Whatever success I’ve had in business has been based on early experiences I had as a sales professional. I am not the person who wins everyone over immediately, rather I am the one who delivers consistently, every time. Through years of enjoying trust-based relationships with customers, I’ve learned to always do what’s in the best interest of the customer. This simple philosophy has been the cornerstone of my career. The corollary is to always meet one’s commitments internally as well, which builds the same kind of trust.

I joined Ascent in October of 2015. There are several key opportunities that led me here. First, I was looking to be part of something special, with high growth potential, delivering high customer value and with real gravitas. Second, I wanted to be part of team of high performers and add immediate value. I wanted to have a meaty, broad solution palette from which to solve customer problems and create lasting value. Lastly, I was looking to find what I refer to as a high calling – delivering solutions that make a real difference to customers. Fighting cyber criminals and helping customers protect their information technology fits the bill, it doesn’t get much more aspirational than that. I’ve found all this and more at Ascent Solutions.

Chris Turnquist, VP, Sales – As I look back at my personal and professional experiences, I gravitate toward teams who want to build or rediscover greatness. In every situation, we approached the future with optimism and positivity. At Ascent, I believe in our team’s ability to envision and execute a meaningful plan. I am always fueled with spirit and confidence when everyone is on the same page and focused on the same goal – to be great. It strengthens and helps us all persevere through difficult challenges and reach heights we could only first imagine.

I was blessed to have the opportunity to play football at St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN for the winningest coach in college football history – John Gagliardi. While John was highly regarded for what he accomplished on the field all those fall Saturdays, he is remembered by his players as being most influential in our personal growth and faith. He taught us how commitment and effort were valued on and off the field, and how that personal character and commitment to each other led to team success.

At Ascent Solutions, we’re hiring folks with the highest personal character and creating innovative and caring teams to work alongside our customers to drive mutual success. We lead by committing ourselves to our customers personally and corporately and we win when our customers win. It’s the highest form of alignment I’ve been a part of, and it is transforming how we think about Sales.

o Howard Friedman, VP, Strategic Alliances – I’m amazed at the opportunities I’ve been provided since joining Ascent Solutions in September of 2014: the opportunity to work with people that have a high level of talent and personal integrity, the positive impact we have had on our customers by truly listening to them in order to help, and the opportunity to meet great new partners and to craft a vision together. When I’m provided with these opportunities, it drives me to work harder every day to provide for those who’ve put their trust and faith in me.

Prior to joining Ascent Solutions, I moved through the ranks of IT from a developer into executive leadership roles before transitioning into Sales. I’ve had the good fortune to work for small companies with just a few people and the largest companies in the world, both with unique dynamics based on size and position in their corporate lifecycle. In all occasions, I’ve used my problem-solving background to help internal and external customers deconstruct problems before attempting to apply solutions. I’ve learned it doesn’t matter the organization’s size – people are looking for ways to be successful and will seek out those who can help them do that.

At home and at work, I have basic perspectives which are at the heart of how I approach things. First and foremost, I view setbacks and obstacles as an opportunity to look at the problem differently in order to arrive at a solution. Secondly, I leverage ideas of those around me as much as possible to strengthen any project. I like to be surrounded by people who are different than me – I want others to fill gaps in my perceptions, have a different lens on the world and the problem, and have different abilities than me. The final, and my most important view, is to do what’s ethically right. I simply feel that if you do what’s right, good things will happen.

o Peter Dowd, VP, Services – If you look at my LinkedIn profile (which most people will do shortly after a professional introduction), you will see my background consists predominantly of work at large organizations – large corporate IT teams and large consulting firms. After many years of working in companies at this scale, I found myself thinking – there is a better way to do this. Better for customers, better for staff, and better for the community. And so began the dialog between me and our CEO, JD Harris. JD and I have known each other since the mid-nineties when we were kindred spirits at one of those large consulting firms. Ultimately, this dialog led me to Ascent where I began as leader of the IT Strategy Practice and recently accepted the role of Vice President of Services team.

I have many things I am passionate about but seeing people achieve their best every day is certainly at the top of the list. As a leader of people, I am a strong believer in servant leadership. So much of a leader’s job is to listen, coach, guide, and challenge. These are elements that we really focus on at Ascent. The result has been strong growth and incredible employee commitment to the company and our clients. I bring a similar philosophy to how we serve our clients. Our job as a consulting firm is to enable clients to achieve their best as well. The definition of best is changing, however. What was best 5 years ago, no longer is. As result, much of my client-facing work centers on helping clients understand, plan, and execute on the new version of best.

