Power Moves: Key hires and board seats at Whitebox, Bricata and MAGIC - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Feb. 13, 2020 7:55 am

Power Moves: Key hires and board seats at Whitebox, Bricata and MAGIC

Plus, a look at how Melissa Macchiavelii joined ADG Creative as director of content strategy, and Conscious Venture Lab's Jeff Cherry receives an award in Vatican City.
Conscious Venture Lab’s Jeff Cherry (right) received the 2019 Laudato si’ Challenge Impact Award.

Conscious Venture Lab's Jeff Cherry (right) received the 2019 Laudato si’ Challenge Impact Award.

(Courtesy photo)

Power Moves is a column where we chart the comings and goings of talent across the region. Got a new hire, new gig or promotion? Tell us at baltimore@technical.ly.


Jenna Frey grew up in the Baltimore area, and graduated from the University of Maryland. In the time since, a role at Amazon brought her to Seattle. Over about five years at the ecommerce giant, she worked with each part of the supply chain and worked with businesses to build new processes. That also included five busy holiday seasons at the company.

To open 2020, she’s bringing that experience back to Baltimore to work at ecommerce automation company Whitebox: Frey is now VP of operations at the company, which is headquartered on Holabird Avenue.

“The opportunity to build something, especially in my hometown, was a really big draw,” Frey told Technical.ly five days after she moved.

She’s the fourth woman to join a leadership team that continued to grow in the fourth quarter. After a $5 million Series A last summer, the company is now approaching 80 employees, and grew warehouse space 20 times in 2019 between HQ in Baltimore and locations in Las Vegas and Memphis.

“We’re to the point where we’re ready to take the next step of beginning the process of innovating more in our technology and leverage it more to start scaling as we grow,” said Rob Hahn, the company’s chief operating officer who is also an eight-year veteran of Amazon.

Hiring is expected to continue this year, with roles including a JavaScript developer now open.

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At Columbia-based ADG Creative, Melissa Macchiavelli is now leading a five-person team as director of content strategy.

Bringing experience from MECU Credit Union, agency work in Baltimore and a dozen years with her own consulting practice, she joined the creative agency six months ago. To lead the team, Macchiavelli brought a background to the creative agency in public relations, editorial planning and experience using and applying data to understand what will motivate people to take action.

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The content team acts as a studio that is available as a resource throughout the creative agency, which typically works with a variety of clients including tech and cybersecurity organizations. ADG Creative also has specialties in branding and video, as well as web and graphic design.

A big focus for the agency is talent, as all of the organizations it works with are looking to retain and hire. That means reaching people with content that is relevant and meaningful to them.

“A lot of what we’re doing is employee engagement — using your brand and our content efforts to engage and reach both current employees and prospective employees,” Macchiavelli said.

<em>Melissa Macchiavelli. (Courtesy photo)</em>

Melissa Macchiavelli. (Courtesy photo)

This wasn’t a case where there was an opening for the job. Instead, the hire grew from relationships and continuing a conversation to ensure a best fit for everyone.

Macchiavelli was introduced to ADG Creative leaders after reaching out to another agency, and joined the organization a year later. Over that time, she got to know the agency and identified where she could play an effective role.

A big consideration was ensuring that values aligned, and Macchiavelli said the agency also provides tools and considerations to balance work with family life and personal goals for a mom who organizes Ignite Baltimore. That balance may look different for everyone, but the embrace of personality and the things that are important outside of work were key for the Baltimore resident.

“It’s having an understanding at the highest levels that we all have those things. It’s not a negative reflection on any of us. In fact, it’s a positive that we bring all of this life experience,” she said.

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In a ceremony at Vatican City late last year, Conscious Venture Lab Director Jeff Cherry was awarded the 2019 Laudato si’ Challenge Impact Award.

The Laudato si’ Challenge was launched with inspiration from Pope Francis‘ encyclical on environmental challenges, to support startups finding sustainable solutions to global problems.

Along with his role leading SHIFT Ventures as managing general partner, Cherry leads the West Baltimore-based Conscious Venture Lab, which supports impact-minded startups. It recently completed its 2019 cohort.

“Two years ago, I was fortunate to join this extraordinary group of people who believe that an evolved form of capitalism can change the world,” Cherry said in a statement. “Every day we are proud to work with entrepreneurs to help them understand why people matter, and why thinking differently about the purpose of business in society has the power to help us all live more fulfilled and prosperous lives.”

