Leadership

Optym’s leaders bring decades of experience in transportation, logistics and scheduling, and combine their real-world knowledge with their expertise in operations research, computer science and engineering.

Dr. Ravindra K. Ahuja 

Founder & CEO

Ravi is the founder of Optym and an academician turned entrepreneur. In an academic career spanning over 30 years, he has taught at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and the Sloan School of Management at MIT, and he is currently a professor at the University of Florida, Gainesville. He is the coauthor of three textbooks including Network Flows: Theory, Algorithms and Applications (a leading textbook used at hundreds of universities worldwide) and over 100 research papers in optimization, mathematical modeling and algorithms. He has contributed significantly to the theory and application of network optimization, and his research papers and books are widely cited. He has received several prestigious awards for his books and research papers.

While doing research for transportation and logistics companies, Ravi discovered a big disconnect between academics and industry practice. He observed that advances taking place in optimization and computer science weren’t benefitting the transportation and logistics industry, which continued to use rudimentary techniques. Determined to change that, he founded Innovative Scheduling (which later changed into Optym) to bring the latest advances from theory to business. He continues to play a key role in Optym’s evolution from a local start-up to a global provider for decision automation and optimization solutions. He is a hands-on person who works with colleagues to solve business problems and design algorithms and user interfaces. He also performs consulting work and oversees new product development, partnership opportunities and business development initiatives.

Ravi earned his Ph.D. in Industrial and Management Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur. He enjoys playing tennis, traveling and seeing the world, and meditation.

Dr. Krishna C. Jha 

Executive Vice President

Krishna’s association with Optym started in 2000 when he joined Dr. Ahuja as his Ph.D. student and later transitioned into one of the company’s first team members in 2004. Krishna has been an operations research practitioner for 15 years, focusing on the design and development of algorithms that solve real-life problems in scheduling, transportation and logistics. Krishna has led the development of several optimization and simulation software products for railroads, airlines and mining companies. His expertise in time-space network-based heuristic optimization has proven successful for solving complex problems such as train scheduling, railroad blocking and crew scheduling. Krishna has also been a key contributor in developing micro-level simulation systems for the transportation industry.

Krishna believes that decision automation is at an early stage and has endless potential to create economic and societal impact worldwide. His strength lies in collaborating with business and technical teams to come up with innovative solutions that meet business needs. He is involved at a detailed level in defining business problems, understanding data, system design, mathematical modeling, solution architecture and software delivery. Krishna also oversees Optym’s administrative operations, as well as the financial and corporate affairs of the company.

Before moving to the United States in 2000, Krishna was an industrial engineer for four years at Tata Steel, the largest private sector steel producer in India. He earned his Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the University of Florida, is the coauthor of nine research papers, and has won several awards at INFORMS for his research. Krishna loves reading non-fiction, music, walking and biking in his spare time.

Jim Handoush

Executive Vice President – Transportation & Logistics Solutions

Jim is a driving force in the development of Optym’s next-generation solutions for the trucking industry. With decades of experience in this sector, he is very in-tune with customer desires, formulating strategies to better suit their needs. With significant experience in the areas of financial management and business development, Jim identifies untapped markets and channels of opportunity. One of Jim’s fundamental beliefs is that everyone involved with a company, from the vendors to the employees, must be successful to achieve company-wide success. For Jim, one of his greatest satisfactions is in mentoring others so that they can attain leadership roles, and ultimately success.

Several businesses under his executive leadership experienced significant growth as he implemented more effective management structures and development strategies. Under Jim’s leadership, a logistics company tripled in size to become one of the top 50 companies in its industry and was awarded two Inc. 5000 distinctions. Through his experiences in the business world, Jim cultivated a deep understanding of business vision, strategy and growth, as well as the concerns of business owners and their passion and desire to develop and succeed.

Prior to joining Optym, Jim was President of the Landstar Global Logistics division at Landstar System, Inc., where he designed an organic sales initiative that drove the company’s revenue stream from $150 million to $1 billion by moving from a single service to a multi-service logistics provider. Due to his success in the Global Logistics division, Jim transitioned to the parent company and was promoted to Co-op Chief Operating Officer, which put him in charge of all non-trucking services and the Corporate Sales team. Jim’s strategic vision transformed Landstar from a major truckload carrier to a full-blown logistics and supply chain company.

Jim earned his B.S. degree in Accounting from San Jose State University in San Jose, California.

Renzo Vaccari 

Senior Vice President – Airline Solutions

Renzo has over 20 years of leadership experience designing and building airline software solutions, specifically in the areas of airline network planning and scheduling, product management and advanced decision support systems. He previously held several senior leadership roles at Sabre and GuestLogix in product management, product marketing, operations, consulting and sales.

Renzo started by working on consulting and process re-engineering engagements and provided recommendations allowing airlines to take significant advantage of technology solutions. He then led the delivery of airline solutions and consulting projects for customers globally, including systems for network planning, scheduling and revenue management. Throughout his career, he has implemented network planning and scheduling systems at a number of leading carriers all over the world including United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, LATAM, Qantas, Air France and British Airways.

