Senior Leaders


Executive Team

John C. Blakley

Chairman, CEO, and Founder

Since 1993

John C. Blakley, known as Blake, leads the senior executive team and oversees all aspects of corporate operations. He is also responsible for developing business strategies, which include maintaining client, partner, and vendor relationships, in addition to making recommendations to the BOD on the strategic direction of the Company. During his career at Unicon, Blake developed the Cisco Networking Academy® Management System and was the product manager for the Unicon Academus® product suite. Prior to his career at Unicon, Blake was a Systems Engineer with Arizona State University (ASU). Additionally, Blake served on the Industrial Advisory Board of the Department of Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology at ASU East.

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Chris Franz

President and Founder

Since 1993

Chris Franz leads the company's systems and network engineering team and has over 25 years of experience as a Systems and Network Engineer supporting enterprise level infrastructure and applications. Franz’s primary areas of interest include building scalable, highly available architectures along with performance testing and improvement. Franz is a former Vice President of Operations for Unicon, where he served in various roles as a Programmer, Consultant, and System Administrator. In addition, Franz was responsible for Unix program consulting with large for-profit organizations and government agencies, during which he led the application support team for one of the largest eLearning production deployments in the world to date. Before joining Unicon, Franz was a System Administrator and Programmer in Engineering Computer Services at Arizona State University.

Kate Valenti

Chief Operating Officer

Since 2003

Kate has over 20 years of consulting experience in enterprise application integration and deployment across the education ecosystem. As Chief Operating Officer, Kate leads the execution of strategies developed by our top management team and drives consistency and efficiency between and among departments. As an operational leader, she works at the intersection of client experience and employee engagement and places an emphasis on process clarity and data-driven decision-making. Previously, Kate held senior leader positions at Unicon including VP of Operations and Senior Director of Integrations and Analytics. Prior to joining Unicon, Kate worked at Cap Gemini Ernst & Young as a management consultant with a focus on enterprise application integration.  
 
Kate is passionate about the impact that well-designed and well-integrated technology can have on the learning experience. During her career in education, Kate has designed and developed integration strategies, programs, and technical services teams, and has delivered dozens of integrated solutions to the market. Kate has both participated in and facilitated industry panel conversations and holds the EDUCAUSE Review Author microcredential.

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Dan McCallum

Vice President Technology

Since 2006

Dan is VP Technology at Unicon, with over 21 years of professional software development and design experience focusing on systems integration and Web-based educational and student success/advising applications. Dan’s leadership helps equip Unicon technical delivery teams with the skills and cultural support that make Unicon both a great place to work and a uniquely capable and satisfying partner to our customers. Prior to joining Unicon, Dan developed software for the hospitality industry, including online transaction processing integrations with Internet-scale and legacy mainframe distribution systems. Dan is an ISC2 Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP).

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Patience Breinholt

Vice President Human Resources

Since 2000

Patience is SPHR certified and responsible for managing Human Resources at Unicon. As Vice President of HR, she oversees policy and procedure, recruiting and hiring practices, personnel development, retention approaches, benefits administration, conflict resolution, legal compliance issues, and managerial support. In her more than 20 years at Unicon, her achievements include developing a high caliber, peak performing HR department from the ground up that supports business strategy, productivity, and profitability, fostering a company culture in which employees enjoy working in a friendly and collaborative atmosphere, while the company maintains a stellar reputation among clients for superior quality, service, and professionalism.

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Jim Layne

Vice President Marketing

Since 2002

In his role at Unicon, Jim is responsible for developing, implementing, and executing corporate positioning and branding while driving an integrated communication strategy. On a daily basis, he oversees the company's marketing functions, including advertising, direct marketing, market research, public relations, and web presence. Jim joined Unicon in September 2002 with more than 20 years’ experience in both technical and marketing positions at leading edge, high-technology companies. Before joining Unicon, Jim was President of an online life-skills content development company for the K-12 marketplace. He was also founder and marketing vice president of one of the first free fantasy sports sites on the Web.

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Kenna Ose

Vice President Market Development

Since 2020

Kenna has over 25 years experience in the education technology market, with a focus on teaching, learning, and workforce readiness. Kenna recently joined Unicon's leadership team and oversees the strategic planning and implementation of all business development and marketing strategies. Prior to joining Unicon, Kenna played a strategic leadership role at several education technology companies focused on K12, higher education, and workforce readiness.

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Senior Directors

Patty Wolfe

Senior Director, Applications, Integration, & Data

Since 2001

Patty has over 20 years of project management and consulting experience, managing all aspects of client relationships including strategic planning and implementation, project delivery, client satisfaction, and P&L. Since joining Unicon in 2001, she has worked with companies such as Scholastic, John Wiley and Sons, and Pearson Education to deliver a diverse portfolio of projects including sophisticated online learning applications, simulations, and progressive assessments that deliver an individualized learning experience. She holds a Project Management Professional (PMP) and Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP) certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI), and a ScrumMaster® certification from the Scrum Alliance organization.

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Charise Arrowood

Senior Director, Identity

Since 2004

Charise has been with the company for 17 years. Her primary goals address security and access as she leads the Identity and Access Management Program for Unicon. Ms. Arrowood applies her experience from multiple industries in strategic planning, management, training, financial budgeting, and forecasting for Unicon’s IAM practice. She continues to build the identity business, and actively participates in open source communities. She is Unicon’s liaison for the Apereo Foundation, the InCommon Catalyst program, and Internet2.

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Flora Ketley

Senior Director, Technology Strategy & Operations

Since 2018

Flora has over 20 years of international experience focused on Strategic Planning, Portfolio & PMO Management, Financial Budgeting and Forecasting. She has delivered complex global programs across multiple industries to yield successful business results. Ms. Ketley manages the Technology Strategy & Operations Practice at Unicon, overseeing strategic client evaluations, technical due diligence engagements and cloud operations. Flora started at Unicon in 2018, and her responsibilities include supporting customer engagements from sales to service offerings, building client-facing relationships and developing strategic partnerships with Venture Capital firms, Higher Education institutions and EdTEch companies.

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Dr. Linda Crismon

Senior Director, Learning Experience Design

Since 2020

Dr. Crismon has over 15 years of international experience in learning and development and in higher education. At Unicon, she manages the Learning Experience Design practice, where her responsibilities encompass developing and implementing practice operations and management strategies, building relationships with clients, ensuring client satisfaction, and identifying and delivering on the needs of the market. Dr. Crismon is an active academic and researcher. She has been a Faculty Associate at Arizona State University since 2013, and has developed and taught a wide range of courses across various learning modalities. Her research interests include cross-cultural learning and teaching in higher education, social-emotional aspects of education, and strategies for promoting effective student engagement in educational processes.Flora started at Unicon in 2018, and her responsibilities include supporting customer engagements from sales to service offerings, building client-facing relationships and developing strategic partnerships with Venture Capital firms, Higher Education institutions and EdTEch companies.

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