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The NextUp Corporate Team

In addition to our expert trainers, the NextUp team ensures students have a seamless learning experience from selecting a class to maintaining certifications for years to come.

Steve Cooper, Founder & CEO

With more than three decades of technology consulting experience, Steve has founded three successful companies whose clients include Fortune 100 companies, leading federal agencies, and world-class non-profit organizations. As CEO of NextUp Solutions and Exelaration, he’s a passionate champion of transformative learning experiences. Steve proudly serves Virginia Tech and Radford University in their efforts to bring experiential learning to every student. He’s also an enthusiastic contributor to the Northern Virginia economic engine, serving on Arlington Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Committee and as a Commissioner for Arlington Economic Development. Steve is a vocal leader in the crusade to invite more diverse and abundant participants to the technology workplace through internships, apprenticeships, and experiential learning.

Contact Steve Cooper


Jen Ocean, Vice President of Training Operations and Client Engagement

Jen Ocean (she/her) is the Vice President of Training Operations and Client Engagement. Jen has worked with NextUp’s Agile trainers for more than five years and achieved nearly 20 years of customer service excellence. She holds her Advanced Certified ScrumMaster (A-CSM), Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), and Kanban Management Professional (KMP) designations and was a finalist for the Virginia Business’s 2019 Virginia Meeting Professional of the Year award. When not working, Jen, a local of the Washington, DC, area, is a weightlifting enthusiast who enjoys traveling when she can.

Contact Jen Ocean


Danny Junod, Training Client and Operations Specialist

With 15 years of experience in sales and management, Danny specializes in delivering stellar customer service and tailoring the NextUp experience to meet the individual’s needs. He is also an ICAgile Authorized Instructor for NextUp Solutions’ Agile Team Facilitation class.

Contact Danny Junod


Mike Staples, Vice President of Finance

Mike brings over 25 years of corporate finance, operations and enterprise systems experience to the NextUp team. He is a Certified Corporate Financial Planning & Analysis Professional who has supported a variety of industries throughout his career including technology consulting, telecom products manufacturing, and housing related private equity, primarily in executive management level positions within start-up to growth stage companies. He enjoys spending his free time with his family and is an avid golfer and cyclist.

Contact Mike Staples


Hunter Horton, Vice President of Marketing

Hunter is a brand strategist that brings her powerful creativity and organization to the nonprofit, corporate, and startup teams she works with. After earning her degree in Media Production from the University of North Carolina, Hunter entered the marketing world to pursue her passion for branding and digital storytelling. She has exceptional pride in NextUp and its sister company, Exelaration, whose brands she built from scratch and profiles she continues to raise.

Contact Hunter Horton 


Faith Lewis, HR Specialist

Faith is an experienced HR professional with a passion for providing each employee the tools and resources needed to succeed in their work environment. For the past 8 years, Faith has supported the day-to-day HR activities and development needs for employees from all levels of the organization. She has worked organizations in a variety of sectors including software development, higher education, and medical manufacturing. She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and reading a good book with a cup of coffee.

Contact Faith Lewis 


Avril Ussery Sisk, NextUp Board of Managers

Avril Ussery Sisk has a strong record of leadership in large and mid-size government, business and nonprofit organizations as well as consulting experience in both Japan and the United States. She combines governance and ethics expertise, employee relations, community engagement successes and extensive legal background with a track record of achieving first rate strategic and business realignment. An attorney with more than 30 years professional and community leadership, Avril currently serves as Chair of the Arlington County (VA) Economic Development Commission (EDC), and is the immediate past Chair of the EDC’s Workforce Taskforce, the Commission’s collaborative community initiative to address workforce development, business recruitment and realignment, business climate and other regional and local economic development issues.


Todd Rowley, NextUp Board of Managers

Todd Rowley has over 35 years in the banking industry, most recently with Old Dominion National Bank as the Market Executive. Additionally, Todd has an understanding of corporate finance, credit process, capital structure, acquisition financing and financing options. Rowley has a long history of involvement in community engagement, and currently serves as a Director for the Northern Virginia Community College, a member of Virginia Tech President’s Advisory Council, a member of the Virginia Tech Pamplin School of Business Advisory Council, Board of the Northern Virginia Workforce Investment Board, a board member to the Northern Virginia Council of GO Virginia, and a member of the board of directors for LEAD Virginia.