John Malec, Chairman, CEO & Founder
A member of the Chicago-area Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame, John Malec is a life-time serial entrepreneur. He is also an accomplished artist. Samples of his work may be seen on his Linked In profile.
He is best known as founder of Information Resources, Inc. (“IRIC”), a NASDAQ Company that achieved $600 million in annual revenues during his tenure. As CEO he led IRIC from a concept through commercialization through its IPO. Within a few years, IRIC disrupted AC Nielsen’s 40 years of dominance as the largest source of market tracking data in the U.S. Malec was awarded the prestigious Parlin award, recognition as national “Marketer of the Year,” served on the Marketing Advisory Board of the Wharton School, was named Illinois Hi-Tech Entrepreneur of the Year, and won Wall Street Week’s Silver Medal as one of the top Information Industry CEO’s.
Immediately prior to Visible Spectrum, Inc. (VSI) and its predecessor TAP.tv, he served as CEO and majority shareholder of Malec Holdings, II (MHII), a private land development corporation. Concurrent with founding MHII, he also consulted for Peapod, Inc., the first Internet grocer, during their start-up and successful IPO. While still in his 20’s, John Malec also helped found and was one of the three original owners of the NPD Group, one of the world’s largest marketing research firms.
Mr. Malec received his bachelor’s degree, with honors, from the University of Wisconsin, with a dual major in marketing and finance. He studied for an MBA at Northwestern University. He has taught marketing at the University level, published in the area of new product marketing and forecasting, and consulted for a variety of the most sophisticated consumer packaged goods companies. He co-authored with Gerry Eskin, PhD a seminal work on new product forecasting: “A Model for Estimating Sales Potential Prior to Test Market” published by the American Marketing Association. He received U.S. and international patents in the field of information technology. Advertising Age called Mr. Malec the “father of scanner data”; his BehaviorScan concept was the first commercial application of targetable television advertising.
Terry Disz, PhD, Co-founder and Head Technologist
Terry Disz received his PhD from the University of Illinois, studying under Dr. Thomas DeFanti, where both were involved in the early pioneering computer animation work at the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL). During Terry’s tenure at EVL he worked on several fascinating projects, including the first virtual reality “cave;” he also developed software tools and animations for the original Star Wars movie.
Mr. Disz is currently the senior member of the computing “Futures Laboratory” at Argonne National Laboratories, a think tank that develops state-of-the-art computing solutions for a variety of complex issues facing business and mankind overall.
As a senior manager at Argonne, he is exposed to virtually every new computing technology at a very early stage and has published scores of academic papers. His work runs the gamut from p.c.-based applications, through Linux and other operating systems, to super computing.
Mr. Disz remains an employee at Argonne; however, Argonne is much like a University environment, which encourages outside “real world” experience. He also has some flexibility in scheduling his personal time. He provides sufficient time both to mastermind technical development of the Company’s business and hire and supervise the Company’s senior technical resources. He will continue as the Company’s chief technical strategist indefinitely.
Raj Ponnuswamy, President, Chief Operating Officer
Raj Ponnuswamy brings over thirty years of business and technical management experience in the IT and Software industries to Visible Spectrum. Mr. Ponnuswamy successfully founded, managed and sold two technology development and consulting firms including a 3-time Inc. 500 company acquired by a large public IT firm.
He co-founded Shamrock Computer Resources in 1989 and in 7 years proceeded to grow from 4 ex-IBMer’s to 475 employees and $52M in revenue. Shamrock was selected to Inc. 500 Company 3 years in a row. Shamrock was sold to Renaissance Worldwide in 1997 and as a Renaissance employee Mr. Ponnuswamy launched an Outsourcing Group for Renaissance to deliver complex IT projects using a global delivery model, and producing $10M of first year group revenue . . . making it the fastest growing new business unit in the company history.
He left Renaissance in 2000 to found Edgilent, delivering an industry first hosted SAAS e-catalog product in the B2B MRO space signing up several national clients (John Deere, Alcoa, and United Stationers). Upon sale of Edgilent in 2015, Mr. Ponnuswamy was interested in a new challenge and VSI’s ground-breaking, patented IT technology is an ideal fit for his background.
Sam Melton, CIO
Sam Melton is Chief Information Officer at Visible Spectrum Inc., guiding their software architecture and development.
Prior to VSI, he was Director of Application Development at Tap.tv, where he and his development team created innovative customer-facing applications and media technologies.
Uniting his interactive design and computer science experience, Mr. Melton brings a unique management style to VSI. He has a demonstrated ability to keep best-of-breed software engineers and developers on task, while allowing them to express their creativity in design and problem solving where appropriate.
Melton has a long history of being an entrepreneur, including launching the successful ToEleven Marketing, LTD., a web design and marketing firm in 2006. In 2003, he also brought to life the social media site oddlotsirregulars.com which later was acquired by DeviantArt.com.
Mr. Melton received his Bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University, with a dual major in Computer Science and Interactive Design. While a student at NIU, he initiated and architected the ResTech Helpdesk, an organization within Student Housing and Dining that assists Student Residents with computer needs.
Mike Berning, Director of Product Development and Creative
VSI’s Creative Department is responsible for public template creation, coordinating crowd-sourced assets, and the entire creative infrastructure that supports users’ ability to have an ad created automatically simply by providing a business name and address. This technology uses a combination of expert systems and web scraping. With just entry of their business name, users are instantly presented with a selection of video ads for their business complete with appropriate stock assets directly pertaining to their product line already added. Users are then able to tweak these auto-created ads.
Mr. Berning was most recently Media Operations Manager for Context Media, a company operating a place-based network in medical offices. A formally-trained motion graphics expert, Mike has also held senior creative positions at Adelstein Liston and FCB Chicago.
Laura Sulkin, Director of Business Development
A seasoned sales professional, Laura co-owned and managed an entertainment and event management firm handling events for large organizations such as Abbott Laboratories, the American Cancer Society and the Lincoln Park Zoo. Her career includes experience in real estate and the security service businesses, as well as stints with Muzak and the high pressure world of Pharma sales.
A strong believer in the power of CRM software, earlier in her career she sold and managed CRM relationships as a Microsoft Business Solution Partner.
Suzy Suker, Director of Administration
Suzy Suker manages the administrative services area including accounting, human resources, office management, investor relations, marketing, web content and administrative support.
Before joining Tap.tv in 2006, (now VSI), Ms. Suker ran her own small graphic design company. She has over 20 years of marketing services experience. Formerly Manager of Interactive Marketing at the Chicago Board Options Exchange, Suker helped to promote investment products and trading innovation solutions. Her department initiated CBOE’s online education center and resource library when their web site launched in early 2000.
Suker received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Journalism, with an advertising and business emphasis.