Board of Directors

Mik Kersten, Chairman of the Board

Mik is the founder and CEO of Tasktop. He drives the strategic direction of the company and promotes a culture of customer-centric innovation.  Before Tasktop, Mik launched a series of open source projects that changed how software developers collaborate.  As a research scientist at Xerox PARC, he created the first aspect-oriented development environment.  He received a PhD in Computer Science from the University of British Columbia, and his research interests focus on Value Stream Architecture. Mik has been named a JavaOne Rock Star speaker and one of the Top 10 Java writers of the decade by IBM developerWorks. In 2012 he was awarded the Business in Vancouver Top 40 under 40, and has been a World Technology Awards finalist in the IT Software category. Mik is the editor of the new IEEE Software department On DevOps.

Gail Murphy, Board Member

 Gail has been a keynote speaker at several software engineering conferences. She has received international awards, such as the  AITO Dahl-Nygaard Junior Prize, a University of Washington College of Engineering Diamond Award, and an ACM Distinguished  Scientist award. Her national awards include the NSERC Steacie fellowship. Most notably, Gail was elected to be a fellow of the  Royal Society of Canada. This fellowship is the highest academic accolade in the sciences, humanities and arts bestowed in Canada.

In addition to being on the Board of Directors, Gail is founding member of Tasktop and is the Vice President Research and Innovation at the University of British Columbia.

Neelan Choksi, Board Member

Neelan has extensive technology management experience and recently served as the COO of Lexcycle, the company behind Stanza, which became the most popular e-book reader for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch. Lexcycle was acquired by Amazon in 2009. Previously, Neelan served as COO of SpringSource, the venture backed open source infrastructure software company behind the Spring Framework. SpringSource was acquired by VMware in 2009. Prior to that, Neelan served as co-founder and president of SolarMetric, a leading object/relational mapping provider, which was acquired by BEA Systems in 2005. At BEA, he was instrumental in the open sourcing of the acclaimed object/relational mapping tool Kodo as OpenJPA. Neelan has also worked for Andersen Consulting Strategic Services and Exxon Research & Engineering.

A graduate of MIT (and part of the well-publicized MIT Blackjack team), Neelan holds graduate degrees from Stevens Institute of Technology and the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.

John Thornton, Board Member

John joined Austin Ventures in 1991 and serves as general partner. His investment focus is in the early-stage software sector. Previously, John was with McKinsey & Co., where he served clients in the U.S. and Europe. 

John received his MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and his BA summa cum laude from Trinity University, where he graduated first in his class. He previously served on the Boards of Directors for Ballet Austin, the Austin Museum of Art, and the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas. He is a founding board member of the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Central Texas and a former trustee of Trinity University. In 2009, John founded the Texas Tribune, the nation's first statewide nonprofit and nonpartisan online news organization.

Bill Bock, Board Member

Bill Bock serves as President of Silicon Labs. He had rejoined Silicon Labs as the Interim CFO in 2013. Bill served on the Silicon Labs Board of Directors from 2000 to 2006, before stepping down to the join the management team as CFO until 2011, when he rejoined the Board. Bill also currently serves on the Board of Directors for Entropic Communications as well as several private companies. Prior to joining the Silicon Laboratories management team in 2006, Bill was a Partner at venture capital firms CenterPoint Ventures and Verity Ventures. From 1997 to 1999, Bill served as President and CEO of DAZEL Corporation, a provider of electronic information delivery systems. After DAZEL’s acquisition by Hewlett-Packard, Bill then served as VP for HP until 2001. Bill served as EVP and COO of Tivoli Systems, a client server software company, which he helped take public in 1995 and was later acquired by IBM in 1996. Prior to joining Tivoli, Bill successfully completed an IPO at Convex Computer Corporation as CFO in 1986 and then became the SVP of Sales in 1991. Prior to Convex, Bill spent nine years in various finance roles at Texas Instruments including the VP and Controller of the Data Systems Group. Bill holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Iowa State University and a master’s degree in industrial administration from Carnegie Mellon University.

Chris Pacitti, Board Observer

Chris Pacitti joined Austin Ventures in 1999 and serves as General Partner. His investment focus is primarily on early-stage technology companies in the software and Internet sectors. Chris started his venture career in 1995 with TL Ventures, where he was a VP and also focused on early-stage technology investing. Prior to TL Ventures, Chris was a Co-Founder and COO of a technology start-up company that pioneered several indsutrial applications for a novel oxidizing chemistry.

Chris received his BA in Economics from John Hopkins University. He previously served on the Boards of Directors for the Microsoft Venture Capital Advisory group and the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Central Texas. 

