Advisory Board Members
Advisory Board Biographies
Brenna Berman serves as Executive Director of the City Tech Collaborative, an IoT urban infrastructure lab that transforms cities into testbeds for new ideas. City Tech remakes essential services and infrastructure, from skills to skyscrapers and expands those solutions to other cities, thus increasing the world’s odds of solving big, urban problems. City Tech is currently easing subway congestion during large events; creating a digital map of Chicago’s underground; and launching a digital directory of public health services in Chicago.
Prior to joining City Tech, Brenna served in Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration, which she joined in 2011. She served as the Chief Information Officer for the City and Commissioner for the Department of Innovation & Technology (DoIT) from 2012 to spring of 2017. In that time, she focused on transforming the team at DoIT to provide the skills and expertise to implement the Mayor’s vision of data-driven resident services and of a more efficient, effective, and innovative City government. This meant adding new skills to the team to increase the focus on software engineering and analytics, improving the department’s commercial partnerships to drive savings for the City, and identifying ground-breaking civic partnerships.
During her tenure as CIO, Brenna delivered on the Mayor’s commitment to a robust open data program, integrated advanced analytics into many city departments, drove IoT innovation for the City through unique partnerships at UI LABS and the founding of the Midwest IoT Council, and, in partnership with the University of Chicago, realized the vision of urban-scale sensing with the Array of Things.
Prior to joining the Emanuel Administration, Brenna built a career promoting government innovation over 10 years at IBM, where she worked closely with government agencies in cities and countries across the world to leverage technology and analytics to improve the services they provide to their residents. She advised governments on a variety of issues, from targeting personalized services through analytics to normalizing program offerings to simplify the delivery process and make them understandable to residents. Throughout her time at IBM, Brenna tailored cutting-edge business and data models, from processes to analytic algorithms for large government organizations in order to accelerate their own modernization efforts, providing an incredibly valuable skill set for the work she continues at UI LABS.
Brenna earned her bachelor’s degree and Masters in Public Policy from the University of Chicago.
Andrea L. Berry (CS ’84)
Ms. Berry is the senior vice president, Broadcast Operations, Fox Network Engineering & Operations in Los Angeles. Her team is responsible for all Fox broadcast operations and transmissions that support the Fox network and its cable entities. Previously, she was responsible for the remote technical operations of the live broadcasts of major sporting events for Fox and Fox Sports Net, including high profile events such as the Super Bowl and World Series. Her teams have won several Emmy awards for outstanding technical team remote in sports. After graduating from IIT, Ms. Berry joined CBS as studio technical manager at its New York broadcast center. She later became a field technical manager, working on such events as presidential inaugurations, the Winter Olympics, and NFL, NBA, MLB and NCAA telecasts. In the early 1990s, she returned to Chicago for two years as director of technical operations at CBS owned-and-operated WBBM-TV Chicago, before moving to Fox.
Ms. Berry was elected to the IIT Board of Trustees in February 2011 and is also a member of the IIT Alumni Association Board. Last year, Ms. Berry helped organize IIT’s Nate Thomas Tribute weekend, a gathering of African-American alumni and friends mentored by Mr. Thomas in the 1970s and 1980s.
Jack J. Dongarra (M.S. CS ’73)
Jack Dongarra holds an appointment at the University of Tennessee, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the University of Manchester. He specializes in numerical algorithms in linear algebra, parallel computing, use of advanced-computer architectures, programming methodology, and tools for parallel computers. He was awarded the IEEE Sid Fernbach Award in 2004; in 2008 he was the recipient of the first IEEE Medal of Excellence in Scalable Computing; in 2010 he was the first recipient of the SIAM Special Interest Group on Supercomputing's award for Career Achievement; in 2011 he was the recipient of the IEEE Charles Babbage Award; and in 2013 he received the ACM/IEEE Ken Kennedy Award. He is a Fellow of the AAAS, ACM, IEEE, and SIAM and a foreign member of the Russian Academy of Science and a member of the US National Academy of Engineering.
