Appropriate IT (AI)’s team brings to the organization a long history of working with innovative non governmental organizations, both in the Global South and North, as well as a deep-seated commitment to social justice and human rights. Additionally, AI works with a select list of consultants and partners who specialize in specific technologies and services.
Founder & CEO
Usha Devi Venkatachalam
Usha Devi Venkatachalam is Founder & CEO of Appropriate IT (AI), a for-profit social enterprise harnessing technology to advance social justice, equitable access, and inclusive international development. She is a technologist who believes that appropriate information & communication technologies (ICTs) have transformational power, making them effective tools for sustainable social change.
Living between Coimbatore, India and Washington DC, USA (with a lot of jet lag in between! :)), Usha has 15+ years of experience in the non-profit technology sector, directing complex projects for organizations to creatively apply internet technologies to advance their mission. Her expertise is in international ICT technologies and in finding locally-appropriate and culture-specific solutions using existing and emerging technologies. She also specializes in providing capacity building and training for both end-users and trainers. She has run technology trainings in more than a dozen countries around the world. She is co-author of Making IT Our Own: Information & Communication Technology Training of Trainers Manual, which has been adapted and translated into Arabic, French, and Russian.
Prior to founding AI, Usha was a Solutions Architect and founding member of Beaconfire Consulting, a company that serves nonprofits in the evaluation, design and implementation of internet technology. She has led technical teams in designing, configuring, and implementing solutions for content management, fundraising, email communications, and advocacy. She has worked with organizations such as Amnesty International, Heifer International, Human Rights First, Oxfam USA, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Previously, as Director of Innovation and Technology at Women’s Learning Partnership (WLP), she helped the organization and its partners in 20 countries adopt cutting-edge social media tools for online engagement and offline activism. She designed successful technology-based programs for youth and created pilot technology training-of-trainers programs for women in Afghanistan, Jordan, Lebanon, and Morocco. These prototypes are being replicated in more than 30 countries globally.
Usha speaks and writes on technology trends and issues in the nonprofit sector at diverse fora like Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), New Organizing Institute, and Idealware. Usha holds an MA in Film and Video from American University, Washington DC and an MA in Mass Communications and BA in English Literature from Bharathiyar University, Tamil Nadu, India.
Mobile and Web Application Development
As AI’s application development partner, Citrisys Solutions provides web and mobile software development services for our client projects. The partnership has successfully delivered multiple custom development projects on Drupal and is currently working on an SMS project for an agribusiness in India.
Since 2006, Citrisys Solutions has been providing exceptional quality and cost effective IT implementation and integration services to web enabled businesses globally. Headquartered in USA with offices in India, UAE, and UK, Citrisys’ team has extensive experience in eBusiness design, development, integration, and deployment. All of Citrisys consultants are Sun Certified Java Programmers. Their wide-ranging expertise includes various databases (DB2, Oracle, MS SQL, and My SQL) ; programming languages (Java, .Net, Perl, PHP, Python, and Ruby); CRM and ERP integrations (SAP, Salesforce.com, and Siebel); eCommerce platforms (ATG, Hybris, and Magento); open source content management systems (Drupal and Joomla); and mobile platforms (Android and iOS).
Ara Ramalingam, Chief Technical Architect
Ara provides technical expertise in web and mobile applications for AI’s clients. His projects include the Foundation for Iranian Studies‘ website that expanded Drupal’s native capabilities to build a multi-lingual (Persian-English) site and a customized Oral History Archive.
Ara is the President & CEO of AI’s web and mobile application development partner Citrisys Solutions. He has 16+ years of experience designing and building custom solutions and system integrations for bio-technology, healthcare, non-profit, pharma, and retail verticals. His technical expertise includes proprietary platforms and language (ATG, Hybris, IBM AS400, IBM Mainframe, iOS, .NET, Oracle, and SAP) as well as open source technologies (Android, Drupal, Java, Joomla, Magento, MySQL, osCommerce, PHP, and Spring).
Ara manages the global operations of Citrisys Solutions which is headquartered in USA with offices in India, UAE, and UK. Ara has a Masters Degree in Computer Science from American University, Washington DC and a Bachelor’s in Engineering from University of Madras, Chennai.
DynaBytes specializes in WordPress development including installation, theming, plugin development, and ongoing maintenance to your WordPress website.
Installation: We will install and configure WordPress on your Linux hosting account. This service includes installation and configuration of core WordPress functions plus SEO and traffic analytics plugins.
Theming: We can code your WordPress theme from a custom design or modify an existing free or premium theme to your specifications. Ask us for advice on picking the best WordPress theme for your needs.
Customization and Ecommerce: We can extend WordPress beyond its core functionalities with custom plugin development. We work with PayPal to turn your WordPress system into an ecommerce website.
Maintenance: We will upgrade your WordPress install and outdated plugins. We can also clean up hacked WordPress installs as part of this service.
