I'm Andy Potanin, a seasoned business leader, entrepreneur, and military veteran with a diverse and extensive background in technology, leadership, and entrepreneurship. My journey is characterized by resilience, dedication, and a relentless pursuit of knowledge and innovation.
In 2006, I took a significant step in my career when I joined the United States Marine Corps for data and cyber operations. My dedication and aptitude were quickly recognized as I topped my class in data school. This achievement was not just a personal milestone, but it also opened new doors for me within the Corps. I was selected for the role of a 0656 Technical Networking Engineer at 2nd Recon, a position that allowed me to further delve into the world of technology and cybersecurity. This role laid the groundwork for my future endeavors in the tech industry.
During my time in the Marines, I also attended advanced classes that included Security+, WiFi penetration, and other advanced topics. This further honed my technical skills and deepened my understanding of cybersecurity. I later ascended to the role of Data Chief within the unit's communication sector. During my service, I was stationed in North Carolina and deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).
While still on active duty, I pursued higher education at Campbell University, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology Management & Security. This combination of military service and academic pursuit provided me with a unique blend of practical experience and theoretical knowledge.
After an honorable discharge from the Marines in 2010, I began my post-military career at Northrop Grumman as a defense contractor, where I gained considerable experience in logistics and supply chain management.
In 2011, leveraging my military and academic experience, I founded Usability Dynamics, which later became UDX – a Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSB). Initially, the company focused on user interfaces and how humans interact with business systems.
In 2012, recognizing the potential for growth and talent in Eastern Europe, I spearheaded the expansion of Usability Dynamics / UDX into Ukraine, opening an office in Kharkiv. Over the next decade, the company grew significantly in the region, culminating in the acquisition of a building in 2022. This growth, however, was disrupted by the unfortunate invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
One of my significant accomplishments came in 2018 when UDX was contracted by Blackboard to lead cloud-native DevOps on Mobile Credential for Apple Pay. The project involved developing secure software applications on multiple platforms while ensuring compliance with stringent security protocols. I personally devised a secure automation pipeline that met Apple's rigorous standards, demonstrating my expertise in cloud security and compliance.
Following the success of the Mobile Credential project, Transact Campus, a billion-dollar FinTech leader and part of Blackboard, asked UDX to take over all cloud automation. They recognized our ability to provide "world-class DevOps". This was a significant turning point as we were tasked with modernizing a legacy company, making it agile, modern, and cloud-native. We successfully transformed their operations, demonstrating our expertise in cloud automation and our ability to unfuck complex legacy systems.
In addition to my role at UDX, I serve as the Senior Manager of Cloud Automation at Transact Campus. I bring over a decade of experience in building secure and compliant automation pipelines. My primary focus is on moving software products to the cloud securely and compliantly, leveraging automation to drive efficiency and resilience.
For the past five years, I have been expanding my knowledge and honing my skills through an executive MBA program at UNC Kenan-Flagler. This experience is enabling me to gain valuable insights on how to better steer UDX into the future.
My journey, from a military veteran to an entrepreneur and business leader, is a testament to my resilience, dedication, and passion for innovation. My unique blend of experiences and expertise makes me an invaluable asset in the tech industry and beyond.