panOpen Education is a learning platform and services company for educational publishers. At a time of increasing consolidation in the marketplace, panOpen Education helps publishers remain independent by delivering their content through a white label platform that can increase sell-through rates of current adoptions, expand opportunities for new adoptions, future-proof their learning platforms, and dramatically lower IT budgets. The platform is branded as the publisher’s own while panOpen Education provides ongoing backend support, from pre-production ingestion of content, through to onboarding and training of faculty, and customer support for all.
To be the best-in-class digital delivery platform that supports all content providers and creators with the industry’s most innovative, user-friendly, and adaptable technology so that educators may focus on providing unique and engaging learning experiences.
Meet the Team
Senior Software Engineer
With more than 10 years of experience, Alejandro has worked on various projects that have helped him diversify his skill set. He started out by creating databases for geographical information systems, which allowed him to build solid SQL programming bases. Analyzing the needs of the market and furthering his studies, he ventured into the wide world of web development, initially with PHP using Joomla and Symfony as frameworks. It wasn’t long before he discovered “Ruby on Rails,” a programming language that has proven to be an invaluable ally in helping him add value to his career and meet the needs of the companies for which he has worked. He learned React in order to become a FullStack engineer, which has greatly enhanced his capabilities and allowed him to take the applications he has worked to the next level. Alejandro has been a Senior Developer with panOpen since 2019, where he focuses on maintaining our platform’s high-quality standards, developing new features, and ensuring that our users have a reliable and secure application. Alejandro holds a degree in systems and telecommunication engineering from the Universidad de Manizales.
Customer Success Specialist
As part of the Customer Success Team, and with more than eight years of professional experience, Daniela specializes in providing communication, assistance, and clear resolutions for our adopters. She has provided customer services in a variety of areas, including Charter Services, Unity 3D, and AT&T, and joined panOpen to be part of a team working towards building a better future for education. She will continue her own academic studies in Sustainable Agricultural Engineering in Medellin. An avid learner, she also plans to learn Portuguese as well as design and coding in order to expand her knowledge and skillsets. During her free time, Daniela enjoys hiking and exploring the outdoors, maintaining her aquascapes, volunteering, knitting, collecting plants, and traveling.
Giovanni is passionate about IT and employee relations, and at panOpen he oversees the Colombian office operations including managing various projects, legal matters, financing and accounting, HR, and payroll. He is responsible for designing and implementing strategies to improve subsidiary workflows, company collaboration, and team growth. Currently, he supports the software development life cycle through sprint planning and management under agile methodologies. Giovanni has been with panOpen for more than 3 years, and in this time played a significant role in expanding the Colombian team from 2 initial employees to over 20. In addition, he fully digitized the access code process between bookstores and students to significantly improve efficiency as well as the end-user experience. Giovanni has been leading teams for more than 7 years and previously worked as the customer success manager and as an implementation manager supporting software development team projects at Proxio where he helped design and maintain the CS website. Giovanni holds a law degree from the Universidad de Manizales, has completed certifications in project management and software development, and is currently finishing the Google Project Manager certificate.
Monica has been at panOpen for more than 3 years and as a creative, talented team player she has taken on various roles and responsibilities. As part of the content team, Monica helps oversee the ingestion of content and materials into the platform and assists in the quality assurance procedures. Monica studied Graphic Communication at the Universidad de Medellín and among her various strengths are her abilities to communicate through graphic pieces and to develop creative concepts for commercial campaigns. With more than 2 years of experience in design, she also contributes to the marketing team where she develops different graphic pieces for both external and internal communication in the company.
Senior Software Engineer
Felipe is responsible for maintaining the platform and building new features to improve the user experience. He has more than 10 years of experience in BI, DBA, back-end and mobile development, product definition, and project management. Felipe has gained a broad spectrum of agile and robust tools to build durable and scalable products from working in companies of various sizes and in different growth stages. He is passionate about finding technology-based solutions that focus on client and end-user needs and believes the key to accomplishing great things is through small and sustainable steps. Felipe earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Electronic Engineering at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia as well as a specialization in strategic project management from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. In his free time, Felipe enjoys spending time with his family and traveling.
Customer Success Director
Daniel is passionate about technology and its potential to improve lives. He strongly believes that education is the key to enhancing quality of life and OER is one of the most accessible ways to achieve that. With 8 years of experience in customer service, Daniel aims to improve and consolidate panOpen’s customer success department to ensure students and faculty members enjoy a seamless experience from day one. Before joining our team, he worked as an account manager at Bilateral supervising over 200 employees in two cities. Daniel earned a bachelor’s degree in communication at Politécnico Colombiano Jaime Isaza Cadavid and a project management specialization at the Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje (SENA). Being a full-time geek, Daniel enjoys online video games, RPGs especially, spending time with his pets, and anything indoors with swimming as a nice exception.
