Thomas served as an engineer, manager and executive for nearly two decades within high growth Fortune 100 Silicon Valley firms HP and mostly Cisco ranging from product development, corporate strategy, Enterprise IT, sales strategy to operating and management. He has also served as a director and chairman to numerous regional and statewide nonprofits, led executive director search/transitions and has advised several startups, CEOs and large corporations.
As a principal of Sparkovation Advisors, Thomas has been actively involved in advising startups, CEOs, corporations and investment portfolios on value creation, leadership/talent, business strategy, digital transformation, IT modernization and growth.
Thomas formed his first tech startup at 15 years of age, with a penchant for innovation and leadership, he later began his engineering career at HP Palo Alto then at Cisco led product development / engineering teams to deliver successive billion-dollar flagship products from concept to market. These innovative products served differentiated value to Consumer, Enterprise and Service Provider markets and saw top line growth rise from $500M to $6B per year with sustained annual profit margins of 85%+. After years saturated in Cisco’s product development, differenation & leadership model, he rose to lead enterprise wide transformational change strategy aimed at restructuring complex people, process, technology challenges generated by 100+ acquisitions.
He founded the office and served as Cisco’s inaugural Latin American employee CTO over the Americas & Europe while working with Cisco Ventures to seed billion-dollar ideas across global markets and evangelizing emerging technologies aligned to Cisco’s investment portfolio.
Throughout his life, he has been deeply involved in many social impact causes including education, workforce and inclusion and served as a past Chairman of The Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Boards of Leadership Austin, Austin Chamber of Commerce, Austin Ed Fund and EGBI. Thomas currently serves on several boards including Mission Capital (Chair), Texas Lyceum, Capital Area Workforce Development Board (TWC) and the Austin Area Research Organization and on advisory boards for 5 area organizations. He graduated from The University of Texas at San Antonio with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and has earned project management and executive leadership credentials from George Washington University, Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Vince Cali has been a management consultant for over 35 years serving clients in both the public and private sectors. He has performed, managed, and directed over 300 engagements domestically and abroad. He has consulted in a variety of industries assisting clients with business strategies, operational excellence, dispute resolution, and recovery from business interruptions. Vince has also sponsored expert testimony in state, federal, and administrative jurisdictions and was a former member of the Panel of Arbitrators of the American Arbitration Association.
For over 32 years, until his recent retirement, Vince has been a professional and partner in the global professional services firm of Deloitte & Touche LLP. At Deloitte Vince had a number of duties and responsibilities including; Deloitte Consulting Managing Director, National Managing Director of Management Solutions Consulting, member of the Deloitte & Touche USA Board of Directors, member of the firm’s US and global management and executive committees. Vince Cali’s last responsibility with the firm was Deputy to the Global CEO of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.
As a practicing management consultant Vince Cali dedicated significant time and interest to improving and strengthening the profession. He is a certified management consultant, a fellow in the Institute of Management Consultants, past chairman of the Institute, past vice chairman of the International Council for Management Consulting Institutes. Additionally, Vince served on the advisory board of the Journal of Management Consulting and its successor publication Consulting to Management.
Vince Cali graduated Concord University in 1970 with a BSBA degree; he then accepted a position with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. In 1973 he received his MBA from Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio, and entered management consulting with Syn-Cronamics, Inc. a general management consultancy in New York before being recruited by Deloitte & Touche.
Guillermo Diaz, Jr. (“G”) is the CIO and Senior Vice President of Information Technology accountable for Cisco Systems’ Enterprise IT architecture, technology strategy, and IT services/operating model . Also, the IT executive responsible for Sales/Channels – 85% of Cisco’s business, Cisco Services $12B business unit, Cisco’s “Software as a Service” (SaaS) platform architecture and operations, regional IT services and Cisco on Cisco. He and his team improve the overall IT experience of Cisco customers, partners, and employees through strengthening foundational sales and services architecture, capabilities, services and business outcomes.
G is the IT leader for Cisco’s major transformation program known as Accelerated Cisco transformation, a top Cisco priority. This focus is to align all company priorities, investments and business models to drive optimal return on investments. He is also the executive sponsor of Conexión, Cisco’s Hispanic/Latino employee resource network, and a key leader on Cisco’s Diversity Council.
