Chief Executive Officer
A co-founder of engage:BDR, Inc. Ted serves as Chief Executive Officer overseeing strategic marketing, sales and business development, client relationship management, and content acquisition.
From 2003 – 2008, Ted was with MySpace.com developing strategic marketing initiatives. Working very closely with founders Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson, Ted was responsible for launching the brand in its infancy through a very specific combination of on- and offline campaigns. Also, Mr. Dhanik innovated business development at LowerMyBills.com in its early stages through acquisition by Experian, and was also an integral part of the early development and launch of the consumer lending program at NexTag Corporation.
Mr. Dhanik has worked for or been a partner at several other companies in business development, sales, and managerial positions, such as Xoriant Corporation, Atesto Technologies, Inc., Brigade Solutions, Beyond.com/Cybersource Corporation, and Merrill Corporation. Ted sits on the board or advises other tech startups such as Fighter, LottoGopher and Schizo Pictures, and is an active mentor at Los Angeles-based startup accelerator Start Engine.
Ted is passionate about remaining a thought leader in the industry. His writing is regularly published in publications including Ad Age and VentureBeat, and he contributes to industry standards and positive change, sitting on IAB committees including Anti-fraud Workgroup, Anti-malware Workgroup, Traffic of Good Intent Task Force, Programmatic Counsel, Digital Video Committee, Mobile Advertising Committee and Performance Marketing Committee.
Chief Operating Officer
Kurtis Rintala is the Chief Operating Officer and co-founder of engage:BDR. In his role, Kurtis is responsible for overseeing day to day operations and helping with the strategic direction of the company. He oversees all Accounting, Financial, Legal, and Human Resources matters.
Kurtis enables operational excellence company-wide at engage:BDR and works to enable future growth through vision, strategy, and innovation.
Kurtis was an early member of the very successful Internet startup, LowerMyBills.com, before co-founding engage:BDR. He grew up in the San Francisco area and earned a Bachelors of Arts at California State University, Chico.
Chief Information Officer
Kenneth is the Chief Information Officer and co-founder of engage:BDR where he leads the engineering and technology department. During his tenure, he has overseen the release of various successful projects and properties both online and offline and continues to flourish with the company today.
Prior to engage:BDR, Kenneth served as Senior Software Engineer at Buzznet Media. In addition, he joined Fox Interactive to oversee various web products and their monetization at Slingshot Labs. Kenneth worked at Valueclick where he helped design, implement, and maintain various key components of their delivery engine.
He received his Masters in Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition & Computer Science from The University of Kentucky.
Chief Technology Officer
Youqi Li is the Chief Technology Officer at engage:BDR. In his role, he leads the engineering team in Research and Development, planning and execution of the product roadmap, and forecasting technical direction of the organization.
Youqi has over ten years of experience in software development and six years of experience within the digital advertising industry. He joined engage:BDR in its early stages and helped to build the engineering team from the ground up. Prior to that, he worked in multiple startups and research centers, which helped him develop agile and open-minded technical expertise.
Youqi received his Master’s Degree in Computer Science from the University of Southern California. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling, reading, writing, snowboarding, golfing, diving, and spending time with his daughter.
Senior Vice President, Finance
Ryan Davidson is the Senior Vice President, Finance for engage:BDR. In this role, he manages all accounting and finance matters, including financial reporting, planning and analysis, internal controls, tax, and treasury functions.
A dynamic leader, Ryan is accomplished in developing financial strategies that enhance organizational growth and maximize sustainability, and has over 10 years of experience in accounting, financial planning, and analytics for e-commerce, Internet, software, and public environments.
Ryan is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and holds the Certified Management Accounting (CMA) designation. He earned a Master of Science in Accounting from Old Dominion University, and a Master of Business Administration, a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, and a Bachelor of Arts in English from California State University Long Beach.
Vice President, Operations
Sarah Wetzel is Vice President, Operations at engage:BDR. In her role, Sarah oversees the extended leadership team (which includes all department heads), inter-department relations, streamlining and improvement of processes within and across departments, tracking of company and individual performance, and all Human Resources functions.
Sarah came to engage:BDR with over five years of experience, most recently from a Fortune 500 global biopharmaceutical company. She has a diverse background that has contributed to her success in her current role.
Sarah earned a Masters of Human Relations from The University of Oklahoma and a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Saint Anselm College.
