Program Team Bios

Aaron Walz
Governance, Facilitator, Coach

Aaron WalzI am currently Director of the Business Intelligence Competency Center in Purdue’s central IT organization. Before joining Purdue in 2014, I spent over 12 years at Illinois as part of the Decision Support group within AITS. Most recently, I was the Assistant Vice President for Decision Support.

I’ve been managing people for more than 14 years, the last four of those as a director. I’m especially interested in the strategy and planning aspects of leadership and management, organizational behavior, personal effectiveness, and promoting organizational health. Like most managers, I’ve also been affected quite a bit by both positive and negative role models throughout my career. I’m excited about MGRdev because I’ve had to learn most of what I know the hard way, and I think this is a great opportunity for us to learn from each other and “pay it forward” for other IT managers.

AJ Lavender

I am the Assistant Director for PPMO with AITS. I manage a team of 6 project managers and we provide project management for ITPC, AITS and the office of the CFO.  Throughout my 12 year career I have managed projects that vary in size from large software implementations with multiple phases and a large teams to small improvement projects. The skills I learned as a PM has been very helpful as I have transitioned into a management role. Over the last two years I have been working on my leadership and managers skillset. As a 2018 graduate of MGRdev, I learned skills I was able to implement immediately to help me elevate my team.
I am excited to be a coach as a part of MGRdev. As an attendee of MGRdev I saw the power of what a positive coach and a willingness to grow and learn can achieve. I have strong desire to help people solve problems and help eliminate obstacles that stand in the way of their goals. I am looking forward to help others achieve their goals as well as continuing my journey of improvement.

Amanda Bland

I am the Director of Enterprise Applications for the University of Illinois Foundation.  I currently manage a team of business systems analysts and application developers that optimize and support UIF enterprise applications, namely the University’s fundraising software.
Prior to joining the Foundation in 2017, I spent 15 years at AITS supporting University of Illinois enterprise-wide IT software and process improvement initiatives.  Throughout my career I have gained valuable knowledge in business analysis, project management, software development and process improvement.  I have a passion for process improvement and love working with groups to analyze a process, determine the pain points and facilitate that group to propose and implement solutions to make things work more efficiently.
I have been enhancing my management and leadership skills by attending ITLW, MGRdev, Parkland’s Leadership series and VitalSmarts Crucial Conversations trainings.  MGRdev provided a unique combination of content, practicum and coaching that worked well.  The practical skills learned in MGRdev are ones that I could put to use immediately and are topics every manager would benefit from learning more about no matter where they are in their management journey.  I look forward to being a part of the program as a coach to others and continuing to develop myself as a manager.

Amy Glenn

I am the Assistant Director for Business Process Improvement with AITS. I manage a team of facilitators that lead engagements with customers who are looking to improve their business operations to eliminate waste, save time, reduce costs, and improve quality. I have taught short courses on Lean, Six Sigma, Facilitation and Process Improvement since 2012 and thoroughly enjoy teaching others about the culture of lean and continuous improvement. Prior to joining AITS back in 2012, I spent 6 years in University Human Resources Office as an Enterprise Systems Coordinator for System wide projects.
As a 2019 graduate of the MGRdev program, I have been able to implement the skills and tools that I learned and found great value in the topics that I use daily as a leader and manager. I am looking forward to giving back and to the next co-hort as a facilitator in the program!

Brad Mahaffey

I transitioned from an IT technical career into IT management in 2013 after having the opportunity to serve as a team lead and interim manager. Today, I am the Associate Director for IT Operations for Engineering IT Shared Services, overseeing 4 managers and 33 staff delivering core IT services to the College of Engineering. I began my career at the University of Illinois after graduating from Illinois State University in 2002, and 6 years in the U.S. Army and Illinois Army National Guard in 2004. I am currently completing my final semester at the School of Labor and Employment Relations where I will graduate with a Master of Human Resources and Industrial Relations. Since becoming a manager, I developed an interest in all aspects of Human Resources, particularly where it intersects with IT organizations. I have been able to use these intersecting experiences to do part-time consulting in HR for other higher education IT organizations, which I hope to leverage in MGRdev, as well. As a 2014 graduate of the MGRdev program I am proud to finally be able to give back to the program that taught me so much at a critical point in my own managerial journey. I am humbled and honored to be able to join the exceptional program staff that MGRdev has gathered together.

Danny Tang
Governance, Facilitator, Coach


I am currently the Chief Technology Officer for the College of Engineering @ the University of Iowa.  Prior to joining the University of Iowa, I worked for 11 years at the University of Illinois. 6 of those years were for Engineering IT Shared Services in a variety of management roles. My current passions in management are coaching and developing my direct reports, most of whom are in their first supervisory roles, into competent and capable managers.

