RockStep Leadership Team
RockStep’s team is driven by a passion to save lives by helping get drugs and vaccines to market faster.
Backed by the National Institutes of Health through an SBIR Award (GM112206), RockStep spent several years working with a tier-1 pharmaceutical company, a large public biotech, and the lab of a Nobel Laureate (Dr. Prusiner at UCSF), to design and create a platform that is now widely adopted by world-leading biomedical research and drug discovery organizations.
With vast industry experience, three innovation awards, and a passion to do something important, RockStep’s founders built an elegant, modern, comprehensive, informatics platform for pre and non-clinical research called Climb™.
RockStep continues to work with frontier scientists and engineers on some of the world’s most advanced technologies to ensure Climb™ leads the industry with a platform for both the lab of now and the lab of the future.
Co-founder of RockStep, Chuck has a degree in Computer Science. Prior to RockStep, Chuck was Director of Computational Sciences at the Jackson Laboratory (JAX), where he led work on intractable computational problems for numerous disease areas, including cancer and diabetes. Chuck’s work at JAX was funded by the NIH, HHMI, and JAX. Prior to JAX, Chuck was in the Space Astrophysics Group at UC Berkeley where he directed development of software systems for NASA orbiting platforms, worked on the Space Shuttle ground control, and led development of software for imbedded systems, and algorithms for radio astronomy.
Chuck has published articles and papers in peer-reviewed journals, and presented at conferences around the world. As CEO, Chuck brings a wealth of business experience, leadership, and management experience to the RockStep team.
Co-founder of RockStep, Julie has a degree in Microbiology. Prior to joining RockStep, she worked at IDEXX labs developing assays for detecting contamination in public water supplies and at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory developing assays for detecting biological surface contamination for deep space missions. For RockStep, Julie works closely with researchers in industry and academia to understand their needs. She uses this knowledge to manage the product roadmap and position Climb within drug discovery research.
As President of RockStep, Julie manages all company operations and works closely with the CEO to develop the company’s strategy, financial models, and investment portfolio. Julie has published articles on information systems for research and lectured at industry conferences.
Chairman of the Board/Advisor
In his former role as Chief Information Officer (CIO) at BiogenIdec and a member of the Executive Committee, Ray Pawlicki was instrumental in restructuring the IT organization, and transforming IT into a strategic asset pivotal to the $8 billion biotech company’s success. Prior to BiogenIdec, he worked for eight years at Novartis Pharmaceuticals, A.G., serving as both CIO of the U.S. affiliate and Global CIO of the Switzerland-based, $27 billion enterprise.
For RockStep, Ray works closely with the RockStep team providing deep strategic guidance.
Board of Directors/Advisor
Tom Arneman was Founder and President of Ceiba Solutions (managing invention of Lab IT services and application externalization for Pharma RD IT) and Weka Solutions (a Digital Health incubator helping Pharma create new value from internal technology investment). Tom took both companies to exit and is now immersed in helping technology startups succeed and scale.
Tom brings significant experience to RockStep in taking companies from startup to scale in the biopharmaceutical industry.
Board of Directors/Advisor
Julie Frearson, Ph.D. leads Charles River’s effort in developing and managing strategic technology partnerships, which are fundamental to the Company’s continued growth and future market leadership. She also plays a key role in the evaluation of Charles River’s strategic acquisitions.
Prof. Frearson has substantial experience in early-stage drug discovery, across multiple gene families and therapeutic areas, as a result of roles with The Babraham Institute (Cambridge, UK), Zeneca UK, Cambridge Drug Discovery, BioFocus, and a tenured faculty position in the Drug Discovery Unit of the University of Dundee. She has also served as Director for Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance (SULSA), and on Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust expert committees. Prof. Frearson is author of more than 50 peer-reviewed publications.
Board of Directors/Advisor
Steve, along with co-founder Alastair Hill, founded Dotmatics following eight years’ industrial and academic experience. Steve was instrumental in taking Dotmatics from a scientific software start-up company to a multi-million dollar business supporting the world’s leading pharmaceutical, biotechnology and chemicals companies.
