Don has been in the technology industry for over 20 years and has successfully launched several SaaS products ranging from Digital Learning, ERP, Crowd-Funding and Event Management offerings. He has a passion to create great software and build strong technical teams. Don came to EverFI after leading the Research and Development, and Product Management teams at software companies Avectra and CVENT. He received his undergraduate degree in Math and Science and has a MBA in Finance. A transplant from the Midwest, Don now resides in Arnold, MD. Where he enjoys the water, a nice glass of wine while boating on the bay and having a good time with family and friends.
EverFi, Inc. is the education technology innovator that empowers learners with the skills that prepare them to be successful in life. With backing from some of technology’s most innovative leaders including Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, and Twitter founder Evan Williams, EverFi has built a comprehensive critical skills platform focused on Financial Education, Digital Citizenship, Cyberbullying, STEM Readiness, Entrepreneurship, Alcohol Abuse and Sexual Assault Awareness. The EverFi Education Network is powered by over 1,200 partner organizations across all 50 states and Canada and has certified over 12 million students. Learn more at www.everfi.com.
The modern world is becoming increasingly dependent on technology. Within the United States as well as around the world, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) is creating new fields of competition, whether it be in the field of alternative energy, or in Tech development in Silicon Valley. Occupations are changing, the onus shifting to STEM rather than a more hands-on, industrial based approach that was common as late as a mere decade ago. STEM and technology in general is bringing an exponential proliferation of innovation and opportunity, yet corporations and educational institutions must identify the shift and adjust accordingly.
CTO (Chief Technology Officer) of EverFi Don Prodehl obviously agrees that Technology and Technology companies are integral to the success and further development of STEM initiatives within schools and corporations in the States and across the world. Explaining that the title of CTO carries many responsibilities, he highlights one very important aspect of the position, outreach. Elaborating, Don believes that technology is the bridge that connects learning with the means it requires to be able to better prepare our youth for a more skilled, high-pay opportunities. His main responsibilities as CTO are to educate, develop and implement application that enable schools to provide digital learning initiatives to their students that augment traditional methods. Security and privacy are priorities.Technology is one of the main pillars of success at EverFI, going hand in hand with Education, Content Management, Sales and Marketing. As Don affirms, technology and a technically competent workforce are critical to the success of EverFi, and both need to continue to grow, evolve and adapt for continued success.
Don is very straightforward when it comes to principle. Whether at home or in the office, the mantra is the same, the opportunity is always there for you to grab it regardless of age, gender or background. Diversity is welcomed as EverFi and Don provides the opportunities, the tools to succeed, and a cooperative work environment that is flexible yet structured. All the pieces are available for an employee to succeed, and it is up to them to rise to the challenge. This accounts for the diversity seen within EverFi, rendering the work experience more enjoyable and insightful. Relating to engineers, Don has a goal to provide a workplace that enables engineers to be more successful and to maximize productivity. Providing an environment that is challenging, yet comfortable and flexible – we use open work spaces, comfortable lounge areas, flexible hours and a liberal approach to tele-communings as ways to bring out the best in our engineering teams. Each engineer is a bit different and it is the mutual responsibility the company’s management and the employee to find the right balance. Hiring and retaining employees in great demand, be it engineers or others offer unique challenges. Modern day software companies like EverFi need to continue to evolve and provide opportunities, challenges and rewarding work experience to young professionals.
In regards to STEM, Don is a huge proponent of teaching children early. In a world where technology rules, children are less and less inclined to go into fields that guarantee jobs in the future. Don believes that by utilizing STEM; as well as encouraging corporations to partner with local schools, financial assistance and shaping programs that provide specific tracks to high skill/high paid/high demand careers (application development, data analysis, program management, etc) will reinvigorate students to these areas of study, a difference can and will be made. Children must be immersed in STEM programs early in their development, this will offer more opportunity as well as make it easier for employers to find candidates to fill the growing technical roles. Even if technical careers are not your passion – STEM programs offer basic life skills that are imperative in our world today.
Don has also noticed important trends in relation to data. it is undermined; yet understanding how data impacts our lives is critical. From kids understanding how merchants, mobile providers and social media sites use data, to businesses crunching “big data” to make strategic decisions, data affects us all. A basic level of competence is required to understand how “data” impacts us on a personal and professional level, in order to be successful today.
By intercepting the issue early, and formulating strategies to assist our future workforce, a STEM generation can be brought into the working world; where it is sorely needed. The affect STEM has will not only show within the workplace, but a generation with the critical skills augmented by EverFi goals as well as companies’ efforts will spawn a group able to tackle global challenges that go far beyond business competitiveness. The focus will instead spread to major human challenges including health, poverty, environment sustainability and more. The modern world is becoming increasingly dependent on technology, and with Don, EverFi and hundreds of other corporations, the shift will be effortless.