The other major pillar of my personal philosophy is balance. I love driving change, but I have come to see that doing so requires intent and pace. One of the truly compelling things about Ascent is that we bring focus to this often-overlooked element of achieving success. Whether the circumstance is internal or client-facing, I challenge myself and my team to think through communication and process very intentionally. When we do this, it leads to truly outstanding results and incredible relationship

o Tim Zabilla, CTO – I’m a person who likes to think big, someone who questions the status quo. What we are building at Ascent Solutions is something different, something radical and something big. Why do businesses own a datacenter or lease colocation space? How can we help them do things different? Why can’t technology security be inherent? My philosophy is that the impossible is simply a barrier that needs to be broken.

I am passionate about cloud computing because it provides a near boundless capacity that will lead to new and exciting frontiers. It has rapidly increased the speed of innovation and dramatically decreased the cost of failure. Organizations can rapidly test out ideas in a matter of minutes rather than months or years of past eras. How to apply technology and translate between the world of technology and the boundless limits of the cloud and the world of business the boundless limit of ideas is truly exciting to me.

Prior to joining Ascent Solutions in May 2014, I owned my own business and worked for one of the largest software companies in the world, helping enterprises transform their business. At Ascent, we’ve built a team in the truest sense – we have fun with each other, and that energy is carried through to our customers. We are genuine and forthright and care for each other inside and outside of our work lives. That connectedness motivates me to show up and give my best each and every day.

o Mike Krueger, Chief Financial Officer – I believe people thrive in work environments where everyone is working as one team and there is a culture of teaching and caring for each other. Such environments foster passion, fun, collaboration, and creativity, which results in a sum greater than the individual parts. Team members receive honest feedback and benefit from expanding their professional skills. Our clients benefit by working with creative, engaged consultants who help them achieve their goals.

My fundamental view is there are two types of people – those who are builders and those who are prone to demolition. I choose to be a builder. Over the course of my career, I have built teams and individual members of those teams through caring, teaching and mentoring. I have applied the same philosophy in my personal life, especially through coaching youth sports. I receive great satisfaction seeing people developing toward their potential.

I was a partner at a national accounting firm prior to joining Ascent Solutions in November 2019. Ascent Solutions was one of my clients and I have been able to see firsthand the one team environment which has been created. I am both fortunate and excited to be part of this team of builders.

Ascent’s Board Members

JD Harris

Wendy Garrity
Wendy Garrity has over 25 years of operational experience across a broad spectrum of roles and responsibilities in the military, information technology, cyber security, and manufacturing sectors.

She is the founder and CEO of Semper Source Solutions, LLC. The company provides cyber security and leadership consulting to the public and private sector on policy, training, risk assessment, and operations center management.

She also works for Disaster Resources Group as a Logistics Site Lead. In this capacity, she manages and oversees the operations of large turnkey base camps for clients during Natural Disasters. In 2018, she was deployed to support restoration and recovery efforts after Hurricanes Florence and Michael.

Prior to her current roles, Wendy was the Vice President at Turbine Technologies and was responsible for managing Information Technology and Security, Business Intelligence and Analytics, Customer Relations, and Human Resources. Wendy joined Turbine Technologies in 2017 after serving 22 years in the United States Marine Corps where she retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.

While in the Marine Corps, she held numerous leadership positions for units ranging in size from 50-900 personnel. She also served in several executive staff positions overseeing intelligence and communications functions that supported Joint, Marine Corps, and Interagency operations. Additionally, she led the team that developed the initial strategy for how the Marine Corps would leverage and integrate operations in the cyberspace domain. She completed three deployments in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom, as well as a deployment to Haiti for earthquake relief efforts in support of Operation Restore Hope.

Wendy holds a Bachelors in Criminal Justice from Norwich University, a Masters in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College and completed a National Security Fellowship at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

She serves on the Board of Governors for the Marine Corps Association and Foundation and on the Advisory Board for American Innovations Consulting.
Wendy and her husband Steve reside in Greenville, South Carolina.

