Leadership

About Us

Ascend Technology Group (formerly innovation5 technologies) has been helping clients improve their technology environments since 2005. That makes us about 91 in dog years and something like 492 in tech years. 

Though technology changes at a lightning pace, our commitment remains consistent to provide you the best possible experience with both your technology and your technology partner.

Mission
"To create innovative and effective technology solutions that invisibly and proactively contribute to the success of the organization and its people."

John Gerdes

President
As President, John focuses on making sure that Ascend Technology Group is always improving how we support our clients and lead them to technology success. He works directly with clients as a vCIO, making the connection between business and technology and strategy.

John started Ascend Technology Group in 2005 in his basement. His interest in both technology and business made it a natural choice for him to start a company focused on making technology work better for small businesses and organizations. While he still likes getting his hands dirty working with technology, John enjoys working with our clients’ owners and directors to align their technology and business goals. He also appreciates the fantastic team he works with every day as they work together toward their common goal of being the best technology services provider in Omaha.

Outside of work, John enjoys spending time with his wife and four kids. Family vacations—often in the mountains—are a highlight of his life. John is active in his church, volunteering in multiple roles. In his rare spare time, he enjoys woodworking in his home wood shop. Also, ketchup is too spicy.

Aaron Ott

Director of Operations
Aaron keeps our team and tools running to deliver our Technology Success Platform solutions. He's involved in other special projects, especially those that need dedicated attention. As a part of the vCIO team, he helps client leadership teams develop and execute technology strategies and roadmaps.

Prior to joining Ascend Technology Group in 2007, Aaron provided internal office and technology support for an irrigation company in central Nebraska, gaining skills in standardization and process development. Aaron’s curiosity and drive allowed him to dive into projects of all sizes and types and develop keen instincts for creating big-picture solutions.

Outside of work, Aaron recharges with other creative projects. He photographs weddings, produces, arranges, and performs music, and binges YouTube/blogs/articles/Medium/TED for all sorts of new information and skills. He enjoys trying all kinds of international food, traveling, and work-shopping plot points with his wife, a published sci-fi author.

Russell Vaughn

Director of Business Development
Russell uses his diverse experience to partner with prospects and clients to help solve business IT frustrations. 

Russell joined Ascend Technology Group in 2018 with a professional background outside of the IT world after working in non-profit leadership and management for over a decade. He came to the company with technical aptitude and a love for solving technology related problems; this, combined with robust experience in business networking and development, prepared Russell to be the ambassador for Ascend Technology Group’s Technology Success Platform.

Outside of work, Russell loves spending time with his family and is active in his local church. When free time can be found, he enjoys a good biography, traveling anywhere with a beach, poker nights, and running or biking Omaha’s great network of trails!
formerly innovation5 technologies
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