Learnbeyond is a single platform that integrates the best of technology, interface and content to provide an unparalleled online learning experience. The platform was initially conceived as hotschools.net, an exam engine to help students in getting through the highly competitive College Admission Tests. Since gaining popularity amongst the student community for its usefulness and effectiveness, the platform was evolved to its current avatar and rebranded as Learnbeyond. Built by a team of developers and project managers with a genuine passion of learning, Learnbeyond has come to be known as the standard in eLearning by its users today.
The company behind the product, also known as Learnbeyond, is the brain child of a visionary team of people from the fields of information technology and education. Their collective experience in eLearning amounts to more than a 100 person-years.
Mani Gidugu, President
Mani has nearly 22 years of experience in managing several IT services and software projects. Prior to starting Hotexams, a precursor to Learnbeyond, Inc., Mani has worked on many projects for clients like AT&T, on Software Metrics, Software Quality Assurance and in Project Management.
Mani was also responsible for creating an after school program and home school solution called Think and Learn, which is now called LearnK12 and is a part of Learnbeyond.
Mani also co-founded the Consulting Services Company called Mindware, Inc., which has executed key projects for several clients in the past 20 years.
Soma S Gidugu, Co-Founder & Vice President
Soma, with his vision and passion for education and technology, led the creation of Learnbeyond’s collaboration and learning environment. Soma brings tremendous value to client engagements by designing and implementing composite business solutions in an effective manner. He has rich experience in implementing and managing information technology infrastructure for global enterprises in the financial services, automotive, computer manufacturing, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, retailing, supply chain logistics, and utilities industries. As a technology executive, he architected enterprise IT solutions and managed large software development teams for global enterprises to deploy enterprise-wide data integration, application integration, and business process integration solutions.
As an architect, Soma is a visionary and strives to envision and deliver repeatable solution frameworks that are applicable in diverse business contexts. He is a charismatic leader who excels in building loyal and vibrant teams that pioneer the deployment of new technologies to deliver competitive edge to business units within budgets and time lines.
Bhasker R Nayini, Co-Founder, Executive
Bhasker has over 20 years of experience in managing several IT services and software projects. He has worked on many projects for clients like IBM, Verizon, InBEV and NY State as Project Executive, Project Manager, Technology Manager, Systems Architect, Developer, DBA, and as a Consultant. Bhasker is a certified Project Management Professional and has led several large projects involving global teams, delivering them on-budget, on-time and to client satisfaction.
Bhasker has successfully led several leading-edge technology projects in government and commercial sectors involving technologies such as Web 2.0 and enterprise-level software platforms, which have resulted in huge savings for the clients through efficiency and consolidation. He has also worked extensively in the healthcare industry, delivering comprehensive EMR solutions, ePrescriptions and Patient Care applications. He has strong Quality Management experience in helping achieve and maintain Software Quality Management certifications (ISO 9001, CMMI), with a focus on delivering defect-free software solutions.
Phil Butto, Chief Operations Officer
For more than 40 years, Phil Butto has worked in the Education field starting out as a high school mathematics /technology teacher and finally as Superintendent of the Mahoning Unlimited Classroom (an online public community school in Ohio). Phil has worked with students, teachers and administrators on the implementation of technology in the classroom. His leadership with school districts in Mahoning and Trumbull County Schools has resulted in many new technology programs.
Experience: Superintendent Mahoning Unlimited Classroom, Director of Technology Trumbull County Educational Service Center, Director of Technology Niles City Schools, Adjunct Faculty Ashland, Youngstown State and Kent State Universities in Ohio.
Education: BA Youngstown State University, MS in Secondary Administration and Supervisor of Curriculum Youngstown State University.
Tom Hughes, Senior Vice President
Tom has over 30 years of technical and sales management experience. This includes engineering, information systems at IBM as well as executive business development in the software services industry at IIC.
At IBM, Tom led a critical and successful worldwide manufacturing development effort. He received several awards for his accomplishments, including a Management Excellence award.
At IIC, a software services company, he was number one in sales for 12 years straight and helped grow the company from 1.5 to 70 million dollars per year in revenues. He brings in immense experience in logistics systems, technology and business development, together with unstinting commitment to help deliver cost-effective learning solutions to clients.
Jason A. Jones, Vice President Strategic Accounts
Jason A. Jones was elected to serve a two-year term, 2014-2016, as NJSBA Vice-President for Legislation/Resolutions. Prior to that, he was elected in November 2013 to fill an unexpired term as NJSBA’s Vice President for Legislation/Resolutions.
Jones has served on his local board of education for 14 years, including terms as president and vice president. He has chaired the local board’s committees on Education and Personnel, Food Services, and Uniformity of Dress, and has represented the board on panels addressing the state’s public school monitoring process and the location of Brookdale Community College satellite facilities.
Professionally, Jones holds his school business administrator and school facilities managment certificates.
He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science, his Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, and his Master of Business Administration degree from Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City.
Jones has also served as vice president of legislation for the Monmouth County School Boards Association and has held several other positions within the county association.
On the national level, he has served as the Northeast Director of the National Association of Black School Educators; a legislative leader for the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Council of Urban Boards of Education; and has served on the NSBA’s Federal Relations Network, a group that advocates the interests of public education before Congress and federal agencies.
A lifelong Neptune Township resident, with two children.
Sophia Abramovitz, Account Executive
For more than 30 years, Sophia Abramovitz has worked with Fortune 500 companies, leading global strategic teams and operational organizations to become major contributors to innovation, revenue optimization and corporate competitive advantage. Sophia’s recent experience as a Senior Director of Education and Enablement, Worldwide Sales and Services, at a multinational Fortune 500 organization resulted in more than 30% cost reduction in the delivery of education and training materials, and a 15% reduction in the number of physical classrooms through innovative eLearning infrastructure adoption. Sophia also assured creation and adoption of technical sales communication and collaboration tools that were voted most valuable for more than five consecutive years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maryland and Management Certification from the University of New Mexico Graduate School of Business. Sophia is a member of the American Management Association Technology, Innovation and Manufacturing Management Advisory Council, as well as a board member of several non-profit organizations.
Rich Braen, Account Executive
A senior financial leader that partners with CIO’s to evaluate IT investments, outsourcing, and business transformation – resulting in improved top line and bottom line business performance. Rich is passionate about aligning IT applications with business processes for competitive advantage, to improve shareholder value. With over 30 years at Fortune 500 companies in the IT industry, he has experience in servers, storage, semiconductors, operating systems, and application software, providing a depth of knowledge across the technology components of a CIO function.
Most recently as Senior Finance Director of IT/Services at Symantec, he successfully reduced the growth rate in annual IT spending by over 50%, while improving visibility in value realization. Rich accomplished this by collaborating with the CIO function in the areas of project portfolio evaluation, consumption management, selective chargebacks, vendor negotiations, outsourcing assessment, and improved transparency in reporting and decision making.
In his role as Corporate Controller at Hitachi GST, he served on the IT executive council which governed IT project investments and also managed the IBM Global Services data center outsourcing contract. As part of the M&A divestiture from IBM to Hitachi, he led the post acquisition design and implementation of the Financial SAP ERP solution.
Education: Lehigh University – College of Business and Economics, Bethlehem PA. BS Accounting.