Merv Tarde Inductees

Merv Tarde Values in Leadership Circle Inductees

The Merv Tarde Values in Leadership Circle (MTVLC) is designed to recognize leaders who are boldly living out their faith in Jesus Christ as they serve others in the Technology Community of DFW. Learn about the requirements to be considered for the MTVLC, our selection process, and how submit your nomination on our Submission Page.

2023 Inductees

Mike Rochelle Profile Picture
Chris Kambala

Founder and CEO, Aezion

Chris's Bio

Chris Kambala is a devout follower of Jesus Christ, husband, father, and entrepreneur. He leads a team of more than 200 global employees as the founder and CEO of Aezion.

Chris was born in a small remote village of 60 homes in South India, where he faced daily challenges. There was no electricity, he would walk six miles to school, and study by kerosine lamps in the evening when his work was done on the farm. At just three years old, his father, the village’s first Christian, passed away. Yet Chris still reflects fondly on his upbringing, saying “God’s hand was on us.” Chris would go on to become the first person from his village to get a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Birla Institute of Technology and Science.

After graduating, Chris’ passion has always been on giving back. Initially, his outlet for that was as a technical instructor. He wanted to build a legacy in education by teaching the poor and making growth available to people who struggled like he did. He ended up teaching more than 6,000 students. Today, he uses his businesses to execute this vision of generosity through church planting, service, and education.

In 2000, Chris and his wife, Kavitha, moved their family to the United States. Here, Chris has served 20+ years in information technology as a software developer, enterprise solution architect, and entrepreneur. He’s worked for startups and enterprises like Verizon, AmerisourceBergen, and Alliance Data. In the evenings, Chris continued teaching cohorts of technology classes until deciding to build his first company in the IT staffing space. Over the years, until the day he sold the company, he employed, mentored, and cared for more than 300 programmers.

In 2012, Chris founded Aezion to serve customers, employees, and the community with the love of Christ and he lives out that mission every day. The company provides custom software development, data engineering, digital transformation, and application support/hosting services. The outcome of Chris’ leadership is a diverse team of people, united to build a “globally recognized software development ministry by 2030,” as stated in the company’s vision. Most of Chris’ employees and customers come from differing faith backgrounds – but are moved and united by the love that Chris advocates and exemplifies.

Chris and Kavitha attend church at Calvary Chapel Dallas with their three boys, Anush, Aashish, and Abish.

Mike Rochelle Profile Picture
Mark Laible

Vice President of Sales for North Texas, Technologent

Mark's Bio

Mark Laible has worked in the IT Industry for 30 years. He started his career as an Officer in the United States Air Force supporting intelligence systems at United States Strategic Command. Mark has been in technology sales for the past 17 years and has been a sales leader for the last six. He is currently the Vice President of Sales for North Texas at Technologent, an Irvine, CA based technology solutions provider. Mark is responsible for sales in the North Texas and TOLA Regions. Despite the pandemic and “Great Resignation”, Mark has grown the North Texas Region over the past six years into the highest performing Region in the company.

Mark grew up in a loving Christian home and had a strong knowledge of God. However, it was during his time at Baylor and in the Air Force that he realized he was missing a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That is when Mark truly understood we all fall short of the glory of God and are justified freely by grace through the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross (Romans 3:23-24). Mark cares about the people he works with. Regardless of what he is going through personally, he is more focused on serving others. He always makes himself available to anyone seeking his help. Mark’s hope is that he demonstrates his love for the Lord in all circumstances and that his actions point people to Christ. Mark would tell you he probably fails more than he succeeds, but he rests in the fact that the Lord’s mercies never end (Lamentations 3:22-23) and he can do all things through Christ who strengthens him (Philippians 4:13).

Mark graduated from Baylor University where he played football and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. While in the Air Force, Mark also earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Nebraska. Mark lives in Dallas with his wife (Emily), his son (Campbell), and his youngest daughter (Corinne). His oldest daughter (Caroline) is a freshman at Baylor University. Mark and his family attend Watermark Community Church where he and Emily serve on the “Believe Team”. Mark loves working with and mentoring youth. As a father of three, he has coached multiple soccer, baseball, and football teams…sometimes all at the same time. He has co-led a boys Bible Study for the last 10 years, coordinated many school campouts as well as numerous daddy/daughter dances. As a follower of Christ, Mark believes in trying to be a light in this world (Matthew 5:14-16). To that end, he and his family support various organizations like Dallas Life, Time to Revive, Need Him Global, Mercy Ships, Involved For Life and Compassion International, that strive to meet the needs of people and further the gospel both locally and globally.