Brian W. Fitzpatrick
Brian Fitzpatrick is Founder and CTO of Tock.
Brian started Google's Chicago engineering office in 2005 and led several of Google's global engineering efforts, including the Data Liberation Front, and Transparency Engineering. He also served as internal advisor for Google's open data efforts, having previously led the Google Code and Google Affiliate Network teams. Prior to joining Google, Brian worked as an engineer at CollabNet, Apple, and a local Chicago development shop.
Brian first started contributing to open source software in 1998 and was a core Subversion developer from 2000 to 2005 as well as the lead developer of the cvs2svn utility. He is a member of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) and former VP of Public Relations for the ASF. Brian has written numerous articles and given dozens of presentations, including co-writing "Debugging Teams: Better Productivity Through Collaboration," "Team Geek: A Software Developer's Guide to Working Well with Others," "Version Control with Subversion" (now in its second edition), and chapters for "Unix in a Nutshell" and "Linux in a Nutshell."
Brian has an A.B. in Classics from Loyola University Chicago with a major in Latin, a minor in Greek, and a concentration in Fine Arts and Ceramics. Brian resides in Chicago.
S. Christopher “Chris” Gladwin, Chair
Chris Gladwin is the Co-Founder and CEO of Ocient, a new company that is creating the technology to analyze the world’s data. In 2004, Chris founded Cleversafe which became the largest and most strategic object storage vendor in the world (according to IDC). He raised $100M and led the company to a $1.3B 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 holds a engineering degree from MIT.
superseded 2018-01-23: Chris Gladwin is the Founder and former CEO of Cleversafe, whose software is the foundation of many of the largest data storage systems worldwide. Their technology is used to store many of the files, maps, songs, television programs, and movies you use every day. The company also created one of the 10 most powerful patent portfolios in the world and was acquired by IBM in 2015. Prior to Cleversafe, Chris founded the first music service provider, MusicNow, and tablet computer company, Cruise Technologies. Chris is an engineering graduate from MIT and is a member of the Illinois Tech Board of Trustees.
Joe Jablonski is a technology based serial technologist and entrepreneur that has founded several companies. He is currently co-founder and CTO of Ocient, a company that is building a relational database management system that is designed to analyze the world’s largest datasets. Previously, Joe has founded software companies including WeGather and Acumence, He was also on the startup team for Falcon Insurance.
Joe Jablonski holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois.
Emmanuel Klu joined Google as a software engineer in 2013 after graduating from IIT. He works on site reliability engineering for Google App Engine, a Google Cloud Platform product. He leads a team that builds and uses software to simplify how services are managed in the production environment. Prior to this he was the technical lead of a team that built a data pipeline management platform from scratch. He is very involved in diversity and college recruiting at Google and is passionate about mentoring the next generation of engineers. He volunteers as a mentor with the FastForward accelerator in San Francisco, CA.
Biju Kulathakal (AE ’98)
Biju Kulathakal (AE ’98) is a serial entrepreneur and venture partner at OCA Ventures. He is the founder and chair of Trading Block Holdings, Inc., a financial services holding company based in Chicago. Kulathakal was a partner at GetAMovie, which was sold to McDonalds and subsequently became part of RedBox, now one of the largest movie rental companies in the United States and the fastest growing in terms of revenue. He also was a founder of Enterprise Logic Systems, a software development firm that specialized in developing technology solutions for the financial services and trading industry.
In addition to his leadership role at Trading Block, he is the founder of Vidya Foundation, which provides scholarships to underprivileged children in third-world countries. He previously served on the board of the Beck Foundation, Chicago Charter School Foundation, Civitas Schools, Leap Learning Systems and the Heartland Institute.
Roger Liew is the chief technology officer of Orbitz, LLC, recently promoted from vice president of technology in November 2010. This is Liew’s second stint at Orbitz, having worked there from 2000–04. Between 2004 and 2010, Liew was chief technology officer of G2 Switchworks, a provider of travel distribution solutions, and Milestro, a leisure, travel, and tourism company. Earlier in his career, he was a lead developer for Neoglyphics Media Corporation and a software engineer for Motorola’s Cellular Subscriber Group.
