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Leadership Bios

We’re led by pioneers and visionaries, experienced professionals each with considerable experience helping small businesses overcome obstacles and reach their audience. We foster the entrepreneurial spirit because our leaders have been there, leapt those same hurdles, stumbled, and kept on. Their wisdom and lessons-learned shape our services to help others thrive.

Eric Thomas

Founder, President/CEO, Board of Directors

With nearly 20 years of experience championing virtual and hosted phone solutions for small businesses, Eric Thomas is a strong leader in the telephony industry.

Believing that major carriers and systems providers underserved small businesses in terms of business phone features and functions, Thomas started FreedomVoice in 1996 to offer small and mid-sized businesses feature-rich, yet affordable, virtual phone systems and 800 numbers.

In 2006, with tens of thousands of small business clients already served, Thomas set his sights on the rapidly emerging hosted voice-over-IP market.  Not content to buy or borrow someone else’s technology, Thomas led the creation and 2007 launch of FreedomIQ, a hosted VoIP PBX platform that FreedomVoice engineered from the ground up. Now known as Cloud PBX, this platform remains the company’s flagship offering, providing business owners with a virtual phone solution that is a smart, cost-effective desktop phone alternative to the traditional office PBX phone system.

Prior to FreedomVoice, Thomas founded and ran B/T SciTech, a molecular biology distribution company for four years beginning in the early 1990s.

Thomas holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Forest Sciences and Biology from the State University of New York at Syracuse and a Master of Science Degree in Biochemistry from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Thomas has a passion for photography, outdoor activities, and making a difference in the lives of other people, whether through his business or personal endeavors.

Chris Sterbenc

Vice President of Sales

With more than 25 years of direct and indirect sales experience in information and communications technology, Chris Sterbenc is well known in the channel community for his leadership and expertise with resellers and managed services providers. As Vice President of Sales, his goal is to accelerate the growth of FreedomVoice’s channel program and increase the success of channel partners. 

Prior to joining Freedom Voice, Sterbenc was Vice President of Sales at Silicon Valley startups Axcient, Inc., and Untangle Inc.; Vice President of Worldwide Partner Programs at Apparent Networks Inc.; Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Marqui Inc.; Vice President of Business Development at Axonwave Software, Inc.; Vice President of Sales at Rainmaker Systems; and General Manager for Content-Management Solutions at Microsoft following Microsoft’s acquisition of NCompass Labs Inc., where he had been Vice President of Sales. 

Sterbenc was named to the CRN 5-Star Award for World-class Partner Programs several times, as recently as 2015. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Computer and Informational Sciences from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

An avid golfer, Sterbenc is an aficionado of red wines and fine cheeses.

Cedar Coleman

Director of Customer Care

As Director of Customer Care for FreedomVoice, Cedar Coleman excels at creating engaged, resourceful employees and fostering a fun work environment. Since joining FreedomVoice in 2014, Coleman has significantly reduced customer care wait times and response times.

Prior to FreedomVoice, Coleman spent 9 years with in a series of customer care and IT operations positions, and was most recently Director of Web Hosting Customer Care with the responsibility of supporting over 5 million customers. Before, he had customer care experience in financial services.

Coleman holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Northern Arizona University.

Away from the office, he enjoys mountain biking, golf, cooking, and brewing beer.

Chris Nikkel

Director of Research and Development

Upon graduation in 1998, Chris Nikkel joined FreedomVoice as a software engineer. As one of the longest-tenured employees at FreedomVoice, he has been instrumental in developing, implementing and deploying the company’s distinctive FreedomIQ hosted VoIP PBX platform.

A true leader within the organization, Nikkel directs the company’s dedicated development staff, while coordinating maintenance and upgrades to the sophisticated hardware and proprietary databases that power FreedomVoice’s web and voice services. He leads FreedomVoice’s development staff in crafting innovative solutions and features, to continually improve FreedomVoice’s service offering.

Nikkel is an advocate of “lean” methodologies to drive collaborative team improvement, enhance productivity, and create value by using the fewest resources while eliminating wasted effort, downtime and barriers to productivity.  He tries to align team members’ career and life goals with the company’s goals to achieve harmony within his team.

