Lead with your heart. Create mutual success.

The Ascent leadership team has over 150 years of combined experience in leadership, strategy formulation and delivery, and building strong customer relationships for organizations of all sizes.


JD Harris,

Chief Executive Officer

It truly is a privilege to lead the extraordinary people at Ascent Solutions. That may sound cliché, but everyone here has earned the privilege of working with our amazing customers. They are men and women that have worked hard, become the best at their craft, and have repeatedly delighted companies around the globe with not only their talent, but with their integrity, their will-do attitude, and their “heart”. When hiring, we look just as hard at the heart of a person as we do their technical or functional skills. It is difficult to explain what that means, but work with our team one time and it will become crystal clear. We make bold commitments, and we honor those commitments. We do business differently, caringly, boldly. We aim to fast forward, protect, and honor our customers; and we do this while appreciating our own “supporting cast” at home – those that we love that allow us to do what we do every day.

I came to Ascent Solutions as CEO after being an executive at two of the largest companies on the planet, along with serving in VP roles at four VC-backed startup companies. Those companies were great for a few top executives and the VC’s, but not for everyone. At Ascent, we’re doing things differently. We are creating a company where everyone can be excited about our growth and future every day……and I mean everyone. The journey we are on must be fun, but we have massive responsibilities and accountabilities as well. I was blessed to work for amazing companies, but Ascent Solutions is different. It’s better. Just ask our customers and our employees, the two groups that I hold myself accountable to each and every day.

Pete Fox,


I strongly believe that work should be fun and built on pursuing our passions.  I've been lucky to find my passions - technology, personal learning and growing, building things that last, and giving back to others.  I try to bring a smile and positive attitude to my work, and treat everyone with respect and patience.  Through this kind of approach, my passions shine through, and I find that I am drawn to people who believe the same things are important, and they are drawn to me.  This is the essence of being part of a great team, and an important element of building great teams as well.  Be a great teammate to ensure your team is effective - that's what you can control.

Whatever success I've had in business has been based on early experiences I had as a sales professional.  I am not the person who wins everyone over immediately, rather I am the one who delivers consistently, every time.  Through years of enjoying trust-based relationships with customers, I've learned to always do what's in the best interest of the customer. This simple philosophy has been the cornerstone of my career.  The corollary is to always meet one's commitments internally as well, which builds the same kind of trust.

I joined Ascent in October of 2015. There are several key opportunities that led me here.  First, I was looking to be part of something special, with high growth potential, delivering high customer value and with real gravitas.  Second, I wanted to be part of team of high performers and add immediate value.  I wanted to have a meaty, broad solution palette from which to solve customer problems and create lasting value.  Lastly, I was looking to find what I refer to as a "high calling" - delivering solutions that make a real difference to customers.  Fighting cyber criminals and helping customers protect their information technology fits the bill, it doesn't get much more aspirational than that.  I've found all this and more at Ascent Solutions.

Chris Turnquist,

Vice President, Sales and Marketing

As I look back at my personal and professional experiences, I gravitate toward teams who want to build or rediscover greatness. In every situation, we approached the future with optimism and positivity. At Ascent, I believe in our team’s ability to envision and execute a meaningful plan. I am always fueled with spirit and confidence when everyone is on the same page and focused on the same goal – to be great. It strengthens and helps us all persevere through difficult challenges and reach heights I know I could have never reached on my own.

I was blessed to have the opportunity to play football at St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN for the winningest coach in college football history - John Gagliardi. While he is highly regarded for what he accomplished on the field those fall Saturdays, he is remembered by his players as being most influential in our personal growth and faith. He taught us how commitment and effort were valued on and off the field, and how that personal character and commitment to each other led to team success.

At Ascent Solutions, we’re hiring folks with highest personal character and forming high performing teams to work alongside our customers that will drive mutual success. We lead by committing ourselves to them personally and corporately and we win when our customers win. It’s the highest form of alignment I’ve been a part of and it is transforming how we think about Sales.

