Board of Directors

The Tech Council Board of Directors is a volunteer group of industry executives who work closely with the Chapter team to define the chapter’s strategy, set priorities and make decisions on activities and initiatives. We thank them for their commitment, dedication and support.

Mike Andrews

Mike Andrews

Managing Director, NovaStor Corp.

Mike Andrews took on the title of Managing Director in 2007. He is responsible for running NovaStor’s US organization. Mike has received several industry innovation rewards and was recently awarded with a patent based on a revolutionary approach to file restoration.

Prior to NovaStor, in 1990, he managed a Canadian government inventory tracking and security initiative for 7 years leading to hundreds of millions in cost avoidance and savings.

In 1997, he then became the Executive Vice President of Sales at Authentex Software, acting as the North American Distribution for ThunderByte Anti-Virus and a worldwide distributor for the award winning DataSafe Encryption Software solution.

Mike is a 20 year veteran of the data security industry, is co-founder of a system integration and services company, has invested in several companies including NovaStor and Iotum – a provider of telephone and meeting management applications and services. Mike currently sits on several boards, including his role of Vice President for the Technology Council of Southern California.

Omri Avdi

Business Development Executive, Grant Thornton - Los Angeles Market

Omri Avdi is the Business Development Executive for Grant Thornton’s Los Angeles market. In this role, Omri helps dynamic organizations to solve various business challenges and supports Grant Thornton service-line partners to drive growth in the Audit, Tax, and Advisory practices. His experience includes Big Four public Accounting, Fortune merchant data processing firms, entertainment, and global professional services firms. Omri focuses on sourcing and developing new client relationships primarily in the Technology industry, as well Consumer and Industrial Product, and Financial Services industries across Southern California.

Most recently, Omri was Vice President with Parker + Lynch Consulting, a division of Adecco, a Fortune 500 company and global leader in workforce solutions in Los Angeles. Previously, Omri worked in Audit for Deloitte and held various corporate Finance positions until transitioning to Business Development in 2005.

Omri received his B.S. in Accounting from Colorado State University, and his MBA at University of California’s Anderson School of Management. He is an active Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a member of the AICPA.

Uri Blackman

Uri Blackman

Founder & CEO, GIDEON Informatics
(Chairman)

Uri Blackman is founder and CEO of GIDEON Informatics an online medical publishing company he founded with Dr. Berger while in undergrad. The flagship product, GIDEON, is installed in hundreds of institutions in over 45 countries.

Uri previously served as Vice President of Corporate Development at Speedbit. In this role, Uri developed and managed strategic relationships for Download Accelerator, a software product whose user base grew from 13 to over 90 million users during his time with the company. Uri also managed a successful M&A process for the company. Uri came to Speedbit after founding Oloop, a venture backed online insurance brokerage firm. Prior to Oloop, Uri managed the computing and download channels on Netscape’s website and was a product manager for two generations of the Netscape browser. Following the AOL-Netscape merger, he worked in Business Development at AOL.

Uri is the Chairman of the Technology Council of Southern California and has served on the advisory board of a number of technology companies in the Silicon Valley. Uri served as Commander in the Israel Defense Forces Intelligence Corp. He received his BA in Computer Science and Philosophy from Tel Aviv University and his Masters of Business Administration from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Feyzi Fatehi

Feyzi Fatehi

CEO, Corent Technology

Feyzi Fatehi is a technology visionary, innovator and entrepreneur. As a Silicon Valley veteran, he is a pioneer in the SaaS and Cloud industry and serves as the CEO of Corent Technology – the recipient of Outstanding Cloud and SaaS Platform Award in 2015.

Feyzi has studied at Cambridge, Princeton, UT Austin, and UCLA and has given talks at Harvard Business School, Wharton, Stanford, and at industry events around the globe. As an avid supporter of education, Feyzi serves as an advisor to the UCLA Anderson School of Management, as a member of the UCI CEO Roundtable, UCI School of Engineering Leadership Council, and the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Feyzi also serves as a mentor and advisor at two Southern California technology incubators: Evonexus and the UCI Applied Innovation Institute.


Darcy Gassell

Darcy Gassel

North American Ecosystem Leader – Digital Business Group, IBM

Global executive, who is a consummate “builder”, with a track record of reigniting growth through the innovation of products, brands and initiatives. Thought leadership and performance. Extensive experience with digital marketing, social, new channels, partnerships, and increasing market share.

Professionally trained and tested at IBM Corporation, with a Biology Degree from UC Irvine and an MBA from Purdue University. Develops high-powered ecosystem and marketing organizations that succeed in highly competitive markets, by combining vision with execution.

Rajeev Kapur

CEO of 1105 Media, Inc.

Currently, Rajeev is CEO of 1105 Media, Inc. a leading provider of Business to Business Marketing and Media services where he oversees a diverse portfolio of five companies that range from Big Data/Analytics training to lead generation in the private and public sector IT Space.

Previously, Rajeev served as Director of Sales and Marketing for Dell in China focusing on the commercial market, Rajeev headed up the development and growth of this fast growing business unit. Later as GM for Dell in South Asia, he was responsible for launching Dell India and turning around operations in South Asia. Rajeev was named Manager of the Year for Dell in 1996 and was an original member of the Dell.com e-commerce team. Rajeev then went on to serve as President of Smarthome.com (a leading e-commerce platform), the leader in home automation products and technology. He oversaw the development of the companies Insteon home automation technology and led the effort to build Smarthome into the Best Place to Work in Orange County, California, as named by OC Metro Magazine. In 2011Rajeev was named CEO of Sonic Emotion, the leading provider of 3D sound technologies via a custom developed ASIC and software, which is a 2012, 2013 and 2014 (to be announced in January) CES award winner for embedded technologies, Rajeev oversees global operations. Under Rajeev’s leadership the company built alliances with Toshiba, Samsung and Panasonic as well as other leading consumer electronic vendors. He was recognized as a CEO of the year finalist for 2011-2012 from Tech America and was a finalist for Entrepreneur of The Year from the Orange County Business Journal.

