2015 Americas Best Practices Speaker Biographies

2015 Americas Best Practices Speaker Biographies

The 2015 Americas Best Practices Conference was filled with future-facing content! We had all new speakers, content and ideas addressing issues and solutions in the ICT industry. Learn more about our thought-provoking speakers by reading their biographies below!

2015 Americas Best Practices Conference Keynote Speaker


MJ Petroni
Causeit, Inc.
Owner & Founder

Keynote Presentation: Cyborgs and the Social Network of Things;
Full Spectrum Innovation: Digital Business in Action

MJ Petroni is a consultant and researcher based in San Francisco, California. He is the owner and founder of Causeit, Inc., a firm which helps companies and individuals discover authentic narratives around which their teams, customers and industry partners can rally—facilitating cultures of innovation, real listening, straight talk and shared success.

MJ is the Cyborg Anthropologist in Residence for NTT, the world’s largest telecom, and also serves as a founding advisor of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Digital Financial Services Platform for poverty alleviation. He has offered tangible startup support, team alignment interventions, brand strategy, ethnographic research, strategic product creation and coaching to over 250 clients ranging from global financial and education companies to individual thought leaders.

MJ is an alumni of Lewis and Clark College, where he focused on the emerging field of Cyborg Anthropology, with minors in English, Latin American Studies and Gender.


2015 Americas Best Practices Conference Featured Speakers

ShirleyBloomfieldShirley Bloomfield
NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association

Featured Speaker Presentation: TBD

Shirley Bloomfield is chief executive officer of NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, the premier association representing nearly 900 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America. During the course of her career, she has led efforts to raise the visibility of the value and innovation of independent, rural telecom companies. Since the unification of the rural telecom industry in 2013, Bloomfield has led a strengthened association that speaks with one voice on national issues related to rural telecom, provides education and training to thousands of telco employees and delivers competitive employee benefits programs. In addition to her more than 20 years of service to NTCA, Bloomfield also served for a brief time as senior vice president of federal relations for Qwest and vice president of federal relations for Verizon. Bloomfield serves as a board member of the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative and GlobalWin, an organization of women leaders in the high-tech industry.




Joanna Bloor
The Amplify Lab, formerly of Pandora Radio

Featured Speaker Presentation: Embracing Organizational Change in the Evolving Workplace

With nearly two decades of experience in digital, print, broadcast radio and broadcast television, Joanna Bloor is a veteran of the media space. Her experience encompasses Sales, Sales Management, Operations and Advertising technology. Joanna has worked with both start-ups such as Pandora and OpenTable, and established organizations within the technology, online media, restaurant and retail sectors. Successfully leveraging early successes in sales and management, Joanna has become a nationally recognized expert in advertising operations.

Most recently Joanna was the  Advertising Operations Vice President at Pandora Radio (Pandora.com). In her leadership role Joanna has built the Advertising Operations team, providing direction and guidance to develop and deploy the vision and strategy for sales operations, client services and sales technology. Joanna scaled the team and systems while preparing them for a successful IPO  from $100M annual revenues to over $700M annually in less than 3 years.

Joanna is a member of HiPower, a select group of women corporate leaders focused on accelerating member’s leadership roles from professional success to wide-ranging significance.  HiPower is organized under Leading Women in Technology, dedicated to unleashing the potential of professionals who advise technology businesses and executives.

Joanna is also the  Race MC for Girls on the Run Bay Area. An after school program that educates and builds confidence in young girls through non-competitive, curriculum-based running programs in San Francisco, Marin, Alameda, San Mateo, and Contra Costa Counties.
You can learn more about Joanna at www.joannabloor.com or follow her on Twitter at @joannabloor.



DrDejuDr. Raul Deju
Deju Management Advisors
Chairman and CEO

Featured Speaker Presentation: Change and Innnovation, Helping to Define a Customer’s Experience

Dr. Deju, a native of Cuba, received both his Ph. D. from New Mexico Institute of Technology and published his first text book at age 24 with a major New York publisher. Subsequently he has served as President or CEO of a number of companies he helped take public into the NYSE and other exchanges. As an entrepreneur, he led companies ranging from engineering to construction and from high tech to building materials, energy production, and waste management. These companies today have sales exceeding $100 Billion.

Dr. Deju in 2010 founded the Institute of Entrepreneurial Leadership to help sharpen entrepreneurs to develop their new ventures. 82 companies graduating from this Institute in 2014 had revenues exceeding $1.8 Billion. With AT&T he helped create Operation Hand Salute and Business Reshaping courses that have resulted in nearly 90 company graduates.

Dr. Deju now serves on the Boards of several growing companies, speaks to numerous groups and helps entrepreneurs bring their ideas to fruition through mentorship. He is the author of 6 books and over 200 publications and was named one of the 25 top Hispanics in the San Francisco area. In 2015 he received the John F Kennedy University Lifetime Entrepreneurship Award.



KlausGrobeKlaus Grobe, Ph.D.
ADVA Optical Networking
Director of Global Sustainability

Featured Speaker Presentation: Sustainability Thinking Pays Off; New Framework Drives Game-Changing Ideas

Klaus Grobe received the Dipl.-Ing. and Dr.-Ing. degrees in electrical engineering from Leibniz University, Hannover, Germany, in 1990 and 1998, respectively.

He worked over 20 years in the fields of lightwave guides and WDM. This includes positions as technical staff member at German and pan-European network operators. In 2000, he joined ADVA Optical Networking SE where he now is Director Global Sustainability in the CTO office in Munich, Germany. He is one of the main authors of Wavelength Division Multiplexing – A Practical Engineering Guide (Hoboken, NJ, Wiley, 2014) and authored and co-authored more than 100 technical publications as well as three further book chapters on WDM and PON technologies. His interests include energy efficiency and ways toward Circular Economy in telecommunications. He holds 30 (pending) patents.

Dr. Grobe is senior member of the IEEE Photonics Society, member of the German VDE/ITG and ITG Study Group 5.3.3 on Photonic Networks. He served OFC Subcommittee 10 in 2009-2012, and works in FSAN and ITU T¬ SG15-Q.2 standardization.



