Collier, C.E.O. of Optemax, LLC, is a nationally known speaker,
author and technology entrepreneur. For over 25 years,
she has worked in the technology, university, government,
and financial services industries in a variety of
technical and managerial positions. She was co-founder
and CEO for 15 years of Paragon Computer Services,
Inc and all of its subsidiaries which was acquired in
2004. Shirley has an undergraduate degree in Marketing
with a Master’s degree in Management. She has published
over 50 articles and spoken extensively on aligning
business and Information Technology, IT security/governance,
strategic planning and e-commerce. She is the
past chair the Board of the Howard County Economic
Development Authority, and is a founding member and
past President of the International Alliance of Technology
Integrators. She formerly served on the Boards of
the Howard County Chamber of Commerce (chairing the
Education and Nominating Committees), and the Domestic
Violence Center of Howard County (and recipient of
their Spirit Award) and FCNB which was acquired By BB&T. She also serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees of
the Horizon Foundation.
Shirley has served on numerous commissions and committees
including the County Executive and County Council’s
Compensation Committee, the Columbia Town Center Rotary
annual fundraisers (for 7 years), The Heart Ball (chair
for two years), the EDA’s Incubator Committee (chair
for 2 years), the Superintendent's Advisory Council (10 years), the Center for Women in Technology (7 years), the Technology Leadership Consortium,
and the Howard Community College’s Commission on the
Future. She is a graduate of Leadership Howard County, was named Alumnus of the Year in 1997 and received
the Children’s Advocate Award in 2004.
Shirley received the 1999 Woman of the Year award
from the Business Women's Network of Howard County.
She was awarded the EBO Outstanding Woman in Business
award in 1997. Shirley was named one of Maryland's
Top 100 Women in 1996, 2000 and 2005 and inducted
into the “Circle of Excellence” by The Daily Record.
She was named as one of the Arthritis Foundation's
Women of Distinction, and in 1995 founded "Computer
Mania,” a free computer symposium for girls in the
public school system to foster confidence in technology,
mathematics and science. Computer Mania is now being
funded by major corporations
to reach middle-school girls throughout the region.
In 2003, Shirley was inducted into the Women’s Hall
of Fame by the Howard County Women’s Commission. In
2004 Shirley received a Distinguished Leader Award
from the YWCA at their first annual Women’s Leadership
Luncheon. In 2005 she was named economic development
Volunteer of the Year by the Northeast Economic Developer’s
Association. Shirley and her company also were awarded
the Torch Award for ethical business practices by
the Better Business Bureau of Greater Baltimore.
Thomas Collier, Chief Technology Strategist, who co-founded Optemax
and Paragon Computer Services and all of its subsidiaries, is a commercial pilot and holds technical
and professional certifications from a number of institutions including IEEE, CISCO, AOPA and BICSI. Over the last 25 years he has focused on network design, multi-vendor systems integration, remote communications and control, advanced network diagnostics, data center design and avionics. Since 1984 Tom has designed, installed and supported a wide variety of networked environments in the military, medical, research, financial services, engineering, legal, real estate, aviation and education industries.
A technologist at heart, Tom keeps his skills sharp and knowledge current by performing research and design work in the Optemax labs and most recently designed the technology prototype for utilizing BeamNet in tactical un-manned aerial
systems. His work focuses primarily on advanced network design, and he speaks and writes frequently on technology issues. A tested and proven leader throughout his life, Tom held a number of management positions in the computer industry including Service Manager of a
national franchise, General Manager of a national computer retailer
and Managing Partner of a systems engineering firm in Owings Mills. Tom holds a B.S. degree in Engineering Technology.