2022 Inductees

Mike Rochelle Profile Picture
Sharon Gorikapudi
Sharon's Bio

Professor Gorikapudi leads the MSITM program at Dallas Baptist University and clings tightly to Christ’s command for His followers to be fishers of men. He views his position as program director and assistant professor as an opportunity to integrate faith and learning in the technology and management sectors. As director of the MSITM program, he encourages his students to “disrupt the disruptors” by preparing them for the next wave, trend or tectonic shift and equipping them with future-proof skills.

Sharon has more than 16 years of experience as a strategist, agile leader, program manager and follows lean-agile, systems thinking and design thinking frameworks. He has worked in diverse roles as a business analyst, project manager, management consultant, and chief strategist, working in a number of sectors, such as supply chain, e-commerce, energy, smart cities, telecom and now in education.

Sharon goes by the adage “The best way to predict the future is to create it!” and wants to make a dent in the Universe by creating his own. Over the years, he built capabilities in Blockchain, Quantum computing, AI & Machine Learning, Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud Computing, Cybersecurity and convergence of these technologies for smart cities.

A native of India, Sharon holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, an MBA in Retail Management and Information Systems from NMIMS, Mumbai and a Master’s in Information Technology & Management from UT Dallas.

Sharon is an ideator, disruptor, a shaper, and an influencer. He is an IBM certified Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and Quantum Computing instructor. He holds PMP, ITIL, Design Thinking, various SAFe and Kanban certifications. Sharon volunteers as a mentor for PMI Dallas, provides pro-bono consulting services in digital transformation and is an agile coach.

Sharon is an avid reader and a networker. His readings focus mainly on the topics of philosophy, technology, business, theology, and humanics. He attends around 50 events a year and engages with C level executives in business and technology. Sharon is also a numismatist, collecting rare and ancient coins.

He is married to Sirisha Gorikapudi, an Electronics and Communication engineer, and are blessed with a toddler, Shawn Isaac. They attend Crosspointe Indian Church in Plano, Texas.

Mike Rochelle Profile Picture
Pam Gates
Pam's Bio

Pam Gates has spent the past 20 years in the Technology Staffing and Consulting business, leading sales and delivery teams to support clients in their need for high-performing technology talent. Pam has been involved in executive leadership, business transformation, and strategic initiatives while at Comsys, Experis / Manpower, and MDI Group. Over the past 5 years, Pam has had the absolute privilege of leading the Dallas Ft. Worth sales organization at MATRIX. The culture of high collaboration and work life balance at MATRIX makes every day an adventure with a team that really is family.

At the highest level, Pam supports her teams by strategically creating sales and recruiting strategies, while driving efficiencies through tools and technology. Where she really excels is mentoring and working alongside her colleagues to challenge them to add value by providing a unique perspective, advice, and alternative solutions to clients in an ever-changing market.

Pam holds an Information Systems degree from the University of Oklahoma, where she was also a student athlete. This disciplined background drives her passion for process improvement and effectively utilizing tools to enhance efficiency.

She resides in Argyle, Texas with her husband Mark, an Oracle Consultant, who she recruited for a client and for life years ago. She has two teenage boys, Ryan and Collin, who are involved in wrestling and football, are very active in their Boy Scout Troop, and spend many of their weekends as a family on the lake wake surfing.

Pam humbly serves in supporting the Prayer Breakfast each year helping the Table Hosts, as a mentor for the Transition Point ministry, as the Fundraising Chair for Scout Troop 60, and at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Flower Mound on Fellowship and Sunday School teams.

2021 Inductees

Mike Rochelle Profile Picture
Mike Rochelle
Mike's Bio

Mike Rochelle is an Adjunct Professor in the MSITM Program at Dallas Baptist University, Vice President Cultural Growth at Cyber Group, Inc., a Microsoft Gold Partner, Founding President of the Association for Business Technology Professionals, a 501c6 not for profit, and Chief Learning Officer at LeadershipN™ a project of Mike Rochelle and Associates.

