Meet the ILW Leadership Team
Other than his actual family, Illumination Works is absolutely Jon’s heart & soul. Illumination Works and its employees are Jon’s second family and he cares for this company as such. He tries every day to instill the passion for getting things done and that has had a a trickle-down effect within our company.
As our CEO, Jon has successfully guided our company from a single-person consultancy in 2006 to what it is today -a thriving organization with 3 offices and over 95 employees supporting commercial and government clients. Jon is a leading authority in the big data and advanced analytics revolution. As an alumni of the University of Dayton, his research interests include the Natural Language Processing, Industrial Internet of Things, cloud computing, and data security implementations.
Jon enjoys being on Cumberland Lake in Kentucky spending his vacation time boating with his wife Morgan and their four children, Jonathon, Maddison, Joshua and Mallory. That is, assuming he has the time to vacation. In reality, he spends any of the extra time he has playing taxi and super-fan for cheerleading, dance, football, wrestling and soccer… not to mention telling uber-nerd dad jokes and making sci-fi references that none of his family gets.
“I don’t always have the best ideas but I don’t have to,” Jon believes if he puts the right team of creative and brilliant minds together who can work collaboratively, Illumination Works WILL solve our client’s toughest problems and continue to lead and innovate in the digital world.
“I am proud of the company we have become, and I look forward to the next chapter.” – Jon Mitchell
As the Chief Management Officer of our company and Illumination Works’ very first employee, Mike’s heart and drive to take care of our company is what makes him such an essential factor to our success. He is nothing short of a true go-getter. Being more than just a manager, Mike is a leader who guides and coaches. He not only wants to be the best employee he can be, but he advocates for training so that our employees can also reach their full potential personally and professionally. Our people, our talent management, our engagement and our culture define the values of Illumination Works that Mike holds dear and he works every day to continue to cultivate those facets of our company.
Mike started his career in the Air Force where he spent 9 years as a developer. Since that time he has stayed professionally close to the DoD logistics environment. Throughout Mike’s career he has worked his hardest and has never faltered in his integrity. He will be the hardest worker and he will do his job with the highest level of honesty and sincerity. He eventually joined Jon as Illumination Works’ first employee and later became the first manager within the company.
In his free time, he makes his own bacon, sausage, brats and basically anything made out of a pig. In addition to making delicious meat, Mike and his wife Heather absolutely love to garden, growing almost anything you can think of that is an efficient use of space. Mike and Heather have 6 kids and 17 grandchildren. Being a family man is extremely important to him. He laughs and describes things like his granddaughter eating too much dirt, or his grandson in New York who pulled a hamstring doing Zumba. Watching him tell these off-kilter stories about some of his grandkids in such a calm fashion is evidence that he has done this parenting thing a few times. Mike has the same attitude towards his employees – he knows they will make some mistakes, but he takes it in stride and makes sure each person is growing and improving.
With over 25 years of experience and 17 of those in consulting, Jerry brings a very diverse knowledge base to the Commercial Division. Throughout his career, Jerry has specialized in development, data architecture, project management, technical leadership, technical sales support, practice development, enterprise data warehousing, and most recently big data. He is passionate about Illumination Works, and his favorite part of our company are the people, “Our people are not only are the best people technically in the city, but they are also the most personable and fun.”
Jerry is the ultimate coach. He has coached his children in almost every sport, coaching in lacrosse, football, baseball, basketball, and a stint at coaching wrestling. His coaching doesn’t stop in the youth leagues, Jerry brings his coaching mindset to the office by always guiding and mentoring our sale and delivery leadership team.
As an electrical engineer graduate from Wright State University, Jerry is a problem solver. He truly enjoys taking a challenging problem and finding the most effective way to solve it. Jerry was an instrumental part of building out our entire commercial division almost 6 years ago. Before Jerry joined the team, Illumination Works only worked with the public sector. With the help of Gary and Jon, the three of them shared a small space and grinded hard until we had steady lines of business with our clients. Taking on a crucial role in recruiting and sales, Jerry worked hard until he eventually hired recruiters and sales people to continue building the commercial division to what it is today. He has not stopped pushing the growth of our commercial division and the growth of our company as a whole, eventually hoping to expand beyond the Ohio state lines.
Jerry has 3 children, Sabrina, Ryan, and Jake. As mentioned before, Jerry is a fantastic dad and spends most of his time outside of work with his family coaching sports, playing sports with his children, and boating at Lake Cumberland. Jerry’s wife Christina runs Sheltered Paws, a nonprofit organization that saves thousands of animals from being euthanized, helps them find foster families, and ultimately finds them permanent homes.
