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Board of Directors

Board of Directors

The AST is run by members who volunteer as a nominated, elected slate of officers. The current Board of Directors members are:

Executive Committee


Benjamin Yaroch »

Executive Vice President

Dee Ann Pizzica »


Markus Gärtner »


Michael Larsen »

Executives at Large

Douglas Hoffman »

Pete Walen »

Keith Klain »

For information on how members are elected to the Board of Directors, see our Election Proceedings page.

Who We Are


Benjamin Yaroch is a context-driven tester who views software testing as a skilled craft and his chosen career. He is a software tester, manager, and leader located in Madison WI and has a bachelor’s degree in Management and Communications. Over the last 20 years Benjamin has been involved with several non-profit organizations and community groups. For two years he served on the AST board of directors as the Vice-President of Marketing, and for the last two years President. He has played in central role in the revamped website, expanded social media presence, monthly newsletter, CAST live streaming, and CAST 2013. Prior to joining the board of directors Benjamin volunteered as the Marketing chairperson and helped shape the current direction of AST.


Executive Vice-President

Dee Ann Pizzica is a Senior Business Analyst for TerpSys, where she works on custom web applications for a variety of clients.

She has been an active member of AST since 2007. Dee Ann was a member of the Board of Directors from 2009 – 2011; including serving as the Treasurer from 2009-2010. She is the editor of the AST Community News and is a Certified Lead Instructor of the BBST Bug Advocacy course.


Markus Gärtner

Markus Gärtner works as a testing programmer, trainer, coach and consultant for it-agile GmbH, Hamburg. Markus is the author of ATDD by Example – A Practical Guide to Acceptance Test-Driven Development and contributes to the Softwerkskammer, the Germany Software Craftsmanship movement. He blogs in English frequently at


Michael Larsen is Senior Tester located in San Francisco, California. Over the past seventeen years, he has been involved in software testing for products ranging from network routers and switches, virtual machines, capacitance touch devices, video games and distributed database applications that service the legal and entertainment industries.

In addition to being a member of the Board of directors for the Association for Software Testing, he is an active instructor of the Black Box Software Testing classes, is the co-founder and primary facilitator for the Americas chapter of Weekend Testing, a Black Belt in the Miagi-Do School of Software Testing, and the producer (and on-air personality at times) of Software Test Professionals “This Week in Software Testing” podcast along with fellow board member Matthew Heusser. Michael also contributed the chapter “Trading Money for Time” to the book How to Reduce the Cost of Software Testing and writes about testing topics for publications like The Testing Planet, ST&QA magazine, Techwell and others. Michael writes the TESTHEAD blog and can be found on Twitter.

Executive at Large

Douglas Hoffman is a Founding Member of the AST, current Board Member, past President, and Chairman for CAST 2012. He is a management consultant and trainer in strategies and tactics for software quality assurance. He keeps his degrees and certificates that let him to put a lot of letters after his name in the bottom of his socks drawer. He is active professionally in several quality organizations as a participant and leader, has spoken at dozens of conferences, and taken leadership roles in several international conferences on software quality. He was also an original and active participant in the Los Altos Workshops on Software Testing (LAWST) and dozens of the offshoot workshops. He is a lead instructor across all the BBST classes and has recently been writing the Domain Testing Workbook with Cem Kaner to accompany an upcoming BBST Domain Testing course.

Executive at Large

Peter Walen has been in software development for over 25 years.  After working many years as a programmer, he moved to software testing and QA.  After dabbling in Project Management and Business Analysis, he returned to software testing, where he has been working since 1999.  He converted to Context Driven testing 2001, rejecting his former heresy and repenting since then. Part of this repentance has been to spread the word of what is Context Driven testing at workshops and conferences.

Pete describes himself as a Software Anthropologist and Tester, which encompasses the examination of how software and people relate and react to each other.  One area of deep interest and concern for him is how testers learn and are educated.  He took the inaugural on-line version of the BBST Instructor’s Course and was an Assistant Instructor for the first time this past spring.  He is a member of the Education SIG (EdSIG). Pete is an active participant with his local Tester Meetup (Grand Rapids Testers) and an active blogger on software testing.

Pete’s Blog

Pete’s LinkedIn Profile

Executive at Large

Keith Klain is the Chief Operating Officer for Doran Jones, a technology consulting firm specializing in software testing and agile development. With 20 years of multinational experience in enterprise-wide testing programs, Keith has built and managed global test teams for financial services and IT consulting firms in the US, UK, and Asia Pacific. Keith is a current member of the board of directors for the Association for Software Testing and was the recipient of the 2013 Software Test Professionals Luminary award.

Visit his blog at


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