About AstreaX

Company History/Overview

The story of AstreaX starts back in the 1990s when our two founders, David Knigge and Stefano Esposito, started Archon Technologies Inc which developed software for a variety of clients/industries with a primary focus on the transportation and healthcare space.  Archon, which was based in Arizona and Colorado, started out small and at its peak had over 80 employees.  Archon developed software solutions for Medicaid programs, addiction programs, a digital signature (e-signature) company which was very cutting edge at that time, and more.  

At its core, Archon was founded to solve interesting problems using software and developed a great company culture for employees.  In fact, over one-third of the employees that worked for Archon are now with AstreaX and almost all the AstreaX senior leadership come from Archon.  

Archon developed a reputation as a highly capable and trustworthy company and when a high-profile motor vehicle systems modernization project failed in Iowa, Archon was asked to take over.  The Iowa system successfully went live in 2005 and this led to Archon and its employees becoming sought after resources in the niche motor vehicle systems modernization space.

In 2006, Archon Technologies Inc was purchased by 3M.

In 2010, David and Stefano started another company, Aura Solutions LLC, whose purpose was to assist the State of Arizona with their motor vehicle systems modernization effort as Arizona was struggling with a lot of the same problems as Iowa.  Based on the solid reputation David and Stefano had built with Archon, Aura Solutions began to grow as more organizations came to them with their software development needs and by 2013, the company had grown to over a dozen full-time employees.  By 2018, the company had grown to over 40 full-time employees focused on developing quality software solutions for a variety of clients/industries.

In 2019, David and Stefano wanted to rebrand the company and provide some ownership of the company to its employees.  On January 1, 2019 AstreaX, Inc. was formed as a C-Corp which makes it easier to award ownership to employees than through a limited liability company (LLC).  Currently the AstreaX team has about 60 full-time employees, works in a variety of industries including finance, online higher education, K-12 education, government, and senior living communities.  

In April of 2020, AstreaX assisted the State of Arizona in the release of several digital government tools aimed at providing more government services online including a fully modernized online driver license and motor vehicle system (AZMVDNow.gov).  These tools were extremely helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic and unlike other states, Arizona never had to close their MVD field offices in large part due to the digital tools AstreaX had helped Arizona implement.  AstreaX is currently in development with some very large organizations, including a Fortune 5 company, building out more tools to better serve citizens and help provide better government.  

The future for AstreaX is bright and we are currently working on bringing some new Smart City software solutions to life, assisting other states in their motor vehicle modernization efforts, and developing some very exciting software for both non-profit and private organizations.  Stay tuned!

Leadership Team

David A. Knigge

Founder

David A. Knigge has more than 30 years of experience in the technology field with a diverse range of experience from executive to consultant to IT project delivery roles.  For well more than a decade, he has worked primarily in the Motor Vehicle Industry with an exclusive focus on the DMV business.

David has had delivery roles including Project Director on enterprise projects providing DMV legacy system modernization for half a dozen states.  As a strategic consultant and advisor, he has supported technology efforts for several other states as well.
As co-founder in an enterprise class DMV software and solution provider, David was President taking the organization from startup through acquisition by a Fortune 100 company.  Relating to technology procurements, he has experience both from the acquirer and vendor perspectives.  David has also supported jurisdictions in large complex IT legal matters as an expert witness and litigation consultant.

David has been involved in several entrepreneurial technology product and service companies. As a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the University of Colorado and an expert and speaker on technology processes and their integration into business, he possesses a unique blend of technical skills with strategic and tactical business acumen.

Stefano Esposito

Founder

With over 35 years of entrepreneurial, management, and Information Technology experience, Stefano has proven success delivering enterprise software solutions in various industries including Transportation, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Mortgage and Finance.  As a founder of Aura Solutions, LLC since 2012 and AstreaX, Inc. since 2019, Stefano has built a software and services business to serve customers across the United States providing a range of solutions including product development, outsourced software support, and technical expertise.  Prior to founding Aura and AstreaX, Stefano served for six years as Global Technology Manager leading the Motor Vehicle Software & Systems business for 3M in the United States, and other countries.  This 3M business was derived from an acquisition of Archon Technologies, Inc. in 2006, which Stefano co-founded. 

