Tech Moves: Porch poaches engineering lead Nakhuda from Amazon; Apple’s PR chief retires; Twilio taps director; and more

Daryn Nakhuda

Daryn Nakhuda

—Seattle home improvement startup Porch has hired Daryn Nakhuda to be its director of growth engineering. Nakhuda will be charged with running an engineering team that’s focused on driving customer acquisition, revenue and retention. Prior to his work at Porch, Nakhuda served as a software development manager at Amazon, leading a team for an undisclosed new product. He has also served in senior engineering and leadership roles at other companies, including TeachStreet, Mixpo, and EyeJot.

“My wife and I are in the process of building a home and have repeatedly felt the pains that Porch is working to solve first-hand, so when Marc Barros introduced me to Matt early last year we made an instant connection,” Nakhuda told GeekWire in an email. “I was immediately impressed by Matt’s vision and passion for tackling such a huge space, and his discipline in how they were going to do it. The company has hired incredibly well and grown dramatically since then, landed some huge partnerships, and is teed-up to be Seattle’s next great company.”

Porch is growing fast at its new offices in Seattle’s Eastlake neighborhood, gobbling up tech talent as it staff has swelled to more than 125 people in the past eight months. The company, led by entrepreneur Matt Ehrlichman, has raised millions in venture funding, including cash from home improvement retailer Lowe’s.

—Rick Dalzell, Amazon’s former Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President, has joined Twilio’s Board of Directors. During his tenure at Amazon, Dalzell played a key role in launching Amazon Web Services, and was responsible for managing the architecture and software that powers Amazon’s platform worldwide. He will be the 8th member of Twilio’s board, alongside Albert Wenger of Union Square Ventures, Byron Deeter of Bessemer Venture Partners, Scott Raney of Redpoint Ventures, Netsuite COO Jim McGeever, Twilio Co-founder and CEO Jeff Lawson, and co-founder Evan Cooke.

“Twilio is doing for communications what Amazon Web Services has done for technology infrastructure—it’s leveling the playing field and making it possible for any business to have access to the communications infrastructure that let’s them connect with their customers via virtually any channel the customer chooses,” Dalzell said in a press release. “Twilio is a game-changer in the communications space, and I’m looking forward to seeing what both Twilio and its customers will build next.”

Katie Cotton

Katie Cotton

—Katie Cotton, Apple’s Vice President of Worldwide Corporate Communications, announced her retirement today. In a statement from Apple given to Re/Code, Cotton said that she wanted to spend more time with her children after spending almost two decades at the Cupertino-based company. Cotton was a key part of Apple’s highly restrictive press strategy, which kept early access to the company’s products and press events restricted to a select few journalists.

While the company remains notoriously tight-lipped about its plans, it has become more open under the leadership of CEO Tim Cook. Cotton’s departure could open the door for a larger change in public relations strategy.

Cotton is one of a number of high-profile Apple employees who have recently decided to retire from the company, including Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer and iPhone creator Greg Christie.

Brian Burke

Brian Burke

—Smashing Ideas President Brian Burke recently left his prior role at the Seattle-based digital engagement agency to take up the mantle of CEO. Burke has been with the company since 2005, and has also served as the Executive Director for the company’s Mobile and Devices division. Prior to his work at Smashing Ideas, Burke served in a number of leadership roles at media and advertising companies, including Zango and Vendaria.

“I’m looking forward to this next chapter in Smashing’s history, and have never been more excited about the opportunities for our agency to help shape the present and future of digital engagement,” he said in a press release.

—Vinny Gulotto has joined Codeproof as its President and Chief Operating Officer. A 15-year veteran of the computer security industry, Gulotto has served as the General Manager of the Microsoft Malware Protection Center, and lead McAfee’s Anti-Virus Emergency Response Team. In his role at Codeproof, Gulotto will be charged with driving the company’s business development goals and executing its strategic goals.

Mark Woodward

Mark Woodward

—Nintex announced that it has elected Mark Woodward, the President and CEO of E2open, to its Board of Directors. As a part of his role at E2open, Woodward guided the cloud-based on-demand software provider to its IPO last year. In addition to his seat on the board of the Seattle-based workflow software company, Woodward also sits on the board of All Stars Helping Kids, a non-profit based in Redwood City, California.

“With his track record of successfully managing software enterprises, we are ecstatic to welcome Mark on board,” Nintex CEO John Burton said in a press release. “He brings extensive insight in key operational areas such as distribution channels, on-premises and subscription software licensing, mergers and acquisitions, new market entry and many other strategic initiatives.”

—Kirkland-based Viableware, which is developing a device to make it easier for customers to pay bills at restaurants, has named Steve McKean as vice president of channel sales and programs. The University of Washington grad previously served as a partner at Deloitte for the past 12 years.

“Viableware is at the forefront of a technical revolution occurring within the full-service restaurant industry,” McKean said. “The demand for Smart Card technology has not only ushered in a new level of security for consumers – but a new set of technical challenges for restaurant operators.”

Know of a notable tech industry hire? Email tips@geekwire.com. More Tech Moves here.

  • http://eyejot.com/users/davidg davidgeller

    Porch is lucky to get him. Few engineers are as talented as Daryn.

    • http://blog.daryn.net daryn

      Thanks for the kind words, David!