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The Biggest DC Tech Hires & Departures from Q1 2019 - American Banker

by Kieran McQuilkin, on Mar 20, 2019 9:38:00 AM

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Spring is coming, and the D.C. tech community is filling up desks as it shakes off the winter humdrum. We rounded up some of the biggest names that switched companies, stepped down or got promoted and ordered new business cards in Q1 2019.


Reston-based Public Interest Registry, the nonprofit operator of the .org domain, announced the addition of three members to its executive team – Judy Song-Marshall as chief of staff, Joe Abley as CTO and Anand Vora as VP of business affairs. The new hires, starting in March and April, will support the organization’s growth of domains under management and its educational initiatives. The announcement comes on the heels of PIR’s appointment of Jon Nevett as president and CEO.

Alexandria-based King & Union, which makes a cybersecurity analysis platform, announced Christopher Clark will join the company as chief technical officer. Clark most recently served as VP of technical product management at JASK, and previously was a global security response director at Palo Alto Networks. He also served in leadership positions at Verisign, iDefense, BAE Systems and General Dynamics.

Locally based Axios, one of D.C.’s hottest young media companies, brought on Jess Szmajda as its new CTO to lead its push into paid content. She will head the startup’s stealthy efforts to add a complementary subscription component that started beta testing last year. Szmajda joins Axios following a role at local e-commerce startup Optoro. She succeeds Matt Boggie, who left the company in September.

Alexis Juneja joined Arcadia Power as SVP of people and impact. Most recently, she served as an advisor to Framebridge and Girls Night In, and previously was on the executive leadership team at Vox Media. She had joined Vox after it bought the Curbed Network, publisher of Curbed, Eater and Rack.

Territory brought in former Amazon exec and industry heavy-hitter Abigail Coleman as its new CEO. She previously served as the head of e-commerce and VP of marketing and strategy at Amazon subsidiary Quidsi Inc., the parent company of, and spent time as a global marketing leader for gum at Mondelez International. Before that, she was a senior brand manager at Kraft Foods Group. At Territory, Coleman is replacing CEO Patrick Smith, who a source tells WBJ is leaving the company after co-founding it seven years ago.

Telecom giant Comcast acquired Arlington startup BluVector in an effort to grow the company’s cybersecurity business and build new technologies. As the new CEO of BluVector, Comcast appointed Eric Malawer, who served as cybersecurity staff director for the House Committee on Homeland Security and founded three AI and security companies – Echelon, NextGen Venture Partners and DeepMile Networks. BluVector, a spinout of Northrop Grumman, uses AI and machine learning to provide cybersecurity protection to public and private customers.

Arlington-based Giant Oak, a provider of AI, machine learning and big data analytics for cybersecurity in government and enterprises, added Mike Cerick as chief revenue officer and Brian Spindler as VP of engineering. Cerick previously worked in critical infrastructure sales for the DoD, and Spindler has 15 years of experience in building SaaS products and managing engineering teams, according to the company. CEO Gary Shiffman said in a statement that Giant Oak, which was founded in 2012, doubled in size in the last year and plans to do so again in 2019.

Software giant Adobe announced Kelly Olson will become its head of industry strategy and marketing for the public sector. She was previously acting director of the General Services Administration’s Technology Transformation Services. She has also held roles at the Government Executive Media Group and the American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council.

Quantum Xchange, provider of the first quantum key distribution network in the U.S., added Whitfield Diffie to its advisory board. Diffie, co-inventor of public key cryptography, will aid the company’s effort to allow organizations to send unbreakable encryption keys. Diffie is best known for his work pioneering dual-key cryptography in the early 1970s, and in 2015 he won the prestigious Turing Award for computer science. He currently is a professor at Zhejiang University and serves as chief scientist at Cryptic Labs.

Local data analytics software company Babel Street brought on retired Major General Mark Quantock, a U.S. military intelligence veteran with more than 37 years of experience, as EVP of strategic accounts. Quantock, the former director of operations at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, will lead the firm’s efforts to build up its military and government client list.


A stalwart of the young D.C. startup scene is embarking on a new adventure as Hatch Apps co-founder Amelia Friedman transitions out of her COO position. Friedman, who launched Hatch in 2015 alongside CEO Param Jaggi, is also D.C. board chair of the Vinetta Project and last year was named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 enterprise technologists.

Local VC legend and Valhalla Partners co-founder Art Marks died in January at the age of 74, ending his accomplished journey of shaping the country’s early-stage investment ecosystem. After time as a general partner at New Enterprise Associates, Marks and Valhalla raised $400 million across two funds, and the investor was heavily involved in funding for Progress Software and, among other highly successful ventures.

Virginia Bio, the a nonprofit trade association for life sciences, announced that after seven years at the helm, Jeff Gallagher CEO will step down from his position as CEO later in 2019. He will continue to serve the association on select special projects. A national search for a new CEO will begin immediately, conducted by the Virginia Bio board of directors.

McLean’s Iridium Communications, which develops a mobile voice and data satellite communications network, announced that COO Scott Smith will retire in March. It named Suzi McBride, a former Iridium VP that later became COO of OneWeb, to take over the position. Smith led Iridium’s technology and operations, including Iridium NEXT, which recently completed its final launch of satellites. He will remain as a consultant during the transition.


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