Over the past 30 years, he has been a Divisional CIO for a Global Real Estate firm, Chief of Staff for the CIO at Time Warner Cable, Global Head of Partner and Direct Sales, Marketing and Customer Service at Microsoft and other software and service providers and has led digital transformation for many other large organizations – always a Business Technology Strategist innovating on numerous internal and external consulting capacities.

For 23 years, his personal passion / give back project has been helping leaders understand their personal leadership style, get along with and lead others more effectively, and commit to a lifetime of learning, changing, and growing. Mike is joyful to help leaders at every level grow in their current and future roles, this melting pot of cultures informs and encourages Mike to help each individual overcome issues and reach for the stars! As such, Mike encourages all to look beyond the outward and even inward things that separate us and encourages all people to join together in unbiased love of fellow people, helping all who want it, as much as possible, to achieve a good life for themselves and their family.

These are just a few of the reasons Mike was inducted into the Merv Tarde Leadership Circle in 2021. Thank you Mike for your support and love for our technology community!

Steve Helms Profile Picture
Steve Helms
Steve's Bio

Steve Helms has been a technology sales professional for 27 years. A Richardson native, Steve graduated from JJ Pearce High School, received a BS in Manufacturing Engineering from Texas A&M University and his MBA from SMU Cox School of Business with a focus on Entrepreneurship.

Sun Microsystems gave Steve his first professional opportunity, where Steve began to sell computer technology to telecom providers at a time when the industry was just building out modern internet infrastructure. This gave him opportunities to serve customers in multiple functions across many industries. Following his time with Sun, Steve partnered with companies that provide research, consulting, services, and software. He currently supports the Global Alliances Organization of Dell Technologies.

Steve is an active member of Prestonwood Baptist Church where he served for the last 20 years as a member of the choir, a volunteer in the children’s AWANAs program, and in his Bible Fellowship class resulting in life-long friendships. Steve is currently serving his church in the pre-teen ministry teaching 4th grade young men about Jesus.

Steve is one of the founders of the DFW Technology Prayer Breakfast and was asked to assume the role of President in 2016. He’s seen first-hand the amazing work of volunteers who sacrificially give their time and talents to provide an event that introduces the local technology community to Jesus. His hope is that the DFW Technology community will be known as the most loving, inviting, and Christ honoring network of professionals in the world.

Steve and his wife Kappi love to travel with their children, Holiday, Kate, and Bennett. He has a passion for studying history, playing guitar, cooking outdoors, and running. And his favorite verse is Proverbs 3:5-6

**On a personal note, Steve was very reluctant to accept the nomination. However, his steadfast leadership of the DFW Technology Prayer Breakfast, and his attention to those of us in the community… unselfishly, are the reason why so many people spoke up and insisted he be nominated. Thank you Steve for your devotion and leadership. We are honored to induct you into the Merv Tarde Leadership Circle. ~ Emily Bell-Wootten (Communications Chair)

2020 Inductees

Matt Harrington Profile Picture
Matt Harrington
Matt's Bio

Matt Harrington has been in the Technology Staffing and Consulting business for the past 20 years. He has worked for large, publicly traded companies, startup organizations, and for the past 10 years he has had the privilege of working for MATRIX Resources. Matt is currently Regional Vice President overseeing the Central U.S. Matt’s passion is building and leading teams to rapidly respond to the ever-changing market. Throughout his career, Matt has implemented sales and delivery models that maximize opportunity and properly align to the goals and objectives of both external and internal customers. Matt’s greatest love is the opportunity to “do life” with everyone he works with. He feels truly blessed and humbled to have the opportunity to work with so many amazing people.

