Four Alumni Inducted into ICS Hall of Fame – All with Ties to ISR

ICS Hall of Fame Inductees (left to right) Justin Erenkrantz, Jim Berney, Gerald Bortis, and Erin Bradner, with ICS Dean Marios Papaefthymiou (center).On February 8, the Donald Bren School of ICS inducted four alumni into the ICS Hall of Fame. ICS Dean Marios Papaefthymiou presented the awards to the alumni at the Engineering, ICS, and Physical Sciences Hall of Fame Celebration which was held at the Tustin Hangar in Tustin, CA.

Jim Berney received his B.S. from ICS in 1989, and was hired as a programmer analyst for the Software group’s Arcadia Research Project which was run by faculty members Prof. Richard Taylor and Prof. Debra Richardson, among others. Berney went on to a tremendously successful career: he is an Academy Award® nominated freelance visual effects supervisor and is currently working on Disney’s production of Jungle Cruise. Other recent works include visual effect supervising for Warner Brothers’ Aquaman and the Minecraft movie, as well as Legendary’s Pacific Rim 2. Berney was selected on behalf of the ICS inductees to speak to the audience at the induction ceremony. In his heartfelt and inspiring speech, Berney called attention to the professors who taught him software engineering and AI, noted that although he is in an artistic field he relies on the software engineering skills he learned at UCI, and emphasized that ICS prepared him for the challenges that he would meet in his career.

Dr. Gerald Bortis received his Ph.D. in 2016, with Informatics Chair Prof. André van der Hoek as his advisor. Bortis is now Vice President of Software Development at NextGen Healthcare, a leading provider of healthcare technology solutions. Bortis started his career as a software engineer with Mirth in 2005 where he was one of the founders of Mirth Connect, an open source data integration engine. While at Mirth, Bortis helped grow the development team and was instrumental in the acquisition of Mirth in 2013 by Quality Systems, Inc., now NextGen Healthcare.

Dr. Erin Bradner earned her Ph.D. from ICS in 2001 under the advisement of Prof. Gloria Mark. Bradner is a Director and Research Scientist at Autodesk Inc. in San Francisco. She helped found the Generative Design initiative at Autodesk, and now manages Autodesk’s Robotics Lab. Bradner has led hundreds of research projects over the course of her career – a common thread across them being that her research helps amplify human creativity through intelligent and intuitive technology.

Dr. Justin Erenkrantz rounds out the list of esteemed inductees. He received his Ph.D. in 2009, with ISR Founding Director Prof. Richard Taylor as his advisor. Erenkrantz is currently SVP of Software Engineering at Major League Baseball where his teams are responsible for delivering the core technology that supports the game. Prior to joining MLB in 2017, Erenkrantz was at Bloomberg LP as Head of Compute Architecture in the Office of the CTO. Erenkrantz is a member and past president of The Apache Software Foundation and a long-time contributor to several well-known open source projects such as the Apache HTTP Server and Subversion.

Congratulations to all four 2019 ICS Hall of Fame inductees!

This article appeared in ISR Connector issue: