Rena Youngblood is the first Executive Director at the Computer Museum of America (CMoA). Since she arrived in January 2020, she has helped CMoA increase attendance and awareness despite a global pandemic and lay the groundwork for a well-run and strong nonprofit organization. She leads and directs all aspects of the organization, including fundraising, partnerships, and outreach, alongside a team of professionals who unite in their support of the mission to preserve the stories and artifacts from the digital age while educating and inspiring visitors of all ages and backgrounds.
Before joining CMoA, Rena served as Senior Director of Charter School Services for the Association of American Educators and as Director of Member Services at the Georgia Charter Schools Association. Currently, Rena serves on the boards of Roswell Economic Development and Tourism, Inc. and Innovation Academy Foundation. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, she holds a bachelor of arts in English Literature and a minor in Communication Studies.
Favorite Quote: “Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.” ― Angela Duckworth
Favorite Exhibit: The one we’re working on…whatever it might be.
David Larsen is a retired instructor in electronic instrumentation and automation from Virginia Tech. He has acquired many computer artifacts, mostly related to microcomputer technology. From this collection, he opened the Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum in Floyd, VA, which operated from 2009-2016 (when the large collection was acquired by CMoA). David was part of the Blacksburg Group, which built and designed digital teaching equipment and computers and taught hands-on courses for microcomputer users. They developed the Blacksburg Continuing Education Series of “Bugbooks” which were pioneering in helping students, engineers, scientists, technicians, and others to quickly learn how to use new technologies and electronic techniques.
David is a ham radio operator and was an electronics technician in the Navy. Since retiring from the University, David has founded charitable organizations related to amateur radio goodwill, education about technology, and community advancement.
Favorite exhibit: The microcomputer exhibit. From the late 60s, I was heavily involved in teaching, creating the book series and training aids, and “lived” the years from the first microprocessor through the early years of personal computing. Thus, these historical microcomputers hold special meaning for me.
First computer: A PDP 8 minicomputer which he used during some of his years at Virginia Tech.
Why I serve on the CMoA board: I strongly support the vision to expand the museum as a leading innovation and technology museum with a wonderful reputation worldwide.
Alfred T. Dowe is Senior Director of Development at the United Way of Greater Atlanta and joined the board at CMoA in 2021.
His professional background includes experience in financial services, higher education, and non-profit. His extensive work includes revenue generation, B2B sales, civic planning, graduate recruitment, and fundraising. He’s previously served on several civic, professional, and educational boards, including Rotary Club of Roanoke Valley, First Tee, Athletes for a Better World, and the White House Black Community Stakeholders Committee.
Alfred earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from James Madison University and a master’s in operations management, and a doctorate in public/higher education policy from the University of Arkansas.
Favorite exhibit: The evolution of the cell phone
First computer: A hand-built large PC with monitor (no name brand)
Why I serve on the CMoA board: Rarely do you experience a museum that has exhibits of international quality and a global reputation that deserves more local and regional exposure. My hope is to help provide that.
Steve Stroud is the Executive Director of Roswell Inc, a 501c6 nonprofit that promotes economic development through a public-private partnership with the City of Roswell. Since the organization’s inception in 2012, Stroud has held this position, and under his leadership, Roswell Inc has developed networking, educational, and support programs for small businesses, and worked one-on-one with business owners, entrepreneurs, and state project managers to retain, expand and recruit businesses to Roswell. Additionally, in 2021, Roswell Inc became an accredited economic development organization (AEDO) through the International Economic Development Council.
Prior to Roswell Inc, Stroud owned and operated his own small business in Roswell, Stroud’s Printing & Design, for 30 years. An active member of the community, Stroud has been involved with civic and nonprofit organizations throughout North Fulton for more than 20 years. Most recently, joining the board of the North Fulton Community Improvement District.
Favorite exhibit: The Apollo exhibit, because it’s nostalgic of my childhood.
First computer: Heathkit
Why I serve on the CMoA board: CMoA represents not only the past, present, and future of technology, but it’s also a one-of-a-kind destination for Roswell. Destinations are the foundation of placemaking, which is key to successful economic development. With the city’s master planning underway, CMoA will undoubtedly be a key piece of that vision.
Kyle Owen is an electrical engineer in Huntsville, AL, where he works with old hardware and software. His work allows him to work with old technology daily, which hasn’t taken away from his hobby of collecting and restoring vintage technology, from calculators and computers to cameras and radios.
From an early age, Kyle knew he wanted to follow in his dad’s footsteps of becoming an electrical engineer. He assembled his first electronics kit (a theremin) at age eight, with his dad ensuring he didn’t burn himself with the soldering iron. In 9th grade, he enjoyed learning assembly programming on his first vintage computer, a SWTPC 6800. He quickly fell in love with assembly language programming and enrolled in the computer engineering program at Auburn University in 2010. During his early college years, Kyle met Lonnie Mimms at the first Vintage Computer Festival Southeast.
