Technical.ly started the RealLIST Engineers in Delaware in 2020 as a way to recognize and highlight some of the state’s most influential technologists: the problem solvers, community leaders and, ultimately, impressive software and IT professionals. Check out the 2022, 2021 and 2020 editions to see who else we’ve featured.
As always, the search for our 2023 RealLIST Engineers began with a public call for nominations (and for the record, our RealLIST nomination form is open year round, so if you think we missed someone this year, you can nominate them at any time). We reached out to past RealLIST Engineers and local institutions and looked back through our own coverage. We considered how the person in mind was influential within their organization and community, the impact they made and the (usually unsung) work they do.
Now, in alphabetical order, here are Technical.ly’s 2023 RealLIST Engineers for Delaware.
Joshua Austin, enterprise desktop LAN manager, Delaware Department of Technology and Information
As EDL manager at Delaware DTI, Austin and his teams support agencies across the state — and his work hasn’t gone unnoticed. According to his nominator, the IT pro is an “incredible asset” to the State of Delaware’s tech team. Why?
“He is an exceptional leader with a wealth of technical expertise and a commitment to excellence,” his nominator wrote. “Josh sets high standards for himself and his team, ensuring that the support they provide exceeds expectations. His meticulous attention to detail and dedication to delivering exceptional service has positively impacted many Delaware agencies’ overall effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity. Josh fosters a positive work environment and encourages innovation, collaboration, continuous improvement practices, and professional growth. He is an excellent communicator and problem solver who consistently finds solutions with minimal resources. He is a true leader who leads by example and whose contributions to the State of Delaware are undeniable.”
Kate Bayard, software developer II, M&T Bank Wilmington
In 2019, Bayard became a Zip Code Wilmington software developer-in-training, pivoting after spending more than a decade at real estate company McConnell Johnson, eventually moving on to marketing and communications work in the energy sector. She landed her first position as software engineer I the same year, and was promoted to software engineer II in November 2022.
Bayard is an example for mid-career changers in Delaware (and those who want to be).
Aundre Chambers, system engineer, WSFS
Chambers was a member of social impact technology nonprofit Tech Impact’s IT Works cohort back in 2015, and has been with WSFS for more than seven years, from service desk analyst intern to his current position as system engineer. Nowadays, Chambers gives back to Tech Impact as a member of the org’s board of directors, and as a mentor to a new generation of IT Works students.
Chambers has been called a “great ambassador” and a “role model for others.”
Sunita Chandrasekaran, professor, University of Delaware
Chandrasekaran is associate professor at UD’s Department of Computer and Information Sciences and co-director at its AI Center of Excellence, which aims to advance artificial intelligence research across the university.
In July, Chandrasekaran co-chaired the first joint hackathon between UD’s Data Science Institute and the AI Center of Excellence, a collaboration that brought together two widely used disciplines and got students focusing on the two areas working together to address real-world problems like climate change and mental health.
Len Damico, head of design, Arcweb Technologies
Damico may be a Philly tech guy as head of design at software firm Arcweb, but he lives in the First State and is active in the Working Families Party of Delaware. He also cofounded the “Roar Lions Roar” podcast about sports at his alma mater, Penn State.
“Len is a highly sought-after User Experience Architect and Designer by leading companies around the country,” his nominator wrote.
Rahul Deore, VP of software engineering, JPMorgan Chase
After landing a developer and analyst internship at Bank of America in 2015 while earning an MCS at the University of Delaware, Deore spent the next seven-plus years working his way up the developer ladder before landing the role of vice president, software engineer at JPMorgan Chase. He counts expertise in backend infrastructure and is active on GitHub.
John Evans, software engineer, ChristianaCare
Coming from the world of health technology, Evans works to develop tech that can be truly impactful. In his current role, he’s in “a unique position that he extends beyond traditional software development and into the physical world of prototyping,” his nominator wrote.
“As part of the Health & Technology Innovation Center, he works side by side with inventors, helping create solutions, centered around caring for our community,” they said. “Where a typical day might include anything from coding an app to 3D modeling silicone molds, or upcycling cedar planks to house a custom touch interface, John leans on his innate curiosity and maker mentality to find ways to iteratively fabricate meaningful delivery mechanisms for cutting edge solutions designed to change people’s lives.”
