Active Mafia Part 11: The Finish Line

Active Mafia Part 11: The Finish Line

By Andrea Siedsma

Ok, so we could probably keep this Active.com mafia series going for much longer, but we won’t. Since the online race registration pioneer was sold to Vista Equity Partners and relocated to Dallas, Texas in 2013 for $1.05 billion, dozens of Active alumni chose to stay in San Diego, further growing our vibrant ecosystem. Below we take a look at some of them and what they are up to today. The list includes a few others who are outside of San Diego who created some pretty famous companies. You’ll also see a couple of fun surprises.

Matt Landa – Active Network’s first President, and later the company’s CEO, Landa was the driving force behind the company’s market strategy and growth. Since then, Landa has served as Executive Chairman of Semantic Research and continues to be the proprietor of Landa Vineyards in Northern California.

Josh Schlesser – Active’s head of technology from 2000-2013. Schlesser co-founded San Diego-based  Cursive Labs and Spoutable with Active’ former co-founder and CEO Jon Belmonte, and is current CPO at Proper Media (which acquired Spoutable in 2018).

Other Active alumni at Proper Media include Carson McGrath, former AdOps director at Active and currently director of AdOps at Proper Media; 

Marea Blue, former Technical Account Manager at Active and now Head of Customer Success, Proper Media; and Renee Griffith, former Senior Strategic Digital Account Manager, Active, and currently Head of Customer Success at Proper Media.  

Dina Rulli – Active’s Manager, Global Talent Acquisition. Rulli moved on to a similar role at Glassdoor and is now VP, People Operations at San Diego-based Classy.org. (Also check out our Tacos & Tech Podcast with Classy Founder & CEO Scott Chisholm).

Eric McCue – A SVP and General Manager at Active for 10 years, McCue was CEO of GovX and currently serves as President of Carlsbad-based COOLA Suncare.

Brian Levine – Lead developer at The Active Network for over 10 years. He is currently Co-Founder / CTO at Retention Rocket and Sales Enablement Lead at Twilio.

Brian Enge – VP of Active who moved on to run SKILZ, and is currently the CEO and Co-Founder of Carlsbad-based Robin Hood Brands, which specializes in product and brand building and digital marketing.

Scott Mendel – Active’s CFO through the IPO who also helped lead the take-private sale to Vista. He is currently CFO of Carlsbad-based Genmark Diagnostics, a publicly traded life sciences company.

Scott Kyle – Racegate Co-Founder and Active’s first CFO. He has since founded Coastwise Capital Group, and authored two books on investing and personal improvement.

Arch Fuston – Creator/Director ACTIVEx Employee Engagement for 12 years and current owner of Arch Fuston Coaching & Consulting

Photo by Active.com alumnus Jim Garfield taken in 2016 at an alumni get-together.

Mike Skelly – SVP of Finance at Active for nine years, including through the IPO and take-private process. He has since been CFO of three local tech companies, including his current stint at AbacusNext (backed by Providence Equity Partners).

Dennis Triplett – Active’s SVP of Operations for six years. He was General Manager  & Chief Operating Officer at Rescue with another Active alumna Kristin Carroll and is currently on sabbatical. 

Sheryl Roland – Active’s head of HR from 2008-2012 (and through the IPO), Roland is now VP HR at SmartDrive Systems (under Steve Mitgang, with whom she worked at another OG of SD tech, WebSideStory).

Greg Sonzogni – VP/General Manager at Active for six years, he is currently COO at TGG Accounting.

Josie Donnelly – One of the longest tenured Active team members at over 15 years with the company, Donnelly started as a marketing intern and ended as VP Sales. She is now SVP of Sales and Marketing at Solana Beach-based FlockFreight (formerly AuptiX).

Rob Klingensmith – Active’s VP of Media and Marketing for over 16 years. He is now President of the Lens Agency, a San Diego based brand and marketing agency focused fashion lifestyle, sport, fashion, eyewear, and outdoor markets.

Kristen Adelman – Strategic Account Manager, Team Sports/Endurance at Active for 15 years. She is now Customer Success Manager at Chatmeter

Mike Reilly – VP of Major Event Sales at Active. Reilly, known as the “Voice of Iron Man,” is also a public speaker and consultant. 

Jason Griffith – Senior Project Manager at Active. He is currently Project Manager for Salesforce in San Diego. 

Anda Willett – Account Manager at Active who is now an Enterprise Account Executive at Amilia, an online registration and activity-based eCommerce company.  

Mark Kuusik – Finance Manager for Active for 14 years. He is now Senior Financial Analyst for Rady’s Children’s Hospital

Abbey Schingler Elias Endurance Team lead and Senior Account Executive at Active. She is currently Field Account Executive at Crossfuze, a top-ranked ServiceNow partner.

Anthony Valentino – Senior Account Manager, Active. He is currently Enterprise Account Executive at NuORDER, a cloud and mobile B2B eCommerce company. 

Sean Conley – Director, Strategic Accounts at Active, and current Strategic Account Executive at Onfido, a global AI identity company.

Aaron Waldman – Software Developer, Active. He is currently a Senior Software Engineer at Events.com, co-founded by Active Co-Founder Mitch Thrower

Allyson Ward – a Senior Sales Manager at Active for 10 years who is currently Senior Manager, AMS Commercial Inside Sales for ServiceNow

Shannon Donnellan – Program Manager, Active, who is now Project Manager, Business Development for Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP.

Dana Blackwood – Senior Account Manager at Active for 14 years. She is currently a Managing Member of Moke America Hawaii, LLC, a neighborhood electric vehicle company in Hawaii and Southern California. 

Active Alumni who went on to create big companies outside of San Diego:

John Wolthius – A developer at Active who went on to co-found both Gordian Labs LLC and San Francisco-based cloud communications platform Twilio Inc., where he is currently Product Architect.  Twilio recently went public. 

Tom Preston-Werner – Software Developer at Active who co-founded GitHub, Codestarter and most recently San Francisco-based Chatterbug, an online language learning platform that was acquired by Microsoft in 2018 for $7 billion.

And, did you know: Some Active.com alumni went on to appear on The Apprentice TV show and a Fox dating show? 

Dawna StoneWinner, The Apprentice: Martha Stewart. Stone was Senior VP, Operations for Active Network. She is currently co-founder and co-CEO of Vacayou Wellness and Active Travel in Florida,  A centralized wellness travel search engine and booking experience.

Banks Holcombe – Winner in the Fox Network’s Playing it Straight dating reality show. Holcombe, who was Senior Manager, Emerging Markets for Active Network, is now Regional Director for Cvent in Raleigh, N.C. 

Kelly Perdew – Winner, The Apprentice 2. As the acting president for eteamz, Perdew led the negotiations for the successful sale of the company to Active Network, where he spent a short time after the sale.  Perdew, who has since been an active investor and advisor for several companies, including Slack, and is Co-Founder and Managing General Partner of Moonshots Capital in Los Angeles.

Big shout out to Jon Belmonte for his enormous virtual Rolodex that led to this series lasting a year! We are sure there are lots more Active alumni out there. Let us know what you’re up to! 

Editor’s Note: This is the “final” article in a series about the early pioneers of online race and activity registration, the subsequent companies they went on to create and run, and how they are still “active” in the San Diego tech ecosystem. Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7Part 8, Part 9 & Part 10

Andrea Siedsma

Andrea Siedsma

I've had a flair for tech, science and business writing for more than 25 years. Surfing keeps my creative juices flowing. I also get an adrenaline rush by hunting for sea glass. Flip flops and fish tacos are my jam. Drop me a line at andrea@freshbrewedtech.com.

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