I consider my involvement in MGRdev, first as a member of the pilot cohort, and now as a facilitator, as a cornerstone of my professional growth. Facilitating modules allows me to deep dive into core management disciplines.  And I get to interact with and learn from a group of fun and highly capable managers.  What a deal!  I’m very excited for this upcoming cohort.  If you’re interested, please apply.  You will not regret it!

Darius Summerville
Facilitator, Coach

I am a Senior IT Field Consultant, Field Consulting Coordinator, and Team Lead for OnSite Student Consulting at Technology Services. Which is where I began my IT career in 2014 through their Field Consulting professional internship program. In my current roles, I serve as Team Lead for Student Services IT where I lead a group of four IT professionals to provide technical support for various units within Student Affairs and provide coaching and oversight for various Field Consulting engagements. I also manage a group of 25 student consultants, which engage with various departments around campus, and provide on demand technical support to faculty, staff, retirees, and students.

My non-conventional route into IT has provided unique views on team building, job shadowing, managing, and leading teams. In addition to my IT career, for more than 10 years, I have provided personal or professional mentoring and coaching through various avenues. For as long as I can remember, my passion has been to serve others through mentoring, coaching, and continuously finding ways to hone my skills in those areas. Most recently, I have attended ITLW (2018), MGRDev (2019), and Technology of Participation ToP Facilitation Methods Workshop (2016). I am excited and honored to be joining this amazing group of Facilitators and Coaches to build upon the continued excellence of MGRDev

Gale Stafford
Science Advisor

GaleStafford_ProfessionalPhoto-161kbI am a management consultant, working primarily with people in software and information technology. And I am the author of The Talent Formula: How to Engage People, Improve Teamwork, and Elevate Performance Using the New Science of Management. I started my IT work as an undergraduate student in 1991 in Technology Services when it was under a different name of CCSO. After getting my degree, I worked in the Denver area and the San Francisco area, in IT roles. Then I worked in CITES from 2004 to early 2015 as an IT service manager, analyst, and lastly, as a manager. I am, along with Jake MacGregor, co-founder of MGRdev.

Jim Hurst
Governance, Facilitator, Coach


I am currently the Director of Engineering IT Shared Services, a broad-spectrum IT organization of about 75 staff. I have been a manager for about 10 years and a director for the last three. The people who work with me will tell you I am very results-oriented, so I love setting up goals, building plans and then checking things off. But I also have a passion for developing and mentoring staff to see people grow into their potential.

I’m a firm believer that management is a fundamentally different skill set than the technology skills that most of us practiced to get here. IT in general and here at our institution in particular often fails to even acknowledge that difference, let alone identify and grow that skill set among our community. So I was instantly enthusiastic to get involved in this program when Jake and Gale brought it to my attention and I am thrilled to be working on MGRdev.

Stephen Kemp
Governance (Chair), Facilitator, Coach

I am an IT Service Delivery Liaison for Technology Services at the University of Illinois. My primary role is to design and facilitate conversations that help teams improve their ability to work together more effectively and improve performance. I’ve been an employee of the University for over 15 years, starting with Technology Services in 2001, moving to the College of Veterinary Medicine in 2008, then returning to Technology Services in 2013. Most of this time has been spent either in management or leadership roles, and I am proof positive that what you learn in MGRdev are not talents that you are born with but rather skills that you learn, refine, and perfect via intentional practice over time.

My professional passion resides in facilitation, coaching, and instruction. I absolutely love opportunities to help teams and individuals work through their challenges, find solutions under their own power, and determine proper strategies to improve. My reward comes in the form of seeing the light bulbs turn on brightly when someone reaches a conclusion on a difficult issue all on their own- and all I had to do was to ask the right questions. By teaching these skills and passing along lessons learned my hope is to show managers that, with a little preparation and the right tools in hand, they can enable their teams to be far more effective than they ever thought possible.


Todd Bordner

I am currently a Project Management Office (PMO) manager in Purdue’s central IT organization. Before joining Purdue in 2013, I worked for 18 years with Delphi Automotive Systems holding various lead / manager roles over Engineering IT support, Computer Aided Design (CAD), Global Electrical Engineering Process, and PMO.

I would describe my initial manager “training” the way I suppose many do: I got promoted, and they didn’t tell me anything about what I was supposed to do or how I was supposed to do it. I tried to piece together influences from my previous managers. Attending MGRdev gave me actionable guidance about what I do and my behaviors as a manager. I now enjoy sharing these principles with other managers through book studies and coaching.