Technology Association of Iowa Announces Graduation of Inaugural Iowa Technology Leadership Institute Cohort

The Technology Association of Iowa (TAI) announced yesterday the graduation of its inaugural Iowa Technology Leadership (ITLI) cohort. 

“As the Technology Association of Iowa celebrates its 25th anniversary, it is incredibly fitting that we graduate this inaugural class of 25 exceptional professionals, the future leaders of the Iowa technology industry,” said Brian Waller, President, Technology Association of Iowa.” Over my past 9 years as President of TAI, this program is one of my greatest joys and accomplishments. It could not have been done without the support of our sponsors Principal Financial Group, Iowa State University and Involta.” 

The TAI Iowa Technology Leadership Institute develops tomorrow’s Iowa technology leaders through programming designed to fill gaps that technical education and experience can often neglect. The institute provides access to networking with peers and experienced executives from across the industry.

“This experience exceeded my expectations in so many ways,” said Cathy Blood, ITLI Cohort Member and Senior Integration Analyst/Applications Solution Tester, GCommerce, Inc. “Each course was very well organized and the course topics were on point with today’s business environment and presented in a mixture of different styles for maximum learning. ITLI provided me exposure to new experiences I would not otherwise have been aware of and has given me not only a new network of business leaders I can turn to for help and inspiration in the future, but also life-long friends.”

The ITLI curriculum is developed and facilitated by the Technology Executives in Residence Michelle Bates, Chief Innovation Officer, Revology, Inc. and Dave Tucker, Partner, Next Level Ventures, with leadership from the TAI Board of Directors. 

“This has been one of the most rewarding career experiences I can remember,” said Tucker. “I am so encouraged for the future of technology in Iowa after working with this group and am certain I learned more from them than they learned from me.”

The ITLI classes focus on the non-technical aspects of leadership that help seasoned professionals build influence and move to the next level of their careers. The experience included engaging presentations, interactive panelists, small group problem-solving scenarios and one-on-one mentoring from experienced technology executives.

As the inaugural program comes to a close, 100 percent of the 25 participants have signed up to participate in the ITLI Alumni Network. In addition, 55 percent have expressed interest in continuing to participate in ITLI by serving on the alumni committee to help shape the program going forward. 

“ITLI has been an invaluable experience, combining amazing relationship building between equally-driven peers along with rockstar educational experiences from those we aspire to be,” said Page Smith, ITLI Cohort Member and Director of Digital Solutions, Kreg Tool Company. “The bonds formed through this year’s ITLI class will be sure to play a large part in the future of Iowa’s technology leadership and will certainly always be the most awesome for being first.”

View photos from the graduation event –

Applications for the 2023 cohort for ITLI will open on July 12, 2022. Stay tuned for updates at

2022 Cohort Members

  • Mandy Abbas, UnityPoint Health
  • Steve Billingsley, ITA Group, Inc.
  • Cathy Blood, GCommerce, Inc.
  • Emily Burns, Ruan Transportation Management Systems
  • Lisa Butler, Data Innovations
  • Kevin Hersom, CUNA Mutual Group
  • Josh Holst, Involta, LLC
  • Ryan Huffman, Iowa State University
  • Mike Johnson, McLeod Software
  • Amanda Kasten, Kingland Systems
  • Shivani Kharbanda, John Deere – Intelligent Solutions Group
  • Michael Lohrbach, Iowa State University
  • Stephen Morgan, Fareway Stores, Inc.
  • Andrew Mueller, Pella Corporation
  • Casie Muller, Principal Financial Group
  • Brandon Potter, ProCircular
  • Beth Rissman, Telepharm
  • Scott Robinson, Merchants Bonding Company
  • Howard Samarin, United Equipment Accessories Inc.
  • Page Smith, Kreg Tool Company
  • John Sonneville, John Deere Financial
  • Theresa Swaim, FBL Financial Group, Inc.
  • Bryan Tonne, VGM Group
  • Aaron Welch, Ramco Innovations
  • Ryan Wood, Kum & Go

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