Brian experiences Paris with son Hawken, and daughters, Chloe (center) & Emma (right)
Brian Sharples, Co-founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Sharples co-founded HomeAway with Carl Shepherd in February 2005. Since then, he has raised nearly $405 million in private funding and acquired 17 websites, to create the world's leading online marketplace of vacation rentals.
Sharples is the former president and chief executive officer of IntelliQuest Information Group, a supplier of marketing data and research to Fortune 500 technology companies. While there, he pioneered the development of subscription-based statistical research services and electronic survey systems. He also completed two successful public offerings and the subsequent sale of IntelliQuest.
An expert in technology brand strategy, Sharples has counseled several leading companies, including Apple, Microsoft and Dell. He also created the IntelliQuest Brand Tech Forum Conference, which became an industry-leading symposium, and served as a consultant at Bain & Company early in his career.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in math and economics from Colby College and a master’s degree from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Sharples serves on the Board of Directors for RetailMeNot, Inc. and KLRU, and formerly served on the Board of Directors for KAYAK.
Brian's favorite thing about working for HomeAway:
" The people who work at HomeAway are amazing and inspiring. We’ve been successful in attracting people who are passionate about our business, and seek to always make the experience better for our customers. There is no shortage of good ideas to make our service better for both owners and travelers, and as a result we continually challenge each other to push our limits and get better. That makes for a dynamic culture and a very rewarding work life."
Carl visits Disney's Hollywood Studios with his wife, Suzanne, and sons Kevin (left) and Jack and Connor (right)
Carl Shepherd, Co-founder and Chief Strategy and Development Officer
Shepherd co-founded HomeAway with CEO Brian Sharples and oversees the company's worldwide corporate development efforts including mergers, acquisitions and key partnerships.
For six years, Shepherd served as the chief operating officer of Hoover’s Online. Under his management, the business developed into a leading source for business information online, culminating in an IPO in 1999 and the eventual sale of the company to Dun & Bradstreet in March 2003.
His career began as a consultant, working for what is now Accenture and establishing a practice based in the advertising industry. He also served as chief financial officer of magazine publishers Texas Monthly, Inc. and Hanley-Wood, Inc. Shepherd holds a bachelor of arts degree in business administration from Texas Christian University and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin.
What Carl looks for when choosing a vacation rental:
"We have three boys, who are five and seven years apart, so it is not a vacation for mom and dad unless we have at least three separate sleeping areas and no less than two TVs. We like roomy vacation homes with great views where the kids can spread out. Suzanne prefers not cook on vacation, but we love having kitchens available so that the kids can serve themselves breakfast as they wake up."
Brent with sons Aaron and Landon in Park City, standing in front of the vacation rentals enjoyed during their last two annual ski trips
Brent Bellm, President and Chief Operating Officer
Bellm holds the position of Chief Operating Officer and is responsible for leading the daily operations of HomeAway’s online vacation rental marketplaces in the United States, Europe, South America, and Australia; HomeAway Software for Professionals; and BedandBreakfast.com. He brings to the company a wealth of knowledge about international operations, internet marketplace strategy and e-commerce.
Bellm joined HomeAway after a nine-year tenure at eBay and PayPal, where he most recently served as vice president of PayPal global product and experience, responsible for product strategy, product management and user experience design. Prior to that position, he served as CEO of PayPal Europe for four years. Bellm joined eBay Inc. in 2001 as director of corporate strategy, where he had an active role in the acquisition of PayPal.
Early in his career, he worked for McKinsey & Company, focusing on the retail, e-commerce and payment industries, and Goldman Sachs in New York.
Bellm holds a bachelor's degree in economics and international relations from Stanford University and a MBA from Harvard University. He has lived in five countries and traveled to almost fifty.
The one thing Brent would like to share about himself with our customers:
"In the early days of our relationship, my wife are I were avid B&B travelers. After kids arrived, we switched to vacation rentals. Our favorites are rentals in small European villages, the mountains, and the Caribbean. We are now in our seventeenth consecutive year of renting one or more large houses for an annual ski week with the families of seven graduate school friends."
Tom enjoys a trip to Kingstown, Rhode Island with his wife, Karen, and daughters Julia, Anna and Ivy
Tom Hale, Chief Product Officer
Tom Hale serves as Chief Product Officer (CPO), overseeing all aspects of product and technology on a global basis. Known for his passion for product development and enhancing the user experience, Hale is also an avid traveler and owns a vacation rental.
Hale has nearly 20 years experience in product development. Prior to HomeAway, he was the Chief Product Officer at Linden Lab from 2008 to 2010, where he led the renovation of all aspects of the Second Life experience.
Before Linden Lab, Hale was an entrepreneur-in-residence at Redpoint Ventures (a capital investor in HomeAway) focused on social networking and virtual goods marketplaces.
From 1995 to 2007, Hale held a variety of senior leadership roles at Macromedia and Adobe Systems Incorporated. At Adobe, he headed the Adobe Acrobat business and drove the redesign of the Acrobat user experience. At Macromedia (acquired by Adobe in 2005), Hale played key roles in making Macromedia the standard for web development, evolving the Flash Player into a platform for video, mobile content, and rich internet applications (RIAs), and starting up the company’s knowledge worker division.
Currently, Hale is an independent director for Intralinks (NASDAQ:IL).
