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Management Team

Gene J. Zimmerman, President, CEO

Founder of Cobalt in 1997, Gene Zimmerman made his name in broadcast working for Odetics and then as a consultant for National TeleConsultants. While consulting, Zimmerman worked on high profile projects such as the build out for Fox News in New York, and the 1996 and 2002 Olympics. As the President and CEO of Cobalt Digital, Zimmerman is the public face of the company at industry tradeshows and events. A thought leader, Zimmerman is able to influence the public discourse and shape the industry as it transitions into the next generation of technology. Zimmerman is a long-time member of the Society of Broadcast Engineers and supporter of the standardization work of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. He is based at Cobalt’s headquarters in Champaign, Illinois.

Christopher Shaw, Chief Operations Officer

As Chief Operations Officer, industry veteran Chris Shaw oversees the sales team and Cobalt's marketing efforts, while also focusing on all areas of business development including expansion of the company’s solution platforms and its growth in international markets. Prior to his role as COO, Shaw served as Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing where he helped establish the Cobalt’s global dealer network and grow its presence through integrated sales, marketing and communication initiatives. Previously Shaw held leadership positions with Linear Acoustic and Wohler, responsible for sales in regions ranging from the Americas to the entire world. He is based in Texas.

Robert Goetting, Chief Financial Officer

Bob Goetting joined Cobalt in 2020. As Chief Financial Officer he is responsible for overseeing all accounting and finance functions as well as being involved in corporate administration. Prior to joining Cobalt, Goetting spent almost 20 years in public accounting, followed by over 6 years as the CFO of a large construction company. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in Accountancy with high honors, and has been a licensed CPA in Illinois since that time. He is based at Cobalt’s headquarters in Champaign, Illinois.

Dr. Ciro Noronha, Executive Vice President of Engineering

Dr. Ciro Noronha is Executive Vice President of Engineering and was one of the founders of ImmediaTV Corporation, acquired by Cobalt Digital in 2016. Dr. Noronha holds a BS and MS in Electrical Engineering from Instituto Tecnologico de Aeronautica, Brazil, and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. He has worked in the compressed video over IP space since 1995. Noronha has previously held engineering management positions at Optivision, SkyStream, Tandberg Television, and Ericsson, having led the development of a number of compression and networking products, including encoders, decoders, transcoders, gateways, and multiplexers.  In 1999 and 2001, he had appointments as Consulting Professor at the Electrical Engineering Department at Stanford University. Dr. Noronha is the author or co-author of a number of academic papers and has six issued patents.

Suzana Brady, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Marketing

Suzana Brady, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Marketing, reports to Chris Shaw and works closely with the executive team to define geographical and technical areas of growth and implement sales, marketing and operational strategies. Brady previously held the position of Vice President of Sales in the Americas. Her career has spanned over two decades and includes work in data networking, wireless, broadband and broadcast technology spaces. Prior to Cobalt she held technical sales and marketing management positions at ImmediaTV, IDC, Logic Innovations, SkyStream Networks and 3Com Corp. Brady also serves as Chairman for the RIST Forum (Reliable Internet Streaming Transport). Suzana Brady holds a BS in Engineering with a Major in Chemistry from the Catholic University in Brazil, and Marketing and Business Management certificates from UC Berkeley and The Wharton Business Schools.

Ira Goldstone, Vice President of Next Gen Broadcast Solutions
As Vice President of Next Gen Broadcast Solutions, Ira Goldstone is the company’s ATSC representative and reports directly to Gene Zimmerman. Prior to joining Cobalt, Goldstone served as VP of Engineering for several large media organizations where he was known for implementing state-of-the-art technologies and creating strategic alliances. He brings a long-term view on technology strategy, and plans for the needs of today with architecture that provides the foundation for future growth. Goldstone is based in California.
Nicholas Maag, Vice President of Manufacturing

Nicholas Maag, Vice President of Manufacturing, began his tenure with Cobalt in 2005 as production manager and was subsequently promoted to Director of Manufacturing responsible for the company’s supply chain, purchasing, and production schedules. As Vice President of Manufacturing, Maag will continue to manage the day-to-day operations of Cobalt’s contract manufacturers, test department, and shipping/receiving activities. He will report directly to Chris Shaw and also interface closely with other senior members of the engineering, sales, and accounting teams to develop and evaluate new processes that streamline all manufacturing activities with the ultimate goal of guaranteeing customer satisfaction. Before joining Cobalt, Maag spent two years as purchasing and inventory manager at scientific instrumentation manufacturer, ISS. He holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Illinois State University and works at Cobalt headquarters in Champaign, Illinois.

Ryan Wallenberg, Vice President of Engineering

As Vice President of Engineering, Ryan Wallenberg oversees the engineering department and sets the product development direction for Cobalt — a role that involves working with customers to understand requirements, working with the design group and product manager on product specifications, managing Cobalt’s various core engineering teams, and reporting directly to top-level management. Wallenberg joined Cobalt in 2007 as a product engineer involved in many aspects of a product lifecycle, working on everything from low-level schematic and PCB design all the way to firmware development. In 2013, while still involved in product development, Wallenberg shifted his core focus to team management when he became the leader of the embedded engineering team. He was promoted to director of engineering in 2014 and vice president of engineering in 2016. Wallenberg earned two bachelor’s degrees from Illinois Institute of Technology: one in electrical engineering and the other in computer engineering. He is based in Champaign, Illinois.

Kyle Wilken, Vice President of Firmware

As Vice President of Firmware at Cobalt Digital, Kyle Wilken oversees the company’s embedded development and works with customers to define requirements for future engineering projects. Wilken joined Cobalt in 2013 as a senior FPGA developer. He then served as embedded development manager where he has had a significant impact on many groundbreaking technologies including HDR, Text-to-Speech, EAS, and 4K video processing. Before Cobalt, Wilken worked 12 years in the medical imaging and defense industries. Wilken graduated in 2001 from Bradley University with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He is based in Champaign, Illinois.

Monte Variakojis, Vice President of Software

As Vice President of Software, Monte Variakojis is responsible for developing and managing Cobalt’s overall software strategy. This includes evaluating and selecting the most appropriate system architectures and ensuring that the company’s platforms support all the latest formats including 3G/HD/SD and IPTV solutions. A software engineer and architect for nearly three decades, Variakojis will also focus on creating advanced user interfaces and protocols to enhance the user experience for Cobalt customers. He reports to Dr. Ciro Noronha, Cobalt’s Executive Vice President of Engineering.