Your BitFire Team
EVP, Business Development
Andy Hansen is joining BitFire Networks as the EVP of Business Development. In his role, Andy is responsible for guiding the strategic path of BitFire through sales, partnerships, acquisitions, and operational efficiencies. Hansen has held several senior executive management and sales positions of increased responsibility at Bucyrus International, Caterpillar, Inc, GenAlpha and REV Group. He brings a highly successful diversified professional foundation to his position in domestic and international operations, sales, marketing, product support, process development, software development and mergers and acquisitions. During his time at Bucyrus International, he was involved in two large acquisitions worth over $2 billion and helped the company grow from $250 million in sales to $5 billion. In 2012 Hansen launched GenAlpha, a B2B eCommerce software company as the Founder and CEO. Prior to the sale of GenAlpha in 2017, Andy led the organizational creation and development and directed the delivery of high-quality software products. Hansen holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse and an MBA from Marquette University.
VP, Chief Technology Officer
Jim Akimchuk began his career over 20 years ago as a production truck engineer, and that mindset has guided his work developing specialized solutions for television professionals ever since. It was in the early stages of his career, while working in Public Access television where funds were scarce and ingenuity and resourcefulness were paramount, that Jim developed his engineering style. He carries that same drive and creativity into his role with BitFire. Jim has diverse backgrounds ranging from broadcast engineering, cybersecurity and software development, to public safety and dive rescue, and has a passion for bringing them together in new and creative ways to address seemingly insurmountable challenges. Jim thrives in any high-pressure environment, where he brings calm to the chaos by dropping into any scenario to help solve problems. Looking to the future of BitFire, it is Jim's mission to never lose agility, maintaining and improving the organization's ability to rapidly respond to any broadcast transmission or production challenge.
VP, Chief Financial Officer
Jean Garrett brings her talents to BitFire as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. In her role, Garrett is responsible for all financial functions including accounting, treasury, and corporate finance. She also oversees all human resources functions. Her career spans more than 30 years in a variety of positions, including financial management, business leadership, and corporate strategy. Prior to joining BitFire, Garrett held previous CFO roles with Financial Associates, Inc. and Sabino Recovery Behavioral Health and Wellness. She also served as Business Manager for KPNX-TV in Phoenix, Arizona. Garrett worked in audit, tax, and consulting practices at Kenneth Leventhal & Co., as well as other local CPA firms. Throughout her career in accounting, auditing and financial planning, Garrett has established a reputation for building high performing teams and for aligning financial and business metrics to guide business strategy that produces high-growth results. Garrett is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Accounting from the University of Arizona. To offset the number-crunching, Jean confesses she is a gym rat who can also be found hiking, playing tennis, and mountain biking. She is the proud mother of three adult sons.
VP, Business Development
Ben Grafchik is a dynamic professional with a keen ability to identify client needs and deliver effective solutions. A well-rounded leader with a strong technical foundation, he has developed comprehensive production and sales strategies, worked closely with broadcast leaders, executed cutting-edge projects, and implemented effective marketing plans. Inquisitive by nature, Ben has a penchant for identifying effective and unique technologies all with the desire to provide a packaged solution for his clients. Ben holds an undergraduate degree from UNC-Chapel Hill where he was a member of the varsity swim team, and a graduate degree from Georgetown University. Prior to joining BitFire, Ben served as Director of Business Development at Phoenix-based Sneaky Big, and as a business development manager at SportsMedia Technology (SMT). Prior to entering the world of broadcast television, Ben served on the coaching staffs for both the men’s and women’s varsity swim programs at Duke and Georgetown University. A mediocre golfer who has recently become a father, Ben resides in Raleigh, NC where he is committed to developing BitFire’s position in the market, leading with confidence and curiosity.
Business Development, Production Services & Studios
Kathy Samuels has nearly three decades of experience in lifestyle, news and unscripted programming for television and digital broadcasting. Having worked at the three big networks: NBC, CBS, and ABC, she was an instrumental player as an Executive Producer and studio executive, helping to launch big TV brands like Access Hollywood, Rachel Ray, and Katie Couric. A creative force, Kathy also developed and produced various primetime TV specials, live shows, and pilots for the networks and TV station groups. From broadcast television to cable, to original programming and e-commerce, Kathy brought her diverse producing and programming background to running production services sales for independent studios. She prides herself on being able to tap into her producer skills to help clients achieve successful outcomes for their projects. She was one of Bitfire Networks' early clients turned devotees. Now Kathy keeps a foot in each coast dividing her time between California and Georgia with her husband, five grown children and two dogs.
