Software and IT Training

Karen Tate

Karen has been designated as a Fellow of the Project Management Institute for her sustained service and significant contributions to PMI® and the project management community over the past 20 years. This is PMI’s highest and most prestigious award that is presented to an individual, awarded to an elite group of fewer than 100 project professionals out of a community of over 500,000.

She served six years on the prestigious Project Management Institute’s (PMI) International Board of Directors, and has served in many volunteer positions over the years serving PMI. 

Prior to founding The Griffin Tate Group, Inc. in 1994, Karen managed programs and projects of all types and sizes, in a variety of industries. She has trained and worked with organizations in North America, Europe, Asia, South America and Africa. Her corporate experience includes construction, engineering, consulting, facilitation, and project management.

Karen earned her Project Management Professional Certification (PMP) from PMI, an MBA from Xavier University, a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. She also attended Vanderbilt University School of Engineering.  Additionally, Karen is an adjunct faculty member at Villanova University, a Senior Life Member of the Society of Women Engineers, and a member of American Mensa.


  • Jeff Twardowski - is the lead technical trainer and consultant for our Lotus software practice. His work in this industry, for the past twenty-five years, includes administration, training, and applications development.
  • Dwayne Backhus - is the lead technical trainer and consultant for our open source practice. He has over twenty-five years of experience instructing in the information technology field.
  • John Davis - John is a VMware Certified Instructor with eight years experience, teaching classes on VMware Infrastructure, VMware vSphere, and VMware View, including fundamental and advanced classes, such as design and troubleshooting. He was VMware's thirteenth Certified Instructor in America.
  • Sherry Wright - has been providing training on software applications for over 30 years. She has the distinction of having helped over 30,000 individuals develop skill and confidence with software applications.
  • Kelsey Apple - has been an educator and consultant for over 20 years. She has been a Microsoft Certified Trainer and an IBM/Lotus instructor since 1995.
  • Alan Bustamante - Alan has over twelve years experience in software development and services, with the last five years leading Agile projects and delivering Agile training. He has taught a number of authorized vendor classes (e.g. IBM) in his area of expertise. In addition he has developed and deployed customized private Agile training for a number of companies.
  • Karen Tate - Karen is an internationally recognized expert in the field of project management and is the co-author of many books Including: The Advanced Project Management Memory Jogger ™, The McGraw-Hill 36-Hour Course on Project Management Getting Started in Project Management, A Step By Step Approach to Risk Assessment, and others.
  • Robert Gepfert - has been leading this organization since its inception in 1997. He is responsible for business development, managing projects, managing staff, and the strategic direction for the company.
  • Beth Combs - is the program coordinator for the organization. She is in charge of operations, guest relations, and partner relations.
  • Chris Perry - Chris current focus is on VMWare software. His work in the IT industry has been both national and international in scope. He has over 12 years of experience in the IT industry.
  • Mary Hladio - Mary has 20 years of experience in human resources, senior leadership and business consulting.
  • Doug Copfer - Doug Copfer is a lead Adobe CS software trainer. His has 18 years of experience as a Graphic Designer.
  • Allen Goldman - Allen has been providing training on Microsoft software applications for 13 years.
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