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2015 Top Tech Exec Awards

Meet Our Distinguished Judges



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John Merritt (Judging Chair)

Merritt serves the YMCA of San Diego County as Chief Information Officer, responsible for tactical and strategic technology operations to drive business value in support of the YMCA mission. Merritt served in the United States Marine Corps, traveling extensively in Asia and the Middle East while managing and supporting satellite communications systems. In 2011, he was named a Top Tech Exec Honoree in the Charitable Organizations category. Merritt has served as a Top Tech Exec judge for four years.

Heather Moshier (Judging Co-Chair) 

With a 20-year tenure of leadership, Moshier serves as the Executive Vice President of Information Technology for the $6 billion San Diego County Credit Union. She received the 2010 IT Executive of the Year Award from San Diego Business Journal, the 2011 Credit Union Times Trailblazer Award, and was a 2012 Top Tech Exec Honoree in the Nonprofit Company category. She’s been a Top Tech Exec judge for the past two years.

Andrew Blocksidge 

Blocksidge is the Director of Global Information Technology at Encinitas-based watch and accessories brand, Nixon.  Previously, he served as Vice President of Technology for Jazzercise Inc. and as a Director in the KPMG CIO Advisory Practice.  He began his career as an Officer in the United States Marine Corps, attaining the rank of Major.  In 2014, he was named a Top Tech Exec Honoree in the Private Medium Company category.

Robert Burgett

As Director of Information Technology at The Elizabeth Hospice, Burgett oversees IT, security and facilities operations for six locations throughout San Diego and South Riverside County. He has implemented numerous cutting-edge innovative solutions that dramatically enhanced The Elizabeth Hospice’s operations efficiency and patient satisfaction. He also serves as the Security Officer for all protected health information (PHI). In 2014, he was a Top Tech Exec Honoree in the NonProfit Business category. 

Rich Coppa

For 20 years, Coppa has served as the Vice President of Infrastructure/CIO at The Arc of San Diego, designing and implementing a state-of-the-art infrastructure. He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree, Summa Cum Laude, in Business Management and is also an AAPM® certified Master Project Manager. Prior, Coppa served in the United States Air Force as a Non-Commissioned Officer stationed in Europe. He is a two-time Top Tech Exec Honoree and three-year Top Tech Exec judge. 

Casey Cotton

As Chief Technology Officer for Madison Avenue Securities and Asset Marketing Systems, Cotton is responsible for developing the IT strategy and oversees all software development and IT infrastructure. Cotton is involved with the FSI Operations and Technology Council, CIO Roundtable of San Diego and the San Diego Association of IT Professionals. He was named the 2013 Top Tech Exec Honoree for the Private Medium Company category and has served as a Top Tech Exec judge for the past two years.

Kurt Cumming

As a Managing Director with Root Inc., Kurt helps organizations and leaders engage their people as the catalyst and driver for strategic change.  In 2013, he was named the Top Tech Exec Honoree for the Private Small Company category for his work as Chief Operating Officer for Global Village Concerns, an innovative e-commerce company serving the K-12 market. 

Doug Cyphers 

yphers has served as Vice President of Technology at Welk Resorts since 2012. Having over 25 years of experience in IT, Cyphers has held executive or senior level positions with myriad organizations in industries that include hospitality, banking, payments, SAAS, direct sales, public schools, defense and more. In 2014, he was named a Top Tech Exec Honoree for the Private Large Company category. 

Jessie Daly

Since 2008, Daly has served as the Executive Director of IT at Isis Pharmaceuticals, providing outstanding work in application design and development, program management, infrastructure, data center design, voice, data and network systems implementation. Throughout her career, Daly has been involved in numerous healthcare system implementations providing direct benefit to patient care. She received the 2012 Cox Business Exemplary Award and she been a Top Tech Exec judge for three years.

Terry Dembitz 

Dembitz’s journey in the life sciences industry began at Hybritech, the grandfather of San Diego biotech. From Hybritech, she spent 11 years with Ligand Pharmaceuticals as their top IT executive. Dembitz then joined Amylin Pharmaceuticals, and for the last two years has been Amylin’s Chief Information Officer. In February 2014 Amylin was acquired by the global Fortune 500 biopharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca. In 2014, she was named a Top Tech Exec Honoree in the Public Company category.

Gary Devan

Devan has 42 years of experience in financial institution technology and has been Chief Information Officer at Mission Federal Credit Union in San Diego since 1991. He currently serves on the Classroom of the Future Foundation Board of Directors and just retired this year after 16 years on the faculty of the Western CUNA Management School at Pomona College. Devan was a Tech Executive Honoree for Non-Profit Organizations in 2011, and also received the Cox Exemplary Business Award in 2014.

