Our Team

Our passionate team has decades of experience managing, leading, and supporting numerous successful businesses of all sizes. Meet the brilliant people that set us apart.

TJ Houske

Chief Executive Officer

Meet TJ Houske

TJ Houske

Chief Executive Officer

TJ is a coach and professional mentor who loves entrepreneurship almost as much as he loves technology. For over 20 years he’s held senior and executive leadership roles in engineering, architecture, and strategic business development. He’s been an IT executive, consultant, entrepreneur, and the head of one of the industry’s most dedicated technology operations teams.

A visionary with a down-to-earth approach, TJ is on a mission to make service providers, enterprises, and public sector organizations successful in cloud.

A grateful husband and “girl-dad”, TJ’s personal goal is to make a positive difference every day – both at work and in his personal life. When he’s not in the office or on the playground, this John C. Maxwell certified educator is helping others achieve their goals through his coaching, mentoring, and speaking engagements. TJ holds a bachelor’s degree in organizational studies and business from Arizona State University and is currently completing an MBA with emphasis in Marketing & Strategic Leadership as well as a Master of Finance from the University of Cincinnati.

Peter Bell

Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing

Meet Peter Bell

Peter Bell

Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing

Pete Bell knows what it takes to be a leader. In his more than 25 years of sales leadership experience, Pete has built, recruited, managed, and grown global sales operations for top organizations on 3 different continents. A proud alumnus of Emerson College, his previous roles include SVP titles at many innovative cloud technology firms, where he oversaw and contributed to record growth. Pete’s wide range of experiences in the Cloud Technology space compliments OTAVA’s reputation for industry expertise. 

 

Pete’s natural abilities as a leader have proven themselves invaluable as OTAVA continues to evolve. Blending business and technology to create effectives sales strategies, he brings his own unique formula for success to the table. As the Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing , Pete uses this and his industry insights to steer our sales efforts towards growth and expansion. 

  

No stranger to the outdoors, Pete’s favorite things to do in his free time include hiking, skiing, and taking advantage of everything his home-state of Colorado has to offer. Outside the borders of CO, he prefers long days on the beach at his favorite vacation spot, Anna Maria Island, Florida. Pete lives in Denver with his wife and 2 of his children, where you can often find him walking his two dogs, Colby and Pirate. 

Cyndi Lyon

Vice President of Customer Experience & Strategy

Meet Cyndi Lyon

Cyndi Lyon

Vice President of Customer Experience & Strategy

Cyndi is a customer experience, service delivery, and operations trailblazer with a passion for creating exceptional client relationships. Her nearly 30-year career spans a wide range of industry disciplines including product, technology operations, professional services, marketing, and more, that combined, contribute to her passion for customer experience.  Cyndi excels at leading strategic business initiatives to help organizations realize their vision.

 As OTAVA’s Vice President of Customer Experience and Strategy, Cyndi is the champion for customer advocacy and upholds the company’s principle of excellence. She is a strategic visionary and her drive for enriching product and service delivery is achieved through innovation, collaboration, process improvement, and organizational development.

Cyndi has a diverse professional background with a deep affinity for building teams, business units, and strategic planning. She joined OTAVA in 2018 and has served as the head of OTAVA’s product, marketing, and business strategy and has led the company’s operations team where she was responsible for ensuring the development and implementation of efficient processes and systems for the business. 

She is a wife and mother of two teenage girls and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Customer Experience Management from Michigan State University. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Austin Cook

Vice President of Finance and Controller

Meet Austin Cook

Austin Cook

Vice President of Finance and Controller

Austin is OTAVA’s VP of Finance and Controller, responsible for the company’s financial reporting, annual budget, and strategic financial planning process. He is an experienced finance leader that brings more than a decade of experience with technology, cloud, and software organizations to this critical role. He is passionate about helping the company grow and achieve its mission of making cloud easy through the strategic financial planning process, including M&A analysis and support and process/team development. His previous experience includes Controller at ForeSee, where he oversaw all aspects accounting and finance. He has also held other accounting roles and was an adjunct professor at Concordia University in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Austin is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Certified Management Associate (CMA). He holds a B.B.A. in Accounting from Concordia University and an MBA in Accounting from Liberty University. Austin is a husband and father of two and enjoys basketball and golf.