Loren Unterseher
Loren is Managing Partner of Oxbow Industries, LLC. Over his career, Loren has completed over $2.5 billion in corporate finance transactions. Prior to Oxbow Industries, Loren was a Principal/Shareholder & Director of Mergers and Acquisitions for CraigHallum Capital Group. Prior to Craig-Hallum, he was Managing Director of Private Equity for Lazard Middle Market (f/k/a Goldsmith Agio Helms). Loren started his investment banking career as a Vice President in Mergers & Acquisitions at RBC (f/k/a Dain Rauscher). He began his professional career as an attorney and was a Partner at Stinson Leonard Street (f/k/a Leonard, Street & Deinard), a major Minneapolis based law firm. Loren holds a B.B.A. degree in Finance from the University of Iowa and a J.D. from the University of North Dakota. Loren has served on the board of directors for several private and non-profit companies. Loren is currently Chairman of the Board of Inno-Flex Corporation, LLC, and serves on the board of SkyWater Technology Foundry, Inc., Insignia Systems, Inc. (chair of the Audit Committee) (NASDAQ: ISIG), Town & Country Fence, LLC, Ascent Solutions, LLC and Fact Right, LLC. He was formerly a member of the board of SixSpeed, LLC, Pool Distribution, LLC, Q4 Holdings, LLC and HydroEngineering, LLC.

Joel Moryn has served as CEO and President of Parsons Electric for the last 21 years. Under his leadership the company has become one of the top 25 largest electrical and technology contractors in the United States. Parsons Electric performs work throughout the lower 48 with project sizes exceeding $150 million. Clients include many of the Fortune 50 with specialties in mission critical data centers, hospitals, professional and collegiate sports venues, logistics facilities, and many other vertical markets as well. Joel is a professional engineer with an MBA from the University of St. Thomas. While at Parsons Electric, the company coinvested with private equity, executed a management buy-out, and successfully executed a sale to a platform company resulting in a completion of leadership succession and ownership transition. Serving on four for profit boards, Joel provides insight into scaling businesses, operational excellence, and ownership succession strategies.

Terry Palmer

Terry currently serves on several boards and acts as a senior advisor to companies and executives.  He was the CEO of a high growth consulting and software products company that he successfully sold to Hewlett-Packard (HP).  He has led numerous acquisitions in the technology, outsourcing, and government sectors.  He is currently the Chairman of the Board of Savigent Software, and on the board of NAE and Ascent Solutions. 

Terry has also been a senior executive in some of the largest and most influential companies in the world including HP and Oracle, and led large, international organizations.  He has a demonstrated track record for strategic and transformation leadership, high growth companies, and skillful collaboration, communication and organization.

Terry earned a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Illinois Institute of Technology, and a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Business Administration from Vanderbilt University. 

Ryan Mckinney

Who We Work With

Copy coming…

Who We Work With Customer Quotes:

Feedback we received that could be used to write a quote (we will only want to include the title/industry for now)

  1. Why did your company choose Ascent?  Through reference calls and meetings we felt that Ascent had the talent and pricing to match what we needed forO365 migration.
  2. What qualities do you most appreciate about Ascent and the people that worked with you?  Despite running into normal project hurdles, I felt that the Ascent team was always willing to do whatever it took to make the project successful.  When it’s hard to separate the team by employees vs consultants I think you have found a good partner.
  3. Why might you choose Ascent again in the future?  Our Schwan’s IT Ops team has a wealth of experience and expects a lot from the partners we work with.  That can make it difficult to live up to those expectations.  We found that Ascent had some very bright engineers that again, worked as a unit.  That hard work is personally meaningful to me when I look at partnerships.
  4. What is the most important thing our future customers would want to know about us?  It’s difficult to put that into something concise.  For us, while we had debates about cost and issues with the project, the Ascent engineers didn’t push that message or shove it in our face – they continued to focus on the work while management worked through those details.  I also appreciated the flexibility while we were working through some changes within our company.

“From the beginning, the Ascent team portrayed the right character to be partners with us.  There was an agreed understanding to resolve issues rather than escalate them.  That is a partnership. Additionally, the knowledge and confidence of their core team established the relationship right away. Their commitment to our team and our business gives me confidence that we will have a successful, long-term, partnership.” (talking with this person more tomorrow to get some added content around the actual work we’ve done with them and will incorporate that after that call)

Deputy CISO, Global Specialty Insurance Company

“I was introduced to Ascent Solutions in 2015 by a colleague at a networking event looking for extremely high quality resources to fix some challenging infrastructure issues. In my first experience with Ascent they were top notch and were able to correct my immediate issues.

