Paul Gustafson, President
Paul Gustafson brings to Expert Support a senior Silicon Valley executive with broad tech industry experience.
Prior to joining Expert Support, Paul led the award-winning digital content marketing firm, TDA Group. There he helped the founders sell the business, and then led the firm for a new ownership group for over a decade. TDA Group caters to a blue-chip client base that includes IBM, VMware, Dell, Intel, SAP, and many others. Paul led TDA’s marketing strategy and consulting engagements and directed brand, content strategy, and messaging efforts for complex products and services. Under Paul’s leadership, TDA transformed from a custom publishing firm into an award-winning digital agency.
In addition to his executive career, Paul has served on several advisory boards and boards of directors. He’s an advisor to San Carlos Advisors, an M&A consulting firm; Wearality, a virtual and augmented reality technology start-up spun out of Lockheed Martin; and udu, Inc., a nano-bot software technology start-up.
Paul also served on the board of directors of Joint Venture Silicon Valley for nearly a decade. Established as a regional non-profit in 1993, Joint Venture brings together Silicon Valley’s established and emerging leaders—from business, government, academia, labor, and the broader community—to spotlight issues and work toward innovative solutions.
Paul is a well-established thought leader in the field of innovation and forward-thinking trends and strategy. He regularly blogs about his original ideas and observations, and is a frequent and well-regarded speaker and lecturer. Follow him on Twitter: @psgustafson
Outside of work, Paul seeks adventure from scuba diving, finds frustration on the golf course, and spends most weekends enjoying sporting events, live music, and fine dining.
Denny Brown, CEO
Denny co-founded Expert Support with Jan Clayton in 1990. The original vision for the company was to provide support to software companies in all of the services that surround core software development. Denny and Jan observed that many software companies, while very good at software development, were not as good with auxiliary services like documentation, training, customer support, and professional services. These services require more attention to the human side of software, focusing on the needs of the customer that are beyond what the software provides.
In addition to his role as CEO of Expert Support, Denny sometimes gets to do billable work for customers. He does management consulting and training, group facilitation, and other “soft skills” development. He has helped some of our start-up customers with funding proposals, organizational development, and other early stage activities. He has been asked by some of our small customers to be their “acting IT guy.” He enjoys helping customers with their marketing efforts, including developing their web presence.
Denny has been in the computer business since 1966. His experience with software technology includes commercial and academic environments. Prior to Expert Support, Denny was one of the founders of Coherent Thought, Inc., a vendor of application-specific expert-system tools, where he was responsible for professional services. He was also one of the first employees of Teknowledge, Inc., a pioneer company in the development of commercial expert-system technology, where he served as Vice President of Knowledge Engineering and Vice President of Education and Training. At Teknowledge, Denny created the first commercially available training programs for expert-system technology. Before Teknowledge, Denny was Associate Chairman of the Computer Science Department at Stanford University. He was responsible for the teaching programs, both graduate and undergraduate, delivered by the department.
Denny’s outside interests include playing baseball in an over-55 hardball league. He manages the Antiques, a team of really old guys, mostly 55 or older. He is the proud grandfather of Faith, Zach, Luke, and Grace.
Doug Shaker, Vice President
For the last 16 years, Doug has specialized in understanding technical issues and explaining those technical issues to others. Doug joined Expert Support in 1997 as software documentation account manager. He became Expert Support’s Vice President in 2011. His approach to technical communication emphasizes the business purpose of the documents for the producing company and the pragmatic function of the documents for the ultimate user.
In the late 80s, Doug managed and built the technical support, sales support, training, QA, and documentation departments for IntelliCorp, an artificial intelligence software company. At IntelliCorp, Doug held several positions, including Director of Product Services and Director of Business Development. After IntelliCorp, Doug was one of the original employees of Qualix Group, a client-server software publisher, where he managed and built the technical support and sales support organization, and served as Vice President of Training and Support. Prior to Expert Support, Doug was owner of The Smalltalk Store, a mail-order source for Smalltalk software. Doug has a Ph.D from the University of California, Irvine, and a B.A. from Yale.
Doug grew up in the Midwest, where he learned to love a good thunderstorm. In his spare time, Doug builds and repairs bicycles, and is learning to build guitars.
Marie Novicki, Director of Production Services and HR
As Director of Document Production Services, Marie manages a staff of production specialists and acts as a technical resource for our writing staff and clients regarding production technologies and their implementation.
Marie also designs templates for user guides, reference manuals, API manuals, and style guides in a variety of applications, including Adobe FrameMaker, MS Word, and Adobe RoboHelp. She works with clients to develop and document the conversion procedures required to move documentation from one technology to another.
As Director of Expert Support’s HR Department, Marie supports the Expert Support team, ensuring corporate compliance with employment and labor laws. She oversees employee benefits, manages employee information, and assists with developing company policies.
In her spare time, Marie works on one of her many weaving, spinning, knitting, stitching, and quilting projects, and dabbles in macro photography. Marie blogs about her projects at Livin’ La Needle Loca.
Heidi Stern, Controller
As Expert Support’s Controller, Heidi handles all the financial tasks for the company. With 30 years of finance and accounting experience at a variety of firms in Silicon Valley, Heidi brings a wealth of experience to Expert Support.