FirstBest has assembled a world class team of high-caliber insurance industry and software development individuals to steward the forefront of next generation underwriting systems.
John Belizaire is an accomplished enterprise software entrepreneur with a track record of new venture development and management success. Prior to co-founding FirstBest, he was senior director of business development and strategic planning for BEA Systems' e-commerce applications division, where he grew annual revenue to over $150 million. Before BEA, John co-founded The Theory Center, a leader in Java-based component software for enterprise applications. As CEO, he grew the company from inception to $10 million in revenue. BEA Systems acquired the company in 1999 for over $160 million. He was previously lead architect for Intel’s digital enterprise group, where he was responsible for the industry’s first implementation of network quality-of-service technology for personal computers.
Joseph Pilkerton has over 15 years of experience directing enterprise software development and has held positions in executive management, professional services, and sales. Prior to co-founding FirstBest, he was senior director of professional services and training for BEA Systems, responsible for building the consulting practice and training capacity for BEA’s e-commerce applications division. He came to BEA with the acquisition of The Theory Center, where he was co-founder and executive vice president, professional services. Prior to founding The Theory Center, Joe directed large-scale enterprise application projects for clients such as Hertz, Citibank, Lockheed Martin, and McDonnell Douglas.
Tom Sheehan is a senior financial executive with more than 20 years of experience managing the financial operations at several successful software companies. Tom has implemented best practices in finance that increased efficiency and profitability for both established companies and start-ups. His experience spans financial, legal, and operational matters, mergers and acquisitions, equity and debt financing, budgeting, reporting, and forecasting.
Prior to joining FirstBest, Tom Sheehan held the position of CFO at Bullhorn, Inc., a private equity-backed SaaS software company. Tom has also held the position of CFO at Crossbeam Systems, Inc., Egenera, Inc., The Macgregor Group, Inc., and Fidelity Technology Solutions.
Ed Giangrasse is responsible for the sales organization at FirstBest. Ed brings a great deal of experience across multiple disciplines, including insurance, management consulting, and software sales. He has worked in the insurance industry for his entire career.
Ed’s experience includes learning every aspect of the insurance business while working in the corporate headquarters of two major P&C insurance companies: Allstate Insurance and CNA Insurance. He has also held leadership positions in the insurance practices of large, global consulting firms (McKinsey, Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Deloitte) and leading technology companies (IBM, Policy Management Systems, Duck Creek, FINEOS).
With 25 years of experience in the insurance and financial services market segments, Massood Abolfazli has contributed to revenue generation and enterprise growth by directing strategic marketing programs for branding, solutions positioning, sales enablement, industry and customer relations, media relations, corporate communications, and event management. He has also executed go-to-market plans for emerging business technologies and new products.
Massood was head of corporate communications and media relations at Verisk Analytics and its flagship ISO subsidiary (Nasdaq:VRSK) from 2006 to 2014. Before joining Verisk, he was vice president of marketing at ISO Insurance Technology Solutions (formerly AscendantOne). Previously, Massood served as financial services industry marketing director at Lawson Software, and he worked in marketing leadership roles at Allenbrook, Vertafore/AMS Services, Delphi Information Systems, and McCracken Computer.
David Burns is responsible for client engagement and delivery, training and certification, and customer advocacy. David has over twenty years of leadership experience delivering strategic and transformational programs as an entrepreneur, Big Five consultant, and Fortune 100 executive.
David has worked in a variety of industries, including insurance. He was with The Hartford for twelve years, most recently as a divisional chief information officer. His responsibilities at The Hartford included application portfolios in P&C operations, agent/broker distribution, claims, voice of customer/broker/field, centers of excellence for business process management, enterprise content management, and e-commerce. Outside of property & casualty, David has launched emerging technologies at Accenture, served on the executive team with a mezzanine-round, London-based Internet start-up, and was a founding member of several professional services firms in the healthcare, commercial, and defense industries.
Paul Cummings is vice president of engineering at FirstBest Systems, where he is responsible for the development and SaaS operations of the innovative FirstBest Underwriting Management System (FirstBest UMS®). For the past nine years, Paul has overseen the growth of the industry-leading suite of FirstBest products including underwriting workstation, agent portal, mobile underwriting, and underwriting analytics. Before joining FirstBest as vice president of engineering, Paul Cummings was vice president of software development for the S1 Corporation, where he led the creation of S1’s enterprise insurance product line. He led improvements in S1’s development process, achieving CMM Level 3, and managed development of other web-based financial services products. S1 insurance products currently provide Internet transactional capability for the largest P&C insurance company in the U.S. In his 10 years at S1, Paul helped grow the company from a startup to $250 million in revenue. Prior to S1, Paul worked with Digital Equipment Corp., where he directed UNIX Operating System security initiatives, and at MITRE Corp., where he specialized in integrating large-scale intelligence data handling systems for intelligence community customers.
Ellenmarie Rhone leads human resources and focuses on talent acquisition and development, employee engagement, and the company’s operating system.
Ellenmarie is a talent leader experienced in building high performing teams for both emerging technology companies and complex global organizations. She is a strategic partner to leadership and supports the company’s collaborative culture and learning environment.
Prior to joining FirstBest, Ellenmarie has been an executive, consultant, and senior business partner at MC Communications, OrderMotion, Experian QAS, CommercialWare, and other firms. She holds an MBA from Simmons College School of Management and earned her SPHR certification from the HR Certification Institute.