Prior to Dotmatics, he provided research IT solutions to R&D teams as a Senior Systems Analyst at Merck Pharmaceuticals, MSD from 2000 to 2005. Steve held a post-doctoral research position at Los Alamos Research Laboratory from 1997 to 2000 which reinforced his belief in the importance of collaborative research, across both geographies and domains. He holds a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Warwick.
Board of Directors Observer/Advisor
Matt started his career with Exxon where he was a field engineer and eventually a senior manager with their industrial and chemical divisions throughout the US. He has been involved with a number of start-up companies and organizations since coming to ME in 1987, including a B2B marketing and sales outsourcing company that had over 100 professionals at client locations throughout the US.
He was the President and CEO of JobsInTheUS, the parent company of JobsInME that realized exceptional growth before a successful sale in 2006. In 2008, he joined with a partner in the UK to start an international job board marketplace called Jobg8 which has grown to be a major trading platform within that industry. He was appointed to the board of the Maine Venture Fund for 6 years and was the chairman of that fund from 2014 through 2016. Matt currently serves part time as an ER with MTI working with their portfolio companies and applicants to develop success strategies for their individual companies.
Board of Directors Observer/Advisor
Nat Henshaw founded CEI Ventures, a for-profit venture capital subsidiary of CEI in 1993. As president, he directs the investment of community development venture capital into progressive companies in Maine and New England. Under his leadership, CEI Ventures has raised over $67 mission in funds from a mix of impact investors including individuals, foundations, community economic development entities and banks motivated, in part, by Community Reinvestment Act credit.
Nat and his team have invested in 67 companies across five funds, helping to create 2,800 new jobs in geographic regions and with demographic populations often overlooked by traditional venture capital investors.
Richard brings years of strategic and tactical experience in finance and operations to RockStep where he is now helping the company focus on accelerating growth and creating enterprise value.
He has a diverse background with experience in multiple industries including high tech manufacturing, software, and life sciences. Richard works closely with RockStep’s CEO and BOD on growth strategy, tactical plans, forecasts and budgets with full GAAP based financial reporting. He also has extensive experience raising growth capital, and designing/implementing infrastructure and systems to support rapid scale-up.
Director of Software Engineering
Dave brings 25 years of SaaS technology experience, shepherding growing companies from startup, through growth, and enterprise-level stages. Before RockStep, Dave co-founded Certify, Inc., an enterprise travel & expense management platform (acquired in 2017 by K1 Investment Management) as well as Recruiternet, the first online SaaS recruitment platform (acquired in 2005 by First Advantage Corporation).
He is using his deep knowledge of software development, cloud architecture, and technical leadership to help RockStep achieve its goals in the evolving bio-informatics space. Furthermore, his experience in product management, vendor/customer relationship management, audit, as well as M&A, will help RockStep realize success.
Vice President of EMEA Operations
For over 25 years Richard has helped Life Sciences organizations, from tier 1 pharma through to emerging bio, adopt new technology to improve their R&D businesses, get effective medicines to market faster, and ultimately improve people’s health. Prior to RockStep, Richard held sales and marketing leadership roles in two of the world leading life sciences technology providers: Dassault Systemes as the Leader of Northern Europe, and Oracle as Leader of Global Accounts. Earlier in his career, Richard led business units and European regions in smaller US-based life sciences niche technology providers such as Tripos (now Certara) and ISI (now part of DXC).
As Vice President of EMEA Operations, Richard brings extensive commercial and deep industry experience to the rapid growth of RockStep in Europe.
Vice President of Sales and Marketing, North America
Vanessa has over two decades of leadership experience in Life Science software and holds a degree in Chemical Engineering from Brown University. Prior to RockStep, Vanessa led Sales for Benching during years of rapid growth. Vanessa was a part of the PerkinElmer Informatics (now Revvity) integration with CambridgeSoft, post acquisition. Vanessa held Sales and Marketing leadership roles at CambridgeSoft and was a part of the original introduction of the ELN to industry, as well as of the growth of ChemDraw to over a million users.
As Vice President of Sales and Marketing, North America, Vanessa brings strong Commercial leadership experience to the RockStep team.