Board of Directors
A charitable, service-based non-profit 501(c)(3) organization (NPO) educating and connecting the High Performance Computing (HPC) user community to state of art technology for the purpose of optimizing business processes and workforce advancement.
Our technology focus includes AI/Machine Learning, Data Science, Cloud Computing, and Visualization utilized in applications in Energy, Life Sciences, Manufacturing & Engineering, Financial Services, Academia, and Government.
Doug Norton, President & Board Chair
Doug is the CMO for Inspire Semiconductor, an Austin-based startup leveraging the open RISC-V CPU instruction set architecture (ISA). He works with customers and partners to help them leverage InspireSemi’s breakthrough accelerated computing solution for HPC, AI, and graph analytics applications that delivers blistering speed, energy efficiency, an open developer-friendly programming model, and game-changing affordability
He began his career in product development at IBM and moved into the sales & marketing organization to expand IBM’s reach into new engineering/scientific markets. He then went on to various senior leadership positions at Cadence Design Systems and early stage companies such as CoWare, Newisys, Virtana, and Nimbix.
Doug is a founding member of the Texas Global Health Security Innovation Consortium (TEXGHS), serves on the Venture Mentoring Service for the Austin Technology Incubator (ATI) at The University of Texas, is a technology and business advisor to HealthClicks, is on the board of Technology Advisors Group, and is a member of the RISC-V SIG-HPC and marketing committees. He earned his BS in Electrical Engineering cum laude from Missouri University of Science & Technology.
Kannan Venkataraman, Vice President
Kannan recently retired from Schlumberger as Vice President of Digital Operations Support for WesternGeco, after more than 48 years with essentially one company.
He started his career immediately upon completing his Master of Science degree in electrical engineering from the American University of Beirut, and thanks to company mergers and acquisitions, he has had an interesting employment journey – Geophysical Services Inc. (a subsidiary of Texas Instruments), Halliburton Geophysical Services, Western Atlas, Baker Hughes, and finally Schlumberger – all with just one job interview!
He has worked in a variety of disciplines: data processing, technical training, HPC systems design & development, Data Center and Cloud design & operations and senior corporate IT management, and has served in many locations: Beirut, Cairo, London, Madrid, and Dallas, before moving to Houston. Kannan is a member of the Schlumberger Employee Credit Union (SECU) Board and chairs the Technology Committee.
Steve Lutz, Treasurer
Steve has 40 years of experience as a sales and marketing executive in the field of visualization as it applies to VR technologies both from a hardware and software perspective. He has experience in the vertical markets of Academic, Energy, Government, Manufacturing, Medical and Transportation.
He has established and managed direct sales organizations, marketing organizations and alternate distribution channels for two global computer graphics companies. Successfully established joint marketing relationships with a number of organizations in the Visualization market space allowing for significant revenue growth in the organization he has worked in. Originally from Denver, Colorado, Steve has resided in Los Angeles, CA, Portland, Oregon and currently in Richmond, TX.
He is currently President of SL Consulting, a Sales and Marketing Consulting Company and past President of the Society of High Performance Computing Professionals, an HPC 501c3 user group organization, Greater Houston Partnership Ambassador and President of Board of Governors at Pecan Grove County Club.
Rachel Bielstein, Marketing Director
Rachel Bielstein has over 12 years IT industry experience, focusing over past 3 years on High Performance Computing in the Oil & Gas Sector. During that time, Rachel engaged with The NVIDIA Deep Learning Institute (DLI) to bring innovative Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning content to Houston for companies in the O&G, Energy and Medical sectors.
Scott Denham, Board Member
Scott is a solutions architect for HPE, working on current and future HPC and storage solutions in the Pre-Sales team, following their acquisition of Cray. He began his career in IT after being introduced to digital electronics while studying as an avionics technician for the U.S. Air Force Reserves. After training in inertial navigation and radar, he went on to study Electrical Engineering at the University of Houston, and during this time joined Western Geophysical, where his interest in geophysical processing began.
During a 28 year career at Western, he worked in a number of roles on systems ranging from SEL minicomputers to Fujitsu, Thinking Machines and Cray supercomputers. He served as a member of SHARE’s Numerically Intensive Computing committee, and later as Project Manager of the SHARE SP Project. Scott joined IBM’s HPC Center of Competency / Deep Computing technical team from 2000-2014, assisting customers in design and implementation of HPC solutions, including a number of Top 500 systems.
Melyssa Fratkin, Board Member
Melyssa Fratkin is the Industrial Programs Director at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at The University of Texas at Austin. In this role, she oversees TACC’s corporate partnerships and government relations activities. Melyssa focuses on developing and managing strong collaborations between industry and academia with the Science & Technology Affiliates for Research (STAR) program.
Melyssa is the founding co-chair of Texas Women in HPC, an organization aimed at supporting women and minorities in high performance computing in industry, academia and government across the state of Texas, by engaging in initiatives to raise awareness and broaden diversity in HPC. She also serves as Communications Chair of the ACM Special Interest Group on High Performance Computing (SIGHPC).
Melyssa received a BA from Rutgers University and MBA from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland.
