Our team has more than 100 years of experience in managing institutional capital and delivering customized technology solutions for clients.
Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Craig K. Huffman is a native of the South Side of Chicago and has been entrepreneur for over 15 years. Prior to Co-founding Metro Edge Technologies, Mr. Huffman was a Co-founder and Principal of Ascendance Partners (“Ascendance”), a Chicago-based real estate private equity firm, established in 2006, focused on commercial real estate investment in metropolitan Chicago. Ascendance was the sponsor of institutional real estate funds for foundations, endowments, pension funds, family offices and high net worth individuals. Mr. Huffman serves on numerous philanthropic boards and is an advisor and investor in several emerging entrepreneurs. Mr. Huffman holds a B.A. from Morehouse College and a master’s degree and an MBA from the University of Chicago.
Co-Founder & Board Chairman
Mr. Kenney is an established entrepreneur, business leader, and economic development expert in the Gary and Northwest Indiana region and is considered one of the pioneers in the ongoing redevelopment of Gary, Indiana. He is the Founder and Managing Partner of 504 Redevelopment LLC, a commercial real estate development firm committed to advancing the urban landscape; a Managing Partner of Advance Energy, LLC, a multi-million dollar fuel supply and transport business that supplies fuels to Chicago and NWI firms and national firms such as FedEx, Enterprise Car Rentals, CSX Rail, Norfolk Southern, USS and many others. In addition, he is the Founder and President of V.R. Kenney & Associates, a business development consulting firm for companies such as Republic Services, Z Force Transportation and others. Vance is an influential business leader and has served on numerous boards and commissions. Mr. Kenney holds a B.A. from Northeastern Oklahoma College.
Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer
Mr. Diamond has over 2 decades of experience launching and leading technology companies. He has been instrumental building and scaling several technology businesses on a global scale, specifically companies with recurring revenue models. Notably, he was a founding team member of Capital IQ in New York City, scaling from pre-revenue, now generating in excess of $1B in annual recurring revenue. Mr. Diamond has held executive leadership roles at Morningstar, managing a global division with +500 full time employees, while driving exponential growth. Mr. Diamond is an active advisor and board member to many private technology firms in the Europe and the U.S. and holds a B.A. from Gustavus Adolphus College.
Ms. Vargas brings over seven years of experience in politics, education and business. A native of the South Side of Chicago, Ms. Vargas recently served as Chief of Staff to Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer. In this role, she managed Commissioner Gainer’s office and she served as the lead on legislation that impacted thousands of individuals and families in Illinois. Legislation drafted by Ms. Vargas was featured in the Chicago Tribune, Crain’s Chicago Business and the New York Times. In addition to Commissioner Gainer’s office, Ms. Vargas’ professional experience includes work for the University of Chicago’s Office of Civic Engagement and work as an independent political consultant. She currently serves on the board of directors for the non-profits Mujeres Latinas En Accion, in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, and the National Diversity Advisory Council for the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C. Ms. Vargas received her Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies and Business Administration from DePaul University in Chicago.
Chief Technology Advisor
Mr. Wampler is a technology entrepreneur with over 30 years of experience designing, building, advising and implementing information technology solutions to Fortune 500 companies. He has served as Netrix’s CTO for 14 years, and has direct management of their Data Center Solutions business. Jeff is an industry renowned expert in all things network operations and implementation.
Christie Hefner is a seasoned professional with more than thirty years’ experience at executive levels in both public and private companies, as well as multiple company directorships. Presently, her portfolio consists of advisory work for a company with patents to convert CO2 and methane to biodegradable plastic and artificial leather, a company that owns 30 newspapers and four TV stations, and a cannabis company. She also serves as Chairman of the Board of Hatchbeauty Brands and on the Advisory Board of the Offutt Companies, a multi-billion dollar agricultural conglomerate.
Previously, Christie served as Chairman and CEO of Playboy Enterprises for 20 years making her the longest serving female CEO of a publicly traded company. Under her leadership, the company was transformed into an international multi-media, brand driven company. She was one of the founders of both The Chicago Network and the Committee of 200, and is a member of Women Corporate Directors and National Association of Corporate Directors.
Steve Dress is Partner/Managing Director of Netrix, LCC where he is responsible for the strategic and operational planning and execution for U.S. and global entities. He has a 30-year track record in the technology industry beginning with PC Magazine as a District Manager for the Central Region and Canada. He founded Midland Solutions Group in Chicago, IL in 1993 and is an expert in mid-market business consulting around IT operations and logistics including collaboration, security and compliance. He received his B.B.A. from University of Iowa.
Mr. Porrello brings over 40 years of experience in technology strategy, technology implementation and cyber security. Ken currently serves on the board of SteelCloud, LLC, a leading provider of cyber security solutions to the Federal sector. Ken chairs the Board of Advisors of the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University and serves as Executive Director of the CEO Perspectives program, a pre-eminent leadership development experience for senior executives of Fortune 500 and equivalent companies. Previously, Ken served for 30 years as a member of Deloitte Consulting, where he served in a number of executive roles in the US and India.
Dr. Gregory Thomas
Dr. Gregory Thomas has served as President of Kennedy-King College (KKC) since July 2018. Prior to joining KKC, Dr. Thomas served as Vice President of Student Affairs and Institutional Effectiveness at Prairie State College in Chicago Heights since 2012. In that role, he led the development of planning processes that resulted in two college strategic plans; created the Office of Planning, Effectiveness & Accreditation; played a key role in developing a college-wide Continuous Quality Improvement Model; led the development of the college’s First Year Experience program; and created a Male Success Initiative to enhance access, persistence, retention, and graduation of male students of color.
Prior to that, Dr. Thomas was Associate Provost of Des Moines Area Community College; Vice President of Student Affairs at Weatherford College (TX); Dean of Student Affairs at Hillsborough Community College (FL); Executive Director of Enrollment Management and Deputy Vice President of Student Affairs at City University of New York/CUNY (NY); and Assistant Academic Dean at Trinity University (DC). He has a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Community College Leadership from Iowa State University; an M.A. in Teaching from Trinity University (DC); a BA in Communications from Howard University (DC); and an associate degree from Kingsborough Community College (NYC
Matt has over 15 years of experience working with emerging business models and strategic implementations at the highest level of both the public and private sector, internationally and domestic. Matt’s skillset lies in understanding complex relationships and restrictions that exist in developing and deploying new business systems that rely heavily on rapidly developing, new technologies. Prior to joining Dandelion and founding Antonym, he advised and worked in various strategy and client management roles in government and private organizations such as United Talent Agency (UTA), Warner Brothers, Derby County F.C., The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, STATS Inc, and ThyssenKrupp.