The Northwoods Team

We provide best-of-breed products and services, but it's our people who make the real difference.

Northwoods team has human services expertiseOur team has hundreds of years of direct human services experience, giving us an intimate knowledge of state and local agencies’ programs, processes, and pain points. This helps us understand and anticipate our customers’ needs and expectations, while allowing us to complete projects on time and on budget.

More importantly, we mean it when we say “your mission is our mission.”

We value every opportunity to spend time with human services professionals to learn more about how we can make a meaningful, positive impact on those who serve and are served. It inspires us to work hard to deliver technology solutions that allow more people to do more good. We do what we do because there are people in our community who need help. Because we want to help. Because we can.

100%

99%

10 years

employees that feel good about the ways we contribute to the community

employees that feel a sense of pride in what we accomplish

average years our services team members previously worked in human services

 


OUR VALUES

Our shared purpose, vision for the future, and core values shape every decision we make, including how we build products, who we partner with, and how we interact with each other. It is the language of how things get done at Northwoods and the standard that we hold each team member to each and every day.

Core Values

Curiosity

We crave knowledge.

Community

We work together.

Resourcefulness

We find solutions.

Stewardship

We protect Northwoods.


OUR CUSTOMERS

Our sole focus on human services and commitment to helping customers meet their missions is why county and state agencies across the country choose us as their partner.

"The Northwoods team was interested in what we did and how we did it. The focus and priority the team placed on understanding our business and meeting our specific needs differentiated them from other vendors."

Roxane Somerlot, Director, Marion County Job and Family Services

"I never refer to Northwoods as a vendor anymore because we are partners."

Todd Shanley, IT Manager, Cabarrus County Department of Human Services

“Northwoods has it together in terms of the way to roll out a project, the way to ensure buy-in, the process by which the project is implemented, and the support that’s offered once the project is completed.”

Kara Terry, Community Services Director, Crow Wing County Community Services


LEADERSHIP TEAM

Gary Heinze

Gary Heinze

President and Chief Executive Officer

Gary Heinze’s mission is a simple one: leave the world a better place than when he got here. Leading a company that’s dedicated to helping serve the most vulnerable members of society is just one way Gary fulfills that mission.

Gary is the conductor of the orchestra—responsible for keeping everyone at Northwoods in tune and playing at the right tempo. As president and CEO, he provides strategic direction to ensure the various pieces of the business play in harmony, allowing Northwoods to provide technology solutions that empower human services workers to deliver better outcomes to people who need help.

Gary is always looking for ways that Northwoods can do more, give more, and grow more to be not just a software company, but a place that leaves a lasting and meaningful impact on the world.


Rich Diers

Rich Diers

Chief Innovation Officer

The world doesn’t just need companies that build technology; it needs companies that can find a purpose for the technology they build. That’s why Rich Diers comes to work every day.

Rich believes in “falling in love” with customers’ problems—watching what they do, how they do it, and where they struggle—and then using the insights he collects to create software that helps solve those problems in new and unique ways.

As chief innovation officer, Rich combines his love for technology with his desire to help people by determining the most meaningful ways human services agencies can apply emerging tools and innovative practices to make the biggest impact on the community. He’s our “champion of change”—encouraging everyone at Northwoods to think more creatively about how we can grow as an organization in a way that benefits our customers.

As he explained what he does to his son one day, his son summarized it best: Rich’s job is to create really awesome technology to help the people who help the people who need help.


Brian LaMee

Brian LaMee

Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer

Brian LaMee loves technology almost as much as he enjoys showing people how it can change their lives for the better. He works at Northwoods because he can see the impact our solutions have on social services agencies and knows that their clients can get the care they need faster because of what we do.

Brian is constantly learning, asking questions, and finding new ways to solve problems. He thrives on understanding how people communicate, learn, and research so he can break down complex topics in a way that makes them make sense to anyone. This all comes in handy in the technology world, which can be intimidating and hard to understand (often when it doesn’t have to be).

Bringing together his passion and prowess as Northwoods’ Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer, Brian oversees the overall marketing and sales strategy, brand development, messaging, and positioning of our solutions. His goal is to continuously adapt our channels and messages to help organizations find us, learn about our solutions, and understand how we can help them realize the benefits of our technology.