Melissa Lock

Chief of Culture and Talent Development

Meet Melissa Lock

Melissa Lock

Chief of Culture and Talent Development

Melissa is a twenty-plus year human resources professional.  She graduated from Bethel University with a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership.  She holds multiple professional certifications:  SHRM-SCP, PHR, CCP.  She currently serves as a director on the Schurz Foundation Board.

 

Melissa served both television and broadband companies for Schurz before joining the OTAVA leadership team.  Today she directs the implementation of people and culture strategies, initiatives, policies, and programs to ensure we attract, manage, develop, and retain the technical skills needed to achieve current and future business objectives.

 

She is also a fun-loving mom, a joy chooser, and an interior designer wannabe.

Stefan Richardson

VP of Operations

Meet Stefan Richardson

Stefan Richardson

VP of Operations

Stefan Richardson, VP of Operations at OTAVA®, has a remarkable 16-year career in information technology. His areas of expertise encompass Healthcare IT, Managed Services, and Cloud Services. Stefan is a versatile asset to OTAVA, excelling in project management and technology strategy.

His commitment to process enhancement has been pivotal to OTAVA’s growth. Stefan’s adept problem-solving abilities have streamlined operations and cementing the company’s status as a leader in the IT industry.

Beyond his professional achievements, Stefan finds tranquility in nature. As an enthusiastic outdoorsman, he enjoys hunting and fishing, relishing nature’s challenges and rewards. Nonetheless, his greatest source of happiness is spending quality time with his family, creating cherished memories, and strengthening their bonds.

Ben Taghehchian

Director of Sales

Meet Ben Taghehchian

Ben Taghehchian

Director of Sales

Ben isn’t new to the technology game. Since 1996 he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of the industry: Sales, Support, Engineering, Consulting. You name it, and Ben’s probably done it. But his real passion for growing businesses stemmed from starting and selling one of his own, and has inspired him to lead other organizations to their revenue objectives. His track-record in tech includes building sales teams, channel programs, doubling and tripling revenue streams using effective strategies, and creating a culture of success.

 

As Director of Enterprise Sales at OTAVA, Ben uses this wealth of experience to insightfully navigate our sales strategy toward its goals. Leading by example, Ben puts in the work and walks-the-walk every day, never missing an opportunity to share his knowledge with his colleagues. A coach, mentor, and all-around team player, Ben is the engine behind OTAVA’s accelerating growth and an invaluable asset to the team.  

 

While scarce, in his free time Ben enjoys restoring old boats, cars, and trucks in his garage. His most recent project is restoring his Hummer H1. If he’s not tinkering around, Ben can likely be found on Austin’s Lake Travis fishing, waterskiing, or otherwise enjoying the water with his family. Ben lives in Austin, TX with his wife, two sons, and two dogs, Archie and Brownie.

Steve Parlee

Chief Information Security Officer

Meet Steve Parlee

Steve Parlee

Chief Information Security Officer

Steve has been in the Information Technology business for over 24 years. He started his IT career staffing the help desk, working for a small regional Citrix reseller, and moved up to the Director of Engineering. Later, he served as the Chief Technology Officer for a mid-size accounting software service provider in Seattle, Washington.

For the last four years, Steve has contributed to OTAVA®, leading different teams, including the Manager of Service Integrity, Director of Network Operations and Security, and he now serves OTAVA as the Chief Information Security Officer.

When he is away from work, Steve is a full-time traveler living with his wife, Jackie, in a forty-foot RV. Over the last three years, “on the road,” they have circled the country and plan to start the next loop in 2024. Steve likes to say, “Home is wherever I park it for the night.”

