Email Mythology Part II: Gods of Deliverability

Imagine, for a moment, Mount Olympus, the home of the Greek gods.  From its heights, they oversee the doings of mere mortals, often working to make things happen as they see fit.  Most notably, Mount Olympus is where the Twelve Olympians reside—these dozen deities are the principle gods in Greek mythology.  Included among them are Zeus, king of the gods; Apollo, the god of light; Hephaestus, the craftsman; Dionysus, the god of celebration; and Hermes, messenger of the gods, who serves as a liaison between gods and humans.  Each of them has a different role, a different personality, and a different approach to dealing with the human world.  Yet, watching from the mountaintop, they are all capable of changing the course of the events that unfold below them. 

It is easy to claim that a group of email deliverability experts has nothing to do with the Greek gods.  However, in the email industry, there are a large number of men who wield such influence that they can be dubbed the Gods of Email Deliverability.  In Part II of this series, we will take a look at some of the dedicated, hardworking individuals who occupy the deliverability space of the email pantheon. 


Extreme Polytheism

Mount Olympus may have been home to the Twelve Olympians, but the full system of Greek gods and goddesses is far more complex.  Outside of the core group of well-known gods and goddesses, there are hundreds of other deities, demigods, and mythological beings, all of which have different roles in the mythological structure.  They exist for various reasons, but most of them are charged with guiding some aspect of human behavior.  It would be impossible, in this limited space, to describe the role of each one, or even, really to come close. 

Alas, the same problem holds true when trying to catalogue the gods of deliverability.  The email industry contains many, many deliverability experts; not all are profiled here.  A few have jokingly “pleaded the fifth” and asked not to be mentioned (perhaps they are worried about the wrath of Zeus!).  Others are, through no fault of their own, victims of time and space constraints.  So, as you read, keep in mind that these men form only the tip of the iceberg, and this humble article is meant to be a sampling, rather than a comprehensive list. 

Because long lists of names have a tendency to be horrendously boring, I have attempted, for ease of reading, to divide our gods of deliverability into loose (but cleverly titled) categories.  Some of these email titans doubtlessly belong in more than one section, but for brevity’s sake, each person will only be mentioned once.  When introduced, each name will appear in linked to profile on LinkedIn. 


Zeus on the Mountaintop: Kings (and Presidents, Founders, and CEOs) of Email

In the world of Greek mythology, all of the gods are, well, gods, but that doesn’t mean they are all equal.  Zeus, for example, is the king of them all.  Is there a “Zeus” of email deliverability?  Not necessarily.  But there are quite a few individuals who have risen above the rest and become presidents, founders, CEOs, or CTOs of various email related companies.  A few of them are briefly profiled here, in no particular order.


Mark DiMaio is the president of Deliverability Optimization Consulting.  According to, “Since early 2000, Mark has specialized in the world of online email marketing and communications, most notably in email deliverability. Mark has held senior level positions with some of the largest Email Service Providers in the country. He also sits on a number of advisory boards, developing and providing expertise in order to help clients optimize results in the continually evolving world of email deliverability. He has provided email delivery consulting to a broad range of companies, including Fortune 100 as well as small and mid-sized businesses.”

Some might argue that a VP is different from a President, but for our purposes, they’re close enough.  Barry Abel is Vice President of Operations at Message Systems.  According to LinkedIn, he is a longtime contributor to the email industry and is “a frequent speaker at conferences and is often quoted in industry publications. His articles on email deliverability, ISP relations and other current topics have appeared in DM News, Messaging News and ClickZ to name a few. In his role as vice president of Operations for Message Systems and as an active participant in the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG) since 2005, he has acquired a vast knowledge base and understanding of the challenges that affect email deliverability, ranging from infrastructure to marketing considerations.”

Some of our other “top” gods are more like Founding Fathers than presidents (although, just as in American history, there are some that are both).  For example, Cem Hurturk is a co-founder of the email deliverability websites,, and  Meanwhile, Josh Aberant wears multiple hats, as he is the Director of Privacy at Marketo, Co-Founder at RestEngine, and Deliverability Consultant at Authentic Delivery.  Another founder who holds an additional job is Jaren Angerbauer, an email deliverability expert who is the CEO and founder of DeliveryVision.  He is also an adjunct faculty member at Utah Valley University, where he teaches classes about email technologies.  Another example of the CEO/Founder combination can be found in Tobias Knecht, who is the CEO and co-founder of Abusix.  He has experience providing anti-abuse services for some of the biggest ISPs in the world.  He specializes in reorganizing abuse handling systems and implementing automatic abuse handling systems. 

