CINCINNATI, Sept. 06, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Heather Ackels, previously General Manager with Kroger Technology, has been named Executive Director for the INTERalliance of Greater Cincinnati effective August 13, 2018. The Board of Directors unanimously confirmed Mrs. Ackels. Ackels replaces Executive Director Kyle Gundrum who has held a variety of roles for the INTERalliance over the past 10 years, including Director since 2016. While making the announcement, Mr. Scott (Board Chair) said, "Heather brings a unique perspective to the role of Executive Director. She has been a hiring manager, talent recruiter and technology leader. Her deep technology background, management skills and community support for High School students makes her an ideal leader for the INTERalliance. We are very fortunate to have someone of her caliber leading the INTERalliance. Our Board is excited about the passion and commitment that Heather will bring to the role.”

Prior to the Executive Director role, Heather spent 13 years with The Kroger Company in a variety of technology leadership roles most recently leading the Research Enterprise Enablement Team within Kroger Technology’s Research and Development Organization. Throughout her career, Heather received the Progressive Grocer Top Women in Grocery Rising Star award in 2015, was recognized by the Business Courier as a 40 under 40 nominee in 2016 and was selected as a Deloitte Top Women To Watch Honoree in 2017. Over the last 5 years, Mrs. Ackels has been an engaged advocate for INTERalliance and received the Mentor of the Year Award for her involvement in TechOlympics, Chapter Competitions, Company Support, and other volunteer points for the 2017-2018 year.

The INTERalliance of Greater Cincinnati has helped over 5,500 area high school students learn about local careers in IT through its programs, including summer internships for high school students with Fortune 100 companies, a series of immersive technology-in-business summer camps hosted by area universities and businesses, and its flagship conference, TechOlympics Expo. The University of Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky University, and Miami University are its key college partners. 54 of the area's high schools are served by its programs, with over 650 students reached each year.

Geoff Smith, co-Chair of the Cincinnati CIO Roundtable, stated, “I’ve seen first-hand the incredible impact that INTERalliance has had on the IT Talent Pipeline – nearly 40% of high school students in INTERalliance programs go on to pursue a career in IT and that’s about 15 times the national average! I say that because we’ve achieved those great results over the past 12 years without ever having a full-time Executive Director, but instead leveraging wonderful volunteer IT executives willing to do this as an extracurricular to their 'day job.' Now with Heather we not only have a Full-time Executive Director for the very first time, but we have one who’s infinitely qualified and personally committed to the cause as demonstrated by the time/talent she has generously volunteered to IA over the years.”

“I am so excited to partner with Heather as our new INTERalliance Executive Director,” said Ginny Walker, Senior Director, GE Aviation, Engines Modernization. “Her passion for the organization is contagious; and that, combined with her industry experience, positions us for great things in the future!” Long time INTERalliance Board member Mahendra Vora echoed Walker’s enthusiasm. “We are thrilled to have Heather as our Executive Director. Her experience coupled with her passion for students in our community to be the next generation tech leaders, will be invaluable as we enter our next phase of growth of the INTERalliance locally and nationally. This is an important step forward towards creating the Greater Cincinnati region as a vibrant tech community,” said Vora.

Member companies of the INTERalliance include The Kroger Co., Procter & Gamble, Great American Insurance, Worldpay, GE Aviation, Vora Technologies, Fifth Third Bank, Cincinnati Bell and Western & Southern Financial Group, among many others.

About the INTERalliance of Greater Cincinnati: The mission of the INTERalliance is to establish the Greater Cincinnati Region as a model of cooperation between business and educators -- working together to identify, nurture, train, employ, and retain the area's best IT talent. More information can be found at www.interalliance.org.

Heather Ackels central.office@interalliance.org