Through that experience we engaged Ascent on many more proactive projects of a more strategic nature. They have been extremely flexible and their resources highly qualified for the work required. They engage us with what we need to have done and make sure we are highly satisfied. Ascent is now a highly valued partner to us and are a key part to infrastructure projects and strategy for our company.”

CIO, Educational Testing Firm

“We worked with Ascent Solutions to prepare for an M&A event. What we liked was that they approached everything they did through a business lens…specifically how the technology of both companies would impact the business and the merger. They met our aggressive timelines with understanding and provided a thorough, intelligent output that enabled us to make the right business decision. We didn’t know that this type of expertise existed prior to working with Ascent, and highly recommend them for their work, professionalism, and the speed to value we received.”

CEO, Auctioneering Co-op

Success Stories:

Cybersecurity:

Ascent Solutions develops a custom security strategy for a Global Specialty Insurance Company to incorporate and optimize on the Cisco and Microsoft security investments they’ve already made. The Ascent team quickly aligned the tools they had to cover security gaps in their environment and increase their overall security maturity by two levels by developing an actionable roadmap to bring them from POC to production in a safe and accelerated manor.

Productivity:

Ascent’s Productivity team assisted in identifying solutions for a long-standing technical issue on the first day of an engagement with a Regional Healthcare Provider, building immediate trust and allowing the customer’s resources to focus on other critical business needs.

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Who We Are (Draft)

We are one of Microsoft’s most adaptable and trusted professional services firms. Find out what makes us different.

Our Story

Ascent Solutions is unique in the field of IT. It’s something that can be felt stepping foot into our Minneapolis headquarters, working with our consultants in the field, or interacting with our office team.

But it’s not the office we work from or the tools we use that make us different. It’s the character of the people who call themselves Ascent Stewards.

It’s the reason our employees love coming into work each day. And it’s why so many of our customers return to work with us, time and time again. Our Stewards are dedicated to each other and promise to show that same dedication to every customer we have the privilege to serve.

Leadership

Lead with your heart. Create mutual success.

The Ascent Solutions leadership team has over 180 years of combined experience creating unparalleled IT strategy for organizations of all sizes.

Culture

Below are Steward quotes that could be used throughout the website (where appropriate)

“The culture at Ascent Solutions is truly unique in the industry. We solve tough problems, and with those problems come opportunities to deliver differently. I love being a part of a leadership team that wants to help customers win and is willing to do so with empathy, transparency, and passion. The culture at Ascent is the reason I joined the team, and it makes me proud to share ‘how was your day’ stories with my family every night when I go home.” – Brandy Dressen, Productivity Service Line Lead

“One of my first impressions of Ascent was during my interview process as I was meeting with the leadership team. They all emphasized the importance of protecting the Ascent core values as we grow our team. At Ascent I have never felt that I need to have a separate “work identity” and “home identity” and I can be my true self all of the time.” – Dave Frolick, People Advocate

“Interviewing with and working at Ascent feels different than other companies. There have been blessings in every company I’ve worked for, but in former roles I found myself doing what needed to be done and doing what I was told to do, with less room for variety. At Ascent – my ideas are heard and valued. It’s a great responsibility and it feels good to be empowered to make decisions.” – Shawna Peters, Director of Recruiting

“Three months ago, on the recommendation of a lifetime family friend, I joined Ascent Solutions as a project manager. The last 90 days have taught me that a curated culture, rooted in compassion is the ultimate approach to professional services. Five days a week, I have the privilege to be embedded with intrinsically motivated, intellectually stimulating people who heighten my awareness as a project manager and make me a better person.” – Hunter Lang, Project Manager

“While it sounds cliché, my favorite part of working at Ascent is the people. There is never a time that I don’t feel as though I can reach out for assistance or knowledge. This dynamic improves growth and communication for every steward.” – Ascent Cybersecurity Consultant (wants to be kept anonymous