Liew studied mathematics and computer science at the University of Chicago.
Sherrie Brown Littlejohn (M.S. CS ’82)
Sairam Rangachari (M.S. CS ’02)
Sairam Rangachari is chief innovation officer and senior vice president at optionsXpress, Inc. with responsibility for product strategy and innovation. Under Rangachari’s leadership, the company launched several products that solidified the world-class optionsXpress trading platform, which won several awards from Barron’s, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, SmartMoney, and other leading industry publications. Part of the original team that built the optionsXpress platform, he played a key role through its IPO in acquiring and executing the integration of XpressTrade, a futures brokerage. Recently, Charles Schwab acquired OptionsXPress for $1 billion.
In addition to his IIT degree, he has a bachelor’s degree in engineering and computer science from the University of Madras.
Harper Reed is an hacker/engineer who builds paradigm-shifting tech and leads others to do the same. Harper loves using the vastness of the Internet to bring people together, whether as CTO of Obama for America, CTO at Threadless.com, or on his own projects.
Through the acquisition of his company, Modest, inc, Harper is helping to define the future of commerce at PayPal.
You can often find Harper playing with new technologies, looking for something to hack, or enjoying life in Chicago with his amazing partner, Hiromi and our bizarre poodle, Lulu.
Michael Seedman is an Executive Partner at the private equity firm Siris Captial and has been working with the founders for 18 years. Prior to Siris Capital, Michael was the Senior Vice President and General Manager of U.S. Robotics, a Chicago based manufacturer of modems. Michael founded and served as the CEO of Practical Peripherals, a computer peripheral designer and manufacturer that was later sold to Hayes Microcomputer Products, and Entrega Technology, which was later sold to Xircom and later Intel. He has historically served on various private and public boards, and is a member of the Adler Planetarium board of trustees.
Tim Stojka is chief executive officer of Chicago-based Agentis Energy, an energy technology company delivering wireless energy-management systems for commercial and industrial applications. In addition to Agentis Energy, Stojka has served as the CEO of Fast Heat, a designer and manufacturer of heating elements, sensors, and controls. Prior to his position at Fast Heat, he served as co-founder/chairman and CEO of Commerx™. A pioneer in the development of Internet eCommerce systems, Stojka is responsible for helping to direct and communicate the vision and growth strategies of Commerx.
Stojka has been featured in a variety of top business publications including BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, Crain’s Chicago Business, and Business 2.0, and is a frequent guest speaker at tech industry conferences. In early 2000, he was named one of 25 “E-Champions” by BtoB magazine and was a top 10 finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.
He has a B.S. in industrial engineering from Northwestern University and has attended the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. Stojka serves on the IIT Board of Trustees.
Tony L. Toulouse
Tony Toulouse is Vice President of the IT Infrastructure (ITI) organization for The Boeing Company, where he is responsible for the computing and telecommunications infrastructure that serves Boeing’s 160,000 employees and their customers worldwide.
Since joining Boeing in 1989, Toulouse's responsibilities have included oversight of IT Global Network Engineering, where he was responsible for providing the connectivity infrastructure that enables all internal Boeing applications and delivery systems to integrate, communicate and pass data throughout the company and beyond. He was also the Director of Business Integration for Engineering, Operations & Technology (EO&T) after spending two years in the Executive Development Program (EDP), which prepares managers for assignments of increasing responsibility through cross-disciplinary rotational assignments. Before joining the EDP, Toulouse managed International Program Development for Delta Launch Services, the marketing arm for Boeing's expendable launch vehicle program, and served as the test director for Aero-Optic and Aerothermal Effects in Hypersonic, Turbulent Flows.
Toulouse holds a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from Boston University, a master's in mechanical engineering technology from the University of California-Irvine and an Executive MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He serves on the Board of Directors for Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo and Adler Planetarium.
