Leadership Team

Gary Heinze

Gary Heinze

President and Chief Executive Officer

As president and CEO of Northwoods, Gary leads more than 100 employees in providing software and service solutions specifically designed for human services agencies. He provides strategic direction to ensure Northwoods achieves its vision to be globally recognized as the pioneer in the transformation of human services delivery. His responsibilities include strategic guidance, tactical implementation, and executive team leadership.

Gary is an accomplished executive with 20 years of experience working with document management systems. He has piloted Northwoods to a substantial and sustained period of growth since joining the company as president in 2003. He was named president and CEO of Northwoods in 2010. His specialties include business development, employee development, and innovative leadership. Prior to Northwoods, Gary worked for 12 years at Assured Micro-Services, Inc. His most recent role was senior account sales associate.

Gary attended The Ohio State University.


Chris Carlson

Chris Carlson

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Chris has a background in law and joined Northwoods in 2007 as legal counsel. After a few years, Chris moved into the operations of the company.Chris is Northwoods' vice president and chief operating officer. He works directly with the president and CEO to set the direction of Northwoods and oversees all company operations including product and services delivery, business development, marketing, finance and accounting, human resources, and legal affairs.

Chris began his legal career as an associate at the law firm of Bricker & Eckler LLP and helped open the firm’s office in Cleveland, Ohio.  Following Bricker & Eckler, Chris worked as an assistant at the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. He then held positions within the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services (and its predecessor agency, the Ohio Department of Human Services). Chris served as primary legal counsel for all contracting, purchasing, procurement, and asset management matters. He was a member of the executive staff for the one of the largest Ohio cabinet departments. Chris directly managed a staff of 27 employees that included attorneys and paralegals, and he was responsible for coordination and presentation of all departmental matters before the State of Ohio Controlling Board.

Chris received his Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Notre Dame. Chris then attended law school at Capital University where he received his Juris Doctor degree.


Jim Aten

Jim Aten

Executive VIce President and Chief Delivery Officer

Jim leads the delivery of Northwoods’ products and services from product creation and delivery through customer support. His focus is providing customer life cycle management. Jim brings extensive expertise in product delivery management to Northwoods from his 34 years experience in the technology field, which includes his role as a founding member of the software business at Rockwell Automation, and overseeing product management for the Interchange Software Group at Sterling Commerce. Jim also served as Vice President of Product Realization at Reynolds & Reynolds and built the Network Services business from the ground up to generate $25 million in revenue in five years. Most recently he was President of Salient Systems which provided advanced diagnostics and safety electronics and software to the railroad industry.

Jim served as one of the inaugural members of the Northwoods Business Advisory Board where he was instrumental in helping drive Northwoods’ goal to provide document management systems, customer service, and solutions that help state and county human services agencies increase client services levels and productivity while cutting costs.


Rich Diers

Rich Diers

Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer

Rich serves as Northwoods' chief technology officer. His responsibilities include setting the technical vision, strategy, and direction of Northwoods’ product offerings. Rich also leads the team responsible for managing Northwoods’ network infrastructure and product development systems and was responsible for the company’s adoption of the Agile style of software development.

At Northwoods, Rich has used his extensive technical expertise in a variety of roles including developer, engineer, project manager, product manager, and director of systems and application development.

Rich began his career at Assured Micro-Services, Inc., and was the director of engineering services for the firm. He has over 25 years of experience in the document management industry. He has actively led the implementation of numerous successful document management projects and continues his commitment to providing exemplary service to his customers at Northwoods.


Michael Littman

Michael Littman

Chief Financial Officer

Michael is the Chief Financial Officer for Northwoods. He is responsible for the Finance and Accounting Department. In this capacity he is responsible for the financial reporting and the results, budgeting, forecasting, financial modeling and analysis. He was originally hired as Northwoods’ Director of Financial Planning & Analysis.

Prior to Northwoods, Michael worked at Netsmart Technologies as the Assistant Vice President of Financial Planning. His role was to develop and report on the budget, perform financial modeling and analysis, work closely with sales, and actively participate in mergers and acquisitions. Before Netsmart, Michael was a Business Financial Analyst for Battelle where he was responsible for reporting on the valuation of their internal venture portfolio. Prior to Battelle, Michael held various positions with Enron Energy Services.

Michael earned his Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting, Finance, and Economics from The Ohio State University. Michael then went on to earn his Master’s in Business Administration with a major in Finance and Logistics from The Ohio State University. In addition, Michael completed and passed all of the course work for Business Valuation from The American Society of Appraisers.


Greg Tipping

Greg Tipping

Vice President, Complex Solutions

Greg is Northwoods’ chief services officer. In this role, Greg is responsible for all of the company’s project implementations throughout the country. He is also responsible for creating staffing plans, strategic planning, process management, and mentoring new project managers.

Since joining Northwoods in 2004, Greg has served in a variety of roles including business analyst, trainer, project manager, manager of field operations, director of operations, and chief operations officer.  Greg has been directly involved in over 120 implementations throughout the United States. In his management roles with Northwoods, Greg has been responsible for the growth and development of the project implementation methodology used by Northwoods today. This model meets all industry standards for project management and emphasizes communication, monitoring and control, as well as a partnership approach with Northwoods’ customers.

Greg’s background is with human service agencies. Greg spent five years as a case worker for Lucas County Department of Jobs and Family Services, worked as a finance manager for a state agency for two years, and spent two years as assistant director of the Wood County Department of Jobs and Family Services. In the role of assistant director, Greg acted as the project manager on the county side of the Northwoods implementation so he has a deep understanding of what Northwoods’ customers are looking for.

Greg earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing from the University of Toledo.


Rich Bowlen

Rich Bowlen

Vice President, Protective Services

Rich Bowlen leads the development of Northwoods’ technical and professional services offerings emphasizing Practice Management in the protective services arena.

Rich joined Northwoods from Fairfield County Job and Family Services in Ohio, where serving as Child and Adult Protective Services Director he established accreditation for the agency, secured a local levy for abused children and elderly, spearheaded a comprehensive organizational review and restructure and successfully secured several grants to promote development of innovative services. He began working as a licensed, front line social worker in 1991 with Franklin County Children Services before serving as a Lay Guardian ad Litem for the Franklin County Public Defender’s Office on child abuse, neglect and dependency cases. His strong desire to improve the lives of children and strengthen families led him to Fairfield County Job & Family Services where he served as a caseworker, foster care and adoption recruiter and Director of Operations.

Rich has presented at numerous state and national conferences on topics such as Transformational Leadership, Change Management, Differential Response, Community Engagement, Strategic Planning and Technological Solutions in Child Welfare. Rich is known for his passion for serving abused, neglected and maltreated children and has dedicated his entire career to improving the lives of children.