“First impression of Ascent was during my interview process. Everyone can agree that walking into an interview can be nerve racking, but Ascent created a very welcoming environment, making it a very desirable place to work.” – Ascent Cybersecurity Consultant (wants to be kept anonymous

“Ascent Stewards exude High Candle Power – each of the consultants I’ve worked with have the ability to deliver complex information seamlessly across a wide range of understandings.” – Hunter Lang, Project Manager

“Advisory from Ascent consultants is constructive, actionable, and substantiated. Warmth and symbiosis are powerful characteristics to successful client engagements.” – Hunter Lang, Project Manager

“While working with a customer who was experiencing an incident, the entire team showed empathy and compassion toward the customer by not dwelling on past mistakes, but emphasizing the great things that were done and focusing on resolution.” – Ascent Cybersecurity Architect

“Everyone I engaged with at Ascent was accepting and excited to bring me into the fold. It felt like coming home to family.” – Ascent Cybersecurity Architect

Leadership Team

JD Harris, CEO – It truly is a privilege to lead the extraordinary people at Ascent Solutions. That may sound cliché, but everyone here has earned the privilege of working with our amazing customers. They are men and women that have worked hard, become the best at their craft, and have repeatedly delighted companies around the globe with not only their talent, but with their integrity, their will-do attitude, and their “heart”. When hiring, we look just as hard at the heart of a person as we do their technical or functional skills. It is difficult to explain what that means, but work with our team one time and it will become crystal clear. We make bold commitments, and we honor those commitments. We do business differently, caringly, boldly. We aim to fast forward, protect, and honor our customers; and we do this while appreciating our own “supporting cast” at home – those that we love that allow us to do what we do every day.

I came to Ascent Solutions as CEO after being an executive at two of the largest companies on the planet, along with serving in VP roles at four VC-backed startup companies. Those companies were great for a few top executives and the VC’s, but not for everyone. At Ascent, we’re doing things differently. We are creating a company where everyone can be excited about our growth and future every day……and I mean everyone. The journey we are on must be fun, but we have massive responsibilities and accountabilities as well. I was blessed to work for amazing companies, but Ascent Solutions is different. It’s better. Just ask our customers and our employees, the two groups that I hold myself accountable to each and every day.

Pete Fox, President – I strongly believe that work should be fun and built on pursuing our passions. I’ve been lucky to find my passions – technology, personal learning and growing, building things that last, and giving back to others. I try to bring a smile and positive attitude to my work and treat everyone with respect and patience. Through this kind of approach, my passions shine through, and I find that I am drawn to people who believe the same things are important, and they are drawn to me. This is the essence of being part of a great team, and an important element of building great teams as well. Be a great teammate to ensure your team is effective – that’s what you can control.

Whatever success I’ve had in business has been based on early experiences I had as a sales professional. I am not the person who wins everyone over immediately, rather I am the one who delivers consistently, every time. Through years of enjoying trust-based relationships with customers, I’ve learned to always do what’s in the best interest of the customer. This simple philosophy has been the cornerstone of my career. The corollary is to always meet one’s commitments internally as well, which builds the same kind of trust.

I joined Ascent in October of 2015. There are several key opportunities that led me here. First, I was looking to be part of something special, with high growth potential, delivering high customer value and with real gravitas. Second, I wanted to be part of team of high performers and add immediate value. I wanted to have a meaty, broad solution palette from which to solve customer problems and create lasting value. Lastly, I was looking to find what I refer to as a high calling – delivering solutions that make a real difference to customers. Fighting cyber criminals and helping customers protect their information technology fits the bill, it doesn’t get much more aspirational than that. I’ve found all this and more at Ascent Solutions.

Chris Turnquist, VP, Sales – As I look back at my personal and professional experiences, I gravitate toward teams who want to build or rediscover greatness. In every situation, we approached the future with optimism and positivity. At Ascent, I believe in our team’s ability to envision and execute a meaningful plan. I am always fueled with spirit and confidence when everyone is on the same page and focused on the same goal – to be great. It strengthens and helps us all persevere through difficult challenges and reach heights we could only first imagine.

I was blessed to have the opportunity to play football at St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN for the winningest coach in college football history – John Gagliardi. While John was highly regarded for what he accomplished on the field all those fall Saturdays, he is remembered by his players as being most influential in our personal growth and faith. He taught us how commitment and effort were valued on and off the field, and how that personal character and commitment to each other led to team success.

