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Open Mainframe Project Welcomes New Class of Ambassadors

By | February 22, 2024February 23rd, 2024

We are excited to announce our new 2024 ambassadors! These ambassadors are a group of dedicated individuals who are passionate about promoting and advancing the use of mainframe technology in various industries.

The primary objective of the Ambassadors Program is to inform as many people as possible about how to join the community and advance Open Mainframe. The new ambassadors come from all corners of the world, representing various companies and organizations that use mainframe technology. They were specifically selected for their knowledge, leadership abilities and dedication to the Open Mainframe Project’s mission.

The ambassadors have volunteered to speak, mentor, review materials or presentations and write blogs or contributed articles that showcase Open Mainframe as an umbrella foundation or any of the projects that fall under it.

We are excited to have this group of people with diverse interests, experiences, and technical backgrounds help drive the global Open Mainframe Project community. Let’s learn more about them:

Darren Surch, CEO at Interskill Learning

Darren Surch is 1 of 32 ‘Lifetime’ IBM Champions ever named by IBM and only the 2nd Lifetime IBM Champion ever named for IBM Z. IBM Champions are a select global community of 700+ external experts, across all IBM technologies, recognized by IBM for thought leadership, extraordinary expertise and outstanding contributions to the IBM technical community.

Darren is a respected industry expert on mainframe workforce training and a noted speaker at mainframe computing conferences and events worldwide.  Darren and Interskill have collaborated with the Open Mainframe Project for many years to develop a 3-hour “Zowe Foundations” elearning course that is offered a no cost to help build Zowe proficiency globally as well as a “Fundamentals for Zowe” digital credential to all people completing the course. More than 7,000 of badges have been awarded! Also of note, Darren and Interskill are currently working with Open Mainframe Project and the Zowe project to develop a second advanced Zowe course for release in early 2024.

3 Fun Facts:

  • Formerly a Hydrographer
  • Ran with the bulls in Pamplona
  • Kayaked Lake Titicaca

Why he wanted to be an ambassador: While I am not your typical “technical” Open Mainframe Ambassador who contributes code and technical input, I want to strengthen my collaboration with the Open Mainframe Project to ensure the global availability of quality, free Zowe education, powered by bragworthy digital credentials that drive course completions and spread awareness of Zowe across the mainframe industry. As I have shown for many years, I am here to help the Open Mainframe Project!

Elliot Jalley, Product Manager at Broadcom

In his current role as a Product Manager at the Broadcom Mainframe R&D Centre in Prague, Elliot is focused on modernizing the way we work with the mainframe, in particular via the adoption of REST APIs, to help infrastructure teams deliver applications faster, more efficiently and with higher quality. Previous to this role, he has been heavily invested in improving the maintenance experience for z/OS software. In his 25 years as product manager, he has been part of a number of different industries, such as the telecommunications industry in the early 2000’s and the dawn of the iPhone, or the Gaming industry in the 2010’s as mobile and social gaming exploded.

3 Fun Facts:

  • He is a prolific reader since childhood and his favorite author is Ian M. Banks
  • He has family roots in the French Alps and loves to Snowboard with his daughter and two sons
  • He regrets never learning a musical instrument and wonders if it’s too late to start now

Why he wanted to be an ambassador: I have been part of Zowe from its inception and have contributed to both the client side and the server components. I am an evangelist for Zowe both with in my organization (Broadcom) and the wider community. I have a specific interest in the Zowe API Mediation Layer and how it can be used to manage infrastructure APIs. I am a proponent for using these APIs to enable IT teams to modernize and automate their infrastructure. I am fully committed to growing the Zowe ecosystem to help make the mainframe like any another hybrid cloud platform.

Louisa Seers, CICS & Galasa Product Manager at IBM

Louisa’s an experienced professional within IBM with 10 years spanning diverse roles across consulting, software development and acquisitions. In addition, Louisa has just finished a Degree Apprenticeship to support her role in business leadership. Louisa is also the chairperson of Open Mainframe Project’s Galasa, which included taking the project to adoption. In addition, she also has a product management role overseeing a portfolio within IBM Z.