Nikkel holds a Bachelor’s Degrees in Computer Engineering and Mathematics, Applied Sciences from the University of California at San Diego.

A juggler in his spare time, he is fascinated by the challenges of mathematics, visualizations, chaos theory and non-linear dynamics. 

Jeremiah Gowdy

Chief Architect

Since joining FreedomVoice in 2002, Jeremiah Gowdy has been involved with the company’s research initiatives, architectural guidance and operations. His current role as Chief Architect includes leading research efforts to enhance the technology employed at FreedomVoice in order to provide the most cutting-edge experience to customers. 

Gowdy’s research includes developing prototypes of new systems, exploring available technologies, and adapting those technologies to suit FreedomVoice product offerings. He also provides technical guidance and training to all FreedomVoice employees involved in technology roles.

Gowdy has a degree in Computer Science from Palomar College. He is a member and supporter of the Linux Foundation and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

A native San Diegan, Gowdy has a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He met his wife at FreedomVoice, who retired from the company to care for their son. 

Kim Kleber

Director of Marketing

Kim Kleber joined FreedomVoice in 2014, bringing more than 25 years of technology-oriented business expertise, including strategic thought leadership, innovative marketing programs, new product introductions, relationship management, project management, and engineering.  As FreedomVoice Marketing Director, she drives the marketing strategy, corporate branding, channel marketing, product positioning, partner communications, social media, and lead generation programs.

Prior to joining FreedomVoice, Kleber spent nearly 20 years at Qualcomm in senior-level Marketing, Program Management, Business Development and Engineering positions, most recently as Senior Director of Technical Marketing. Earlier in her career, she held engineering positions at Alcoa Electronic Packaging and National Steel & Shipbuilding. 

Kleber holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial & Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan and an Executive Program Certificate in Strategy and Organization from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Kleber enjoys swimming, loves travel and is a life-long learner. She is passionate about STEM education for girls, making a difference in her community, and being a Girl Scout leader.  Kleber calls herself a foodie and is an ardent fan of Michigan football.

Nick Gowdy

Director of eCommerce

Nick Gowdy began working at FreedomVoice straight out of college in 2006, and has developed a range of experience across Customer Care, Marketing, and Product Management. With his range of experience, he is the company’s expert in online marketing and sales. 

Gowdy spent nearly seven years split between supervisory roles within Customer Care and later as the company’s Online Marketing Manager. In early 2013, he assumed responsibility as Product Manager for FreedomVoice's virtual phone services, and has further evolved that role into Director of eCommerce.  He owns a wealth of knowledge regarding online marketing and web-driven sales, and he is responsible for website information architecture, search engine optimization/marketing, social media promotion and display advertising.

Gowdy earned his Bachelor's Degree in Statistics, with an emphasis on mathematics and economics, from the University of California at Berkeley.

He’s known for contributing dashes of wit and levity that help lighten stressful periods, and is keenly interested in statistics, probability theory, cryptography, numbers and math, as well as games, gaming and game theory.

Nitin Tomar

Director of Product Management

Nitin Tomar brings 18 years of experience in telecommunications and the IT industry to FreedomVoice, with a background in marketing requirements, product roadmaps, strategies, positioning, life-cycle management, and adaptation at telecom equipment providers, enterprise customers and wireless carriers. 

Prior to joining FreedomVoice, he drove product management and product marketing for LTE and 3G wireless software and solutions product lines at Radisys Corporation.  Before Radisys, Tomar held various product management and engineering roles during his eight years at Continuous Computing, where he established a successful solutions and services practice, growing revenue threefold in less than five years.  Earlier in his career, Tomar worked at Intel and C-DOT.

Tomar holds an executive MBA from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and a Bachelor’s of Engineering Degree in Computer Science from Barkatullah University in Bhopal, India.

When he’s not in the office, Tomar enjoys jogging on the beach and watching his favorite sport cricket.

Julie Bryant

Board of Directors

John M. Newsam

Board of Directors

Jim Schumacher

Board of Directors

Adam Gould

Board of Directors