Michael HuthartMichael Huthart
ADVA Optical Networking
Director of Operations – Northern Europe

Featured Speaker Presentation: Sustainability Thinking Pays Off; New Framework Drives Game-Changing Ideas

Michael Huthart, Operations Director, has worked for ADVA Optical Networking since 2009.  During this time he has been Director of Operations Northern Europe, managing the total fulfilment process.  Michael is passionate to constantly optimize the supply and deliver networks for UK and Ireland.  His aim is to create mutual wins in customer satisfaction, sustainability, and profitability for customers and ADVA.  Mr. Huthart has 25 years of experience spanning disciplines in mechanical, electrical and electronics engineering. He has held senior operational roles in electronics, aerospace, consumer products, and service industries as well as front-line responsibility for implementing Lean practices in design, manufacturing shop floor and supply networks. Mr. Huthart holds a Master’s degree in Supply Chain Management and Lean Operations.




John Ishak
ZTE Corporation
Quality Director Leader, Handsets & Devices

Featured Speaker Presentation: The Device Handset’s Role in Improving Customer Experiences

John Ishak is a Senior Quality Executive with more than 25 years of quality experience and successful record of accomplishment in Senior Executive Management, Operations, Solutions Development, Quality Assurance, and Supply Chain.

Mr. Ishak leads with his strong collaboration, innovation, and implementation skills while maintaining a focus on customers, operational excellence, and shareholder value.

Mr. Ishak’s areas of expertise include Six Sigma, cost and quality improvement, resource development, safety, and logistics engineering.  One of his primary areas of responsibility is the operational and quality execution.

Before joining ZTE, Mr. Ishak focused on Quality and Process Improvement at Verizon (new breed), Motorola, Xplore Technologies, AST Computer and GRiD System.

Mr. Ishak holds a BS in computer Science from California Institute of technology (Caltech).



JimPentecostJim Pentecost
Power and Telephone Supply Company

Featured Speaker Presentation: Nine to Five to Five 9’s

Jim Pentecost is Chairman of the Board for Power & Tel, a worldwide distributor of communications products that has been serving customers since 1963.  Mr. Pentecost has his BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Tennessee; a MS in Electrical Engineering from Stanford; and finally a MBA from the Ohio State University.  He worked in the Switching Software Design and Test & Field Support departments at Bell Labs for 11 years and Phillips Telecommunications for another three.   In 1985, he took the position of Power & Tel’s President and CEO.  In 2013, he assumed the role of Chairman of the Board.




Andy Ray
Verizon Wireless
Director of Operations

Featured Speaker Presentation: TBD

Andy has 23 years of telecommunications experience and started his career as a mobile switching operator in the US Army.  Following his time in the military, he joined Verizon and has held numerous positions in planning, engineering and operations and is currently the Director of Operations for the Network Support Systems Organization. Andy also holds a BS in Management Science and Information Systems from Penn State University, a diploma from the US Army Signal School and is also a certified Lean Six Sigma Black belt.



ToddSchlekewayTodd Schlekeway
Executive Director

Featured Speaker Presentation: The National Assocation of Tower Erectors: Raising the Bar on Safety & Quality in 2015 and Beyond

Todd Schlekeway serves as the Executive Director of the National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE). As Executive Director, Todd works in unison with the Association’s staff, Board of Directors, volunteer Standing Committees and approximately 810 member companies.

Prior to joining NATE, Todd served in the South Dakota Legislature and also worked for seven years as the founder and principal of a public affairs and communications firm. Todd has extensive experience in the areas of government relations, media relations, event management, strategic planning and budgeting.

Todd resides in Sioux Falls, SD with his wife Jill and three sons.



ScottVowels_2015Scott Vowels
Manager, Global Supplier Diversity

Featured Speaker Presentation: Inspiring Innovation Through Inclusion

Scott A. Vowels, PhD is recognized as a leading expert in the field of Supplier Diversity and is a frequent speaker and panelist on industry issues. Dr. Vowels currently manages the Supplier Diversity Program for Apple and is widely known within the supplier diversity network for successfully leading both the Northern California and Alabama Minority Supplier Development Councils to national prominence as President & CEO. While leading the Alabama Council, Vowels also simultaneously operated a federal Minority Business Opportunity Center for the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency.

Early in his career, Vowels managed procurement and sourcing processes for manufacturing environments within General Motors and has over 20 years of procurement and 10 years of supplier diversity experience. Before entering the corporate workforce, Vowels was on an entirely different career path and traveled extensively as a world-ranked professional tennis player.  He still counts travel among his greatest passions, but when he’s not on the road, Scott resides in Oakland, California.

His latest book, Don’t Be Afraid to Call the Baby Ugly reached #1 on Amazon in both ‘Supplier Diversity’ and ‘Minority Business’ categories.



JimYoungJim Young
Realcomm Conference Group
Founder and CEO

Featured Speaker Presentation: TBD

Jim Young is the co-founder and producer of Realcomm, the world’s leading conference on technology, automated business solutions, intelligent buildings and energy efficiency for executives in commercial and corporate real estate. As Realcomm’s visionary leader and rainmaker, he leads the organization and interacts on a daily basis with contacts globally at some of the biggest companies in the world pertaining to some of the most advanced and progressive next generation real estate projects under development.

With over 19 years’ experience in real estate and technology, Jim has been involved in some of the most important projects in the industry. He has spoken to over 150,000 professionals and has authored more than 200 articles on the topic of technology, automation and innovation. Most recently, Jim has developed the Integrated Enterprise Architecture, a strategic roadmap for information systems in the commercial real estate industry.

Jim started his career early around real estate and technology when he developed a keen interest on Walt Disney’s EPCOT project in Orlando where became aware of the potential of a future community that blended the power of technology with innovative design. After EPCOT, he focused on Ken Sakamura and TRON, a Japanese version of the smart community and finally, Smart House Limited, a North American group focused on smart homes and communities.

