Computer Science Alumni Testimonials
David J. Kowolenko ’87
Dave currently is responsible for overseeing the product operations of Comcast’s Northeastern Division Video, Data and Voice Products. In this capacity, he is responsible for product engineering of operations and business improvements for voice, video and data services over an 11 state region. “My biggest challenge is the rate of technology change and how we insure an excellent customer experience.” he said.
Dave has positive memories of his time at Eastern with Professors Charles Rommel and John Sharlow in Computer Science and Steve Kenton in Math. In fact, he distinctly recalled an independent study with Dr. Kenton. “I created a data base for tracking the equipment in the Sports Center,” said Dave. “For the first time I was forced to design something with the end user in mind. This experience along with the education that I received at Eastern provided the foundation from which I built my professional career.”
Dave earned three degrees at Thames Valley State Technical College (now Three Rivers CC) before matriculating to Eastern. He is a strong proponent of higher education. “The bottom line is that quality universities like Eastern have the ability to energize and engage students so that they succeed,” he said. He also went on to earn a Master’s Degree from the University of New Haven.
Dave’s career in telecommunications began at Southern New England Telephone in 1986, working as a Manager in their technical support organization for switching systems. Just prior to his departure almost a decade later, he was an integral part in advancing the industry’s first cable telephony phone trial in Stamford. In 1997, Dave started in the cable television industry focusing on the introduction of voice services. He has held positions in Marketing, Engineering, and Operations at the local and national levels within Comcast.
In 2007 Dave was awarded the Women in Cable Television (WICT) New England Chapter’s Technical Achievement award. This award Recognizes individuals from the industry for accomplishments that have significantly contributed to the progress of the industry. In 2009, Dave was a recipient of Comcast’s North Central Division Leadership Excellence Award for leaders that demonstrate consistent dedication and drive within the organization. Lastly in 2013, he was the recipient of SCTE’s Bill Riley Personal Achievement Award. The recipients of this award are recognized for their outstanding accomplishments at the personal and professional levels. The award criteria touches on the areas of basic knowledge and skills of the industry, professionalism in the workplace, community and professional involvement that enhances the positive perception of the CATV industry and its engineering. Also in 2013 Kowolenko co-authored a white paper for the SCTE title “How Do You Consume a Yotta Data? One Byte at a Time!” This paper addressed the emerging field of big data analytics and how to apply this technology to the Cable Industry.
Dave, also believes in giving back to the community. He currently sits on the Board of Directors for Quinnebaug Valley Emergency Communications (QVEC), a non-profit 911 emergency dispatch center located in East Killingly and is a veteran member of the Mortlake Fire Company in Brooklyn.
Ernst Renner ’94
Ernst holds a Bachelors of Science in Computer Science from Eastern and an Associate of Science in Computer Engineering from Thames Valley State College. He started NEOS in 2000, and in his role as CEO, he is responsible for the vision and direction of NEOS Holdings LLC, NEOS and Vgo Software, whose focus areas are business and IT optimization and modernization. NEOS core practices areas are business consulting, data management and strategy, and technology modernization.
Since founding the business, Ernst has grown the companies to provide a focus on holistic modernization solutions for complete business and IT transformational offerings.
Ernst’ professional background spans more than 20 years of executive management and leadership in national and international business and technology. Prior to starting NEOS, Ernst was the CIO at MeTV Networks, Inc. where he drove the company’s IT strategy and product development, while leading the company through several rounds of investment financing. Prior to MeTV, Ernst held various leadership positions at The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., where he led the information architecture and technology efforts for the individual annuities, group annuities, mutual funds and life insurance business units. “I worked my tail off, especially early in my career,” said Ernst. “That is what Eastern taught me – you have to outwork people to get ahead in life. My parents instilled that work ethic in me at an early age.”
Since 2000, Ernst has focused his efforts on the insurance, financial services and media industries. Ernst has worked directly with executives at all of NEOS’ clients.
Ernst is continuously recognized for his leadership. While at The Hartford, Ernst received The Hartford Insurance Groups Chairman’s Award, The President’s Award twice and The Hartford IT Excellence Award four times. He was also recognized as a Connecticut “40 under 40″ award winner for his professional accomplishments and public service. Ernst was a board member of The Connecticut Technology Council and in 2011 was selected as the Connecticut IT Forum Chairman. Due to the company’s success, The Connecticut Technology Council granted NEOS the “Business Growth” and Connecticut’s “Business to Watch” awards.
Ernst has spoken on modernization topics at conferences throughout North America and Europe.