Jon Kraft Jon Kraft

Managing Partner, Liftoff

Jon has over 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur in software and consumer digital media, and is currently Managing Partner at LiftOff, a Los Angeles-based start-up studio and accelerator, and an advisor for several early stage companies. He is also Chairman of Thrively, a strength-based online platform to help kids discover their passion in life. He is the former Chief Operating Officer and a member of the founding team at UberMedia, Idealab’s prominent Internet start-up which he helped build into the world’s leading independent developer of mobile social apps. Before that, he was Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer for Big Stage Entertainment, Inc., an advanced avatar platform company recognized by Forbes in 2009 as one of America’s 20 Most Promising Companies, and sold to Image Metrix (IMGX:OTC) in 2010. Jon previously served as Co-founder and CEO of Pandora Media, the largest and fastest growing online radio product in the world with over 150M registered users in the U.S. (NYSE: P). Jon’s first entrepreneurial venture was as a Co-founder of Stanford Technology Group in 1993, an innovator in the relational OLAP market, funded by Sequoia and Hummer Winblad, and acquired by Informix Corporation in 1995. Jon holds a B.A. from Stanford University.


Richard Neff


Richard Neff

Partner, Neff Law Firm

Richard Neff is a renowned technology, ecommerce and copyright lawyer, specializing in licensing and corporate transactions, M&A, intellectual property protection/disputes, and copyright counseling for technology, ecommerce and media companies. His firm also handles legal work for tech and app startups, trademark portfolios and global data/privacy issues. With a specialty in international business law, he frequently negotiates international transactions for clients, sometimes in Spanish or Portuguese, handling Latin American legal work for numerous Silicon Valley clients. His clients are located throughout California, the US and the world. They include/included Informatica, Logitech, LinkedIn, JAMS, Microsoft, Intuit, Apple, Symantec, Yahoo!, Roland, SunGard, Autodesk, Dailymotion, pricegrabber.com, APM Music, Business Software Alliance (BSA), and many mid-market companies, tech startups and app developers. 
 
Neff is a former Chairman of Business Software Alliance and longtime Board member of Technology Council of Southern California. He was Chair of the Tech/IP Practice at Greenberg Glusker for five years, and before that he headed Neff Law Group for 12 years. He graduated from Yale Law School and Cornell, and was a Fulbright Scholar in Peru. He has written books and articles on intellectual property and technology licensing, and has won awards from numerous organizations and publications, including Best Lawyers, Corporate LiveWire, Lawyer Monthly, Acquisition International and Global Law Experts. www.nefflaw.com.


Rick Sharga

Rick Sharga

CMO, Ten-X

Rick became CMO of Ten-X in January, 2016, after spending two years with the company (then branded as Auction.com) as an Executive Vice President. One of the country’s most frequently-quoted sources on real estate, mortgage and foreclosure trends, Rick has appeared on the CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, CNN, ABC World News, CNBC, FOX, Bloomberg and NPR; briefed government organizations such as the Federal Reserve and Senate Banking Committee; and corporations like JPMorgan Chase, Citibank and Deutsche Bank.
Prior to joining Auction.com, Rick was an Executive Vice President for Carrington Mortgage Holdings, which owns and operates multiple businesses in the mortgage, real estate and securities industries. Rick also spent eight years at RealtyTrac, where as senior vice president he was responsible for marketing, business development and data operations, and won the Stevie® Award for National Marketing Executive of the Year. Before RealtyTrac, Rick developed and executed sales and marketing programs for technology companies such as Fujitsu, JD Edwards, Toshiba, and Hitachi; start-ups like Tickets.com; and consumer brands including Pizza Hut, Acura and Cox Communications.

Rick is a member of the Corporate Board of Governors of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, and was included in Inman News’ Inman 100, an annual list of the most influential leaders in real estate in both 2013 and 2014.



John Zuk

Principal, Waterstone Management Group

John specializes in cultivating innovation at the intersection of business strategy and technology product development. His skillset has been honed during his 20+ years of experience as a systems engineer, management consultant, and executive across a range of technology-centric companies. While at Waterstone, John has led the definition and launch of a big data strategy for a life sciences diagnostics company. The scope of the initiative includes platform architecture, ecosystem definition, selection, and adoption as well as offering roadmaps and pricing strategy. He was also a member of the Waterstone team responsible for crafting a business case and subsequent operational plan in support of a radical new microprocessor for an IT infrastructure provider. Most recently, John has been applying his innovation management experience to expand and deepen Waterstone’s capabilities in customer experience.

John was formerly VP of Marketing and Business Strategy for Tanner EDA, a software provider in the semiconductor design industry. Previously, John was a Director at boutique open innovation consultancy 4iNNO. At 4iNNO, John applied new innovation models to improve the effectiveness of nitrogen-based fertilizers for Sub-Sahara Africa. Before that, John was with IBM, where he held management and consulting roles. As an Associate Partner in IBM’s Business Consulting Services division, John delivered transformative product and service development engagements at Motorola, Ingersoll-Rand, and Honda. Earlier in his career, John merged his technological and operations know-how with his interest in antiques and collectibles: he founded Collector Technologies, Inc. and launched abacoin.com, an internet-based virtual bourse for rare and collectible coins. John started his career as a systems engineer at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, NJ.

John holds an MS in Operations Research & Industrial Engineering from Brooklyn Polytechnic and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Union College.


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