Matt was raised Catholic and attended Catholic school from elementary through high school. Although he always loved God, it wasn’t until he was in his mid-twenties that he realized that he needed to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. There can never be enough good deeds stacked on top of each other to “earn” our way into heaven. Rather Jesus, our Lord and Savior, is the only way, He died on the cross for each of us, so that we may have eternal life. All we must do is ask with our mouths and confess with our hearts. Matt continues to learn that he is not in control, but that God has a plan, not to harm us, but to give us a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Matt holds a BS degree from Nova Southeastern University. He and his wife Christel have two sons and a daughter. Matt’s oldest son, Jackson, is headed to Texas A&M University in the fall. Matt and his family have been members of Prestonwood Baptist Church for the past 20 years. Matt has served as a deacon at Prestonwood since 2009 and he and his wife Christel have served as bible fellowship leaders in Student Ministry. Matt has been involved with the Leadership of the DFW Technology Prayer Breakfast since its inception in 2014. Currently, Matt leads Transition Point, which is a ministry of the DFW Technology Prayer Breakfast for those who are in job transition.

Jeff Woods Profile Picture
Jeff Woods
Jeff's Bio

Jeff Woods is a software developer. Jeff graduated from University of North Texas with a BS in Computer Science. Over the past 30 years, Jeff has developed software for the Technology, Supercomputing and Business Enterprise sectors. Jeff helped pioneer RAID technology in the late ‘80’s, created development software tools for massively parallel computing architectures in the ‘90s, developed enterprise middleware in early 2000s, and for the last 15 years has been developing enterprise business integration software at Precisely, an IBM Business Partner. Jeff has achieved numerous awards, including the “Convex Star” and holds three technology patents.

The most remarkable event, however, occurred in 1991, when Jeff placed his faith and trust in Jesus Christ. God’s grace and mercy toward Jeff began transforming his life in every dimension. The contrast between “before” and “after” was so amazing that Jeff realized he needed to encourage others to take the same step of faith. Helping others know and follow Christ became Jeff’s passion. He immediately became active in local and foreign short-term missions, yet his home and the workplace became the most important place of ministry because these are the ones for whom he had the deepest concern.

Soon after taking his step of faith, a friend challenged him to come with him to prison and share his faith with others. The experience so impacted Jeff that, for the past 20 years, he has led others to do the same through MICHAEL Fellowship, a prison ministry of Prestonwood Baptist Church where Jeff also serves as a deacon and the Deacon Team Ministry Officer. Jeff found the workplace to be rich with opportunities to communicate his hope and security in Christ.

His officemates often discuss personal problems, professional disappointments, family health issues and even death which provide him with strategic opportunities to bring God’s perspective into their situation and foster faith in Christ, making the workplace one of the most rewarding places for ministry.

Jeff lives in Garland with his wife Marcy. They have been married for 39 years and are active members of Prestonwood. Their daughter (Karen) and son-in-law (Kyle) recently relocated to Coppell from San Antonio where they were active members of Castle Hills Baptist Church and led a Life Group for married couples.

2019 Inductees

Matt Harrington Profile Picture
Jason Denton
Jason's Bio

Jason’s follows Christ fervently and Christ leads him to serve the region which has made him one of the most sought-after Solutions Architects. Jason believes God chose him to be the chief steward of His business, and that any measure of success or credit truly rests with the only One that is worthy of honor; God Himself.

Jason is the co-founder and CEO of Reliable Technology Services, a Frisco, Texas based Managed IT Service Provider that builds enterprise class infrastructure, voice, and data networks for small and medium sized organizations. A career entrepreneur, Jason founded Reliable Technology Services 12 years ago with a mission to provide superior technology solutions delivered with integrity by experts who excel at creating solutions for complex business problems, and to be a key player in the success of others.

Jason has spent his adult life giving back to the community through service and, since the inception of Reliable Technology Services, he has designated resources and revenue that allow him to give free or at cost technical support and equipment to non-profit organizations in desperate need. Additionally, he currently serves as a Deacon for Gateway Church, and on the Board of Global Heart Ministries as Secretary, a volunteer for Kingdom Business Leaders, a member of Leadership Frisco (Class 23), and the NCTC Workforce Advisory Board. Jason, his wife and business partner Melinda, their son Noah, and daughter Elizabeth, live in Frisco and are active members of Gateway Church.

Jeff Woods Profile Picture
Reuben Najera
Reuben's Bio

The Lord placed in Reuben’s heart a deep love for people. Whether it is as an Executive Pastor, or as a Technology Director at Shermco, Reuben knows that every good thing in his life, in his profession, and is his calling has come as a result of his relationship with God.