One of Jim’s first professional positions came with Wang Laboratories where he worked with some of the early visionaries developing technology that would be the basis of many of the Internet functionality we see today. An Wang and Walt Disney were the two primary visionaries that help shape Jim’s thinking on the subject and relationship between technology and real estate.

In the early ‘90s, Jim was director of strategy for Sperry Van Ness where he developed one of the most state-of-the-art business information systems for the company. At a time when email was just being introduced, a rules- based email system and 10+ additional applications including a centralized, image based listing database were considered to be the most advanced in the industry. He also designed and implemented a distressed property database that helped the company grow while most saw their business decline rapidly due to poor market conditions. This system and the subsequent business results helped to secure a lucrative relationship with the Resolution Trust Corporation.
In 1995, Jim founded the James Group, a real estate technology consulting firm. Until 1999, the company worked with clients such as CB Richard Ellis, Jones Lang LaSalle, The Irvine Company and others in helping to set the strategic direction of the IT departments of these organizations. Later, Jim and his partners spun off two organizations from this organization: Realcomm, what is now considered the world’s largest conference on real estate, technology, automation and Innovation and REApplications, a SAAS platform that was designed to help automate every business function in a commercial real estate brokerage operation. Realcomm to this day remains the world’s most prominent conference and leading source on the topic of real estate technology and has held events and led study tours around the world looking for the most advanced practices at the intersection of real estate and technology. REApplications was sold to Loopnet in 2008.  He lives in Carlsbad, California with his wife and two daughters and is active in his faith.


2015 Americas Best Practices Conference Small Business Workshop Speakers

JoannaBloorJoanna Bloor
The Amplify Lab, formerly of Pandora Radio

Small Business Workshop Presentation: Supply Chain 2020: Position Your Small Business for Future Growth

See “Featured Speakers” for Joanna’s biography!



AnnetteDonofrioAnnette Donofrio
Verizon Wireless
Manager NSS Quality Assurance

Small Business Workshop Presentation: Supply Chain 2020: Position Your Small Business for Future Growth

Annette Donofrio currently manages the Network Support Systems (NSS) Quality Assurance (QA) team within Verizon Wireless.  NSS QA is responsible for ensuring that high quality standards are maintained within the tools and applications that monitor and provide data from the Verizon Wireless Network.  Ms. Donofrio was hired into Verizon Wireless in 2012 to build this newly formed QA function within NSS and was tasked with designing the processes by which the team operates, as well as ramping up Automation Testing efforts to maximize efficiency.

Prior to joining Verizon Wireless, Ms. Donofrio held several Executive positions in smaller companies leading Technical and Corporate Operations in the Financial Industry, the Managed Messaging Industry and the Computer Telephony Industry. Donofrio has over 25 years of experience in the ICT industry with over 15 years of experience building several technology functions in startup companies, including Technical Project Management, Operations, SW Development, QA, Build & Release, Client Services, Accounting (AR/AP) and Human Resources.
Ms. Donofrio was instrumental in the formation of Longitude Inc.  Longitude is a Financial Services company, which built a derivatives trading system for Wall St. clients such as Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, NYMEX and others.   At the company inception, Donofrio personally led the Executive Team through the activities of developing and documenting the business processes which were used as the foundation for the business.

Prior to her management experience, Ms. Donofrio was a technical contributor in the Computer Telephony field for more than 10 years as a Software Engineer at Bellcore Applied Research Labs and Dialogic Inc.  Donofrio holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, an M.S. in Computer Science and an M.S. in Technology Management.



ReneeDowisRenee Dowis
Director of Strategic Sourcing

Small Business Workshop Presentation: Supply Chain 2020: Position Your Small Business for Future Growth

Director of Strategic Sourcing, Renee Dowis oversees procurement activities for CenturyLink’s Network.  Her role includes supplier negotiations, management, performance, risk and compliance.
Dowis has over 15 years of finance and leadership experience, consistently leading her team to deliver material savings.
Dowis currently serves as the President on Colorado Women Empowered Board and is an active member of the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce.  Prior to joining CenturyLink, Dowis held roles within Embarq and Sprint.



MikeHuggenberger_15DirectorMike Huggenberger
Great Plains Communication
Senior Director – Technology and Network Services

Small Business Workshop Presentation: Supply Chain 2020: Position Your Small Business for Future Growth

Mike Huggenberger is the Senior Director – Technology and Engineering Services for Great Plains Communications, Inc. in Blair, Nebraska – a privately owned telecommunications company that provides voice, internet, CATV, and network services in the Nebraska. His current responsibilities include managing the following engineering support staffs: Information Technologies, IP Engineering, CATV Engineering, Central Office Engineering, and the corporate Network Operations Center.

Mike has been an IT and networking professional for 42 years. He has held various technical and managerial positions with three Fortune 500 companies in the Omaha, Nebraska area: Mutual of Omaha, CenturyLink (US WEST), and ConAgra. Mike has been employed at Great Plains since June, 2000. He has a master’s degree in Computer Systems Management from Creighton University and a master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Telecommunications from the University of Colorado. Mike is also certified business continuity planner (from Disaster Recovery Institute International) and he has been an adjunct professor at the College of St. Mary in Omaha for the past 15 years.



RolandTunezRoland Tunez
Assistant Vice President – Technology Sourcing & Supplier Divers

Small Business Workshop Presentation: Supply Chain 2020: Position Your Small Business for Future Growth

Roland has 36 years of service with BellSouth, Cingular Wireless and AT&T. Roland Tunez was appointed Assistant Vice President for the AT&T Network Contracting team in August 2010. Roland and his team directly supports supply chain management and strategic sourcing operations for all network infrastructure hardware and software purchases in support of AT&T’s wire line and wireless national networks and AT&T’s Domain 2.0 program.  Roland is also responsible for AT&T’s Supplier Diversity program.