At Ascent Solutions, we’re hiring folks with the highest personal character and creating innovative and caring teams to work alongside our customers to drive mutual success. We lead by committing ourselves to our customers personally and corporately and we win when our customers win. It’s the highest form of alignment I’ve been a part of, and it is transforming how we think about Sales.

o Howard Friedman, VP, Strategic Alliances – I’m amazed at the opportunities I’ve been provided since joining Ascent Solutions in September of 2014: the opportunity to work with people that have a high level of talent and personal integrity, the positive impact we have had on our customers by truly listening to them in order to help, and the opportunity to meet great new partners and to craft a vision together. When I’m provided with these opportunities, it drives me to work harder every day to provide for those who’ve put their trust and faith in me.

Prior to joining Ascent Solutions, I moved through the ranks of IT from a developer into executive leadership roles before transitioning into Sales. I’ve had the good fortune to work for small companies with just a few people and the largest companies in the world, both with unique dynamics based on size and position in their corporate lifecycle. In all occasions, I’ve used my problem-solving background to help internal and external customers deconstruct problems before attempting to apply solutions. I’ve learned it doesn’t matter the organization’s size – people are looking for ways to be successful and will seek out those who can help them do that.

At home and at work, I have basic perspectives which are at the heart of how I approach things. First and foremost, I view setbacks and obstacles as an opportunity to look at the problem differently in order to arrive at a solution. Secondly, I leverage ideas of those around me as much as possible to strengthen any project. I like to be surrounded by people who are different than me – I want others to fill gaps in my perceptions, have a different lens on the world and the problem, and have different abilities than me. The final, and my most important view, is to do what’s ethically right. I simply feel that if you do what’s right, good things will happen.

o Peter Dowd, VP, Services – If you look at my LinkedIn profile (which most people will do shortly after a professional introduction), you will see my background consists predominantly of work at large organizations – large corporate IT teams and large consulting firms. After many years of working in companies at this scale, I found myself thinking – there is a better way to do this. Better for customers, better for staff, and better for the community. And so began the dialog between me and our CEO, JD Harris. JD and I have known each other since the mid-nineties when we were kindred spirits at one of those large consulting firms. Ultimately, this dialog led me to Ascent where I began as leader of the IT Strategy Practice and recently accepted the role of Vice President of Services team.

I have many things I am passionate about but seeing people achieve their best every day is certainly at the top of the list. As a leader of people, I am a strong believer in servant leadership. So much of a leader’s job is to listen, coach, guide, and challenge. These are elements that we really focus on at Ascent. The result has been strong growth and incredible employee commitment to the company and our clients. I bring a similar philosophy to how we serve our clients. Our job as a consulting firm is to enable clients to achieve their best as well. The definition of best is changing, however. What was best 5 years ago, no longer is. As result, much of my client-facing work centers on helping clients understand, plan, and execute on the new version of best.

The other major pillar of my personal philosophy is balance. I love driving change, but I have come to see that doing so requires intent and pace. One of the truly compelling things about Ascent is that we bring focus to this often-overlooked element of achieving success. Whether the circumstance is internal or client-facing, I challenge myself and my team to think through communication and process very intentionally. When we do this, it leads to truly outstanding results and incredible relationship

o Tim Zabilla, CTO – I’m a person who likes to think big, someone who questions the status quo. What we are building at Ascent Solutions is something different, something radical and something big. Why do businesses own a datacenter or lease colocation space? How can we help them do things different? Why can’t technology security be inherent? My philosophy is that the impossible is simply a barrier that needs to be broken.

I am passionate about cloud computing because it provides a near boundless capacity that will lead to new and exciting frontiers. It has rapidly increased the speed of innovation and dramatically decreased the cost of failure. Organizations can rapidly test out ideas in a matter of minutes rather than months or years of past eras. How to apply technology and translate between the world of technology and the boundless limits of the cloud and the world of business the boundless limit of ideas is truly exciting to me.