He loves teaching kids, and was a children’s pastor for about 4 years. He has a genuine heart to serve, and a calling for creating an environment that the teams he works with trust one another to be open and honest and debate in a healthy way. He prays for wisdom and understanding, knowing that a perfect ditch, at the right depth, width and perfectly straight, in the wrong direction does no good. He strongly believes that the Lord is the giver of wisdom and understanding.

Reuben is the Director of Information Technology of Shermco Industries, a provider of testing, maintenance, repair, commissioning, engineering, and training services for electrical infrastructure including substations, switchgear, transformers, motors, and generators based in Irving, TX.

Eleven years ago, when Reuben started, Shermco revenues were around 32MM with about 215 employees in two offices. Through never-ending improvement, extensive team building and alignment with the company’s growth plan, Reuben and his team have helped, from a technology perspective, with the growth to over 300MM and over 1000 employees in 29 offices. In this time Shermco has been awarded one of the Best Places to Work on more than one occasion and through a deliberate safety culture achieved OSHA’s VPP site recognition. Shermco is now the largest electrical testing and maintenance company in North America.

Over the past two decades Reuben has been very intentional about keeping up with the pace of technology, thus he has achieved 17 industry certifications with a recent focus on Cyber Security. In teaching almost a dozen Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University classes both at work and his local church, Reuben has served in helping many families find financial freedom. He has participated on a Technology Advisory Committee for local colleges, advising on relevant tech tracks and has spoken to students studying at Dallas Baptist University about technology. He has also volunteered at N-Power, an organization focused on training honorably discharged vets and their spouses in the technology space. Reuben is married with three kids and he and his wife Marietta serve as Executive Pastors under the Senior Pastor at Freedom Life Church in Mansfield, TX.

Reuben is always welcoming opportunities to help others grow and learn, making evident the pastor’s heart that he has been gifted with from a young age. His door is always open – both literally and figuratively. If there is anyone that needs an understanding ear, a helpful hand or kind counseling, Reuben is there for you. Those who have the privilege of witnessing his pastor’s heart can see clearly the happiness it brings him to see others grasp what he is giving.

Matt Harrington Profile Picture
Tad McIntosh
Tad's Bio

Tad McIntosh has 20 + years’ experience in leadership positions, recruiting services leadership and human resources leadership. He is the founder and President of HumCap, a provider of Recruiting and Human Resources Solutions for growing companies to help them win the war for talent while living the Golden Rule. He and his team design and provide solutions that include HR ASO, HR Consulting, HR Outsourcing, Talent Management, Recruiting services, Organizational Consulting, and Executive Search.

Under his leadership and direction, HumCap has been recognized numerous times. HumCap Awards include 2015 Tech Titans Tech Advocate, a DFW Best Place to Work, The Dallas 100 Award, Communities Foundation/ EFNT North Star Award, and The Inc. 500 Award and The Inc. 5000 Award multiple Times.

Prior to founding HumCap, Tad was The Chief Talent Officer at Broadband Gateways in Plano, Texas. Broadband Gateways was a fast growth Venture Capital backed company that was acquired by Uniden. Prior to Broadband Gateways, He spent 5 years the Director of Source Services High Tech Services division. At Source Services, Tad’s clients were fast growth technology firms that needed customized solutions to attract and retain the best and brightest employees so their businesses would succeed in the competitive landscape.

Tad also was the commander for recruiting for the US Army in Atlanta, GA. His other Army assignments include The US Honor Guard in Washington DC, and The DMZ in South Korea. Tad finished his active duty service as a Captain and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM). Tad earned the coveted Army Airborne, Ranger, and Air Assault Qualifications.

Tad holds a BS in Engineering from West Point and a Master of Science from CMU. He and his wife Pam have three sons. Tad is committed to and involved with leadership positions with numerous philanthropic and community organizations including The Entrepreneurs’ For North Texas, Highland Park Presbyterian Church Youth Mission teams, Boy Scouts of America, The West Point Society of North Texas, Texas Tough for Children’s Medical Center, The Bill Glass Prison Ministry team, Communities Foundation of Texas, Children of Fallen Patriots, and the John & Punky Tolson Ministry. Tad enjoys coaching his sons sporting teams and participating in triathlons and outdoor events with his family. Tad successfully completed the 2001 Hawaiian Ironman World Championships.

