Tech10 Awards 2019

We partnered with Tech Collective to name ten innovative thinkers in Rhode Island's IT community and five up-and-comers in the Next Tech Generation.

Q&A/Tech 10
How would you explain your job to someone who is unfamiliar with the tech industry?

“As chief operating officer and chief information officer, I would explain my role as being someone who must translate business objectives into technical realities. When conversing with business executives, you have to speak the language of business and when sitting with technology leadership speaking in terms of technical solutions, design alternatives and time to market. A good CIO needs to be comfortable in both worlds.” —Thomas Chase

“My job as a career and technical education instructor involves preparing students for engineering-focused jobs. I train high school students to be better prepared for college and their future career in engineering. More specifically, I teach computer and software engineering, where I educate students on how to program in different languages to create software solutions that solve problems.” —Joe Mazzone

Hugh Bui, Joe Mazzone and Scott Pullano. Photography by James Jones.

“My job is to develop software to support and maintain lottery systems. We need to keep track of every ticket out there, either from grocery stores in New York City or from the little kiosk in the middle of a jungle. And no, I don’t know the next winning Powerball numbers!” —Hugh Bui

“The boring answer is that I facilitate research in robots and AI [artificial intelligence]. The more interesting response is that I am a techno-shaman that works in the future. I look at what researchers are dreaming up and then I interpret those dreams to tell stories of the realities we are creating.” —Peter Haas

“Innovate, educate and automate. A large part of what I do circles around designing and/or finding the next best technology for the company. Innovation and automation are crucial for a business that wishes to scale appropriately. Moreover, I am an educator. A workforce that understands technology is more likely to embrace it without fear.” —Barry Silver

“I am responsible for designing and managing the operational and customer support system for the cybersecurity workforce development programs. I may also say that I keep the business running — with the use of technology — and it can all be done from my office in Rhode Island.” —Lori Perrault

“As a chief technology officer, my role is to translate the knowledge and experience I’ve gathered during my career in the IT industry into understandable conversations and meaningful suggestions. I do this for customers overcoming a myriad of challenges that technology can solve, for our partners and in the course of coaching and guiding Brave River’s excellent internal team.” —Vincent J. DiPippo

“I develop health IT solutions to improve patient outcomes and experiences in health care.” —Brian Sousa

“My team and I help companies adopt cloud technologies and learn processes with the vision of transforming business organizations that use technology into technology organizations that do business.” —Scott Pullano

“My job has many moving parts, but primarily I am responsible for leading an extremely talented and passionate team of experts who provide support, information privacy and security, automation, optimization and innovation to an institution that is constantly evolving with regard to the way it educates, competes and does business.” —Paul V. Fontaine

How did you get into the tech field?

“Throughout my career at Lifespan, I’ve been pulled into several IT projects as a subject matter expert. At Rhode Island Hospital Anderson ED, I was involved in several projects related to process improvement. When Lifespan decided to implement one integrated electronic health record, I was asked to be a part of the project team. The rest is history.” —Brian Sousa

“My first exposure to work in technology was as an engineer, with an initial focus on broadcast radio and television. I was then exposed to computer networking, in its infancy, and the tech world opened up for me. My career has been broader, more diverse and far more rewarding than I could ever have imagined.” —Paul V. Fontaine

Vincent J. DiPippo,
Lori Perrault and Paul Fontaine. Photography by James Jones.

“I always had a knack for writing code. From the time I started as a tween, I strove to put code together in complicated ways I didn’t yet understand. Understanding how to write programs provides insight into a wide range of disciplines in the IT industry beyond software development, even today with rapidly-evolving technologies.” —Vincent J. DiPippo

“While working in Austin, Texas, as a mechanical engineer and attending the University of Texas, the first mainstream personal computers hit the market. My wife and I spent $2,500 for a first-generation iMac and I switched majors into MIS and never looked back.” —Thomas Chase

“I was inspired to enter the tech field, more specifically teaching technology, while I was a student at Davies Career and Tech…. I work at my high school alma mater. The teachers at Davies provided me with advanced technical and workplace skills, but also showed me the importance of teaching and inspiring others to reach their potential.” —Joe Mazzone