He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering in 2014 and decided to continue his studies by pursuing a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Auburn University, graduating in 2016.
Favorite exhibit: Enigma
First computer: Gateway 2000 tower
Why I serve on the CMoA board: To help inspire the next generation of innovators by closely examining past innovations interactively.
John J. Scroggin (“Jeff”) is a semi-retired attorney practicing with the law firm of Scroggin & Burns in Roswell, GA. Jeff earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Laws in Taxation, from the University of Florida. Since 1979, Jeff has practiced as an Atlanta-based tax, business, charitable planning, and estate planning attorney. US News and World Report repeatedly named Jeff as one of the Best Lawyers in America, and he was named a Georgia SuperLawyer for 15 years. He was inducted into the NAEPC Estate Planning Hall of Fame in 2017 and served on the University of Florida College of Law Board of Trustees for eight years. Jeff has served on 16 different charitable boards over his career.
A nationally recognized speaker on tax and estate planning issues, Jeff has authored over 260 published articles on tax, business, and estate planning and was extensively quoted in national media, including nine times in the Wall Street Journal, five times in Forbes magazine, and three times in the New York Times. He was Founding Editor of the Journal of Estate and Tax Planning, a national publication of the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils.
Jeff owns one of the largest collections of tax memorabilia in the US, with the collection being the subject of a front-page Wall Street Journal article on April 15, 2015.
Favorite Exhibit: The World Wall II German Enigma Computer
First Computer: A Texas Instruments handheld business calculator I purchased in 1973 for more money than I could afford.
Why I serve on the CMoA board: I hope to broaden the impact of the museum’s preservation of history and development of community while supporting the founder’s vision.
Ms. Sacks-Mandel is the Microsoft Global Chief Technology and Transformation Officer for the education industry. Prior to joining Microsoft, she was the Chief Information Officer at two unique, technically advanced, large, and diverse public school districts where she enabled student-centric teaching and learning, which resulted in dramatic improvements in literacy, graduation rates, test scores, and advanced placement credits.
She has led innovation teams at IBM, Walt Disney World, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and provided management consulting at many others. Serena has won numerous state, national, and global awards for leadership, vision, technical excellence, and her commitment to improving student outcomes. She and her husband, Scott are adventure seekers – biking, hiking, traveling, and boating, often with their three wonderful adult daughters.
Favorite exhibit: The STEAM Timeline with tech, people stories, and pop culture
First computer: IBM PC with dual floppy drives and a Casio calculator
Why I serve on the CMoA board: The Museum is important for preserving our shared technical past, inspiring future innovation, and has the potential to be a magnet for community, connection, education, and economic development.
Barkha Suri is often described as a technology evangelist; she has had an impact through her work with various community-focused organizations. Her comprehensive professional IT experience has allowed her to deploy holistic solutions in education, business management, and development. She uses her creative experience as a way to bridge the gap between engineering and many other domains, focusing on increasing the participation of women and minorities in STEM fields. She is a leader in the design and delivery of STEM education programs, engaging the future brightest minds of America and enhancing their learning experience.
Barkha is the CEO of Strem HQ Tech Academy, Metro Atlanta, which she founded in 2015 to make technology education the nation’s #1 priority. Using the latest innovations in technology and robotics to enable students to have a propitious advantage for their future, over 18,000 future engineers, doctors, programmers, and scientists have been impacted throughout the United States. She also founded Socialyte Media, Metro Atlanta, in October of 2021, where she serves as the Chief Creative Officer.
She began her career in the commercial sector working in business development, project and product management, and quality assurance roles at Ozonix, Inc., Baxter Healthcare, Envision, Inc., and Parke Davis (India).
Barkha holds a Bachelor of Technology, a Bachelor in English, and a Master of Business Administration. Certifications include Six Sigma, Green Belt; Scrum Master, Scrum Product Owner; Executive Global Information Technology Management Certificate; and a Diploma in Marketing & Management.
Favorite exhibit: A tribute to Apollo
First computer: 1988 Commodore PC20-III, Dial-up
Why I serve on the CMoA board: CMoA has amazed me from the moment I stepped inside the museum’s doors. With the integration of education and technology, the museum will enable great minds to gather and utilize the abundance of knowledge and history that the Computer Museum of America offers. I strongly believe that with the various awe-inspiring exhibits and the plethora of historical gadgets, CMoA has the potential to enrich and inspire future generations as they take the journey of the evolution of technology through time.