Meet the dedicated team committed to bringing new opportunities in the software development industry to our veterans.
Founder, Executive Director
Prior to Code Platoon, Rod spent 20+ years in finance and entrepreneurship. He was a Partner at G-Bar Limited Partners, where he co-founded and managed their volatility-arbitrage trading desk (BBR Trading). He built the team to 20 traders and software developers, and was one of the founders of Cerrio, an internal software start-up that was a Complex Event Processing, Platform as a Service company.
He holds undergraduate and Master’s degrees in engineering from Cornell University, and an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he graduated with honors. Rod has also completed Dev Bootcamp’s web developer program.
After working as a software engineer for companies such as Groupon and OneMain Financial, Jonathan is returning to the classroom as Code Platoon’s lead instructor. Prior to his shift into tech, Jonathan taught high school special education mathematics at Chicago’s Harper High School, which was featured on NPR’s “This American Life.” Jonathan has also taught web development at General Assembly and Actualize Coding Bootcamp. He loves to be a part of “A-Ha!” moments in the classroom, and is dedicated to student success.
Jonathan received his BS from Northwestern University and his Masters degree in Teaching during his fellowship with Teach for America.
Michael, a graduate of Bravo Platoon is back, this time as an instructor. Coding and teaching are two of the things he can get really excited about, and he loves being able to help fellow veterans transition into tech. His passion is to contribute to software that will bring people delight, self-betterment, and a better world.
Before Code Platoon, Michael worked as a Petty Officer in the US Navy, specializing in electronic repair aboard aircraft carriers. He was in charge of best-practice training in wake of wasteful mistakes, and led junior sailors to grow well and advance quickly. Michael’s dream is to write the next flappy bird, and spend the rest of his days devoted to research and philanthropy.
Career Development Lead
Amanda Schonfeld is talent acquisition lead for the General Services Administration’s Technology Transformation Services (TTS). TTS is home to federal technology start up 18F where developers, designers, product managers and strategists help federal agencies build, buy, and share modern digital services to improve the user experience of government.
Prior to TTS, Amanda spent a considerable amount of time building and leading the North America talent acquisition team at SapientNitro (now called SapientRazorfish). Amanda thoroughly enjoys sharing her knowledge of the talent acquisition and hiring process and has run interview workshops for multiple years at the user experience conference, IA Summit and for the MSLCE program at Northwestern University.
Amanda joined Code Platoon as the Career Development Lead and coaches the students on searching for a job, networking, resume development, and interviewing. Her father is a Vietnam veteran of the United States Navy. She holds a BS in Sociology from Grand Valley State University.
Paul is the Vice President of Development at Student Veterans of America Illinois and leads the Veterans Program at National Louis University as the Director of Armed Services Relations. Paul has served as a thought leader with Illinois Joining Forces, a state-wide, public-private network of military and veteran-serving organizations working collaboratively in person and online to help service members, veterans and their families connect with support services. In addition to providing essential contributions to the success of the Education Working Group, he formerly served as Co-Chairman, Employment & Job Training Working Group leading the Veterans As Strategic Assets Initiative. Paul is an alumnus of Northwestern University where he graduated summa cum laude and founded the NU Veterans Association. Paul is an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve with over 20 years of service.
Jill founded and, until recently, headed the Jewish Federations of North America’s (JFNA) Tax-exempt Bond Program, which has executed over 60 financings totaling nearly $1.3 billion. Previously, Jill was a Vice President in Municipal Finance at Goldman, Sachs & Co where she originated over $3 billion in financings for health care systems and institutions of higher learning. Jill is also a founding Board member and past Vice President of the Board of Beacon Academy, a new high school in Evanston, IL.
