As Huntsville rises as a tech hot spot, women are at the core of the city’s emergence as a power player. We sat down with six of the women making it happen.
1. Katreena Mullican | Senior Partner Solutions Architect, Amazon Web Services
How She Got the Job: Katreena has been an IT professional for nearly 30 years, including local gigs at ADTRAN and Hudson Alpha Institute.
As she skilled up into cloud computing, and public clouds specifically, the first she learned was also the most popular—Amazon Web Services’.
“I worked on my own to upskill and learn Amazon Web Services. There wasn’t an opportunity in Huntsville for my specific skill set, so I blindly uploaded my resume on the Amazon careers website.”Katreena Mullican
Several weeks after her gutsy move, Amazon reached out. “You have to be your own advocate,” Katreena says, “I knew I had the skills.”
- What Attracted Her to Tech and Huntsville: Dreams of working at NASA
- Favorite Place to Eat: Rosie’s
2. PeggyLee Wright | Owner and President, The Company You Keep
How She Got the Job: After Desert Storm broke out in 1991, PeggyLee felt a calling to join the military and ended up flying Black Hawk helicopters for a decade. “It was an amazing job,” she says. After leaving the military, she consulted in the realm of education and business development.
What Attracted Her to Tech and Huntsville: Her husband’s work brought her family to Huntsville, where PeggyLee took her cumulative life experiences and put it all together to start her company. “I took all the tools I had in my toolkit to create a different type of firm,” she says.
Favorite Place to Eat in Huntsville: Cotton Row
3. Angie Sandritter | CEO, RippleWorx
How She Got the Job: Calling herself “an entrepreneur at heart,” Angie started her career at ADTRAN before returning to school to get her executive MBA at Alabama. In 2018, she and seven others launched performance accelerating software RippleWorx.
What Attracted Her to Tech and Huntsville: Angie’s family relocated to Huntsville from Minnesota when she was in high school. A simultaneous love of technology and people led her to create “technology to solve people problems,” she says.
4. Karen Williams | Manager of Cyber Engineering, JRC Integrated Systems
How She Got the Job: After career beginnings in mental health, Karen returned to school and earned a master’s degree in management of information systems before, among other gigs, teaching at UAH and working with the Department of Defense as one of its lead cyber engineers.
What Attracted Her to Tech and Huntsville: A Huntsville native, early on in her college career Karen studied computer science and coding developing a knack for it.
Karen’s Advice to Women in Tech: “Know what you’re worth, and be confident in that,” she says. “Don’t be afraid to ask for what you’re worth and get over your fear. And, sometimes, you have to leave a company to go get the money you deserve.” Also, she says, get a mentor, and join networking organizations. “That’s the best thing for your career,” she says.
Favorite Place to Eat in Huntsville: Hildegard’s German Cuisine
5. Emily Gumataotao | Senior Analyst & Program Director, Axient
How She Got the Job: Emily joined the military at 17, and her career included an opportunity to work at the White House Communications Agency for six years and with missile defense agencies. “The roles just built on each other,” she says.
What Attracted Her to Tech and Huntsville: Emily and her husband relocated to Huntsville from Colorado Springs in 2013 after her husband took a new job in missile defense. “Alabama is beautiful,” she says. “I’ve heard country songs talking about Alabama sunsets, and now I know why.”
6. Alicia Ryan | CEO, LSINC
How She Got the Job: Alicia had a successful career in consulting in the greater Washington, D.C. area, but, after her husband accepted a job as a civil servant for the Army and moved the family to Huntsville 17 years ago, Alicia decided to stay home with her young children for two years. When she decided to reenter the workforce, she specialized in leadership consulting, analyzing technology and determining what tech should go to market, and, three years in, she acquired her current company.
What Her Company Does: LSINC is mostly a product development company, specifically high-level, complex industrial machines. “We specialize in printers,” she says. “We are known for bringing unique technology to market.” An example of LSINC’s technology? A high-speed, high-resolution decoration printer that, among other avenues, is used on wine bottles.
Favorite Place to Eat in Huntsville: Purveyor