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with technology. From teaching myself programming and building a social website called Scootas Page during high school, to enrolling at the University of Rhode Island as a computer science major, I always knew I wanted to ‘play with computers.’ During college, I interned at CVS and ended up working there after college as a Java developer to start my career. At this point, as a head of engineering at Kenzan, I have the opportunity to continue to dive into great tech at scale.” —Scott Pullano

“My first tech job was in the ’90s with the NASA satellite mission, Gravity Probe B. This was a satellite that measured how much the Earth warps space time as it orbits the sun. This was my first exposure to a cyber-physical system, where hardware and software had to work together.” —Peter Haas

What is your proudest career accomplishment?

“In the competitive space in which we work, my goal is to provide outstanding service to our partners and clients. In my role as director of global operations, I have managed to create an optimal environment with the operational infrastructure that allows the services that need to be delivered for our clients to be done so with efficiency, while their needs are at the heart of the organization. One such tool was procuring and nurturing a relationship with Arvato Education Services, which provides us a solution to deliver print and e-books straightforwardly while exposing our educational trainings and certifications to a larger audience, including access to the Microsoft training partner network.” —Lori Perrault

Barry Silver and Thomas Chase. Photography by James Jones.

“I helped electrify a village in Guatemala with a locally designed and built hydroelectric system. Based on that experience, I raised some money to help fund international entrepreneurs. The first team we picked was doing solar systems, we financed them with $50,000, and they now serve two-and-a-half-million people.” —Peter Haas

“My proudest accomplishments involve the successes of my students. I am most proud when I see my former students thriving in college or finding success at their job. More recently, I am proud of the work I am doing with one of my former students relating to kindergarten through twelfth grade machine learning education.” —Joe Mazzone

“I am most proud of being named chief information officer at Providence College, an extension of my many years of work as an educator. I am in a position to support the college’s mission by helping provide the tools and the insights that help our past, present and future students find their ways to ‘lives of meaning and purpose,’ our fondest hope for all of them.” —Paul V. Fontaine

“I started my career in a different field, working with children in a residential setting. Through that setting I became a certified instructor, training coordinator and administrative supervisor. Meanwhile I had a profoundly disabled son and I needed to align my life and career in order to accommodate those needs and optimize my skill set. With the use of technology, I obtained the ability to travel, work from home and promote education. I took the skills I had developed over the years into a career I could grow in — utilizing operational communication, development and advocating — and I put that to use professionally across the globe with our partners and clients for the last twelve years.” —Lori Perrault

“I’m proud of some of the teams I’ve built, including my current team at Delta Dental of Rhode Island. They are some of the most impressive technologists I’ve had the privilege to lead. Seeing their successes makes me proud.” —Thomas Chase

“My team at Pet Food Experts. There have been plenty of great projects and tech achievements, but the one I am most proud of is my team. Built on a foundation of collaboration, communication and candor, the team performs at the highest levels for the organization on a daily basis. It’s the dream team!” —Barry Silver

“Having had the opportunity to work with so many talented team members, there are certainly many accomplishments for which I am proud. That said, I think that I am most proud of building and delivering a nationwide mobile prescription checkout and pay solution that millions of customers use in-store or at the pharmacy drive-through.” —Scott Pullano

“Some years ago, with a friend, we put together a system to help evaluate some unique submarine components, which allowed us to travel to submarine bases all over the world. It was an extremely fun task but not recommended for someone that needs to be close with family.” —Hugh Bui

“My biggest accomplishments were anytime that I got a chance to help improve a person’s life through personal interaction or from behind the computer screen.”
—Brian Sousa

“ ‘What we do with our lives individually is not what determines whether we are a success. What determines our success is how we affect the lives of others.’ ­—Albert Schweitzer. I cannot improve on that sentiment! I feel blessed when I can utilize my talents to improve the lives of others, even in some small way. That is my greatest accomplishment and where I derive my greatest satisfaction in my career.”
—Vincent J. DiPippo

How do you keep your technology skills current?

