statistics from Marquette University in Milwaukee where he taught database and math classes.
Biju Nair (M.S. CS ’01)
Biju Nair has a 26-year record of entrepreneurial and innovation leadership that has helped shape today’s wireless software industry. His inventions, the businesses he started and the products he pioneered have had a profound impact on the wireless software market. He currently serves as the EVP and President of the HYLA Division of Assurant. Prior to this, for the past 7 years, Biju served as President and CEO of HYLA Mobile, a VC backed company focused on developing technologies to re-purpose pre-owned mobile devices to create massive economic opportunities for HYLA’s customers, and owners of those devices and a better life for the recipients of these devices, while benefitting our environment. On December 1, 2020, Hyla was acquired by Assurant to create a dynamic subsidiary within Assurant that can serve all of our carrier, retailer, and OEM customers efficiently and cost-effectively to maximize their revenue and increase customer loyalty. He previously served as Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Strategy Officer for Synchronoss; Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sapience Knowledge Systems (acquired by Synchronoss); Senior Vice President and GM of the Connectivity and Security Group at Smith Micro Software; Corporate Vice President, GM & founder of Mobility Solutions Group at PCTEL, Inc. (acquired by Smith Micro) and has held senior executive positions at SAFCO Technologies and Agilent Technologies.
Bing Zhao (M.S. MATH '88)
Bing Zhao Zhao Bing is an Executive Director of Simplex Capital Asia Limited. Before he co-founded the Company with his former colleagues at Salomon Brothers, he worked in New York, Tokyo and Hong Kong for investment bank’s proprietary trading group in the area of Asian Pacific strategies as a senior trader. He is a registered investment adviser under the Securities Ordinance of Hong Kong and has counselled numerous listed and non-listed companies in Hong Kong and Mainland China on investment strategies, risk management as well as overall management. Zhao is registered under the Securities and Futures Ordinance in Hong Kong as an investor advisor for securities advisory and assets management.
Alexander Lipton is Co-Founder, Chief Information Officer and Board Member at Sila – an innovative fintech company working on making money programmable, Visiting Professor and Dean’s Fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Connection Science Fellow at MIT. In addition, Alec is an Advisory Board Member at numerous Fintech companies worldwide.
His current professional interests include FinTech, mainly distributed ledger technology applications to payments and banking, digital currencies, including stablecoins and asset-backed cryptocurrencies, and robust large-scale asset allocation.
Davide has joined the exciting journey of the Siemens Digital Enterprise in early 2015 as Thought Leader in the Consumer Products space and is now globally responsible for the Siemens digitalization activities in the related industry verticals.
Previously he has been leading the Siemens US MES Food & Beverage. His background is in the Manufacturing Execution space, but his focus has grown over time to cover Automation, MOM, PLM and now the broader software and hardware digitalization space.
Davide has an excellent knowledge of all the technologies used in digitalization and of the value of applying them to industrial processes and has focused a lot of his attention in the manufacturing and economics of the vertical industries linking ROI, financial KPIs and qualitative benefits to manufacturing processes. Davide has earned a Master Degree in Communication Engineering at the University of Genoa, IT and lives in Chicago, IL with his wife and children.
Nick Feamster is Neubauer Professor of Computer Science and the Director of Center for Data and Computing (CDAC) at the University of Chicago. Previously, he was a full professor in the Computer Science Department at Princeton University, where he directed the Center for Information Technology Policy (CITP); prior to Princeton, he was a full professor in the School of Computer Science at Georgia Tech.
His research focuses on many aspects of computer networking and networked systems, with a focus on network operations, network security, and censorship-resistant communication systems. He received his Ph.D. in Computer science from MIT in 2005, and his S.B. and M.Eng. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT in 2000 and 2001, respectively. He was an early-stage employee at Looksmart (acquired by AltaVista), where he wrote the company's first web crawler; and at Damballa, where he helped design the company's first botnet-detection algorithm.
Renu’s driving purpose is to help organizations and people leverage emerging technologies to improve the human condition, at scale. As a senior executive and an ‘accidental academic’, Renu has spent nearly 30 years working for and advising leading global organizations in technology, strategy, innovation, and enterprise transformation in higher education, high-tech communications, consumer electronics and media sectors.
She has held leadership, strategic and operational roles at Motorola, Deloitte Consulting, BellSouth International (now AT&T), Sprint, and GTE (now Verizon) at a time of massive growth and change in the telecom and wireless industry.
Her academic career includes leadership and teaching positions at Singularity University (an emerging technology think-and-do tank in Silicon Valley), the University of Chicago (as Associate Dean at Booth School of Business and Associate VP, Strategic Initiatives in the Office of the President) and Georgia Institute of Technology (as Founder and Executive Director, FutureMedia).
Renu serves on the Board of Regents of Loyola University Chicago, is Chair of the Questions Committee of the Economic Club of Chicago, a Judge for the New Venture Business Challenge at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and a Board Member for Pilot Light – a national food education non-profit.
Renu holds an MBA 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.
Tim Stojka is currently Chairman / CEO of Agentis Energy based in Chicago. Agentis is a Smart Grid technology company providing energy data analytics to businesses and utilities serving more than 3 million business customers in North America.
In addition, he co-founded and serves on the board of Sertifi Inc., a leading provider of signature and payment processing software for the hospitality industry.
Stojka previously served as co-founder / Chairman and CEO of Commerx™. A pioneer in the development of Internet ecommerce systems, Stojka was responsible for helping direct and communicate the vision and growth strategies of Commerx.
Through leadership, Stojka successfully positioned Commerx as a leading provider of collaborative, Web-hosted e-procurement and supply chain solutions. In the year 2000 Stojka and Commerx were awarded the Smithsonian/ Computerworld technology award for innovation.
Stojka has been featured in a variety of top business publications including Business Week, Fortune, Forbes, Crain’s Chicago Business, and Business 2.0 and is a frequent guest speaker at technolo 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 also serves in leadership roles in many business and civic organizations including the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) where he served as Chairman Chicago Chapter, The Executives Club of Chicago, The McCormick School of Engineering Board at Northwestern University, Chicago Entrepreneurial Center (1871), Chicago Next ( Mayor’s Technology Council) Vistage International, the Economic Club of Chicago, and is a member of the Board of Trustees at Illinois Institute of Technology.
He holds a B.S. in industrial engineering from Northwestern University and has attended both the Stanford Business School and Harvard Business School Executive M.B.A. programs.