Chief Technology Officers are another type of “Zeusian” deliverability expert.  In this category, Chris Curtin is the CTO at Silverpop, and the primary architect behind Silverpop’s email solution.  Similarly, if you’re looking for a CTO at Mass Transmit or Gold Lasso Mark Lewis and Michael Weisel are your guys. . 

Other industry leaders include Jeff MacDonald, and Chris Wheeler, the Lead Technical Program Manager at  Wheeler describes himself as “A proven people and technology leader with deep experience building out services, teams and industry knowledge. Blogger, speaker, and evangelist for email technology, business practices and mailbox recipient effect.”  He has also worked as Director of Deliverability for Bronto Software and Datran Media. 

Also worthy of mention, Andrew O’Halloran is the Chief Privacy Offer and ISP Relations at Cypra Media, while Tom Roe is the CFO of Mallfinder Network, an integrated retail marketing platform that engages consumer audiences across online, mobile, social, and experiential media. Olivier Moulene is a Deliverability Specialist/Emailing Team Leader at MEETIC, and Samuel Chang works as an Email Deliverability Officer at RightNow Technologies. 

Of course, it is worth noting that the vast majority of our deliverability gods perform admirably in some sort of leadership role.  The intent is not to elevate these men above the rest, but merely to highlight their highly influential careers.  Keep reading to learn about many of the other exemplary and innovative leaders who populate the deliverability space.


On the Right Path: The Gods at Return Path

In researching this article, the name Return Path kept popping up again and again. It’s no wonder, as Return Path is undeniably a leader in email reputation services.  In this section, we’ll take a look at a few of the folks who make Return Path tick.

It’s always smart to start at the top: George Bilbrey is the president of Return Path, Inc., while Ken Takahashi is the VP of Corporate Development.

However, that’s not all.  Tom Sather is the Director of Professional Services at Return Path.  He is a Consultant with over 12 years of experience in ISP Abuse Desks and Deliverability with main area of focus in email marketing, mail systems, and deliverability.

Brian Westnedge is the Regional Director of Channels—North America at Return Path.  He is an expert in several email related areas, including email deliverability and reputation, email marketing, strategy and response, product management, product marketing, account management, client services, marketing communications, public relations, and corporate communications.

Tom Bartel is a Privacy, Email, and Operations Executive at Return Path, Inc.  He supports and leads the privacy and compliance interests of all Return Path email marketing services.  Last but not least, John Pollard serves as an Email Deliverability Consultant for the company. 

Outside of Return Path slice of the deliverability pie, many of the common threads that connected our devoted deliverability deities (say it three times fast!) could be found in their job titles.  It appears that the world of deliverability experts is filled with wonderfully competent professionals, most of which are in one of three camps: analysts, managers, and directors.  Each of these three types plays a vital role in the industry, so a few of each are profiled in the sections below. 


Analyze This!  Deliverability Analysts Keep an Eye on Things

An analyst’s job is, obviously, to analyze: to notice patterns, to make sense of data, to figure out the “why” of things.  The gods listed below have proved to be extremely adept at doing just that. 

Ryan Moss works as a Deliverability Analyst for InfoGroup Interactive/Yesmail.  He has designed deliverability strategies for several Fortune 1000 clients, including Macy's, Corel, iUSA, Valassis, and Footlocker.

Guillaume Laché is a Senior Deliverability Analyst at NP6 MailPerformance.

Josh Barrack is an email delivery/operations professional working as an Application Support Analyst at DDC Advocacy. 

Mohammed Ahmed is a Senior Analyst—Deliverability at Acknowledge, LLC. 

Jeremy Abraham is a Senior Deliverability Analyst/ISP Relations at Constant Contact. 


Power and Responsibility: Managing in the Email Industry

Analysis is critically important, but so, too, is management.  Where would we be without people to oversee, to make sure that everything runs smoothly?  The deliverability universe is not exempt from this need, and that’s where the managing gods come in.  When these individuals say, “We’ll manage,” it’s best to believe them!

Nathan Fehler has worked as an Email Marketing Manager, Deliverability Expert, Strategy Consultant, and Project Manager.  Currently the Email Marketing Manager at NetSpend Corporation, he is a skilled email marketing professional with a strong grasp of deliverability who is able to make recommendations and implement strategies to provide highly effective email marketing. 

Bhupinder Singh is an Email Delivery Technician at VHMnetwork LLC.  He is an email marketing delivery specialist and manager. 

Andy Thorpe specializes in deliverability, and email marketing strategy and technology.  He is the Deliverability and Compliance Manager at Pure360, playfully known as Del-Boy or DepComp Man (he may be more of a superhero than a Greek god).  His mission is “taking Pure360 up to the highest levels of Email Marketing quality by focusing on best practice to ensure consistently good deliverability which is earned and maintained by emailing the right way.”

Len Shneyder is a Senior Marketing Manager at IBM.  According to LinkedIn, he is a professional who has worked in a variety of technology related industries.  He calls himself “a process focused individual with a knack for thinking outside the box and making sense out of chaos.”  Making sense out of chaos: definitely a necessary skill for anyone in management!

Tom Haynie is currently the Deliverability and ISP Relations Manager at Cvent.  He is also the Principal Messaging Architect and Engineer at Cvent, and a member of the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG). 

Andre Gormer is the Senior Deliverability Manager at eCircle.  He specializes in project management, deliverability management, and online marketing experiences. 

Jose Ramon Garcia Layos is the International Email Delivery Manager at BuyVIP (Amazon, Inc.)  He describes himself as detail and goal oriented and believes in the power of teamwork to achieve success on any project. 

Michael Reaves is the Email Deliverability Manager at Harte-Hanks Data Technologies. 

John Watt is the Email Deliverability Manager at Experian CheetahMail.

Brady Edwards is Email Deliverability Specialist at Aprimo

Carlo Catajan is a Product Manager at Yahoo! 

Florian Kniffke is a Deliverability Manager based in Düsseldorf, Germany. 

Joeran Nemitz is a Deliverability Manager at Optivo.


Can You Direct Me to the Inbox?  Directors of Deliverability Across the Industry

As great as managers are, they don’t always have all the answers…Sometimes, even they need a little direction.  That’s the job of our next group of deities, the Directors. 

Jeremy Saibil works as Campaigner’s Director of Deliverability.  Jeremy is passionate about harnessing the power of email and protecting the “email ecosystem.”  He is often quoted as an expert in all facets of the email industry and represents Campaigner in a variety of anti-spam organizations, including MAAWG. 

Chris Kolbenschlag is the Director of Deliverability for Bronto Software, a leading email marketing services provider. 

Tony Patti is the Deliverability Director at QuePasa Corporation. 

Carl Bednar is the Director of Domain Operations at Datran Media.  He describes himself as a “highly motivated and adaptive technical professional with over 10 years of experience in the field of Internet and email abuse and deliverability issues as both a supervisor and individual contributor.”

Michael Thompson is the Director of Deliverability and ISP Relations at ClickSquared. 

Erik Johnson works at Dunhill Vacations, serving as Technical Director/Email Deliverability.  

Ed Mnich is the Deliverability Director at Media Whiz.  He specializes in email deliverability and ISP relations.

Naeem Kayani works as the Senior Director of Product Strategy, Email Marketing, and Online Advertising at Adknowledge.  Kruno Kunovic is a deliverability specialist who is currently the Director of Global Email Delivery at Ipsos. 

Spencer Kollas is another Director of Delivery Services at StrongMail Systems.  He works with clients to consult and guide them to implement best practices regarding e-mail delivery.

Kevin Senne is the Director of Deliverability and ISP Relations at Responsys. 

James Pomeroy serves as the Director of Email Operations and Worldwide Deliverability at Epsilon.


Used and (Not) Abused: Keeping Email Spam-Free

With the possible exception of those guys in the iconic Monty Python sketch, no one is a fan of spam.  However, this next group of deliverability gods has taken the anti-spam cause to new heights.  You might even call them anti-spam crusaders! 

