Our deep roots in enterprise communications began in 1992, when Ampersand launched as a professional services group serving enterprise IT and real-time embedded communication systems for the defense industry. Over time, we developed a commercial client base with large-scale telecommunication needs and became expert in telephony technology and systems integration for enterprise call centers. This led to the development of the Kaliope® software suite, a set of flexible modules enabling customers to create robust, scalable, state-of-the-art SIP/VoIP call center systems that fulfill their evolving requirements.
With an agile process management methodology, we employ precisely defined sprints, daily scrums, and stakeholder involvement at all steps, resulting in transparency in our product development and a sustained, high level of customer satisfaction. We’re proud of the performance advantage and exemplary service we consistently deliver to our thriving customer base.
Ampersand recently expanded operations with a new office location at the UMass Lowell Innovation Hub in downtown Lowell’s Hamilton Canal Innovation District. The state-of-the-art facility houses office and lab amenities with access to a diverse pool of academic, research, and business resources while providing a central location for our team to collaborate, innovate, and grow.
After graduating from Cornell University with a B.S. in computer science, Steve started his career as an independent software contractor, working for companies that included GCA Corporation, Gould Modicon, Eaton Semiconductor, and Imagitex. As he developed expertise in real-time operating systems, Steve also began working in the public sector on enterprise IT systems for the U.S. Air Force and the National Intelligence community. In 1992, he formed Ampersand, Inc. to respond to the demand for his expertise across these industries.
Steve grew the company to 25 people and led its talented team of software architects and engineers in tackling a broad range of public sector projects with prime contractors that included Lockheed Martin, PRC, Titan Aerospace, and Sun Federal. Eventually recognizing that the public sector's preference for low-cost bidders wouldn't allow Ampersand to retain its top-notch team, in 1998 Steve refocused Ampersand toward providing scalable telephony systems and call centers in the private sector, working with veteran players such as Lavalife LLP (formerly Interactive Media Group), Trilogic Systems, Inc., and Mercury Computer Systems (now Mercury Systems).
Immersed in telephony, Steve was quick to see the potential for VoIP. He became a frequent speaker at Jeff Pulvers’s VON conferences and was invited to join the VON advisory board. He was a founding member of the Global IP Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to promote a light regulatory touch on the internet.
From 2000 to 2007, Steve also played a pivotal role at Lavalife as its CTO and Chief Scientist, initiating the migration of its IVR systems and call centers to VoIP and saving Lavalife $2.4 million in annual operating expenses. After launching the first large-scale North American enterprise inbound VoIP platform, Lavalife won the Canadian CIPA Silver Award for Excellence in Innovation. This large-scale deployment and award led to opportunities for Ampersand to engage with and assist other enterprise call centers.
As an experienced VoIP technology leader, Steve is often asked to assist enterprises in aligning their information technology and business strategy.
Howie oversees Ampersand's day-to-day operations, professional services, and customer support. And, as Ampersand's Chief Information Security Officer, he is responsible for the company's information security policies. Howie also manages the build-out and launch of the Kaliope Cloud, the cloud-based implementation of the Kaliope software suite.
During his 25-year career in the high-technology industry, Howie has served in a variety of C-level roles. Prior to Ampersand, Howie was the CIO/VP of Information Technology at Sterling Autobody, where he led a complete revamp and consolidation of the company's core IT infrastructure. He redesigned systems and networks to be more functional, reliable, and cost-effective while delivering seamless deployments to over 55 sites across 14 states.
Howie is inherently familiar with call center and IVR service provider operations and large distributed networked enterprises. At Triton Technologies, a successful direct response marketing sales call center, Howie was instrumental in building the interactive media line of business. He extended the marketing reach of Triton's clients with online campaigns designed to complement traditional direct response channels, and expanded call capacity and overflow call handling with the development of an IVR-based automated sales agent. Howie also co-founded RevClick, a search engine marketing firm that became a Triton Technologies line of business.
