Celebrating your 2024 Influential Mainframers

When thinking about how to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the mainframe, our first instinct was to create a series of articles on its history, starting with its earliest iterations and ending with how the technology evolved through today.

But perhaps that is a topic we’ve already covered in these articles:

We obviously didn’t go this route. Instead, we decided to present a list of the Most Influential Mainframers as nominated by the Planet Mainframe community.

To put it mildly, the excitement around our inaugural Influential Mainframers program exceeded our expectations. We sought—and received—nominations from industry leaders, veterans, teachers, mentors, writers, and novices. The call resulted in submissions from more than five countries, companies of all kinds, and professionals of all skill levels. 

As much as we loved sharing these stories, you loved reading them. Collectively, the influencer profiles generated more than 15 times the typical web traffic and a wealth of shout-outs and comments on social media.

As the campaign concludes, we thank the many nominators who championed a colleague, mentor, or teacher. We are grateful for the thousands of mainframers who keep the global business economy steady and advocate for mainframe technology daily. 

In the end, we did tell you a story about the history and future of the mainframe, but through the eyes of its people—people inspired by the mainframe of the past and those creating the mainframe of the future. We hope that reading their stories inspires you.

Let’s acknowledge the mainframe influencers of 2024, whom you helped recognize:

  • Venkat Balabhadrapatruni: With 18 years spent reshaping Mainframe DevOps, Venkat makes mainframe technology more accessible and efficient, sharing his expertise on the global conference circuit.
  • John Campbell: A retired IBM Distinguished Engineer and current senior consultant, John has worked with Db2 for z/OS for over four decades, enhancing performance and security for global financial systems and earning his place as an IDUG Hall of Fame Speaker.
  • Laticia Carrow: Transitioning from cosmetology to mainframe technology, Laticia now advocates for technology careers through her popular YouTube channel.
  • PJ Catalano: An IBM Z and LinuxONE Test Architect, PJ uses his creative flair, humor, and social media presence to simplify and promote mainframes to future technologists.
  • Chris Crone: As a Senior Technical Staff Member and IBM Master Inventor, Chris revolutionizes mainframe computing with his innovations in z/OS, routinely enhancing system efficiency and reliability.
  • Michael Daubman: With a keen focus on z/OS systems programming, Michael champions integrating and operationalizing design thinking, and he excels at optimizing the core operations that power global enterprises.
  • George DeCandiod: As the Chief Technology Officer of Broadcom’s Mainframe division and staunch supporter of The Open Mainframe Project, George’s blend of technical expertise and innovative vision support modern tool integrations like AI and DevOps, while reinforcing the mainframe’s critical role in global enterprises.
  • Geoffrey Decker: His unorthodox journey from a music graduate to a leading advocate for mainframe technology and IBM Champion demonstrates Geoffrey’s diverse skills, including a commitment to nurturing the next generation of mainframe professionals.
  • Misty Decker: With a remarkable career defined by over 30 years of leadership, Misty has pioneered mainframe modernization by integrating cutting-edge technologies like DevOps and cloud solutions. This reflects her dedication to mainframe technology and heartfelt commitment to mentoring others along the way.
  • Gatien Dupre: With a career including mainframe and DevOps, Gatien has spearheaded transformative initiatives like the ZDevOps project at Société Générale and the Wazi Deploy at IBM. He currently leads mainframe development transformations at Crédit Agricole.
  • Trevor Eddolls: Transitioning from teaching to mainframe technology, Trevor carved a niche as a pivotal figure in mainframe communications, editing influential publications, founding iTech-Ed Ltd, and launching the essential Arcati Mainframe Yearbook – all while fostering virtual user groups and contributing as an IBM Champion.
  • Reg Harbeck: After initially stumbling into mainframe technology by chance, Reg emerged as a fervent mainframe enthusiast, contributing globally through writing, presenting, and consulting. He is Canada’s first IBM Champion for Z mainframes.
  • Steve Hosie: With an extensive 38-year career in z/OS mainframe security, Steve excels in cybersecurity by applying his deep expertise across audits, compliance, and policy development. Steve’s dedication and mentorship are celebrated as a USMC veteran and IBM Champion.