Victor Tsao (M.S. CS ’80)
Victor Tsao and his wife are principles of Miven Holdings, a multi-stage venture capital firm with the goal of investing in startup companies in the consumer and media space. The Tsaos are the founders of Linksys Group, the wireless and broadband networking company that was acquired by Cisco Systems in 2003. After the sale, the Tsaos worked for Cisco for a few years, developing new business opportunities in China. Prior to Linksys, Tsao was a software engineer, system manager, and strategist of various IT positions with different firms.
In addition to his IIT degree, he has an M.B.A. and a B.S. in computer science from Pepperdine University and Tamkang University, respectively.
Brian Walker is Vice President, Digital Architecture and Operations for W.W. Grainger, Inc. North America's leading broad line supplier of maintenance, repair and operating products (MRO), with operations also in Europe, Asia and Latin America. He was named to this role in September 2017.
Brian leads Grainger’s digital solutions, including the industry leading website Grainger.com as well as the company’s newest digital offering, Gamut.com. Prior to this role, he led the development, launch and operations of Gamut.com.
Since joining Grainger in 2006, Brian has held several roles with increasing responsibility. While headquartered in London, England, he served as Vice President of Strategy and Marketing for Grainger’s Online Business with operations in Canada, Germany, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States. He has also led teams responsible for corporate strategy, product management and pricing for the U.S. Grainger Business.
Prior to joining Grainger, he led teams in warehousing, logistics, supply chain and sales operations at McMaster-Carr Supply Company.
Brian earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Wesleyan University, a Master of Science in Applied Statistics from DePaul University, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Illinois Institute of Technology. He is also a member of Wesleyan’s President Council and has served as a founding board member for Wesleyan’s Quantitative Analysis Center.
Kevin Willer is a Partner at Chicago Ventures, a seed-stage venture capital fund. He oversees all aspects of Chicago Ventures including fund management, deal sourcing and investments, and he works directly with portfolio companies. He joined the fund in June 2013.
From 2011 to 2013, Willer was the president and chief executive officer of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC). The CEC manages, operates, and programs 1871, a leading co-working center serving hundreds of startups building their early-stage businesses located at Chicago’s famed Merchandise Mart. Since opening in May 2012, 1871 has welcomed thousands of visitors to events and curated hundreds of workshops and office hours with mentors for entrepreneurs. High-profile visitors have included British Prime Minister David Cameron, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, AOL Founder Steve Case, Sun Microsystems co-founder Scott McNealy, and YouTube co-founder Steve Chen-- shining a spotlight on Chicago’s growing startup community nationally and globally. During this time, Willer was also a Venture Partner at Pritzker Group Venture Capital, overseeing their early-stage seed Investments.
Previously, Willer co-founded the Google Chicago office in late 2000. In his over 10 years with Google, Willer helped grow this office to more than 400 professionals and led relationships with some of Google’s largest marketing partners based in the Midwest. Before Google, Willer held business development positions at CMGI, an early internet incubator, and USRobotics, the pioneer in modem technology.
Willer is actively involved in several civic and charitable organizations. He was named to Crain’s 2011 “40 Under 40” list as well as Crain’s 2012 Tech 50 list. He is a director of The Economic Club of Chicago and is a trustee of his alma mater, Loyola Academy, as well as on the Board of Trustees of Loyola University Chicago and of the Illinois Institute of Technology. He served on the steering committee for Mayor Emanuel’s Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs and is a member of the mayor’s technology council, ChicagoNEXT. He serves on the boards of NorthShore University HealthSystem, the BigShoulders Fund, World Sport Chicago, the Future Founders Foundation, the CEC, and the inaugural Development Council for USA Soccer.
Willer earned his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he sits on the Executive Advisory Board for the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship. Willer was honored to deliver the 2013 Commencement address at the Illinois Institute of Technology and the 2011 address at Loyola University’s School of Business. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from Boston College and studied at the London School of Economics. Willer, his wife Victoria, and their children, Jacqueline, Max and Lizzie, reside in Winnetka.