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Meet three tech leaders who drive change in the Tampa Bay area

Margie Manning

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The finalists for Tampa Bay Tech’s “Technology Leader of the Year” award have played key roles in cybersecurity training, automation for manufacturing processes and software development for doctors’ practices.

Brian Sobus, vice president of engineering at Nextech, works with development teams at the Tampa healthcare technology company to develop Software-as-a-Service products for specialty physicians.

Eric Kerin, senior IT manager at Jabil (NYSE: JBL), leads initiatives around business process management, robotics automation, and incubation of leading-edge IT techniques and technologies at the St. Petersburg-based manufacturing services company.

John Just, senior vice president of learning innovation at KnowBe4

John Just, senior vice president of learning innovation at KnowBe4, heads the courseware development team at the Clearwater security awareness training firm and is the resident learning management system expert.

“Day-to-day, I work with our courseware development team building online courses, games, simulations, assessments and more,” Just said. “I also provide consultation to internal departments (as well as off-shore subsidiaries) along with customers and potential customers with regard to best practices.”

Just joined KnowBe4 in April, but he’s been a long-time thought leader in the industry, consulting with Google and Walgreens, among others.

Kerin has been with Jabil since 1999, starting at the company’s plant in Auburn Hills, Mich. He fell in love with computers and software as a child when he had an Apple IIgs and learned to program. When he was in high school, he was hired to work with his local school system to install a district-wide network, running a seven-building municipal area network with 2,500 workstations.

At Jabil, he’s worked on projects that enhance manufacturing automation and are spread across three globally distributed teams.

“Most of my day to day job is coaching the managers on my various teams, working with other leaders in the organization to build cross group collaboration, and helping push the boundaries of our IT groups’ processes and services,” Kerin said.

Brian Sobus, vice president of engineering at Nextech

Sobus has been with Nextech for a little over a year and has taken part in the company’s Practice+ project, designed to streamline physician practice workflows and increase patient satisfaction.

“The idea is to let doctors focus on being a doctor, and letting them focus less on admin work such as paperwork and billing,” he said.

He’s also working with Tampa Bay Technology Leaders Association on the “GETSMART” program to identify, influence and mentor 4th-through-12th grade students in west central Florida to pursue education and careers related to science, technology, engineering and math. He traces his fascination with technology to his own childhood, when his uncle got him interested in reading classic science fiction books. He became passionate about development when he saw the effect that each line of working code had on the world, he said.

Tampa Bay Tech, Florida’s largest technology council, said its “Technology Leader of the Year” will be an individual who consistently drives change and has made significant impact within their organization, their field and the local tech community.

The organization will announce the winner in this category and a dozen others at a sold-out ceremony on Nov. 9.

Read about all the finalists here.

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