John is a life-long digital entrepreneur and international thought leader in user experience and human-centered design. After a successful exit from a video-game marketing agency in 2007, he came to Chicago to found ÄKTA, in order to meet the enterprise’s growing needs for authentic Experience Design. He also founded and runs Digital Hope, a not-for-profit charitable organization that uses the power of crowdfunding via social media to support underfunded international non-governmental organizations (NGOs). John is an active angel investor in the Chicago startup community, and he was recently recognized as one of Crain’s Chicago Business 40 Under 40. You can find him on the speaking circuit promoting the art and science of User Experience.
A Silicon Valley veteran with a track record for scaling emerging growth companies in chairman, CEO and lead director roles, Dean DeBiase has built leading brands in media; social, local and mobile commerce; analytics and insights; games and entertainment; retail and distribution; innovation; technology; and Internet services industries. He’s also led numerous global organizations through phases of expansion; turnaround; roll-up; mergers and acquisitions; and initial public offerings. As ÄKTA’s Executive Chairman, Dean helps to guide the company’s rapid growth by leading partnership and global expansion efforts with mid-cap and multi-national brands and business technology firms.
Vice President, Operations
Kevin, the very first hire at ÄKTA, excels at keeping the team on schedule and ensuring that our clients are happy. Between juggling projects, seeking new talent and leading our scaling efforts, Kevin’s the ultimate multi-tasker. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a master’s in Public Administration from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Along with ÄKTA founder John Roa, he founded Digital Hope, a not-for-profit organization that utilizes the power of social media to change the lives of people around the world. In his spare time, he can be found debating Kant with his cats, grilling something delicious with his better half or trying to sink a long putt on the disc golf course.
Vice President, Client Services
Tony Christos brings over 15 years of experience in the field of interactive design to his role at ÄKTA. Prior to joining our leadership team, Tony was the Creative Director and founding partner of Fueled, a mobile app design and development company, where he worked with clients such as Sony, Jim Beam, Nerf and Starbucks to build digital initiatives that have gained national recognition. He has a passion for functional design and user experience, and his relentless dedication to building lasting client relationships has helped position ÄKTA as a valued and trusted partner.
Vice President, Design
Drew Davidson graduated from Purdue University with a bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Psychology and a master’s in Computer Technology, and his distinguished career has allowed him to bring his vast knowledge of the user experience field to companies across the country, including Nielsen, Motorola, eBay and NASA. In 2006, he won Motorola’s People’s Choice Award for the best portrayal of a seamlessly mobile society, and in 2013, Business Insider named Drew one of the Top 75 Global Technology Designers. When he’s not working, Drew spends his time as a professionally amateur photographer and exploring the great outdoors with his camper and a dystopic sci-fi novel.
Vice President, Engineering
Matt Tesch is a passionate technologist and digital craftsman and has over 12 years of experience in mobile technologies and application development across a wide range of platforms and organizations, from big government to early-stage startups. Building teams that create intuitive mobile experiences backed by highly scalable architectures has been his focus at ÄKTA.