Currently, Jill is Treasurer and Chair of the Board’s Finance Committee at Chiaravalle Montessori School. She also serves on the JFNA’s Bond Program Oversight Committee. Jill received her MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and a BS from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Avi accelerated his journey of learning to code in 2013 when he was fortunate enough to attend Dev Bootcamp in Chicago with Rod. Since then he has worked on several projects and is now focusing on the real estate sector. Avi is an Army veteran, with service in Iraq. He enlisted in the Reserve as a private and ten years later left the service as a captain. Avi holds an undergraduate degree in history from Brandeis University and an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management. He worked at General Electric as a marketing and analytics manager. He lives in the Boston area with his amazing wife Shira and adorable son Sammy.
Edward Donovan is currently Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of TerSera
Therapeutics LLC, a Chicago based specialty pharmaceuticals company. At TerSera, Edward leads all
legal and corporate governance functions, including litigation, government affairs, intellectual property,
and transactional and commercial law, as well as overseeing the compliance program.
Prior to TerSera, Edward served as General Counsel and Secretary at Actient Pharmaceuticals and then
Crealta Pharmaceuticals. Before moving in-house, Edward was a partner in the Chicago office of the law
firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP. At Kirkland, he specialized in mergers and acquisitions, private equity and
corporate law, and completed numerous pharmaceutical and other healthcare related transactions.
Edward holds a B.S. from the United States Military Academy at West Point and a J.D. from the
University of Virginia. He is licensed to practice law in the state of Illinois.
Following West Point, Edward served as field artillery officer in the U.S. Army for five years. He was
assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia and 18th Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg,
North Carolina, and led his teams on several overseas deployments.
Don has been a professional software developer in Chicago since 1990 during which time, he has had the great fortune to work at many types of companies employing varied technologies.
A few years ago, Don decided to give back to the Chicago community. He sought out opportunities to lend his experience to those who might benefit. He began mentoring at the Founder Institute and then The Code Academy (now The Starter League). In the summer of 2011, Don co-founded The Mobile Makers Academy and is the lead instructor, ushering much needed iOS development talent into new careers. While Don is currently leading classes at The Mobile Makers Academy, he is also mentoring at Dev Bootcamp.
Don has been an outspoken advocate for women and girls in tech, seeking to bridge the technology gap by exposing the fun and creative side of programming. He frequently mentors both high school and college students who display an interest in technology and coding.
Don is also a partner and co-founder of Eight Bit Studios. He loves meeting new developers, seeing their tremendous potential, and giving them the opportunity to be great. At Eight Bit Studios, Don develops software on various studio projects, careful to learn something new with each one.
Brian Willard currently leads the Data Liberation Front which is responsible for Google Takeout as well as various other data mobility features. He has been at Google since March of 2012. Before that he worked at a variety of companies: Cerrio a (failed) start up focusing around real time messaging as a service, BBR a proprietary equity derivatives firm, QRM a financial services firm, and Microsoft (Visio and SharePoint). Brian has a BS in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In his free time he plays hockey and runs. His favorite language is C#, which he keeps try to get adopted at Google but has had very little success so far.
Dave Hoover is co-founder of Dev Bootcamp and co-author of “Apprenticeship Patterns: Guidance for the aspiring craftsman”. He has been learning how to develop software since 2000, when he decided to leave his previous career in adolescent psychotherapy. Over the years, he has helped grow several successful businesses (Obtiva, Mad Mimi, Groupon, Dev Bootcamp) and became an active angel investor in 2012. During this time, Dave has been Staci’s husband, and a father to Rose, Ricky, and Charlie. They’re all very good at keeping him humble.
Technical Advisory Board
James is currently the CTO and Co-Founder of Purple Gator, a mobile gaming platform with multiple games on the Apple App, Google Play, and Amazon App stores. He also has worked in all aspects of tech development, from intern to chief architect, in languages from Assembly to Java. He has a BSEE from Washington University in St. Louis, as well as graduate work in both CS and EE from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Washington University in St. Louis. He is a veteran of the USAF as a member of the Missouri and Illinois Air National Guard. In his free time he loves tinkering with new tech toys, weight-lifting, and traveling to new countries.