As he travels, Steve enjoys fly fishing, and while he graduated from Portland State University in Oregon, he remains a loyal Oregon Ducks fan.

Pawel Branski

Senior Director of Product Technology

Meet Pawel Branski

Pawel Branski

Senior Director of Product Technology

Bio Coming Soon!

Jason Pohlman

Director of Public Cloud Sales

Meet Jason Pohlman

Jason Pohlman

Director of Public Cloud Sales

Jason Pohlman specializes in architecting end to end cloud solutions to address unique business challenges. With over 25 years of IT experience ranging from operations to sales, tailoring comprehensive solutions providing visibility, flexibility, transparency, and improving time to value for our customers has been the staple of his efforts and success. He has been with OTAVA for over five years and holds a CPT degree from Purdue University.

Justin Keller

Senior Director of Engineering

Meet Justin Keller

Justin Keller

Senior Director of Engineering

Bio Coming Soon!

Andrew Felt

Director of Support Operations

Meet Andrew Felt

Andrew Felt

Director of Support Operations

Meet Andy, our Director of Support Operations. Andy has a healthcare IT background, data center infrastructure experience, and a genuine passion for customer service; he brings a unique blend of skills to the OTAVA® team.

At the core, Andy’s professional drive is a passion for leadership and a commitment to our company’s success and growth. He takes great satisfaction in assisting others in reaching their full potential, whether in leadership positions or through personal and professional development. Andy’s leadership focuses on empowering his team to succeed by highlighting technical skills and compassionate guidance as essential elements for achieving collective goals.

Outside of work, Andy is a devoted husband and father of three, cherishing his family above all else. Beyond his professional life, he finds comfort and creative inspiration through playing music and thoroughly enjoying time in the woods and on the water.

Ioana Banciu

Director of People Operations International

Meet Ioana Banciu

Ioana Banciu

Director of People Operations International

Ioana is very passionate about psychology, and comfortable in building human relations and providing professional mentoring and guidance to people around her. Inspired by human relationships, she believes continuous development and learning always drive personal and professional success. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology,  from Cluj – Napoca – Romania and has an international Train the Trainers certificate.

Over the past 15 years of her professional experience, she has acted in a few different strategic Human Resources roles, providing leadership guidance. Ioana helps drive business growth at OTAVA in the international and US markets through her Human Resources strategies and recruitment processes.

Ioana is always looking to add a valuable impact in the people and culture at OTAVA. She is passionate about exploring new cultures and diverse human approaches to life, hence her extensive traveling around the globe. She is dedicated to her family and always looking to enjoy good time with friends – especially at live music events!

Chaz Motter

Sr. Product Manager

Meet Chaz Motter

Chaz Motter

Sr. Product Manager

Chaz Motter is a highly dedicated professional in the technology industry, holding a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from the University of Michigan. He has 12 years of experience in various technology roles, making him a valuable asset to his current position. As a Product Management Certification holder from AIPMM, Chaz is committed to professional growth and staying at the forefront of his field.

As a natural leader, Chaz has a proven track record of guiding teams and driving results. He believes in leading by example and values collaboration, recognizing that diverse perspectives often lead to the best solutions. His open-minded approach to problem-solving allows him to push boundaries and consider multiple viewpoints. Chaz’s genuine passion for problem-solving has been a driving force throughout his journey, as he relishes the opportunity to leverage technology to solve complex business challenges.

In his professional interactions, Chaz is guided by integrity and accountability. He believes in delivering on commitments and being transparent about limitations. Learning from mistakes is a value he upholds, fostering an environment of trust and growth.

Beyond his professional endeavors, Chaz is an avid outdoorsman, enjoying hunting, fishing, and exploring nature. Together with his wife, Kayla, they are dedicated to living a sustainable lifestyle and are currently building their own homestead. As a recent father and husband, Chaz strives to set a positive example for his daughter and provide the best possible life for his family.

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