Roland’s first 17 years were in Network Operations, Miami, Florida where he started in 1979 as an Installation and Repair Technician and was promoted to Installation Supervisor and Staff Area Manager. In 1996 Roland was appointed as the Geographic Market Manager for Small Business Operations, Florida. In this position, he helped integrate network capabilities into solutions for the Small Business Market Segment. He also helped with the development of Hispanic Small Business Marketing initiatives. In 1999 Roland transitioned to Cingular Wireless Mobility Operations. While in Cingular Wireless, Roland was the Director of Network Supply Chain and Purchasing Operations where he helped implement the GSM technology. He was also the Director of Provisioning Quality Assurance and the Director of Cingular Wireless’ National Project Management team where he helped to implement Cingular Wireless’ national E-911 location solution. He also served as the Director over the Mobility Technology Enablement team and the Mobility Inter-Operability Testing program.  Most recently Roland was the Director of Mobility Network Contracting where he led the sourcing team for AT&T’s LTE technology.

Roland earned a Bachelor’s Degree with a dual major in Business Management & International Business from Florida International University. He also holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration from NOVA Southeastern University.



ScottVowels_2015Scott Vowels
AManager, Global Supplier Diversity

Small Business Workshop Presentation: Supply Chain 2020: Position Your Small Business for Future Growth

See “Featured Speakers” for Scott’s biography!


2015 Americas Best Practices Conference Best Practices Panel Speakers:

Session Topic: Manufacturing/Process Excellence
HannahKainHannah Kain
President and CEO

Manufacturing/Process Excellence Topic: Brave New World of Supply Chain Risk and Brand Management

Hannah Kain is President and CEO of ALOM, a global supply chain management leader serving Fortune 100 clients. Ms. Kain has won numerous business leadership awards including the 2014 Eclipse Award for Supplier Diversity, 2013 Stevie Award as best global woman-owned company, 2012 WBENC Women’s Business Enterprise Star, and 2011 Vistage International Member Leadership Award.

She is a Board member of the National Association of Manufacturers, on the Advisory Council of the Global Supply Chain Leaders Group, a Board member of Watermark and a member of the exclusive Committee of 200 for executive women. Ms. Kain holds three university degrees.



ChrisRodgers-_BWChris Rodgers
Teltech Communications
Senior Vice President of Operations & Logistics

Manufacturing/Process Excellence Topic: Breathing New Life into End of Life

Chris Rodgers is the Senior Vice-President of Operations and Logistics at Teltech Communications.  Since joining Teltech in 2012, Chris has been responsible for Teltech’s forward and reverse logistics programs, commercial recycling, and project management functions for Teltech’s Asset Recovery and End-of-Life programs.

In his role as SVP, Chris helps to ensure that Teltech clients receive the maximum value for their network assets through Teltech’s extensive ‘Reuse, Refurbish and Recycle’ capabilities.  Chris and his team have been responsible for landfill reductions of over 72 million lbs. in total.  As a result of Teltech’s End-of-Life capabilities for network assets Teltech clients have received over $24 million in proceeds from Teltech’s asset recovery program.

Prior to joining Teltech, Chris was with Sprint for over a decade and held leadership positions as a Logistics & Operations Manager, Project Manager, and Program Manager.

Chris is a graduate of the University of Central Missouri and holds a Bachelors of Science in Aviation Technology and a Master’s in Aviation Safety.



DannyWade-BW-2Danny Wade
Teltech Communications
President of Teltech Communications LLC and GrayWolves Telecom

Manufacturing/Process Excellence Topic: Breathing New Life into End of Life

Danny Wade is the President of Teltech Communications LLC and GrayWolves Telecom.  Danny brings over 32 years of telecommunications leadership and experience to Teltech and GrayWolves.  Danny joined the company in 2010 and assisted in the creation and start-up of GrayWolves Telecom in 2012.  GrayWolves is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Teltech focused on Telecom Field and Engineering Services.

Prior to joining Teltech, Danny served as a Telecom Industry Consultant for numerous clients in a variety of areas (Supply Chain, Organization Development & Strategy and Business Development & Strategy).
From early 2007 through mid 2010, Danny was the President and Chief Operating Officer for Goodman Networks and played a major role in Goodman’s growth and success from a sub $100M company to a $500M company during that period.  Prior to Goodman, Danny was Group Vice-President, Operations, Services & Quality for Alcatel from early 2005 to early 2007. During his 17 year career at Alcatel and DSC Communications, Danny held numerous senior operational, engineering and supply chain roles. Danny started his career at AT&T Technologies in 1983.

Danny Wade is a senior member of the University of Oklahoma, Industrial Engineering Advisory Board and a member of University of Texas – Dallas, Center for Intelligent Supply Networks (C4iSN) Advisory Board.
Danny holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Oklahoma.



RonnaSmithZahnerRonna Smith-Zahner
Global Operations Head of Continuous Improvement and Innovation

Manufacturing/Process Excellence Topic: Path to Excellence in Nokia Networks Manufacturing Operations

Ronna is currently the Head of Continuous Improvement and Innovation for Nokia Networks Global Operations.    Ronna has held various roles in R&D and Quality and most recently Manufacturing Operations and Global Operations.   She has over 25 years of Telecom experience and has worked at Lucent Technologies Bell Laboratories and Motorola before joining NSN/Nokia in 2012.  Her primary areas of responsibility have been Quality, R&D, System Verification and Test, and Project Management.

Ronna holds a Bachelor’s of Science Degree from Northern Illinois University and a Master’s of Science Degree from Kansas State University, both in Computer Science.  She has also completed advanced business programs at Simmons College and Duke University.  Ronna has completed Green Belt and Black Belt training and is a certified EFQM Assessor and has completed Lean training with Kaizen Institute.



Session Topic: Business Excellence


Aaron M. Braun
Senior Manager Global Quality

Business Excellence Presentation: Operational Excellence with Lean Automated Emerging Issues ‘Quality Hot List’

Aaron has over 15 years of cross-functional leadership spanning IT and Quality roles in the Banking and High Tech Design & Manufacturing Industries. He provides leadership within the business unit as much as within IT, and uniquely equipped to bridge the gap. Acutely in-tune with business needs, he has a passion for building process & technology strategies to meet immediate objectives while enabling continuous capability evolution with minimal waste.  Aaron holds an MBA with specializations in Finance and International Studies, a BSA in Management Information Systems, and is a certified Project Manager (PMP) and Six Sigma Master Black Belt.




