Support from our technical leaders, the BTV Ignite Executive Fellows


BTV Ignite Executive Fellows are current members of innovation and technology ecosystem in the greater Burlington area who have demonstrated extensive knowledge and expertise in innovation and technology and serve as facilitators and conveners of projects and ongoing education and training initiatives. They serve as members of the BTV Ignite Directors Advisory Board to help ensure the organization is grounded in a comprehensive understanding of the practical opportunities resident in the tech ecosystem.


Rob Hale

Rob Hale has over 20 years of software development experience creating solutions for a variety of industries including health and human services, ecommerce, and energy. He currently serves as a Principle Software Engineer at Renewable NRG Systems in Hinesburg, Vermont ( Rob has presented to user groups in the northeast and the occasional small conference.
Building effective communities and teams is a passion of Rob's. He is co-founder of the Vermont Code Camp (, co-organizer of the Vermont Coders Connection (, and co-organizer/emcee of HackVT ( an annual hackathon in the state of Vermont.
Rob is the proud father of two sons and husband to his wonderful wife.

Julie Lerman

Julie has been building software solutions for businesses for nearly 30 years and now focuses on helping development teams plan and architect their software. She is a Microsoft Regional Director (one of about 150 around the world) with strong ties to a number of teams at Microsoft and has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP since 2003 for technical expertise and community involvement.  In addition to mentoring software teams, she presents at software conferences around the world on Microsoft technologies with a focus on Entity Framework and Azure data stores. While traveling the world, Julie can often be found promoting Vermont’s tech ecosystem while wearing a TechJam or HackVT t-shirt.

She is the author of the acclaimed “Programming Entity Framework” books, the MSDN Magazine Data Points column and many popular videos on While participating in a truly global community, she is grounded to the tech community in Vermont, founding the Vermont.NET user group in 2002.  Julie also co-founded the Vermont Code Camp in 2009 and continue to be a lead co-organizer annually, and was a founding board member of the Vermont Software Developer Alliance (now the Vermont Technical Alliance).

Maureen McElaney

Maureen McElaney is a Developer Advocate at IBM on the Cloud Data Services team. Prior to joining IBM, she worked as a QA Engineer at In 2013 she founded Girl Develop It Burlington, a non-profit that teaches adult women how to code. She also sits as an advisory board member for LaunchVT. She has co-organized multiple tech conferences, including Offline Camp, UX Burlington, and Burlington Ruby. Maureen is passionate about helping to craft a tech community in the state of Vermont that is accessible and diverse.

Kip Steele

Kip is a lifelong tinkerer and gamer having first been exposed to computers in the late 70s where he learned how to program via punch cards. From Wall Street to the Marine Corps to Startups, Kip has always been interested in emerging technology and helping teams deliver high quality products faster. As a program manager for QA and Test at the UVM Medical Center, Kip's challenges include helping to manage the testing  of software used in every facet of patient care.  

Kerry Swift

Kerry has been investing in and guiding UVM technologies to commercialization since arriving at the UVM Office of Technology Commercialization from MIT’s Technology Licensing Office in 2004. Her contract negotiation experience also supports UVM's industry-related engagement and research activities with both large and small companies. While at UVM, Kerry has been an advocate for the thriving and growing Burlington and Vermont tech communities, promoting them beyond Vermont’s borders and helping build stronger connections within those communities to UVM’s resources and innovation.

Kerry sits on the UVM Entrepreneurship Forum, helped found the Vermont Biosciences Alliance in 2007, where she is currently a board member, co-runs the BTV Healthcare Innovators MeetUp and was a member of the AUTM Women in Tech committee until 2015. Kerry holds a Master of Science in Molecular and Microbiology from Tufts University and is a magna cum laude biochemistry graduate of the University of New Hampshire. A former (recovering) varsity rower/sculler & swimmer, Kerry now keeps active chasing her kids & dog, with her husband, Nate Herzog, and coaches hockey & nordic skiing in the BTV area.


Elena is passionate about building bridges between IT and business, and connecting ideas and people to create and grow synergies.  She is part of the amazing and talented crew at MyWebGrocer, working on software delivery automation as well as co-hosting company ideathons.    
Elena is President of the Project Management Institute, Champlain Valley Chapter, creating a thriving and vibrant project management and business analysis community in the state.  She is also a member of the Burlington Young Professionals Steering Committee.  She holds a Master of Business Administration from UVM and is a Vermont Leadership Institute graduate.  

Elena is a world traveler, foodie and tea connoisseur.  Originally from Yaroslavl, Russia, she is now helping to build a future of innovation here in Vermont.