Itai Ben-Gal - CEO and Co-Founder
Itai holds degrees in both Management Information Systems (MIS) and Management from the University of Michigan, where he founded his first company, Cube Systems, an IT service provider. In 2004, Itai joined Cognitens, Inc. as an IT Manager and Application Engineer. Following Cognitens’ acquisition by Hexagon Metrology, Itai joined Perceptron, Inc. (NASDAQ:PRCP) and focused on the implementation of large-scale, laser-based computerized measurement systems. While at Perceptron, Itai implemented innovative distributed measurement solutions.
Itai has always had a love for movies and home theater. In 2003, the journey began to build his home theater after a local home theater club meet. After years of learning and assisting others with their own theaters, Itai designed and built his own home theater. The theater incorporates several unique solutions, earning him a feature in the DVD series “Home Theaters Revealed”.
Following the completion of his theater, Itai was dissatisfied with existing control systems and began researching new solutions. After discussing with his friend Victor the “Internet in the living room”, cloud computing, and smartphone and tablet platforms, iRule was founded.
Itai is a board member of the Consumer Electronics Association TechHome Division.
Victor Nemirovsky - CTO and Co-Founder
Victor studied computer science at Hadassah Technology College in Jerusalem, Israel. During his studies, he served as technical support for an Internet service provider. His graduation project was an email server that converted incoming emails and sent the messages over a fax machine.
With a degree in computer science, Victor began working as a software engineer in a startup company developing client-server applications. Later, Victor joined Cognitens, Ltd., where he developed applications for 3D vision measurement systems. Four years later Victor was promoted to a team leader and sent to Michigan to lead highly customized software engineering solutions for Cognitens’ customers. Following Cognitens’ acquisition by Hexagon Metrology, Victor led the design and development of robotic automated solutions. In 2009, Victor’s drive to explore and use new technologies, together with fast learning abilities, earned him a promotion to project leader.
Joseph Ben-Gal - CFO
Joseph has over 30 years of business experience with small-medium-size high tech companies. As CFO, Joseph raised over $250 million and led multiple IPO’s on NASDAQ, the London Stock Exchange and TASE. Joseph led business development efforts resulting in numerous joint ventures and partnerships with fortune 500 companies in the U.S. and Asia. Joseph also has vast experience in mergers and acquisitions (M&A).
Joseph received his B.A. in Economics from The Hebrew University in Jerusalem and an MBA from the Technion in Haifa. Joseph is a Board member of the Detroit Chapter of the American Technion Society (ATS) and of MIBB (Michigan Israel Business Bridge).
Steven Crabb - Marketing Director
Steve has nearly 20 years of experience in publishing, content creation, communication design, and marketing. He studied design, journalism, and communication arts at Iowa State University, and after receiving his degree in Art & Design, joined Des Moines firm Brooks Borg Skiles Architecture Engineering to create marketing and communication materials. Steve then joined consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton (NYSE:BAH), where he developed e-learning and strategic communication products for corporate and government clients. After nearly nine years at Booz Allen, Steve joined iRule in 2011.
Steve’s love for home theater began in the eighties watching Vacation and Tron on LaserDisc in his childhood home, and continued as a professional. After dreaming for years of having his own home theater, he transformed an unfinished basement into his own dream home cinema in 2006. Unhappy with existing remote control solutions, Steve found remote control nirvana as a beta tester and customer of iRule long before joining the team. Steve’s theater was also featured in the “Home Theaters Revealed” DVD series.
Mohammad Zakaria Chowdhury - Software Engineer
Mohammad earned his Bachelor in Computer Science & Engineering from Shahjalal University of Science & Technology, Bangladesh. After graduation in 2006, he started his career as freelance web developer, and in 2007, started ‘Webcraft Bangladesh’, his own software development company, hiring and leading a team of website, graphics, and mobile app developers. Initially web-focused, the team later developed cross-platform mobile apps and games.
In his eight-plus years as a software, web, and mobile app developer, Mohammad has developed apps and games for both Android and iOS, and over fifty websites for a variety of international clients. He was granted the ‘Freelancer of the Year’ award from the Bangladesh Association of Software & Information Services (BASIS) in 2011. Mohammad continued to lead the Webcraft team until permanently migrating to the US in the fall of 2013, and joining iRule in November of the same year to lead Android development.
Ya-Chin Hsu - Software Engineer
Ya-Chin holds a degree in International Business from Ming Chuan University and a Masters in Computer Science from University of Detroit Mercy. She has worked in the automotive industry developing web based diagnostic tools and dealership customer management software. Her specialties include Java programming and WSDL web service. Working at small companies has allowed her to expand her skills and experience numerous facets of product development. Ya-Chin is the sole author of two iOS apps, gaining her experience with the entire development process from concept through all phases of design, implementation, testing, and distribution.
