By David Bjorkgren
Special to the Hellenic News of America
“Girasko Aei Didaskomenos. As I grow older I keep on learning.”
Eleni Aliozi takes that to heart as the Chief Operations Officer for Adtech, a Washington DC based company that offers technology solutions for the Defense, Intelligence and Finance communities. In her business, there’s always something new on the horizon.
Software Development, Big Data, Cloud Enablement, and Cyber Security are all part of Adtech’s mission. The company was founded in 1998 in Washington DC and has been awarded contract vehicles such as the GSA 8(a) Streamlined Technology Acquisition Resources for Services (STARS) II, GSA IT Schedule 70, SBA 8(a), in order to provide cutting-edge technology solutions to federal agencies.
As Adtech’s COO (Chief Operations Officer), Aliozi provides vision, strategy and operations management for the company’s business with the Intelligence Community and Financial industry. She is focused on Adtech’s digital and analytic priorities, that are in direct alignment with the federal civilian agencies’ strategic objectives for effective data utilization, cyber security, and modernization of legacy operations, enterprise systems and infrastructure.
“At Adtech, we help our federal and commercial customers achieve greater mission impact and productivity with their IT infrastructure.”
Aliozi was always interested in technology, even as she pursued a BS in Management and an MBA. IT consulting seemed a good way to meld business with technology innovations.
“I get to be creative and work with some amazing people that bring innovative ideas to the table.”
Aliozi was born and raised in Serres (Macedonia) in Northern Greece. Her parents grew up in a village called Gazoros. “My father, Savvas Aliozi, and my mother, Xanthi Mavromati Aliozi, are the best role models I could have asked for,” she says.
Her dad owned his own successful wholesale distribution business. He has a reputation for being just, fair and a great leader and coach. The family business was always part of her life.
“I almost learned how to create a hand-made invoice before I learned how to write in school,” she says. She often traveled with her father on business, with school books in tow so she could do her homework.
They were in church Sundays, then home for the Sunday home-cooked meals. “My mother, Xanthi, is a true force of nature and personifies the definition of “mama greca” or “Greek mom.” She would work in the business, get involved in local politics, make meals for her three children and volunteer with the Red Cross, and other local organizations.
“Both my parents have taught me how to be resilient, start over if I have too, keep my head up high, always do good rather than harm, and keep it moving,” she says.
She was surrounded by aunts, cousins and grandmothers—great role models that showed her how to be confident, kind, giving, respectful and to persevere.
“I’ve always had real strong, independent, pioneering women in my family,” she says. Major geopolitical events in the 1900s meant earlier generations were forced to migrate from East Thrace and Asia Minor.
“They had to be strong because at some point in their life they had to pick up and pack up everything and start over.”
It is from them that her Greek values derive, the work ethic, a desire to be just and fair, take pride in your work and your heritage, be honest and transparent.
Aliozi went to high school in Greece but attended Lancaster University in Lancaster, England for her BA in management. She pursued her MBA, working a job at the same time. “I was working in the morning then getting on a train, going down to London to finish my MBA.”
In 2002, she came to the United States to pursue IT opportunities. Aliozi helped modernize an old legacy system for Capital One, as well as call center operations for AOL. She spent seven years with Fannie Mae, mostly as a software development manager. She also put in time at the Navy Federal Credit Union, and the Pentagon Federal Credit Union managing Global IT Operations, before becoming Chief Operations Officer at Adtech in 2017.
She is married to Gopi Karunakaran, himself an IT architect who grew up in South India. They have two boys, Nikolas-Savvas and Alexander.
Her sister, Dr. Louiza Aliozi, is an OB-GYN with a successful practice in Serres, Greece. Another sister, Dr. Zoi Aliozi, is a law professor and human rights activists who is running as a candidate in the local elections in Serres, and who recently wrote about a female Greek philosopher, Diotima of Mantinea.
Aliozi holds true to her Greek heritage. She and her family remain immersed in the culture. Her two boys go to Greek school, and speak the language with her. They all visit Greece once a year to visit her family.
She also supports many of Adtech’s philanthropic efforts, including SOS Children’s Villages, Yellow Ribbons United, the Red Cross, and various scholarships and food bank contributions in the DC Metro area. “My mother and father live by this quote by Theodore Roosevelt: ‘Do what you can, with what you have, where you are:’ and I try to emulate that spirit.”
Looking ahead, cybersecurity remains a strategic priority for Adtech and their customers. “The cyber domain is a dynamic and expanding environment, full of opportunities and challenges. Adtech is investing resources in order to grow a full spectrum of cyber operations and cyber defense capabilities, to better defend customer assets, and work with the government to protect our national security and national infrastructure,” she says. Eleni and the rest of the Adtech management team, continue to work toward Adtech’s emergence as one of the industry’s thought leaders in building and deploying innovative technology solutions for the Intelligence Community.
“There is a talent shortage in our industry” she says. “This is something I’ve been trying to tie back to my Greek community. I would love if I could get more Greek people to work in technology,” she says. The company is actively hiring Java Application Developers, Data Scientists, Data Engineers, Unix/Linux administrators, and Cybersecurity specialists.