Shashi Kaligotla
Tata Communications Transformation Service
Vice President

Business Excellence Presentation: Improving Operational Efficiency through reducing cost of Poor Quality

Over the last 18 years, Shashi has been passionately working with Telcos across North America in consulting for operational excellence. A strong believer that best practices and known errors from various Telcos should be shared across for further optimizing a disciplined operations environment. He has spoken at several international conferences across the globe and is popular for his technology stories. In his quest to consult, audit, discover and propagate, Shashi has traveled various Telcos across rural America while discovering his own liking to the raw natural untouched geographic landscapes across this terrain.

Shashi is an engineering graduate with masters in business administration from the University of South Florida. He believes in a value driven education system for children and an active Project Cornerstone proponent. His social channels can be seen dedicated to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).



SubramanyamRanganathanSubramanyam Ranganathan
Master Black Belt & Quality Manager

Business Excellence Presentation: Design Thinking Achieves Customer Alignment, Product Robustness, and Reduced Defects.

SUBRAMANYAM RANGANATHAN is a Master Black Belt at Nokia with 20+ years experience in the high-tech industry including Motorola. He was the Vice Chair of the CDMA Development Group Interoperability Specification (IOS) Team for several years. He has a Masters in Electrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Science and an MBA in Marketing & Strategy from Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University.


2015 Americas Best Practices Conference Executive Service Provider Panel – Emerging Trends Fact or Fiction Speakers


John Greene
New Lisbon Telephone Company
CEO and General Manager

Executive Service Provider Panel Presentation: Emerging Trends Fact or Fiction

John Greene is the CEO for New Lisbon Telephone Company, located in New Lisbon, Indiana. NLTC is one of the oldest telecommunications providers in the state, founded in 1901. As CEO, he oversees the vision and strategy for NLTC, as well as managing the financial, regulatory, marketing, and technology needs of the company.

John has over 35 years of experience in the telecommunications industry in engineering, construction, and operations. He began his career as an engineer with AT&T (pre-divestiture) and held post divestiture management positions with both BellSouth and Bellcore. He has also held senior management positions with numerous CLECs, ILECs, and utility-oriented contractors and consultants. John previously held the position of Chief Engineer with Great Plains Communications, a large Tier 3 telecommunications provider in Nebraska. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in General Science from North Central College and an Information Networking Certificate from Carnegie-Mellon University.
John currently resides in Indiana while his wife Maurita and son Jonathan still reside in Nebraska, pending their move. He has been an active leader in many community efforts, and in numerous locations, including School Board Member, Boy Scout Adult Leader, YMCA Basketball Coach, and founder and Director of the Washington County Robotics Club, which helps teach the STEM initiatives to children ages 5 to 18.



AndyRayAndy Ray
Verizon Wireless
Director of Operations

Executive Service Provider Panel Presentation: Emerging Trends Fact or Fiction

See “Featured Speakers” for Andy’s biography!



MattRotter_15DirectorsMatt Rotter
Senior Vice President, Network Operations

Executive Service Provider Panel Presentation: Emerging Trends Fact or Fiction

Matt Rotter is a telecommunications industry veteran with more than 24 years of leadership in network operations, planning, engineering, construction, service delivery, product management and marketing.

As Senior Vice President of the Network Reliability Operations Center & National Field Operations, Matt is responsible for the reliability and stability of all network elements used by the Consumer, Business and Wholesale Markets organizations through the performance of the Network Operations Centers (NOCs). He also is responsible for the operational excellence of CenturyLink products, voice and data networks, and hosted customer IVR platforms, as well as for ensuring the integration of NOC surveillance and support across the company.

Prior to his Network Operations role, Matt held several leadership positions in various disciplines:
• Responsible for all local planning, engineering and construction activity for the 15-state western operations region
• Managed multi-state field installation, repair, dispatch, central office, engineering and construction operations
• Managed several successful product management initiatives, including local broadband, DirecTV partnership, and local data and voice Consumer and Business product portfolios.




Brad Spencer
TELUS Communications
Director, National Network Integrity

Executive Service Provider Panel Presentation: Emerging Trends Fact or Fiction

Brad Spencer is Director, National Network Integrity at TELUS Communications. He accepted this position in December 2009 and is responsible for TELUS’ tier 3 operational support of TELUS’ national core networks including Voice, Data and Mobility.

Prior, Spencer was Director, National Planning & Engineering, a position he assumed in 2004 after 15 years within the Planning and Engineering department at TELUS. Brad joined TELUS after earning his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Saskatchewan in 1989 and has continued his education with leadership programs from Queens University, Banff School of Management and most recently University of Southern California.

Brad’s personal interests are: leading the Graduate Engineering Program at TELUS and being an active and proficient private pilot of his single engine airplane which fits well into his enjoyment of traveling with his wife and daughter.


2015 Americas Best Practices Conference Executive Supplier Panel – Emerging Trends, Technology Innovations Speakers

100crop_5500622e821ff_DeeptiAroraDeepti Arora
Vice President, Quality

Executive Supplier Panel Presentation: Emerging Trends, Technology Innovations

Deepti Arora is the Vice President of Nokia Networks Quality. As a member of the Networks Leadership Team, she is a transformational leader, focused on making quality a strategic force and a differentiator. End to end Quality Management makes this assignment both a challenge and an opportunity to which Deepti brings her rare combination of experiences in quality, business operations, engineering, sales and general management.

Prior to joining Nokia in 2011, Deepti held positions of increasing responsibility with Motorola, including roles leading Wireless Networks Global Quality, Motorola Mobility’s Platform Quality & Product Performance, and the Motorola Software Group’s Business Operations. Earlier in her career, Deepti managed regional sales and technical support for the Xerox Corporation.

