MEET OUR SPEAKERS...
NCSSM ALUM, 1995
FOUNDER & CEO OF VICTRA
Richard “Rich” Balot founded ABC Phones of North Carolina, Inc. (DBA –Victra) in October, 1996 as a freshman in college. Under his leadership, the company has grown from one location to over 1000 locations and over $1.7 Billion in revenue. As the largest of six National Premium Retailers for Verizon Wireless, Rich has made a name for both himself and the company as leaders in the industry.
As a serial entrepreneur Rich has also started and continues to be involved in multiple other businesses. From his first business, Balot’s DJ’s which Rich started as a teenager, to a bagel shop, a finance company, a tech repair business, a property management company, and a hotel, Rich LOVES starting and running successful businesses.
Rich is an active member in the Young Presents Organization (YPO) and on the local council board of the Boy Scouts. He also volunteers with numerous local charities, participating with his family. Rich holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from East Carolina University. Rich is married and has four children. He enjoys spending time with his family; watching his children play sports, fishing, and traveling the world.
Lister received a ScB in Electrical Engineering from Brown University, an MS in Computer Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
MEET OUR VOLUNTEERS...
SEGUNO SOFTWARE, HEAD OF ENGINEERING
I'm currently the head of engineering at Seguno but continue to program every day. I've been programming since I was 10 years old and continue to love doing it and teaching others to do it. At Seguno, I'm doing full stack development in Java and React and we provide an email marketing platform for merchants who build their shops on Shopify. With 50,000 merchants using our platform, we stay pretty busy!
THE CARLYLE GROUP, PARTNER
NCSSM ALUM, 1994
I graduated from NCSSM in 1994. I then attended Duke University and graduated with a degree in Philosophy in 1998. I started my career at a boutique investment bank, Bowles Hollowell Conner and was a financial analyst there for 2 years. I joined The Carlyle Group in 2000 as an associate. I worked for 2 years and left for business school in 2002. I graduated with an MBA from Harvard Business School in 2004. Upon graduation, I rejoined Carlyle and have been working on industrial buyout investments in our flagship US Buyout fund for my entire career. In 2021 I was named to the additional role of fund head for our middle market buyout funds called Carlyle Equity Opportunity Funds, two funds with a total of about $3.5 billion under management. In that role I oversee a team responsible for the fund's investments. Fun fact, of the direct bosses I have had in my roles at Carlyle, one is now the Chairman of the Federal Reserve and another is the governor of Virginia.
NCSSM ALUM, 2009
Michael Owoc attended NCSU, majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Applied Math.
AXONI, SENIOR SOFTWARE ENGINEER
NCSSM ALUM, 1989
Tom graduated from NCSSM in 1989 and went on to attend UNC-Chapel Hill. After relocating to Manhattan, he was a software engineer for leading investment banks like JP Morgan Chase and Merrill Lynch. Now back in Durham, Tom works remotely for fintech startup Axoni.
LINKER LOGIC TECHNOLOGIES, CEO & FOUNDER
Ritwik Pavan is the founder of Linker Logic Technologies, a software design & development agency based in the Research Triangle Park. Pavan also co-founded a mobility startup called VADE, providing cities and citizens with real-time curb data. He has been in the startup world for the last 8 years and ventured into the world of entrepreneurship back in 2014 after launching a game that hit top 20 charts in the App Store.
FREELANCE SYSTEMS ENGINEER
I currently work in full stack development (web front ends, cloud back ends) with a bend towards location-based apps. Previously unix/linux kernel engineer.
DEEPSCIENCE LTD, CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER
I co-own a company, DeepScience Ltd, through which I engage in carbon removal R&D, geospatial analytics/data science, and open innovation. The latter means I answer calls for technology innovation challenges involving systems design and/or machine learning; these calls are mostly around cleantech or biotech. I am interested in all things pertaining to science and sustainability. I am also a proponent of both technology and systems thinking in helping to turn pressing problems like the climate crisis into potential opportunities.
I am currently president of Chekhub, a B2B SaaS start up in Raleigh. This is my third start up over the last several years. Prior to being in the start up world, I worked for large fortune 500 and consulting firms. I have a BS from NC State and a MBA from Duke.
NC SCHOOL OF SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS, DEAN OF MATHEMATICS
Taylor Gibson is the Dean of Mathematics at NCSSM. With help from the Mathematics department, he adapted UC-Berkeley's curriculum around data science to create the MA4110: Foundations of Data Science course offered at NCSSM.
IBM, DIRECTOR, ASSET PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT
I manage the IBM Consulting portfolio of differentiating software to help our clients succeed with hybrid cloud, artificial intelligence and much more. Twitter: @carolinabigblue
IQVIA, SR. DIRECTOR, TECH SOLUTIONS STRATEGY & ARCHITECTURE (RETIRED)
Enterprise architect with 25+ years in the life sciences industry, currently focused on strategic planning at the IT, product, customer and corporate levels.
FORREST ELI HURLEY
UNC AT CHAPEL HILL, GRADUATE STUDENT
I'm from Durham and currently in Chapel Hill in my first year pursuing a PhD in biostatistics. I went to NC State for undergrad and got a master's degree from Georgia Tech. At the moment I'm cleaning up and writing up a project related to predicting the folding structure of RNA. I have a decent amount of experience with Python, R, and C++. I can help evaluate the pros and cons of different statistical and machine learning approaches and provide some guidance towards implementation.
HIREOLOGY, GROUP PRODUCT MANAGER
NCSSM ALUM, 2011
Ryan ODonnell is a serial entrepreneur based in Raleigh, NC and is an NCSSM c/o 2011 alumni. He founded EmployUs, a venture backed HR Tech startup while in college and grew it into a million dollar business serving 100,000’s of users in 50+ countries. Ryan led the company from the beginning to a successful acquisition by Hireology in 2021 where he currently leads product management. Outside of EmployUs, Ryan is passionate about using tech for good. After setting a world record for the largest food drive, he launched several projects like Pledge My Check, Pennies 4 Progress and more to help people raise money for the causes they care about.
RED HAT, CLOUD SPECIALIST SOLUTION ARCHITECT
Patrick was the product manager for Red Hat's managed Kubernetes platform, and before that worked for multiple tech companies in product management, marketing, and technical support. He is currently doing technical sales for Red Hat.
On the weekends, Patrick enjoys the outdoors hiking, mountain biking, and skiing.
UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA, UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT
I'm currently a sophomore studying finance and computer science between the Wharton School and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. At Penn, I serve as a teaching assistant for our Data Structures and Algorithms course and throughout college, I've worked on many side projects and hackathons. My research has spanned many areas from artificial intelligence to physics and I'm currently exploring the effects of price discrimination in over-the-counter financial markets.
GOOGLE, STAFF SOFTWARE ENGINEER
I've been a software engineer at Google for over 15 years and worked on a bit of everything from build/test tools and globally distributed file systems to lasers and robots. I currently lead a team working on a big data ML system for Google Shopping.
DUKE UNIVERSITY, ADJUNCT ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR
Ramana Chamarty teaches Cybersecurity at Duke for the Masters Program at the Pratt School of Engineering.
A BIG THANKS TO OUR VOLUNTEERING PARTNERS!!
NCSSM'S RYDEN PROGRAM FOR INNOVATION AND LEADERSHIP IN AI
LINKER LOGIC TECHNOLOGIES
THE CARLYLE GROUP