Meet the leaders that provide direction and inspiration to the CRM team at AKA Enterprise Solutions.
Our CRM leadership team represents a range of backgrounds that might surprise you. Yes, they are all seasoned professionals with software, sales, consulting, and marketing experience. But there’s also engineering, accounting, IT, military service, and anthropology in the mix. This diverse blend of personalities from all walks of life has created a team that leads by example, knows how to listen, and brings out the very best in our people. This is the kind of leadership that inspires.
There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere.Isaac Asimov, Author
Chief Financial Officer
Benjamin Holtz is a founding partner of Green Beacon and the company's CEO for over 14 years. With the merger of Green Beacon and AKA Enterprise Solutions, Ben has moved into the role of CFO, continuing in what he considers to be his strongest asset--bringing structure to the business.
As a third generation accountant and a veteran of Arthur Andersen (both as an accountant and as a consultant) and Platinum (now Epicor) Software, Ben brings the unique background and education of a finance professional to AKA, as well as experience in large consulting firms. His ability to maintain structure, consistency, and procedure so that the company can operate and grow, as well as his “financial mind,” are his strengths.
Ben also brings a background in starting businesses to the table, which definitely contributes to the stable of knowledge and experience at AKA.
For Ben, although creating and growing a successful company is a proud accomplishment, his family has it beat. A single father of a 5-year-old and twin 2-year-olds, he made the decision to create a family on his own and is loving every minute of it.
In his free time (he says he actually has it, due to wonderful people who support him), Ben loves sailing, going to the beach, and working out. He was the coxswain on his crew team in college and has tried to stay connected to his athletic side ever since. He is also an avid sports fan—any sport.
Executive Vice President, CRM
Kostas is responsible for the technology strategy and execution of that strategy for AKA's CRM Practice.
With a MS in Management Information Systems (Boston University) and a BS in Mechanical Engineering (Northeastern University), Kostas possesses a rare combination of characteristics—the ability to look at both the task and the goal.
On the strategic side, he is continually looking at the future of technology and how it can be best used to benefit AKA’s clients, either directly or through new solution offerings, or indirectly, through tools that help the AKA team perform their jobs more effectively.
On the tactical front, Kostas is tasked with making sure the right people are assigned to CRM projects, and that those projects are completed to everyone’s satisfaction.
Since he “loves to talk to customers,” Kostas is also glad to lend a hand in sales opportunities.
His ability to keep his finger on the pulse of the Practice is something that is uniquely Kostas. He is aware of how each and every team member is doing—in tune with “the energy” of the team—“because a successful organization thrives on being in tune.”
His proudest accomplishment: “The day I stopped smoking. I always thought of myself as a smoker and never thought I would quit. But when I decided, I was passionate about it and never looked back.”
In his leisure time, Kostas enjoys running and cycling—which is often his preferred transportation mode to work.
Vice President, CRM Sales
As Vice President of CRM Sales, Tom calls himself the Practice's “Chief Revenue Officer,” responsible for all commercial transactions with CRM clients.
Although he primarily works with the Delivery team, Tom also works closely with Marketing, qualifying opportunities, working on refining our value proposition, and honing processes.
Some might wonder how Tom ended up running the sales arm of a B2B company. An anthropologist and archeologist by training, he was in graduate school at Harvard, headed for a life of academia. While working as he studied for his PhD, he found that he had a knack for technology and talking to people.
He also likes being a contributing part of the economy. “Small companies are the reason the American economy moves, and I like the fact that we impact our economy in a direct way—plus, we keep people happy and employed.”
Tom loves the people he works with and being part of a company that gives a tremendous amount of respect and autonomy. However, Tom says it’s his tenaciousness that is his real strength. He demands excellence and professionalism.
Tom’s family is his proudest accomplishment. He comes from a very small family—both of his parents were only children who survived the Holocaust, and he is an only child. His son was born after having suffered an in-utero stroke, and the first two years of his life were a struggle. Tom is proud that his son is a happy, resilient boy that meets the day with joy.
Tom loves spending time with his kids: traveling abroad (both of his kids have had passports since they were four months old and have used them extensively), exploring and enjoying New York City, and working on his home, a 120-year-old brownstone in Brooklyn.
