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Saturday, May 18, 2024

2018 CTO Awards: Finalists

ERICH GAZAUI – Chief Information Officer, Loot Crate Inc.


In late 2016, Erich Gazaui joined Loot Crate and is now the Chief Information Officer where he is restructuring the department, focusing on initiatives for scalable growth, infrastructure stability and process maturity; using internal systems to codify business logic, providing the company with a competitive advantage and erecting a higher barrier to entry for others in the subscription box space. He uses a great mix of technical and business savvy to reach across organizational boundaries and provide lasting quantifiable improvement. Fluent in Accounting, Human Resources and Legal, he is consistently able to bridge groups and find solutions.

He has been a transformational technology leader for Loot Crate. He inherited a young team and has applied maturity and leadership to mitigate these weaknesses, while tackling the tech debt with a strategic focus on maintaining Loot Crate’s leadership position within the subscription e commerce space. All this while driving the team to launch eight new products and two new ecommerce sites.

JONATHAN WONG – Chief Information Officer, Playboy Enterprises Inc.


Jonathan Wong is a global technology leader with nearly two decades of experience and a breadth of expertise in developing and leading world-class technology solutions for multi-billion-dollar corporates and agile growth companies alike. He concurrently serves as Chief Information Officer for three portfolio companies (Playboy, Playboy Television, and RealD 3D) owned by Rizvi Traverse, a private equity fund.

His core competencies include driving business strategy, performance, and growth and leading large-scale business activity. He also specializes in evaluating and delivering cutting-edge technology capability to world-leading brands, in a highly efficient manner. He devises and executes global technology strategies that drive competitive advantage, while optimizing performance, cost, efficiency, and risk management. He is highly experienced in identifying, scoping, and implementing large-scale architectural and organizational designs, and managing large multi site IT applications and infrastructure.

JONATHAN CHOW – SVP, Chief Information Security Officer, Live Nation Entertainment Inc.


Jonathan Chow is the Senior Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer for Live Nation Entertainment, the world’s leading producer and promoter of live entertainment. Live Nation Entertainment is the parent company of Ticketmaster and the House of Blues.

Chow joined Live Nation in October of 2012. He is responsible for the implementation and monitoring of the enterprise wide Information Security and compliance program for Live Nation Entertainment and its subsidiaries worldwide; including the Live Nation Concert business, Ticketmaster and the House of Blues concert hall and restaurant chain. He has built a remarkable team of what is now a total of 43 employees on the Information Security Team. Chow believes in everyone’s greatness and aspires for all his team to grow, learn, and build internally. He always takes the time to sit down and help guide and mentor each individual.

CHARLES SIMS – IT Director, Los Angeles Clippers


Growing up in the Rockies, Charles Sims never expected to end up in the bustle of Downtown LA, but has grown to love this city that he has called home for the last seven years.

As the Director of Information Technology for the LA Clippers, Sims concentrates on eliminating tech debt and reliance on outdated technologies to minimize overall risk. His motto is “break it early so we can fix it fast” and thinks ‘on-prem’ is a dirty word. He led the organization to be the first NBA team completely migrate to Microsoft cloud and now is a trusted advisor to his fellow NBA colleagues who are just starting their own cloud journey. Prior to being personally selected for the Clippers position Charles spent 5 years in the IT Project management and managed service space in Los Angeles. He worked with more than 60 clients in a diverse set of industries to round out his background in IT Management.

PERRY EVONIUK – Chief Technology Officer, Evite Inc.


Perry Evoniuk joined Evite Inc. as Chief Technology Officer in March of 2015. In this role, Evoniuk oversees the execution of Evite’s technology strategy, software engineering and enterprise architecture. Among the reasons he was selected for the position is because Evite, as a company dedicated to delivering innovation and inspiration to 32 million registered users, believed Perry’s technology expertise and solutions can further grow the company’s reach and extend its leading digital brand.

Evoniuk has more than 18 years of senior technology leadership experience. Immediately prior to his current post at Evite, he was Director of Information Systems for Amgen, where he led a team of global architects in strategic technology planning, solution design, technology risk management, and innovation of complex information platforms for the $18 billion biotech leader. Prior to Amgen, Evoniuk was Vice President of Software Engineering and Enterprise Architecture for drugstore.com.



SnapMD was founded in 2013 with a mission to provide telemedicine tools and services that empower health systems to improve access and deliver more convenient care to the patient at home, work or in other care settings. Today, SnapMD’s Virtual Care Management (VCM) solution is used by providers nationwide to engage their patients via a secure, HIPAA-compliant, cloud-based software platform — improving outcomes, enhancing productivity, and increasing patient and provider satisfaction.