Tonya Cosby Carter, Board Member
As an IT Operations Engineer at Shell, Tonya specializes in HPC and AI initiatives, aligning closely with Shell’s sustainability and net-zero goals. She collaborates with industry leaders to accelerate solutions for decarbonizing the data sector.
Tonya’s journey began at Amoco Production as an Oil and Gas Analyst, where she analyzed production data and well performance trends.
Prior to joining Shell she spent 20+ years at IBM and Intel as part of the HPC teams where she was involved in the successful deployment of several large-scale HPC projects. She was deeply involved in supporting global Energy accounts, actively contributed to the advancement of technology solutions tailored to accommodate a wide spectrum of seismic and model reservoir workloads. Tonya also managed a global territory, nurturing relationships with ecosystem partners and crafting innovative solutions for scalability in broader markets.
Lou Marchant, Board Member
Lou Marchant is originally from Wyoming and moved to Texas to go to school. She received a BS in Architecture as a Master Builder from UT Arlington and a MS in Civil Engineering from Southern Methodist University specializing in structures and materials.
To put herself through school, Lou bought and sold British sports cars, worked as a Steel Detailer and was a Resident Engineer at various airports for navigational installations. After college she became Frito Lay’s Corporate Architect and Structural Engineer using Finite Element Analysis and Computational Fluid Dynamics products from the Rand Group. This introduced her into the world of HPC using larger computer systems to innovate faster.
Lou then joined the Rand Group to work on special products and was also introduced to Cray Research and the world of supercomputers. At the time, Gene Amdahl was going after Cray Research with his own idea for a supercomputer and started Elxsi Computers. Lou joined Elxsi working on special projects for the soon to be released supercomputer. In the end, the computers were 50 years ahead of their time and the materials were not available to build the systems. Lou ended up moving to Cray Research as part of the Business Systems Division. The BSD team designed a system to solve HPC business problems which were as computationally intense as engineering simulations.
Three years later, Cray Research was sold to Silicon Graphics and the Cray BSD group was then sold to Sun Microsystems. At Sun, Lou was Board Chair of the 50 Data Center Ambassadors and Product Boss for the E10k, E15K, E20k and the E25k driving the division to a multi-billion a year product line.
After 14 years Sun was sold to Oracle Corp. and Lou joined IBM as a Pureflex Computer Specialist focused on solving HPC problems for Aerospace and Defense companies. She was successful until IBM sold the Pureflex Systems to Lenovo. Lou then joined Cray Computers as an Account Executive. While at Cray Computers, Lou attended an Aerospace Conference, and the biggest request was to have the capability to run various workflows which normally takes a Cray or large cluster but do it in the cloud. Later that year, Lou was introduced to Rescale, Inc and they had a control plane for running large engineering simulations in the cloud. Shortly after learning about Rescale, she joined the company and has been working with companies to do HPC in the cloud for over five years.
Outside of HPC, Lou is a Driving Instructor at the racetrack, enjoys vintage racing, collecting classic British cars and motorcycles and traveling around the globe.
Dina-Marie Stager, Co-Executive Director
Dina-Marie Stager is a visionary in the realm of AI and data science. Her dedication to AI innovation earned her the esteemed 2022 Intel AI Global Impact Festival’s Global Award and a role as Ambassador for Intel’s Global Digital Readiness Program, a role that aligns seamlessly with her collaboration with SeedAI. Dina-Marie’s command of advanced language models, coupled with her pursuit of the MIT IDSS Data Science and Machine Learning program, exemplifies her dedication to cutting-edge technology.
Dina-Marie brings her expertise to multiple domains. Collaborating with SeedAI, her passion aligns perfectly with driving AI advancement. Amid her remarkable achievements, Dina-Marie’s unwavering dedication continues to shape AI’s trajectory and push its boundaries while preparing to deliver engaging content through an upcoming podcast as part of OGGN (Oil and Gas Global Network). As a panel speaker for “AI Across America,” a program within SeedAI, Dina-Marie’s influence reaches beyond accolades. Furthermore, as an alumni of the NASA Scholar’s Program in 2018, her commitment to excellence and innovation has been recognized at a national level. She actively contributes to SeedAI’s mission of facilitating community-focused AI resources across the country, meeting people where they are to enable the next wave of transformative technology by a representative, new, diverse generation of the AI workforce.
Denzel Wilson, Co-Executive Director
Denzel Wilson serves as Grassroots Community Manager for SeedAI and is a current student at the University of Houston studying Psychology and Computer Science. He served as the lead architect of the ‘HCC AI & The Future of Houston’ conference and was a part of Houston Community College’s first cohort of AI graduates in the spring of 2022.
Denzel has worked full-time as an Automation Consultant while finishing his bachelor’s degree. He also works in the community by teaching students STEM and Artificial Intelligence. His passion is AI, working specifically with brain-computer interfaces and computer vision. He is a PepsiCo Uplift Scholarship recipient, Intel AI Impact Festival national winner, and has been featured in numerous publications such as Forbes, NVIDIA blog, the Houston Chronicle, AWS blog, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. He aspires to be the CEO of his own company and effectively bring AI tools and ecosystems to underserved communities.