Mike Satterfield, Board Observer

Mike brings over 25 years of entrepreneurial and senior operating experience in the software industry. At Yaletown Venture Partners, he manages the firm’s investments in GrowLab, ePACT, Tutela, Elastic Path, and PHEMI, as well as Tasktop. He was formerly a Director of Partnerpedia and Indicee.  

Mike has built product development and management teams in Canada and the US; devised and executed business plans; established strategic partnerships; raised venture capital from US and Canadian investors; and participated in the sale of two companies he founded. Prior to co-founding Yaletown, Mike was CEO of Simba Technologies (acquired by Pivotal). Before that, he co-founded Paradigm Development, a Vancouver-based contract software development firm whose client roster included Microsoft, Adobe and Symantec. Mike has a B.Sc. degree from the University of British Columbia.



Gene Kim, Strategic Advisor

Gene Kim is a multi-award winning CTO, researcher, and author. He is the founder of Tripwire and served as CTO for thirteen years. His books include The Phoenix ProjectThe DevOps HandbookBeyond the Phoenix ProjectAccelerateThe Visible Ops Handbook, and Visible Ops Security.

Gene is a huge fan of IT operations and how it can enable developers to maximize throughput of features from “code complete” to “in production” without causing chaos and disruption to the IT environment. He has worked with some of the top Internet companies on improving deployment flow and increasing the rigor around IT operational processes. In 2007, ComputerWorld added Gene to the “40 Innovative IT People to Watch Under the Age of 40” list, and he was named a Computer Science Outstanding Alumnus by Purdue University for achievement and leadership in the profession.

Bjorn Freeman-Benson, Advisor

Dr. Freeman-Benson is currently CTO at InVisionApp Inc, the world's leading design collaboration platform. Prior to InVisionApp Inc, he held senior positions at New Relic, IBM Rational, OTI (Object Technology International), Amazon, Gemstone, and the Eclipse Foundation. In addition, he’s instructed the next generation of technologists as a Professor at the University of Victoria and Carleton University His experience includes Agile development (before it was called “Agile”), virtual machines, compilers for reconfigurable hardware, dynamic page generation for e-commerce, large scale simulations, open-source community building, and speeding software delivery cycles. Bjorn has multiple technology degrees from the University of Washington, including a Ph.D., Computer Science.

Rod Johnson, Advisor

Dr. Johnson is currently a senior vice president at VMware. He is the creator of the influential Spring Framework and co-founder of SpringSource, where he served as CEO until its acquisition by VMware in 2009. Rod has over 15 years technology, management and business experience.

Rod is one of the world's leading authorities on Java development. His Expert One-on-One J2EE Design and Development (2002) is one of the most influential books ever published on enterprise Java. The sequel, J2EE without EJB (2004, with Juergen Hoeller) completed articulating the vision for modern enterprise Java. Rod is a thought leader on open source development and business models, and a popular speaker at conferences around the world. He holds a BA with Honors in Computer Science, Mathematics and Musicology as well as a PhD from the University of Sydney.

Lee Nackman, Advisor

Dr. Nackman is a veteran software executive who combines technical depth with executive and board management experience. Most recently, he served as vice president and general manager at HP, where he led several product units focused on software development and IT operations excellence. Prior to HP, Lee served as corporate vice president of Microsoft's Identity and Security Division.

He spent most of his career at IBM, where he held a variety of roles, including vice president and CTO for IBM Rational, and vice president for WebSphere Application Development Tools. He initiated the Eclipse open source tool platform, IBM's WebSphere Studio tool products, and IBM's Jazz initiative. He was also a founding member of the Board of Stewards for and served on the board of Morphormics, a medical image processing startup.

Earlier in his career, Lee was elected to the IBM Academy of Technology. He also coauthored Scientific and Engineering C++: An Introduction with Advanced Techniques and Examples, and was a regular columnist for C++ Report. In addition to his book, Lee has published fifty papers and earned three patents. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dave West, Advisor

Dave is Product Owner at Prior to this role, he was Tasktop’s Chief Product Officer, where he engaged with customers and partners to drive Tasktop’s product roadmap and market positioning, and helped to build Tasktop into a transformative business that is driving major improvements in the software industry.

Prior to Tasktop, he served as vice president and research director at Forrester Research, where he ran the software development and delivery practice. Prior roles included leading the development of the Rational Unified Process (RUP) for IBM/Rational and managing Ivar Jacobson Consulting for North America. Dave is a frequent keynote at major industry conferences and is a widely published author of articles and research reports, along with his acclaimed book: Head First Object-Oriented Analysis and Design, that helped define new software modeling and application development processes. Dave holds a B.A. in computing and business from Huddersfield University in the UK and a M.Sc. in computer science from Southbank University (UK).


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