Home / Gadgets / Tech Moves: Ada Developers Academy director departs; Alexa Gadgets hires Disney vet; and more – GeekWire

Tech Moves: Ada Developers Academy director departs; Alexa Gadgets hires Disney vet; and more – GeekWire

Nicole Buchanan.

— Nicole Buchanan is leaving Seattle-based non-profit coding bootcamp Ada Developers Academy, where she was executive director. Christine Martin, partner and founder at The Valtas Group, will serve as the interim director.

Ada offers an intensive, tuition-free coding school for women and gender diverse people interested in starting a career in tech. The program graduates 96 students each year and has nearly 300 alumni working as software developers at companies like Amazon, Google and Indeed.

Buchanan hasn’t settled on her future plans but is looking for opportunities in the Pacific Northwest tech industry. She took over at Ada after former director Cynthia Tee stepped down in 2017. Buchanan spent 20 years as a senior product and operations executive at AT&T, Microsoft and VC consulting firms.

Buchanan plans to continue advocating for diversity and equity in tech. “It’s critical to keep the conversation going, and engaging in this arena is part of my unwavering commitment to finding solutions and addressing key issues that affect everyone. Women and people of color need to see top leadership working to bring equity to the workplace,” she told GeekWire in an email.

Kyle Laughlin. (Amazon photo)

— “Alexa, what are gadgets?”

Amazon has called on former Disney SVP Kyle Laughlin to lead Alexa Gadgets, overseeing the growing category of devices that pair with Echo over Bluetooth, TechCrunch reported.

Laughlin spent more than eight years at Disney working on apps, connected hardware and games in the consumer products and interactive media division. Prior to that, he worked at Yahoo on sports and games.

“Voice has emerged as a disruptive force in computing and I’m incredibly humbled and excited to be joining Amazon to lead up the Alexa Gadgets team,” Laughlin said in an email statement. “There is so much more voice can do and I’m looking forward to helping an already great team continue to grow and build products, tools and service that enable fun and delightful experiences with Alexa.”

There seems to be no limit to the places Alexa will show up. At CES this week, the voice assistant took to the road as part of an electric bike launch. Late last year, it was used to upgrade Big Mouth Billy Bass. Maybe Laughlin could use his Disney connections to launch an Alexa-enabled Tickle Me Elmo? On second thought, nevermind.

Marie Myers. (F5 photo)

F5 Networks, which sells software-based security and application delivery products, recently added two members to its board of directors.

First up is Marie Myers, CFO at robotic process automation company UiPath. She’s also the president of the Alliance for Gray Market and Counterfeit Abatement, a non-profit focused on IP protection. Prior to UiPath, Myers served as the global controller for HP, where she worked for over a decade.

“Marie’s extensive experience as a finance executive for a multinational technology company, her expertise in automation, and her passion for diversity make her an ideal fit for F5’s Board given our growing global operations,” François Locoh-Donou, CEO of F5, said in a statement.

Nick Mehta. (F5 photo)

F5’s board also welcomed Nick Mehta, who is CEO of Gainsight, a software-as-a-service platform provider for customer success. Mehta previously served as CEO of LiveOffice, which was acquired in 2012 by Symantec.

“Nick’s executive experience with SaaS organizations and technologies make him a tremendous addition to our Board,” said Locoh-Donou. “As F5 expands its solutions further into cloud, managed services, and SaaS offerings, we look forward to incorporating his industry perspectives into our business strategies and go-to-market efforts.”

Jonah Fruchter. (Matt M. McKnight / Cascade Public Media)

Jonah Fruchter became director of innovation and business development at Hive Media Lab. Hive is an initiative from Cascade Public Media to “democratize innovation in media.”

Fruchter was promoted from within the ranks of Cascade, where he’s worked on innovation efforts for four years. Brian Glanz, former director of Hive, departed the organization about six months ago.

“My focus will be on experimenting with solutions to the challenge of media in the digital age. Gaining new audience, engaging our existing audience, and generating revenue,” Fruchter told GeekWire in an email. “If the lab can generate solutions to the challenges around audience, engagement, and revenue that would be a tremendous accomplishment not just for Cascade Public Media but for local media.”

John Kinmonth. (IOpipe photo)

IOpipe named John Kinmonth to lead the serverless application monitoring company’s marketing efforts. Prior to IOpipe, Kinmonth headed brand marketing at Amplero, a 2018 Geekwire Startup of the Year finalist. He also led marketing at Pointmarc, a digital analytics consultancy that was acquired by Merkle in 2015.

“John’s enterprise experience and hands-on marketing/creative expertise is the perfect mix to help us continue our accelerated growth path and share the IOpipe story with more of our enterprise users,” IOpipe CEO Adam Johnson said in a statement.

IOpipe raised $2.5 million in a seed round in 2017 that included backing from Seattle-based Madrona Venture Group. The company is a graduate of the Techstars incubator in New York and was featured at the AWS re:Invent conference in 2018.

Mike Wongkaew. (HNTB photo)

—Dig, Mike, dig. Tunneling expert Mike Wongkaew joined infrastructure firm HNTB as part of its tunnel and underground team. Wonkaew previously worked on the Boring Company’s Hyperloop test tunnel in Hawthorne, Calif.

Wongkaew will oversee tunneling work on the Sound Transit West Seattle and Ballard Link Extension projects in his role as national practice lead-Northwest. In addition to Hyperloop, Wongkaew has worked on Sound Transit’s East Link Extension in Seattle, the City of Portland’s East Side CSO Tunnel Project, and many other large-scale efforts.

“[Mike] is a strong team leader and an outstanding collaborator capable of arriving at solutions on the most complex tunnel issues,” Sanja Zlatanic, chief tunneling engineer at HTNB, said in a statement. “His ability to deliver creative and impactful results on complex underground engineering and design management challenges is a valuable addition to the firm’s impressive tunneling expertise.”


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