10 Tech Leaders Shaping The Future Of Kansas City

Editor's note: Join NASA, Hyperloop, Hololens & more to explore the future of tech at the world class Compute Midwest conference - happening November 2nd in Kansas City.

I'll never forget the day I interviewed the CEO of Symantec, one of the world's largest security software companies.

One of the things he told me was: "leadership is about getting people to do extraordinary things, often things they don't think are possible".

The impossible is exactly what Compute Midwest is about: getting inspired about humanity's most ambitious ideas.

Year after year, these leaders attend our world class event that Inc. listed as a "Top Tech Conference You Can't Miss".

As such, we wanted to take a moment to highlight these forward thinking leaders, get their thoughts on past experiences at Compute Midwest and what they're looking forward to when they join us once again on November 2nd!

Do you know any of these individuals? Congratulate them on being named of 10 Tech Leaders Shaping The Future Of KC!


Dennis Ehrich

Chief Information Officer, SMG

Dennis leads the Service Management Group information technology team, including all programming, infrastructure, and development activities.

His 20 years of information technology experience span the disciplines of operations, project management, application development, and process improvement initiatives.

Prior to his current position, Dennis worked at Accenture in the financial services consulting practice and as Director of Information Technology at H&R Block. .

What Dennis says about Compute Midwest

To stay progressive and viable, a firm must arm themselves with new and innovative ideas.

Over the last few years we have leveraged Compute Midwest to do just that.

The event exposes us to great thinkers and stories. More importantly, it stretches our thinking and allows for a day of collaboration and learning.

I am excited to hear this year’s speakers. I am even more excited to see what new ideas surface after the event.

Connect with Dennis on Linkedin

Lisa Qualls

Global Technology Services Territory Leader, IBM

Lisa is a high-energy inspirational thinker and business management leader with entrepreneur, executive and non-profit board experience. Her previous work has been recognized by Yahoo, Forbes, Hubspot, Kauffman Foundation, March of Dimes, Sprint, Business Journal and Agwired.

Lisa is currently a Global Technology Services Territory Leader at IBM, helping distribution/retail companies analyze and implement network initiatives.

Lisa also elected and served as inaugural President and Chairman of the Board of the renowned Social Media Club of Kansas City and currently serves on the Unbound social advisory board.

What Lisa says about Compute Midwest

Compute Midwest is a great opportunity to learn from industry thought leaders and how they're disrupting the marketplace.

I love going and networking with my clients! It inspires business-generating conversations based on the innovative ideas shared by the rock star speaker lineup.

Connect with Lisa on Linkedin

Jim Mitchell

Chief Information Officer, Company Kitchen

Jim Mitchell launched the innovative micro market brand in 2011 and has led its tremendous growth to more than 1,500 units in 43 states nationwide. Mitchell has had oversight of every aspect of Company Kitchen including finance, operations, IT, marketing etc.

Mitchell has more than 15 years of experience in the food service industry. Prior to launching Company Kitchen, he was President of Vending at Treat America Food Services. He was also a Vice President at FoodBuy from 2001-09.

What Jim says about Compute Midwest

For me personally, I feel the caliber of speakers that come and share their ideas and stories is what sets this event apart from others.

While the list of speakers was impressive, actually attending and listening to them speak was incredible. Throughout the day, all the speakers were approachable and happy to answer questions and share insights with you.

We cannot wait to be a part of Compute Midwest this year. Our employees enjoy networking and being inspired by these speakers, and as an organization, we are proud to partner with one of the best tech conferences in the country

Connect with Jim on Linkedin


Dan Zimmerman

Chief Product and Information Officer, Multi Service

Dan serves Multi Service Technology Solutions as Chief Product and Information Officer and is responsible for strategy, innovation, and architecture for the company’s software product-lines.

Dan has over 20 years of experience leading technology, product, and software engineering teams concentrated in the card and payment processing industry including senior leadership roles at TSYS, Western Union and Nordstrom.

Over his career Dan has led the launch of multiple SaaS applications, led three successful agile transformations, and two CIO 100 awards.

What Dan says about Compute Midwest

It's the most inspirational conference I attended last year. There was a diversity of interesting topics and interesting people to talk to.

Connect with Dan on Linkedin


David Windhausen

Executive Vice President, Intouch Solutions

With over twenty-five years of experience in building solutions that drive business success, David is an established leader in Kansas City’s technology innovation marketplace.

He has spent his career in both corporate and entrepreneurial projects, as a new technology consultant for Kansas City’s own Marion Laboratories and by successfully founding and operating a local software development company, Trabon Solutions. He was named to Ingram’s Magazines 40 under Forty in 2006 and was inducted into the Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentorship Program in 2009.

Currently, David is a senior executive at Intouch Solutions; a local digital marketingagency focused on e pharmaceutical and life sciences companies.

What David says about Compute Midwest

It's done an amazing job of elevating Kansas City as a city which offers a tremendous number of opportunities for technology focused careers.

Compute Midwest has been able to bring speakers from across the industry year over year to deliver insights and predictions for technologies which inspire innovation and shape the landscape of business.

