About Us

  • Steve Schmitz
  • Danny Pate
  • Peter Kotsiopulos
  • Dr. Ron Tuttle, Ph.D.
  • Dr. Hesham H. Ali, Ph.D.
  • Anne Branigan
  • John Brown
  • Mary Dobransky
  • Michael Geppert
  • Dr. Ron Hanson, Ed.D.
  • Stephen G. Kaniewski
  • Rama Kolli
  • Kenneth J. Kucera
  • Lonnie Mahrt
  • Brad Masterson
  • Dr. Kandace R. Miller
  • Dr. Ravi Nath, Ph.D.
  • Randy Schmailzl
  • Diana Tedrow
  • Lynden Tennison

Steve Schmitz

Division Manager of Information Technology
Omaha Public Power District
Chairman of the AIM Board

Steve Schmitz joined the AIM Board in October of 2010. Steve has served in several managerial and supervisory positions at OPPD including Manager of Business Applications Delivery. Steve graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a Bachelor of Science degree in General Studies. He has earned an Executive Master of Business Administration degree, also from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Steve has been an Operations Director for the Cox Classic for several years and has served in numerous capacities on local charity, SID and Homeowners Association boards.

Danny Pate

Vice President & General Manager
Vice Chairman of the AIM Board

Danny Pate joined the AIM Board in July of 2011. With the CenturyLink-Qwest merger complete, he now serves as the local leader for the combined company in the state. Pate, who relocated from Denver, Colorado to Omaha, has spent 21 years in the telecommunications industry including a year in Brazil where he helped to create a new telecommunications company. He helped to re-launch Qwest’s long distance business and directing DSL technical support. Danny studied management information systems and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

Peter Kotsiopulos

Vice President, Director of Development
University of Nebraska
Secretary for the AIM Board

Pete Kotsiopulos joined the AIM Board in 2007. As Vice President for University Affairs, he is responsible for the division within university administration devoted to economic development and university engagement, strategic communications, public relations, marketing, and state and federal government relations. Pete works with higher education partners, civic and community leaders, government officials and representatives from private business and industry throughout the state to help develop, establish, facilitate and sustain state, regional and national collaborations that will help improve job creation, and economic development, growth and engagement in Nebraska. He has been actively involved in higher education for many years. He is a former chairman and member of the Nebraska College Board of Trustees, and a former member of the Nebraska Postsecondary Education Commission, the University of Nebraska medical Center Board of Counselors, and the Chancellor’s Advisory Council at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. A second-generation Greek-American, Kotsiopulos was born and raised in Kearney. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Kearney State College (now the University of Nebraska-Kearney) in 1970.

Dr. Ron Tuttle, Ph.D.

Professor, Information Networking and Telecommunications Management
AIM Board Treasurer

Dr. Tuttle earned a BS and MS from Northeastern Missouri State University and an Ed D from the University of Northern Colorado. His areas of expertise include electronics, telecommunications and networks. He teaches the core telecommunications technical courses dealing with network infrastructure, switching and routing, and is also a Cisco Certified Instructor. His business experience includes electronics consultant, aviation electronics technician, and communications/network consultant. Dr. Tuttle’s interests include camping, motorcycling, vintage cars, snow skiing, and being with his family.

Dr. Hesham H. Ali, Ph.D.

Dean of the College of Information Science and Technology
University of Nebraska at Omaha

Dr. Ali is a Professor of Computer Science and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of the College of Information Science and Technology at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He is also the deputy director for computational sciences of the Nebraska Informatics Center for Life Center, and a member of Nebraska Center of Biosecurity. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1988, and is BS and MS from the University of Alexandria in 1982 and 1985 respectively, all in Computer Science. He has published a large number of articles in various areas of Computer Science including scheduling, distributed systems, wireless networks, circuit design, and Bioinformatics. He has also published two books in scheduling and graph algorithms. He has been leading the IT components of a number of joint Bioinformatics projects between IT and Bioscience researchers. He has been leading a Bioinformatics Research Group at UNO that focuses on developing computational approaches used to identify and classify biological organisms, with the goal of complementing the current experimental approaches in predicting a wide range of events that range from potential virus outbreaks to bio-terrorism. He has also been leading a NSF funded project with the goal of developing secure wireless infrastructure.

Anne Branigan

Senior Vice President
Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce

Anne has over 20 years of non-profit experience including research, strategic planning, fundraising, and general operations. The Omaha native began her career at the Omaha Chamber in 1987 in the Research Department. She had just returned to Omaha after a year in Boston, where she had moved after receiving her master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Anne was involved in research for more than 15 years. She led the department for three years until a departmental reorganization brought her the opportunity to lead a new division – member services. She doesn’t have a lot of free time, but she spends as much of it as possible with her family – son Benjamin, daughter Katherine and husband Brian. She loves kids and works in the nursery at West Hills Church. She is also a Girl Scout leader and has volunteered throughout the years at Swanson Elementary, her children’s school.