As panOpen’s accountant for 2 years, Isis is responsible for managing the company’s financial and accounting systems. She has more than four years of experience as an accountant in various economic sectors and has mentored more than 20 individuals as analysts and accounting assistants. Isis is a team player dedicated to continually improving the efficiency of panOpen’s financial decision-making, planning, and control processes. Isis earned her Public Accounting degree and completed a Tax Management seminar at the Universidad de Manizales in 2017. She will soon complete a specialization in Management and Tax Administration at the Universidad Externado de Colombia.
Learning Solutions Specialist
Paola is a highly motivated business manager with a history of building strong long-term client relationships and successfully managing high-profile events. With more than 10 years of experience in Customer and Community Relationship and Arts and Education departments, Paola left the lower education system to venture into the higher-education market with panOpen. She is an integral member of the Customer Success department, supports customer outreach efforts, ensures customers are equipped to reach their educational goals, and helps with marketing campaigns. Paola holds a Family Engagement in Education Certification from Harvard Graduate School of Education, MA and MSc. degrees from Ecole de Management and Brighton University, as well as a BBA in Finance and Marketing from the University of Puerto Rico. When Paola is not learning a new software program or continuing her non-profit studies, you can find her empowering underprivileged families or enjoying life with her family and very active baby dog.
Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Brian Jacobs is the CEO and Founder of panOpen Education, a blended content learning platform and curriculum services company, and the founder of Akademos, a company that focuses on new models of distributing physical and digital course materials. Prior to education entrepreneurship, Brian was Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Government and Visiting Fellow at the Institute for German Cultural Studies, both at Cornell University. He has received fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, University of Göttingen, and Yale University. He has published various articles and essays in political theory and philosophy, including the book Essays on Kant’s Anthropology, Cambridge University Press, and articles with EdSurge and Inside Higher Ed concerning the growing market for OER. Brian earned a Bachelor’s degree with honors in English and political science at the State University of New York at Albany, and a Master’s and Doctorate in political philosophy and social theory at Cornell University.
Senior Manual Tester
Diana believes that quality assurance is very important in current projects because it helps to improve processes, user experience, and early detection of incidents that may cause cost and deliver time increases for companies. With more than ten years of experience as a functional test analyst, she has had the opportunity to participate in welfare projects directed to the community, audits, pensions, and unemployment, transit, banking, airlines, telecommunications, bookstores, charity, and health projects using agile methodologies concepts such as Scrum, in which she is certified as a scrum master and product owner.
Vice President of Operations
As the VP of Operations, Katrina is responsible for managing the expansion of the current learning resource collection, developing client relations, and overseeing panOpen’s operations activities. She has a PhD from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, where she studied behavioral change communication, and a Masters in International Development from the University of Denver. She has visited more than 35 countries and has worked in several countries in South America and Africa. Much of her work has focused on improving health outcomes and economic well-being at the household level, which positively affect educational opportunities. She strongly believes education should be affordable and accessible to everyone. She is passionate about permaculture and environmental issues and can be found hiking, enjoying the local rivers, or planting herbs in her free time.
Quality Assurance and Content Manager
Vladimir is enthusiastic about education and innovation. With more than 2 years of experience as an educator, he understands the opportunities open educational resources provide today. As the Quality Assurance and Content Manager, Vlad is responsible for maintaining panOpen’s high-quality standards, supervising the content team, and overseeing the ingestion process from the initial setup to final approval for publication. His personal goals include promoting high-quality educational resources, increasing access to those resources, and broadening his knowledge of different cultures around the world. Vlad holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Foreign Languages and a Master’s Degree in Linguistics from Universidad Pedagógica y Tecnológica de Colombia.
Director of Human Development
Claudia is trained as a psychologist, certified in mindfulness, and is passionate about sharing Mind-Body Balance with the team. She is convinced that workplace well-being enhances happiness, productivity, and the fulfillment of organizational objectives. She has more than 10 years of professional experience dedicated to improving work team conditions and quality of life. Her primary responsibilities at panOpen are to develop the occupational health and safety systems and to propose strategies to enhance overall team satisfaction and collaboration. Claudia earned her degree in psychology from la Universidad Antonio Nariño as well as licenses in Work Health and Safety from la Universidad Catolica and Integrated Management System Internal Auditing from la Universidad Nacional.
Chief Technology Officer Consultant
Garrett began his career as a developer in the 90s, has a computer science degree from Cornell University, and still spends some of his spare time keeping his technical skills sharp. He has spent about 11 years in Financial Services Companies advancing his career as a Product Manager, including General Electric, Citigroup, and OppenheimerFunds. He has spent 6 years in ad tech/marketing tech, where he worked for a number of startups, including one acquired by Nielsen where Garrett helped create The Nielsen Marketing Cloud. Garrett worked for the PwC and Google Alliance as the Head of Product and Engineering, leading a team of over 50 product management, design/UX, and development professionals to build SaaS products. Garrett has experience working with global teams around the world in over 15 countries and managing budgets of over $30M.