Connect with David on Linkedin


Jeff Portsche

Director of Technology & Application Development, Garmin

Jeff is the Director of Technology & Application Development at Garmin, where he's responsible for the architecture and technology roadmap, strategy, implementation, and governance. Additionally, he's led the implementation transformational technologies within the enteprise of big data, PaaS, IaaS & NoSQL databases.

Previously, Jeff was Manager of Corporate Development at Centurylink. Prior to that, he held roles at Sprint.

What Jeff says about Compute Midwest

It opens your mind to ideas that you may have never imagined. The conference energizes you! It is pure innovation that motivates you to bring your best back into the workplace.

Connect with Jeff on Linkedin

Scott Martin

SVP, CTO at Lockton Affinity

Scott is SVP and CTO at Lockton Affinity, part of Lockton Companies Inc., the world's largest privately held insurance brokerage firm.

It is also the incubator for the company's intraprenurial startup Mylo which is transforming how insurance is evaluated and purchased.

Scott envisioned and built a cutting edge ecommerce platform capable of dynamically adjusting to client user personas while recommending relevant client product categories. This cloud-based platform was delivered in under six-months and included marketing automation and data analytics capabilities.

What Scott says about Compute Midwest

When I attended my first Compute Midwest, I was blown away! The speakers were outstanding and created a lot of buzz in the community.

I was also impressed with the broad spectrum of technology people in attendance. I was there looking to make connections with other thought leaders who were seeing the transformational opportunities in our industry that I was.

I’ll be carving out time in my schedule to attend annually.

Connect with Scott on Linkedin


Melanie Haas

Director Of Marketing, Pinsight Media

Before HTML was a household acronym, Melanie taught herself to write code, and after wrapping up a career in printing (yes, ink on paper) she founded Prairie Cube Media in 2004.

Melanie has since held leadership roles at VML and VinSolutions, and currently serves as director of marketing for Pinsight Media, a data-driven supplier of digital advertising products for brands and advertisers.

In the Kansas City community you will find her supporting the efforts of AAFKC, ARTSKC, and the Kansas City Dance Festival.

What Melanie says about Compute Midwest

Compute Midwest is absolutely the best conference. The speakers are incredibly inspirational; the share new ideas as well as the way they think and solve problems.

The connections I've made there are absolutely unparalleled. You never know who you'll meet! Last year, I made not only a friend but someone who had an immediate and significant impact on the business that I'm in.

Connect with Melanie on Linkedin

Stephen Haag

Chief Information Officer, HNTB Corporation

Mr. Haag re-joined HNTB in 2015 and currently serves as the Chief Information Officer for HNTB Corporation. HNTB Corporation is an employee-owned infrastructure solutions firm serving public and private owners and contractors.

As CIO to HNTB, Mr. Haag brings 22 years of direct experience in the information technology and engineering industries. While previously serving as the HNTB Infrastructure Technology Officer, Mr. Haag provided management oversight for the technology elements of numerous, major HNTB client initiatives across the U.S.; with a primary focus on Turnpike and DOT programs.

What Stephen says about Compute Midwest

Valuable, local KC opportunity to step away from day-to-day responsibilities and explore new ideas. The entrepreneurs present at the 2015 session were outstanding experts in their respective fields. The speaker program rivaled what you might see at similar programs in San Jose, Austin or New York. I look forward to attending the 2016 program.

Connect with Stephen on Linkedin


David Kelley

Vice President, Lexmark Enterprise Software

David leads the development of Lexmark's ECM software platform. He has worked as a software executive, architect and engineer in the Kansas City area for over twenty years. He helped grow a small development team at Perceptive Software into a world class engineering division.

David's interest in electronic music attracted him to computer science as a graduate student at the University of Illinois and his musical family helps keep him involved in the Kansas City music scene.

What David says about Compute Midwest

I am ready to be inspired by a variety of speakers that have so much to share. I am always thrilled to hear about the personal experiences and insights of those who have played instrumental roles on transformational projects. I feel lucky when I hear one speaker of this caliber; it is a very special opportunity to hear several in one day. I have been interested in space exploration for a long time, so I'm particularly excited to hear Jordan Evans' talk this year.

Connect with David on Linkedin



Join Us For Compute Midwest

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Listed by Inc. as "8 Top Tech Conferences You Can't Miss" amongst some of the world's most prestigious, Compute Midwest (presented by The Disruption Institute) is one of the world's leading future focused tech conferences.

Compute Midwest has also appeared in Forbes, Fast Company, The Next Web and Huffington Post. This fall, remarkable people from across the globe will converge in Kansas City.

Join us on November 2nd at the world class Kauffman Center for Performing Arts to explore the technologies transforming tomorrow. Get an inspiring, one of a kind vision of the future, straight from 8+ world class speakers.

Do you want to learn about Elon Musk's Hyperloop? Microsoft Hololens? NASA's Mars 2020 Mission? It's all happening here.

Learn how these innovators overcame enormous challenges to create breakthrough innovations...giving you the push you need to go create your own.

When remarkable ideas and remarkable people collide, the possibilities are endless.

Will you be there? Join us November 2nd in Kansas City.

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