Steve brings an energy to Illumination Works that cannot be matched by anyone other than him. It can only be described as a fatherly presence equipped with strong leadership qualities and plenty of dad-jokes. He is just one of those people- the ones you can talk to for 5 minutes and you feel like you’ve been best friends for 5 years.
Equipped with over 37 years of public sector and business experience, Steve’s reputation in the government sector is everlasting. As an Air Force civilian, Steve implemented the largest successful information system in the AF. He accomplished this feat by taking successful aspects of different systems from the Navy and the defense finance accounting services while using middleware to tie it all together. This information system has nearly 50,000 users and is currently the same system used today. He also led a transformation effort in the AF to completely change logistics, product support, and life cycle management. Reporting, training, certifications, and almost every other aspect was transformed during this process.
Steve has his MBA with a concentration in Finance from Wright State University. Steve has always been an innovative thinker who believes that a good culture is more long-term and a more successful way of doing business.
Steve’s pride and joy is his large family that includes his wife, five daughters, five son-in-laws, and four grandchildren (two girls, a boy, and another boy on the way!) He was the head coach of the Fairborn Skyhawk’s varsity women’s basketball and golf teams from 2008 through 2013. It was one of the hardest things for him this past season not being head coach, although he stays very involved in the program. In his spare time Steve can be found on the golf course, basketball court or in the yard.
Although Andy is a new employee to ILW, he has been familiar with our company and some our management team for years working alongside Jerry, Jon, Gary and one of our Principal consultants during his tenure with other companies. Talking to Andy was unique because he can truly pinpoint the moment when he knew a career in data and technology was meant for him. Declaring himself as “not a gadget person,” he wants to solve problems and believes data is a great way of doing that.
His journey started at Miami University (OH), a school where members of his family attended. At Miami, Andy earned a degree in finance and moved on to an accounting job in San Francisco after graduation. Andy hated accounting. Ironically enough, he ended up finding a position at a technology consulting company based out of Cincinnati after a short job search. Andy jokes about the fact that he is probably the only person to leave the Silicon Valley for a tech job in Cincinnati.
Andy spent about 3 years with CSC learning about consulting and technology before he was itching to get out of town again. He and his wife moved to Colorado where Andy worked as a Senior Consultant at a boutique tech consulting firm developing solutions with data warehousing technologies and concepts. As a young man, Andy landed on a 10 week project for Nike in Beaverton leading a team in tuning everything related to Informatica for a $400MM supply chain implementation. Although he remembers working 16 hour days during this project, he also remembers the Nike project as the moment when he first believed this career was the right path for him. Even though his heart is forever in the Rocky Mountains, he ended up moving back to Ohio once his son was born.
Later in Andy’s career he worked at Kroger on critical data projects over the course of seven years as either a consultant or employee. Andy then took a role as the Director of Business Intelligence and Chief Data Architect at the David J Joseph Company where he redefined and delivered their analytics roadmap.
In Andy’s words, he feels that his calling, and the whole purpose of consulting, is to “Make ideas reality. The ideas are there, they’ve just been trampled – I just need to surface those ideas.”
Outside of work, Andy and his wife, Sherri, spend most of their time with their kids, Alex (11) and Avery (9), at their soccer, baseball, and basketball games. Andy is hoping his kids gravitate towards soccer being a former player himself.
Andy Muse, Regional Vice President, has spent over half of his 20+ years in data as either a consultant or in leadership positions. Andy started his consulting career developing data warehousing technologies and concepts using Informatica. Andy has also worked on critical data projects with Kroger over the course of seven years as either a consultant or an employee. His most recent position before joining ILW was Director of Business Intelligence and Chief Data Architect at the David J. Joseph Company where he redefined and delivered their entire analytics roadmap.
Gary Telles might be known as our resident comedian, but fortunately for Illumination Works and its clients, he is as brilliant as he is amusing. Executive Director of Commercial Services, and a partner with Illumination Works since 2010, Gary brings more than twenty-five years of raw programming and data experience. Seventeen of those years Gary lead and mentored innumerous projects featuring data management, big data, BI/DW, ETL, data quality, and analytics. Gary’s mantra is to present and implement IT solutions better than anyone else. We consider Gary a powerhouse in the industry, he wants to make sure that nobody else can do it better.
While some of the distinctively remarkable work Gary has done in the IT industry are like tales of legend, he is highly esteemed as an IT consultant for his communication skills and innate ability to articulate tech-speak into ordinary, intelligible language.
