Rick Sebaly

ITPalooza Event Chairman. President SFTA

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Rick Sebaly is the General Manager – Ft Lauderdale, a position he has held at Level 3 Communications, Inc (Level 3) since 2012. In this position, Mr. Sebaly is responsible for leading the Ft. Lauderdale market in growing revenue, market share and delivering value to businesses from Broward to Port St Lucie.

Prior to being appointed to his current position, he was Senior Director – Sales and was responsible for all sales activities, departments and personnel involved in Sales for Level 3’s Houston Office.

Mr. Sebaly has been with Level 3 for more than 19 years and has held other various sales, operations and management roles. He is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder – Leeds School of Business with a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology and Marketing. He sits on various association boards and is involved in the community.

Alex Funkhouser

ITPalooza Co-Founder

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Alex earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Washington University and an MBA from The Netherlands Schools of Business, Nyenrode University. Alex serves as CEO of SherlockTalent, helping top talent find the best opportunities, and serving companies that are frustrated by the difficulty in hiring talented tech, marketing and creative professionals. If you need to hire or be hired, contact SherlockTalent.

  • Coder of the TRS80
  • South Florida tech community evangelist since the ’90s
  • president of ITProCamp, the non-profit organization serving to develop our talent pool and tech industry through support of significant educational and networking events including CodeCamp, ITPalooza, ITProCamp, TechWeekend@theDolphins and TechNight@theBallpark.

Connie Cabrera

Planning Committee Chair

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I am a goal-driven professional with significant progressive recruiting industry experience and balanced understanding of technology and business needs who has garnered respect and high esteem among peers and superiors. I have a deep respect for the role I play and how it impacts both a candidate’s career path and a company’s human resources needs.

Brief summary of my firm and what we do best:

Blue Horizon Tek Solutions is deeply committed to aligning success driven IT talent, with the highest integrity and work ethic, with clients in need of human capital to meet their goals and objectives. We represent both sides, starting with a deep analysis of our clients’ technical needs and their unique corporate culture and matching that with those specific candidates, whose background and career objectives align. This creates a win/win situation for all those involved. We work with individuals and businesses at all levels, in every region throughout the U.S. supplying a range of consulting, direct-hire, right to hire and executive level search in all IT disciplines.

Steve Earle

Digital Marketing / Webmaster & ITPalooza Co-Founder

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I’m the founder of E2Marketing and I work hard every day to ensure that our client – and their clients – get the most value from their website and digital marketing experiences. When I’m not working in the office I can be found thinking about work while out riding my bike around South Florida.

I’ve been involved with ITPalooza since the inaugural 12/12/12 event and I’m looking forward to lending my expertise for many years to come.

Lenny Chesal

ITPalooza Co-Founder

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Chief Evangelist

Lenny has worked with Host.net, a multinational cloud company offering managed infrastructure services, since January of 2004. Specializing in colocation and network transport and transit solutions for enterprise organizations, the company custom designs total solutions tailored to the needs of its clients. Lenny is responsible for the company’s sales, marketing and business initiatives. With more than 30 years of diversified experience, his achievement and involvement in the South Florida technology sector is second to none.

Lenny, who is known as “The Godfather” of the South Florida Technology Alliance (SFTA), is also a co-founder of ITPalooza and is listed as a “must-know” contact by Florida Trend Magazine for Palm Beach County (you can see a full list of Lenny’s extensive community involvement below).

Lenny is incredibly passionate about his community. A sampling of his civic involvement can be found below.

  • Past Chairman of the Board of the South Florida Technology Alliance (SFTA),
  • Immediate Past Chairman Florida Atlantic University Tech Runway
  • Florida Atlantic University ITOM Advisory Board
  • Member, Palm Beach State College Business Partnership Council for B.A.S. Degree in Information Management
  • Inaugural Chair of the American Cancer Society-Relay for Life Deerfield Beach/Lighthouse Point/Hillsboro Beach
  • Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce Trustee
  • NSU Graduate School of Computer and Information Science and Huizenga School of Entrepreneurship
  • CIO Council of South Florida – Advocacy Committee

Lenny’s talents are not limited to the telecom world. He is also known around South Florida as a Certified Rock n’ Roll Drummer (CRRD – it’s on his business card), performing with several local bands. He also devotes much his free time to his family – especially his two beautiful grandchildren.

John McLaughlin

User Groups Team Leader & ITPalooza Co-Founder

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For 15 years while at Sun Microsystems, John helped lead the charge to replace proprietary minicomputers with Open Systems. With a focus on providing professional services, major account management, and training to customers and partners, John now replaces proprietary storage systems with open-sourced, ZFS based storage solutions. John is also editor-in-chief for the System News newsletters

For the last few years at Nexenta, John has been helping customers and understand migrate to Enterprise Class Software Defined Storage.

John is Editor-In-Chief for System News, publisher of “System News for Sun Users”, “System News for IT Professionals” and “IT News Watch”.

Patricia Monica Ojeda

Social Media Team Leader

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I am passionate about the IT industry and business process expert, with an extensive record of increasing productivity, systems efficiency, and profit margins through the implementation of advanced technological solutions and methodologies. I am adept at managing all aspects of information technology, including business needs assessment, SDLC, sourcing, services and systems implementation. I am known by the identification of opportunities, analyzing operations, and the development of winning solutions.