John Brown

Senior Vice President of I/S Applications
Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha, an organization based in Omaha, NE, has John Brown as their Senior Vice President, Information Technology Security

Mary Dobransky

Dean, College of Science & Technology
Bellevue University

Mary Dobransky joined the AIM Board in October of 2009. Mary received her B.A in Philosophy and her M.S. in Systems Science from the University of New York at Binghamton, where she is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Systems Science. Mary has published research papers in the areas of genetic algorithms and general systems theory. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP), including service as President, Treasurer, Secretary and Vice President of Community Services. Mary has also served as coordinator of the Infotec Business Technology Conference and co-chair of the AITP National Collegiate Conference. She received the College of Saint Mary’s Outstanding Faculty award in 1999.

Michael Geppert

Chief Information Officer

Michael Geppert joined the AIM Board in 2009. Geppert has more than 27 years of experience in business management, applied technology, product and solution development and strategic planning centering on the use of technology to address business opportunities and challenges. Michael holds a bachelor of science in business administration degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Dr. Ron Hanson, Ed.D.

Assistant Superintendent
Papillion-La Vista School District

Ron Hanson joined the AIM Board in January of 2011. Dr. Hanson has been a school administrator in two Omaha metropolitan school districts since 1993. He began his career in education as a science teacher for nine years. After receiving his master’s and doctorate degree in educational administration from the University of South Dakota and University of Nebraska-Lincoln respectively, he began his administrative career as a dean of students, assistant principal, principal, and central office administrator. Dr. Hanson has presented at the National School Boards Association conference, the National Staff Development Council conference, and the Nebraska Association of School Boards.

Stephen G. Kaniewski

Vice President Information Technology
Valmont Industries

Stephen Kaniewski is Vice President of Information Technology at Valmont Industries. His organization is a diversified international manufacturing company with 105 global manufacturing locations that produces fabricated metal products; traffic pole and tower structures, utility structures, access systems, grinding media for mining, coatings and mechanized irrigation systems. Since 2010, Kaniewski has been responsible for leading information technology strategic plans, policies, programs, and schedules for business and finance data processing, computer services, network communications, application development, engineering systems development and management information services to accomplish corporate and divisional goals and objectives. Kaniewski has a Bachelor's degree from Santa Clara University. He is also an advisory board member of the Information Science and Technology at The Peter Kiewit Institute since 2011.

Rama Kolli

Vice President Information Services
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska

Rama Kolli is vice president, information services for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) and is a leader on the company’s service and technology team.

With BCBSNE for more than 11 years, Kolli has been instrumental in many critical endeavors, including modernizing systems, building and leading the enterprise architecture team and championing the architecture that will be the foundation of the company’s technical future. He also was a member of the business innovation team responsible for providing strategy in addressing the challenges of the health care law.

Previously, Kolli worked as a developer consultant at noteClip in New York, Niku in Silicon Valley, and at DSQ Software Ltd in India before coming to the United States.

Kolli earned a Bachelor’s degree in science from Nagarjuna University, India and a Master’s degree in computer applications from the University of Chennai, India. He is a member of the Nebraska Health Information Initiative (NeHII) technical committee and sits as a proxy on the eHealth Council of Nebraska Information Technology Commission.

Kenneth J. Kucera

First National Technology Solutions

Ken Kucera joined the AIM Board in 2003. Ken holds a Degree in computer Science, which he received in 1976. Since then he has worked for a number of major corporations where he provided information technology strategy and direction. He has served as a Director for many local and national non-profit boards, including the American Lung Association, Madonna School, AIM Institute, and The Peter Kiewit Institute of Science, Technology and Engineering (IST&E). Ken was also a member of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce Leadership Omaha Class 24. Ken has been featured in numerous publications such as Business Week, ComputerWorld and Forbes. He was a pioneer of Virtualization and OnDemand Computing in the early 2000’s.

Lonnie Mahrt

CIO and Senior Vice President of Operations
CSG International

Lonnie Mahrt joined the AIM Board in April of 2011. In his role at CSG International, Lonnie is responsible for operating CSG’s technology assets such as business continuity, privacy and security compliance requirements. He ensures that CSG’s internal business information technologies and operational investments are aligned with the company’s strategic objectives. Mahrt is a graduate of Doane College in Nebraska where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration with a minor in computer science and emphasis in finance. He also holds a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Nebraska.