Nick Patel

Nick Patel

Chief Financial Officer

Nick Patel has spent the past 17 years helping large and small businesses make informed, smart financial decisions. What attracted him to Northwoods is our commitment to collaboration and working together toward a common, meaningful mission. More importantly, working here gives Nick the ability to combine his business and technically savvy with his own personal goal of making sure all children are healthy, cared for, and safe.

As chief financial officer, Nick is responsible for overseeing Northwoods’ financial health to ensure the business is in a position for continued growth, while investing in our people, products, and mission. He focuses on providing Northwoods’ leadership team with the insights and information they need to make data-driven decisions that help to push the company forward.


Steve Roth

Steve Roth

Chief Product Officer

Steve Roth thrives working with smart, passionate people to build great technology products that make the world a better place. He gravitates toward mission-driven companies and joined Northwoods because of our people, purpose, and culture.

As chief product officer, Steve oversees product delivery, product management, and customer support. He combines deep technical, product, and business acumen with customer input to make sure we build products that deliver value, solve problems, and help human services agencies achieve their goals.

Steve knows it takes a village to create great software that users love. He focuses on removing obstacles, asking questions, and setting goals so his team can realize their best results and focus on what matters most—improving the lives of customers who are doing incredibly valuable work.


Bill Gray

Bill Gray

Vice President, Financial Analysis

Social workers go to school to learn how to strengthen individuals and families. Yet when they get into the field, they spend more time filling out forms and scanning documents than doing actual social work. Bill Gray has worked since day one to find ways to reduce the time it takes social workers to manage routine tasks, so they can spend more time helping people.

One of the company’s first employees, Bill is the bridge between Northwoods’ past and future, ensuring we never lose our founding focus on making frontline workers’ lives easier. Today, as vice president of financial analysis, this means combining historical perspective with projections and planning models so that we can continue to invest in new and better solutions for our customers.

Bill also applies Northwoods’ outward approach to business—observing customers to identify ways they can be more efficient—inwardly to streamline financial processes and improve collaboration between teams, from sales to support and everyone in between. The better we work together, the bigger the impact we can have on the organizations we help.


Michael Drabek

Michael Drabek

Vice President - Sales, Local Government

Success at Northwoods isn't about the software we sell, it's about the people whose lives we impact by selling it. Michael Drabek thrives on knowing we offer solutions that empower the human services workforce to provide holistic benefits, treatment, and services to the vulnerable people they help.

As vice president of sales for local government, Michael coaches and mentors Northwoods' business development representatives so they can grow and nurture business at the county level.

One of the original members of our sales team, Michael knows the challenges of government buying better than anybody in the business. He uses this insight to lead his team in developing more structured and proactive approaches to selling, while providing agencies with the information they need to make technology decisions that support their mission and position them to achieve long-term success.


Laura Haffield

Laura Haffield

Director of Advocacy

A former social worker in public child welfare, Laura Haffield has seen first-hand how social workers quietly do what needs to be done to help and heal those in need, often while receiving little recognition or community support. Social work is an underserved profession in many ways, but Laura will never stop trying to change that.

Laura excels amplifying voices of those long gone unheard, getting curious and asking questions to understand problems, and communicating in ways that make sense to each person based on what motivates them. This combination serves her well as director of advocacy, where she’s the bridge between Northwoods’ internal and external audiences. Laura’s job is ensuring that the needs, challenges, and voice of human and social services agencies are known and listened to by everyone at Northwoods. She also engages industry groups and associations to share how Northwoods’ solutions and approach to business can help solve important problems.

Laura thrives knowing that working for Northwoods means working for a company that makes the social worker the most important person in every decision, from what we build, to how we implement, to how we support our partners along the way.


Aaron Caldwell

Aaron Caldwell

Director of the Northwoods Support Center

Aaron Caldwell is passionate about the work our customers do and is always looking to help them solve problems using his experience and knowledge of technology. Aaron’s enthusiasm for helping our customers rubs off on everyone he works with to create a culture at Northwoods that puts customers first in everything we do.

