CEO Amir Husain founded SparkCognition with the desire to build a company that would be at the forefront of the “AI 3.0” revolution. An undisputed tech leader in Austin and in the industry at large, Amir built multiple venture-funded startups between 1999 and 2009, at which point he took over as President and CEO of VDIworks. For his inventions, Amir has been awarded 22 US patents and has over 40 pending patent applications. He serves as advisor and board member to several major institutions, including IBM Watson, University of Texas Department of Computer Science, Makerarm, ClearCube Technology, uStudio and others; and his work has been published in leading tech journals, including Network World, IT Today, and Computer World. In 2015, Amir was named Austin’s Top Technology Entrepreneur of the Year.
Wendy R. Anderson is the General Manager of Defense and National Security, where she leads the company’s defense, aerospace, homeland security, and intelligence business. From 2010 to 2015, Anderson served in the Obama administration in key leadership roles in the Departments of Defense and Commerce, including as Deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Chief of Staff to Deputy Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, and Chief of Staff to Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. While at the Defense Department, Anderson was twice awarded the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the Department’s highest civilian service award, presented by Secretaries of Defense Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel.
Vijay Doradla brings over 20 years of diverse experience in innovation to his position as the Chief Business Officer (CBO) at SparkCognition. He has previously served as an engineer, industry analyst, and investor in the field of technology, working with major corporations like Bell Labs. Previously, he was the Founder and CEO of SilverString Capital, a crossover fund focused on innovative technology investments in both the public and private sectors, with a focus on emerging technologies and startups. Before joining SparkCognition, he also led several successful investments as a Director at Verizon Ventures. As the CBO at SparkCognition, Doradla utilizes his multifaceted skill set to lead the company’s business strategy.
Randy Groves is an experienced technical executive, having held C-level and VP positions at some of the most prestigious technology companies in the world, including IBM and Dell. Groves holds a Masters of Electrical Engineering from University of Texas at Austin, a Masters in Management of Technology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Bachelors of Electrical Engineering from Kansas State University.
John King drives the development and execution of SparkCognition’s external affairs, including marketing, communications, public affairs, and media strategy. Prior to joining SparkCognition, King served as the Director of Clean Energy and Power Technology at the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, where he led collaborative efforts with the region’s clean energy industry stakeholders in building Austin’s clean energy economy. A third-generation Austinite, King has been recognized for his industry and community leadership by the Austin Business Journal’s 2013 “Who’s Who in Energy” list, and by the Young Men’s Business League and Young Woman’s Alliance as the 2013 Austin Under 40 Awardee for Science and Technology. King is an Advisory Board Member for SXSW Eco, and he has served as Chair of the Austin Young Chamber of Commerce (AYC), Vice Chair of CleanTX, as a Board Director for Pecan Street Inc., and as the Chair of the City of Austin’s Economic Prosperity Commission.
A two-time Chair of the University of Texas Computer Science Department, Dr. Bruce Porter serves as SparkCognition’s Chief Science Officer, where he leads the company’s many R&D initiatives. Currently, as University Professor, Dr. Porter research focuses on machine reading, a technology that holds tremendous potential for capturing knowledge for automated inference, question answering, explanation generation, and other AI capabilities. Dr. Porter also directs UT’s Knowledge Systems Research Group, an AI organization with the goal to develop methods to build knowledgeable computers. He has won the Best Paper Award at the National Conference on Artificial Intelligence, the College of Natural Sciences Teaching Excellence Award, the National Science Foundation’s Presidential Young Investigator Award, and the President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Award.
As Chief Commercial Officer, Usman Shuja is responsible for SparkCognition’s commercial strategy and development. Shuja joined SparkCognition in early 2013 as the founding executive and Vice President of Market Development to lead the revenue organization. In this role, he led sales, marketing, partnerships, and customer success teams from the pre-revenue stage, focusing on enterprise clients across energy, aerospace, and manufacturing. Prior to SparkCognition, he worked as a management consultant at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and in software development and sales roles at IBM. Shuja serves on the US advisory board for the International Cricket Council (ICC), cricket’s world governing body; Dover Energy IIoT; and HotelKey, a hotel management software company.
As CTO, Sridhar Sudarsan drives SparkCognition’s product and technology strategy, leveraging next-generation AI systems to secure and optimize assets across key industries. With over two decades of technology leadership experience, Sudarsan has been at the helm of complex products and projects, collaborating with global customers on cutting-edge technologies. Previously, Sudarsan was the CTO of IBM Watson Platform and Partnerships, where he led the technology strategy and architecture of the IBM Watson platform. Sudarsan is recognized as an expert on the business potential and application of advanced technologies. He provides thought leadership on AI solutions for clients, partners, academics, and R&D teams, and holds over 14 patents in the areas of AI and distributed computing.
General John R. Allen serves on SparkCognition’s Board as Executive Board Member. As one of the United States’ leading and most seasoned wartime commanders, Gen. Allen served the nation as a Marine Corps four-star General, and as Commander of the International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A). On 13 September 2014, President Barack Obama appointed Gen. Allen as Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL.
Steve Nordlund serves on SparkCognition’s Board as Chairman. Steve Nordlund is vice president, Strategy, for Defense, Space and Security. He formerly served as vice president, Unmanned Airborne Systems Programs, where he led that business’s strategy and capabilities development. Prior to this, Nordlund was director of Business Development for the Global Strike Division of Boeing Military Aircraft. Before joining Boeing, Nordlund helped launch Insitu, Inc., which develops the ScanEagle and Integrator unmanned aerial systems. Before joining the Aerospace and Defense industry, Nordlund held sales and marketing positions at IBM and was the chief information officer for his alma mater, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Pankaj Patel serves on SparkCognition’s Board as a Board Member. Pankaj Patel is a seasoned technology leader with more than 25 years of experience developing highly scalable products and services by building and leading high-performance global engineering organizations. Patel served as the Chief Development Officer of Global Engineering and Executive Vice President at Cisco Systems, Inc. from August 2012 to August 6, 2016. Patel held multiple executive leadership roles throughout his tenure at Cisco since first joining the company in 1996. Prior to Cisco, he held senior management positions at Apollo Computer/HP, Digital Equipment Corporation, Stratacom and Redback. Patel holds director positions with multiple technology companies where he is focused on incubating, building, scaling, and advising startups with their strategy and go-to-market.