Brad Masterson

Vice President Technology
First Data

Brad Masterson is Head of Application Development for North America Financial Services at First Data. His organization is responsible for providing the development and support of applications that service First Data’s largest customers providing services such as Credit, Debit, and Retail Private Label Card Processing, Healthcare Account Processing, STAR Debit and ATM Networks, Online Home Banking products and Government Services. The organization provides all aspects of application development to the customer base, while driving the application strategy for the organization. The team is geographically dispersed with key development centers in Omaha, NE; Wilmington, DE; Denver, CO; Austin, TX; and Dublin, Ireland. Since 1994, Masterson has held various leadership and technology roles with First Data. His responsibilities have included customer consulting, overseeing online application teams handling authorization and online transaction support, managing application development for various components of First Data’s systems, and serving on the corporate team responsible for the creation of test systems and cycles, disaster recovery, and quality assurance testing. Masterson lead the team responsible for application development for First Data’s Oil Services organization, which provided credit card services to oil companies, and managed a 24/7 data center for the execution of the Mobil Oil credit card system. Before joining First Data, he held several technical and management positions with Mobil Oil Corporation. Masterson served as team lead in developing a Pan-European credit card system and had responsibility for developing a cost allocation model for Mobil oil credit card systems. He also worked as part of a team assigned to the development of retail gasoline marketing strategy for Southern California and Arizona.

Dr. Kandace R. Miller

President & CEO

Kandace R. Miller, Ph.D. was selected by the AIM Board of Directors in July of 2006 to serve as the President and CEO of AIM. Kandace served as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for the prior six years, and has been with AIM since 1993. She also has experience working in community college administration in both Kansas and Wyoming. Kandace holds a Ph.D. in public administration and community service from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Her dissertation research focused on the impact of information technology on societal values. Kandace also holds an M.S. degree in education (counseling and psychology) and a B.A. degree in speech and communications, both from the University of Kansas. Kandace has various, eclectic interests including aerobics, yoga, movies, rap, and reality TV. She has two kids, Alex (20) and Jake (16), and three Malteses: Cash, Change, and Sasha.

Dr. Ravi Nath, Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Graduate Programs
Jack and Joan McGraw Endowed
Chair in IT Management

Dr. Nath is also the founding director of the Joe Ricketts Center in Electronic Commerce & Database Marketing. In 2001 he was named “Information Technology Professor of the Year” in Nebraska by the AIM Institute. Dr. Nath has a Masters degree from Wichita State University and a Ph.D. degree from Texas Tech University. He spent the 1991-1992 academic year lecturing and conducting research in Zimbabwe as a Fulbright Scholar. He has published over 80 research papers in the area of Electronic Commerce and Information Systems in various national and international journals. He is the Past-President of the Southwest Decision Sciences institute. Also, he has served on the Board of Directors of Decision Sciences Institute and was a Vice-President of the Institute from 1993 to 1995. Dr. Nath received the University of Memphis’ Distinguished Teaching Award in 1995. He is also a recipient of the Southwest Decision Sciences Institute’s 1996 Distinguished Service Award.

Randy Schmailzl

Metropolitan Community College

Randy Schmailzl has served the AIM Board twice, most recently beginning in January 2010. Before becoming the fifth president of MCC, Randy served the college for 20 years in key positions such as Executive Vice President, Dean of Students and Director of Enrollment Management, Records and Placement. He has working knowledge and experience in all levels of college administration. Randy started his career as a high school teacher, administrator and coach in 1976 and moved to the field of higher education as a faculty member, administrator and coach. Randy holds a Bachelor’s degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University and a Master’s degree in Counseling, Administration and Higher Education from the University of South Dakota.

Diana Tedrow

Director of Sales
Cox Business

Diana Tedrow currently serves as the Director of Sales for Cox Business Omaha. She has been in the telecommunications industry for 20 years including roles in sales, training, and sales leadership. Her community focus has included a variety of community involvement groups and functions including; Leadership Omaha 2013 – 2014, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands Board of Directors, Bennington Community Foundation Board of Directors, Economic Adjustment Study Image Taskforce Member, 2001 – 2002 RAMAC Board of Directors Chamber Division, and 2000 – 2001 Executive Committee – Corporate Volunteer Council. Diana received a Master of Science degree from Drake University in Adult Learning, Performance and Development. Diana’s interests included acting as an adjunct professor at William Penn University in their Bachelor of Arts and Master of Business Leadership programs and spending time with her family.

Lynden Tennison

Senior VP & Chief Information Officer
Union Pacific Corporation

In his position at UP, Lynden is responsible for organizing and managing the development, implementation and operation of Union Pacific Railroad’s information and telecommunications technologies. Lynden previously served UP as Vice President of Information Technologies and Chief Technology Officer. Tennison has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Arlington. He is a member of the Board of Directors for several Corporation Boards and is involved in both church and community activities.