At Optym, Renzo plays a key role in defining the roadmap of SkyMAX®, Optym’s new-generation flight scheduling optimization system. He is also responsible for global product management, marketing and sales for the SKY suite of airline network planning and scheduling solutions including optimization, simulation, schedule management and demand forecasting.

Renzo earned his M.S. degree in Industrial Engineering from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. He enjoys playing sports, traveling and seeing the world, and spending time with family.

Dr. Arvind Kumar 

Managing Director – India Operations

Arvind spearheads Optym’s growth in the Asia-Pacific region. He is also a long-term member of the company’s Board of Directors. In a professional career spanning over 15 years, he has worked with railroads and trucking companies worldwide to help them solve problems in both strategic and tactical decision-making. His key contributions include the design and development of locomotive planning and rail business intelligence systems.

Besides working on Optym’s core products, Arvind is also a seasoned consultant for our projects in strategy, planning and analysis. He has provided expert advice to Fortune 500 companies worldwide, including CSX Transportation, Deutsche Bahn, BHP and Accenture, for planning using advanced optimization solutions.

Prior to joining Optym, Arvind performed groundbreaking work in cancer treatment research by developing advanced algorithms for Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT). He is a co-recipient of the prestigious Pierskella and Koopman awards from INFORMS for his contributions to the practice of operations research.

Arvind earned his Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering with a focus on operations research from the University of Florida, Gainesville, and his B.Tech. in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Chennai. In his spare time, he likes spending time with his family and enjoys singing and traveling.

Dr. Arthur Ghulyan

Executive Director – Armenia Operations

Arthur manages the operations of our Armenia office and spearheads Optym’s growth in the European and CIS regions. He joined Optym in 2016 and is now a member of the company’s Board of Directors. In his professional career spanning over 17 years, Arthur has worked with the world’s leading IT companies to help them solve strategic and tactical decision-making problems.

Arthur has extensive experience with highly complex systems, which require a deep understanding of critical business drivers in multiple markets and industries; seizing control of critical problem areas and delivering on customer commitments.

Prior to joining Optym, he was an Executive Manager at IBM Innovative Solutions and Technologies Center and an Executive Director at EKENG CJSC. He has led and motivated international and local teams of more than 70 employees.

Arthur earned his Doctor of Engineering degree in Automated Management Systems and his Master’s degree in Computer Science at the State Engineering University of Armenia. In his spare time, he likes playing table tennis and basketball.

Dr. Wei Huang 

Vice President – System Architecture

Huang is also one of the first Optym team members, having joined the company in 2004. He specializes in developing and solving large-scale optimization models and guiding the technical architecture of software solutions developed by Optym. Huang has over 15 years of system architecture, algorithm design and software development experience. He also has extensive expertise in data mining, data analysis and the creation of data transformation processes for large business data sets.

Huang started his academic work in computer science and engineering, particularly in the area of process automation. While working on improving the production processes of factories in China, Huang realized the need to combine computer science with mathematical optimization and did his doctoral research in supply chain management and network optimization. His academic background combines operations research and computer science skills (algorithms, data structures, databases, software engineering) and makes him ideally qualified to architect Optym’s decision automation and optimization solutions.

At Optym, Huang has led the development of several optimization products, including TrainMAX® and BlockDESIGN. As the Project Manager of the SkyMAX® airline flight scheduling system, he designed the product’s overall system architecture and played a key role in algorithm design and development. Currently, Huang is leading the effort to create a software development framework so that new decision automation solutions can be developed rapidly and maintained efficiently.

Huang earned his Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the University of Florida, Gainesville. He likes to read and travel.

Keith Abraben

Vice President – Human Resources

Keith boldly steers Optym’s people strategy to help the company evolve during a time of tremendous growth. His approach is truly people-centric; he proactively builds authentic relationships with each team member. Keith is a decisive visionary with over 40 years of experience in human resources.

Keith specializes in leading global strategic and tactical HR design and implementation systems across a broad spectrum of industries, including airline and railroad. To achieve corporate business goals and customer satisfaction, he influences, leads and applies key HR initiatives by acquiring, developing, aligning and mobilizing talent. His expertise encompasses the entire spectrum of HR functionalities, including change leadership and management, emotional intelligence, cross-functional collaboration, talent management, and cultural transformation.

Prior to joining Optym, Keith was Vice President – Global Human Resources & Transformation Officer at Pentaho Corporation, a leading business intelligence company with its office in Orlando. He created a global HR infrastructure for the continental US and EMEA-APAC corporate offices and was responsible for orchestrating multiple organizational development (O/D) corporate division overhauls. Pentaho was acquired by Hitachi.

Keith is a native Floridian and earned his Bachelor of Arts in Finance from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida. In his spare time, he relaxes by fishing, boating, riding and restoring motorcycles and collecting vintage motocross bikes. He has ridden motorcycles through 49 states in the US and on four continents.