Over the years, Deepti’s technical expertise and business acumen have been recognized in various ways. Of particular note, she was named a “Top 100 Executive Leader” by Diversity MBA and has delivered keynotes at a number of global conferences. Additional honors include receiving a Women’s Leadership Award, an Outstanding Achievement Award and a number of Corporate Recognition Awards.

Deepti holds a Masters in Business Administration, a Masters in Philosophy and a Bachelor’s in Economics. She is also a graduate of a number of executive programs with the London Business School, the Center for Creative Leadership and the Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Deepti lives in Illinois where she enjoys music, theater and the outdoors with her husband and two children.



MotoyoshiSekiyaMotoyoshi Sekiya
Fujitsu Laboratories
Director of Fujitsu Laboratories Japan

Executive Supplier Panel Presentation: Emerging Trends, Technology Innovations

Motoyoshi Sekiya is a research principal at Fujitsu Laboratories Limited.  He received B.S. and M.S.

degrees in electrical engineering from Keio University, Tokyo,Japan, in 1988 and 1990, respectively. After he entered Fujitsu Limited 1990, he engaged in development of 10Gbps transceiver/receiver, WDM system and WDM network design software etc.

In 2010, Sekiya san moved to Fujitsu Labs America as a director and led the research activities in flexible optical network, SDN and high-capacity transmission. He moved to Fujitsu Laboratories Limited in 2015 and engaged in research for SDN, NfV and Network applications to realize more functional networking.

Sekiya san served as TPC for conferences such as,Globecom2015 Communication QoS and Reliability and modeling, OFC2012,2013,2014, Globecom2013 workshop SDN for optics, iPOP2013,2014,2015, ONDM2015, etc.  He has over 70 patents in the field of optical communication and network.




John Shelnutt
Cisco Systems, Inc.
Vice President / General Manager – Mobility Domain Leader

Executive Supplier Panel Presentation: Emerging Trends, Technology Innovations

John Shelnutt joined Cisco in August 2011 with responsibility for the strategy and engagements with AT&T.  In August 2015, he was named Cisco’s Mobility Domain leader with global responsibility for the strategy and service provider engagements for all things mobile at Cisco. This solution portfolio encompasses applications, analytics, mobile packet core, policy, SON, small cells, WiFi, IOE, M2M, and Meraki focused on customer outcomes.

With over 25 years of experience in the telecommunications industry, John has a demonstrated the ability to drive both strategy and execution in large complex environments.  John has the expertise, knowledge of the Service Provider industry and with deep relationships necessary as we transform our business to SDN/NFV, software driven, and services.

Prior to joining Cisco, John spent 12 years in executive leadership roles at Alcatel/ALU starting their global DSL success then transition to running Alcatel’s Mobility business in the US. Immediately prior to joining Cisco, he spent the last three years as the Executive Vice President of Sales and Business Development of Goodman Networks.

John is active with Cisco of North Texas as the Executive Site Leader caring for the Richardson Campus and the NTX Cisco family. He is also the Executive Sponsor for the NTX Cisco Connected Women resource group. In the community, he is an elected Member of the Board of Directors for Junior Achievement (JA) of Dallas, is a member of the Executive Leadership Team for the American Heart Association of NTX, and is a member of the Board of Governor’s for Stonebridge Country Club. He is a former elected Board Member of ATIS, a former Board Member of the Broadband Forum, and a former Advisory member for the Distance Learning Association and was an advisor to the City of New York Public Schools Technology group.

John lives in McKinney, TX with his wife Kim of 27 year and his son, Griffin plus three dogs and has a daughter Tyler, who is a Texas A&M graduate and teaching school outside of Austin, TX.   Kim and John like to spend time together and with their family and both are active in their community and active tennis players.


2015 Americas Best Practices Conference Session Topic: Customer Experience Speakers


Jason Becker
Verizon Wireless
Principle Engineer – Project Management Implementation, Wireline

Customer Experience Presentation: Quality Measurement Framework Puts the End User in Focus

Jason Becker is a Project Manager currently focusing on next generation Voice over IP implementations. In this role, Jason is responsible for the timely delivery of VoIP solutions to make the Verizon Global Networks even more robust and reliable in order to win customers every day by exceeding their expectations.

With over 15 years of experience in the Telecommunications industry, Jason has held technical positions ranging from Helpdesk Technician to Network Architect.  Jason has also held a variety of management positions including Project/Program manager, Vendor Liaison, Technical Writer and Tier-3 Customer Ombudsman.  Jason holds a strong educational foundation in the telecommunications industry with a Master of Science degree in Information Systems and a host of technical Vendor certifications.



PatEkstromPat Ekstrom
Quality Manager

Customer Experience Presentation: Major Cellular Provider 3 year Quality Turnaround

Pat has 35 years of Telecommunication experience covering real time software development, system test, customer technical support, and business/product quality.  She graduated in 1983 from Wayne State University with a degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.  A certified 6 sigma professional, she holds certificates as both a Black Belt and Master Black Belt.  Her current business role in Nokia is twofold, Customer advocate/quality manager for 2 major cellular providers and North American Market (NAM) business Continuous improvement Mentor and Coach for the NAM 6 sigma certification program.  She is married with 5 adult children, 4 sons and 1 daughter.




Maria Eriksson
Senior Director of Performance Frameworks

Customer Experience Presentation: Quality Measurement Framework Puts the End User in Focus

Maria Eriksson is appointed Senior Director of Performance Frameworks within Ericsson including responsibility for the worldwide Ericsson Group Management System and non-technical standards at Ericsson (e.g. ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001 and TL 9000).

Prior to her appointment at Ericsson Corporate level, Mrs. Eriksson was responsible for quality frameworks at Ericsson largest Business Unit – Networks.

Mrs. Eriksson joined Ericsson in 1995 and started by working in the area of technical development of Radio products. Mrs. Eriksson has thereafter held various leadership positions and has gained a broad experience working with in depth quality issues with organizations varying in size and scope and tasks spanning from quality in the perspectives of products, services and solutions.