Prior to founding Archon, Stefano was employed by a venture capital funded managed care organization where he served as Director of Information Systems with direct reporting to the CIO and CEO.  He created the strategy for a highly secured, web-enabled environment that linked providers, case managers, medical management, claims processing, members and their families through a single integrated communication facility.  Stefano was instrumental in developing strategic partnerships with various hardware and software companies including Microsoft.  As a leading industry consultant, he previously spent years providing solutions to private organizations such as General Electric, IBM, and First Interstate as well as to many U.S. government agencies. Stefano holds degrees in business, in mathematics and science, and in computer science.

Stefano shares his time between Scottsdale and Tucson, Arizona with his wife, daughter, and son. He and his family enjoy traveling domestically and abroad to collect amazing, long lasting memories.

Michelle Staroska

Lead Business Analyst

Michelle previously worked in the Aerospace Industry primarily focusing on Supply Chain and Program Management. With more than 10 years in Management, Michelle has trained multiple individuals throughout her career. She also has participated and ran Kaizen events which lead to vast improvements of processes and procedures. On top of her day-to-day responsibilities, she has also participated in various seminars which help build her strengths and opportunities.

Michelle currently lives in Tucson, Arizona with her husband and two dogs. When she is not working, she enjoys being outdoors, camping, hiking, and fishing.

Bronco Briggs

Delivery Manager

Bronco Briggs has over 35 years of experience with Transportation and Licensing systems primarily in the Motor Vehicle and Motor Carrier program areas, having worked with 18 different jurisdictions in the US and Canada. He has held various positions over his career which includes MVA modernization consulting, project management and control, business process re-engineering, requirements analysis, application and technical architecture, conceptual and detailed design, data analysis and modeling, and application programming.  Bronco’s experience demonstrates a solid track record of leadership in the development and deployment of large-scale enterprise applications.  During this time, he has performed quality assurance tasks and continues to work towards process improvement following CMMI principles and guidelines.

Bronco has been involved in large scale enterprise motor vehicle system development projects for Arizona, Connecticut, Montana, South Carolina, and Alberta.  He has used his large system development experience in the Design, Development, Management, and Implementation of IRP and IFTA systems for 11 jurisdictions including Delaware, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York, North Carolina, Iowa, Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania.  Bronco’s motor vehicle and motor carrier business knowledge along with his technical skills helped to ensure successful implementations of these systems.

Alessandro Russo

Partner

With over 10 years of experience in Information Technology, Alessandro has held positions in Enterprise Sales Engineering and Software Project Management. Most recently his focus has been in Software Development Management. Alessandro currently serves as a Vice President of AstreaX – founded in 2019 – and has built and managed multiple Engineering Teams / Departments to create and support Enterprise Applications, primarily in the Mortgage and Transportation Industries.  His leadership extends across many skill sets, directly providing oversight to large Technical Teams, including Application Architects, Quality Assurance Testers, Software Developers, Automation and Release Engineers, as well as Executive level staff.  Alessandro has also consulted with large Organizations on improving their Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC), working alongside Executives to implement positive change (Methodology, Process, Structure, etc.).

Alessandro currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona with his Wife, Son and Daughter. He and his Family enjoy spending time together Traveling, Swimming, and playing Soccer.

Rafael Padilla

Senior Partner

Rafael Padilla is the senior application architect and technology strategist for Aura Solutions LLC.  He is responsible for the growth of software solutions and services meeting the needs of clients in multiple industries including mortgage, financial, transportation, and healthcare.  Rafael has nearly 20 years of software engineering experience. As a senior software architect, Rafael was the key technical resource who in the early 2000’s was responsible for the development and implementation of the eSignSystems software solution.  Rafael is currently responsible for the overall design, development and support of eSignSystems SmartSAFE product. 