Account Executive/Business Development
Tom Porpiglia has worked in television production for over a decade, with a keen interest in business development, technology, and operations. Tom began inventing technologies in 2013 and has been awarded a number of patents across the globe that are now being used daily by major networks on broadcast television. Along with his 4 year tenure as an Executive Producer for an OTT Network, his unique experience in the tech and editorial worlds allows him to creatively approach the problems of content creators. Tom’s track record consists of many first ever’s, such as the historic Virtual NFL Draft of 2020 and the first live call-in dating competition show on TLC, and staple classics like daily news and entertainment shows. Current and past clients alike tout the cost savings and efficiencies of his teams’ solutions. Prior to his time working in production, Tom studied Economics at California Polytechnic State University and Philosophy at Baruch College. He enjoys writing and has been recently published in the New York Times. In his “leisure” time, he runs marathons and enjoys his life in the Hudson Valley with his wife and children.
Director, Client Services
Ben Hayes is a seasoned broadcast media expert, bringing nearly two decades of industry prowess as a producer, reporter, and client services expert. Hayes lends his talents to BitFire as a client-facing broadcast leader while also supporting technical aspects of operations and assisting in BitFire’s business development efforts. Hayes started his career as a sports anchor and reporter for KTVZ, the NBC-affiliate in Bend, Oregon. From there, he spent the next seven years in Buffalo, New York as a sports reporter, producer, and videographer for NBC-affiliate, WGRZ. In 2012, Hayes joined SMT (SportsMEDIA Technology) in Durham, North Carolina moving from behind the camera to a more client-facing role. Hayes spent the next eight years interacting with broadcast clients who oversaw events ranging from numerous Super Bowls, to Final Fours, to the Winter and Summer Olympic Games. Hayes’ innate ability to support on-air productions, ensure quality control, manage client needs, and solve for unpredictable challenges is integral to his role at BitFire.
Client Services Manager
Kathleen Enterante is an award-winning broadcast and digital production expert representing renowned national and international brands, including Gatorade, Energizer, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Pacific Standard Time. She has advanced in her career from a production assistant at HRTV in Arcadia, California to a producer at TBWA/Chiat/Day LA, to Post Production Manager at Sneaky Big in Scottsdale, Arizona. Kathleen joined BitFire to help orchestrate client needs while also lending her tremendous organizational skills to support the BitFire sales team. Kathleen is the master of juggling several projects at once from concept to delivery, while managing challenging budgets and hitting tight deadlines. An Arizona native, Kathleen currently resides in Phoenix with her husband and her energetic toddler, Henry.
Client Services Administrator
Michelle has been a part of the television broadcast industry for the past nine years. Her involvement in the industry stems from a life-long passion for the visual arts, specifically painting and drawing. She pursued a degree in Film Studies at the University of North Carolina - Wilmington, where she studied animation and post-production in film. As a life-long motorcycle enthusiast and avid sports fan, in 2013 she found her way to SMT (SportsMEDIA Technology) in Durham, NC, where she combined her film and visual arts background with her passion for sports in her role as a Project Coordinator. She worked within the Client Services group at SMT for over eight years supporting the day-to-day operations of multiple client accounts, including TNT NBA and TBS MLB with Turner Sports, NBA TV and NBC Premier League. When she's not cheering on the Carolina Panthers or watching Duke basketball, she enjoys cooking and smoking food with her husband, horror movies, exploring local breweries and watching her daughter play softball where they currently reside in the Raleigh-Durham area in NC.
Director, Broadcast Operations
Kristin Akimchuk comes to BitFire with more than 15 years experience in live production, broadcast engineering, transmission and operations. She began her career in news, operating live shots for national networks, while also serving as technical director, audio engineer and editor. Kristin quickly transitioned from the studio to the road, operating a KU-band uplink truck, following sporting events, politics and breaking news up and down the east coast. Transitioning into a mobile engineer role, her career took to the skies, installing remotely controlled insert studios for private clients all over the world. Four years later, she found her calling managing the very same department where she started her career in 2005. During this time, Kristin demonstrated a keen ability to manage and grow teams, with a focus on employee development and structural agility. Kristin is a graduate of the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College. In her spare time, she enjoys taking to the road with her husband Jim, and dog, Jake, in their camper, and hiking the New Hampshire 4000 footers. At BitFire, Kristin’s focus is managing daily operations and growing the network operations team to maintain BitFire’s exceedingly high level of customer service.
Director, Technical Operations
Colin Bonzey is a seasoned expert responsible for the day-to-day broadcast activities of BitFire. Bonzey joins Bitfire after his role as Director of Productions for D2 Productions, an innovative video production company located in Boston. Bonzey has extensive experience in both production and engineering – a unique combination that enables him to understand what clients are looking to accomplish, while having the know-how to lead a successful execution. A problem solver by nature, he is adept at finding creative solutions for clients’ most challenging production needs. He is a graduate of Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College, and enjoys pour-over coffee and local craft beer. Bonzey shares his diehard passion for the Red Sox and Patriots with his two young sons.