Rich is currently the President and CEO of STRATUS Solutions. He leads STRATUS in delivering cloud-based software development technology to government and commercial customers. Prior to STRATUS, Rich served as the Director of Professional Services for OPNET Technologies (now Riverbed), Program Manager for Booz Allen Hamilton, Principal Engineer for the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and Communications and Intelligence Officer for the United States Marine Corps.
He holds an M.S. in Information Technology, an M.S. in Telecommunications, and a B.S. in Information Systems Management from the University of Maryland and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington.
Scott Case is the co-founder and current advisory board chair of Ada Developers Academy. Ada is a Seattle-based nonprofit, intensive software development school for women with a mission of increasing gender diversity in software engineering. In addition, he is the COO of EnergySavvy, a leader in cloud-based software for utility demand-side management. Prior to EnergySavvy, Scott was a Director of Product Management at Microsoft. He holds a BA from Williams College, and an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management.
Technical Advisory Board
Seth Thomson is the Chief Information Officer at DRW, a technology-driven principal trading firm headquartered in Chicago. Before joining DRW, he served as Director of IT Services for a leading risk management services firm.
Passionate about developing technical education opportunities for everyone, Seth has been involved in the greater Chicago non-profit community for more than two decades. He provided the initial IT infrastructure for Literature for All of Us in Evanston and served as a founding board member and advisor for Become in Chicago. Seth also initiated DRW’s partnership with Code Platoon and has seen its success firsthand.
Seth holds a BA in Computers and Management from DePaul University. When he’s not at work, he enjoys time with family and friends, writing and cooking.
Dr. Marsha Watson, a Vietnam Era, US Navy veteran, earned a Ph.D. in English at the University
of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and an M.A. in English and a B.S. in Mathematics Education at
Northern Illinois University. Currently a faculty member in Grand Canyon University’s College of
Doctoral Studies, in early 2017, Dr. Watson returned to teaching after more than a decade in
higher education administration. Her last administrative position was as Vice Provost of
Institutional Research and Accreditation at National Louis University; prior to that, she was
Director of Assessment at the University of Kentucky and Dean of Assessment and Graduate
Studies at Grand Canyon University. Dr. Watson has also held a number of full-time faculty
appointments, including Associate Professor of English at University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Dr. Watson has published and presented widely on assessment of learning in higher education,
and is the co-founder of the Association for Assessment of Learning in Higher Education
(AALHE); over the years, she served on the AALHE Board of Directors in various roles, including
President, Treasurer, and Executive Director. She has also served the Higher Learning
Commission of the NCA in numerous roles, including as a peer reviewer, an
Assessment Mentor, and a mentor and admissions panel member for the Academy for
Assessment of Student Learning.
Sabrina King recently joined the LEARN Charter School Network as Chief Talent Officer to transform their human resources function in support of the Network’s next expansion stage. LEARN currently provides 4,200 K-8 students from lower-income urban locations and nearby military bases with a tuition-free, family supportive college prep education. Previously, Sabrina was with the American Dental Association (ADA) from 2011-2017 leading the Division of Human Resources and Organization Development.
Prior to joining the ADA, Ms. King created and led a full-service Talent Development practice for TTX Company from 2008-2010. Creating initiatives that celebrate and capitalize on the ‘human’ side of human resources and contribute to higher business success is a personal passion for Ms. King. This is how she utilizes her dual career experience in human resource management and in corporate financial services.
She received her bachelor’s degree in international government from Dartmouth College and her Masters degree in organizational behavior and database management from J.L.Kellogg Business School at Northwestern University.
Ms. King is the Chair, Governance Committee to the Board of Directors for the i.c. stars organization, has been a member of the Women’s Leadership Council for United Way of Metropolitan Chicago and served on the Board of Directors for Meals on Wheels, Chicago.