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Westminster’s Mid-Atlantic Gigabit Innovation Collaboratory (MAGIC) named a pair of venture capital veterans to its board of directors.

Christopher College of Baltimore-based TCP Venture Capital and C. Edward Spiva of Anthem Capital are joining the board of the nonprofit that is building a tech hub alongside the Carroll County city’s municipal fiber network.

“Chris and Ed will add tremendous value to MAGIC as we establish programs to support local startups and help them navigate various financial challenges,” said Graham Dodge, the executive director of MAGIC, in a statement. “This should send a signal throughout our region that MAGIC and the City of Westminster are serious about building an entrepreneur friendly ecosystem on our gigabit fiber infrastructure.”

The board appointments come a few months after Dodge, who was previously CEO of illness-tracking startup Sickweather, joined as executive director.

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TEDCO, Maryland’s agency which supports early-stage tech companies, announced last month that retired Maj. Gen. Linda Singh joined the organization as interim CEO to begin the year.

Singh previously served as the state’s adjutant general, where she led Maryland’s military department, and served as a senior advisor to Gov. Larry Hogan. She previously spent 20 years at consulting giant Accenture, leading the health and public service unit for North America.

Linda Singh. (Courtesy photo)

Maj. Gen. Linda Singh. (Courtesy photo)

With the appointment, Stephen Auvil returned to his longtime role of executive VP of operations and programs after a stint as acting CEO.

TEDCO is still seeking a permanent CEO, and has selected the management consulting firm Korn Ferry to assist with the search.

TEDCO also announced new appointments for its Maryland Venture Fund Authority. The Authority will have nine members: seven members are appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the state senate, one member is appointed by the Maryland president of the Senate and one member appointed by the Maryland speaker of the House.

According to statutory requirements, these individuals must be residents of the state with varying attributes, including experience working for a company raising investment capital, working in higher education research, and development and technology transfer projects, owning a small business, or be residing in a rural county.

The nine appointed Authority members are:

  • Brian P. Darmody, CEO of Association of University Research Parks
  • Aaron Edelman, Esq, a Potomac-based attorney
  • Grace Kee-Yang Garry, associate at Camden Partners
  • Eileen O’Rourke, chief financial officer at the Abell Foundation
  • Ann E. Quinn, principal at Quinn Strategy Group
  • Mike Theilke, executive director of the Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center
  • Michael S. Tumbarello, director of the Garrett College Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • Renee M. Winsky, president and CEO of Leadership Maryland
  • David W. Wise, former director of the University System of Maryland’s Maryland  Momentum Fund

The appointments come after TEDCO reopened applications for its funds in January. The organization had previously halted investments following a critical audit, and implementation of new regulations that were passed by the Maryland General Assembly last year. Even with the applications opened, the appointments were needed to begin investing again.

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Columbia-based cybersecurity company Bricata named cybersecurity veteran John Becker as the executive chair of its board of directors. A Bricata board member since 2017, he is now assuming a leadership role with the network protection company. Becker also brings experience from a well-known name in Columbia cybersecurity circles, having served in the top day-to-day leadership role Sourcefire, the network security company that was acquired by Cisco for $2.7 billion in 2013.

“As the former CEO of Sourcefire, John Becker brings a wealth of knowledge pertaining to the network security marketplace,” said John Trauth, Bricata CEO. “He will be assisting in the further development of Bricata’s go-to-market strategy as well as assisting in the formulation of technology partnerships, operational guidance to the management team and introductions to potential customers and investors.”

Becker has previously served as the chief executive officer at companies including ScienceLogic, Approva Corporation, Arbor Networks, Cybertrust, TruSource and Axent Technologies.

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Loyola University Maryland named Auburn Bell as associate director of outreach for the North Baltimore school’s Center for Continuing Education.

In this role, Bell will lead business development and marketing for ASPIRE, the university’s recently launched online education platform. With the platform, Loyola is seeking to expand access to education in the Baltimore area. It includes mini-courses in a variety of disciplines, including cybersecurity and data analytics.

Bell, who was previously a managing director at Legg Mason and is also currently a business professor at Loyola, will work to establish partnerships with businesses and organizations in the region.

“With Auburn’s proven track record in marketing and development, we’re thrilled to have him on board to support our efforts to provide all learners with access to Loyola’s offerings and community,” Center for Continuing Education Director Jack Rice said in a statement.

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