Vice President, Demand
Andy Dhanik is the Vice President, Demand for engage:BDR. In his role, he oversees a team responsible for operational processes including onboarding and management of clients and campaigns, ongoing maintenance of advertising campaigns across all platforms, assisting the campaign management team in optimizations, providing strategic product-specific insight to advertisers, and strategically aligning client needs with internal production teams to innovate and release products that provide value and performance for clients.
Andy graduated from California State University, East Bay, where he majored in Business Administration with emphasis on Marketing.
Vice President, Partnerships
Jeff Thompson serves as Vice President, Partnerships at engage:BDR. In this role, he provides oversight into all aspects of his business unit, overseeing Product, Operations, and Business Development, with particular focus on building strategic relationships with demand platforms, exchanges, ad networks, and DSPs. Additionally, he leverages his experience working on the publishing side of the industry to serve as an advisor to the Inventory Quality and Publisher Development teams.
Jeff holds nearly 20 years’ experience in the AdTech space. Prior to joining the engage:BDR team, he built the demand-side business at Pubmatic from inception and surpassed major revenue milestones. Jeff held global responsibility and oversaw the development and day-to-day aspects of the Account Management, Operations, and Business Development teams. Additionally, Jeff served as the VP, Advertising at Tagged, managing all platform partnerships and guiding the Business Development, Operations, and Ad Product teams. Prior to that, he led national sales for Quigo (acquired by AOL), focusing on the AdSonar product, which became AOL Sponsored Listings, still one of AOL’s most profitable products.
Jeff graduated from San Jose State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a concentration in Marketing. In his free time, Jeff enjoys skiing, golf, hiking, biking, and scuba diving, and is developing an affinity for underwater photography. Jeff resides in Silicon Valley with his wife and son.
Vice President, Inventory Quality
Mona Jalali serves as the Vice President, Inventory Quality at engage:BDR. In her role, she manages the Publisher Development team, overseeing all associated functions.
Mona has been at engage:BDR since its infancy and has helped grow the company to its current stature. Before that, she served as Sales Administrator and Account Manager at Fox Audience Network. Mona received her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance at Cal State Fullerton. In her free time, Mona enjoys yoga.
Sr. Director, Sales Operations
Derek Gerrman is a highly accomplished sales and business operations professional with over 20 years experience. In his role, he is responsible for sales operations and infrastructure, team productivity, sales analytics, and aligning core business, revenue, and growth goals. Derek’s credits include running sales operations, running account management teams and being an individual contributor at companies including The Search Agency, Hydra/Adknowledge, LowerMyBills.com/Experian Interactive, Digital Insight, and CyberCash.
Outside of work, Derek enjoys racquetball, golf, guitar and most importantly, his two daughters.
Derek earned his Bachelor of Science at UC, Davis.
Senior Director, Programmatic
Steve Smelt serves as Senior Director, Programmatic at engage:BDR. In his role, he is responsible for overseeing programmatic operations with regards to both demand and supply.
Steve brings over 14 years of digital advertising, marketing, and sales experience to his current role. Prior to joining the company, Steve was Director of Sales at Eclipse.io, a mobile DSP, where he helped create and expand programmatic trading strategy. He has also held the role of VP, Sales and Marketing at Blacklots, a flash auction site that was acquired in 2012. He has an extensive record of consistently delivering both to client KPIs and company targets, utilizing his extensive knowledge of user acquisition strategy and audience segmentation.
Steve earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of South Florida. He loves art and spends his free time going to galleries and museums.
Senior Director, Product
Roy Firestone serves as Senior Director, Product for engage:BDR. In this role, he is responsible for managing the development and upkeep of all Video solutions, including advertising platforms and custom ad formats. He works closely with the engineering- and business-side teams, as well as industry organizations including TAG and the IAB, to ensure excellence in all Video products.
Prior to joining engage:BDR, Roy served as VP, Advanced Video at Xaxis, where he lead joint ventures & alliances to deliver premium Video ad experiences for world class media clients that innovated, engaged, & out-performed traditional ad units. He was named inventor of the toy box ad product for Viacom, and also served as Director, Monetization for Zefr. Additionally, Roy has held positions at USA Today and Accenture.
Roy received his Bachelor of Business Administration with a focus on Computer Information Systems from James Madison University. In his spare time, he is an active film composer and organist.
Technical Product Director
Rajesh Volluru serves as Director, Technical Product at engage:BDR. In his role, he is responsible for design and development of products that strategically answer consumer needs.
