Our Team

From former loan officers and bankers to technologists and software architects, our team holds decades of experience in loan origination — so our solution is always as tailored and effective as possible.

  • NICK ELDERS

    CEO

    Nick Elders is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Ignify Technologies Inc. Ignify is responsible for the design, development, testing, delivery, selling, and support of SPARK, the cloud-based loan origination platform designed to simplify the process of delivering secure and efficient lending products to small business owners. With SPARK being the only Public Benefit Corporation in the bank loan origination space, Nick is a leading advocate for leveraging fintech innovation to improve economic opportunities for small businesses and is a champion for financial inclusion, especially in underserved communities. Before starting up Ignify, Nick worked in technology strategy, process design, product management, fundraising, investor pitching, business development, team development, and sales for the national non-profit, Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF). At CRF, Nick led the teams that developed the SPARK platform from the first line of code to its use by more than 30 financial institutions.

    He is a graduate with an economics degree from Macalester College in St Paul and when he’s not strategizing SPARK’s next move, he enjoys [dis]assembling classic cars, mountain biking, urban farming, and spending time with his family.

  • ERIK SWENSON

    COO

    Erik Swenson is Chief Operating Officer of Ignify Technologies, Inc. and oversees the company’s operational strategy and implementation. With 20+ years of experience in legal and financial SaaS technlogy, Erik is focused on establishing the technology, tools, people, and process necessary to grow the company, continue to deliver a high-quality product and exceptional customer service, and purse Ignify’s vision of creating a more inclusive economy.

    Erik holds a computer science degree from Macalester College in St.Paul, MN.

  • ERIK MAU

    CTO

    Erik Mau is an experienced software architect, well-versed in all web technologies. With 25 years of experience in software development, architecture, and business analysis, Erik is passionate about product development and solving business problems. As CTO, he oversees the product development team and is responsible for the technical product management of the SPARK platform.

    Erik earned a degree in computer science from Iowa State University. He enjoys cooking, bass fishing, working out, and spending time with his three children.

  • TANNER BRUHSCHWEIN

    Director of Customer Success

    Tanner Bruhschwein has spent his career in both the lending and technology industries. Prior to joining the SPARK team, he was one of the first SPARK users, applying the system to originate and underwrite SBA loans. Tanner also has experience in ensuring the successful implementation of software to healthcare organizations. He leverages this experience, as well as his time as a SPARK user, to offer a consultative approach to implementation, training, ongoing support, and everything in between.

    Tanner holds a BS in Finance from the University of Nebraska. He is a hopeless golf fanatic who enjoys cooking and traveling abroad with his wife.

  • EMILY MCCARTY

    Lead Customer Success Manager

    Emily McCarty helps SPARK users leverage technology for increased day-to-day efficiency. As Lead Customer Success Manager, she uses her knowledge of interpersonal skills to bring a human element to implementation and technical support. Through SPARK, she hopes to further the mission of small business lenders by helping underserved communities secure financing for their small business ventures.

    Emily holds a BA in Psychology from Transylvania University and an MA in Clinical Psychology from the University of Dayton. She is a self-proclaimed outdoor junkie who loves hiking, biking, running, and more — all with her dog in tow.

  • Kyle Holder

    Senior Customer Success Manager

    Kyle Holder has spent a decade supporting customers as they pursue software solutions in the medical, government, and financial industries. As Senior Customer Success Manager, he blends a respect for customer process with a deep knowledge of the SPARK platform to help customers do what they do best, only better and faster.

    Kyle has a BA in English from the University of Nebraska and an MA in Education from Edgewood College. He has been known to spend time discussing good fiction and bad movies.

  • Keegan Mack

    Customer Support Manager

    Keegan Mack is a uniquely skilled professional who has strong technical aptitude, senior leadership experience, and 20 years advanced customer solutions experience, including a proven track record of strategic business scaling. She joined SPARK as a Customer Support Manager because she believes in the mission of efficiency that can be achieved through automation. Prior to joining SPARK, Keegan played an instrumental role in scaling a SaaS company from start-up to a well established international business.

    Keegan has a passion for all things music-related and enjoys watching true crime documentaries.

