Jens Holstebro has immersed himself in consumer and educational technology for nearly two decades as an entrepreneur, salesperson, and senior executive. He has built his career upon setting strategic direction, growing global businesses and brands, and overcoming complex organizational challenges.
In his twenties, Jens spent some time in Massachusetts serving as interim General Manager of a Danish-American joint venture operating in the computer peripherals industry. He went on to co-found a consumer electronics trading company and took it from $0 to $50 million in sales within four years. In 1999, FrontRow (then Phonic Ear) invited Jens to manage its international business development. In this role, he built a successful marketing, sales, service, and product development operation based in Copenhagen to serve FrontRow’s customers outside North America. His accomplishments led to his appointment as the youngest President in FrontRow history in 2005.
Jens’ achievements at FrontRow include spearheading the company’s entrance into software solutions and the 2011 merger with Calypso Systems — both of which have dramatically expanded long-term opportunity for the company and deepened value for FrontRow customers. Jens has been cheerleader-in-chief for FrontRow’s customer-focused culture and for streamlining the processes that keep it efficiently delivering the world’s best school communication solutions. His innovations such as No Colleague Left Behind and an office environment that resembles our customers’ schools have helped ensure that employees at all levels are deeply invested in FrontRow’s mission and solutions.
Jens, however, considers his biggest achievement in life to be his teen son Mads. Natives of Denmark, the Holstebros enjoy exploring the Western Hemisphere together whenever Mads gives them a reprieve from playing soccer.
Jens holds a Graduate Diploma from the Copenhagen Business School.
Vice President, US Sales
In his 15+ years in classroom sound and education technology, Mark has established a record of success marked by a series of promotions to positions of increased influence, authority, and responsibility—most recently at Lightspeed, where he started as Territory Manager and ascended to Vice president of U.S. Sales.
Mark is passionate about the difference voice amplification makes in the lives of students. His deep industry insight and knowledge make him a trusted advisor to school teachers, school and district administrators, education information technologists, and consultants ready to deploy top technologies within their campuses. He has the ability to translate client business requirements into technical specifications, building long-term, trusting client partnerships and delivering customized solutions narrowly tailored to meet the unique needs of each customer.
Mark and his wife Stacy have four children. An avid outdoorsman, he spends much of his free time in the woods or on the waters of his home state of Michigan.
Vice President, Marketing
John Merline brings over 20 years of consumer and technology marketing expertise to FrontRow. The son and sibling of teachers, his keen interest in learning and his career in educational technology probably have genetic roots. After joining Phonic Ear in 1998 as Marketing Communications Manager, John became instrumental in the company’s rebranding and internal transformation into FrontRow in 2005. He and his team produce strategic/tactical planning and execution, market research, direct marketing, price optimization, web tools and databases, award-winning exhibits, copywriting, and graphic design. He is particularly engaged in Marketing Ops and his projects have included building an automated (yet human-friendly) system to improve customer response time and nurturing.
Prior to joining FrontRow, John worked in advertising, PR, and consulting for a variety of firms and clients in the technology, consumer products, and real estate spaces.
John is a fan of Franco-Belgian comics, archaeology, and early 20th-century illustration. He can often be found whining on a bike about a kilometer behind his wife somewhere on the backroads of Sonoma County.
John holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Berkeley, graduating with High Honors in English, and nominated to Phi Beta Kappa.
Vice President, Engineering
As FrontRow’s chief technologist, Leo Stearns helps propel the company’s mission with considerable cross-functional and cross-industry experience. Based on his success as creator of the Pix2o large-scale video display system (named 2010 Live Design International ‘Product of the Year’ and adopted by Cirque du Soleil and Disney), Leo has most recently provided business, design, and technology roadmap consulting to makers of industrial LED fixtures and high-end file servers. Earlier in his career, he led large engineering teams and entire business units at firms in the video display and telecommunications industries, including Calix and Alcatel — achieving significant improvements in production costs, lead times, and performance. And as lead designer at Allied-Signal Aerospace, he developed the first FAA-approved Microwave Landing System for commercial aviation.
When not shaping the future of educational technology, Leo enjoys winemaking and building custom cars.
He holds a degree in electrical engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology.