Leadership

FOUNDER AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

James C. Downs founded Connamara Systems LLC in 1998 after 17 years as an options market maker on the Chicago Board Options Exchange and a futures trader on the Chicago Board of Trade. Trading was moving rapidly from exchange floors to trading screens, and demand was growing for software engineers who understood the need for speed, reliability, scalability and innovation.

Jim earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University and began his professional life as a QA engineer with Honeywell Avionics, building electronic systems for commercial and defense aeronautical platforms. At Honeywell, he worked on the emerging technology of laser gyroscopes, first as a QA engineer and later as an electronics designer. His work in laser gyroscopes ultimately led him to the Central Intelligence Agency in Langley, Virginia. At the CIA, he managed projects involving the decryption of ICBM telemetry and video enhancement algorithms, all subject to the highest level of security clearance.

Jim came to the floor of the Chicago Board Options Exchange in the early 1980’s at the advent of options and futures trading in stock indices. Jim’s quantitative background and familiarity with software programming provided a clear advantage as the number and types of index instruments and trading strategies exploded.

By the late 1990s, most derivatives trading and market making relied on sophisticated, proprietary software for trade execution, position tracking and risk management. Some of this software was developed by traders without the benefit of best practices for coding standards, documentation, security, or testing. Other software was developed by programmers without sufficient understanding of market dynamics, liquidity, and the market participants. Jim understood the need to couple the highest quality of engineering with broad market knowledge – and Connamara Systems was born.

CHIEF ENGINEER

Michael Gatny joined Connamara in 2006 as a software engineer. Today he serves as our Chief Engineer with oversight responsibility for all project deliveries and management of Connamara’s engineers, business analysts and support teams. Mike has 16 years of domain-specific experience and a 22-year track record of leading Agile software development teams. Mike earned his Bachelor of Science in Engineering / Computer Science from the University of Michigan.

CHIEF TALENT OFFICER

Kirk Kozel joined Connamara in 2008. He began his career as a software engineer, but has contributed to Connamara’s success as a business analyst and engineering project manager. Most recently and most importantly, he assumed responsibility for all of Connamara’s recruiting, retention, training, project staffing, and professional development for our growing team. Kirk earned his Bachelor of Science in Engineering / Computer Science from the University of Michigan.

CHIEF REVENUE OFFICER

Daniel Curry came to Connamara in 2016 after many successful years in fintech sales. Dan built the sales and marketing function at Connamara from the ground up and much of Connamara’s recent growth can be attributed to Dan’s efforts. Dan earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

CHIEF INFORMATION SECURITY OFFICER

John Vatianou joined Connamara in 2007 as a business analyst. Over the years John has filled a number of important roles at Connamara, including Operating Officer and Financial Officer. He has recently assumed the critical role of Chief Information Security Officer to ensure that Connamara is on the leading edge of best practices in information security. John holds a Masters of Science in Information Systems from DePaul University. He expects to earn his CISO certification, CompTIA Security+, in 2022.