Mrs. Eriksson has worked in many different constellations and (virtual) organizations thus building an extensive professional network and has gained in depth knowledge from the Operational Development and quality area.

She has extensive experience as Chairman of different leadership teams and is used to lead work in distributed organizations by motivating and empowering teams to accomplish tasks outlined. Mrs. Eriksson has a Technical Licentiate Degree in Quality from the Institute of Technology at Linkoping University.

Mrs. Eriksson is dedicated to using quality as a vehicle for technology leadership and incorporating the quality area as an important aspect into the global Strategy. Maria Eriksson has been working as Chair of the QuEST Forum branch in Europe, the EMEA Region during 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.



NoahGraysonNoah Grayson
Walker Information
Principal, Senior Vice President

Customer Experience Presentation: Measuring CX – Going Beyond Surveys Measure and Monitor Customer Experiences

Noah Grayson leads Walker’s consulting services practice which is made up of customer strategists, analysts, and managers that work with companies to improve business performance through the implementation of effective customer strategies. With more than 20 years of experience at Walker, he has specialized in long-term client relationships in the communications and technology industries, including computer hardware and software, networking, Internet, telecommunications, and cable television. Within QuEST Forum he has been instrumental in the ongoing implementation of the organization’s Member Value Studies. Grayson has been involved with QuEST Forum for more than ten years.



NawidaMartinozziNawida Martinozzi
Lead Senior System/Customer Program Manager and Executive Custom

Customer Experience Presentation: Major Cellular Provider 3 year Quality Turnaround

Nawida has 20 years of Telecommunication experience covering Customer & System Program Management, Executive Customer support, Product Line & Release Management, Integration Services, Operation & Maintenance, Technical support. She has extensive international Experience in managing complex communication & technical situations with Customers/teams. She has excellent leadership in line management & Program management. She graduated in Dec. 1992 from Kabul International University with a degree of Electrical/Electronics Engineering. Her current business role in Nokia is as Senior System Program Manager & head of Strategic Customer Projects in the Business Unit to ensure successful execution & delivery of IMS/VoLTE/VoWiFi solutions to important Customer Projects in USA & Europe. She is married with 3 children, 2 girls and a boy.


2015 Americas Best Practices Conference Session Topic: Methodologies Speakers

TonyBieniekTony Bieniek
Manager, Access Test and Certification Labs

Methodologies Presentation: Agile Methodologies to Reduce Lab Cycle-Time and Improve Product Quality

Tony is the Manager of the Access Test and Certification Labs for CenturyLink.  His team is responsible for final approval of all xDSL and GPON equipment including consumer RGs and business CPE. Tony’s team has a secondary duty to Operations as Tier 4 support which includes providing initial turn-up documentation of new products and system code upgrades.  Including his 15 years of Access Test and Deployment experience, Tony holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Minnesota.



BobBretallBob Bretall
The Desara Group
Enterprise Agile Consultant

Methodologies Presentation: Agile Requirements: Built to Change

Bob Bretall has is passionate about building high performance software delivery teams and specializes in helping companies right-size and implement efficient software processes tailored to their needs.  He has over 30 years of industry experience as a developer, manager, instructor and implementation mentor/coach helping to improve all phases of the software development lifecycle.  He has supported leadership teams in developing and deploying targeted improvements to software development that have resulted in reductions to total cost of software creation, increased quality, and improved customer satisfaction.



KentDarziKent Darzi
Director, Engineering

Methodologies Presentation: Agile Methodologies to Reduce Lab Cycle-Time and Improve Product Quality

Mr. Darzi is the Director of Engineering, Global and Strategic Development at ADTRAN, Inc.  He is responsible for managing key R&D efforts across ADTRAN’s Global centers.  The groups managed by Mr. Darzi help ensure a strategic product portfolio, as well as help to improve overall product quality. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from University of Alabama-Huntsville and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Alabama.



TimWoodcomeTim Woodcome
National Quality Assurance, NQA

Methodologies Presentation: Applying Risk-Based Thinking to TL 9000 Requirements

Tim is the Managing Director of the ISO 9001 and TL 9000 Certification Programs for NQA, a leading global certification body.  He is also an ISO 9001 Lead and TL 9000 TIEA auditor.  Tim is currently managing the ISO 9001:2015 Transition for NQA’s certification activities and has been deeply involved in the revision to the standard for the past couple years.


2015 Americas Best Practices Conference Peer Guide/New Member Lunch Speaker


Mike Childress
Palco Telecom Service
Vice President of Operations and Quality

Presentation: TL 9000 Registration Process Journey

Mike is the Vice President of Operations & Quality at PALCO Telecom Services, a comprehensive telecommunications and data network supply chain solution provider.

Mike joined Palco in 1998 and is responsible for TL 9000 QMS registration, customer and supplier qualifications, social and environmental health and safety programs at PALCO.

Prior to joining PALCO, Mike spent 20 years in key positions with Intergraph Corporation and GTE Communication Systems, serving as the key interface with customers from around the world in the resolution of quality issues.


2015 Americas Best Practices Conference TL 9000 Workshop Speakers


Laura Coplon
Quality Assurance Manager

Workshop: Validation Audit Results and Responses

Laura Coplon has been involved in the QuEST Forum since 1996, is a QuEST Forum SME and Leads the AB/CB Subteam Meeting. She manages Coriant’s Quality Assurance Program. Previously, Laura has worked in management and quality management roles in several industries to include legal, real estate, financial printing, and prepress. She has worked in the telecommunications industry since 1994.