Howie's technology career began in the embedded computing industry and flourished in building organizations to deliver increasing value to customers. As Director of Professional Services at Mercury Computer Systems, Howie built an organization that delivered 20 percent of the company's $150 million in annual revenue. He graduated magna cum laude from Northeastern University with a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science and earned an MBA from Babson College.
Ed Pendergast is a Managing Director of the investment banking firm Dunn Rush & Co. LLC. He serves on a number of Boards in positions that include Chair, Interim CEO, and Committee Chair.
At his consulting firm, Pendergast & Company LLC, Ed works with a broad range of companies in industries as diverse as materials, restaurants, grocery, professional services, technology, and medical devices. While his primary background is finance, Ed advises companies on team building, strategy, and corporate governance. Ed has also served as an arbitrator and mediator helping to resolve commercial disputes.
Ed holds both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree from Bentley University and is a graduate of the Owner President Management Program (OPM) at Harvard Business School. He has held a number of credentials including Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Accredited Business Valuator (ABV), and Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA). Ed serves on the faculty of the National Association of Corporate Directors’ (NACD) Board Advisory Services, evaluating effectiveness and guiding boards towards best practices for good governance.
Michael Wolfe is the Chief Technology Officer of Ontario Systems, LLC. North America’s leading vendor of Accounts Receivable Management and Revenue Cycle Management solutions. In this role, he is responsible for all product development, engineering, and infrastructure for the company’s numerous software and cloud products.
Michael has driven dozens of initiatives that have helped solve the most complex business problems for, and with, Ontario’s clients. His focus lies on open, loyal relationships with customers, which he sees as the foundation for constant improvement across the enterprise. A technophile at heart, Michael is fluent in programming in many different architectures, building complex systems, and managing the complexities of cloud solutions.
Michael is Chairman of the Industry Advisory Board of the Security and Software Engineering Research Center (S2ERC); Founder and President of Sustainable Muncie, a nonprofit organization focused on economic development and financial sustainability of the Muncie downtown; and Founder, President, and Chairman of the Board of Farmished, a nonprofit seeking to establish a sustainable, local food ecosystem.
Glen Gerhard is Founder of CogNexus, a consulting company focused on technical training in developing countries. Prior to this, Glen served as VP of Product Development at Sansay, where he was instrumental in defining corporate and product strategy for its software-based VoIP infrastructures.
With extensive background in both carrier and vendor corporations, Glen deftly brings complex issues into focus and context. Glen has spoken at numerous industry conferences and authored technical whitepapers, providing practical experience and an objective view of the challenges facing VoIP and NGN carriers.
Prior to Sansay, Glen joined San Diego-based Nuera Communications as Product Manager and was later named VP of Business Development, overseeing the introduction of its first SIP gateways and SS7 softswitches. Before joining Nuera Communications, Glen worked for Network Equipment Technologies as a System Engineer and Product Manager. Glen holds a BSEE from Ohio State University.
Nicholas Paine is Founder and CEO of Quinto Capital, a venture capital investor in high-growth tech companies and real estate platforms. The Quinto investment portfolio comprises 12 direct venture investments and 3 venture funds located across Europe and the UK, North America, and Greater China, more recently skewing toward software-as-a-service businesses.
Nicholas began corporate life in Proctor and Gamble brand management and moved on to become an Executive, Founder, and Chairman/CEO of several IT and internet companies located across the globe.
One such venture is Lavalife, which began as a telephone dating service in the 1980s and evolved into online dating with the advent of the internet. Nicholas and his co-founders grew Lavalife to $90 million in annual revenues and sold it to a Nasdaq-listed company in 2004. Nicholas continues his involvement in the social network space as Chairman of WorldFriends, an international meetup service based in Shanghai that is expanding into Indonesia.
Nicholas is well versed in building effective early-stage company growth strategies, brands, and management teams. He holds an Honours Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the Ivey Business School, the University of Western Ontario.