Prior to joining Ascent Solutions in May 2014, I owned my own business and worked for one of the largest software companies in the world, helping enterprises transform their business. At Ascent, we’ve built a team in the truest sense – we have fun with each other, and that energy is carried through to our customers. We are genuine and forthright and care for each other inside and outside of our work lives. That connectedness motivates me to show up and give my best each and every day.

o Mike Krueger, Chief Financial Officer – I believe people thrive in work environments where everyone is working as one team and there is a culture of teaching and caring for each other. Such environments foster passion, fun, collaboration, and creativity, which results in a sum greater than the individual parts. Team members receive honest feedback and benefit from expanding their professional skills. Our clients benefit by working with creative, engaged consultants who help them achieve their goals.

My fundamental view is there are two types of people – those who are builders and those who are prone to demolition. I choose to be a builder. Over the course of my career, I have built teams and individual members of those teams through caring, teaching and mentoring. I have applied the same philosophy in my personal life, especially through coaching youth sports. I receive great satisfaction seeing people developing toward their potential.

I was a partner at a national accounting firm prior to joining Ascent Solutions in November 2019. Ascent Solutions was one of my clients and I have been able to see firsthand the one team environment which has been created. I am both fortunate and excited to be part of this team of builders.

Ascent’s Board Members

JD Harris

Wendy Garrity
Wendy Garrity has over 25 years of operational experience across a broad spectrum of roles and responsibilities in the military, information technology, cyber security, and manufacturing sectors.

She is the founder and CEO of Semper Source Solutions, LLC. The company provides cyber security and leadership consulting to the public and private sector on policy, training, risk assessment, and operations center management.

She also works for Disaster Resources Group as a Logistics Site Lead. In this capacity, she manages and oversees the operations of large turnkey base camps for clients during Natural Disasters. In 2018, she was deployed to support restoration and recovery efforts after Hurricanes Florence and Michael.

Prior to her current roles, Wendy was the Vice President at Turbine Technologies and was responsible for managing Information Technology and Security, Business Intelligence and Analytics, Customer Relations, and Human Resources. Wendy joined Turbine Technologies in 2017 after serving 22 years in the United States Marine Corps where she retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.

While in the Marine Corps, she held numerous leadership positions for units ranging in size from 50-900 personnel. She also served in several executive staff positions overseeing intelligence and communications functions that supported Joint, Marine Corps, and Interagency operations. Additionally, she led the team that developed the initial strategy for how the Marine Corps would leverage and integrate operations in the cyberspace domain. She completed three deployments in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom, as well as a deployment to Haiti for earthquake relief efforts in support of Operation Restore Hope.

Wendy holds a Bachelors in Criminal Justice from Norwich University, a Masters in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College and completed a National Security Fellowship at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

She serves on the Board of Governors for the Marine Corps Association and Foundation and on the Advisory Board for American Innovations Consulting.
Wendy and her husband Steve reside in Greenville, South Carolina.

Loren Unterseher
Loren is Managing Partner of Oxbow Industries, LLC. Over his career, Loren has completed over $2.5 billion in corporate finance transactions. Prior to Oxbow Industries, Loren was a Principal/Shareholder & Director of Mergers and Acquisitions for CraigHallum Capital Group. Prior to Craig-Hallum, he was Managing Director of Private Equity for Lazard Middle Market (f/k/a Goldsmith Agio Helms). Loren started his investment banking career as a Vice President in Mergers & Acquisitions at RBC (f/k/a Dain Rauscher). He began his professional career as an attorney and was a Partner at Stinson Leonard Street (f/k/a Leonard, Street & Deinard), a major Minneapolis based law firm. Loren holds a B.B.A. degree in Finance from the University of Iowa and a J.D. from the University of North Dakota. Loren has served on the board of directors for several private and non-profit companies. Loren is currently Chairman of the Board of Inno-Flex Corporation, LLC, and serves on the board of SkyWater Technology Foundry, Inc., Insignia Systems, Inc. (chair of the Audit Committee) (NASDAQ: ISIG), Town & Country Fence, LLC, Ascent Solutions, LLC and Fact Right, LLC. He was formerly a member of the board of SixSpeed, LLC, Pool Distribution, LLC, Q4 Holdings, LLC and HydroEngineering, LLC.