  • ALEX HERMAN

    Senior Application Developer

    Alex Herman has spent most of his career as a member of the SPARK team focused on building scalable web-based services used in small business lending. Prior to this, he implemented automation software in the medical device manufacturing industry to improve the quality and consistency of life-saving medical equipment.

    Alex holds a BS in Computer Science from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.

  • CRAIG MACY

    Senior Application Developer

    Craig Macy is a senior application developer for SPARK. With a love for learning and problem solving, he brings more than 10 years of technical expertise from a variety of positions. Craig provides both business and technical analysis for features, develops functionality to expand and improve SPARK, and handles support for complex technical issues.

    Craig holds a BS in Computer Science and Information Systems from the University of Vermont. He is also a scuba diver and pilot who enjoys traveling, cooking, gardening, and building anything he can out of wood.

  • Briana Como

    Principal Product Designer

    Briana Como has over 20 years of experience designing digital products for a wide variety of industries and users with a focus on goal-directed design and cross-discipline collaboration. As Principal Product Designer, Bri tackles tough business and technology problems by creating intuitive, elegant, and functional products. She has worked for companies of all sizes, including Foodsby, where she built and led the design function from the ground up. Prior to that, Bri led design for 3M’s Health Information Systems division, focused on high-profile enterprise software programs.

    Bri holds a degree in Digital Media from John Brown University. She plays sand volleyball, enjoys outdoor concerts, and is learning the ukulele.

  • Elle Harstad

    Senior Product Designer

    Elle Harstad is a Senior Product Designer on SPARK’s product design team. Prior to SPARK, she worked in technology as a product and UX designer across healthcare, food delivery, and fitness industries. With a background in visual and interaction design, Elle brings her attention to detail to design exploration, information architecture, data visualization, interaction design, and design systems.

    Elle studied graphic design at the University of Minnesota. She loves to garden, cook, bake bread and pizza from scratch, and spend time outdoors with her two dogs.

  • Alex Reich

    Application Developer

    Alex Reich is a full-stack Application Developer for the SPARK development team. Specializing in modern front-end frameworks, Alex applies his prior experience building web applications for small and large companies to iterate and improve the SPARK user experience.

    Alex holds a BSBA in Actuarial Science and Finance from Drake University.

  • Alia Abboud Photo

    Alia Abboud

    Product Manager

    As a Product Manager, Alia Abboud works cross-functionally to guide each step of the product lifecycle. This process starts with researching and gathering requirements for new features and enhancements, then collaborating with product design, development, and QA to implement product updates to SPARK. She also works closely with Customer Success to prioritize and respond to customer requests. Prior to SPARK, she worked in client operations and product management in the tax compliance technology space.

    Alia holds bachelor’s degrees in International Business and Musical Arts from Hamline University. She is also a semiprofessional cellist and vocalist, performing regularly in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. In her free time, she enjoys trying new restaurants, traveling, and listening to podcasts.

  • Johnson Anyarah

    Senior Cloud Engineer

    Johnson Anyarah is a Senior Cloud Engineer focused on improving SPARK’S overall cloud infrastructure. He uses his background in building and maintaining cloud infrastructures to to deploy, manage, monitor, and troubleshoot SPARK’s cloud-based systems.

    Johnson holds an MS in Information Technology from Minnesota State University. He enjoys traveling and playing soccer.

  • John Howes

    Principal Architect

    John Howes is a Principal Architect on the SPARK platform. He is an experienced software developer with over 20 years of experience designing and building web applications for a number of industries, including retail, healthcare, and banking. John’s focus is on helping to deliver a high quality, beautiful, accessible product that delights our users and stands the test of time.

    John has an MA in Political Science from SUNY Buffalo. He enjoys spending time with his family, loves books and music, and is learning to play the guitar.

Want to join the SPARK team?

We are always looking for the right people to join our team.

Other companies that entered a new era of loan origination with SPARK.

SPARK for Lender Service Providers

Reliable. Scalable.

For LSPs seeking a complete solution for all aspects of SBA origination.

SPARK for Mission-Driven Lenders

All-in-one. Affordable.

For mission-driven organizations seeking a streamlined platform with built-in access to SBA products.