“I stay busy working on new and exciting projects. I also try to find creative solutions when IT limitations present themselves. Plus, I continue to collaborate with others.” —Brian Sousa

“It’s great that there are so many free web resources available to help improve our technical skills. I don’t have a favorite site, but the ones I frequent include stackoverflow.com, YouTube and Udemy.” —Hugh Bui

Peter Haas. Photography by James Jones.

“I visit YouTube, Hackaday and other sites and I devour videos of tech. I love videos of people building and making and doing. Then of course I build and make my own projects to test out what I have learned. I was a philosophy major in school, so I am an autodidact in tech.” —Peter Haas

“I read everything I can get my hands on, which is relatively easy in this day and age of technology. I also utilize courses in the itSM Solutions cybersecurity video training portfolio.” —Lori Perrault

“I read, write, teach, learn, watch and do. Sometimes all in the same day.” —Vincent J. DiPippo

“Technology changes at an incredibly rapid pace. I keep up by constantly reading blogs and news from several sites as well as follow industry leaders on Twitter.” —Scott Pullano

“I like to challenge myself by taking an online course in something completely outside my current comfort zone. That usually leads to the next topic to dive into. I also still like to build small prototypes in advanced technologies, such as blockchain, just to test out concepts and my knowledge of the subject. That and simply sitting with my tech teams and listening to their ideas and challenges keeps my skills current.” —Thomas Chase

“I am a ‘roll up the sleeves and play with the technology’ kind of person. I always have been and always will be. The hands-on approach has always given me a deeper understanding of technology. But, like most technologists, I do a lot of reading and regularly attend conferences to keep my skills up to date.” —Barry Silver

“I keep my technology skills current by reading every day. My RSS news feed is loaded with hundreds of articles daily. I must stay up-to-date and relevant, so I can deliver my students the best education possible.” —Joe Mazzone

What future tech innovation are you most looking forward to?

“Looking beyond the current hype cycle: blockchain and AI [artificial intelligence], specifically machine learning, and predictive analytics are foundational innovations I am excited about, especially for the health care IT space. The challenge is to manage expectations, be aware of current limitations and changing standards. Test small, fail small but continuously move forward. I believe in the end early adopters that stick with it will be rewarded.” —Thomas Chase

“I am really excited and curious to see how traditional education is disrupted even further by the use of non-traditional teaching and learning technologies such as artificial intelligence, augmented reality and the use of drones.” —Paul V. Fontaine 

“I just upgraded my car. Although it is relatively low-end, I am amazed by all the new technologies applied to it. I’m really looking forward to self-driving cars in the future, which I don’t think is too far away.” —Hugh Bui

“I am really looking forward to driverless cars. It’s a game changer.” —Barry Silver

“Artificial intelligence is a technology that fascinates me. I am curious about how AI will change the tools used to help humans learn and the education industry.”
—Joe Mazzone

Brian Sousa. Photography by James Jones.

“I am most looking forward to telehealth and big data solutions.” —Brian sousa

“I work for a cybersecurity workforce development FastTrack training and mentoring platform that enables people from all walks of life to quickly learn the knowledge, skills and abilities to become a professional in the field of cybersecurity. This is an existing problem and quite problematic. People’s lives and information need to have security and protection and professionals need the ability to obtain this knowledge in a fast and reasonably priced arena.” —Lori Perrault

“IOT [the Internet of Things] and artificial intelligence are the two fields I see absolutely exploding in the coming years. I think they’ll change
the world. With the adoption of five-G technology and smartphones, we are going to have the most powerful devices and networks we have ever seen. The potential is huge and already beginning to take shape.” —Scott Pullano

“I am most looking forward to driving robots in virtual and augmented reality. I do this already, but not as much as I will in fifteen years. At Brown University, we made the first open-source bridge between ROS and Unity. This opens the door to a wide range of intuitive mixed reality interfaces for controlling robots.” —Peter Haas

“I think that AI [artificial intelligence] is exciting as it applies to robotics and automation, where AI and deep learning networks are used to allow machines to intelligently react to real-world situations. This not only highlights the true power of AI algorithms, but I believe that applying these algorithms to basic human needs will also improve the quality of life across the board.” —Vincent J. DiPippo

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