During his career, Rafael has also been a founder and the chief technologies for a software startup which was acquired by 3M Company to become a leader for enterprise transportation systems across the United States.  Rafael has managed architecture and research & development organizations which included the management of multiple large-scale Microsoft .NET products and approximate a dozen highly skilled software architects.  Rafael has also been responsible for establishing and enforcing technical standards and procedures for a development team of over 100 individuals while providing delivery oversight for multiple concurrent $25M projects.  In 2019, Rafael co-founded AstreaX, Inc. a software and services business serving customers across the United States providing a range of solutions including product development, outsourced software support, and technical expertise. Rafael earned a BSBA in Management Information Systems from the University of Arizona.

Grant Hawkes

Senior Partner

Grant Hawkes is a cloud software specialist with over 15 years of technical, architectural, and management experience. Grant has repeated success delivering entrepreneurial and enterprise software solutions in various industries including Transportation, Education, and IT. Grant prides himself on creating innovative and impactful solutions that align with his client’s goals and ensure their success.

Grant recently delivered transportation solutions for the state of Arizona that serve millions of users. Grant led the core architecture team focusing on cloud design and development for Microsoft Azure. Grant was critical in spearheading Arizona’s implementation of mobile digital identities. Grant regularly leads multiple teams, including those with outside parties from FAANG-level industry partners and government agencies.

Prior to his current position Grant served as the Director of Development and Architecture for an education technology firm delivering online learning for English phonics, phonetics, spelling, and grammar. Grant led the company’s transition to the mobile web ensuring that rich multimedia experiences could be delivered to a wide variety of devices including PCs, Macs, iPads, and Chromebooks. Grant designed the algorithms for assessing students and creating custom differentiated instruction curriculums.

Previously, Grant has worked as a developer, database administrator, student consultant for Microsoft, and computer science instructor.

Grant lives with his family in Phoenix Arizona and enjoys reading, hiking, and exploring the National Parks of the Western US.

Ryan Starks

Senior Partner

Ryan Starks has more than 15 years of experience in the Information Technology field including Management and Software Solutions. Ryan has proven track record of successfully delivering enterprise software in various industries including State Transportation, Mortgage, and Finance. After graduating from the University of Arizona, Ryan started his software career with 3M in 2006 as a junior developer and quickly moved up to senior developer running large enterprise software solutions for multiple States. While at 3M Ryan was awarded the 3M Circle of Excellence for his work with the state of Kentucky. Ryan then joined Aura Solutions, LLC in 2014 leading and developing software teams to service the Mortgage and Transportation industries. In 2019, Ryan co-founded AstreaX, Inc. a software and services business serving customers across the United States providing a range of solutions including product development, outsourced software support, and technical expertise. During college, Ryan co-founded RNA Embroidery LLC, a family-owned company delivering services in graphic design, promotional goods, and embroidered garments for clients such as PAC-10 basketball, Universal Pictures, and other large and small companies.

Ryan currently resides in Tucson, Arizona with his wife, daughter, and dog. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling, camping, and cooking.

JasonGladstone

Sales Director

Jason Gladstone is the Sales Director for AstreaX and has been creating software and technology solutions that drive business value for more than 18 years.

Jason started his career as a developer and his bosses were so unimpressed with his coding skills, they immediately moved him out of development.  Luckily for Jason, he was moved into a customer facing role where he really found his calling.  Spending time with others, learning about their business challenges, and collaboratively working on solutions is meaningful and energizing work for him.

Using his core principles of honesty, integrity, open communication, and creativity, Jason has helped dozens of clients throughout his career and worked for some of the world’s most respected brands such as Accenture and Capgemini.

Jason lives in Phoenix, Arizona and in his spare time he likes to spend time with friends and cheer on the Arizona Cardinals, who are overdue for another Super Bowl run.

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