You can reach Tad at [email protected] or at (214) 707-7910.

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Rod Wright
Rod's Bio

Rod Wright has been in sales for 25 years and has been a leader in technology sales for the past 20. He is currently a General Manager at Technologent, an Irvine, CA based technology solutions provider. He is responsible for all sales, marketing, engineering, and services resources for the Central and South East United States. Under Rod’s 10 years of leadership, his territory has seen its business grow from $25M in 2008 to $158M in 2018 (a 500% increase). During this same time, the move to more cloud-based solutions has forced many of Technologent’s traditional competitors to either shut their doors or be acquired.

But what is truly unique about Rod, is the humility of Christ that is exemplified in his life. Rod doesn’t care about awards or titles. He cares about people and how he can serve and honor them. He is actually embarrassed that he is even being recognized today. Regardless of what he is going through personally, he is always focused on others and how they are doing. He treats his co-workers like family and always makes himself available to anyone seeking guidance or advice. Rod’s love for the Lord gives him a sense of peace in all circumstances which naturally draws people in and points them to Christ.

Rod graduated from Texas Christian University. He lives in Frisco with his wife (Leslie), three sons (Caden, Carson and Chase), and his daughter (Chloe). Rod attends First Baptist Frisco with his family. He loves working with and mentoring youth. As a father of four, he has coached numerous football, baseball, basketball, and soccer teams. Rod has served with his son’s in the Frisco Chapter or the Young Men’s Service League. And, he has served as a YoungLife Committee member for the past 8 years.

2018 Inductees

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Robert Hunt
Robert's Bio

Robert Hunt is the owner of Renaissance Executive Forums Dallas. He serves business owners and CEOs through peer-to-peer advisory groups, executive coaching, and leadership development. His work with leaders and their teams in the Metroplex is known for changing lives for the better.

Robert’s purpose is “to help others remove obstacles that keep them from being their best.” That is what he does each time he steps into a situation. His passion for excellence and desire to honor God in whatever he does is one of the things we love most about him.

Robert was one of the original volunteers who helped us start the Dallas/Fort Worth Technology Prayer Breakfast in 2014 and has served in a variety of capacities over the years. We affectionately call him the “COO” because he jumps into whatever area needs leadership and does it with excellence.

Robert has also given his time to ministries like the Ring of Hope Boxing ClubInvolved for Life, the Greater Dallas Business Ethics Award, and the Technology Ball. He lives in Frisco with his wife, Kathy, and his son, James, while his daughter, Lauren, is pursuing a music career in Austin. The Hunts attend Chase Oaks Church in Plano, where Robert leads the high school boys group he calls the “Band of Mustaches.”

Robert will be inducted into the Merv Tarde Value in Leadership Circle at the Dallas/Fort Worth Technology Prayer Breakfast on Oct. 5, 2018.

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Rusty Kennington
Rusty's Bio

Rusty Kennington is a technology executive with a career spanning more than 30 years and multiple industries. He has worked in Fortune 500, private, and startup organizations. He has been responsible for global technology teams spanning north and south America, Europe, and Asia.

Rusty was recently recruited to be the CIO for Corsicana Mattress Company. His task is to build a strategic IT capability to fuel significant business growth and transformation. He comes with a track record of leveraging technology to drive game-changing business results, including growth in market share and margin. His new team is doing so already at Corsicana.

Previously, Rusty led the Americas IT team at Commercial Metals, was vice president of Enterprise IT for Brinker International, and held leadership positions at Ernst and Young and MCI. He also cofounded a successful software solution delivery company. He received his bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and completed the graduate finance program at Southern Methodist University. He currently serves as a member of the Society for Information Management DFW Chapter Board. Finally, he spent six years on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters and is well into his second decade as a Big Brother.

Rusty will be inducted into the Merv Tarde Value in Leadership Circle at the Dallas/Fort Worth Technology Prayer Breakfast on Oct. 5, 2018.

