Alabama’s top Women in Tech: 24 for ’24

24 for '24: Top Women in Tech

Introducing 24 for ’24 our top Women in Tech this year. We launched this recognition in 2022, naming 22 women in ’22 and 23 in ’23. This year’s lineup is an austere group, from company founders and CEOs, to those in other positions who have brought their unique tech skillset to the forefront. Business Alabama took nominations, and a selection committee picked our 24 for ’24. Congratulations to all of them!

LINDSAY SUTTON BARNES is the vice president of growth & strategy for Stella Source, a Birmingham startup. She spent over a decade building products, services and experiences for a variety of organizations, including Shipt and Two Ravens, an innovation consulting firm she co-founded in 2018. In 2021, Barnes founded Tech Equals, Alabama’s first professional organization for LGBTQ+ individuals in tech and tech-adjacent roles. Barnes is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and has her Ph.D. in psychology and MSPH from UAB. She is a Momentum Executive Leadership alum and is active in the tech and LGBTQ+ communities as a speaker and team-building coach.

RENEE BORG is the technical marketing specialist for the Retirement Systems of Alabama’s Dexter Avenue Data Center. In her career, she has been a subject matter expert and senior storage engineer for more than 15 years and has been in the IT industry for more than 32 years. Her primary focus in the IT industry is data storage, which includes SAN (storage area networking), disaster recovery, Brocade and other fiber-related networks. Borg graduated magna cum laude from Auburn University at Montgomery with a degree in information systems data storage and management. Borg volunteers for the Alabama Technology Foundation and is currently its executive director. She lives in Montgomery.

MEGAN BROOKS is the founder and president of American Filament as well as vice president of Lithophane Maker, where her responsibilities include business development, research and development of novel materials and partnering with educational programs to encourage STEM education. As an environmental engineer for more than a decade, Brooks is keenly aware of the impact of plastics on the environment. She graduated with a degree in biosystems engineering from Auburn University. Brooks educates businesses on how 3D printing can save time and money and also how to use the process to improve products. She is a member of the Junior League of Huntsville.

CHERYL BROWN is founder and CEO of ZealRiver Technologies Inc. and the managing partner of ZRS Solutions and ZS2 Solutions, two joint venture mentor proteges. The companies provide IT enterprise solutions to commercial and federal agencies throughout the United States. Brown previously served in multiple roles as a government contractor for Standard Systems Group. Brown is a graduate of Troy University, where she received a degree in resource management. ZealRiver has expertise in a number of areas, including enterprise network solutions for IT and advisory and assistance services. A native of Abbeville, Brown lives in Montgomery.

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ABIGAIL CARTER is associate director of computer/information technology instructional programs for the Alabama Community College System in Montgomery. She has extensive postsecondary experience, working in higher education for the last three decades. A United States Army Reserve veteran, Carter earned a bachelor’s in information systems from Auburn University at Montgomery and a Master of Business Administration from Brenau University. She earned an education specialist degree in educational leadership and a doctorate in education in educational leadership, both from Liberty University. Before beginning a career in education, Carter worked as a computer programmer, a system analyst, a Microsoft Certified administrator and a Cisco Certified Network administrator.

AMANDA CLARK is the senior director of enterprise program management at Torch Technologies Inc., a 100% employee-owned Department of Defense services and solutions company headquartered in Huntsville. In this role, she works closely with operating groups executing Torch contracts and plays a critical role in the capture and teaming of new business opportunities critical to company growth. As the lead of the enterprise program management organization, she manages a contract portfolio of more than $3 billion for multiple Army, Air Force and Navy customers. Clark holds both a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and a master’s degree in engineering management from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

CANDI COLE is the CIO for Foley-based AgriTech Corp. She is a native of Talladega with more than 15 years of software implementation experience. Cole works to understand customers’ needs and translate those needs into product features, and she is valued by colleagues for creating cohesiveness within her team. She has a vast array of skills that use the entire software lifecycle. She received a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Alabama A&M University and a Master of Business Administration from American Intercontinental University.

MAHROKH DADSETAN is senior manager, innovation and product development at Evonik in Birmingham, where she has been instrumental in developing and expanding the medical device portfolio, securing investments and leading cross-functional global teams. She has been at the  forefront of developing materials and processes, securing intellectual property rights and fostering business. In her two-decade career, she has expertise in the development of novel biomaterials and innovative processes for medical devices, drug delivery systems and more. She holds a doctorate from the University of Tehran and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in biomaterials at Case Western Reserve University.