Joel Moryn has served as CEO and President of Parsons Electric for the last 21 years. Under his leadership the company has become one of the top 25 largest electrical and technology contractors in the United States. Parsons Electric performs work throughout the lower 48 with project sizes exceeding $150 million. Clients include many of the Fortune 50 with specialties in mission critical data centers, hospitals, professional and collegiate sports venues, logistics facilities, and many other vertical markets as well. Joel is a professional engineer with an MBA from the University of St. Thomas. While at Parsons Electric, the company coinvested with private equity, executed a management buy-out, and successfully executed a sale to a platform company resulting in a completion of leadership succession and ownership transition. Serving on four for profit boards, Joel provides insight into scaling businesses, operational excellence, and ownership succession strategies.

Terry Palmer

Terry currently serves on several boards and acts as a senior advisor to companies and executives.  He was the CEO of a high growth consulting and software products company that he successfully sold to Hewlett-Packard (HP).  He has led numerous acquisitions in the technology, outsourcing, and government sectors.  He is currently the Chairman of the Board of Savigent Software, and on the board of NAE and Ascent Solutions. 

Terry has also been a senior executive in some of the largest and most influential companies in the world including HP and Oracle, and led large, international organizations.  He has a demonstrated track record for strategic and transformation leadership, high growth companies, and skillful collaboration, communication and organization.

Terry earned a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Illinois Institute of Technology, and a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Business Administration from Vanderbilt University. 

Ryan Mckinney

Who We Work With

Copy coming…

Who We Work With Customer Quotes:

Feedback we received that could be used to write a quote (we will only want to include the title/industry for now)

  1. Why did your company choose Ascent?  Through reference calls and meetings we felt that Ascent had the talent and pricing to match what we needed forO365 migration.
  2. What qualities do you most appreciate about Ascent and the people that worked with you?  Despite running into normal project hurdles, I felt that the Ascent team was always willing to do whatever it took to make the project successful.  When it’s hard to separate the team by employees vs consultants I think you have found a good partner.
  3. Why might you choose Ascent again in the future?  Our Schwan’s IT Ops team has a wealth of experience and expects a lot from the partners we work with.  That can make it difficult to live up to those expectations.  We found that Ascent had some very bright engineers that again, worked as a unit.  That hard work is personally meaningful to me when I look at partnerships.
  4. What is the most important thing our future customers would want to know about us?  It’s difficult to put that into something concise.  For us, while we had debates about cost and issues with the project, the Ascent engineers didn’t push that message or shove it in our face – they continued to focus on the work while management worked through those details.  I also appreciated the flexibility while we were working through some changes within our company.

“From the beginning, the Ascent team portrayed the right character to be partners with us.  There was an agreed understanding to resolve issues rather than escalate them.  That is a partnership. Additionally, the knowledge and confidence of their core team established the relationship right away. Their commitment to our team and our business gives me confidence that we will have a successful, long-term, partnership.” (talking with this person more tomorrow to get some added content around the actual work we’ve done with them and will incorporate that after that call)

Deputy CISO, Global Specialty Insurance Company

“I was introduced to Ascent Solutions in 2015 by a colleague at a networking event looking for extremely high quality resources to fix some challenging infrastructure issues. In my first experience with Ascent they were top notch and were able to correct my immediate issues.

Through that experience we engaged Ascent on many more proactive projects of a more strategic nature. They have been extremely flexible and their resources highly qualified for the work required. They engage us with what we need to have done and make sure we are highly satisfied. Ascent is now a highly valued partner to us and are a key part to infrastructure projects and strategy for our company.”

CIO, Educational Testing Firm

“We worked with Ascent Solutions to prepare for an M&A event. What we liked was that they approached everything they did through a business lens…specifically how the technology of both companies would impact the business and the merger. They met our aggressive timelines with understanding and provided a thorough, intelligent output that enabled us to make the right business decision. We didn’t know that this type of expertise existed prior to working with Ascent, and highly recommend them for their work, professionalism, and the speed to value we received.”

CEO, Auctioneering Co-op

Success Stories:

Cybersecurity:

Ascent Solutions develops a custom security strategy for a Global Specialty Insurance Company to incorporate and optimize on the Cisco and Microsoft security investments they’ve already made. The Ascent team quickly aligned the tools they had to cover security gaps in their environment and increase their overall security maturity by two levels by developing an actionable roadmap to bring them from POC to production in a safe and accelerated manor.

Productivity:

Ascent’s Productivity team assisted in identifying solutions for a long-standing technical issue on the first day of an engagement with a Regional Healthcare Provider, building immediate trust and allowing the customer’s resources to focus on other critical business needs.