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Meet Our Team

The principals of SpeedBuilder Systems have a unique combination of strategic, operational and technical expertise developed over decades of experience in a variety of disciplines, including financial services, consulting, enterprise software development, system integration, Internet technologies, and project management.

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Ronald (Rod) J. Giess

Founder and President

Rod’s experience in software development, marketing and technology sales goes back more than 40 years, starting with his career at IBM. He held various positions while he was with “Big Blue,” from systems analyst at IBM World Trade to marketing representative for the General Systems division in Philadelphia.

Before starting SpeedBuilder Systems in 2001, Rod was an account executive with Policy Management Systems Corp., specializing in the firm's eBusiness strategy and sales. Prior to that, he started and ran Data Results, Inc. (DRI), a company that created the first online marketplace for the building materials trade in 1996. When he sold the company in 1998, more than 80 companies throughout the U.S. were using DRI’s award-winning accounting system, Accelerate.

Through his experiences in both small and large technology firms, Rod came to realize that cost containment is a way of life for those who own small businesses and that small businesses cannot survive using the inefficient processes intrinsic to much of corporate America. After seeing insurance company clients accept cost overruns and late time-to-market as the status quo, he knew there had to be a better way — one that not only would lower development times and long-term costs but also deliver superior quality.

This philosophy was the genesis for SpeedBuilder Systems. Rod has purposefully created a results-oriented culture in which employees view the client as their boss and are incentivized to deliver projects on time and under budget. This culture is how SpeedBuilder Systems helps clients lower the time, cost and risk inherent in insurance IT projects.

Rod is a graduate of the Wharton Business School. He lives in Lexington, SC, where he plays league tennis and is a long-time volunteer with the Kairos Prison Ministry.

deb

Deb Rivers

Vice President of Client Services

Debbie leads development, enhancement, and delivery of the BindExpress Suite of products. Prior to joining SpeedBuilder Systems in 2019, she was the director of Liability Navigator for ISO Claims Partners, a division of Verisk. Up to that point, she had served as the product owner of Liability Navigator since 1998.

Debbie has been developing insurance software products for more than 30 years. Beginning as a programmer and graduating to solution engineer, she spent the first 10 years of her career building workers’ compensation administration systems, covering all functions from policy administration, rating and claims to bureau reporting.

Over the course of her career, Debbie has worked with dozens of insurance carriers, ranging from those in the top 10 to nascent start-ups. The products she is responsible for developing have been used by over 7,500 insurance professionals in the United States and hundreds of others throughout the world. The first administration system she developed more than three decades ago is still in production today.

Debbie graduated from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC, with a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science.

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Ellie Ardalani

Vice President of Claims Development

When Ellie joined SpeedBuilder Systems in 2017, she brought with her nearly 40 years of experience in claims management and claims product development. At SBS, she is responsible for all product design, development and implementation for the BindExpress Claims System.

Ellie’s previous experience includes a nine-year stint at Verisk Analytics, where she was a senior claims consultant and subject matter expert. She was a key resource in defining the market for claims outcome advisor (COA) products, representing them to customers and prospects and at industry conferences. She also engaged in product development and enhancements involving complex claims processes.

Prior to that, Ellie was the chief claims officer at First Fidelity Insurance, a startup carrier in St. Petersburg, FL. Among her responsibilities, she was tasked with developing manuals for claims procedures and operations, authoring the policy language for multiple lines of business and preparing the underwriting guidelines manual, applications and forms for submission to the state’s department of insurance.

In an earlier role as the regional director of claims at Mercury Insurance Group in Clearwater, FL, Ellie managed 14 departments, 58 units, 900 agents and 400 employees, in addition to developing “big picture” strategies for the firm’s Eastern region claims operation.

At the start of her insurance career, Ellie managed multiple independent insurance agencies. She began her claims career in 1993 with Progressive Insurance.

Ellie graduated summa cum laude from Saint Leo University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in business management and marketing.

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Frank Steddenbenz

Consulting Project Manager

Frank has 30+ years experience in information technology, supporting the P&C and Life Insurance industries. The last 32 years consisted of managing various combinations of technical, marketing, and operations staff. The range of applications includes developing and implementing insurance software systems, operating inbound/outbound call centers, automating independent agencies — multiple perspectives that blend the focus of business, technical, and operational needs.

Before joining SBS, Frank was Senior Vice President of INSLogic, responsible for the development of core systems used for call-center operations, eCRM, policy servicing, carrier upload/download, third-party information, and Web quoting.

Prior to INSLogic, Frank was a twenty-year veteran of PMSC, where he held various positions. As VP of Banking Client Services, he grew the technical and business staff from twenty people to over 150, with over $18MM annual revenue. He also held various management positions, including responsibility for the enhancements and maintenance of the company’s premier enterprise product that became known as Series II.

Frank lives in Columbia, SC, and is married with three children.

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