Howard Friedman,

Vice President, Strategic Alliances

I’m amazed at the opportunities I’ve been provided since joining Ascent Solutions in September of 2014: the opportunity to work with people that have a high level of talent and personal integrity, the positive impact we have had on our customers by truly listening to them in order to help, and the opportunity to meet great new partners and to craft a vision together. When I’m provided with these opportunities, it drives me to work harder every day to provide for those who’ve put their trust and faith in me.

Prior to joining Ascent Solutions, I moved through the ranks of IT from a developer into executive leadership roles before transitioning into Sales. I’ve had the good fortune to work for small companies with just a few people and the largest companies in the world, both with unique dynamics based on size and position in their corporate lifecycle. In all occasions, I’ve used my problem solving background to help internal and external customers deconstruct problems before attempting to apply solutions. I’ve learned it doesn’t matter the organization’s size – people are looking for ways to be successful and will seek out those who can help them do that.

At home and at work, I have basic perspectives which are at the heart of how I approach things. First and foremost, I view set-backs and obstacles as an opportunity to look at the problem differently in order to arrive at a solution. Secondly, I leverage ideas of those around me as much as possible to strengthen any project. I like to be surrounded by people who are different than me – I want others to fill gaps in my perceptions, have a different lens on the world and the problem, and have different abilities than me. The final, and my most important view, is to do what’s ethically right. I simply feel that if you do what’s right, good things will happen.

Peter Dowd,

Vice President, Services

If you look at my LinkedIn profile (which most people will do shortly after a professional introduction), you will see my background consists predominantly of work at large organizations -- large corporate IT teams and large consulting firms. After many years of working in companies at this scale, I found myself thinking - there is a better way to do this. Better for customers, better for staff, and better for the community. And so began the dialog between me and our CEO, JD Harris. JD and I have known each other since the mid-nineties when we were kindred spirits at one of those large consulting firms. Ultimately, this dialog led me to Ascent where I began as leader of the IT Strategy Practice and recently accepted the role of Vice President of Services team.

I have many things I am passionate about but seeing people achieve their best every day is certainly at the top of the list. As a leader of people, I am a strong believer in servant leadership. So much of a leader's job is to listen, coach, guide, and challenge. These are elements that we really focus on at Ascent. The result has been strong growth and incredible employee commitment to the company and our clients. I bring a similar philosophy to how we serve our clients. Our job as a consulting firm is to enable clients to achieve their best as well. The definition of best is changing however. What was "best" 5 years ago, no longer is. As result, much of my client-facing work centers on helping clients understand, plan, and execute on the new version of best.

The other major pillar of my personal philosophy is balance. I love driving change but I have come to see that doing so requires intent and pace. One of the truly compelling things about Ascent is that we bring focus to this often overlooked element of achieving success. Whether the circumstance is internal or client-facing, I challenge myself and my team to think through communication and process very intentionally. When we do this, it leads to truly outstanding results and incredible relationships.

Tim Zabilla,

Chief Technology Officer and Vice President, Presales

I'm a person who likes to think big, someone who questions the status quo.  What we are building at Ascent Solutions is something different, something radical and something big.  Why do businesses own a datacenter or lease colocation space?  How can we help them do things different?  Why can't technology security be inherent?  My philosophy is that the impossible is simply a barrier that needs to be broken.

I am passionate about cloud computing because it provides a near boundless capacity that will lead to new and exciting frontiers.  It has rapidly increased the speed of innovation and dramatically decreased the cost of failure.  Organizations can rapidly test out ideas in a matter of minutes rather than months or years of past eras.  How to apply technology, and translate between the world of technology and the boundless limits of the cloud and the world of business the boundless limit of ideas is truly exciting to me.

Prior to joining Ascent Solutions in May 2014, I owned my own business and worked for one of the largest software companies in the world, helping enterprises transform their business.  At Ascent, we’ve built a team in the truest sense – we have fun with each other and that energy is carried through to our customers. We are genuine and forthright and care for each other inside and outside of our work lives.  That connectedness motivates me to show up and give my best each and every day.