The team at SnapMD believes healthcare IT is due for the connected disruption that has been occurring in every other industry for the last 20 years. SnapMD is a virtual care management platform, multi-tenant and white label designed specifically for healthcare providers with a priority on easy to use, easy adoption of telemedicine into existing operating models, with architecture that can be easily integrated with existing EMR/EHR and Practice management systems.



Henry Park brings a unique background in investment banking and technology, with vast experience in industry trending and analysis, as well as sales and marketing. He has aided in several mergers and acquisitions in the plastics and rubber industry to create competing brands against behemoths such as Goodyear, Proctor and Gamble.

From humble beginnings in 2004, Park has grown 3GC Group to 45 employees worldwide, with offices on both US coasts as well as overseas. Park’s philosophy from day one was to fully understand the network, both LAN, and WAN, the security tools, redundancy tools, protocols from the fundamentals all the way up through Layer 7, and ensure that these new technologies performed reliably and at optimal efficiency while remaining secure. This is so fundamental to 3GC’s business that Park requires its engineers to achieve skills, certifications, experience, and expertise across at least three disciplines, one each in network infrastructure, security, and converged technology or server and storage.

TONY KARRER – Founder & CEO, TechEmpower Inc.


Dr. Tony Karrer is Founder & CEO of TechEmpower, a 30-person software engineering firm that recently celebrated its 20th year. He is also Founder and CTO of Aggregage, a fast growing B2B media company with over 30 publications and over one million subscribers. Karrer has been a part-time CTO or technology advisor for more than 30 early-stage startups most notably as the original CTO of eHarmony helping them to get to a $110 million financing in their fourth year. He has founded three companies. One exited for $58 million. The other two are profitable, on-going enterprises.

Karrer has led consulting engagements at many Fortune 500 companies including Credit Suisse, Royal Bank of Canada, Lexus, Microsoft, Mazda, Universal Music, IBM and HP. His work has spanned the gamut from mainframe and desktop software to web, mobile and even kiosks and dedicated devices. His broad experience includes work with big data and machine learning since before these now-popular terms were coined.

GAL RATNER – Founder & Chief Technology Officer, Inverted Software


Gal Ratner is an award winning technology veteran. With over 20 years of software experience, his designs are responsible for powering fortune 500 companies in multiple industries. He led international teams on major financial, media and entertainment, gaming Oil and Gas and e-commerce projects. Ratner is responsible for breakthroughs in cloud payment solutions, media encoding, digital asset delivery, and geographic information systems (GIS) for mobile, web and IoT devices.

Being the CTO of an oil and gas safety company and deploying new SaaS systems in about 4,000 factories, oil refineries and chemical plans, helped him utilize his skills in order to save lives. Thanks to Ratner’s systems, factory emergency workers, law enforcement and government agencies can know where affected areas are so that they can evacuate anybody in harm’s way or direct them to a shelter in place. In short, making great software and scaling innovative companies is his passion – a passion that he has repeatedly fulfilled and continues today.

BOINGO IT TEAM – Dr. Derek Peterson, Chief Technology Officer (team leader), Boingo Wireless


Back in 2001, Boingo dreamed of a world where people could connect to the wireless Internet anywhere, with any device. Today that dream is reality. Almost all technology wirelessly connects to the web. Over the past 16 years Boingo has grown from start-up to the leading Wi-Fi company in the world, and the largest indoor DAS (cellular) provider in the United States. And the Boingo IT team is behind the company’s storied successes.

The Boingo IT team is made up of more than 90 engineer experts. The team is spearheaded by Boingo Chief Technology Officer Dr. Derek Peterson. Dr. Peterson is responsible for the technical vision and strategy at the company. An award-winning visionary, Dr. Peterson has had a storied career as an engineer and executive. His leadership positions at Boingo and Oracle have driven the launch and adoption of numerous technologies, most recently the innovative deployment of Boingo’s NFV platform.

CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL LOS ANGELES IT TEAM – Dr. Steve Garske, Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer (team leader), Children’s Hospital Los Angeles


Within Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’ (CHLA’s) Information Services (IS) department, the team has solidified a strategy aligned to the enterprise plan for the next three to five years: technology, process and people will move the needle for CHLA. The IS team is dedicated to the mission, vision and values of the hospital and lives it daily.

Caring for children is the most noble of missions, and the technology teams strive daily to ensure the hospital’s caregivers have the best technology in the country. CHLA’s IS staff has a unique combination of two vital components: high technical skill level and strong belief in the mission of the hospital. Over the past year, CHLA IS implemented several house-wide initiatives. Most recently, CHLA became the first-in-the-nation deployment of the Cerner Oncology platform. Additionally, CHLA IS implemented clinical workflow improvements linked to orders-to-scheduling, Point-of-Care medication administration and Positive Patient ID, electronic consent forms, enhanced capabilities for provider and patient portals, and Phase 1 of distraction therapy technology for patients and families.

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