Christina Hipkins, software engineer I, Comcast
Wilmington-based Hipkins started at Comcast in the billing department at its New Castle location. A vocational school graduate, she wasn’t unfamiliar with coding, so she tested for the opportunity to go through the Comcast Grow to Code program, and was accepted. Hipkins is now coming up on two years as a software engineer at the telecom giant in Philadelphia.
“She’s an inspiration for other black and brown girls to join the technology field,” her nominator added.
Amanda Jackson, senior technology auditor, Comcast
Described as a “rising star at Comcast, with experience in risk and cybersecurity,” Jackson earned her MS in cybersecurity at Wilmington University and was a cybersecurity intern for the State of Delaware before working in cybersecurity at CSC, and ultimately the Philadelphia-headquartered corporation.
Jackson pivoted her career from social work for the State, and she stays engaged in initiatives geared toward introducing urban youth to cybersecurity career pathways and helping small businesses become more secure.
Diamond “DJ” Johnson, instructor, NERDiT Cares
While most on this list are software-focused, Johnson’s work focuses on hardware, as an instructor for NERDiT Cares, where students both learn device repair and prepare for certifications such as ITF Fundamentals, CompTIA A+ and AWS Cloud Practitioner. The tuition-free program is more than a hard skills program: Underemployed students of all ages, including justice-involved students, form a community of learning and support.
“The pride you take in your work is truly inspiring,” NERDiT founder Markevis Gideon wrote of Johnson and another instructor on LinkedIn upon the inaugural cohort’s graduation in June.
Ariane Keundjou, data science senior associate, JPMorgan Chase
Keundjou came highly recommended as a data science engineer (and former software engineer). She’s made an impact as a mentor for the company’s Data for Good hackathon, for which teams compete to come up with a solution for an assigned charity. Keundjou mentored a team that collaborated for 24 hours developing a data-driven strategy for the Black wellness nonprofit Starting With Today.
Chris Morris, founder, Rush Roto
Some startup founders come up with great ideas and find developers to make them reality. In Morris’ case, he was a professional videographer in Smyrna who decided to use the programming skills he’d learned over the years in that profession to create a program to make it easier to take professional photos for his wife’s Etsy shop. That led to the development of the Rush Roto app, which uses two kinds of AI to make photos, animations and short ads with no editing experience needed.
Rush Roto was one of five startups selected for the inaugural Delaware cohort of the gBETA Bronze Valley VentureLab.
John Royer, CEO, InSiteHub
It’s been a big year for Royer, whose small, 13-year-old tech company InSiteHub was awarded a three-year, $3.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, along with the University of Delaware and the Delaware Sustainable Chemistry Alliance. The three entities will collaborate on a project called I-RED University, an online education platform aimed at helping scientists and biomedical researchers commercialize innovations.
Royer and InSiteHub were one of the very first winners of a Delaware Innovation Award (an early version of the Delaware Technical.ly Awards) in 2015 with the sales coaching tool ConnectHub.
Bernardo Tiburcio, director of digital innovation, data and analytics, DuPont
Tiburcio has over 25 years of experience developing and deploying value creation technology solutions. That includes artificial intelligence: Much of DuPont’s machinery is monitored by AI, a type of digital innovation Tiburcio calls “smart demand forecasting.” Tiburcio shared this behind-the-scenes look at DuPont tech at the Tech Forum’s “AI in DE” event in March.
Part of DuPont’s digital innovation strategy is to devote funds and resources to ensuring that Tiburico and his team stay on top of what’s next in technology through shared knowledge with peer groups, industry groups and customers.
Stephen Williamson, CTO and chief solutions architect, Tapp Network
Williamson has led the software solutions team at Tapp Network and helped thousands of nonprofits for over eight years. That includes API development that powers custom web and mobile applications for TrafficCast’s framework, and building platforms for student-teacher ID with CleverID integration for easy login to Chromebooks with COVID temperature sensors, his nominator told Technical.ly. More examples of his work:
“Steve and team built a venue/band listing website with features such as ‘book your own tour’ for a Tapp client,” his nominator wrote. “He led the growth of the software with new features for over 13 years. For another client at Tapp Network, Steve automated the manual VHS process for commercial detection. He migrated from MS access to AWS for real-time detections, created a customer portal to display data that allowed clients to do competitive analysis on brands in the DR and Spot commercial space. Steve consistently demonstrates a deep understanding of complex technical concepts, coupled with a passion for innovation and problem-solving.”
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