Tech Moves: Suzi LeVine leading Wash. state workforce education; Diversity specialist joins uniquelyHR; and more

Suzi LeVine. (State Department Photo)

Washington Governor Jay Inslee appointed Suzi LeVine, a former ambassador and tech executive, to serve as the commissioner of the state’s Employment Security Department. In the new role, LeVine will play an important role in Washington’s WorkSource system, which provides a variety of workforce training and job matching services.

“We are experiencing enormously disruptive shifts in our economy, and Suzi is a respected thought-leader in redefining and rethinking our education and workforce systems to ensure economic security for our workers and companies,” Inslee said in a press release.

LeVine replaces Dale Peinecke, who retired following an investigation into his workplace conduct in March, according to a report by the Seattle Times.

LeVine most recently spent three years serving as the U.S. ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein and has long been an advocate of apprenticeships and other workforce education efforts. During her ambassadorship, she worked with dozens of countries to bring a Swiss-style apprenticeship program to the U.S.

Before joining the state department, she served as an executive at Microsoft, leading strategic partnership and communications education, and Expedia, where she was the VP of marketing and sales. She is also a longtime supporter of the Democratic party and currently serves as the organization’s deputy national finance chair.

Cheryl Ingram. (Photo courtesy of Cheryl Ingram)

UniquelyHR, a startup- and tech-focused human relations specialist, added diversity strategy expert and entrepreneur Cheryl Ingram as an advisor.

Ingram is the CEO and founder of Inclusology and Diverse City, two Seattle organizations that assist companies with diversity, equity and inclusion strategy design and implementation. She is also an associate faculty member in multicultural studies at Shoreline Community College.

“Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is just now starting to get the attention it deserves in the workplace. At uniquelyHR we care deeply about these issues and believe the work Cheryl does is changing Seattle’s business ecosystem for the better,” uniquelyHR founder and CEO Mikaela Kiner. “Our goal, with Cheryl’s help, is to look at everything we do through the lens of DEI so that we can build on her insights and expertise.”

Ted Ellis. (Photo courtesy of Ted Ellis)

— Property management technology startup Knock Rentals tapped former Amazon and A Place For Mom tech leader Ted Ellis to serve as its new chief technology officer.

Ellis was most recently the CTO at senior living information service A Place For Mom, where he was previously the VP of engineering. He formerly spent stints at, and Amazon, where he led dropshipping fulfillment for Target and Toys R Us.

In an email to GeekWire, Ellis said he looks forward to using his technology skills to help Knock reshape the rental workflow.

“I’m excited about disrupting the apartment rentals space – by driving the engineering team & platform to scale,” he said. “We’re driving sales acceleration in the apartment rental space using disruptive technology including chatbots [and] business intelligence thru real time integration with property management systems.”

Allison Armstrong. (Igneous Systems Photo)

— Igneous Systems, a Seattle-based maker of storage appliances for data centers, tapped two new faces to join its leadership board: Allison Armstrong joins the company as VP of marketing and Anna Mowry will serve as VP of finance and operations. The additions come just a few months after the company raised a $15 million series B funding round.

Armstrong was most recently the VP of product and technical marketing at cloud security company Alert Logic. She formerly led product marketing at companies including business management software provider Apptio and security appliance company WatchGuard Technologies.

Anna Mowry. (Igneous Systems Photo)

Mowry joins Igneous from real-time IT analytics company Extra Hop, where she was a finance leader for nearly four years. She formerly worked in sales at Amazon Web Services and EMC’s Isilon Storage Division and also works as a real estate broker in North Seattle.

“I’m excited to leverage Anna’s experience in scaling operations with enterprise sales, coupled with Allison’s experience in penetrating markets with new software-as-a-service businesses to take Igneous to the next level,” Kiran Bhageshpur, Igneous CEO, said in a press release.

Admiral Bill Owens. (Public Domain Photo, via Wikicommons)

— Admiral Bill Owens, a former U.S. Navy Admiral and longtime telecom exec, joined the board of Seattle light wave technology company Known Labs.

Owens served in the Navy for much of his career and went on to serve as the vice chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Bill Clinton. Since leaving the Navy, Owens has cultivated a 20-year career in the telecommunications industry, including leading companies like Nortel Networks and CenturyLink.

“When I sat down with Ron Erickson and Phil Bosua in their lab and witnessed, first hand, their technology, and heard them articulate their vision for the Company, I knew immediately I wanted to be a part of their team,” Owens said in a press release. “The Know Labs technology will, in my view, truly make a difference in the world. It is the most exciting technology I have seen in many years.”

Frank Pelzer, a tenured finance executive who most recently served as the COO of SAP’s cloud business, has officially begun his new role as the chief financial officer of application tech company F5 Networks.

Pelzer has a long history in Seattle’s enterprise technology world. He served as an executive at expense management company Concur for many years, including during Concur’s $8.3 billion acquisition by SAP in 2014.

Pelzer’s addition was first announced in April. He replaces longtime F5 CFO Andy Reinland, who had been planning to leave the role since late last year.

Mark Holmes. (HNTB Photo)

 HNTB Corporation, the national civil engineering company, tapped civil construction vet Mark Holmes to serve as the deputy director for the Pacific Northwest. He will work with the City of Seattle and other prominent clients on HNTB civil engineering projects like the state route 99 tunnel, improvements to the Mercer Street corridor and several extensions of Seattle’s Link light rail network.

Holmes joins the company from civil engineering consultant Perteet, where he was the Seattle construction leader for almost two decades.