JENNIFER ENGLISH is the associate dean of engineering for undergraduate education and associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. She was twice awarded the University Distinguished Teaching Award and was named the IEEE-Huntsville Educator of the Year.  She was recognized with the Professor Brian Landrum Outstanding Service award for her support of the College of Engineering by establishing a variety of programs that serve the academic success and career development needs of UAH engineering undergraduates. She also is a leader in STEM outreach at UAH.  English holds bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

MILLER GIRVIN is chief operating officer at the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, overseeing multiple programming priorities of the EDPA. Alabama Launchpad, Investor Connector events, FuelAL engagement with summer interns, and strategy and program development with Innovate Alabama all fall within her scope. Prior to joining EDPA, she served as the founding CEO of the Alabama Capital Network, which connects the state’s best entrepreneurs to a network of early-stage investors. Girvin served as a member of Gov. Kay Ivey’s Innovate Alabama Commission and serves on numerous innovation advisory boards around Alabama. Girvin is a member of the Rotary Club of Birmingham and a graduate of Leadership Birmingham and the Alabama Leadership Initiative.

JESSICA GRATZ is manager of the Alabama State Parks planning and visitor services, where she led creation of a new reservation system. Leveraging technology, Gratz’s collaborative work has empowered Alabama State Parks to make data-driven decisions while managing the state’s natural resources. An Auburn alumna with a bachelor’s and master’s in justice and public safety and a doctorate in public administration and public policy, Gratz’s post-doctoral work spearheaded the creation of the inaugural data research and policy division at the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles. Collaborating with the Information and Technology division, this work updated reporting, implementing a case-management system to collect and seamlessly integrate corrections data from external agencies.

EMILY HART is with Birmingham-based MotionMobs, having created the company’s consulting division in 2015. She started in communications in 2007 in nonprofits and moved to the technology sector in 2010. Her work includes four years at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California. Hart is a liaison between MotionMobs’ technical team and the client, overseeing the development strategy and release of more than 50 projects during her tenure. She coaches entrepreneurs through Innovation Depot, Prosper and EDPA’s Alabama Launchpad program, sits on the advisory board for SouthPoint Bank and the Samford University Journalism & Mass Communication Advisory Council, and is a member of The CMO Institute Class of 2020.

ROBIN HUNT is co-founder and partner at ThinkData Solutions in Birmingham. She has worked in data analytics for more than 20 years. ThinkData has created a registered data analyst apprenticeship, the first of its kind in Alabama. Hunt has developed courses for LinkedIn Learning and the Microsoft Global Skills Initiative, is the author of the Official CompTIA Data+ Content and co-author of the Official CompTIA Data Systems+ Content. She is a member of the State of Alabama Office of Education & Workforce Statistics advisory board, a member of the Alabama Committee on Credentialing and Career Pathways’ information technology technical advisory committee and a Microsoft Certified Learning Partner and a Microsoft Certified Trainer.

AMANDA IVES is deputy program engineer at Austal USA in Mobile, leading a team of senior engineers and designers. Ives has more than 15 years of experience as an electrical engineer, working for several Gulf Coast defense contractors. She joined Austal USA’s engineering team in 2016 and has made a major impact on almost every one of the company’s defense shipbuilding contracts. Ives was project engineer for the U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship and Expeditionary Fast Transport programs and currently is deputy program engineer for a $3 billion contract to build Heritage-class Offshore Patrol Cutters for the U.S. Coast Guard.

ERIN KOSHUT is the executive director of Cummings Research Park in Huntsville, the second-largest research park in the U.S. and fourth-largest in the world. Koshut is a certified INBIA Business Incubation Manager and currently serves as the president of the board of directors for the international Association of University Research Parks. She is a member of the Tennessee Valley Corridor board of directors and sits on the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology’s Economic Development Advisory Council. Koshut received her bachelor’s degree from Lipscomb University.

KATIE LAMBERT is a process engineer at renewable energy company Drax, where she is responsible for managing the operational health of the company’s pellet plant in Demopolis. This involves gathering data and assisting the operations team to prevent unnecessary downtime. Lambert holds a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Alabama and worked as a manufacturing engineer at pulp and paper company Georgia-Pacific before joining Drax in April 2022. Drax is one of the leading global producers of wood pellets and owns seven pellet plants in the southern U.S.

