CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Rick Nelson joined Direct Technology in 2005 to lead Business Development efforts. Since then, Rick’s leadership and passion have become hallmarks of his tenure at the company. Rick and the company’s business and technical leaders are focused on leveraging world class development practices to solve complex business problems for their clients. Often, described as sincere, funny, passionate, hard-charging and dynamic, Rick has infused Direct Technology with his own brand of energetic leadership and spirit.
Rick was born in Northern California, graduated from Sacramento State University with a Bachelor’s Degree and later earned a Masters Degree in Organizational Management all while working for United Parcel Service (UPS). It was during his 11 years at UPS that Rick learned the value of workflow efficiency. When not working in the business, you can find him trail running, cycling, paddling, boating or attending one of his two children’s sporting events with his wife Cristi.
Fred J. Michanie
Fred J. Michanie was the original founder of Direct Technology in 1995. Fred is a native of Buenos Aires, Argentina who started his technical career as a Software Engineer for a variety of banking institutions including California Federal Savings and Loan, and First Nationwide Bank. His technical career took him from Software Engineering to Software Architecture, building and laying out large banking solutions that bridged the ubiquitous nature of the PC with the power of mainframe applications which later led him to manage teams at Intel Corporation in Folsom, CA. Fred is currently the President, working closely with the CEO in the implementation and establishment of corporate strategies that ensure the ongoing growth and stability of Direct Technology.
Fred is married to Gabriela Michanie, who he has two wonderful children with, Mathew and Alex. They enjoy traveling together and discovering new places while immersing themselves into different cultures. Fred is an avid sports car aficionado and has recently been able to satisfy his need for high performance cars with his love for environmental causes by taking delivery of a Tesla roadster – the first high-performance, all electric vehicle. With the family’s implementation of a solar grid at their home, the Michanie family continues to look for ways to reduce their carbon footprint while enjoying their life in the California foothills.
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
Casey Stenzel is directly responsible for the financial management, accounting and reporting of Direct Technology. In addition, he manages all corporate finance, acquisitions, financial forecasting and financial/risk management analysis. Casey joined Direct Technology in October 2012 after spending the majority of his career with Microsoft and Arthur Andersen LLP. With his 22 years of accounting, finance, and consulting experience in several companies and industries, Casey will be responsible for analyzing the financial feasibility of the company’s growth strategies and managing the accounting staff in California and Washington.
Casey earned his Bachelors of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance in 1990 from the University of Washington, and his CMA in 1997 while working ten years in Big 6 Accounting. Casey serves on the National Exam Review Board for the Certified Management Accountant exam, and is the Treasurer of the Issaquah Soccer Club. He is married with three children, and enjoys competitive soccer and softball, and coaching youth sports.
CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER
Damion Walkup joined Direct Technology as a Software Engineer in 1998. Today, he is a principal contributor in assisting partners and clients to identify and implement cost effective solutions to achieve their business objectives.
Damion also served as the Operations Manager of Direct Technology which led the formation of the company’s current organizational structure, establishing open and regular communication rhythms. Damion continues to lead efforts that allow Direct Technology to operate under adaptable Software Development methodologies which provide reliable results while accommodating our customer’s corporate governance policies. Damion cultivates the delivery team to foster their talents to help bring their vision to life. Prior to joining Direct Technology, Damion was an Educational Instructor with AESA, where he developed new training programs that expanded the company offerings launching them into the technology sector.
MANAGING PARTNER, LAUNCH CONSULTING
Wud Pocinwong joined the Direct Technology team in 2006 to expand the technology consulting business throughout the West Coast. Wud continues to lead business development and create relationships in all existing and emerging markets in the Northwest.
Wud graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelors Degree in Fisheries and later finished the Executive Management Program at his alma mater. Today, Wud continues to leverage over 15 years of experience in Supply Chain Operations gained through leadership positions at Unisea Foods, Starbucks, Wall Data, ImageX.com and T-Mobile. Perhaps the most important learning that Wud took away from his diverse work history was a real appreciation for the power of customer engagement and loyalty to drive customer retention. Wud has established a history of consistently exceeding expectations and developing significant relationships with both clients and colleagues.