Kent McGovern works in the Email Delivery/Abuse Department for email marketer  Among other duties, he closely monitor delivery rates on all sending domains, reaching out to an ISP/ESP if issues arise, and provides education on best practices to clients to ensure they receive the highest possible delivery rates.

Al Iverson is an anti-spam, email best practice, and deliverability expert who claims, “Stopping spam is in my blood.”  He currently works as Director, Privacy and Deliverability at ExactTarget.  He also owns Spam Resource, a publishing platform for issues related to email, spam and abuse prevention, list management, and deliverability. 

Andrew Barret, known to many as “the knight errant of spam wars,” is a leading figure in the anti-spam movement who is currently employed by the ESP Real Magnet.  

Michael Hammer specializes in security and anti-abuse.  He is the owner of DotZero, LLC.  He also co-chairs the Brands SIG at MAAWG and works in Web Operations Security at AG Interactive/American Greetings.


The Defiant Ones

Even in the most careful classification system (which this most definitely is not), there always seem to be a few entities that defy categorization.  Who knows, maybe they prefer to remain mysterious.  In any case, what follows is a short list of folks who are not Presidents, Founders, CEOs, Analysts, Managers, Directors, or Anti-Spam Crusaders…yet they still, undeniably, belong in the email pantheon. 

Brandon Fouts is the head of deliverability for the email marketing company Mailchimp. 

John Bollinger is an expert in email deliverability and ISP relations.  He works as a Deliverability Management specialist at BlueHornet. 

Mickey Chandler is a Senior Deliverability Consultant at ExactTarget and the principal writer at 

Udeme Ukutt is a Postmaster at Synacor who keeps abreast of deliverability/anti-spam trends through industry participation and networking. 

David Bronson currently works as the Team Lead in Campaign Management for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.  He specializes in enterprise messaging (email, mobile, social) with an emphasis on measurable results, automation, database integration, deliverability, and regulatory compliance.

Sean Wirt is a Delivery Support Specialist at StrongMail Systems.

Stephen Blomeyer is a Deliverability Management Specialist at BlueHornet.  He has a lifelong love of computer technologies and most enjoys his job when he can use his skills to help people. 

Speaking of helping others, that was one of the main functions of the Greek gods, too.  Don’t believe me?  Pick up a copy of Homer’s epic Odyssey, in which the hero, Odysseus, faces an impossibly difficult and dangerous journey home to Ithaca following the Trojan War.  Odysseus encounters so many dire situations along the way that it seems he’ll never survive…and he wouldn’t have, if not for the help of the benevolent goddess Athena, who quietly gave him guidance and assistance from beginning to end.  Because of her intervention, Odysseus defied the odds and returned home, triumphantly, to his wife and son. 

Now, you might be tempted to claim that none of our deliverability gods have ever done anything that grand.  Perhaps they haven’t.  But when we consider the accomplishments of all the people mentioned in this article, we should remember the story of Odysseus and Athena.  These men work tirelessly to make sure that everyone can use email effectively.  They guide us through the minefields of spam and other pitfalls in the deliverability universe.  For that, we are grateful. 

They may not live on Mount Olympus, but in the corner of the world that is occupied by the email industry, the subjects of this series truly are gods (and goddesses) among us.


Fred Tabsharani

Port25 Solutions, Inc.



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4 Responses to “Email Mythology Part II: Gods of Deliverability”

  1. Kate
    April 19, 2011 at 9:38 am #

    Good list Fred but you missed out on mentioning email industry leaders and deliverabililty gurus such as Dennis Dayman and Matthew Vernhount!!

  2. Matt V - @emailkarma
    April 19, 2011 at 9:51 am #

    Thanks Kate, So nice of you :)
    I’d point out you were missing from Fred’s Deliverability goddess list to – an unintentional over site I’m sure.

  3. Fred Tabsharani
    April 19, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    Matt and Kate,
    After researching, I realized that publishing lists like these can sometimes be a double-edged sword. There are literally thousands of deliverability gurus, all of whom are deserving of being mentioned.

  4. U. Ukutt
    April 19, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    Thanks for the mention, Fred! The anti-spam crusade continues….