Director, Broadcast Engineering
Matt Antalek has over 15 years of broadcast engineering experience. While equally comfortable designing a new facility or working behind the racks, Matt has a notable career of providing transmission for several high-profile events, including Super Bowl XLVIII, 2008 and 2009 World Series, 2010 Stanley Cup Finals, as well as several Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Matt has excelled in his role as Engineering Manager for VideoLink in Philadelphia, and Senior Broadcast Engineer at d2 Productions in New England. Certified by the Society of Broadcast Engineers, Matt graduated from the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College. In his spare time, you can find Matt outside on his tractor or rocking out to AC/DC with his two young boys.
Craig Robertson joins BitFire with 10 years of cable access experience. He and his office dog, Bailey Clarke-Robertson, are excited to be surrounded by creative and collaborative co-workers who teach them something new every day. In his spare time, Craig serves as the Technical Representative of the METG (Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild) bringing his love of theater and video production to their team and working to make theater accessible for all. With over 15 years of production team experience, in theater, video, and cable access, Craig is a proud team player and thrives in a fast-paced, ever-changing environment where he can support the creative visions of his co-workers and clients. Before becoming a member of the BitFire team, Craig worked at Chelmsford TeleMedia as a broadcast engineer and served as the Technical Advisor of the Chelmsford Public Schools.
Senior Broadcast Operations Technician
Ryan McCombs is BitFire’s newest Broadcast Technician. He joins us from Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire where he was Senior Media Production Coordinator. In this role, Ryan was responsible for technical direction of all campus sporting events, including creation and operation of scoreboard graphics, as well as training new students in various production roles. A well rounded broadcast production specialist, Ryan is adept at directing, graphic creation and broadcast videography. At Franklin Pierce, he also held the role of lead videographer for the University’s political reporting outlet, covering major political news, including the Iowa Caucuses. His top notch work has also appeared on NBC Boston’s online media platforms. As you might expect, Ryan’s devotion to Franklin Pierce is clear, graduating from the University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Sports Media. In his spare time, Ryan likes playing video games and spending time with his cat Luna.
Broadcast Operations Technician
Eric Newton’s journey into broadcasting is certainly not typical. He started his career truly under the sea, in the very technical role of Submarine Sonar Technician. This highly important and respected Navy job is critical aboard a submarine, aiding in navigation, assisting in search and rescue missions and jamming enemy sonar. It is an integral part of a fleet’s offensive wartime capabilities, keeping an entire ship out of harm’s way. Stationed at Pearl Harbor on the USS Olympia, he was deployed twice to Southeast Asia, spending considerable time in Japan and Singapore. After his service to our country was complete, Eric left the Navy with an honorable discharge and enrolled at Ithaca College. With his background already in technology, Eric entered the broadcast department and became a dedicated production crew member on staple Ithaca shows, such as Newswatch and the Big Red Faceoff. In his current role as BitFire’s Broadcast Operations Technician, he ensures the highest quality of video and sound in TV programs and feeds for all our clients.
Broadcast Operations Technician
Evan Grady has learned the ins and outs of the broadcast industry through the various positions he has held along the way. From camera operator, audio engineer, to broadcast engineer, Evan has gained powerful insights into the technical aspects of the business. At Everyday Speech, he continued to grow his skills with hands-on work as a video producer – talents he first learned in the Sports Broadcast department at Boston College. Even in his spare time, Evan is immersed in technology. With a passion for tinkering, he repairs old electronics and film cameras creating digital art and environments using 3D modeling software. Or you might catch him relaxing, playing one of the numerous instruments he has mastered. Now in his role as BitFire’s Broadcast Operations Technician, Evan brings a superior attitude and a caring, respectful nature in every interaction with co-workers and clients alike.
Broadcast Operations Technician
Rob Lippert in his current role as a broadcast operations technician, provides BitFire with over 25 years experience in broadcast engineering and technician positions. He is formerly a senior engineering Tech for Echostar Communications. Prior to that, Rob was a senior broadcast operator at KSAZ TV in Phoenix. He has numerous years of experience in video-audio production for event coverage in Washington DC. As a free lance video editor, he showcases his enthusiasm for the outdoors and mechanical machines. Rob in his spare time, is media director of the Arizona Military Vehicle Collectors Club, and Scottsdale's MGShooters LLC. He composes music and performs in local concerts.