Rajesh’s prior experience includes several positions at Specific Media, where he grew to eventually hold the role of Lead Engineer for Research and Development. He has over seven years of experience in the digital industry, specializing in Display, Mobile, Video, and Demand and Supply Side Platforms. This experience lends him agile project management skills as well as bid data experience with a vision for design and user experience insights.
Rajesh has his Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Applications and his Master’s Degree in Information Systems.
Manager, Marketing and Communications
Sydney Goldman serves as Manager, Marketing and Communications at engage:BDR. In her role, she plans and executes the marketing strategies for engage:BDR’s products and services, as well as provides oversight to corporate messaging.
Sydney brings to her role past experience in public relations, branded content production, and digital advertising. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from the University of Southern California. In her free time, Sydney enjoys hiking, traveling, and volunteering with a non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of children with chronic illness by providing arts and athletics lessons.
Yan Naing Kyaw
Yan Naing Kyaw serves as Director, Engineering at engage:BDR. In his role, he oversees system architecture as well as product development in the ad serving and programmatic realms. He has been with engage:BDR since the start of his career and grown with the company.
Yan Naing graduated from the University of North Alabama with a Bachelor of Computer Science. In his free time, he enjoys playing soccer, badminton, basketball, and table tennis, as well as hiking.
Danielle P. Barger acts as engage:BDR’s general counsel. Danielle is a San Diego native and graduate of the University of Southern California, has a Masters of Public Health from UCLA, and graduated from Thomas Jefferson School of Law.
Danielle is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law (State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization). She blends that with business law to provide legal counsel to engage:BDR. Danielle is also an Adjunct Professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law.
She is affiliated with the San Diego County Bar Association, the North County Bar Association, the California State Bar Association, Wealth Counsel, the Greater San Diego Business Association, the North County Estate Planning Council, and ProVisors.
In her spare time, Danielle has a passion for advising LGBT and non-traditional couples in estate planning and enjoys running (she just completed her 13th half marathon), diving (as a PADI Dive master), golfing, and throwing her clients for a loop with her knowledge and passion for cars – both classic and new.
Don is an experienced President/CEO and Chairman in leading organizations and businesses with a reputation for building quality teams that deliver successful results.
His accomplishments have transcended both large scale corporate environments as well as early stage businesses with full P&L responsibility for $20 million to over $1 billion.
Most recently, Don served as CEO and Chairman of Sekurus Inc. a high tech, international aftermarket automotive manufacturer and Distribution Company focused on the automotive resale market worldwide, with a very advanced high technology patented payment assurance device. Prior, he was Executive Vice President at LowerMybills Experian, leading the growth of the company from $7 million in sales to over $250 million, resulting in the sale of the company after three years to Experian for almost $400 million. The company received the Entrepreneur of the Year in 2005.
Other experiences included several CEO and C level assignments at several other companies such as Westec, Xerox Corp, TRW., Orion Equity, and I-Search, where he served as Chief Operating Officer for the provider of enterprise resume processing for large corporations and users. As President of Westec Security, he was responsible for Westec Interactive and Business Security. Westec Interactive was a newly formed business to launch new technology nationwide with two way audio and remote video. The business utilized state of the art security with large-scale convenience stores and fast food chains.
He has an Engineering BS degree, MBA, and Ph.D. He resides in Newport Coast, CA with his wife Penny and most notably has traveled extensively to over 60 countries.
Jeanne Houweling serves as an Advisor to engage:BDR. In her role, Jeanne works closely with the leadership team to strengthen and build the organization through her experience in sales, product marketing, and business development. Her key focuses at engage:BDR include expansion of a world-class, global sales organization, development of new brand and agency relationships, and a hands-on role in strategy and product development.
Her rich experience in the ad-tech space equips her perfectly for this role. Jeanne brings with her a wealth of knowledge and a strong record of success from over 20 years in the digital media and ad-tech space. Most recently, Jeanne served as co-founder and CEO of AdFin. Before that, she held the role of CRO at PubMatic, where she started as an early leader in 2008. Jeanne helped to grow the business from pre-revenue to being ranked by Deloitte as one of the fastest growing companies in the US Internet sector in 2012. Prior to that, she served as Head of Business Development for Microsoft UK.
Jeanne splits her time between the East and West Coasts. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from UCLA.
Kevin Kwok serves as an Advisor to engage:BDR. In his role, Kevin works closely with the leadership team to advise the organization on mergers & acquisitions through his experience in running publicly traded and large private organizations, and raising growth capital.