Startups

Power Moves: Baltimore’s Julius Valentine Maina joins accelerator gener8tor as chief of staff

Plus, local tech companies such as PGDx, IonQ and F3Tech are spending the summer bringing on new team members to leadership roles.

Julius Valentine Maina is chief of staff at gener8or.

(Courtesy photo)

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


Startup accelerator and VC fund gener8tor recently named Baltimore City resident Julius Valentine Maina as its first chief of staff.

gener8tor, which is based in Madison, Wisconsin, operates across 28 cities. Its platform has programming designed to connect founders, investors, corporations, job seekers, universities, musicians and artists. The company runs a 12-week accelerator, and is also working directly with states to provide webinars that help businesses and creators.

“As our new chief of staff, Julius will work closely with the executive leadership team to elevate the organization’s team operations, use data and technology to drive productivity, orchestrate shared values across product lines and champion our commitment to company growth, diversity and equity,” gener8tor cofounder Joe Kirgues said in a statement.

Maina previously worked at the U.S. Department of Commerce. He brings experience with state partnerships, open data, and policy and inclusion. He most recently worked as a partnership coordinator with the U.S. Census Bureau, and was also a policy and inclusive innovation specialist at the Minority Business Development Agency.

“If COVID has taught us nothing else, it is that we must do a better job at creating sustainable and accessible ecosystems that support traditionally overlooked communities, including startups and entrepreneurs,” Maina said. “gener8tor has a proven track record of doing exactly that and has leaders that are daring enough to endeavor to change the world through entrepreneurship and job creation, one community at a time.”

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One of the largest growth companies based in Baltimore city made a series of leadership moves this summer to bring on C-level and VP talent.

Personal Genome Diagnostics, or PGDx, a cancer genomics company based in Canton, made the following three appointments in recent weeks:

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  • Dr. Mark Sausen was appointed VP for technology innovation. He brings 15 years of experience working in genetics and genomics in life sciences, including six years at biopharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb. From 2014 to 2019, he had a previous stint at PGDx as VP of research and development.
  • Dr. Jamie Platt joined the company as chief operations officer. It adds the C-level role overseeing product and services delivery. Dr. Platt previously worked at Inivata, Inc., a liquid biopsy company that was acquired by NeoGenomics. She also held senior roles at MPLN and Quest Diagnostics.
  • Maggie Rougier-Chapman was named senior VP, and head of marketing and commercial strategy. In this role, she will lead marketing and commercial planning to help raise awareness about the company globally. She held previous roles at genetic testing company Invitae, and a test company it acquired, Archer Dx.

PGDx was founded by Johns Hopkins cancer researchers, and last year received U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its diagnostic kit, which combines chemistry and data science to provide gene-level analysis of cancerous tumors, and can be used at any lab. The company this year raised $103 million in new funding.

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As it heads toward a planned public market debut through a SPAC merger, College Park-based quantum computing company IonQ made a series of hires. The headline: Tom Jones is the company’s new chief people officer.

Jones has HR and people ops experience at space company Blue Origin, tech giant Microsoft, multinational conglomerate Honeywell and well-being company RoundGlass. 

“We have a tremendous opportunity to continue advancing IonQ as the destination for top quantum talent and for those who want to help change the world,” Jones said in a statement.

Here are a few other hires the company made:

  • Jordan Shapiro was named VP of financial planning and analysis. He previously worked at Chevy Chase-based VC giant New Enterprise Associates.
  • Mark Solomon was appointed director of quantum sales. He last worked at IBM.
  • Kevin Caimi joined as controller from Caliburn International.

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Last Mile Education Fund, the Baltimore-based org that aims to increase diversity in tech by providing scholarship funding to help low-income students complete their degrees, named Cristina Lopez as chief of strategy and operations.

Lopez will help the org scale up its work, which includes connection to resources as well as funding. Lopez brings experience working on efforts to help students from groups who are underrepresented in college to complete their degrees. She led the start of the Mayor’s Scholars Program in Baltimore and was on the launch team for the Weiss Institute, a partnership of America’s Promise Alliance and the Say Yes to Education Foundation.

“I view my role as translating strategy into operations so Last Mile can enable as many students as possible to complete college and launch into tech careers,” Lopez said in a statement. “I’m excited about our team and working with our partners that share our mission to bring more striving students who experience the challenges of lifelong financial hardship into tech and out of poverty.”

Launched last year, Last Mile Education Fund has provided $630,000 in grants to 500 students, with amounts varying by size — some to overcome a temporary issue, and others, larger expenses. It is fiscally sponsored by Federal Hill-based tech education nonprofit the Digital Harbor Foundation.

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F3 Tech, the Eastern Shore-based accelerator focusing on supporting startups in agriculture and energy storage sectors, appointed a trio of new advisors who will support startups taking in its 2021 cohort. They are as follows:

  • Flor Andres, a finance and accounting executive who previously served as CFO at KIK Custom Products and VP of finance and global integration at Stanley Black & Decker
  • Bill McComas, a partner at the law firm Bowie and Jensen specializing in tech, and former software developer
  • And Andrew Rose will help expand F3Tech’s CyberAg initiative. He’s a leader in the Maryland innovation ecosystem who brings almost two decades of experience in the professional services, banking, agriculture and food, and finance sectors.

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Kevin Pawsey. (Courtesy photo)

Canton-based test development and delivery company Prometric is bringing on edtech expertise.

The company named Kevin Pawsey as general manager for remote assessments. He will lead further development of a product called ProProctor.

Pawsey brings experience developing virtual learning products. He previously held C-level roles in experience and information at Global Knowledge, an IT and tech training company, as well as similar roles at Macmillan Learning, ItsLearning and RM Education.

“Prometric’s leadership and dedication to providing secure testing access to individuals looking to further their professional development is what attracted me to the organization,” Pawseky said in a statement. “I’m excited to join the Prometric team in leading ProProctor’s future developments to help ensure certification organizations and their candidates have an optimal online experience for their testing requirements.”

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