Gary Holden

Holden has more than 30 years of information technology executive management experience in the pharmaceutical, manufacturing and financial services industries. Formally, he served as the Executive Vice President of Operations for Abnology Incorporated, which specializes in compliant cloud services for the healthcare industry. Holden was a driving force at Vical, Inc. as the Director of Information Technology, and while there he was named a Top Tech Exec Honoree in the Small Public Company category for 2013.

Jason Janofsky

Janofsky is Senior Vice President of Information Technology at Superior Mobile Medics, a San Diego-based health data collection company. Janofsky, who blends information technology mastery with business acumen, leads a team of engineers while playing an active role in development. In 2014, he was a Top Tech Exec Honoree in the Private Medium Company category. 

Debra Jensen

As Chief Information Officer for Charlotte Russe, the women’s apparel retailer with more than 500 locations, Jensen’s technology focus includes business intelligence and analytics, merchandising and store systems, ecommerce technology and supply chain. She is a member of the advisory board for the California State University San Marcos Business Information Systems program and Health Care Information Systems program. In 2010, she was a Top Tech Exec Honoree in the Public Large Company category. 

Tom Kennedy

Kennedy is the General Manager for the Rainbow Municipal Water District and has more than 20 years of experience in water engineering and municipal utilities. At San Diego State University he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering and he holds a Master’s in Public Administration with a specialization in public finance from California State University at Fullerton. In 2013, he was named a Top Tech Exec Honoree in the Government category.

Gregory Magaril

Magaril is the Chief Technology Officer for Ceatus Media Group. He serves as Executive Officer of San Diego Chapter of the AITP and director of the Organizing Committee of San Diego Cloud Computing Conference. In 2015, he was honored with CIO !mpact Award in Advanced Software Development by Frost & Sullivan. In 2012, he was selected as an IT Executive of the Year and Top Tech Exec Honoree in the Private Small Company category.

Bob Millington

As Senior Vice President of Information Technology for Cuso Financial Services, Millington is responsible for the oversight and development of information technology. Millington has more than 18 years of experience in information technology, delivering strategic technology solutions for financial services and healthcare companies. He is a member of San Diego CIO Roundtable and SIM. Millington has served as a Top Tech Exec judge for four years. 

Guillermo Perez 

With more than 22 years in the business, Perez currently serves as Vice President of Information Technology at the U-T San Diego. A highly skilled and respected information technology executive, Perez oversees all technical aspects of the media organization and its data center. In 2013, he received the Cox Business Exemplary Award for his impressive work and served as a Top Tech Exec judge in 2014.

Chris Petersen

Petersen is a software developer who has worked extensively with drug discovery researchers to develop online solutions to complex scientific processes. He is co-founder and Chief Information Officer of Assay Depot, serving as the main architect of the company’s innovative online research exchange platform. Petersen is a recipient of a 2013 CIO 100 award and was named a Top Tech Exec Honoree in the Private Micro Company category in 2014.

Chuck Phillips 

A technology pioneer, Phillips serves as Chief Technology Officer at Mirum. Phillips’ deep knowledge, creativity and intuitive approach makes him an invaluable asset to Mirum’s key accounts, including Qualcomm, Rolex, J&J, and Verizon. He is a two-time Information Technology Executive of the Year and was named the 2012 Top Tech Exec Honoree in the Public Small Company category.

John Ruiz

As Vice President of Information Technology for Pelican Auto Finance, Ruiz is responsible for the oversight and development of all technology aspects. He has more than 15 years of experience delivering strategically integrated business solutions for a myriad of industries In 2014, Ruiz was a Top Tech Exec Honoree for the Private Mega Company category while serving as Director of Technology for Karl Strauss Brewing Company.

Nimer Saikaly

With more than 12 years of IT experience, Saikaly serves as Director Information Technology at one of the largest San Diego’s non-profit charitable organization—Episcopal Community Service (ECS) where he manages IT infrastructures for more than 400 employees in 30 different locations of ECS. In 2014, he was named a Top Tech Exec Honoree for the Charitable Organization category.

W. Harold Tuck

A Top Tech Exec Honoree in the Government category and the 2014 Top Tech Lifetime Achievement Honoree, Tuck’s contributions to IT have been numerous and significant. His 26-year career with the County of San Diego culminated with his role as the Chief Information Officer, responsible for providing services to 17,000 County employees at over 200 facilities. Presently, he is also an Avasant Distinguished Fellow, lending his expertise to the respected global management consulting firm.

For more information on the awards program and judging process visit TopTechExecs.com

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