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The Wind in Our Sails

Marc Backer | Financial Services Practice Lead
Marc Backer is an experienced Senior Executive, Management Consultant and Trusted Advisor.  Mr. Backer has consulted for Corporate Executives to maximize technology investments to meet and exceed needs of the business. He establishes metrics to measure efficiency and effectiveness of people, process and technology, maintains agile and flexible organizations to readily adapt as business change and leads by example.

Marc has a 20-year successful track record for managing complex strategic financial and technology initiatives focusing on third party software applications implementations and IT transformations mostly as a “Big 4” consultant. Mr. Backer has used the principles and techniques as prescribed by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and the Scaled Agile Methodology SAFe to plan, control and execute these global projects.  Marc has worked in the following industries: Banking & Finance, Insurance, Distribution, Consumer Retail, Energy and Technology/Data Services to manage complex initiatives achieving cost effective results under tight budgetary and time constraints. Projects include: Global Implementations, Project Reviews/Oversight, Process Improvement, Software Selections, Strategic Planning, Requirements Analysis and Special Projects.

Marc holds a Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Financial Management Services from the University of Florida and currently resides in Sandy Springs, Georgia, with his wife Sue.

View Marc’s LinkedIn profile.


Bill Kalahar | Technology Strategy & Alignment Practice Lead
Bill Kalahar is a former CIO and “Trusted Advisor” to Business Executives and Chief Information Officers in both Public and Commercial Sectors with over 35 years of accomplished experience in both Corporate and Information Technology (IT) consulting positions. Bill’s Public-Sector consulting has included engagements at the Federal, State and Local levels and military engagements with The Department of the Navy, United States Air Force and United States Army Corps of Engineers. His Commercial consulting experience is across multiple industries, including Financial Services, Retail, Consumer, Utilities and Transportation.  Bill specializes in a wide range of C-Level Advisory Services with emphasis in the disciplines of: IT Strategic Planning, Alignment & Roadmaps; IT Governance, Risk & Compliance and Leadership Selection and Team Building.

During his career, Bill has served as Captain in the United States Air Force receiving several Distinguished Honors and Awards, including the Air Force Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service and the Outstanding Junior Officer Award while assigned to the Strategic Air Command.  Bill also held Leadership positions with enGenius Consulting Group (Vice-President C-Level Advisory Services), BearingPoint Consulting (Director, Strategy, Process and Transformation), Andersen Consulting (Senior Manager, CIO Advisory Services), Gartner (Director, Consulting Services), The Coca-Cola Company (Director, Applied Technology), Information Systems of America (Vice-President Systems Development & Consulting) and Electronic Data Systems (Systems Engineer & Account Manager). Bill also currently serves as a Member of the Board of Advisors for eDemand, Inc. (www.edemandinc.com) and Cyber Attack Team Leader for Cyberexercises, Inc. (www.cyberexercises.com).

Bill holds a Bachelor of Economics Degree from North Park University (Chicago, IL) and presently resides in Sandy Springs, Georgia, with his wife Janet.

View Bill’s LinkedIn profile.


Ron Maillette | Manufacturing/CPG Practice Lead | Higher Education Practice Lead
Ron Maillette is a former CIO and experienced senior IT executive and General Manager with extensive experience in a number of business verticals. Ron served in the U.S. Air Force where he served as an airborne linguist and flew more than 125 combat missions. He spent 16 years in the insurance industry (Travelers and Aetna) working in both the business and IT sides of the business.  In 1990, Ron joined the Coca-Cola Company where he worked for 12 years in increasing levels of responsibility with his last several years as Vice President and CIO of the $3.9 Billion Fountain Division.  Between 2004 – 2013, he served as a Vice President and CIO in several companies including the $1.9 Billion Pacer Global Logistics (3PL), NuCO2 (bulk distribution), and Education Corporation of America (post-secondary education).  In 2013, he co-founded and then ran an education software company (Broadleaf Solutions).

