Tech Moves: Buerk Center director resigns; UiPath taps Microsoft vet to lead new office; and more

Rob Adams, former director of the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, has stepped down after a year in the role. (UW Photo)

Rob Adams, the director of the University of Washington’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, has resigned from that role, GeekWire has learned. His departure comes just a year after he took over from longtime director Connie Bourassa-Shaw, who retired last June.

Adams — a Seattle angel investor, startup mentor and the former acquisitions manager for Cisco — told GeekWire in an email that he stepped down to pursue his passion for teaching.

“I left because I wanted to do more teaching and the University rules discourage staff personnel from teaching,” Adams said. “I loved my time at the University but I served the mission better in the classroom, where my passions are.”

Before becoming the center’s director, Adams taught the Buerk’s “Creating a Company” course, which Bourassa-Shaw pioneered. He has also served as a guest lecturer and advisor to other classes in the Foster School of Business, which houses the Buerk Center. Adams said he hasn’t finalized his plans, but that he does plan to continue teaching.

Reached by email, Foster School of Business Dean Jim Jiambalvo said Adams “has been an excellent instructor in our entrepreneurship program in the past. I expect he will participate as an instructor in the future.”

The Buerk Center will now be led by interim director Amy Sallin, who has served as the center’s second in command for the past six years. During that time, she has overseen the center’s annual Business Plan Competition for student-run startups, among other programs.

Much of the Buerk Center’s mission and programming was pioneered by Bourassa-Shaw, who led the center for more than 11 years. Jiambalvo previously told GeekWire that Bourassa-Shaw has been the “heart and soul of the entrepreneurship program at Foster.”

Param Kahlon. (UiPath Photo)

—  New-York based technology automation company UiPath has opened an AI-focused engineering office in Bellevue, Wash., along with a big hire.

The company named former Microsoft general manager and SAP executive Param Kahlon its chief product officer. Kahlon will oversee the company’s product offices in Bellevue, Bangalore, India, and Bucharest, Romania.

GeekWire has reached out to UiPath for more details on its new Bellevue office and will update this post when we hear back.

“As we prepare for the next stage of growth for our company, access to AI talent and innovation is essential,” UiPath CEO Daniel Dines said in a press release. “Param’s deep expertise with enterprise software, coupled with his impressive network of key stakeholders in the industry cultivated during his time at Microsoft and SAP, make him an incredible asset for us. The Bellevue team will be a critical driver of next-gen business processes as it sets us on the path to AI.”

Kahlon was most recently the general manager of Dynamics 365’s customer engagement apps at Microsoft. He was previously an executive at software giant SAP, overseeing product management and enterprise mobility.

UiPath’s software offers robotic process automation services, automating repetitive coding tasks to help developers work more effectively. In its press release, UiPath said artificial intelligence is important to its product and will be a key part of the company’s work moving forward.

Bich Le. (Philips Photo)

Philips, a global healthcare company, announced that it has tapped longtime General Electric Healthcare executive Bich Le as the new CEO of its Ultrasound Business Group.

Le will be based in the company’s Bothell, Wash., office, which is the headquarters for Philip’s ultrasound, oral healthcare and emergency care and resuscitation businesses. The company employs roughly 2,000 people at that location, which dates back to its acquisition of electric toothbrush maker Sonicare.

Le joins the company from General Electric’s healthcare division, where she spent nearly 20 years. She was most recently the VP and general manager of molecular imaging and previously led divisions including PET imaging, sales for the U.S. and Canada and new product development.

InaMarie Johnson. (Zendesk Photo)

— San-Francisco based customer service platform Zendesk hired human relations expert InaMarie Johnson as its first chief people officer. Zendesk has offices around the country, including an office of nine employees in Portland, Ore., which develops its internal communication tool, Zendesk Inbox.

Zendesk develops a customer service and engagement platform used by companies like Uber, Shopify and Airbnb.

Johnson joins the company from telecommunications company Plantronics, where she was the chief of human resources. She was previously the chief human resources officer at supply chain management company UTi Worldwide and spent nine years in human resources at Honeywell. Johnson will be based at Zendesk’s San Francisco headquarters.

Ian Herbert-Jones. (Photo courtesy of Shiftboard)

—  Scheduling and hourly workforce management provider Shiftboard tapped London-based technology executive Ian Herbert-Jones to serve as VP of internal operations. Herbert-Jones will lead the company’s business operations outside North America, which Shiftboard is continuing to expand.

“With best-in-class technology coupled with a tangible return on investment and overwhelming positive customer feedback, Shiftboard has a clear opportunity to build on an impressive base of enterprise customers by expanding into more geographies and industries,” he said in a press release. “I’m thrilled to be a part of a company that has a proven technology, but also pushes forward seeking new solutions and ways to disrupt the workforce management space.”

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