Why she wanted to be an ambassador: Since working with the Open Mainframe Project to get Galasa adoption, I have felt welcomed, understood, and accepted by the community that build great software. I believe that through modernizing the platform, making it more accessible to those outside the platform and advocating to make the mainframe an attractive place for open source projects, we can make the platform easier and better for those that use it and interact with it. Galasa is at the early stages of developing the project and I believe that through advocacy, I can help build a better foundation for the future.

Sujit Neb, Senior Automation Engineer (R&D) at BMC Software

Sujit is a highly skilled Mainframe DevOps and Linux Engineer with 13 years of experience specializing in CI/CD pipelines using Jenkins, GitHub Actions, Azure DevOps and GitLab etc.. In addition, he leads the Test Automation and optimizing software development workflows at BMC Software. He has a proven history of enhancing system reliability, streamlining deployment processes, and fostering a culture of agility.

3 Fun Facts: 

  • I love doing stone paintings and acrylic paintings.
  • I like to travel around to different beaches.
  • I love cooking, specifically Mahrashtrian (A State in India) and South Indian dishes. Paani-puri (An evening snack) is one of my specialties.

Why he wanted to be an ambassador: I am deeply passionate about the transformative potential of mainframe technology in the modern computing landscape. It will also allow me to facilitate knowledge exchange within the mainframe community. I am curious about demystifying mainframe technology and promoting its relevance in today’s rapidly evolving tech landscape. As an ambassador, I will be able to actively contribute to educational initiatives, ensuring that the benefits and capabilities of mainframes are widely understood and appreciated. Last but not the least, the I love that Open Mainframe Project embodies collaboration, innovation, and the open-source ethos, which resonates with my values and vision for the future.

Valery Aranouski, DevOps Team Lead at IBA Group

Valery has been working at IBA Group for more than 20 years. He started as a mainframe application developer and Db2 administrator and was then a project manager of an operations team, Db2 for z/OS Sysprog, and a senior test manager. Now, he leads a team engaged in the modernization and development of applications for the IBM Mainframe platform and the provision of services for the implementation of DevOps for Mainframe and Clouds.

3 Fun Facts: 

  • I bought an XBOX for myself to play a flight simulator because I wanted to be a pilot. However, my son and daughter play more than me.
  • I inherited an old house from my grandparents and plant flowers and feed wild birds there. My family spends a lot of time there to relax.
  • I taught my ten-year-old son how to play chess and have found that I can not beat him because he learned from the master.

Why he wanted to be an ambassador: Throughout my career, I have been dealing with mainframes. However, the cognitive and creative was the experience of implementing DevOps from scratch together with my outstanding team. This experience inspired an idea of developing open source applications for mainframes. One of the initiatives, plugins for Intellij IDEA, formed in the Zowe project. I presented on conferences such as SHARE, GSE, PDUG, as well as published articles on mainframe topics. I would like to keep the interest to the industry among the younger generation of developers by dedicating to show them modern techniques and tools.

Jan Prihoda, Product Owner at Broadcom

Jan is an experienced product owner at Broadcom who is responsible for Zowe support, software management standardization, and automation. He has long experience in software development in the telecommunication industry and now he is trying to combine his experience and mainframe complexity to bring new ideas.

Why he wanted to be an ambassador: I’m already talking a lot in front of the mainframe community at various conferences about Zowe directly or as a part of other solutions and would love to continue this as an official ambassador.



Adam Wolfe, Product Owner at Broadcom

Adam is a product owner working with engineering teams that contribute to Zowe CLI, Zowe Explorer, and the Zowe Node.js and Python SDKs.

Why he would like to be an ambassador: He is heavily involved in the Zowe client software projects and would like to take a more active and prominent role within the community.





The new ambassadors join an already thriving program with thought leaders from several Open Mainframe Project member companies and other industry organizations. To see the complete list of ambassadors, please check out the Ambassadors Page here.

If you would like an ambassador to speak at your event, please contact with the name of the conference, date and links.