Meet The Team
Arthur L. Smith
Chief Executive Officer
Art has over 25 years of public company experience with a comprehensive background in technology and global telecommunications. Over the years, he has developed expertise in broad-based management including corporate finance, financial operations, business development, mergers and acquisitions, strategic and tactical planning, sales and operational management, and international business.
As founder of Digerati Technologies, Inc., Art has held various positions within the Company, including Chairman, CEO, and President of the Company’s international subsidiary. Art is also co-founder and former Chairman of GlobalSCAPE, Inc. (NYSE: GSB), a leading provider of Internet-based information exchange solutions and former wholly-owned subsidiary of Digerati. GlobalSCAPE was spun-off to the Company’s shareholders as a separate publicly-traded entity.
Derek M. Gietzen
Derek brings a wealth of leadership experience to his role as President of Verve. Derek is an inspirational servant leader with a passion for creating amazing corporate cultures where people and relationships are valued. Verve’s core values are personified through Derek and his personal attributes.
Derek was the Founder, President, and CEO of Vycera Communications, which made the Inc. 500 “Fastest-Growing Private Companies” list by reaching $30M in annual revenue within 5 years. Derek’s earlier experience includes serving as President and COO of WXL Communications as well as VP General Manager at Communication TeleSystems International which he grew from start-up to $40M in annual revenue in less than 3 years. Derek also spent 7 years in full-time vocational Christian ministry and became an ordained pastor.
Derek graduated from the University of California Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics and Econometrics.
Antonio Estrada Jr.
Chief Financial Officer
Antonio is a seasoned financial executive with over 20 years of a public company and telecommunications industry experience. His experience includes SEC reporting, accounting management, financial reporting, forecasting, strategic planning, grant writing, corporate finance, GAAP accounting, audit, treasury, and cash management.
Antonio has served in various roles within Digerati, including International Accounting Manager, Treasurer, Internal Auditor, Controller, Senior Vice President of Finance, and CFO.
Vice President of People & Culture
Patti joined Verve in 2017 and has been the primary architect of Verve’s award-winning culture.
Prior to joining Verve, Patti held leadership positions in Human Resources for CPU Medical Management, Rock Cancer CARE, CliniComp International, Rock Church & Academy, and Comic-Con. She served as an Intelligence Officer in the United States Navy. Patti received her Human Resource Management certificate from San Diego State University and is a certified Gallup Strengths coach.
She currently serves on the Military Transition Services Team at Veteran affairs of North County San Diego and is President of the San Diego SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management). In 2022 she was recognized as a finalist for HR Executive of the Year from the San Diego Human Resources Forum.
Vice President of Sales
Mike Bee has a proven track record with over 20 years of sales experience in the telecommunications industry. Mike previously held the positions of National Director of Sales and Channel Sales Manager at Verve. His ability to deliver quantifiable results within a short time frame allowed him to excel quickly at Verve.
Before joining Verve in 2015, Mike held senior sales positions at Cox Business, AT&T, and CenturyLink (formally TW Telecom).
Mike has been the recipient of numerous sales awards including President’s Club and Winner’s Circle.
Vice President of Engineering & DevOps
George is responsible for the vision and strategy for Verve’s technology stack, bringing a wide range of technical experience for finding innovative solutions to complex technical problems. He has a passion for developing his teams and challenging them to see their full potential.
Prior to joining Verve, George spent 18 years working for the United States Navy as both a civilian and active-duty sailor. He was a Regional Technical Director with Naval Intelligence responsible for a team of 37 with an asset budget of over $2 million. George also worked as a Security Manager with NAVAIR establishing security standards in support of ongoing testing operations. Prior to being a Security Manager, George also worked as a radio frequency spectrum manager supporting unmanned systems and emerging technologies development.
George graduated from the University of Phoenix with a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Security and a Master’s in Business Administration in Project Management. George also holds multiple technical certifications.
Director of Service Delivery
VICE PRESIDENT of Client Experience
Director of Marketing
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