Laura McDonald, WordPress Developer
Laura designs, codes, and optimizes websites for clients, visitors, and search engines. She also is in charge of client support. She began building websites professionally in 2004, work with WordPress began in 2007. Laura has a BA in English from UT Austin and an MA in Latin American Studies from UCLA.
Graphic Design & Wordpress Development
Small Mammoth Design
Small Mammoth Design is a full-service design studio that aims to make quality design accessible to individuals and organizations of all sizes. Whether working on a logo and branding project, a print design, or a custom Wordpress website, Small Mammoth design takes a personalized approach, with a focus on open communication geared towards bringing your vision to life.
Small Mammoth Design works hard to stay abreast of the latest design trends and technical innovations, and enjoys bringing their clean and fresh aesthetic to AI’s cutting-edge offerings.
Ranya Karafilly, Owner
Ranya Karafilly’s love affair with design began in the early 90s, when Adobe Photoshop was still at version 2.0 and Pagemaker was the layout tool of choice. After years honing her design skills in the publishing industry, she branched into website design with a focus on Wordpress development, and launched Small Mammoth Design in 2011. Though a native of Montreal, Canada, where she obtained a BA in Communication Studies from Concordia University, she currently calls Greece her home.
Kregel & Company CPA
Kregel & Company CPA provides accounting and business entity consulting services for AI. In addition to the services, AI and Kregel & Company are partners in a mutual search for business models of the future where corporations care for people, planet, and profits equally. Kregel & Company is a certified B Corporation.
Kregel & Company CPA is a Philadelphia CPA firm providing accounting and tax solutions for businesses that want a refreshing experience. Specialties include accounting services and financial reporting, business entity and process consulting, as well as tax planning and compliance assistance.
Scott R. Kregel, CPA, MST
As the founder of Kregel & Company, Scott holds the firm accountable for keeping a customer-focused mindset every day.
Scott spends his time setting priorities for the company, doing technical reviews, and keeping our customers happy. He is passionate about helping small business owners do good (and well!) in their communities and areas of influence. It’s this same passion that led him to start Kregel & Company. Scott’s experiences with a variety of small to mid-sized businesses over the years, along with his real-world experience of running a small firm, gives him a perspective and ability to intuitively understand and advise what others need.
Scott earned his CPA (Certified Public Accountant) certification early in his career and has continued to advance his education by completing a Masters in Taxation, along with professional certifications as a CGMA (Chartered Global Management Accountant), Xero Certified Advisor, and Quickbooks ProAdvisor certified since 2009.
You can often find him within a 10-mile radius of the office training for his next marathon. He also loves bringing out the best in his three children, reading business and leadership books, and dreaming up his next great idea.
The Green Abacus
The Green Abacus provides outsourced controller & CFO services for AI. The Green Abacus exists to support the innovative underground in their pursuit of creative disruption.
As Outsourced CFO, The Green Abacus supervises the transactional level, giving companies really great tools to invoice their customers and pay their bills. The Green Abacus organizes the info, and match it up to the bank. It also provide historical understanding and future planning, providing companies with the financial information needed to make businesses perform.
Barrett Young, CPA
Here is what Barrett has to say about his company (and why we at AI think we have found the CFO most ‘appropriate’ for us): Building my own company has been the best test of my life. I absolutely love it. And like you, I’m always adjusting and shifting my services to go where I see the market heading. The best part is that I’m careful about bringing in new customers, and only look to add a few businesses to my customer base each year. You’re not a cog… I don’t try to plug you into my accounting machine.
Barrett is member of Thriveal CPA Network, a community innovative CPA firms that believes in disruption, innovation, learning, and courageous leadership.
Holland & Knight
Holland & Knight provides corporate counsel and legal services to Appropriate IT.
Holland & Knight is a global law firm with more than 1,000 lawyers and other professionals in 20 U.S. offices, as well as Abu Dhabi, Bogotá and Mexico City. Holland & Knight’s lawyers provide representation in litigation, business, real estate and governmental law. Interdisciplinary practice groups and industry-based teams provide clients with access to attorneys throughout the firm, regardless of location.
Adam J. August
Adam J. August is a partner in Holland & Knight’s Corporate/Mergers & Acquisitions Practice Group.
Adam counsels public and private company clients in a variety of industries including information technology, government contracting, software and telecommunications. He has been actively involved in merger, acquisition and disposition transactions with a combined value more than $1 billion, and financing/investment transactions and securities offerings worth more than $600 million. Other commercial and corporate transactions he regularly works on relate to corporate governance; corporate reorganizations; development, production, and distribution of technology goods and services; employment and stock-related issues; and transactions with distressed entities and business bankruptcy.
Adam’s specializations include Mergers & Acquisitions, Exempt Securities Offerings, Commercial Transactions, Corporate Counsel, and Creditors’ Rights.