Aaron has over a decade of experience implementing and supporting technology solutions for human services agencies. As director of the Northwoods Support Center, Aaron leads Northwoods’ support and upgrades teams who keep our customers’ systems running at peak performance so they can focus solely on helping clients. He makes sure both Northwoods and our customers are prepared for future technology and business changes that will impact them.


Jonathan Eakins

Jonathan Eakins

Director of Services

Jonathan (Jon) Eakins thrives knowing every day he’s counted on to contribute to a company that helps not only the workers who rely on its software, but also the communities in which those workers serve. As Northwoods’ director of services, Jon is able to do just that.

Jon has been a key contributor and leader during Northwoods’ expansion in human services sector. He draws on nearly two decades of experience integrating our technology with agencies’ business processes to provide a complete and comprehensive solution.

Jon has a knack for looking at a project from all sides to understand the key customers involved—How are they wired? What motivates them? Then, he identifies the right team at Northwoods and what skills, support, and tools they need to implement the project successfully and ensure customers are happy. Jon combines his people skills and business acumen in a way that makes the most impact on both the customer and the community.


Lauren Hirka

Lauren Hirka

Director of Product Marketing

Collaboration and a love for our customers are two of the key things that keep Lauren Hirka coming back to work every day. She values the opportunity to form meaningful partnerships with the agencies we serve and have ongoing dialogue around how to continuously improve our products to support their incredible work.

Lauren’s passion for making a difference drives her role as director of product marketing, where she’s responsible for making sure that both customers and employees have what they need to realize the impact of new products and functionality as changes roll out. Lauren also works with partner agencies across the country to understand challenges and insights to inform future features.

Lauren has spent hundreds of hours with human services professionals to research and develop our products. In doing so, she’s learned how to translate feedback from the field into something that makes sense to our technical teams, and vice versa. This loop, with Lauren at the center, ensures that both our internal and external audiences are on the same page and moving forward together.


Tiffany Himmelreich

Tiffany Himmelreich

Director of Marketing

It’s easy to make assumptions and judgments about what social workers and caseworkers do. Movies, newspapers, and other forms of media tend to focus on the negative, fueling misperceptions as a result. Tiffany Himmelreich knows for every negative story or outcome shared, there’s an equally positive one that wasn’t … so it’s her job to help tell those stories.

Tiffany oversees strategic communications, content creation, demand generation, sales enablement, and public relations initiatives as director of marketing.

Whether that’s publishing customer case studies or planning messaging to support a product launch, Tiffany’s role revolves around getting to know customers—observing how they think, how they use information, and how they respond to different messages—and using those insights to tell stories and create resources that empower Northwoods to help as many people as possible.


Jeff Turner

Jeff Turner

Director of Software Engineering

Whether it's using raw materials, team members, or code, Jeff Turner likes to put things together that solve real-world problems. He also tries to learn something new every day that might have an impact on what we build in the future. Jeff's figure-it-out mentality and passion for always thinking beyond the status quo are the driving factors of his work.

As director of software engineering, Jeff empowers Northwoods' development teams to build quality, scalable software without sacrificing security or performance. He also spearheads our ongoing efforts to address customer feedback and add value to our solutions through new features and functionality.

One of the most seasoned members of Northwoods' product delivery team, Jeff knows the intricacies of developing and deploying software for human services agencies better than anybody in the business. He thrives knowing that every minute we can give back to caseworkers through our solutions compounds their ability to find balance and create positive outcomes for underprivileged kids and families. 


Noah Pugh

Noah Pugh

IT Director

Noah Pugh thrives by empowering other people to succeed. Whether it’s his own team or the whole company, he knows that each of us needs to do our best work to help Northwoods impact the most agencies and families.

Noah’s goal as IT director is using technology to improve Northwoods’ mission through quick resolution and the right solution while being fiscally responsible and mitigating risk. He does this by always asking questions, listening to the needs of the business, and probing at technology issues to guide employees to the best decisions, while making sure everyone learns something along the way.

Having worked in several different business units within Northwoods, Noah pairs his deep understanding of our past and vision for the future to make sure we continue heading in the right direction. By providing top-notch service to employees, they can do the same for our customers.