Vice President, Public Sector
Matt leads AKA's Public Sector Dynamics CRM Consulting Practice, developing and overseeing implementation of effective practice strategy, sales growth, delivery, and staff management. He develops strategic plans to grow AKA's software and services business in alignment with our business objectives as well as our client and partner needs. It's also his responsibility to develop strong, positive relationships with Microsoft's U.S Public Sector Dynamics team, industry partners, and our clients.
An accomplished senior executive with 20 years’ experience in Information and Technology Services, Matt thrives in challenging environments where his leadership skills, consultative approach, passion, and ambition combine to produce remarkable results for the company. capturing market opportunities to expand our customer base, increase revenues, and improve profitability.
Matt's proudest accomplishment was the successful delivery of a federal government solution at the VA to support the Federal Care Coordination Program (FRCP)—a joint initiative of the VA and the Department of Defense to assist severely wounded, ill, and injured Service Members, Veterans, and their families through recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration.
"When you see how passionate the Federal Care Coordinators (FRC) were about helping Service Members and Veterans in their recovery process, it made you really want to work hard to deliver something great. When we received such positive feedback on the solution, it made our entire team proud that while not the largest organization, we were able to make a positive impact. That’s not something you get from delivering IT projects often."
When not busy working on building the Public Sector Practice, Matt enjoys spending time with family, coaching youth soccer, playing hockey and golf, and Formula 1 racing.
Director of CRM Marketing
As Director of CRM Marketing, Amy is responsible for the entire CRM Practice's marketing ball of wax —working with the executive team to develop go-to-market strategies, telling the AKA story, developing campaigns, and supporting the sales team in lead generation efforts. Her ultimate goal: turn the company’s business plan into a marketing strategy that will help the company grow.
She is excited about making every single person at AKA a great story teller “because we have so many great stories to tell” and working on internal processes that will get departments better aligned, feeding off each other to drive better results.
With 25 years in high tech, B2B marketing and the unique ability to both see the big picture and roll her sleeves up and go hands on, plus a seriously positive can-do attitude, Amy gets everyone on board with the plan and gets them executing.
Amy says her proudest achievement was being the first person in her family to graduate from college (Trenton State College, now the College of New Jersey), paying her way through by waiting on tables and working as a resident assistant.
Amy is a dyed-in-the-wool New Englander, but she has a significant case of wanderlust—she says due to moving around when she was growing up. She loves to travel any chance she can get. When she can’t get away, she likes to read. Her ideal trip: “Cruising around the world, seeing new places, doing what locals do, and getting lost in novels along the way.”
Director of Customer Experience
As Director of Customer Experience, Mike is responsible for leading initiatives to ensure a consistent, positive experience for every customer, from setting expectations in the first meeting through ensuring satisfaction upon project completion and beyond. He also helps customers identify ways to leverage their existing technology investments to address new initiatives and make continuous process improvements.
A recognized expert in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Customer Experience Management (CEM), Mike sees the two as “bound at the hip.” With a focus on the interactions between a customer and the organization throughout the customer lifecycle, CEM is the next level of CRM. “For optimal success,” he says, “you can’t have one without the other, and CRM software supports the CEM process.”
So, how does someone with degrees in Electrical Engineering and a background in Life Sciences become a thought leader in CRM and CEM? Because Mike has held customer-facing positions throughout his career, he was introduced to CRM in its infancy. He saw how the power of technology can transform an organization…and he has never looked back.
What attracted Mike to AKA was the company’s mindset. Unlike most technology consulting organizations, AKA is focused on relationships rather than technology. He knew from the beginning (as did they) that he would have the opportunity to be a part of “something big.”
Mike’s most recent accomplishment has been the decision to lead a healthier life. In the last 18 months, he has become much more physically active and lost over 45 pounds—and has been keeping it off.
For fun and relaxation, Mike motorcycles with his lovely wife to a beachside or mountain location. “We love spending time exploring new places (and old favorites), walking and hiking. We call them our bike, hike, eat, and booze tours.”
Director of Managed Services
Peter Dear oversees the operations and growth strategy of AKA's Managed Services practice. The Managed Services team at AKA also serves as a training ground for many of our new consultants.
Peter brings years of experience in the high tech market in application development, system implementation, project management and technical design. He has utilized his development skills in designing and implementing the technical architecture for numerous CRM implementations.
