Our Team

Jon Nordmark, CEO

Jon founded and was 10-year CEO of eBags.com which pioneered a drop-ship business model (negative cash conversion cycle) involving more than 500 warehouses in the USA and Europe. eBags was also one of the first five e-retailers to gather consumer-generated-content (product ratings and reviews) to sell products, having sourced 1.4 million product reviews between 1999 and 2008. eBags achieved a 34% CAGR over Jon’s final eight years as CEO, and the company has been profitable every year since 2001. eBags was funded by Technology Crossover Ventures, Benchmark Capital, Mitsubishi, Amerindo and other sources. Jon was named Ernst & Young’s Rocky Mountain Region Entrepreneur of the Year® in 2003.

Before graduating Magna Cum Laude from the University of Colorado, Jon was a member of a national championship Junior A hockey team when playing in the United States Hockey League (USHL) as a high schooler.

Krista Paul, VP of Marketing, Founder

Krista is the Founder of UsingMiles.com. She started the company after experiencing the frustration of losing over 26,000 frequent flyer miles and wondering why there wasn’t a better way to manage and use her miles and points.

Her professional experience started at Coca-Cola North America, where she developed and ran the fastest-growing sales territory in the country. She ran the Marketing Department for an email marketing startup out of Palo Alto, and most recently headed social and PR at ShopAtHome.com, one of the top 10 trafficked online shopping sites according to New York Times, where she grew Facebook likes from 0 to over 600,000, created an active blogger network resulting in over 800 posts a month, and spearheaded the first PR strategy for the company.

Krista graduated Summa Cum Laude with highest honors from the University of Colorado, Boulder Leed’s School of Business. She is a mentor for the Denver Founder’s Institute and was a 2008 graduate from the Techstars Incubator out of Boulder, Colorado.

Fernando Cardenas, VP, Technology & Information

Fernando has over 14 years of experience leading software teams and shipping successful software products. In his prior role as Chief Architect for Digital Folio, Fernando and his team built a new product in under six months which got positive reviews from the U.S. national press (including Walt Mossberg) and was recognized by Microsoft with an invitation into BizSpark One, Microsoft’s invite-only program for high-potential startups. Previously, Fernando founded a custom software development firm, AppVenture, where he gained extensive management, business development, and software engineering experience. His clients have included Amazon.com, McDonalds, Jimmy John’s, the Jamaican Ministry of Agriculture, U.S. Navy, Siemens AG, and various financial and biotech firms. Fernando is also frequent speaker throughout Colorado on various technology topics.

Fernando holds a degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Michelle Byerley, VP of Business Development

Michelle joins the UsingMiles team with 17 years of travel industry knowledge, bringing a combination of Airline and Distribution experience, along with Hotel and Insurance know-how. Her understanding of the Airline and Distribution arenas come direct from her time with United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Orbitz, where she held management positions in Revenue Management, Marketing Planning and Business Development. Her natural affinity to developing successful partnerships scored well and brought her increased responsibilities with both Orbitz and Travel Guard, where her Airline role(s) were expanded to include other travel segments. Michelle has also worn the ‘entrepreneur hat’ by starting her own consulting service and launching an international luxury travel service to South Africa. Michelle’s business sense and global travel industry expertise helps round out the top notch team that is driving UsingMiles. Michelle holds an MBA from DePaul University with an International Business concentration.

Vipanj Patel, Executive Chairman

As founder of iSherpa Capital in 2000, Vipanj has been involved with a few dozen internet and mobile commerce related companies. Vipanj is in a special spot, making one or two investments every few years. He takes an active role in companies. Over the past two years, Vipanj has had two investments become $100 million sales. Prior to founding iSherpa, he practiced corporate finance and securities law at Morris, Manning & Martin, working with entrepreneurs to secure venture capital financing and take technology companies public. Vipanj holds a BS in Biology from the University of Southern California, where he was a recipient of the Howard Hughes Fellowship, and a JD from Georgia State University.

Keith Bristol, VP of Product Innovation

Keith led design, usability and eventually global technology services for eBags.com. With Keith leading design, eBags became a top converting website, twice picked by Nielson as being a top 10 retail conversion website. eBags also won the nation’s Website of the year six of eight years from Multichannel Merchant, a top trade magazine for retailers. As leader of global technology services, Keith’s team of eBaggers built out eBags.com, and Tumi retail sites for Japan, Germany and the UK.