Wud lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife, Julie and two wonderful children Conor and Makari. Wud enjoys spending time outdoors and staying active. You can usually find him windsurfing, skiing, fly fishing, playing lacrosse, or soccer with his family and friends.
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, SOLUTIONS AND IT INFRASTRUCTURE OPERATIONS
Dan Konieczny joined Direct Technology in December of 2008 to run operations for the software development and IT infrastructure divisions. Dan brings over 20 years of experience as an information technology professional. He has been involved in large scale systems implementations in the government and private sector.
Dan is originally from Western New York. He graduated from SUNY College at Brockport with a Bachelor’s of Science in Mathematics. Upon graduation, he accepted a position from Electronic Data Systems where he spent over five years as a Systems Engineer. After leaving EDS, Dan joined Andersen Consulting (Accenture) where he had a 14 year career. As a Senior Executive (Partner) with Accenture, Dan most recently managed Cayuse Technologies and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.
Dan resides in the Sacramento, CA area with his wife and three children. Dan and his family spend most of their free time snow skiing, boating, and attending their children’s sporting events.
VICE PRESIDENT, GOVERNMENT PRACTICE
Ghods capped his 25 years in the public sector as chief of the California Office of Technology Services (OTech).Prior to joining OTech, Ghods was deputy director of enterprise information services at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation since 2012.
Ghods has also served as agency information officer at the California Department of Food and Agriculture, CIO of the Department of Consumer Affairs, assistant director within the Network Systems Division and chief of the Project Management Office at Teale Data Center, and deputy director of technology and infrastructure at the Department of Information Technology – now known as the Department of Technology (CalTech). Ghods also has spent time in the private sector, working at Ernst&Young and Auriga Corp.
VICE PRESIDENT, PROFESSIONAL SERVICES
Kristen Blos-Long joined Direct Technology in December 2005 as Vice President of Professional Services and brings over 15 years of experience in Staffing and Human Resources management to the company. She currently leads delivery for Direct Technology’s Professional Services division in addition to HR. Kristen’s background includes building HR and Recruiting departments from scratch, and developing them into world class teams in Silicon Valley and the Pacific Northwest. She attended the University of California at Santa Barbara and San Jose State, where she majored in Advertising and Marketing. She is married with two children and enjoys making wine, antiquing and spending time with family and friends.
VICE PRESIDENT, MANAGED SERVICES
Chad Holmes has been responsible for growing both Launch and its clients’ businesses since 2013. A self-admitted recovering perfectionist, he successfully launched and led ventures for Verizon, Accenture, Technisource, and his own Mobile Data consulting firm before becoming a VP at Launch, where he started and grew the Managed Services practice to $10M+ annual run rates in under three years. Chad believes strongly in the potential of a quality team with a common vision-the ideological product of a lifetime of playing and coaching team sports and creating successful business partnerships through technology innovation that drives desired business results.
Chad graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in Business in 1990 and lives in the Seattle area with his wife and three children, Brennan (16), Delaney (14), and Katelyn (11). When off the clock, he enjoys skiing, white-water kayaking, fly fishing, biking, coaching youth sports, and traveling with his family.
PRESIDENT, LAUNCH TALENT GROUP & SR. PARTNER
Chad is the President of the Launch Talent Group and is responsible for the P&L, management, growth and strategic oversight of the Launch Talent Group Division. Chad has been instrumental in building the Talent Group for Launch through new growth strategy, acquisition and positioning for continued expansion. He began his career at MHN, a subsidiary of HealthNet, where he was exposed to Marketing and Technology. He started his career in IT services at Rapidigm, one of the largest privately held IT services firms in the country at the time. Chad came to Launch in 2009 and subsequently took over all Talent Group Operations in 2014 and built it to a multi-million dollar division with operations in Sacramento, Bellevue, Truckee and India.
Originally from Northern California, Chad and his wife of 20+ years are passionate about spending time with their two boys. Chad continues to coach competitive sports for his boys and nephews in baseball, football and golf. The family loves their time together and finds peace on the water or the snow – snow-skiing, water-skiing, wake-boarding.