At iRule Ya-Chin develops the iOS and Android app versions as well as Builder. As a newcomer to iRule she is enjoying learning about the techie side of home theater and home automation.
DJ Blake - Software Engineer
DJ earned a Bachelor degree in Computer Science from Hope College in 2003 and Masters degree in Computer Science from Lawrence Tech University in 2009. DJ worked for almost 5 years as a software developer at New World Systems developing public sector software. DJ joined iRule in August, 2012.
Brennan Crispin - Software Engineer
Brennan is a Michigan native and a University of Michigan engineering graduate. While in school, he did research on cyborg insects and microscale power scavenging. Realizing he didn't want work in a clean room or go to grad school after graduation, he ran off to join the Peace Corps and taught high school physics in Kenya. Brennan geeks out over electronics, band, band gaps, and musicals.
Tim Deiffenbaugher - Lead Technical Trainer and Customer Support
Tim earned a Bachelor degree in Fine Arts from Michigan State University in 2001. Tim worked as a custom home theater designer and installer at Paulsons Audio Video for 11 years before joining iRule in October, 2012.
In 2005 Tim was second place in the Remotecentral.com Universal Remote Control MX3000 Design contest for his Ford Mustang design. In 2001 he earned “Promotional Piece of the Year” from The State News which is the nation's largest collegiate newspaper.
Robb O'Brien - Sales Representative
Robb brings a diverse background in the field of consumers electronics to iRule. Having experience as a networking student, retail audio/video salesperson, and custom integrator over the last 8 years, he has witnessed first-hand the merger of audio/video and networking. Sensing the impending industry change to touch screens as the newest form of universal remote, Robb quickly jumped on-board as one of iRule’s original beta testers. Now, as one of iRule’s leading sales representatives, he informs others of iRule’s value proposition.
Robb is also a graduate of the University of Michigan and a die-hard Wolverine fan. Having lived and worked in both Chicago and Los Angeles, he is happy to be home in metro-Detroit to celebrate holidays with his family and closest friends.
Matt Blouin - Sales Representative
Matt earned a Bachelor degree in Business and Marketing from Western Michigan University in 2007. Matt worked as a senior sales consultant at Paulsons Audio Video for 5 years and as a Client Care Coordinator for Centria Healthcare for approximately 1 year. Matt joined iRule in April 2013.
Scott Jaschuk - Technical Trainer and Customer Support
Scott graduated from Northwood University in February 2010. He earned his Bachelors in Business Management with three minor focuses in International Business, Accounting, and Language Arts. Once graduating from Northwood, Scott began working for Paulson’s Audio and Video and worked there for three years. During his time at Paulson’s he designed and installed many extravagant home theatre systems.
Adam Lezotte - Marketing and Sales Support
Adam joined the iRule team in February 2013. Adam is a student at Wayne State University who also participated in the 14 months-long Michigan Roundtable Regional Youth Internship Program for Diversity and Inclusion
Itai Ben-Gal (see above)
Victor Nemirovsky (see above)
Paul Czarnik Mr. Czarnik is an Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Compuware Corporation (NASDAQ: CPWR) where he provides leadership for the company’s technical strategy and innovation delivery. A programmer at heart, Paul has spent his career focused on technical performance, coding everything from music-keyboard controllers to medical-laboratory interfaces. Paul leads a team of 'proficient and prolific' consultants who deliver world-class Compuware innovation to customers and startups. Paul serves on the leadership team of Compuware Ventures and on the boards of the Mobile Technology Association of Michigan, iRule, and Motown Museum.
Ulrich Herter Mr. Herter founded INCAT in 1989, as an independent international provider of engineering and design (E&D) and IT services and solutions to the world's largest automotive, aerospace and durable goods manufacturers. In 2004, Mr. Herter led the then $117 million company to an IPO on London Stock Exchange - AIM, and grew it organically and via M&A to $160 million by the end of 2005.
In 2006, he led the sale of the company in an all-cash transaction, to India-based Tata Technologies. In mid 2007, after 18 years as INCAT’s CEO, Mr. Herter retired. At that time, INCAT had revenues of $250 million, a combined global work force of over 3,000 employees in 11 countries, serving clients worldwide from facilities throughout North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
Josh LinknerMr. Linkner is Founder and former CEO of ePrize, the world’s largest interactive promotion agency which provides digital marketing services for 74 of the top 100 brands. Prior to ePrize, he was founder/CEO of three other successful technology companies. Each of his four startups enjoyed successful exits with a combined value of over $200 million. He has been on the board of over 40 companies, raised over $100 million of venture capital, employed thousands of people and fought through the dot-com crash, 9/11 and the 2008 financial meltdown. His extraordinary business accomplishments led him to be honored as the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” and as a President Barack Obama “Champion of Change” Award recipient.
Josh is CEO and Managing Partner of Detroit Venture Partners, focused on revitalizing Detroit. Josh is a regular contributor to Forbes and Inc. magazines and his work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and The New York Times.
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