Peter will tell you that people who work with him say that he is a person with integrity. He treats all people fairly and is pleased to say that he has had the opportunity to train and mentor some of the most successful consultants at AKA.
His proudest accomplishment was in 2001 when he started Green Beacon (which merged with AKA in 2016) with Kostas, Ben, and Richard. “Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that I would be part of boot-strapping an organization that was started shortly after one of the worst catastrophes in US history (9/11/2001), and we are a successful business all these years later."
Peter enjoys fishing, shooting, camping, cooking, spending time with his family, and doing home improvement projects. He believes that growing up poor and serving in the US Army shaped a lot of what he is today. “I learned to take risks, to make no assumptions, to realize that respect is earned not given, and to work hard for what you want.”
He received a BS in Business and Hospitality Management from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and is a veteran of the US Army.
Richard Smith is a Solutions Architect for AKA's CRM Practice. He has been working in the financial services, healthcare and technology markets as well as in CRM project delivery and product management since 2000.
As a Solution Architect, Richard helps clients bring the big picture together, guiding them to successful solutions through directed conversations.
His background in working with financial services firms and software companies in sales and product management brings a unique perspective to his role. This experience lends itself well to tackling sales and marketing challenges. He also has a strong database background. “Bringing order out of chaos summarizes everything I do.”
Richard is incredibly proud of the commitment AKA makes to its customers, employees, and partners. “We’ve provided good service to them since 2001, and they were a prior customer of mine.” He feels there is a genuine level of care and concern about AKA’s customers and employees that balances us. Getting that balance right, where everyone gets what they need, is not easy, but AKA does a good job of it. This is evidenced by the fact that customers and employees stay with AKA for a very long time.
When he’s outside the office, Richard is usually spending time with his children and friends, cooking or spending time on the lake. “I am always around a crowd—celebrating with the people who have always been good to me and are a big part of my life.”
Senior Manager, Solution Architect
Craig is a self-professed “jack of all trades.” With his background, he is able to play many different roles. He can engage with prospects in pre-sales activities; however, because he has a development background and is a mid-level CRM configurator, he can step in as a developer as well.
Craig was also fortunate to be schooled in business analysis, which he uses regardless of the role he’s playing to keep projects on target. On larger engagements, he plays the role of project manager or helps mentor the project manager, ensuring adherence to the overall schedule and milestones. In most engagements, however, he is the executive sponsor, working directly with the client project managers and sponsors.
Along with the ability to wear many hats, Craig is a straight shooter, not afraid to ask tough questions that will make clients successful, but he also instills confidence that they will be glad they engaged with AKA.
Craig’s proudest accomplishment was building his own house from the ground up. He literally banged every nail, framed every wall, installed every cabinet, snaked every electrical line, connected every pipe—all at night and on weekends while holding down a full-time job. It was exhausting and mentally draining, but accomplished one of his life’s dreams. The inspectors couldn’t believe he had not used a contractor!
What does Craig like doing? He says, “What DON’T I like doing? I have 4 terrific kids ranging from 16 down to 4, and a wonderful wife. We spend most of our time with family, 'living' life. My hope is to make sure they have all the benefits and experiences my wife and I have had and can look back at a very successful and fulfilling life.”
Senior Manager, Technology
As CTO, Ken brings over a decade of consulting, technical, and management expertise to his position.
Ken joined Green Beacon in 2002, and after five years delivering successful customer projects, was promoted to the role of Chief Technology Officer. As CTO, Ken is responsible for overseeing the technical excellence of all of Green Beacon's customer projects and for setting the technical strategy for the organization.
Prior to joining Green Beacon, Ken spent the five years in the high tech arena, performing consulting, web design and development, application development, system implementation, and technical architecture and design services.
Ken's previous position was System Architect at Analine Technologies, an Internet company developing hosted solutions for hazardous waste management.
Before Analine, Ken worked at Breakaway Solutions, an internet consulting company, providing design, implementation, and mentoring/leadership skills in the development of high-quality, cutting-edge solutions for clients in the Financial, High Tech, and Internet Commerce verticals.
Ken began his professional career after graduate school in application development at a series of engineering and oil and gas companies in Houston, Texas.
Ken holds summa cum laude undergraduate degrees in Computer Science/Math and Physics/Math from Doane College in Crete, Nebraska and attended graduate school at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Graduate School of Computer Science & Engineering.
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