Beth Ryan

Hiring Fair Team Lead + Social Media

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15 years ago, Beth Ryan began her career in technology in the staffing industry.  After years of helping customers find best practices  and technologies, she now finds herself again helping people find the best technical talent- but with a twist- all her team are technical people – not recruiters.  Life in a startup is new after working with both private and Fortune 100 companies globally in London, Paris, New York, Atlanta, Boston and now South Florida.   Her consulting experience includes work in China and Argentina.  As Director of Sales for IT WorkSource by SLPowers, Ms. Ryan draws on her extensive global background in business development to help clients in all industries find the best fit talent for their culture and technical needs.

Ms. Ryan is a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy, Emory University (BBA) and the University of Florida (MBA).  She is an active alumna and mother of one beautiful girl.

As a longtime volunteer as event manager for the non-profit sector, heading ITPalooza’s hiring fair is comfortable territory.

Anjali Leon

ITPalooza Agile Track Team Lead, Agile Coach, Trainer and Consultant

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Anjali is an advanced Agile practitioner, coach, instructor and workshop facilitator. She is principal coach at Pragmatic Project Leadership LLC, a South Florida based Agile Coaching, Training and Consulting Practice, where Anjali and her collaborators help organizations, teams, and individuals fulfill their potential. With two decades of technical and leadership experience in a variety of roles – including Software Engineer and Director of Product development, she brings a unique perspective into the delicate balance between discipline and flexibility that companies need to maintain to be agile and remain competitive. Through her expertise and light touch, she has successfully helped several organizations implement elegant and effective ways to manage work and engage people – with a focus on delivering genuine business value.

Her credentials include a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Drexel University (Summa Cum Laude). She also holds certifications as a PMP, CSM, CSPO, and CSP, is a recognized Agile Team Facilitator (ICP-ATF) and Agile Coach (ICP-ACC) through the International Consortium for Agile (IC Agile) and a AgilityHealth Facilitator. She is an active member of South Florida’s Agile community. She founded the South Florida Women in Agile group and regularly speaks and volunteers at Agile events.

Greg Taffet

CIO Council Track Team Lead

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Greg Taffet was recently recognized by South Florida Business journal as CIO of the Year finalist. He received the 2012 Universal Access Award in the individual category from the South Florida Digital Alliance for his long list of accomplishments which have increased access to information and technology thereby positively impacting the lives of many in several communities. A short list of Mr. Taffet’s efforts include: 1) wiring of the Stamford Public School System, 2) obtaining funding to establish a fully functioning skills training lab for Goodwill Industries, 3) serving as technology advisor for Stepping Stones Museum and Norwalk Community College, and now, 5) assisting in bringing internet access to public parks in the South Florida community.

Professionally, Greg Taffet joined U.S. Gas and Electric, Inc. (“USG&E”), a leading energy supplier, as Chief Information Officer in December of 2007. Mr. Taffet oversees the management and development of all business and information technology at USG&E. In addition to day to day management, Mr. Taffet is responsible for the technology transformation that has matched the company’s growth as it has doubled in size for each of the last six years.

Previous to USG&E, Mr. Taffet was the Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for MxEnergy. He was in this role for nine years and was one of the founding employees of the organization. Mr. Taffet also has extensive manufacturing experience from working at the Bodine Corporation in various capacities including Manager of Systems and Integration. As a founder of Wellington Systems consulting firm, he gained significant experience in the financial, automotive and banking industries. Mr. Taffet has over 25 years of technology, business, industry, and operational systems experience with an extensive background in mergers and acquisitions.

Mr. Taffet holds a Bachelor’s degree from Franklin and Marshall College and a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Stevens Institute of Technology. Mr. Taffet serves on the board of the Miami Dade Broadband Coalition.

Brent Kaplan

Cloud and Security Track Speakers

Dean Fagot

IoT and Me Track Speakers

Bob Fitz

ITPalooza Sponsorship Committee

Kristen Knauer

Volunteer Committee

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Kristen joined Host.net in July of 2009 as the Sales Assistant and has since handled marketing and supporting the CEO and Chief Evangelist for the company. Boasting extensive experience in client management, sales and event planning, she has become the Client Success Manager and assists with all client relationships, sales tracking and event planning as well as several other things.

Prior to joining Host.net, Kristen served as the assistant to the Broker of Keller Williams Realty Ft. Lauderdale SE, and Assistant MCA for Keller Williams Partners Realty. She enjoyed a successful six-year tenure at Keller Williams and has also had her Real Estate since 2004.

Kristen enjoys volunteering for non-profit organizations and has worked with the South Florida Technology Alliance since 2010. She has also volunteered with ITPalooza for the past two years. Kristen has also taken to the road as a cyclist to raise money for the Miami Dolphins Ride DCC benefiting the Sylvester Cancer Center.

Tammy Kennedy

ITPalooza Sponsorship Committee

Joe Monaco

ITPalooza Sponsorship Committee

Nicole Ciccone


Don Silver

PR and Marketing Committee

Glen Benjamin

Social Media

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