ASHLEIGH McKENZIE has served as president of MDreferralPRO LLC since January 2010. The health care IT company provides technologies to health care organizations to improve business processes and promote strategic growth. McKenzie works to advance technology in all of the organizations in which she serves. One of her latest technology-improvement interests is The Plant Shoppe in downtown Fairhope, where all transactions are electronically processed. McKenzie, a 2001 graduate of the University of Alabama, is also interested in the future of artificial intelligence and its uses. She has served on the boards of AdvisorsMD, the Alabama Healthcare Executive Forum, The Girl Scouts of South Central Alabama, America’s Heroes Enjoying Recreation Outdoors, National Charity League and Impact 100.

KYLEIGH PERKINS is booster production lead for United Launch Alliance’s Decatur factory, where she oversees a diverse team of rocket builders and support engineers for ULA, a joint venture founded by Boeing and Lockheed Martin. Perkins’ team builds up the first stage of both the Atlas V and Vulcan Centaur rockets through tests before shipping to Cape Canaveral, Florida, or Vandenberg, California, for launch. She has worked in the aerospace industry for 18 years across varied roles, including asset management, finance, facilities management and production. Perkins has a BA in Psychology from Miami University of Ohio.  

DELANEA RADBOURNE, with more than 27 years in health care IT, is CIO of Springhill Medical Center in Mobile. Radbourne works to use the power of technology to improve patient care, finding innovative technology solutions that result in better health care outcomes. She is valued for her leadership skills and the ability to foster cross-functional collaboration to ensure alignment between technology solutions and the evolving needs of health care. Radbourne is from Mobile and studied at Faulkner University and the University of New Orleans.

LAUREN RAST is an assistant professor in the UAB Department of Physics. She has a background in computational science and is the program director for the Magic City Data Collective, a public-private partnership that aims to build a local data talent pipeline and support data-driven decision-making in Birmingham. Rast is also the project lead for the Remotely Accessible Interdisciplinary STEMM  Education Project (including science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine) in the UAB Department of Physics. Her areas of expertise include STEMM education, distance-accessible learning frameworks, computational science, and data and digital fluency. Rast serves on the Prosper Birmingham Community Connectors Advisory Board and is co-chair of the Prosper Connections Committee.

VIRGINIA P. SISIOPIKU is a professor of transportation engineering at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a fellow of the Institute of Transportation Engineers. She holds civil engineering degrees from Aristotelian University in Greece and the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is the founding director of the UAB TREND Lab and has 30 years of professional experience in the transportation field as an academic and a consulting transportation engineer. Sisiopiku studies transportation-related challenges and how to address them, and she investigates the role of new and emerging technologies on transportation operations and user behaviors. Sisiopiku, who is the recipient of a number of awards from UAB, is also a passionate advocate for women in STEM.

BRITNEY SUMMERVILLE is a community volunteer, angel investor and founder of Birmingham Bound. As an early team member at Shipt, her roles included vice president of economic development and social impact. She created Birmingham Bound to drive growth and entrepreneurship, specifically in the technology space. Summerville was on the inaugural board of directors for Innovate Alabama and continues to serve on that board. She has served on the boards of the World Games 2022, the Women’s Foundation of Alabama, Innovation Depot, Wyndy, Birmingham Corps and Birmingham Kiwanis. Summerville attended Auburn University.

REBECCA VAUGHT, the CEO of Van Heron Labs in Huntsville, works to innovate and bring to market cutting-edge technologies that reside at the crossroads of biology, chemistry, genetics, artificial intelligence and engineering. Vaught is on the boards of Bio Alabama and the Cultivated Meat Modeling Consortium, and she is scientific advisor for Cell Mind and ValleyDAO. With a bachelor’s from Auburn University and doctorate from Monash University, Vaught’s academic background spans biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, microbiology, evolutionary biology, genomics, physiology, mitochondrial biology, longevity and aging, and bioinformatics.

ALY WORKMAN is director of IT at Capstone Health in Parrish, overseeing IT operations and ensuring the seamless delivery of health care services. She has more than 24 years of experience, including more than 10 years in the nonprofit sector. Her career has included working as a network engineer for government agencies, managing networks and co-owning an IT business. She volunteers with local rescue squads and charities dedicated to assisting youth, disadvantaged individuals and the homeless.

This story appeared in the May 2024 issue of Business Alabama magazine.

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