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Meet the team

Neil Butler - Chairman and Founder

Neil is an experienced entrepreneur and technologist who founded Optimation in 1992. He is inspired by the twin goals of helping organisations transform for productivity and competitive advantage, while contributing to a thriving, sustainable local ICT sector that provides people with rewarding careers.

Neil pioneered the formation of strategic partnerships that give customers global capabilities at New Zealand scale. He has also taken local ingenuity and IP to the world through Optimation Ventures.

Neil is a member of the Institute of Directors and holds several independent directorships and board advisory roles. He is involved in ICT sector groups including NZTech, and he provides mentoring and advice to a number of start-ups and innovators.

Alex Bouma - Executive Director

With over 25 years of experience in applying smart technology to businesses across the globe, Alex is an Executive Director, assisting with governance and key relationships across Optimation Group of companies in New Zealand. Alex’s experience spans multiple industries from Government, Defence and the Private Sector. He has a special focus on the wider Justice Sector eco-system, as part of Optimation’s key relationship with NZ Corrections.

Alex was formerly an executive at HP for 14 years, with his last role there running Global Delivery of Application Services across Australia and NZ into India, the Philippines and China.

Sharon Butler - Co-Founder and Chief Financial Officer

Sharon's early career in banking gave her a solid grounding for her role as Group CFO, particularly in the areas of governance and the development of new initiatives. As Co-Founder, Sharon has been with Optimation for over 30 years, and has deep understanding of what makes the company tick and its culture.

As well as her role as CFO, Sharon spent 10 years in Optimation's Finance and Corporate Services division. She brings a wide range of experience and expertise to the table, including business coaching and mentoring.

Sharon is one of the driving forces behind Optimation, understanding that continuous improvement is absolutely critical to business success. A forward-planner, Sharon is very outcome-oriented. She focuses on what needs to be done, and when - essential for effective governance. If there are gaps, she looks for ways to fill them, continually looking for any areas of the business that need attention.

Everything that Sharon does, from ensuring the sound financial health of the business to developing and managing new projects, is geared towards building a culture that inspires our people and our customers.

David Norman - General Manager, Optimation New Zealand

With over 30 years of experience in the ICT industry, David is General Manager, Optimation New Zealand. He is experienced in leading large cross-functional teams to deliver excellent outcomes for customers from innovating through to operating.

David has a Bachelor’s Degree in engineering and has extensive experience in technical, sales, delivery and leadership roles spanning multiple industries from both Private Sector and Government. He has successfully led the delivery of a number of significant infrastructure, outsource and application projects.

David is passionate about leveraging the power of technology, teams and innovation to help solve customers’ business problems.

Sallie Purser - General Manager, Business Operations

Sallie has worked in the New Zealand IT market for over 30 years. She is known for her skills around performance management, strategy execution, people leadership, clarity of communications, and metrics management as well as her high level of integrity. A trusted advisor to many in the industry, her leadership skills have been discussed in the 2015 publication: Extraordinary Leadership in Australia and New Zealand: The Five Practices that Create Great Workplaces.

Her extensive experience as an executive in a global multinational organisation is a great addition to Optimation’s strategic plans in her role as General Manager Business Operations where she will build organisational leadership capacity and resilience through people, strategy and process.

Patrick Cullen - Executive Director

Pat is a visionary thinker with over 25 years of global perspective and experience. As an experienced business leader in the New Zealand information technology sector Pat is passionate about building high performance teams that are aligned to drive business outcomes in a complex environment. Organisations with significant challenges and opportunities posed by the colliding worlds of business and technology are his speciality, as he covers all aspects from strategy to market engagement and execution.


Pat has been a key contributor to enterprise-level planning, policy and decision-making and a valued advisor and requested consultant to board members, investors and the C-suite.

Craig McGrory - Managing Director, Presto

With a background in all things Talent Supply Chain related, from recruitment delivery to workforce strategy, Craig is a Talent Acquisition expert. As a career recruiter, his recent experience outside of New Zealand allows him to bring back thought leadership at the forefront of the TA debate. Craig gets to work with our clients on the big picture around effective talent acquisition methods, but more so, what it means for their employment brand and the nature of the engagement experience candidates can expect. Craig has a very natural and knowledgeable communication style that will help decipher the current TA noise and craft a deliberate and pragmatic pathway to the right solution for the right problem.

Steffen Boelaars - Senior Solutions Architect

Steffen Boelaars is a Senior Architect operating in the cross-over between the Enterprise and Solution realms. He spent over 20 years across multiple countries delivering complex digital platforms, primarily for financial services and central government clients.

With experience in leading globally distributed teams and massive parallel delivery using scaled agile release trains he is at ease in technical hands-on architecture & delivery scenarios to ensure technical clarity across the teams and senior stakeholders.

Steffen's background includes strong experience in many technology areas, including the likes of JAVA, Microsoft, AWS, IBM, and others. This makes Steffen a generalist highly capable of navigating complex multi-faceted IT landscapes.

Sophia Hobman - Practice Lead

Sophia is a seasoned IT professional with a background in systems development, project management, support and outsourcing but with a speciality in Software Testing. Sophia has worked in most industries and phases of testing. She is a respected independent Senior Test Consultant having been involved in the inaugural ANZTB (Australian New Zealand Testing Board) and spoken at testing conferences. Sophia has worked for 23 years in multi-national and kiwi owned organisations leading testing capabilities. Sophia understands what it takes to build successful teams and trust relationships with clients. She is able to tailor pragmatic solutions for digital solutions, ERP projects and bespoke solutions.

Philippa McQuillan - PMO Manager

Philippa has experience in governance of large, medium and small scale IT projects with an attention to detail including planning, communication, financial and commercial management. She strives to drive a strong culture of accuracy in reporting, governance, delivery of financial reporting (including detailed analysis) and process. Philippa has a passion and a desire to continually re-evaluate standards and process and actively engage in problem solving to achieve continuous improvement and results. Philippa favours process and order, keeping things simple and transparent for all parties, to ensure the best outcomes are achieved while continuing to drive impactful business change across Optimation.

Adam Theyers-Hasemore - Customer Success Lead

Adam leads Optimation’s Customer Success Team. Adam is a professional with over 25 years of IT experience. Adam has successfully delivered large complex projects in both government and private organisations over the years, building great working relationships, with colleagues and clients.

Having held many leadership roles throughout his career, he has been responsible for leading and developing professionals and teams over many years.

Adam has experience working with large companies throughout NZ and internationally, he builds and develops great working relationships with both Information Technology and Business Teams.