100crop_5500645a572cf_KenKoffmanKen Koffman
Viavi Solutions
Global Business Quality Officer & VP Business Excellence

Workshop: PDR Workshop

Ken Koffman is a customer-focused results-oriented executive with an excellent technical background and over 30 years of Telecom management experience. As the Quality Officer at JDSU, Ken oversees the creation and optimization of all corporate key processes and the measurement system that drives continual improvement and maximizes customer satisfaction for this cutting edge innovator. Before joining JDSU, Ken had a similar role at BigBand Networks, successfully building a robust quality system for the video networking pioneer. Prior to that, Ken had several diverse management responsibilities at Bell Labs and Siemens, covering all aspects of complex product development and support – from systems architecture to 7×24 Service. He oversaw strategic planning, balanced score card design, and QMS implementation, while serving QuEST as an SME and team leader. Ken is a charter member of QuEST, an author of both handbooks, an Executive Board Director, and an acknowledged industry expert. He is the Board’s liaison and an active participant in the Oversight & IGQ Workgroups and Board champion for the Performance Data Report improvements initiative.



NancyPatterson2Nancy Patterson
Quality Manager

Workshop: R6.0 Requirements

Nancy Patterson is in the Corporate Quality & Customer Satisfaction organization at Alcatel-Lucent.  She has 19 years experience in telecom ranging from technical writing, software configuration management, project management, and quality management.  Her QuEST Forum Roles include Co-Secretary of IGQ, both MHB and RHB Scrub teams Chair, OSWG Recognition Subteam Chair, and Americas BPC Coaching Chair.  Nancy is also a certified lead auditor and a certified TL 9000 Expert.  She holds a BS Degree from Texas Woman’s University.



100crop_55146bda73d0d_JohnWronka-updateJohn Wronka
Senior Director, Corporate Quality

Workshop: Impact of NFV on TL 9000, PDR Workshop

John Wronka is a Senior Director of Alcatel-Lucent’s Corporate Quality Management System and TL 9000/ISO 9001 multi-site certification. In this role, John has led several corporate wide programs to improve efficiency and customer satisfaction. John has had the privilege of QuEST Forum participation including various roles from leading subteams (e.g. Bylaws in Oversight), to secretary/chair roles of IGQ (responsible for TL 9000 technical content). He has also successfully led executive board initiatives such as the “Top 20”, which resulted in today’s Membership team, the Mentor Program, which became the “Jump Start” program, the individual TL certification programs – John is a certified TL 9000 expert himself – and most recently the Performance Data Report team.


2015 Americas Best Practices Conference TL 9000 Workshop Speakers – “50 – NO! 12 Shades of Transition through ISO 9001:2015”


Ed Bryan
Software Quality Engineer

Workshop: 50 – NO! 12 Shades of Transition through ISO 9001:2015

Ed Bryan is a seasoned ICT professional with more than 12 years in Quality.  As Quality Manager, he is responsible for measuring customer experience and employee engagement for a variety of programs inside ADTRAN. Ed has held several QuEST Forum leadership council positions including TBE co-chair, OSWG co-chair, BPC planning chair.  He is currently the America region co-chair.  Ed is also active in the IGQ workgroup, leading sub teams focused on Customer Satisfaction benchmarking, TL 9000 R6.0 requirements, and member participation.
Ed is passionate about his role within QuEST Forum and is dedicated to the success and growth of the organization as well as the TL9000 standard.

Ed is ASQ certified in both software quality engineering and Quality Management. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Florida.


SherondaJeffriesSheronda Jeffries
Cisco Systems, Inc.
TL 9000 Program Manager

Workshop: 50 – NO! 12 Shades of Transition through ISO 9001:2015

Sheronda is responsible for providing internal consulting support at Cisco Systems, Inc.   Prior to joining Cisco Systems, Sheronda was a third-party quality auditor and a consultant to Fortune 500 companies, specializing in quality management systems implementation and auditing.

Sheronda holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from NC A&T State University.  In addition, she is a Certified Quality Auditor and a Senior Member of ASQ.  Sheronda is a Certified TL 9000 Expert, a key developer of the QuEST Forum sanctioned TL 9000 training courses, and a QuEST Forum Supervisory Master Trainer.

Sheronda is a charter member of ASQ’s Quality Audit Division and an ASQ Audit Division Regional Councilor.  She is also a current Work Group Co-Chair and co-leads a number of QuEST Forum Sub-Teams including Strategic Relationships and TL 9000 Barriers.



Karen Rawson
The DESARA Group
Vice President

Workshop: 50 – NO! 12 Shades of Transition through ISO 9001:2015

Karen Rawson has helped companies develop and implement efficient, effective processes for over 20 years. As a consultant, manager and business owner who specializes in serving global corporations in high-technology fields, Karen has supported leadership teams in developing and deploying business strategies that have led to significant improvements in cost, quality, and customer satisfaction.


Dave Sanicola

Dave Sanicola
The DESARA Group

Workshop: 50 – NO! 12 Shades of Transition through ISO 9001:2015

Dave Sanicola is President of The DESARA Group, a telecommunications industry-consulting firm that helps organizations improve in operations, product development, and supply chain management. With over 35 years experience as a software
engineer, business owner, manager, and consultant, Dave has led numerous organizations through the complex process of developing and improving management systems and aligning resources to achieve quality objectives.

Industry Experience: Through The DESARA Group and in previous positions with SAI Global, Excel Partnership and Underwriters Laboratories, Dave has had broad experience with design, manufacturing, and service organizations throughout the telecommunications industry.  His clients include US service providers as well as global suppliers of hardware, software, and services ranging from top tier to small businesses.  A particular specialty through The DESARA Group has been conducting forensic quality system investigations, in which organizational practices are analyzed in depth to identify and correct the root cause of failures.  Dave has supported numerous organizations to implement TL 9000, including several large-scale global organizations.

QuEST Forum Background: Active participant since 1999 (IGQ, OSWG, & GBE); Participant in multiple workgroup sup teams (Training, AB/CB, Product Category Table, Validation Audits); Secretary of the OSWG; Contributing author to TL 9000 Requirements and Measurements Handbooks; Certified TL 9000 Expert; TL 9000 Supervisory Master Trainer; Developer/contributor to multiple versions of QuEST Forum Sanctioned Training Courses; Speaker at multiple Best Practices Conference workshops; QuEST Forum Executive Contributor; Project Leader for Quest Forum Academy Implementation.