Gary’s extensive practice in the field of IT consulting includes a few notable highlights including drastically reducing a nightly process for a Fortune 100 company from an unacceptable 70 hours to a matter of minutes. It has also been chronicled that Gary once tuned the largest computer IBM sold at the time, postponing an expensive hardware purchase for a major insurance company by two years. The machine had been running at 100% capacity processing claims 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Gary’s aptitude for organizing data and optimizing system memory and CPU resources reduced the computer’s processing to an impressive 60% of capacity. During his tenure at Illumination Works, Gary converted profoundly disparate systems into an SAP platform composed of nine unique accounting systems and billing methods.
Gary casually participates in sports and enjoys jogging and biking. He and his wife Diana have four children: Alex, Kate, Matt and Michael. Their daughter Kate happens to be participating in an Olympic development program for aerial skiing, and lives in Lake Placid, New York year round for training. When not running to various games with his kids on the weekends, Gary enjoys firing up his smoker for meals and to do a little catering for friends and family. He’s even provided his famous smoked pork for a Cystic Fibrosis charity BBQ organized by our own Andy Muse.
Gary is a true asset to Illumination Works; his character and expertise in the IT industry is second to none.
In a lucky turn of events for ILW, Ron Dues decided he wanted to work for Illumination Works in 2012, but only after 7 years of convincing from Jon. Ron stays adamant that he has NEVER taken a job for money, only for opportunity and said it was the same for this move. He will tell you that one of his main interests is breaking large complex problems into small fundamental pieces in order to understand and solve the underlying issue. This was apparent when I realized he was the culprit for implementing our company’s yearly strategic planning process.
Equipped with a Master’s degree in computer science from Wright State University, Ron has tackled more than a few technical projects in his career. He designed, created, built, implemented and even maintained an entire credit card payment system for the largest eyeglass company in the world. Not to go into too many details, but this payment system will never compromise the card information of its users; because of the way it is set up, that kind of breach is impossible.
Interestingly enough, Ron is an executive member of the USA Powerlifting branch, which is the U.S. representative of the International Powerlifting Federation in Luxembourg, Germany. Cardio is a complete stranger to Ron. Ironically, his wife hates lifting but is a devoted marathon runner. Talk about opposites attracting and not to mention one really fit couple.
His family is fanatical about Disney. How obsessed are they? He gave his two daughters, 15 and 20 years old, the choice to go to Europe, Hawaii, or Disney- keep in mind they went to Disney each year for the previous 8 years- what do you think they chose? …If you said Hawaii or Europe you’re incorrect.
Caitlin’s favorite saying is “You can’t spell HERO without HR!” She once asked me, “What is orange and sounds like parrot?” I said, “I don’t know, what?” Her answer: carrot. She can always cheer up the office with her popsicle-stick jokes.
Caitlin has a passion for her HR duties. When she was starting off in her first job during college she never expected to become an HR professional. She started in payroll at Fifth Third Bank, moved up to payroll escalations, and eventually her managers decided she should be responsible for more than payroll duties. The responsibilities they bestowed upon her? Human Resources. She fell in love with the profession and has been improving our company for the past 3 years. Her professional interests are managing and developing others and she truly shines as not only a manager, but a leader.
Caitlin is married to her husband, Jesse. Together they have two hilarious daughters that she brags about. Her favorite band is the Barenaked Ladies and she describes herself as a devoted runner who enjoys competing in 5k and 10k races.
Being the optimal mix of corporate and kindness, Leeanna is our amazing business manager who keeps our company not only lucrative but sincere. Leeanna has over 25 years of business experience and has held a leadership role with us for over 2 years. Her favorite part of Illumination Works are the people she works with. As Leeanna states, “I like the people here, I like the openness and how people are able to express themselves without judgement, no one is opposed to new ways of doing things.”
Leeanna received her bachelor’s degree from Wright State University in rehabilitation education. She used that degree to start her career with the government as a Contract Administrator. Her attention to detail is unmatched and the level of expertise Leeanna has with government proposals is second to none. As a result, Leeanna was awarded the Wing Award for proposal excellence and contracts excellence, where she went to an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. to accept her award in person. She continues to guide our company through the proposal and contract processes to ensure our company’s success and lucky for us, she one day plans to retire with Illumination Works.
Leeanna’s most compassionate side comes forward when she gleefully talks about the love of her two daughters, her dog and beautiful Mother Nature. When talking to Leeanna there is no doubt that she had so much fun raising her daughters, Marci and Emily, and they are without a doubt her best friends. Leeanna’s two daughters support her spontaneous side and are never afraid to jump in the car for her spur of the moment trips. Her most recent impromptu trip was to Chicago where she rocked out to Coldplay with her daughters at Soldier’s Field. Leeanna is true to who she is and she is a joyous soul to be around.