For the past three years, Ron has provided executive consulting services to several companies with his focus being M&A IT assessments, IT Strategy Development, Strategic Product Development, Business Continuity Planning, and Process Improvement. Ron also serves on the Board of Directors for two companies, one in Healthcare Services, and the other in Process Manufacturing.

Ron holds a Bachelor of Industrial Psychology Degree from the University of Connecticut and presently resides in Port St. Lucie, Florida, with his wife Marie.

View Ron’s LinkedIn profile.


Dan Ricks | CEO & President | Utilities Practice Lead
Dan has over 30 years of experience and progressive advancement in the education, financial services, retail, professional services, consulting, utility and beverage manufacturing industries including large, medium and “start up” companies. He is recognized for successfully completing technology initiatives that drive business results. Additionally, he is known for facilitating collaboration among business and technology leaders. Dan has applied his enterprise solutions delivery skills and experience in the United States, Europe, Latin America and Asia. He has a strong background in strategic planning and successful execution of plan with ROI analysis and corporate governance on all technology initiatives.

In addition to his experience at Bright Water Consulting, Dan was the Senior Director of IT for UtiliQuest, LLC, where he was responsible for all aspects of technology. Previous to this position, he was Chief Information Officer at Delta Career Education Corporation, Vice President, Business Technology Officer and Director of the Project Management Office for SunTrust Bank, Global IT Manager for The Coca-Cola Company, IT Manager for Norrell Corporation and a Business Systems Analyst at the Georgia Power Company.

Dan holds a Master of Business Administration Degree from Georgia State University, a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from Georgia Southern University and presently resides in Snellville, Georgia, with his wife Luanne.

View Dan’s LinkedIn profile.


Bruce Kopkin | Vice President, Sales
Bruce has over 35 years of experience in executive, sales and marketing positions in high tech, manufacturing, healthcare, and distribution industries.  Bruce’s experience includes start-ups, small companies and large global enterprises and is focused on driving companies to reach their full potential by becoming more streamlined, customer focused and solution oriented.  He has a proven track record in driving turning-arounds to profitability, stagnant companies to growth, and average companies to industry leading growth.  It is his focus on organization, process and metrics that drive these improvements

Prior to Bright Water Consulting. Bruce was General Manager at sales-i with P&L responsibilities resulting in top and bottom line improvements.  Previously, he was Executive Vice President at GT Software with responsibilities for sales, marketing, product and customer success.  Previous roles include Sales Director at IBM, Vice President of Sales at OmniVue, Vice President of Sales at JDA Software and President of Lorentzen and Wettre.

Bruce is Founder and President of the Executive Sales and Marketing Association and is on the Board of Directors of Conexx, plus three other companies

He holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology and presently resides in Marietta, Georgia, with his wife Lenora.

View Bruce’s LinkedIn Profile.


Michael Albright | Sales Associate
Michael has over 35 years of experience in executive level sales, sales management and marketing positions in large, mid-sized and start up information technology organizations.  Michael’s experience is in consulting driven solution sales of Hardware, Software, Applications and Consulting/Professional Services as components of an overall strategic initiative to meet business objectives.

Michael most recently was Territory Sales Manager for Computex Technology Solutions and prior experience includes Consulting Principal for SunGard Availability Services and executive level positions at IBM and Unisys.

He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of West Georgia and presently resides in Brookhaven, Georgia, with his wife Linda.

View Michael’s LinkedIn Profile.


Luanne Ricks | Owner
Luanne Ricks is Owner at Bright Water Consulting and has over 25 years of experience in company operations.  Her strengths include project management, business strategy, operational planning, revenue generation, customer service, and business relationship management. She has worked in a variety of industries, including retail, automotive, utility and telecommunications. Some of the places Luanne has worked include Asbury Automotive Group, Matra Systems, Southern Company Services, Georgia Power Company and Sears.

Luanne has extensive project management, business process improvement, documentation and training experience, much of which has been in support of accounting, financial and point-of-sale software systems.

View Luanne’s LinkedIn profile.