Advisory Board Member
Ken is president of Treadwell Media Group, a publishing and operations and strategy consulting firm focused on the higher education and trade publishing sectors. Prior to Treadwell, he was the Chief Content Officer for the Academic and Professional Learning division of Wiley, where his responsibilities included the development and production of higher education, reference, test prep, and trade titles in print and digital formats. Before Wiley, he was the Chief Operating Officer of Macmillan Learning where he oversaw the implementation of process, technology, and organization changes related to product development, eCommerce, business systems, and supply chain functions. Before Macmillan, he held senior positions at McGraw-Hill Education, Cengage Learning, Barnes & Noble, Simon & Schuster, and Random House. Over the course of his career, Ken has founded digital services companies both in the US and abroad; a public domain publishing imprint; and a distribution-center-based print-on-demand operation and has worked in trade, professional, higher education, and K-12 publishing sectors. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Industrial Engineering and a master’s degree in Computer Science from Georgia Tech, where he also mentors graduate students in Educational Technology..
Board of Directors
Brian is an education entrepreneur who has focused his efforts on making instructional content more accessible and pedagogically valuable for students, faculty, and academic institutions. During his time as both a student and professor of political philosophy at Cornell University, Brian saw first-hand how the high costs and dated nature of conventional textbooks adversely affect classroom learning. In 1999, Brian launched his first company, Akademos, a web-based company that focuses on new models of distributing physical and digital course materials. After leading Akademos for more than 12 years, Brian left his operating role to found panOpen. Previously, Brian was Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Government and Visiting Fellow at the Institute for German Cultural Studies, both at Cornell University. He received fellowships from
the Mellon Foundation, University of Goettingen, and Yale University. He’s currently a mentor in the StartEd EdTech Accelerator housed at the NYU Edtech Incubator. Brian earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in English and political science at the State University of New York at Albany, and a doctorate in political philosophy and social theory at Cornell University
Heather R. Parker
Dr. Heather R. Parker is Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of History at Saint Leo University. She earned her Ph.D. in history from UCLA where she began her academic career examining interethnic political interaction in mid-20th-century Los Angeles. While she has devoted much of her recent career to administration, she continues to engage in research and is now focused on interethnic religious interaction and the political implications of these relationships in Florida. Related to this work are two ongoing projects. The first of these is her East Pasco County African American History Archive, which houses a
collection of digitized images, oral histories, and data chronicling the lives and experiences of African Americans in East Pasco County, FL. The other is her Community Memory Oral History Collection and Archive in which digitized images, oral histories, and documents related to the history of Saint Leo University and its surrounding communities are housed. She has also been researching the ways in which college administrations and faculty can provide effective mentoring for both traditional and non-traditional minority students. The result of this research is the launch of the Saint Leo Minority Mentoring Project in 2018.
John Dennis is a seasoned independent investor and family foundation manager who focuses on social impact ventures. For 25 years, he has worked as an international development consultant and project manager. He has worked for Asian Development Bank, Cornell University, Oxfam American, UNDP, and Worldwide Fund for Nature, in countries such as Madagascar, Sudan, Afghanistan, Belize, Thailand, and Cambodia. More recently, John led an assessment of two Pakistani universities that resulted in a large USAID grant to Faisalabad University to create the U.S.-Pakistan Center for Advanced Studies in Agriculture and Food Security in partnership with UC Davis. John’s current interests include examining how open source technology developed at Cornell University for the establishment of safe drinking water supplies can be sustainably extended to some of the poorest communities in the world. John holds a B.A. in anthropology and agriculture and a Ph.D. in developmental sociology and agronomy, both from Cornell University.
Paul Carttar is a social impact investment pioneer with distinctive expertise in enhancing the effectiveness and impact of social-purpose organizations and scaling solutions that work. He is currently Co-Founder and Partner at International Venture Philanthropy Center. Previously, Paul served as the founding Director of the Social Innovation Fund, a priority program of the Obama Administration. As a longtime management consultant for Bain & Co., and an executive in the healthcare industry, Paul also brings considerable knowledge and expertise to for-profit business operations. Prior to the Social Innovation Fund, Paul was an executive partner with New Profit, Inc., where he worked with entrepreneurial nonprofit CEOs to build strong organizations and expand their scale and impact. Previously, he was chief program officer for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where he oversaw all programs and grantmaking activities, and Executive Vice-Chancellor for External Affairs at the University of Kansas, where he led government and media relations. Paul is also a former partner and co-founder of The Bridgespan Group, where he now serves as a Senior Advisor. Paul earned a BA from the University of Kansas and an MBA from Stanford University School of Management.
Randy Shuken is an active investor, board member, and advisor to tech companies in the areas of financial services, education, big data, and analytics. He is also Co-Founder and CEO of Quero Shoes, a disruptive online business that brings to market affordable high quality and customizable handmade shoes. Randy worked for MasterCard Worldwide for more than 25 years. He fulfilled key roles globally in marketing, general management, product development, innovation and strategy. Reporting to the CEO, he led the crafting of MasterCard’s strategy and growth plan post-IPO in conjunction with the board and executive team. He has over 50 patents filed, and has successfully developed products and services that have received awards and reached broad commercial success globally. Randy graduated cum laude from U.C. Berkeley, with a concentration in international relations. He received an MBA from Columbia University in finance and marketing.