  • Donna Hudi: As Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Business Development at Phoenix Software, and former Executive Director at SHARE, Donna has promoted women in technology and championed diversity and inclusion, while continuing to shape the future as Chair of the Open Mainframe Project Marketing Committee.
  • Georges Kopp: Following an introduction to mainframes at age 13, George became a leading mainframe thought leader and IBM Champion, applying his extensive programming skills across banking, insurance, and manufacturing sectors to drive technological and business advancements.
  • Vaughn Marshall: His leadership in mainframe DevOps solutions led to significant advancements captured in articles, videos, and notable presentations. Vaughn’s advocacy for the Z Platform and Zowe open-source project reflects a dedication to propelling the mainframe community forward.
  • Craig Mullins: With over 30 years of work with mainframes and recognition as an IBM Champion, Craig turned his expertise into writing books on Db2, database administration, and mainframe optimization.
  • Ravi Patil: As a storyteller and thought leader with a background in mechanical engineering and experience across multiple sectors, Ravi’s insights on the confluence of technology, humanity, and forward momentum inspire global audiences.
  • Steven Perva: An IBM Champion of IBM Z, Steven actively promotes mainframe modernization and cross-generational collaboration at global conferences. He is inspired by industry legends and newcomers and cultivates a vibrant mainframe community.
  • Jessielaine Punongbayan: Known for a keen eye for new solutions, Jessielaine not only shares her mainframe expertise with the community through conferences, blogs, and video tutorials, but also champions women’s empowerment, diversity, and inclusion.
  • Dusty Rivers: With nearly five decades exclusively devoted to mainframe systems, Dusty is a global authority on mainframe modernization, an inaugural IBM Lifetime Champion for z, and a dedicated advocate for integrating the next generation into the mainframe community
  • Rose Sakach: Through her experiences in development, systems programming, and product management, Rose advocates for mainframe modernization and shares her expertise through leadership roles in the Zowe community and speaking engagements.
  • Dr. Vikas Sinha: A believer in lifelong learning, Vikas advocates for the continued relevance and innovation of mainframes in modern digital and hybrid cloud infrastructures. 
  • Rosalind Radcliff: Before becoming a tech superstar, you could thank Rosalind for making z/OS systems friendlier with modern dev practices, and helping users navigate the tricky waters of DevOps transformations.
  • Dr. Cameron Seay: Dr. Seay uses his Ph.D. in educational psychology to expand inclusivity and access to mainframe education at HBCUs and beyond.
  • Lauren Valenti: Recognized for nurturing mainframe skills and supporting women in tech, Lauren focuses on equipping individuals and organizations with the training necessary for IT proficiency, especially in mainframe systems.
  • Cheryl Watson: A respected figure in the field, Cheryl recently announced her retirement after an impactful 60-year career advocating for clients and founding Cheryl Watson’s Tuning Letter. 
  • Lynn Wheeler: With expertise beyond the technical, Wheeler fosters his vision for the future of mainframes in contemporary computing landscapes through his work on the Open Mainframe Project and Zowe chat. 
  • Joe Winchester: Over the past 15 years, Joe has dedicated himself to bridging the gap between the traditional mainframe ecosystem and the open-source community. He seeks to make the mainframe accessible and intuitive for a new generation of developers.
  • Mark Wilson: With over four decades of experience, Mark remains a pivotal figure in mainframe security as a business owner, GSE leader and member, and community volunteer.
  • Allan Zander: From his experiences working in 911 emergency telephone systems, Zander has a deep appreciation for mainframe reliability, which drives his vision for sustainable growth and community building within the industry.

Your contributions made this possible. We’re excited to see how you will shape the next influential mainframers campaign! Until then, celebrate your achievements and those of your peers. We look forward to reconnecting in person at SHARE Kansas City.

Amanda Hendley is the Managing Editor of Planet Mainframe and  Co-host of the iTech-Ed Mainframe User Groups.  She has always been a part of the technology community having spent eleven years at Technology Association of Georgia and six years at Computer Measurement Group. Amanda is a Georgia Tech graduate and enjoys spending her free time renovating homes and volunteering with SEGSPrescue.org  in Atlanta, Georgia.

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