Tom's favorite vacation rental memory:
"Our first vacation rental was with my entire extended family in Rhode Island. It was the first time we’d all been together with everyone’s kids and we cooked a giant meal. With kids on laps, food on the table, and everyone having a great time – it was the ideal travel experience for me. It is what makes working at HomeAway very rewarding."
Lynn cools off at her vacation rental in Rockport, TX
Lynn Atchison, Chief Financial Officer
Atchison joined HomeAway as chief financial officer in August 2006 and is responsible for managing all financial aspects of the company. She has nearly 30 years of finance and operations experience, including expertise in financial management and reporting, securities filings, facilities management and legal and human resources. This experience earned her the title "CFO of the Year" for large private Austin companies in 2009.
Prior to HomeAway, Atchison was CFO of Infoglide Software, where during her tenure revenue grew more than 160 percent. Likewise, in her positions as senior vice president and CFO at Hoover’s Online, Atchison helped lead the business from a private to a publicly-owned company, increasing revenues by ten times and was instrumental in the sale of the company to Dun & Bradstreet in 2003.
She has also served as vice president and CFO for Travelogix Inc., a senior manager for Ernst & Young LLP and spent time in private practice. Atchison holds a bachelor of business administration degree in accounting from Stephen F. Austin University. She currently serves on the Austin Technology Council board of directors.
Lynn's favorite thing about working for HomeAway:
"The challenges of a growing business and making an impact on a new industry."
Ross rocks out in Rocky
Mountain National Park
Ross Buhrdorf, Chief Technology Officer
Ross Buhrdorf joined HomeAway five months after the company’s inception and oversees technology, trust and security, hosting, corporate IT, infrastructure and global customer systems. During his tenure at HomeAway he has built the development and engineering team from five to more than 200 global employees. He has been instrumental in integrating multiple technology systems to contribute to the company’s rapid growth.
Buhrdorf successfully led HomeAway through its first Super Bowl campaign in February 2010, ensuring HomeAway.com was equipped to handle the sizable traffic surge generated from its first national ad. Ultimately, the company ranked second in site traffic generated from a Super Bowl ad, according to Akami and second for site performance and responsiveness, according to Compuware Gomez.
Prior to joining HomeAway, Buhrdorf worked in the enterprise high IP software business as the Vice President of Engineering and Chief Technology Officer at BetweenMarkets and Salion.com. There he created a development process featured as a case study by Carnegie Mellon's Software Engineering Institute and Rational Corporation. Buhrdorf was also formerly Vice President of Engineering at Excite.com where he grew the team from one to more than 200 engineers worldwide, handled multiple acquisitions and drove the “Communities” area of the site from 53,000 to 40 million daily page views, ultimately helping Excite become the fastest-growing company in Silicon Valley in 2000.
He began his career in technology with positions in software engineering at DataGeneral, Tandem Computers and HAL Computers.
Buhrdorf earned his bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Texas at Austin and currently serves as a Partner with Capital Factory and as a Trustee with Santa Fe Institute.
The one thing Ross wants to share about himself with our customers:
"I am also a vacation rental owner so I understand what it takes--I have to eat my own dog food so I recognize when it tastes bad."
Jon shares a precious moment with his daughter, Sydney
Jon Gray, Senior Vice President, Americas
Jon Gray serves as Senior Vice President, Americas and oversees the business operations of three leading U.S. vacation rental sites, HomeAway.com, VRBO.com and VacationRentals.com, as well as HomeAway's Canadian, Mexican and South American sites.
Gray is one of the original HomeAway employees, joining the company in September 2004 before it was officially founded in 2005. During his time with the company he has served as director of global marketing strategy and analysis, director of operations, general manager of HomeAway.com, and, most recently, senior director of North American Marketing. He has helped facilitate more than 10 vacation rental site acquisitions. He was also instrumental in launching HomeAway’s marketing strategy, sales and online marketing departments. Prior to HomeAway, Gray worked for Austin Ventures, one of the investment capital firms that has funded HomeAway since its inception.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in Government from the University of Texas at Austin and an Acton Master of Business Administration degree in Entrepreneurship from St. Edward’s University.
Jon's favorite destinations where he's stayed in a vacation rental:
The Texas Hill Country, Maine, Cape Cod, New York City, Port Aransas, Sydney, Paris, Cozumel, Costa Rica and Belize to name a few. Up next - Vancouver!
Petra takes in the infinite waters of a villa rental in Cala Pi, Mallorca
Petra Friedmann, President, HomeAway Europe
Friedmann joined HomeAway in June 2009 to lead the European business.
With years of experience in the travel industry, Friedmann most-recently held the position of Chairman of the Board for Opodo France, a leading Pan-European online travel agency. During her tenure, she launched and grew Opodo.fr, which now serves more than 1.3 million clients and has grown to be one of the three biggest travel agencies in France.
Prior to Opodo, she held leadership positions at online auction company, QXL-Ricardo, and European tour operator, Groupe Marmara, where she was pivotal in executing successful e-commerce strategies.
She started her career in Germany creating the travel agency, Adventure Tours, which specialized in discount flights, and launching a tour operator called Mosaic Reisen. Friedmann was a devoted student, earning her undergrad and master’s degrees from University of Bielefeld and her Doctorate from the University of Bremen.
What's most important to Petra when choosing vacation accommodations:
"The most-important feature I look for is a view-- it's a holiday for your eyes!"