Matt Harrington Profile Picture
Eric Wilson
Eric's Bio

Eric Wilson has spent the last 20 years as a software developer and solutions architect, with the last five years focused on management and leadership roles. He is currently a development manager for World Ventures, a global membership and travel services company, where he is responsible for all membership services and systems. He has a deep understanding of how to build performant software systems from the ground up and, more important, how to build highly functional teams through servant leadership.

Eric has worked in a variety of industries during his career and enjoys the technical challenges that building new systems provide. His biggest reward, however, is not in seeing these systems built but in seeing the synergy and teamwork of the builders.

Eric has worked in prison ministries for the more than two decades. For the past several years, he has served as chairman of the Prison Ministry Council at Prestonwood Baptist Church, where he is also a deacon. He has witnessed to men individually, going cell to cell, and led small-group Bible studies in the prison chapel. He has acted as unit coordinator for prison-wide evangelical outreaches involving more than 100 volunteers. He also works with men who are seeking to reacclimate to society after prison, helping them with life skills and their relationships with Christ.

Eric will be inducted into the Merv Tarde Value in Leadership Circle at the Dallas/Fort Worth Technology Prayer Breakfast on Oct. 5, 2018.

2017 Inductees

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Matt Levy
Matt's Bio

Matt is the co-founder and managing director of Credera, a management consulting, user experience, and technology solutions firm based in Dallas, Texas. In 1998, when Matt helped start Credera, he dreamed of working with a group of leaders he both admired and respected. Today, Credera has been recognized by several notable organizations including Fortune’s 100 Best Medium Work Places, Fortune’s Best Workplaces for Millennials, Inc. 5000’s Fastest Growing Private Companies, Texas Monthly’s Best Companies to Work for in Texas, among several other local organizations.

Matt’s emphasis is in organizational health and culture, marketing and technology. Matt leads marketing for Credera and focuses on growing Credera. He currently serves on several boards and enjoys working with entrepreneurial leaders who are considering their company’s next major growth step. Matt is the co-author of The Business of Faith: How to Lead Yourself, Unify Your Team, and Create a Remarkable Organization. Matt graduated from Texas Tech University in 1996 and is a member of the Lone Star YPO chapter. Matt, his wife Amy, and their two teenage children live in Dallas and are active members of Watermark Community Church in Dallas.

Jeff Woods Profile Picture
Onyeka Nchege
Onyeka's Bio

As Interstate’s Chief Information Officer, Onyeka Nchege champions partnerships to make valuable ideas possible. He combines a passion for technology with deep business insight to help Interstate Batteries realize its vision: being the First Choice in sustainable battery solutions in every community we serve, now and for generations to come.

Recently nominated for the 2016 Dallas CIO of the Year, Onyeka brings more than 20 years of leading teams, developing strategies and building technology solutions to the biggest name in automotive replacement batteries. He also leads the creation and integration of technology solutions for Interstate’s network of retail store franchises and distributors across North and Central America. Onyeka regularly contributes to CIO Review magazine and shares his insight and experience with peers and colleagues via his own blog,

Matt Harrington Profile Picture
Paola Saibene
Paola's Bio
Paola Saibene has been in IT for 25 years, and the Lord has allowed her to hold multiple CIO/CTO/CSO/Global Privacy Officer positions in large, multi-billion dollar organizations. She has worked in government writ-large, in the private (multiple industries) and non-profit sectors. She has also been blessed with teaching part-time the Master’s Program in Information Security at Dallas Baptist University, where faculty is encouraged to bring the good news of the gospel to the classroom.
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David Stone
David's Bio

David Stone is the founder and CEO of First Rate, Inc., an organization designed to assist businesses in learning how to exhibit the character of God with their coworkers, customers and communities. Stone launched First Rate in 1991 with the vision of providing a dynamic set of analysis tools that offer web-based performance solutions.

Stone has run First Rate both as a U.S.-based company as well as extending his brand into a locations far from most people’s radar. Stone has written the book “First Rate Living in God’s Company”.

2016 Inductee

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Mark A. Stone
Mark's Bio
Mark was one of the original leaders who helped make the DFW Technology Prayer Breakfast a reality. His “Fruit of the Spirit” is evidenced through constant and consistent mentoring, career transition support, spiritual leadership in small groups along with his monthly reminders and encouragement to serve others (career and spiritually) through his monthly newsletters.