Broadcast Operations Technician
Max Theroux joins BitFire’s team with many years of experience on-stage and offstage. Max started performing onstage at a young age and can even be found in an Academy Award-nominated film. He then decided to make the transition to working behind the scenes. At Endicott College where he studied Digital Media, he got a closer look at photography and filmmaking. He worked with Endicott’s television station, as a lead Production Manager, where he put together film shoots and live video broadcasts of various sports games. In Max’s free time, he creates, films, and produces his own screenplays.
Doug Maffetone joins BitFire as a broadcast engineer after excelling at his role as a production associate at d2. Doug’s prior experience includes time at Saint Anselm College where he worked on two U.S. presidential debates. He currently serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors of Chelmsford TeleMedia, and is a proud graduate of Fitchburg State University where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology/ Technical Theatre. As a trained EMT, Doug is happy working the sidelines as medical support while supporting his wife in grueling 12- and 24-hour Tough Mudder obstacle course races. His wife also is an avid rock climber. Although Doug prefers climbing walls to run cables rather than rock walls, he will join his wife on occasion where he gets to show off his award-winning, fast knot-tying skills. Doug will never turn down a nice peated scotch.
Danny Akimchuk is a software engineer and architect who brings his ambition and experience to BitFire in embedded systems, machine learning, and connecting research to media and the arts. In his role as Development Manager, he leads the team in the design, implementation, and testing of BitFire’s current and future systems, including its web-based, user-oriented software and the backend transport protocols that drive products like the FireBridge. He also is in charge of bug tracking and prioritization. Danny kicked off his career as a software engineer for Raytheon Technologies where he worked on hardware interfaces and cooling systems for government contracts. He led the subsystem software integration and testing effort in radar testing facilities to meet all milestones. Danny attended Ithaca College where he was a recipient of the Ithaca College 2019 Senior Awards in both Mathematics and Computer Science.
Padraig Sullivan is proud to bring his passion for challenge and learning to BitFire’s Development Team. In a previous life, a decade-long career as a classically trained Chef equipped Padraig with an iron-clad work ethic and drive for excellence. Getting out of the heat of the kitchen, Padraig returned to school where he graduated with honors with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and minor in Aviation Science. Ever up for a challenge, Padraig also holds a Private Pilot’s License. Padraig began his new career at Byte Studios in Milwaukee, a small digital studio specializing in libraries, art museums, nonprofits and progressive businesses. At BitFire, Padraig brings an eye for design to BitFire’s forward facing development while keeping his hands busy in the backend as well. When not programming, he enjoys video games, cycling, sailing, and adventures with his spouse. And of course, afternoon walks with his dog Arugula.
Felix Ansell joins BitFire as a Development Engineer while finishing a computer science degree at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Felix has experience working in broadcast media, where he was a part of a volunteer team that ran local sports production for Arlington Community Media inc. As an intern on the kernel development team at Redhat, Felix gained valuable skills in professional development best practices as well as gaining knowledge in systems programming and software development in Linux based environments. Felix brings both theoretical knowledge and practical experience to software projects and is experienced with both low level programming languages such as C and C++, as well as scripting languages such as Python. In his free time Felix enjoys hiking in the White Mountains, and playing chess.
Director, Operations West
Steve Moorman joins BitFire as a dedicated production veteran with over 20 years of national and international experience in television production, event management, and business development. As a line producer and production manager, Moorman oversaw the productions for over a dozen live sporting events and original programs at Sneaky Big Studios ranging from The Fiesta Bowl Wishes For Teachers, Grand Canyon University basketball and baseball games and original programs for NBC Entertainment and The Peacock Network. Moorman worked in several production and tech roles at broadcasting giant, E.W. Scripps in Phoenix where he oversaw the development, launch and broadcast of the daily access hour entertainment show, The List, now in its 8th season of national syndication. Prior to Scripps, Moorman spent more than a decade planning and leading live event production management on the world stage for The Academy Awards, The Grammys, and The Miss Universe Organization, to name a few. Moorman manages BitFire’s operations in the west where he is happy to call Phoenix his home.
As BitFire’s Senior Accountant, Stacey has spent most of her career running numbers and reporting costs, expenditures, profitability and margins. It’s a far cry from the world of broadcasting, but an extremely critical component of our industry, one that Stacey is excited to learn much more about. After earning her Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Finance from New Mexico State University, she went straight into her field. Working for such major corporations as Connect Wireless, Firefly Communications and MGA Healthcare, Stacey learned all the ins and outs of the accounting industry. That knowledge grew even deeper working with tribal governments in the Phoenix area. Now in her role at BitFire, Stacey is responsible for payroll and all month end close-out functions. When not buried knee deep in numbers and spreadsheets, she enjoys running and watching her three kids coach and play basketball.
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