Chris Howard was among the top 2% of students in his High School class. Choosing between architecture, computer science, and electrical engineering, he was awarded a full scholarship to study EE at the University of Houston in their honors program. But after an IBM engineer jokingly told him to "become an expert" in the department's first and only IBM PC, he did just that and became a lifelong entrepreneur in the field.
Chris started his career as a co-op student at IBM's Federal Systems Division, which supported the space program at NASA. Working during the day at IBM and attending night classes at UH, his early professional experience included software development for a space workstation — prototyping user interfaces and software that could be easy to use in space.
Chris founded Softeq Development back in 1997 with a focus on technical software development, based on his passion for solving complex problems. Since then the company’s firmware, hardware, and embedded capabilities have been augmented with mobile and web expertise, as well as complex engineering for IoT.
A lifelong entrepreneur, Chris is an active angel investor and advisor in several start-up technology ventures. Chris is interested in building businesses that excel while fostering a positive and creative work environment. He loves using technology to solve complex problems and working to build the best technical software outsourcing team possible. He is a family man, a sport pilot, a published magazine and book author, an admitted gadget geek -- and he believes that sleep is highly overrated.
Joel Carter is a technology marketing and product development executive with over twenty US patents in electronics.
He began his career creating ad campaigns for leading B2B and B2C technology brands such as IBM, Tandon and Cellular One. He then moved into marketing leadership for consumer electronics giant Tandy Corporation.
An expert in China manufacturing, Joel managed a billion-dollar portfolio of award-winning products and brands. Pursuing his passion for inspiring kids with low-cost robotics, Carter created the VEX Robotics Design System winning a Best of Innovations Award at CES. As Chief Marketing Officer of Innovation First, Carter created HEXBUG Micro Robots, winning multiple Toy of the Year Awards.
Anna Tiomina brings a wealth of experience to Softeq, as well as best practices from many different fields.
Anna spent half a decade in the pharma industry, holding top management positions in finance at Sandoz, a Novartis division. Under her leadership, several company subclusters across Belarus and the Caucasus reached double-digit yearly growth.
Before that Anna worked in the steel industry at a major national steel works. She contributed to growing the business multiple times over and transforming operations across its trade, production, and logistics divisions.
Anna holds an MBA from the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU).
Sergey has a range of experience, which includes two decades of human resource management and eight years of management consulting in several domains.
Sergey began his career as an intern in the recruiting department of an international automobile trading holding company. Over the years, Sergey has risen to the position of HR Director, having built several successful departments during his career.
After becoming a consultant and successfully completing dozens of projects as an expert and manager, he switched to HR. Sergey acquired new skills in understanding business models, approaches to business transformation, and the place of HR management in the activities and success of a company, regardless of the industry.
Sergey now focuses on supporting the Softeq strategy via HR management, staff efficiency, and improving internal HR services through best practices.
Yury Cherniawsky is an experienced manager in the High Tech domain with proven knowledge across software development, architecture, IT security, project and process management, as well as sales and marketing.
Yury started his career as a Java developer at an established software development company and then moved to the roles of solution architect, team lead, and project manager.
In the past, Yury worked as Chief Process Manager, supervising process management and information security, and Senior Solutions Advisor in a Business Development team. Previously, Yury helped a cryptocurrency startup mature into an enterprise blockchain solution provider.
Alex Sotnikov has nearly a decade of management experience in startups and product companies in the information technology sector.
As a junior-high-schooler, Alex had no doubts as to what career path he would take as his fascination with technology and love for exact sciences grew stronger. Having settled into the IT groove, he flexed his engineering skills in a mobile startup, then switched to the quality assurance sector at an Inc. 5000 company. Starting off as a QA engineer, Alex was soon promoted to establish and lead a regional branch of the corporate QA unit. After coming on board at Softeq, Alex was invaluable in putting his wealth of managerial experience and knowledge of the QA domain to practice by building a dedicated QA department from scratch. Thanks to practical skills in interpersonal communication and conflict resolution, staff retention, and professional development practices he honed along the way, Alex was appointed to lead the entire development team as the Resource Management Director. Some of his notable contributions to the company’s success include restructuring and upgrading the Customer Care unit, establishing an internship practice, and automating internal processes.
In his free time, Alex enjoys jamming out on an electric guitar, practicing new roller-skating tricks, and smartifying his home with advanced gadgets.
Benjamin Groiss is a senior executive manager with a passion for technology and innovation that create value for people and businesses.
Benjamin has been contributing to the success of Softeq for over a decade, having gone from a sales manager to sales director and head of the company’s EU office. Benjamin goes the extra mile in communication with customers, driven by his aspiration to establish longer-term relationships through business problem-solving and generating additional value.
Paul Fruia drives product development in both software and hardware in the DURATEQ division of Softeq Development.
Paul is also responsible for the integration of technologies that provide systems solutions for mobile and assistive customers. A 13-year veteran of Softeq, Paul received his B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Houston in Houston, Texas. He has more than 25 years of experience in electronics, engineering, and software, and is an accomplished drummer.
Administrative Director Irina Zanimon has a financial background and a decade of experience working with multinational companies.
She began her career in finance at Hilti, an industrial manufacturer of professional products. She moved on to join Softeq as a member of the financial team and was soon promoted to the position of Administrative Director. In her current position, Irina combines financial and administrative functions to interact with the High Technology Park, government institutions, vendors, and lessers, while also fulfilling financial functions like expense tracking and budgeting.