Prior to joining Cisco, he held senior IT leadership positions with some of Silicon Valley’s most respected companies including Director of Global Network Services for Silicon Graphics, Senior Director of IT for Intelligent Electronics (Ingram Micro), and Manager, Telecommunications for Alza Corporation.
He began his career in telecommunications with the United States Navy where a military scholarship led to his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Regis University, Colorado. He was recognized by the Silicon Business Journal – 2014 “Best CIO” Community Champion. Also the Hispanic IT Executive Council (HITEC) as one of the “Top Hispanics in IT” from 2009-2014. Other awards include the “National Eagle Leadership Award in 2010 and CIO Magazine’s “Ones To Watch Award” in 2007.
Guillermo’s family, including his wife and four children, are based out of the San Francisco Bay Area – the perfect location to indulge his other passion, golf.
Specialties:Enterprise IT Architecture, Creating vision and alignment, Service Oriented Architecture, Business / Technology presentation, Inclusion and Diversity, Hispanic / Latino industry leadership. Relationship building.
Gilberto has spent thirty years working to build a network of political and business relationships with community leaders, operatives, entrepreneurs and elected officials. His coalition-building skills include gathering local intelligence, performing political outreach and crafting communications strategies that work for his clients. This unique combination of experience has led to Gilberto providing quality business management consulting services to clients in both the public and private sectors, domestically and internationally.
A veteran of four presidential campaigns, Gilberto most recently led the National Latino Presidential Campaign for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in 2000. Other roles include twice serving as the DNC regional field director, in addition to his role as DNC director of the Office of Voter Participation under the late Chairman Ron Brown. Gilberto has run statewide campaigns in Texas. When he began, he was one of the first Hispanics to do so. When he was director of Communications for the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, he led one of the most successful voter registration and education groups in the Southwest.
Gilberto’s experience in turning a start-up business in 1992 into a successful security printing and fulfillment company has given him insights into key business issues of governmental contracting. The success of his business enterprise, coupled with his commitment to maintain a strong civic presence, garnered him local recognition as the “Hispanic Businessman of the Year” as well as “Volunteer of the Year” by the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Hispanic Magazine recognized Gilberto as a “Rising Entrepreneur” and among his successful startups is the web-based Latino News Digest “Newstaco.com”, providing innovative and insightful news, critique, analysis and opinion from a Latino perspective in a 24-hour world.
Gilberto has served on the National Advisory Boards of the Resolution Trust Corporation, the U.S. Small Business Administration, the U.S. Secretary of Energy and the Smithsonian Task Force on Latino Affairs. With special pride, Gilberto serves on the board of the Mi Familia Vota Education Fund (MFVEF), a national non-profit organization working to unite the Latino community and its allies to promote social and economic justice through increased civic participation. In addition, Gilberto serves on the board of the Texas Democracy Foundation, publisher of the Texas Observer, and also serves on the Texas Advisory Board of the Environmental Defense Fund.
Bob Kay has more than 35 years of broad-based banking, investments, private equity intermediary, and private business management experience, including commercial loan and venture capital investments portfolio oversight. He served as Chief Executive Officer and / or Chief Operating Officer of start-up, growth phase, and turnaround operating company situations during the most recent 22 years. As a COO and CFO, Bob significantly contributed to Drilling Info’s hyper growth and exceptional results. Bob is currently a Managing Member and the CEO of Excelleration Partners (EP). EP focuses on helping growth companies accelerate their growth while excelling at what they do or evaluating the acquisition of companies in the $5 million+ revenue size range with demonstrable growth potential. He earned a BBA in General Business (Accounting concentration) from The University of Texas in 1974.
As founder and managing general partner of G-51, Rudy focuses on the development of all portfolio companies, syndication partnerships and deal flow. Through mentoring as well as serving on portfolio boards, he is instrumental in driving success through defining and then guiding the implementation of well-grounded business and marketing strategies. Rudy is an expert at finding and defining business and revenue models, market shaping services, business growth strategies and talent sourcing. Rudy has served as an investor and board member for over 20 companies, selling several to publicly traded firms including SAP, ADP, Prudential, and Cisco Systems among others.
Rudy is also an active leader in the venture community, as a longtime member of the NVCA and the Texas Venture Capital Association. He has served as Chairman of the Board of the University of Texas Alumni Association (“Texas Exes”) in 2011. In addition, Rudy is a lifetime honorary trustee of the Dell Children’s Medical Center Foundation.