As a more personal example of Mark’s “Fruits”, when he found himself out of work and without a strong network he made two commitments to himself and shared this with a few others privately. One was to build his network so that in the future he would not be in such a poor position to find his next job. Second, he would commit to help others in order to pay back and pay it forward to others in order to help them build their network in advance of needing it. Once he found his job, he kept his commitment to help others by writing a book and taking significant personal time to help those in transition. This is one of the most difficult and personal soul-searching times in an individual’s life and Mark uses it to build their personal self-esteem / network and to also initiate, not so subtly, discussions about the importance of a personal relationship with Christ.

Mark currently serves as the System CIO for the Texas A&M University System. Prior to this, Mr. Stone served as the Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Safety-Kleen Systems, Inc., Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Zale Corporation, and Director of Financial Operations for the Resolution Trust Corporation. Mark is a Certified Public Accountant and the author of “The Three C’s: A Career Enrichment Primer on Characterizing, Connecting, and Communicating.” He holds a BBA in Accounting from Baylor University and a Masters in Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary.

2015 Inductees

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Jeff Blackwell


Jeff's Bio

Jeff has been a technology professional for over 30 years. Jeff graduated from Plano Senior High School and received his BBA in Accounting and Information Systems from Baylor University in 1992 and is a licensed CPA in Texas.

Jeff has held many roles with Deloitte over his 30-year career from client service to internal functions. Currently, Jeff and his teams support all the HR systems for the Deloitte US Firm. But that’s what he does. At Deloitte, Jeff is active leader in the Deloitte Christian Fellowship and leads a prayer meeting at the bi-annual Partner/Director meeting. He is being inducted into the “Values in Leadership” Circle because of who he is. And that is a man who believes and lives the word and teachings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Jeff is currently an active servant of our Lord Jesus Christ at Prestonwood Baptist Church serving as a Deacon, Usher, Bible Fellowship Leader, and Frist Responder on the Medical Team. For over 20 years, Jeff took his passion for youth and baseball to lead and grow the Prestonwood Sports Organization baseball program. As the associate head varsity baseball coach for Prestonwood Christian Academy, Jeff has led multiple mission trips to the Dominican Republic with SCORE Ministries.

Jeff also serves his community as a volunteer Firefighter/EMT with Lucas Fire Rescue. Jeff uses this opportunity to mentor young firefighters and provide comfort to those who are in distress.

Jeff is the husband to Caroline and Father to Emily and Allison. His life verse is Colossians 3:23-24. Please join us in welcoming Jeff Blackwell to the “Values in Leadership Circle”.

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Phil Farr

Farr Systems

Phil's Bio

Phil Farr is a true Servant Leader who has given freely of himself and enriched the lives of many Technology Leaders in the DFW area. He goes out of his way to accept just about EVERY one of the MANY requests he receives for career coaching. He will adjust his schedule to do whatever it takes to meet… for coffee before work, during the workday, over lunch or even after work hours. In fact, Phil is the person who encouraged Merv to follow him as President of the DFW SIM Chapter.

As the CEO and Founder of the Farr Group, Phil sets the bar high as the moral compass for the firm. Whenever an issue arises regarding how or what to do in a particularly challenging client situation, his consistent message is ”how would WE want to be treated?”

Much like Merv, Phil never toots his own horn. If you want to hear about how good he is … you better ask someone else. For example, when you ask him about how he handled the most difficult customer he ever encountered, he simply says “I just never figured out how to serve him well enough.”

Phil is always a gentleman and a gentle man. Even when he has to deliver a tough message, he does it with such grace and kindness that people come away still feeling good about themselves while knowing clearly how to get better results next time. He has a rare ability to bring peace to any situation; when faced with a crisis, he is always the one who brings calm and says “we WILL find a way thru this.”

While Phil would never beat someone over the head with his faith, he is always quick to acknowledge that the source of his strength is Jesus Christ, his Savior, and that he is only able to do what he does by His Grace.

Those who know Phil say that they have NEVER known him to behave differently in public than he does in private… he truly “walks his talk!”